This Was Your Girlfriend
Ooh its hell
Knowing that for now
We shouldn’t kiss and tell
When it’s so good
— Gary Clark Jr. from “Things Are Changin'”
She was your girlfriend for the last 8 weeks you two were together, and she ain’t even know it. You never told her that, and you never would, but if she was paying attention, if she trusted you, she would have noticed. Short of putting a ring on her finger, you were as committed to her as any man could be committed to someone.
But you never told her she was your girl, and somehow, you never made her feel like she was the only one. For most of the six months you two were together, she had her suspicions. There was one, or two, maybe even three people you called on nights you didn’t call her. You knew this, and yet, you did nothing to dispel those thoughts. As a matter of fact, you purposely never acted, all because she wasn’t your girlfriend. You knew a simple phone call before you turned in for the night would be a thoughtful gesture she would appreciate. But you denied her that because it felt too much like you were checking in, and if she was up late with the What Ifs, wondering what you were doing or who you were doing, that was her problem, not yours.
Foolishly you went to bed on those nights thinking she was thinking about you, when the truth is, the only reason she was awake was because she had company. Her phone was on silent while she was busy entertaining some guy she never told you about, a guy who came around after you two started doing whatever it is you were doing. When they met, she resisted for the most part, but he was cute and came correct, so she gave him her number. Two days later he asked her if she wanted to do lunch, and he ain’t even know how perfect his timing was because an hour prior, you asked her if you two could postpone the lunch plans you made. She went to lunch, and they hit it off, so she agreed to see him again because she didn’t know she was your girlfriend.
Still, you were the first pick, the plan A. That guy may have been Prince Charming, but you were King First Choice. You knew this because on her birthday, she wanted to spend time with you. Not the day before her birthday, not the day after, nor the week of, her actual born day. And everyone knows when someone wants you to be with them on the day they came out of their mother’s womb, that’s top dog status. Secretly, you didn’t want to burden such a huge responsibility, but on your first date you two discussed birthdays and hers was months away. You had plenty of time to end whatever it is you two were doing before she sent you the evite to the celebration of life with friends and local family. And yet, you remained around.
As her birthday drew near, you felt something within you take over. She started talking with more anxiety about turning a year older, and what it meant. Having already been through that age yourself (you were a couple years older than her), you coached her through it the best you could. You told her things to keep her mind quiet, and gently reminded her that it’s actually a blessing to turn a year older. The more you did this, the more she appreciated you and you realized nobody else in your life at that moment appreciated you quiet like her.
Now since you were single, you didn’t have to CC every girl that you saw around town on some Andre 3000 “I Choose You” type stuff. The other girls just started fading away, and some even did you a favor by fading you out themselves. By the time of her actual birthday there was no one else but her. She was your girlfriend and she ain’t even know it.
Still, you kept things between the two of you very casual. Though you brought a couple of friends around her, you never brought her around your friends. The difference was a matter of control. When you two went out, you took a lot of pictures together, but the ones you shared on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter were never of you and her. Those stayed in your personal collection. When you two went out, you tweeted where you were at and what you were doing, but never who you were with. On social media, you looked as single as a dollar bill.
But offline, in real life, you were happily attached to this woman and your inner circle knew all about her, even if she didn’t know they knew. One day Mom asked if there was someone in your life, and you told her about this woman. Mom said she sounded special, but you told her not to get too excited. You ain’t even know where things were headed, for now it was fun. Then there were your boys, who you talked to everyday, they knew about her and they even knew her name because of the golden rule, which is, thou without a name shall not be taken seriously.
She knew nothing of these small but symbolic gestures, but you knew exactly what it meant. This was your girlfriend. It was to her you were committed, and it was of her you were speaking about to others close to you. So why ain’t she know? Why didn’t you ever tell her she was your girlfriend? Why did you have to act so hard headed about verbalizing a title knowing that every time your name was brought up to her friends and they asked her what was going on with that, she sadly shrugged her shoulders?
Why did you have to wait six months to go by before she told you she wanted to have a talk?
You hated those words like everyone hates those words. “We have to talk” or some variation of that phrase is always the wind up to some knockout blow and when she said those four words, you immediately flinched. She laughed. “Relax,” she said. “It’s not like I’m pregnant.” Your shoulders dropped. Relief. “Okay,” you said. “Then what is it.”
“I’m moving down South.”
This time, you didn’t flinch, you winced. “Why?” you asked.
“I got a job offer and it’s too good to pass up,” she said. “I’m moving in 8 weeks.”
“Where?” you asked.
This was good news for her, and big news for you. You had to process everything. You didn’t know if you were sad, relieved, maybe both? You would deal with it later, for now, you put on your happy face, gave her a big hug and told you two had to celebrate.
With all the moving and organizing she had to do, and all the everyday running around you had to do, a formal celebration was pushed back. Instead, you two spent the majority of those 8 weeks together. She once complained about how you two never went out, and for 8 weeks you committed to showing her different.
But every single day that passed within those 8 weeks was bittersweet. Much like the days leading up to her birthday, the days leading up to her departure were filled with anxiety and you didn’t know why. On the day she left, you were crushed, and clueless as to why that was because you knew the day was coming. So why so sad? Why were you telling her not to cry the day she left, when you knew on the inside you were crying too?
Probably because for 8 weeks you were saying goodbye to a woman who was your girlfriend for 6 months, and you ain’t even know it.