03 May 2009

Unspoken Words by Boakyewaa Glover

Josh sat behind his new Mac computer staring forlornly at the screen. He wasn’t thinking about the $2300 he had recently spent on the laptop. He wasn’t thinking about the report that was pending that he had to write. No, he wasn’t thinking about any of his pressing obligations. He was staring at her picture and thinking about her.

Josh stared at his ex-girlfriend’s face and felt a pang of pain and regret, and it was getting worse with each passing day. And that was mainly thanks to Facebook.

They’d gone their separate ways years ago. When they broke up 10 years ago, he was sure it was over. They’d tried to stay friends. There had been a few random hook ups, sporadic periods of long online chats and text conversations, and rarely some phone calls. Close to two years ago, the communication had dwindled but that hadn’t bothered him much. He was over her, had been over her for years. There were no lingering feelings. He was done with it all. He lived a very active life, especially socially. There was always something happening. He didn’t have time to brood. He’d probably dated at least four women since their break and slept with countless more. She was never on his mind, not until now anyways.

Almost two years, they connected on Facebook. In the beginning, she was barely on there and so he didn’t think about her or wonder what she was up to. But over the last year, the activity on her page had surged. There was always some party she was at, some pictures with friends and boys, some mysterious status updates and changes. She looked happy, she looked blissful; she looked good. He’d started looking forward to alerts that involved her, mainly out of curiosity, but now it had become something more.

He didn’t know how it happened, or when exactly, but he realized he was missing her all over again, wanting to be a part of her life, part of her pictures, part of her story. And that feeling was troubling him.

Josh abhorred sappiness. He was a tough guy. He didn’t love easy, but when he did, it was strong and overwhelming. He had loved her that same way, with an intensity that he couldn’t control, that had broken him when it all ended. But he’d moved on pretty quickly. For years after they broke up, he’d never wanted her back or needed her. He had moved on. What the heck was happening to him now?

He turned his gaze away from the screen, from the picture of her and a rather good looking guy, hugging tightly. He stood up and walked around his room, frustrated with himself. He was involved with another woman, two actually, so why did she keep creeping into his head. Was it just because of the pictures? Did he really miss her? He’d thought about removing her from his Facebook friends, but that would be rude and she’d wonder and probably confront him. He couldn’t think of anything else he could possibly do. He wasn’t sure if these were real feelings or just his heart and mind playing games on him. Maybe this was nothing serious, nothing to panic about.

Besides, she was all the way in London, and he was here, in the US. Why was he worried? But he knew he couldn’t fool himself much longer. He missed her. He really missed her. There was no denying that.

“Hey Josh, did you get the link I sent you, with the hotels?”

He turned towards the door at the sound of his roommate’s voice.

“Yeah Nana, thanks man, it should be fun huh,” he said.

“For sure man, I’m heading to the store, need anything?”

“No, I’m straight, thanks.”

“Ok, catch you later then. Make sure you book your hotel ASAP.”

When his roommate left, he lay back on his bed and stared at the ceiling. He was looking forward to the DC trip with his boys. They all rarely left California and they’d decided it was time to go check out some East Coast bunnies. That should help take his mind off her. He really hoped so.

“Kris? Kris? Are you with us?”

Kris snapped out of her daydream and stared blankly at her co-worker standing over her.

“Huh?” she muttered, trying to quickly close Josh’s Facebook page.

Her co-worker Sandi laughed, “Uh, no need to do that. Who cares? I check my Facebook page a 100 times a day. I swear I think my boyfriend is sleeping with his so-called best friend. They post on each other’s wall like a gazzillion times a day!”

Kris laughed and shrugged. Who knows, he probably was.

“Anyways, Kris, we have to finalize our flights to DC. You want to head out there the weekend before the meeting, right?”

Kris nodded and turned back to her screen. She pulled up her outlook calendar. She had been praying feverishly that the offsite her company held at different global locations each year would be held in California. Instead her Managing Director chose DC, probably because he wanted to go check out the White House, hope for a glimpse of the first family. She loved DC but Josh was in Cali and lately all she could think about was Josh.

Kris’s mind started to drift again. Her resurrected feelings for Josh were driving her crazy and she hated it. After their break up, she’d obsessed over him for years, it was pathetic. Eventually she moved on and they tried to be friends, and she felt she handled that pretty well. She couldn’t remember exactly how but they’d drifted apart again. When he first sent her the Facebook friend request, she hadn’t thought much of it, hadn’t been all excited. A main part of it was because at the time she found Facebook tedious, and also because she was sort of seeing someone else. But over the last year, she’d gotten drawn into the whole social networking thing, and with it came the inherent problems. Catching up with old friends was great, but seeing old crushes and boyfriends move on and be happy was hard. Josh looked like he was having the time of his life. There were so many pictures of him in bars, parties, clubs, holidaying in Bermuda with skimpily clad gorgeous women, and more along those lines.

And then there was the status updates; stuff like ‘thinking of someone’, ‘best day in a long time, thanks to...’ and so forth. She couldn’t stand it, and yet she checked out his page at least once a day.

Josh was the love of her life. She’d loved him with her whole heart, loved him passionately and wholly and completely. And when it ended, she’d been in denial for years. She’d prayed for a second chance, and eventually she let it go and tried to move on, until now. She wondered if she really missed him, or maybe it was just Facebook making her feel all sentimental. Whatever it was, she wanted to see him again, look at him again, know for sure she was over him. God she sincerely hoped she was, because she knew Josh was definitely over her. And when Josh was done, he was done.

Hesitantly, she opened up the internet explorer window and began searching for tickets to DC. Who knows, maybe she’d meet the love of her life there.

Josh threw his bag into the far corner of the plush hotel room. He and his boys had gone all out for this trip. ‘You only live once’ was their motto. Why the heck were they making over $100k a year? He was paid an outrageous sum of money and he liked to spend it. He wasn’t stupid and frivolous but he lived in each moment. He could die tomorrow, so why get a cheap low class hotel? Plus California women didn’t like cheap, so he’d learnt not to be. His cell phone rang and he glanced at it. Mimi, that girl was psychic, but incredibly hot. He answered.

“Josh! Are you in town yet? You did say today right?”

“Yeah, Mimi, I just got here,” he said as he dropped onto the bed, placing his feet on the clean sheets.

“So what’s up? What are you guys doing tonight? Some of the girls and I are going to Lavish tonight, it’s a hot lounge. But it’s early yet, I can swing by now if you want.”

He could picture her twirling her hair with her fingers, trying to look coy and sexy, hoping it would translate in her voice. He resisted a chuckle. Mimi was incredibly sexy, she had the body of a Greek goddess, but he’d slept with her enough times. This trip was for new blood. This hotel room was not meant for girls he could get anytime any day. And he could get Mimi anytime he wanted. She’d flown to Cali a few times just because he asked. This was not Mimi’s night.

“I’ve been on a plane for hours. I just want to take a shower, and then sleep a bit, get myself all ready for tonight. I’ll tell the boys, we’ll head to Lavish okay?”

“You better! I’ve missed you. I hope I see you later. Maybe spend the night after the club?”

He rolled his eyes, “Hey who knows? I’ll call you later okay?”

He hung up before she could say another word. There was one girl, Amma, he’d been dying to hook up with for a while, but the time never seemed right. She sent him a Facebook request a couple of months ago. He’d seen her a few times before, at parties, but they’d never spoken. When he and the boys started planning the trip, he sent her a message, told her he was heading her way. She said she’d love to meet up, hang out. Their messages were suggestive but no one said anything outright. She wanted him, he knew that, and he wanted her. She was crazy sexy, with long natural hair that he’d been thinking about for days. If anyone was going to get his mind off Kris, it was going to be Amma. He picked up his cell phone, found her number and dialed.

“Oh my God! I’ve missed you so much!”

Kris squealed as she threw her arms around her older cousin. Ekow laughed and hugged her back.

“So your boy Josh is apparently in town,” Ekow said as he threw her bags into the trunk.

Kris froze. What? Josh was in DC? His status hadn’t said anything about a DC trip, but in any case, neither had hers.

“Are you serious? How do you know?”

“One of my roommates is friends with his roommate. They’re heading to Lavish tonight.”

She didn’t say a word. Josh was in town. What were the odds! And then she freaked out. She had nothing to wear. She glanced at her watch. It was 8pm!

“Ekow, can you drop me off at the mall and pick me up later?”

He laughed and shrugged, “Sure.”

Kris closed her eyes, gosh, this had to mean something!

Josh lay on his side and stared at Amma’s naked body. He didn’t expect it to happen so fast. He actually thought he’d have to spend Friday night laying the groundwork and maybe reap the fruits of his labor on Saturday. But when he called her, she said she worked a block from the hotel. So she came over right after work and within minutes of walking through the door, she was all over him. But he had loved it. Kris was controlling like that too, always took charge and didn’t hesitate for a minute. Amma had hair like Kris too, long and natural, past her shoulders. He looked up and down Amma’s body, looking for similarities and differences to Kris. Kris was taller, and leaner. Amma had fuller hips, rounder behind. Kris used to be rounder too, he loved her that way. He was sure if he had her in his bed, he’d still love her new lean body. He’d love her regardless of how she looked. The words swirling in his head startled him. What was he doing? Amma was supposed to take his mind off Kris. He cursed softly under his breath and got up, pulling his shorts on as he made his way to the bathroom.

He stood in front of the mirror and mentally berated himself. Get over it! She’s over you! After everything, there is no way she could ever love you again. He washed his face, hoping to wash away the image of Kris burned into his brain. After a short while he left the bathroom. Amma was already dressed. He was grateful for that. He didn’t have the mental will to go another round.

“So are you heading out tonight?” she asked.

“Yeah, we’re going to some club called H2O,” he lied.

He didn’t want Amma at Lavish. Mimi was going to be there and maybe he’d come back with Mimi.

“Cool, love that club. Maybe I’ll see you there later then.”

Josh sat on the tousled bed after she left and buried his face in his hands. He was such a mess.

Kris got to the club really late. She’d spent two hours at the mall looking for the perfect outfit. And then she spent a good two hours trying on different stuff. Finally she settled on something she felt looked good, a Keri Hilson type outfit, a cut up tee over a black tight bustier and tight ankle cropped jeans with heels.

By the time she got to the club it was past 1am and she was a nervous wreck. This was Josh! Josh was done with her. What was she doing? He was probably involved with someone, that someone his Facebook status changes indicated he was missing every now and then. What if he came to meet a girl or came with a girl? She went into scan mode when she entered the club. Ekow’s roommate had confirmed he was there, so where was he?

When Josh entered the club, he was glad to see Mimi. She looked incredible. It blew his mind a little. He had gotten used to Mimi looking good, but she had gone the extra mile tonight, for his sake, he was sure. Her ample cleavage was imprisoned behind an incredibly tight strapless short dress. He wanted to rip her dress off, give her body room to breathe. The thought made him laugh as he hugged her tight.

“Can you breathe?” he asked her, staring straight at her bust. She smiled, her practiced coy smile.
“I’m good, you should be asking yourself, seems you’re having a little reaction.”
He chuckled, yeah he was. Usually he hated public displays of affection, especially with someone who wasn’t his girlfriend, but when Mimi kissed him, he let it happen. They kissed for ages. He didn’t even know why he let it happen. There would be talk the next day, it would make a dent to his ‘low key’ reputation and track record. Nothing was ever really a secret in the Ghanaian community. Amma would probably find out. Someone could be taking pictures right now. That thought made him pull back, and his eyes immediately scanned the room, and that’s when he saw her.

Kris was at the far corner of the club when she finally saw him, and she was glad for the space between them. He was kissing a busty Jennifer Hudson lookalike at the far end. The girl was clinging to him for dear life and his hands were sliding up and down her back. Kris felt her chest tighten as she struggled to breathe. She deserved this, she completely deserved this. And then he looked up, and his eyes fell on her. She looked away immediately, and turned to her cousin and his crew. Screw him! What was she thinking? What did she expect? She was so stupid! She disappeared through the crowd, searching for the bathroom hoping he wasn’t looking at her.

Josh was startled. What was she doing here? She was supposed to be in London. She wasn’t supposed to be here. Mimi reached for him and he pulled back, looking dazed and confused. He heard Mimi say something but he wasn’t sure what. He spun around, searching for Kris in the crowd but he couldn’t find her. Did she leave? This was so wrong. Why tonight? Why this moment? He extricated himself from Mimi’s unyielding embrace and walked through the crowd, looking for her. Why was he even looking for her? What was he going to say?

Kris sat on a bench outside the bathroom, trying hard to compose herself. She felt tears well up and she forced them back. This was not the time nor the place nor the person for tears. After half an hour, she decided to go back upstairs before her cousin got worried. Right at the top of the stairs she bumped into Josh. They stood awkwardly looking at each other.

“Hey,” she said, softly.

Gosh he looked so handsome.

“Hi, what’s up?” he said with an even lower voice than hers.

She looked stunning. That face!

“This is a surprise. I didn’t expect to see you here. Holiday, work, moving?” he asked, shifting a little to let people pass.

Someone bumped Kris from behind and she leaned into him. He smelt so good! Josh wanted to reach out and touch her hair when she got closer to him. She smelt so fresh, so sweet, so real. His heart beat faster as he gazed into her eyes.

“I came here for work. We have an offsite on Monday and Tuesday. I just wanted to fly in early and chill a little bit.”

Kris wanted to say she’d missed him, wanted to say she was happy to see him. She wanted to kiss him. Josh wondered if he should say something about Mimi, say she was just a friend. Standing so close to Kris, he wanted to reach out and kiss her, but after what she’d witnessed earlier, she’d probably slap him. And who knows, maybe she was attached; maybe there was a man here.

“That’s cool. It’s been a while. I haven’t seen you in forever. You look good,” he said.

You look amazing, love the top, he really wanted to say. Kris smiled up at him, her tall beautiful ex-boyfriend. Their eyes locked into each other for a minute and neither of them looked away. This was it, she thought. Josh felt his breath catch in his throat. I have to kiss her now!

“Josh? Josh? Hey, I thought you were going to be at H2O.”

Josh jerked back at the sound of Amma’s voice. What the heck was this? This couldn’t be happening.

“Hey, Amma, can you please give me a minute?”

Amma finally looked at Kris, and she raised an eyebrow and turned her gaze back to Josh. Kris chuckled, this was silly and juvenile.

“I’ll talk to you later, Josh.”

Without waiting for a response, she turned and walked away through the crowd. Why was she still pining for him? He was obviously still a playboy, and she didn’t have the time for that. Josh watched Kris walk away. H knew the situation wasn’t the best, understood if she was upset, but a little patience would have been nice. He hadn’t seen her in years. What was her problem?

“I’m going home, Ekow. I’ll take a cab. I’ll be fine, don’t worry,” Kris said to her cousin.

Ekow looked at her quietly and hugged her.

“Call me as soon as you get home, okay? Love you.”

She hugged him back and then walked out. As soon as she got in the cab, she started crying hard. She needed to get over this boy. She needed to! She curled up and cried till her head hurt. Why did she love him so much? She hated him, hated him for making her feel like this. She never wanted to see him again. She was done. This was it. Josh was out, out her life, out her heart, just out!

Josh leaned against the bar and stared blankly at the crowd. Kris was gone. He knew the way he felt wasn’t just because of Facebook or some pictures. He still had feelings for her. Maybe he’d never gotten over her. He was sad, and disappointed, everything had gone bad tonight. But it was over. She’d left, and that was it. He needed to get over this for good. She had a life in London, probably had someone important there. What was he doing, thinking about her like this? He was young, he would be fine. He felt a stupid tear fall from his eye and he clenched his eyes. That was going to be the last sign of emotion. He’d gotten over her before. He’d get over her again, for good.

“Hey, wanna dance?”

He looked at Amma for a long moment and then he took her hand and followed her onto the dance floor.

Unspoken Words was written by Boakyewaa Glover.

Copyright Boakyewaa Glover 2009.

Boakyewaa Glover is a Ghanaian born Organizational Psychologist living and working as a Consultant in Atlanta, USA.

Boakyewaa started writing at a very early age. From when she was six years old, she spent most of her time writing stories on any available piece of paper. Her grandfather owned a computer paper manufacturing company that produced rolls of computer print out paper. Boakyewaa wrote endlessly on every available roll and she kept a collection of short stories.

At the age of 12, Boakyewaa wrote a Christian play for Scripture Union Ghana and was awarded with a plaque for the play at her school’s Speech and Prize Giving Day. A few months later, Boakyewaa wrote two poems for her school’s participation in an Annual Cultural Contest. She and her older brother Kofi performed the poems and one of the poems placed third at the contest.

Boakyewaa wrote her first complete novel, BASIC REALITY, her first year at Wesley Girls’ High School. BASIC REALITY is a dramatic young adult book about twin sisters, who find their friendships, loves and bond as sisters threatened and changed over one summer. Through out secondary school she was an active member of several clubs, including the Writers and Debaters Club (WDC), the Drama Club and the Social Club. By her third year, she was the President of the WDC, Vice President of the Drama Club and Secretary of the Social Club. She wrote, co-directed and acted in a number of plays for both the WDC and Drama Club.

In her final year, she also wrote a poem to celebrate the accomplishment of Wesley Girls’ High School’s longest serving Headmistress. The Headmistress, Mrs. Acheampong, presented Boakyewaa with a plaque for her accomplishments.

After Wesley Girls’ High School, Boakyewaa wrote her second complete novel, TENDAI. Her first foray into one of her favorite genres, science fiction, TENDAI explores the repercussions of a biogenetic experiment gone wrong, when science is unwittingly pitted against Africa’s oldest and most powerful crafts, black magic.
During this time, Boakyewaa also continued to explore her interest in public speaking and presenting. She worked as a TV Presenter/Journalist for Metro Tv’s hit show, Smash TV. Smash TV, was and still is after 10 years, one of Ghana’s most popular entertainment shows. Boakyewaa was on the show for three years, co-presenting with former Groove FM presenter Vladimir Nettey and Eddy Blay, currently with Peer Pressure.

During her undergrad years at the University of Ghana, Boakyewaa was the lead writer for GTV’s children show ‘S-Class’. She wrote 10 episodes before the show was canceled. After graduating from the University, she expanded her media role by joining TV3, one of Ghana’s largest and popular television networks as a Newscaster/Broadcast Journalist. Boakyewaa was a familiar face on TV3 for two years before leaving to pursue a graduate degree in Psychology at NYU.
Boakyewaa has never ceased writing and has a collection of short stories, poems and novels. CIRCLES is Boakyewaa Glover’s latest project due for release September 2009.


Gabriel said...

This is an exciting story. You can tell it has been written by a psychologist. Do you think in another world they would have told each other?

Anonymous said...

Very nice story, exciting and thrilling with a whole lot of suspense just wondering would they get back together

Alfred said...

Great story.....great impact....beautiful author. Thumbs up!!!

Ivor W. Hartmann said...

Welcome to ST Boakewyaa! Unspoken Words seemed all to familiar and this is its magic, a true contemporary love story. I really liked how Facebook itself was character, sort of like that one very gossipy friend we all have. It is very interesting to see how this new and powerful means of global social connection, is changing the very fabric of human social interactions. I congratulate you for being one of the first writers I know (or have read)to bring social networks into a fictional setting, it's ground breaking.

Colin said...

Wow. I'm seriously impressed, Boakewyaa. You manage not only to deal with loss and empowerment, but you do so in a sophisticated way, using two narrative point-of-views that eventually occupy the same time and space in the story, and (simultaneously) in the text. That breaks a lot of rules, but it really does work in this story. It's exciting to see some boldness in technique, particularly when it's successful!

Damn, I can't actually find anything to criticize...(which is a very uncommon experience for me). Well done!

Boakyewaa Glover said...

Thanks all! I've particularly been fascinated with communication, things we leave unsaid. I think relationships, friendships, and even careers would be so different if communication wasn't such a barrier. There's so much we leave unsaid, even though we're updating our facebook statuses all the time, we still hold back. We tend to assume alot, based on the visual, dont think facebook is helping there, lolol.

Masimba Musodza said...

I raised an eyebrow (a la Mr Spock) when I saw by the picture at the end that this story is the work of a woman. Such empathy is rare, usually women take on this subject with no fear and plenty of loathing and judging. I liked it so much that I will freely confess that facebook has facilitated a similar situation for me, and quite a few other guys. Nice one!

Anonymous said...

B, good job! I really enjoyed this story. You have a great way with words. Keep 'em coming!

Boakyewaa Glover said...

Masimba, i appreciate the comments. when one of my cousins read my short story 'Till Death' his first comment was, 'finally the woman is at fault!'... lololol. i'm an only girl and i'm a tomboy so maybe that helps me with seeing the two perspectives. Anonymous, thanks.. why do you want to remain anonymous though?

Eli said...

i love the setting, and the emotions involved is empowering .......Boakyewaa, you are my mentor. i look forward to writting like you sometime soon.

Boakyewaa Glover said...

Masimba, i appreciate the comments. when one of my cousins read my short story 'Till Death' his first comment was, 'finally the woman is at fault!'... lololol. i'm an only girl and i'm a tomboy so maybe that helps me with seeing the two perspectives. Anonymous, thanks.. why do you want to remain anonymous though?

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