Forgotten Love

By: Cher Etan


“Whoa man, you scared me,” he said with a laugh. Allen just glared at him. Kareem saw that he wasn’t getting anywhere with him and went on his way, using Allen’s house; drinking his water, peeing in his toilet and sleeping on the bed he bought. Allen was ready to commit bloody murder. In the morning, he started awake and realized he’d fallen asleep sitting on the end of his bed. He got up, ignoring his complaining muscles and walked to his doorway, peering down the hall at Frances’ door. It was wide open, and the bed was made. It was also empty. Allen looked the other way, towards the kitchen, but there wasn’t anybody there either. The apartment was silent.

He went to the grocery store to restock the fridge and then decided to attend his afternoon classes. When he got home at six pm, it was to find Frances seated cross legged on his bed, looking like butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth.

“Well hello there,” he said coming into his room and shutting the door behind him. She stared back at him impassively.

“What? You won’t talk to me?” he asked coming to sit at the edge of his own bed.

“What was that yesterday Allen? What were you trying to do?” she demanded eyes narrowed, practically shooting sparks at him.

“I was trying…to show you how I feel,” he said looking down at his blue carpet.

“Really? Coz it felt like you were trying to manipulate me into doing what you wanted,” she accused. Allen looked up into her eyes, hurt in his own.

“How can you think that after everything we’ve been through together?” he asked.

“How could you do that after everything we’ve been through together?” she countered.

Allen’s face reddened though he hesitated to call it blushing. “What did I do that was so bad? I was just showing you how I feel.”

“Oh? You just discovered these feelings the minute I got a boyfriend?” she asked snarkily.

“Boyfriend? Really? Him?” Allen said completely distracted.

“Yes. Boyfriend. Kareem is my boyfriend and you will deal.”

Allen stared at her uncomprehendingly. “You can’t be serious,” he said at last.

“Why not?” Frances challenged.

“You kissed me back yesterday. I felt it,” he said.

“You took me by surprise,” Frances said.

“But..” Allen began.

“No buts Allen, this is how it is. You need to accept it.”

Allen said nothing further, just stood up and walked out. He also accepted nothing – he resolved to make it his life’s work to get rid of Kareem if it was the last thing he did.

*****

In spite of his best efforts, Kareem and Frances lasted a whole year. It was the most miserable year of Allen’s life and he made sure Frances knew it. She responded by spending less and less time with him; they were drifting away from each other slowly but surely. It made Frances really sad but there was only so much she could do without giving in to Allen’s manipulations. At the end of the year though, Kareem came out to her; he told her that he loved her, so he couldn’t continue to lie to her. He was a transgender individual and he felt like it was time he embraced it and accepted it about himself. He hoped that Frances could accept it too.

She could; but only as a friend. If Kareem’s ultimate goal was to be a female, that was fine, but Frances wasn’t a lesbian. She wanted a man who wanted to be a man. Their break up was amicable but Frances didn’t tell Allen about it. There was just too much poison in that well.

“How come Kareem doesn’t stay over anymore, and you guys aren’t joined at the hip?”

“How is that any of your business?”

“Hey, I’m just a concerned friend. If you don’t want to tell me, fine,” Allen said throwing his hands in the air.

Frances hesitated, watching him for a moment. “We broke up,” she said at last.

“What? Seriously? When? Why didn’t you tell me?” Allen asked all up in her face, the his face became thunderous. “What did he do?”

Frances pushed him away, “Allen relax, it was mutual; we want different things, we’re still friends though.”

Allen glared at her. “What do I look like? Oprah? This isn’t a talk show and you don’t get to speak in clichés with me.”

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