Ninety Eight

I did not deserve you.

I was a coward. I didn’t give you any explanations because I couldn’t face the truth. I couldn’t face that I had betrayed you. That I was such a disappointment. I was so ashamed. I had no excuse for leaving like that, I failed you.

I got married in 2004. Her name is Elizabeth, I don’t think she’s happy, she treats me as one would regard a houseguest, formal but polite. Perhaps I’ve failed her too.

I remember what early 98’ felt like, and I realize that being with you is the only time I ever felt alive. I often remember when you started teaching History at the government school, when I stayed home most of the day filling out applications, the evenings we laid naked in bed for the heat. The memories still create a dull ache in my chest. I long for every moment we had, even the not so good ones when you complained about the school for hours. How you hated when the principal called you a liberal extremist. I’d give anything to hear you complaining while I held your hand one more time.

I’m sorry I left like that, I thought of you often, I still think of you. How you saw me as much more than I was or ever would be. I could not bear watching your dark eyes fill with disappointment. I’ve not been able to forget the days we spent under the birch tree. The first time your lips touched mine, the confusion, and the denial. The realization that we craved the forbidden. I long for the past.

Life has taught me a lot of things but I can’t get over the regret, the feeling of going on so long without what I truly wanted. I must sound ridiculous hurting for 16 years ago. This isn’t the first time I’ve written to you, there have been hundreds of letters, written and destroyed. Perhaps I would destroy this too.

I wonder why you never got married, if you ever had another lover. I wonder if you still think of me.

I’d give anything to get you back but I know that isn’t fair to you. I’m sorry I didn’t have the courage to stand up for what I wanted. What we wanted.

I wonder how things turned out for you. You were always the bigger man. I once came across a paper you wrote on Abacha’s foreign policy on the internet and I remembered the day you took to the streets celebrating his death. Sometimes I think the universe is chuckling at his own brilliance.

I’m not asking that we pick up from where the past but…I’ve been unhappy for a long time

I don’t know how to explain that the worries of yesterday pale in comparison and I can’t help thinking “What if?” I’m constantly haunted by the things I wanted most and ignored.

You may think me crazy but please I’d love to hear from you.

Maybe one day you could forgive me.

Your Old Friend,

Dapo.

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