A couple of years ago, my attitude was akin to that of The Joker, the one played by the late Heath Ledger in the Dark Knight movie. Like this iteration of the Clown Prince of Crime, I was standing in the middle of the empty roadway — metaphorically, of course — staring down my adversary, silently daring her to pull the trigger.
Bring. Bring. My cell phone started vibrating in my pocket, precipitating the flow of an electric current down the length of my thigh. My heart pounded as I stuffed my right hand in my pants pocket and extracted my android phone. I stared at the screen, read her name, and inhaled a breath before emitting a resigned sigh.
I put the phone to my ear and said, “What’s up Samantha?”
Come on. I want you to do it. I want you to do it.
“Hi Eze,” said Samantha. “How are you?” Her voice quavered as she spoke. Samantha’s voice shook when she was processing distress during phone calls. She had been worried about the impending dissolution of her parents’ marriage union lately. Every time she spoke to me about her family’s struggles over the phone, she struggled with words, sometimes mewling as opposed to speaking clearly.
She regarded me as family.
Samantha continued. “This may seemed sudden, as I’ve come to this decision rather quickly.”
All remaining doubt as to what was coming left my body in that instant. I girded myself for what was now inexorable; the sundering of a twelve-year relationship, eleven of which were spent as best friends.
“You’ve come to a…decision?” I said.
“About you and me?”
“Yes, I have.”
“Oh.” Samantha’s voice was wobbling.
“What Samantha?” I said. My first ever breakup at age twenty-six had taken place over the telephone. Images from that point in time were flooding my consciousness, darkening my mood. I caught myself though, shook my head to dislodge the memories, and inhaled another calming breath. At least she was not breaking up with a text. “You are breaking up with me. Is that right?”