by Lucy Chihandae

Guy is a grown man now.

I smiled as I crossed the road to hug him. I could tell he knew more than he had a month ago. A lot more than I was able to say comfortably.

A part of me felt like I was losing him, innocence was slipping away from me like the sands of time. As he grew and discovered things life did not deny him. Things he needed to know. Things I never wanted him to know lest he grew and left me. It was inevitable. Now he had a girl friend. He told me about her. I couldn't help but hear the man peek through the crevices of the boy I knew, the boy I cared for like a brother. I watched him talk, spill his heart out to me and spill even more... the secret of loving a woman in a way he never thought he could.

Yes, it was clumsy. Yes, he was embarrassed but as he talked, passion of memory and love mingled in a fiery ball clouded his heated glazed gaze. There was much pleasure and pain in his tone, in the realization that loving was that involving, that wholesomely giving; and could be wholesomely rejected, or misunderstood - at times unappreciated.

I told him to give it time, she was confused. He knew that, she loved him but was lost in time between the present and the past. Between him and the ex.

I told him to keep loving. He said he was loving beyond her irregularities, her erratic moments, he was stronger than before. He was learning the truth about love, its long suffering nature, its patience, it's unduly endurance and he knew she was his... it was just a matter of time. I smiled and watched the creases deepen in his handsome face; he truly was older in a few months.

Then I felt it; the partition between us, light, thin and flimsy barely visible but it was there, in his words, in his eyes, in his actions...I could tell.

I needed to let him go; give space for the woman in his life, I was still his friend but not that close anymore. He needed her to trust him, that we were just friends. He needed her to know what we had been through and who he used to run to for everything.

For some love when he was discouraged, some hope, faith, a good laugh, a pat on the back. And he slowly slipped... I did not resist; but my heart was slightly sore.

Then he reached out and hugged me, like he always did, wholesomely, intimately; he smelled my hair brushed his stubby chin lightly against my neck, softly planting a dry kiss behind the lower lobe of my ear at the crest of my neck, I laughed. Suddenly it was etched deeper within me how much he had grown...he was more aware of his masculinity, his effect, his intensity and creativity but also he was aware of femininity and more alert of his sexuality, The fact that we are animals responding to touch, sinuously. And I was shocked at this realization; Innocence evolved to maturity.

Becoming by Lucy Chihandae

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