Choosing Your Best Friend Over Love

Two years ago, I was Facetiming and talking on the phone with my friend Charlotte. We were having our usual, fun, chill conversation on the phone, and she told me that one of her guy “friends” admitted to liking her. For me, this did not come as a surprise. 

Charlotte was practically this beautiful, Instagram model. She looked good in all of her Instagram posts. She would mostly have famous, professional athletes slide in her DMs, and she would hook up with them sometimes. Plus, Charlotte and I had met through Tinder at the time. She was this gorgeous, attractive girl that I really wanted to get with. However, the more I got to know her, the more I realized that we would be better as friends. I didn’t think that we were compatible, and I couldn’t see myself having a long-term relationship with her. Something was just missing with her. Nevertheless, I still liked talking to her and decided we were better off as friends. 

Anyways, Charlotte was telling me that this guy that was her friend was heading off into the military, but he ended up confessing his feelings for her. Charlotte told me that it really came out of nowhere, and she didn’t feel anything romantic with him. He told her that he always had feelings for her, and Charlotte was kind of weirded out and confused by that. 

Charlotte asked, “Like Isaiah, if he knew he always had feelings for me, why didn’t he say something from the beginning and just act like my friend all this time?”

It was a valid question, and I responded, “Well, some guys just don’t really like being honest and truthful about their feelings. I don’t personally believe in the Friend Zone, but some guys that do would rather keep you close and be stuck in the Friend Zone because it’s a safer option. They don’t get rejected, and they can pretty much stay close to you and wait for a better opportunity to make their move.”

Charlotte then asked me why I don’t necessarily believe in the Friend Zone. I said, “Well, I just don’t think you can be stuck in the Friend Zone. For a guy or girl, you can choose to either tell your friend how you feel, never say anything or walk away from the friendship. However, it’s all your choice. You’re only stuck because you chose to be stuck.”

 Charlotte was impressed with my answer, but she’s still annoyed that most of her guy friends just randomly profess their love for her. I understood her frustration, and I assured that she always had a friend in me. She was glad to hear that I just intended to be friends with her, and she started talking to me about her guy best friend that she really cared about. His name was Billy. She told me that they had been friends for years, and she could always count on him. Billy sounded like a really good friend.  Then, she told me some interesting things about him that made me question if he was a good friend. 

She explained to me how every time he talked to a new girl or had a girlfriend, he would just cut her off. Billy would tell Charlotte that his girlfriends were not comfortable with him being friends with her. I thought that was a little weird because I just had a hard time believing that all of his girlfriends were telling him to stop talking to Charlotte. I felt like he just wanted to cut her off, but I didn’t say anything. Charlotte also added that everytime it didn’t work out with any of his girlfriends, he would just be messaging her like crazy talking about he’s sorry and wanted to be friends again. 

Charlotte said, “Yeah, he just messaged every 10-15 minutes for weeks saying that he missed me and wanted to be friends again. It was so annoying getting messages from him and just ignoring him, but I also thought that it was sweet that he was constantly messaging and apologizing to me. It showed that he was serious about our friendship and knew he made a mistake, and I just had to eventually forgive him.” 

I blurted out, “Well, that sounds like harassment to me. I get that it was somewhat sentimental to you, but that’s also kinda childish and pathetic to me. You clearly didn’t want to talk to him, and he didn’t really respect the fact that you wanted to stop talking to him. But you didn’t block him or tell him to stop for whatever reason, and it ended up working out. Now y’all have a wonderful, life-long friendship together.”  

Charlotte said I was right, but she said that Billy doing all that wasn’t pathetic to her. It meant a lot to her. I could tell there was a little change in her mood. She was bothered. It’s possible that I may have revealed and shared too much of my thoughts. I was thinking that maybe I shouldn’t have said all that, when she just wanted to share something sentimental about her best friend. I was thinking I had to be more careful with my honesty and transparency. Some restraint is necessary and important. 

Thankfully, I was able to change the subject, and we were able to go back to having a chill, fun conversation. I was relieved that our conversation about her best friend Billy didn’t ruin our time FaceTiming and talking with one another.

A couple of days had passed, and Charlotte messaged and told me in the afternoon that she met the most amazing guy. I was all excited and happy to hear that, and I wanted to know so much about the guy that got her in her feelings. She told so much about him, and how he slid in her DMs and is practically her dream guy. Charlotte felt a real connection with this guy, and I was genuinely happy for her. I wanted her to find the one, and I couldn’t wait to Facetime her and talk about the guy. 

Around 6:00 that day, Charlotte messaged me again and told me that it wasn’t going to work out with the guy. I was devastated and hurt. I was invested in this potential relationship, and I wanted to see it come to fruition. How could it be so short lived? They were supposed to have some rom com moments, have some cute pictures together, decide if they want to be public or private about their relationship, get married, have kids and grow old together. I was rooting for this potential couple, how could it be over so soon? I needed answers. I needed an explanation for this romance that literally lasted for a few hours. 

Charlotte and I Facetime each other around 9:00, and I immediately ask what happened with her dream guy. I admitted to her that I was rooting for them, and I just thought that they were meant to be. Charlotte thought that I was sweet thinking that, but she said there was a lot that happened. She explained how everything was going well as they were talking and connecting with each other, but then he brought up guy friends. I knew it was about to get crazy. 

Charlotte said, “So, I told him that I have guy friends and that I have a guy best friend named Billy. I told him that we’re really close, but he had nothing to worry about. Billy is honestly just a friend.” 

Then, she told me that he was uncomfortable with her having a guy best friend. He was worried that they would get close and develop feelings for each other. I was certain that Charlotte would tell the guy that he had nothing to worry about, but she ended up dropping an unexpected bomb shell to me. 

She stated, “Well, Billy and I had kissed and made out before.” 

I was shocked and couldn’t believe what I heard. I needed more information and details about this unexpected plot twist. So, Charlotte continued, “Well, it was a couple of years ago and we were just hanging out with each other. One thing led to another, and we just ended up kissing and making out. But nothing else happened after that. We just felt like it was weird and decided we were better off as friends.” 

There were a lot of questions and concerns that were racing in my mind with Charlotte and Billy. Like how could y’all be friends after that? It wasn’t like they kissed for a few seconds. The way Charlotte described it to me, it sounded like they kissed for a good 15-20 minutes before putting a stop to it and going further. And how did Charlotte know if it was genuinely weird for him, too? He might’ve just said that because you said that. And if he saw you as just a friend, why does he always ghost you the minute he has a girlfriend? It just seemed like Charlotte was something more than just a friend to him. The math was not mathing to me at all. I was thinking all those things to myself, but I refrained from saying anything because I remembered I didn’t want to be too honest and transparent with her. 

Anyways, Charlotte added that she told the guy what had happened between her and Billy, and the guy told her that she needed to end her friendship with Billy. Charlotte explained, “Yeah, he was saying that he’s uncomfortable with me and Billy’s friendship, and I essentially had to choose between him or my best friend. That was just so unfair to me because we had just met, and you’re already trying to dictate who I can and cannot be friends with. That’s ridiculous and a huge red flag to me.” 

I understood where Charlotte was coming from, and I agreed with her to a certain extent. Charlotte and the guy really had not gone on even a first date, and he really had no business/right telling her who she can and cannot be friends with. However, I will say that if their relationship was more established, then he could have more of a say. I do believe that friends of the opposite sex can get in the way of a relationship and disrespect it as well because they may not know how to respect boundaries. That’s unfair to your partner if he/she feels that a friend is disrespecting your relationship and disregarding certain boundaries. I feel like it’s important for your partner to feel safe, comfortable and secure with you.   

Charlotte stated that she couldn’t believe the ultimatum the guy gave her, and she said that she would choose her best friend. The guy understood and decided that they should just stop talking to each other. Then, Charlotte asked me what I thought about the whole situation. 

I was thinking a lot of things about Billy, her and potential future relationships where her friendship with Billy could be a problem with guys that were interested in her. However, I said, “Well, I think he definitely gave you an unfair ultimatum, especially with y’all not really going on a first date yet. You made your choice. Your friendship with Billy is clearly important to you, and you don’t want to compromise that in any way. He clearly wasn’t the guy for you, and that’s okay. The right guy is definitely gonna come your way soon.”

She was appreciative of my encouraging words, and she was glad that I was her friend. We ended up changing the subject and just talking and having our normal, usual conversation. Before we hung up, she mentioned the guy again and couldn’t believe how much they connected with each other. She felt like it was real, and it would’ve been nice to see him in person and go on a date with him. 

“I can understand that, but you can’t keep thinking about it. It wasn’t like you were in a full blown relationship with him, and y’all weren’t talking very long either. Do you know how pretty and beautiful you are? There are gonna be better, sweeter guys that will come your way and treat you better,” I said.

Charlotte was thankful for everything that I said, and she’s glad that I can be so hopeful and optimistic. She just thought that she had a real chance at love. I just couldn’t believe that she chose her best friend over love.

That’s the end of the short story “Choosing Your Best Friend Over Love.”

Be sure to like, comment, and share your thoughts on this short story.

Horror Movies With My Dad

I love movies with a passion, and I couldn’t imagine life without them. They hold a special place in my heart. My favorite genre is horror. Horror movies to me are on another level. I just love all the gore, blood, knives, killing, murder, demon possession, suspenseful music, isolated locations, poor choices, dumb characters, terror, madness and craziness that comes with horror movies. I love horror movies like Psycho, The Exorcist, Jaws, Nightmare on Elm Street, The Conjuring series, Friday the 13th, any horror-themed Stephen King movie, Halloween, Get Out, and so many more. I’m so thankful and blessed to have horror movies in my life, but I know that it wouldn’t be possible without my dad.

I remember it was 2008, and I was at a hotel in Springfield, Ohio. It was for a church convention, and all of my family was there. I was staying in a two-bedroom room with my parents and siblings. My Grandma Mollie was on the same floor as us, and she was a few doors away from us. It was a Thursday night, and my family decided that they wanted to have a family movie night our hotel room. My grandma came over and brought her famous cookies with her to munch on. We even had some popcorn and other snacks. My parents scrolled through all the movies the hotel had, and they discovered a movie that they were dying to see. It was the movie I Am Legend starring Will Smith. My grandma and I were excited about watching the movie because we were both Will Smith fans. I thought that this was going to be a typical Will Smith movie, but I was deceived.

This movie was a little more dramatic. There was no comedy seen it whatsoever. In fact, it was kind of a little scary. It was kind of making me a little uncomfortable. Then, my anxiety got a little worse. In the movie, Will Smith goes into this dark building to retrieve his dog. He was all scared for some reason to go into the building, and I didn’t understand it. Was Smith scared of the dark or something? However, I was scared as he was getting closer and closer to his dog. Will Smith see these groups of people huddled together. I was thinking to myself, what in the world are these things? I’m turning away a little because I’m trying not to watch this movie anymore. Then, Will Smith finds his dog hidden under a table and scared to come out. Will Smith is about to turn around, and I’m thinking to myself, “Oh God, please don’t turn around. Please don’t turn around Will Smith. Please, please, please. I will hate you if you turn around. You will no longer be my favorite actor ever. Johnny Depp will take your place, and you’ll be all the way at the bottom. I do love them Pirate of the Caribbean movies, and Johnny Depp would never deceive me like you are right now Will Smith. Please, I’m so scared. I can’t, I just can’t. I can’t watch this movie. Lord, please help me.”

Sadly, Will Smith slowly turned around and this blood-sucking vampire was waiting for him. It was a wrap for me. I couldn’t watch anymore after seeing that scary vampire thing pop out of nowhere, but I didn’t want my family thinking that I was scared. Luckily, my little sister Shawna was scared out of her mind and needed to go in the other room. I saw this as an opportunity. I remember I sighed, stood up and said, “Look, I’ll go with Shawna to the other room. She shouldn’t be alone right now, and I don’t mind being a good, big brother right now.”

Then, my little sister Shawna said, “Aww thanks big brother, but I’ll be okay. You can watch the movie, I’ll be good.”

My parents asked if she was sure, and she said that it was fine. Then, they told her to go into the other and told me to sit back down. I was panicking, and I continued, “You know I should still go back there with Shawna because I want to be a good big brother. I’m willing to sacrifice this movie because I love my sister. I’m 12 years old, and I need to learn the significance and purpose of sacrificing for the people that I care about. It’s about love and commitment. My sister needs me to be there for her and who am I to turn her away for a movie. I want more than anything to continue to watch this really scary, messed-up movie, but I want to be there for my little sister more. Can’t y’all understand that? Can’t y’all see that I’m trying to do the right thing as Shawna’s big brother? Can’t y’all see what your mind cannot comprehend? Let me be a good big brother to my little sister Shawna.”

After I was done giving that little speech, my little brother Isaac laughed and said, “Wait, I know what it is. Isaiah’s scared of this movie too. That’s why he’s trying to go with Shawna, he’s scared too.”

My parents and grandma started laughing and realizing that my little brother was right. My mom was asking me if I needed to be held or anything, and I was appalled. I was just trying to be a good big brother, and they were turning it into something that it was not. Then, my dad said, “Well, sit down and watch the movie then? If you not scared.”

My little brother added, “Yeah, watch the movie with us, coward.”

There was a moment of silence, and I responded, “Dad, I’m going to the other room with Shawna because I’m just trying to be a good big brother.”

The room erupted with laughter, and I just marched into the room. My little sister Shawna followed afterwards and started laughing at me too. My mom yelled, “Don’t worry, Isaiah, I’ll be sure to tuck you in. Do you need to sleep with me with me and your dad to avoid nightmares?”

There was more laughter following my mom’s statement, and I just never felt so betrayed and humiliated by my own family. I wasn’t scared. I was just trying to be a good big brother. To this day, whenever I Am Legend is on TV, they always burst out laughing and talking about “this is my movie, the one that got me all scared.”

After partially watching I Am Legend, I decided to never watch horror movies. I would just avoid them at all cost.

A few years had passed, and I was avoiding horror movies like crazy. It was hard though because my dad would always watch horror movies by himself. He would always ask if I wanted to watch them, but I said no as I briefly had I Am Legend memories all in my mind. However, that would all change when I started reading Stephen King books in high school. I was reading books like The Shining, Misery, Carrie, Firestarter, Pet Sematary, Salem’s Lot, Dreamcatcher, The Tommyknockers and so many other classic Stephen King books. They were so awesome and amazing to me. The horror and suspense that Stephen King brings in his work is so breathe-taking to me, and I admired his sick, twisted imagination. Stephen King helped me see the beauty and authenticity of horror. My mom and dad noticed that I was reading a lot of Stephen King books, and my dad mentioned, “You know, Stephen King had a lot of his books adapted into movies. We should definitely watch them.”

I totally agreed with him, and I started watching movies like Misery, Cujo, Carrie, The Shining, Thinner, Room 1408 and Firestarter with my parents. It was awesome seeing the books come to life, and I started falling in love with horror movies. I was craving more. I started watching old horror movies like The Excorcist and Psycho. For some reason, my mom couldn’t keep up with the horror movies, and so it was just me and my dad.

I remember my dad and I first started watching Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) and Halloween (1978). I just loved the music associated with Halloween and Michael Myers just killing people like crazy with his butcher knife. In addition, Nightmare on Elm Street was twisted because you could die in your sleep by Freddy Krueger. That was so cool and awesome to me that Freddy was torturing kids by not making them sleep and punishing them if they did. Freddy was a smart serial killer to me, and I had nothing but respect for me as the killer in the movie.

After watching those movies, I kind of wanted to watch more sick, twisted horror movies. My dad looked at me and said, “Say no more.”

He suggested that we watch the Saw series together, and it was so great. We watched all the Saw movies together, and it was so great and fun watching them with my dad. We would always add little things and laugh at characters just not doing what they needed to do to stay alive. We were praising Jigsaw for his many traps on his victims, and we just loved all the twists in the movies.

Then, we started getting into demon possession type horror movies. I remember we watched the Sinister series together, and we just loved it. Then, we saw Insidious, and it was alright to us. We saw more and more demon possession horror movies on Netflix, cable and pretty much anywhere that we could find them. Fast forward a few more years, and we started going to theaters together to watch all kinds of new horror movies together. We saw most of The Conjuring series movies in theaters and so many other movies together.

Today, my dad and I continue to watch horror movies together whenever we can. I’m so thankful that my dad and I can have something so special together. As I reflect on the many horror movies we saw together over the years, I find myself remembering the laughter, the debates, the surprises and the disappointment we shared watching horror movies together. Of course, I don’t only watch horror movies with my dad. I love watching horror movies with my best friend Obi and other friends. However, nothing can compare to watching horror movies with my dad.

This is the end of “Horror Movies With My Dad”

Be sure to like, share and comment your thoughts on this short story about my dad.

On Thursday, I will be posting “Never Missing a Thing,” another short story about my dad.

Basketball Shorts

It was three years ago, and I was in my second semester of college at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). It was the beginning of April, and the weather that day was absolutely perfect. It was around 70-some degrees outside, the sun was out, the sky was ocean-blue and the birds were chirping. It was a good day.

On this gorgeous day, I was hanging out with my friends Antoinette, Sam and Obi at Wallwork Hall, a residence hall. We were just chilling and talking, when Sam and Antoinette both had to leave. Sam had to work on some project, and Antoinette had to go to work till 6:00. It was around 2:00, and we all agreed to just meet back up at 6-6:30 for some dinner. Obi and I just stayed at Wallwork and continued talking with each other. We talked for about 30 minutes, when I suggested that we could go and play basketball outside at Stephenson. I explained to Obi that the weather was nice, and I thought that it would be a lot of fun. Obi responded, “I don’t think so, Zay Zay. It was packed at the basketball court, and I don’t think it’ll be open anytime soon. Plus, we’re wearing jeans, and I don’t feel like changing.”

I understood and agreed with him too, I wasn’t in the mood to just change my outfit either. I was looking nice and clean. However, I still wanted to play some basketball because I was in the mood to do something active. So, I said, “Bro, we can still play basketball in jeans. We’re just going to be shooting around, it’ll be fine. We’re not gonna get all physical and sweaty, we’re just shooting around.”

He asked me where we could go, and I responded, “Oh, we could go to the HUB and shoot around in the gym.

The HUB is a student center at IUP with a nice gymnasium.

Anyways, Obi stated, “Zay Zay, we can’t go to the HUB wearing jeans and playing basketball, we’ll look like fools.”

I said, “Obi, it’ll be fine man. It’s not that deep and again we’re just shooting around. We’re gonna be united wearing jeans at the gym.”

It took a lot of convincing on my part, but Obi ended up agreeing to go and play basketball with me. Then, Obi had to talk to a friend of his at Wallwork, so he instructed me to go to the HUB and rent out a basketball for us to use. So, I headed to the HUB and decided to wait for Obi to come. I don’t know why I decided to wait for Obi, instead of just getting a basketball and shooting around by myself. It still doesn’t make sense to me to this day. Anyways, I was waiting for Obi for ten minutes, and he texted me that he was going to be 20 more minutes. I thought to myself, “You know, I should just go back to my room and throw on some basketball shorts. I got time.”

Now, the HUB was 5-10 minutes away from Suites on Maple East, the residence hall that I lived at. I figured that I would have 10-20 minutes to get to my room and back to the HUB before Obi would make it to the HUB. By the time I reached my residence hall, Obi texted me that he was on his way to the HUB. I started freaking out and rushed to my room. I went into my drawers, found some basketball shorts and put them on. Then, I rushed out of my room and received a text from Obi about where I was at. I texted him back that I was on my way to the HUB, and that I had to pick something up from my room. I didn’t know what to expect from him when I would come to the HUB with basketball shorts on. Maybe he wouldn’t notice.

Now, I made it to the HUB, and Obi immediately noticed me wearing basketball shorts. He had his mouth wide opened and couldn’t believe he saw me wearing a whole basketball uniform. Then, he said in his jeans and polo, “Zay Zay, what are you wearing? Cause I know you weren’t wearing basketball shorts when we agreed to go and play basketball.”

Oh Lord, I wasn’t expecting him to notice my basketball shorts. I took a deep breath and said, “Well, you were gone for a minute, and I just figured that I could just stop at my room and put on some basketball shorts. Also, I didn’t know how long you would be with your friend.”

I laughed but Obi wasn’t laughing. He just waited for me to stop laughing, and then he said, “Oh my gosh, you are out of pocket. You got me here looking like a fool in front of everyone at the HUB. You could’ve told me that you changed and gave me the opportunity to change.”

“True, but look man, we can’t change the past. We have to focus on the present. Did I make a mistake? Yes. Am I sorry about it. Kind of. Can we just go and shoot some hoops?” I replied.

Obi just shook his head and said, “Just shut your mouth and go rent the basketball.”

I went ahead and rented the basketball, and I mentioned, “You know, we’re gonna probably be talking and laughing about this in years.”

“Zay Zay, I’m this close to hurting you,” Obi stated.

I thought he was serious, but I could tell that he was joking around with me. I laughed, and we ended up laughing together. It was good to know that we were good.

Anyways, we found one open basketball court in the HUB and started shooting around. So far, it was cool. I had kept my promise about us just shooting around. Also, we didn’t get tired or sweaty at all. Sadly, this promise would be broken too. A guy came onto our court and asked if we could play some pick-up games with him and his friends. They were in need of two more people. I was cool with playing with them, but Obi wasn’t. He said that he didn’t have the appropriate attired, and the guy responded, “Dude, it’s cool. There’s literally a guy wearing sandals right now.”

Obi and I looked over and saw a white guy wearing sandals on the basketball court. Obi reluctantly agreed. There were two captains, and the remainder of players were picked by the captains. Obi and I ended up being on different teams. After the teams were established, we established that it would be full court, and Obi gave me a stare. I pretended that I didn’t see it. Then, we started playing some basketball.

Now, I was doing well. I was scoring, had a couple of blocks, played some good defense and had some nice assists. Overall, I was playing good. Meanwhile, Obi was struggling. He was missing his shots, and he was a defensive liability. Plus, the guy with the sandals was playing better than him. Then, tragedy struck Obi.

It was a very close on our last pick-up game of basketball. My team was up by 1, but we needed one more basket to win the game. I remember I dribbled past someone and kicked it out to this white guy that was wide open. He had been hitting his shots all day, and I was expecting him to make it. Sadly, he missed it, and Obi ended up getting the rebound. Everyone got back, but that same white guy that missed the shot was still there. He ended up calling for the ball from Obi. Without hesitation, Obi passed the ball to my teammate. My teammate dribbled past Obi and made an easy layup. My team had won thanks to Obi. His team just left the court, and Obi was shocked with his mouth wide open. It was honestly the most hilarious and saddest thing I saw on a basketball court.

It was around 6-ish, and I just kept clowning him for passing the ball to my teammate. Obi laughed and said, “I don’t know what happened. If anything, he’s out of pocket for that. He deceived me and everything.”

We met up with Antoinette and Sam, and we told them everything that happened. They laughed, and we enjoyed each other’s company.

To this day, Obi is still mad at me about the whole basketball shorts thing. He felt like I did him dirty, and I have to agree with him. I did do him dirty, but forgiveness is such a powerful thing in this world. Obi has forgiven me, but he has not forgotten. He almost always mentions it to me, but we always share a good laugh about it. We even mention it to new people that we meet, it’s like a must for us to tell the basketball shorts story. It’s a story that always puts a smile on my face. It’s a story that really solidified our friendship and helped us establish a long-lasting friendship that I am so grateful and blessed to have.

Thank you for reading “Basketball Shorts.” Be sure to like, comment and share your thoughts on this story.

Next week, I will be posting part one of a four-part story titled “The Black Pill” on the Dark Colors series. Then, I will be posting part two on Thursday.