Stories that Stick: On Different Pages Pt. 3

Posted on January 30, 2014

There are just two parts left in Ayinka’s short story “Different Pages.” If you’ve missed the first two parts, you can read them here and here.

On Different Pages: Pt. 3
By: Ayinka Nmami

He said it was best if we made it a clean break.  No phone calls. No seeing each other. It worked for the first two months. Those weeks were painful. We were on the cusp of what was supposed to have been a summer full of warm evenings, friends, concerts, and rooftop barbecues. When he called one night and said it was hard not being with me, and maybe we could be friends. I agreed. It was simple at first, a phone call here, an outing there.  Then one night we slipped—a kiss that led to much more. We blamed it on tiredness and the glasses of wine over dinner.  But now, we couldn’t blame it on anything. Though I hoped he would, he never said anything about us rekindling our relationship. The part of the relationship that wasn’t just a physical high, meant more than nights spent cuddled on a couch, meant that maybe he could see his future entwined with mine.

I reached for my phone. I would return his call. Only for a moment. Just to see what it was he wanted.

He answered on the second ring.

“Lady,” he said. “What’s going on?”

“Just wanted to see what you needed.”

“I’d like to see you,” he said. “It’s been one of those days. I was on call last night. I could sleep standing up.”

“I’m sorry.”

“I called to see if you were interested in grabbing dinner?”

I paused. The conversation with Brie was fresh in my mind. “I’m not sure if it’s a good idea.”

“Why not?”

I spoke tentatively. “We’re broken up, and we keep seeing each other like this…”

“We’re just hanging out.”

“I know.”

“So what’s the big deal? We’re friends, right?”

“But maybe we need to move on.”

“I am moving on,” he answered simply.

My stomach lurched at his words.  He must have sensed the shift, noted my mood through the phone.

“El,” he said, soothingly. “You know I didn’t mean it like that. I just meant that I’m moving on with what we decided.  I care about you, and I don’t know if I could deal with us not being friends.”

“Is that all we are?”

“For now, but you never know, right?”


“Look, I’m free tonight, and I called you, no one else.”

I wouldn’t make a big deal out of it. We would go out, grab a bite to eat, and then I would come home.  That’s all we’ll do, I promised myself.

“See you soon?” Joshua asked.

And because I wanted to see him, I heard myself saying, “Yeah. See you soon.”


Now it’s your turn: How do you know when it’s time to walk away from a relationship?

Tell me in the comments section below. And show Ayinka some love by leaving feedback on her short story.

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