When the Hennessey Hits: Rendezvous with an Almost Lover



“Someone can be madly in love with you and still not be ready. They can love you in a way you have never been loved and still not join you on the bridge. And whatever their reasons you must leave. Because you never ever have to inspire anyone to meet you on the bridge. You never ever have to convince someone to do the work to be ready. There is more extraordinary love, more love that you have never seen, out here in this wide and wild universe. And there is the love that will be ready.”

-Nayyirah Waheed

I have a ball of love that’s tucked under my pillow

Sometimes, when I toss and turn during the loneliness of the night…

It slips out

And greets me

Hello, old friend

My mind wanders…a different thought with each tick of the tock

I find myself talking to God about you – I hope you’re well, I hope you’re happy

I hope somehow, you’re up too and your soul is kindling mine

When I really crave you,

I fantasize about riding your face.

Oh, how you rob me of my nights,

The way you let my imagination run wild…

I romanticize our past,

I role-play our future.

Once the clock strikes 12 – I come back to the present – our reality.

I chase after you, as you roll off the fingertips of my grasp

Why won’t you go back to where you came from?

How did you get unleashed?

Almost – almost – finally!

I caught you – I have control again,

I stuff you back under my pillow.

As I attempt to drift off to sleep,

You dubiously arrange that if you can’t stay in my thoughts –

You will linger in the crevasses of my body.

As my weight flattens you,

Your ridges pierce into my flesh,

When I rise in the morning,

I feel you…

In my shoulders, my neck,

A stiffness only your touch could relax.

I make my bed,

I fluff my pillows

I hide you under layers of feathers to soften future blows

Why am I still letting you hurt me?

There is no greater tragedy than an almost lover. When I saw you last, I was drunk – shit, every time I see you…I am drunk. I don’t know what’s more perilous? Henny? Or the truth?

I didn’t expect you to come…why didn’t you call and tell me you were coming?

I deleted your number.


There was a period when I hated you.

Wait… what? Why?!

Damn, my bad…I wasn’t supposed to say that. I need to work on filtering what I say better when I drink. I don’t hate you anymore though. I’m over it.

Naaww…tell me why you hated me. I need to know what I did.

I can be honest with you right?


I felt like you played me…

How did I play you?

We were vibing heavy, and then you ghosted me.

Ghosted you? How did I ghost you?

Look, I was really into you. I felt something towards you that I never felt before -I don’t even know how to describe it. I know it sounds crazy, but my soul is attached to yours – it’s as if I’ve known you for years.

No, it doesn’t sound crazy – I felt that way too



But I just don’t understand, I didn’t hear from you for months…

How could anything have sustained between us? You lived thousands of miles away from me. I couldn’t do long distance…

Don’t give me excuses, I know that when you want something, you’ll stop at nothing to get it. Be honest, you just didn’t want me.

That’s not true. I didn’t even think you were interested in me!

How could you not think that? I was always the first one to contact you.

On IG! Where your message gets lost with all the other ones. I was assuming you needed something – close friends don’t talk on IG.

Well you should’ve gotten the hint.

Last time you visited – did I not show you love? We linked up and talked all night.

After that night everything…changed. I thought I did something wrong.

What did you think you did wrong?

I kept asking myself…did I say something or do something inappropriate when I was drunk? Was I too sloppy? Did you no longer find me attractive in the morning? Was I not good in bed? I thought something was wrong with me for you to switch up so quickly.

I didn’t switch up. I told you that week my business partner’s father passed. I felt awful I couldn’t spend more time with you.

I thought you were lying to me, to let me off easy.

Nothing I said was a lie, I even apologized to you! I called you one night when I saw you out even looking for you.

I got stressed out and sad that night when I saw you. I drank too much and had to leave early. Rough night.

I had no idea….

You weren’t supposed to. So what was it about me that didn’t make you stay?

Rahwa, you did nothing – you’re an amazing girl…you’re perfect.

No there has to be something. Be honest.

I am. You’re beautiful, you’re smart, you’re funny, you’re kind…I have nothing bad to say about you.

Do you have a girlfriend?


Answer my question; Do you have a girlfriend?

Why would you ask me that?

I heard it through the grapevine…

I do.

Wow. So – were you with her when you were with me?

No. We’ve been on and off for 10 years.

So…you’re telling me “coincidentally” every time you’ve been with me you were off with her?

Yes, it’s complicated.

Got it, so I was just your filler. Your rebound until you guys sorted your shit out?

No, not at all, I was really into you.

You know, I accused one of our mutual friends of setting me up? I thought he knew you had a girlfriend and was trying to help you play me.

I swear, he had no idea.

I wish I had known that earlier…So, if you’ve been together on and off for 10 years with your girl – something isn’t working. Why are you with her?

We’ve been together for so long, she’s been consistent.

In business school I learned it’s important to not to shape future decisions off sunken costs.

She was there for me when my mother got sick…

I would’ve been there for you too.

Rahwa we hardly know each other, you’re asking me to take too much of a risk…

I’m high risk – high reward. You’re a business man – wouldn’t you rather take the gamble than settle?

I like her…

But you don’t love her. Look, I know I might not know the ins and out of you but I’m telling you my soul knows yours. You’re playing it safe. I have high expectations for you not to settle.

I want to settle down….

So do I. I feel we’re meant to be together…

I’m going to propose to her within the next year, then I’m going to move to be with her.

You’re making a mistake and you know it.

I don’t know…

You do know, you’re just fighting it…

Look, things between us are complicated

Complicated how?

You come with a lot of baggage.


Whenever we come together, there’s always some type of conflict.

The devil is hard at work!

Last time I came to Seattle we had the run in with your ex – his friend told me he still really loved you and that you guys were going through a rough patch and would get back together. I didn’t want any drama, so I backed off.

We’ll never get back together, I’m miles away from home I’m not sure how much clearer I can be…

Then, months later another time I brought you up my bro started acting funny. Did you guys use to have a thing? I think he likes you.

He was the first Habesha guy I messed with – we’ve been on and off for 10 years. We have history – but we’re better off as friends. I know it’s not the answer you were looking for but I’ll never lie to you. 

He still likes you

He’s a hoe…he likes everyone.

If he likes you I have to respect that I don’t want to step on toes that’s a good friend of mine

Don’t let fairweather friends who you kick it with during tournaments fuck up your destiny.

There’s just so many unknowns…

You know I told all my friends about you?

You did?

Yes, I told them you were my future husband. When I moved out here, some people asked me if I was moving to come be with you.

Did you come out here for me?

No, I’m not that crazy. I came here for me, it was by chance our paths would collide.

What do you want of your future? How do you know what we want fits?

I work a great job right now and make great money. I’m applying for PhD programs in economics for the next year.

Where do you want to go?

Stanford or Harvard.

How can I build something with you if you’re already planning on leaving? When would you have time for me? When could you even start a family? Do you see yourself even living in the East Coast long term?

I don’t know…but we could be a power couple. With our incomes combined we could’ve been accredited investors and built a great life together.

I’m already an accredited investor.


Yes, did you not think I made good money?

I wasn’t sure, I’m not familiar with how this industry works?

I can make $5,000 in one night.

I had no idea. Is that why you’re in this industry? It doesn’t seem like it’s for you….

It’s not, I’m going to get out soon. I’m working hard on my other business so I can stop doing this.

How do you have a girlfriend, yet you work in this industry?

That’s what me and her fight over all the time.

Is she better than me?


What does she have on me besides time?

You guys are different – it’s not something I can compare.

Is she prettier than me? Smarter? Funner? Richer?

Stop doing that.

I just need to know…

She’s a nurse practitioner, she owns her own home…

Ah I can’t even lie that’s dope. Can I see a picture of her?

Sure – here.

Why don’t you post her on IG?

I like keeping my personal life private.

Wow she’s beautiful. Now I can understand.

Rahwa, you’re beautiful too.

Be honest, did you just want me for sex?

No, why do you think that?

Because, the last time I saw you I wanted a ride home but you took me to your house.

I thought you wanted to come home with me.

No, my friend left me and that’s why I asked you for a ride. Don’t you remember my confusion when we pulled up to your house?

I feel awful I had no idea. I’m sorry if you felt pressured.

I didn’t feel pressured, it just caught me off guard. I had no intentions of doing anything with you.

I’m really really sorry if I misunderstood. I’m actually embarrassed.

It’s okay – I mean I was down. You’re the most attractive Habesha man I’ve ever seen.



You see Rahwa – you just lust for me.

No, your looks are just an added perk. I like you for you. But I have to know -why do you talk to all my friends but not me?


You message them, you contact them, you comment and like their photos but when it comes to me – radio silence.

Rahwa – IG is for business, it’s not real life. I stay in contact to be relevant in my industry.

I don’t do transactional relationships.

I know, you’re different and that’s what I admire about you.

Are you happy?


Something seems off…be honest are you happy?

I’m not content but I’m going to get there.

You know all the money in the world and keeping up with the Jones’ isn’t going to make you happy. I’m fearful you’re going to waste your youth chasing after the wrong things. Only to wake up one day with it all and still feel empty.

Damn, maybe you’re right.

Look, I love you. Not in a self-serving way but I want you to thrive even if I’m not in the picture.

That means a lot to me, I want nothing less for you.

Thanks. Can I ask you a few more questions to vet if we’re compatible?

­Sure – go ahead.

­­Have you ever hit a woman?

No, never.

If we were to get together would you get my gifts for special occasions?

Yes, absolutely.

If we had kids, I want to take time off work to be with them the first few years. Would you mind?

No, not one bit.

Okay – I’m done.

You sure?

Eh – for now.

So – what’re you doing for Christmas?

I was supposed to go to my Uncle’s house but he’s in Addis.

Who’s your uncle?

Assefaw – do you know him?

Wait, which Assefaw describe your other relatives.

Um okay, Tsige, Lidet…


Yes, that’s my aunt, you know her?

I know your entire family. My business partner’s dad who passed is related to her.

Wowww, that’s why last time I was in town my Uncle said he was busy at a funeral.

You see, now you know I’m not lying! Our families go way back Rahwa…



You see I’m telling you it’s fate!

If you have nowhere to go for Christmas, please come to my house we’d love to host you.

I don’t know…

What’s wrong?

You have a girlfriend… I’m not sure how she’d feel about that.

It’d just be as friends…

Sounds fishy…you’re bringing a girl home for the first time during Christmas to be with you and your whole family? I don’t even speak Amharic, I didn’t even pack a Zuria.

Don’t worry about that – nobody cares about that just come.

Um…I don’t know I’ll think about it.

Ok, let me know the offer is still on the table.

Look, I apologize if I’m coming off desperate or audacious and I’m not the type to break up a home, but I think you’re making a mistake. I know what I felt was real and I know you felt it to. My intuition never leads me wrong.


The first time we officially met, you were able to describe the exact outfit I was wearing the first time you saw me about six years ago. You’ve been watching me from afar for this long, there’s something there that you’re suppressing. I’m sure she’s an amazing girl, and if you’re happy I’m happy but damn…

I need to figure this out on my own Rahwa, I’m doing what I think is right.

Ok I can respect that. Does my directness intimidate you?

No, I love how honest you are. It’s refreshing, don’t ever change.

Do you think our paths will intersect again? Do you think we’re soulmates?

I don’t know I’m going to pray on it and leave it to God.

I’ve been praying about you, for you for months.

Wow, really?

Yes, but maybe God’ll answer you.

So, what are you going to do?

I’m going to live my life, I can’t promise I’ll wait for you.

I wouldn’t dare ask you to…

I’m not an easy girl to forget, I know you’ll look back and think of me.

You’re probably right.

Look, it seems like you’re all about your image. Which is fine but if that’s the case – I’m going to tell you right now I’m not the right girl for you. I’m raw and unapologetic with who I am. I not going to try to look good for the sake of impressing other people, I’d rather actually be good. If you want a girl that wears designer clothes, picture perfect, is great on paper – I’m the farthest thing from it. But if you want something real, well…that’s me.

I know you’re different. In the best way possible. I hope the next time we cross paths the timing is right.

Well, I’m going to put this in my pocket, and when I get home, I’m going to put it under my pillow.

Sorry, what?

Nevermind, you wouldn’t understand.

Love never truly fades – like water, it takes on different forms.

At its best, it can transcend borders, time, and logic.

Alas, love is never convenient –

The way the tide is pulled by the moon,

I gravitate towards you.

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