Part 1 is available on Amazon today. Parts 2 and 3 are being edited. AND THEY ARE JUUUUUUUUUICY! LOL! Even the editor (The Robinator, LOL!) was looking at me like his mind was blown.
Part 1 is available on Amazon today. Parts 2 and 3 are being edited. AND THEY ARE JUUUUUUUUUICY! LOL! Even the editor (The Robinator, LOL!) was looking at me like his mind was blown.
Sometimes I find myself sharing bits of my story with people who don't know me just to get a reaction out of them. Just to show them that the shit they thought...can be shattered in an instant with the truth.
You can't hide and you shouldn't want to. Who you are is who you are and...if you can't live solidly within your truth...then hell...you're just hurting yourself to get along and make someone else feel comfortable with YOUR truth.
I guess if I was honest with myself I would say that I knew something was wrong long before I started looking for what was wrong. I started feeling tired all the time and achy. More than just getting older achy...but achy. Like deep in the muscles. I'd turn my head to the side and my neck would hurt all the way down to my leg. It was strange. So strange that I knew something was wrong. Something big you know...something that would change a lot.
And I wasn't really ready to change anything.
I started with random Google searches trying to describe exactly what I was feeling and all of the answers came back with results I wasn't ready to admit were a possibility. So I continued to think of it as a random search. Nothing I needed to worry about personally.
And then I started feeling faint at the most inappropriate times. Lightheaded to the point of falling before I could catch myself even though I could sense the ground coming up to meet me in darkness with sound. Muffled sound...but sounds I could pick up on knowing if someone saw me and was on their way to help me, helpless as I lay there vulnerable to whatever might happen next. My purse stolen, car stolen or something happening to me personally at the hands of a stranger.
And I'd always hope a woman with kids would get to me first.
I started to have to force myself to eat and I didn't know if it was because I didn't have the energy to cook or whether or not it was simply because I had no desire to eat. Like I felt it was a waste.
So I started trying to get my affairs in order because I didn't want someone to come into my home when I couldn't and find my life in disarray. I didn't want that to happen because I've seen the reaction to those who keep what the old folks called..."nasty homes" and no...my home wasn't nasty...but I wanted to feel like they believed I was completely together because my home was in order.
Because everything was all arranged.
And I started shopping online for my bag that I knew I'd need eventually. A bed jacket, loose fitting pajamas with a button front, silk pillowcases and super soft and warm socks.
I got my bag monogrammed.
Because I like my name.
I got everything ready in a morbid, sick kind of way which filled my time so that I had an excuse to not go and tell the doctor, and not Mr. Google, what I was feeling. Gambling with my time.
And then I woke up with a bruise on my thigh that I didn't remember getting and I became fixated with it as it seemed to grow right before my eyes and as I was standing in the mirror gauging my body's changes the ground came up to meet me again and this time the darkness was hot...with a coolness in the middle of it. Like a fan blowing outside in the dead heat of summer.
Before I closed my eyes behind the darkness...I knew I was in trouble.
No mothers with children were around.
And whatever was living inside of me.
It was one of those days you know. The kind where it's all still and muggy but with a breeze that was cool...moving the leaves in one direction all at once and then still. The rain started in a light mist and it felt good against my skin so I didn't move. I just sat there and when it started raining harder, I still sat there, glued it seemed...to the spot. Trapped in my memories of what could have been. Of what should have been. It wasn't until the rain stopped that I started thinking about moving and even then the wind still blew rain on me. A welcoming cool mist in the mugginess of it all.
I got up and went into the house, which was eerily quiet because I liked it like that. I hardly ever turn on the television anymore because I don't like the sounds. I like to hear it all. Feel it all. Be in the moment to deal with whatever comes my way because I'm not distracted.
And all I seem to think about is you.
So I called you.
And it went straight to voicemail.
And I didn't leave a message.
And then went to the computer and checked to see if I had an email from you or a message or even to see if you'd written a status message and that's when I saw you'd been tagged in a picture and the location said...Castro de Barona.
And I was confused so I clicked straight through the pictures of the person who'd posted 59 pictures, 6 of them featuring you but who had a name that wasn't really a name and a picture of a landscape. And on their info page was their email address which I put into Mr. Google and learned the person had a profile on Cafe Moms so yeah...I kinda knew it was a woman.
And I joined Cafe Moms and checked the comment history and still didn't find any pictures or names or anything that told me anything other than she was intelligent and a mother.
And that she was fascinated with ancient ruins.
Of which I knew Castro de Barona was.
And the tears pooled up in my eyes just as my breath ran hot and I sat on the floor so I didn't wet the sofa and I cried in the quiet darkness.
"Whatever. I don't care."
"I don't believe you."
"I don't care what you believe. I can't give you the power to hurt me again."
"I know. And I'm so sorry. I'm not proud of what I did but you have to understand, you told me you no longer loved me, no longer wanted to be with me and well...that fucked me up. I was so hurt, so very, very hurt and the only thing I could think was that, you know what? Other women want me. So what that she doesn't. And the only thing I was thinking when I was with her was that I should punish her for not being you and I fucked her. Hard. And I rolled away feeling emptier than I've ever felt in my life. I felt lost. Like...I'd never have the life I wanted. I'd never have what my parents had because I was fucked up and have been since my father died and I lay there and thought of nothing but what I needed to do in order to get you back so I could FEEL again so when you walked in, and saw me at the lowest point of my life...truly...unbelievably...I wanted to die. I know I fucked up. I know I'm fucked up. I know more than you think I know cuz I know that I've never been more alive than I was when I was with you. I miss you so much. I miss the possibilities. I miss every.single.thing about you. Please forgive me. Or...at least try. Please."
He stood there begging, pleading with every fiber of his being and through her tears she watched him, chest heaving, mad as hell at the hurt he caused her. The DEVASTATION she experienced finding him in bed with another woman only a day after they'd broken up.
She closed her eyes.
Took a deep breath.
Open her mouth and said...
He felt the hands on his body first. The pats. The soft brushes. Then he heard the breath right above his face so he decided to open his eyes...just a bit...
The face above his was enormous since it was so close. The eyes smiling. A big bubble of drool hanging off the left side, stretching down into a thin line, just about to touch him and then...his son squealed and buried his head in his neck laughing. Just happy to see him.
And he was so happy to see him too.
Sean pulled his son's little body as tight into him as he could kissing him while smoothing his curls.
He looked at the time on his cellphone and noted it was 6:15am. They had to be somewhere at 9:00am and it was going to take them an hour to get there so he had to be up and out of there no later than 7:45am so they wouldn't be late.
"Good morning. How are you? Did you have good dreams?"
His son gurgled happily in answer to his questions and tickles.
"C'mon...let's get going."
And he swung his legs to the floor, not having very far before they hit since he'd taken the mattresses off the frame the day his son fell off the bed and his screams freaked him out. He figured if the bed wasn't as tall, Gavin couldn't hurt himself if he ever fell again.
He scooped Gavin up and they hit the bathroom. Gavin pissed through his diaper again overnight and his back was damp from urine. He put a bit of warm water in the tub and added a squirt of liquid soap to make a few bubbles. He put Gavin in and then sat on the toilet and handled his business while Gavin splashed around. He then got in the tub and picked Gavin up, turned on the shower and used one hand to clean them both up. He sat Gavin back down in the tub as he got out, dried himself, and then dried his son.
He got them both dressed after a considerable bit of wrestling and laughing. He dressed Gavin in a footed onesie after lotioning him up good and putting a bit of powder on him.
He made two bowls of cereal. Frosted flakes. His favorite. He put Gavin's in the microwave until the flakes got soft and then he smashed it all up really good and fed his son what he had.
"We'll get you some of that formula stuff soon buddy. I promise."
Gavin gurgled happily and ate. Patted his daddy's face and smiled.
He was down to 4 diapers and put two in his backpack with a few crackers, a baby bottle filled with water, another onesie and a small hand towel.
He took the sheets off the bed and put them in the corner of the bathroom where he kept dirty clothes and straightened up their home.
And then he slung his son in his baby backpack and strapped him up on his chest facing forward. He put the other backpack on his back, opened the front door and walked out of the apartment.
It was already hot outside as they walked to the street. He was already sweating by time time they reached the bus stop down the street from their apartment. The bus would take him to where he was going in 10 minutes.
The bus also cost $2 and he only had $26.
So they walked.
And he talked to his son. Describing things they passed and Gavin kicked his lil fat legs and smiled even as his little body was so warm, so hot from the sun. He thought about it and stopped. Took off his backpack and got the towel out so he could dab his son down a bit.
And they walked.
They crossed a bridge and kept walking, trying to stay on the side of the street with the least bit of sun. Trying to stay as far away from the cars where there wasn't a sidewalk to protect them.
And they walked.
He walked into the fast food restaurant exactly at 8:40 and went to the bathroom where he dampened the towel to wipe his son down and changed his onesie. Then he used the same towel to wipe himself down and wished he'd had enough foresight to bring an extra shirt for himself because he was all wet. But Gavin was clean and dry.
His son was comfortable.
When they walked out of the bathroom, his son's mother was getting off a bus in front of the restaurant. She looked tired but when she saw them she smiled with such joy, all the tiredness fell away from her face and she looked like what an 18 year old is supposed to look like.
"Hey!" She reached immediately for the kicking Gavin and she kissed him all over his face and squealed along with him.
"Hey." He said. Not too, too excited but happy to see her and their son together.
He grabbed a high chair and carried it over to a booth.
"You want something?" he asked her.
He was very aware of the $26 in his pocket.
"No. I ate something at home. You?"
She looked at him and pulled a bottle out of her backpack filled with formula and gave it to Gavin. He took his bottle and greedily started drinking it. She took out two large cans of formula and put it on the table.
"My sister got a box of these for me. I figured you should keep a couple cans at your house just in case you ever ran out and can't get to the store at night."
"Yeah...that's the kind I get. Good, good. It won't upset his stomach you know. Cuz it's different. Than what I get."
He knew those cans cost $30 each.
"I got some wipes and diapers in here too. You think you can carry all that in your backpack and him too? I mean...just in case you run out."
"Yeah...I can carry them. It's always good to have extras. How much time do you have?"
"I gotta get on the next bus so I can make it to class on time. I can meet you back here at 6:00pm to pick him up and take him with me."
"When do I have to pick him back up?"
"This time tomorrow so I can go to class and then I have to work tomorrow after class."
"I can just keep him again tonight so you can get some rest."
"I know...but...I miss him. I'll keep him."
He looked out the window. "Cool."
"Why didn't you call me last night?"
"Did you try to call me?"
"Then you already know why. My phone isn't working." He noticed the restaurant employees shooting them dirty looks.
"How much is the bill?"
"Too much right now."
"I get paid..."
"I'm good. My brother said he might can get me on at nights over at UPS so I'm going out there tomorrow while you have Gavin."
"Then what are we going to do with Gavin on the nights when I work?"
"I'm working on that too."
"Is everything okay at home?"
"Yeah...my brother stays at his girlfriend's mostly so we have the place to ourselves. Everything good at your home?"
"My mom is still tripping but other than that..."
Gavin burped and they both looked at him and laughed. He pulled himself up and started bouncing on his mother. Then he turned his head and looked at his father and his little face fell. He turned all the way around and reached out to his dad. Sean immediately reached for his son and lifted him up over the table to hold him. Gavin looked at him and patted his face with both hands.
Sean smiled and kissed his son. Put his forehead on his forehead and blew softly until Gavin giggled.
And she looked down at her phone. "I gotta go."
And they packed up and walked to the bus stop with her.
"What time does your bus come?"
"I think another one comes by in about 15 minutes."
"Okay. It's hot so maybe yall shouldn't stand out here that long."
"Yeah...we'll go back in until the bus comes."
And then...she's gone.
And then...he's walking. Back towards their home. He'd make this walk twice more today because the bus costs $2 and he only has $26.
He doesn't even notice the extra weight of the formula in his backpack. He's just so grateful for them.
So he could feed his son.
I'D APPRECIATE A DISCUSSION REGARDING THIS. I'M TRYING TO WRAP MY BRAIN AROUND LIFE BEING THIS HARD WITH A BABY. ANY INPUT YOU HAVE WILL BE GREATLY APPRECIATED.
Thank you in advance.
It's all I can think about these days. No matter what I'm doing I'm wondering. Waiting.
I should just turn around and mace his azz good one day. But I'm not. Just trying to figure it out. I wanna be cool. Very cool.
See...this man has been following me. I see him about every other day but I know he's there every day. Now...that might alarm you but not me cuz I know who he is. He works for my father. Well...for the dude who got my mother pregnant at age 16.
How do I know who the dude is? Because when I found out who my father was years ago, I was obsessed with reading everything online that I could find out about him and the dude I've been seeing is the same dude I've seen in pictures of my father for years. He's always in the background. Always just off to the side. Eyes always on my father.
I guess he's like security or an assistant or something.
I don't know and don't really think I care about his title...I'm just tired of him lurking like he's waiting for some magic moment before he approaches me.
I think it's so funny that I investigated them first and now they're investigating me. Crazy funny really.
But I guess that's the way it goes when you're in the public eye.
Wait...and did I tell you he's gay? My father that is. Yup. He's gay. And that he owns a major clothing line? Yup. He does. Dude is huge. Huge.
Now...I don't want you to think that he hasn't done right by us because he kinda did. When I was ten years old my mother started receiving huge, monthly checks that kept getting bigger and bigger. We moved, got a good car and my mother got to go back to school. She ended up getting her Ph.D. before she died which was her life long dream. I got to go to an ivy league school and well, the checks kept coming. I don't touch them, however...and that's probably why they're sniffing around me now. The guilt checks not being cashed does nothing to absolve the guilt. My mother has been gone now for 18 months.
And 18 very large checks are still in the envelopes sitting on the kitchen counter under the appliance roll top.
I don't have a plan. I'm just being a bit defiant I suppose. I want much more from him at this point I guess.
And money ain't it.
He has a sister and two nephews and a niece. They work for the family business. I guess they are the heir apparents.
Cuz he's gay.
And they don't know I exist.
"So you trying to tell me that your sister is rich and shit."
"Man...who are you that I gotta lie to you? Yeah she rich. She be traveling all over the world and shit. Send me pictures all the time from Dubai and shit. She balling."
"Whatever man. Why am I gonna believe that shit from you. If your sister was rich...why you sleeping under this damn bridge with me?"
"I just need to know what he said about me. If...if he ever talked about me."
"I don't really know how to answer that."
"What do you mean? It's an easy question to answer."
"Not really. I just lost my husband. You just lost your father. I didn't know you existed until just now so I figure my surprise at you showing up should tell you what he's said to me about you."
"That was horrible I know. I know. That's why I didn't want to answer. I didn't want to hurt you but I'm just so...so...shocked that you're here. That you look just like him...but with hair."
"Yeah...I guess I can see where that would be kinda different. I'm sorry too."
"I mean...I wouldn't even believe you if you weren't...if you didn't...my God! YOU LOOK JUST LIKE HIM!"
She stands up abruptly. Pacing. Shoving her hands through her already unkempt hair. "You, you look just like him! His eyes, his nose, his mouth...yes...you're his child. How could you not be. Even if you hadn't said anything...I'd know. I'd know just by looking at you."
"Sorry. Everyone has always told me I look just like him."
"You talk like him too. All arrogant. Like you can do anything. LIke I should not question a thing you say."
"You got questions...I got questions."
"And answers. One of us has to have answers and I already know I'll fail. How, how did I not know about you? How did he keep you hidden from me for 25 years?"
"I guess it was easy seeing as though I haven't seen him since I was 4 and I don't remember him. 29 years is a long time."
"That's something that shouldn't be easy. He wanted children. We wanted children. We tried. How could...I'm sorry...I don't want to hurt you. I can't...this isn't the time."
"He never said anything about me."
She sat down again not knowing what to do or say. In the chair by the window this time. The chair she usually read in. While he watched a game. But he's gone now. He's dead and that person sitting near his spot on the sofa who looks just like him isn't him because it's a she and she has hair.
That person on the sofa is his daughter. His daughter. He had a daughter that he never said anything about.
"Did he take care of you? I mean...did he send money to your mother?"
"My Grandmother raised me and no...he never sent money."
"Where's your mother?"
"Another question without a clear answer."
"But he knew about you?"
"Yes. Right up until he moved here. I guess it was easier to forget me here. With you."
"I didn't know."
"That's become obvious."
"He's not that man."
"And yet I'm here."
"And yet you're here."
They sat in silence. Each feeling the others' heartbeat across the room.
One on the verge...
"I guess I should leave. I didn't schedule a late check-in."
"A hotel? No. You shouldn't stay in a hotel. You stay here. We...I...have plenty of room. My sister is on her way with her son, our...my...nephew. We have room. There is room for you."
"No really...I couldn't."
"And I couldn't let you stay in a hotel. You're my husband's...um...child."
"And you're my father's wife but I don't know you and you don't know me. The hotel is cool. I prefer it."
"Well...let me fix you something to eat."
"I don't have time to eat."
"You could check in over the phone. Just call them."
"Your family is on their way. I'm not ready for that. I just wanted to meet you."
"How did you hear?"
"You know Lightening?"
"Yes. He's my Godfather."
"I knew Lightening. Lightening knew me."
"The other common denominator."
She slumped deeper into her seat. Small. Angular. A cloud of sadness hovering near her that all could feel.
"Well...if you have to go then when are you coming back?"
"I can come back tomorrow."
"Or tonight. You could come tonight. You look just like him."
"I can come tomorrow. Around 10 in the morning."
"Do you have any other questions?"
"Not now. It's a lot you know?"
"Yeah...it's a lot."
She got up to leave. "I'll see you tomorrow."
"I'll be here."
"I'll call first."
"No need to call first. I'll be here. Waiting. For you."
With no thoughts of returning.
He stood to the side waiting for her to show up. He knew she was going to be there because he'd seen her RSVP yes on the eVite.
So yeah...he knew she'd be there.
He waited by the door glancing up at it every few seconds not wanting to miss her, knowing she'd make an entrance.
She always did.
He always watched her.
But tonight? Tonight would be different.
She arrived looking gorgeous. Wearing one of these dresses that fit like a second skin.
She flitted around a bit and waved in his direction as she spoke to everyone she knew.
She waved at him...because she knew him.
And he decided to make his move.
"Christy...can I talk to you for a minute?"
"Sure Joshua...what's up?"
They walked off to the balcony for a bit of privacy.
"So yeah...I was thinking...I mean...wondering...if you'd like to go to dinner or something one day."
"Oh...gosh Joshua...that's so sweet...but...yeah...no. I don't date vampires."
"I mean...I just assumed...you mean you aren't?"
"Well yeah...but...how'd you know?"
"It's not like it's a big secret or anything. I mean...your skin is all pasty...your eyes are red. Dude...you always look hungry and you've been like...22 for like...forever. Oh...and yeah...the way you hold your mouth...you know...so people don't see your pointy teeth? Well...when you laugh out loud...you can see them. Not really a secret."
"Oh. I guess I didn't think..."
"I mean it's no biggie if that's who you are and whatnot. I mean...it's cool...I just don't date vampires."
"That's kinda prejudiced isn't it?"
"Oh no...it's not prejudiced...it's simply...what's the word...preference. I PREFER not to date vampires. That whole drinking blood thing is just ew. And yeah...you guys are always cold right? I'm not into that. And dude...you drive a Volvo."
"Volvos are the safest cars on the road."
"I know...that's why my dad bought my mom one. But seriously...what do you need to be safe from? It's not like there is much that can kill you. Live a little...you know what? You should buy a bitching bike."
"So...we can't ever go out?"
"Not unless you can stop being a vampire." She laughed. "Okay...that was cruel. I know you can't change back. But dude...seriously...thanks for asking. I'm flattered."
"You're just going to diss me like that? You're not scared of me? I mean...what if I turned you into a vampire...would you date me then?"
"No I am not scared of you. I'm sure you've heard the name Pascal Louis...well...that's my great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great Grandfather. He's high ranking in that whole vampire world and yeah...he'd probably kill you."
"Pascal Louis is your great, great...you know how many...great Grandfather? How'd that happen?"
"Hell if I know. My mom doesn't let him talk about it much. Says it's a distraction." She sighed. "Hey...I...um...I gotta get back to the party. Nice talking to you. I'll see you around."
"Yeah...um...thanks...um...too. Tell Mr. Louis I said hi."
"Prolly not. He won't know you so he won't care. Enjoy the party!"
She went back into the party.
He decided to go home and read.
"Yo my man! My man!" he yelled over Kanye's "All of the Lights."
"Good luck! I've been standing here for fifteen minutes."
"I hope you're going to get a good drink after all that."
"Aha! A "Sex and the City" fan!"
"No I'm not. That last movie was horrible."
"I'm not talking abou the movies. Tell me you don't watch the show re-runs every chance you get?"
"Of course I do. Obviously you do too."
The bartender comes over and points at him.
"Guilty. Patron and pineapple juice and a cosmo for the lady."
"Thank you." she said...obviously flirting.
He looked good and he knew it. Fresh tailored clothes. Big name shoes. Nice bracelet.
"I like your shirt." she said.
"Thank you. I like your dress."
The drinks came and he paid and handed her drink to her.
"Wait...here's a napkin."
"Thank you. You're so sweet."
"Are you here with your girls?"
"No. I'm here alone for now. My girl is supposed to be meeting me but she can be flaky. You?"
"I'm rolling solo tonight. My boys can be a nuisance sometimes."
Jay Z's "On to the Next One" comes on. She throws her arm in the air.
"That's my song!"
"Come on...let's dance then!"
And they head to the dance floor and get their dance on.
He sticks next to her for the next two hours. They talk, they dance, they bond.
"I feel like I know you. LIke...the reason I'm here is to meet you."
"I feel the same way. It's just...weird huh?" she said. Smiling. Hopeful.
"You wanna get out of here and get something to eat?"
DC Coast was still open and it was obvious he was well known there. He was greeted by name. He introduced her to everyone he met and she smiled.
The night was wonderful. Amazing even. He was such a gentleman.
He followed her home to make sure she got there safe. They talked on the phone the entire drive. She parked her car and walked over to him.
"Thank you for making sure I got home safe."
"No problem. Now it's your turn."
"Yeah...you need to follow me home now and make sure I get there safe."
"You got jokes."
"Yeah...I do. Just messing with you. I'm just so tired but I had a really good time. Call me tomorrow. If I answer...I made it safe."
"How far away do you live?"
"About 40 minutes in PG County."
"I know. I only come out in the city a few times a year because of the drive back."
"Well...you can sleep on my sofa if you'd like and get up and go in the morning."
"I couldn't do that."
"Yes...you could. Come on. Park."
So he parked and went in. She made up the sofa and went to bed.
The next morning she cooked a big breakfast and they enjoyed each others company.
"So...what do you have planned for today?" he asked.
"I'm going to this outdoor jazz fest thingy with my friends."
"Sounds like fun."
"Would you like to join us?"
"Sure. Just let me go home and shower, shit and shave and I'll meet you here at 1:00. Cool?"
He stood up to leave.
"I really enjoyed myself. I enjoyed being with you."
"So did I."
And he left...headed back to his place to change.
He pulled into the driveway and parked. Walked into the house.
"What's up my man?"
"Nothing. Chilling. Waiting on Jessica to get home so we can head out to this barbeque."
"Cool. I'm just picking up the rest of my things."
"Alright. Is this the last of them?"
"Yeah...you won't see me anymore...don't worry."
"Craig...it's not like that man. Me and Jessie...we just need our own space. You know how it is."
"Man I'm not tripping. I understand."
"So...how's your new place?"
"Nice. I'll have to have you over soon. Watch a game or something."
"Of course. Say...did you find a job yet?"
"I had a second interview with that IT company that's looking real promising."
"Excellent. We're praying for you. Two years is a long time to be out of work."
"Yeah...never thought it would take this long."
And he showered, shitted and shaved and then put the last of his things in his car. His couch surfing days at his best friend's house were over. The fiance had moved in.
And he drove over and picked her up. Wined her and dined her. Made nice with her friends.
Late into the night.
Late enough for her to let him stay another night because as of two days ago...
...he was homeless.
He figured he'd stay with her until he couldn't any longer.
She didn't know.
She was already smitten.
So quick she dropped half of what she wanted to take.
Quickly but quietly.
So she could still hear.
She stepped over the memory.
Immune to the pain at this point just as he is immune to pain.
Of any kind.
As she packed light fell around her in the form of pictures.
Pictures of them perfect.
Pictures of their family.
Pictures of their friends.
A life built and now ripped.
She stepped over the memory.
She'd call her sister from the car.
She'd tell her to pick up the kids for her.
She stepped over the memory.
She had to go to the bank.
She was finally tired.
Finally fed up enough to do something.
Something that would liberate her.
Even as her current fear made everything a cloud around her.
As she packed hurridly.
As she dropped important papers in her haste to leave.
Before she was discovered.
Before she couldn't get away.
She stepped over the memory.
Her mother's Bible...she couldn't leave that.
She went back to get it and dropped it.
In his blood.
She picked it up.
Wiped the leather off and stepped over him for the 5th time.
Closed the door and hurried off.
Leaving the memory behind.
I didn't know how I'd feel today. I thought elated you know? Like...I 'd finally finished something important in my life. Closed a loop that needed to be closed. Not like having tickets that I haven't paid for no other reason than I just didn't take the time...more like...I was an adult for the first time in my life doing what adults do. Closing loops, following through. Not sitting back knowing what I have to do and not moving. Not, not...taking a stand and making a concerted effort at this thing called adulthood and life.
When I pulled up at the mailbox after work today I knew they would be there. I'd been warned and, I didn't check the mail yesterday intentionally in a relapse kinda way. Relapsing back into who I've always been but only for a day.
I sat in the car for a few minutes and just looked at the house. I never got around to planting those bulbs before the first frost so the tulips I envisioned I'd have this Spring weren't coming. The tips of the leaves of the crocuses and hyacinths emerging from the ground around the tree usually made me smile. Not today.
My house looked neglected. Not...in an unkempt kinda way mind you...but more of a house that is incomplete.
And I guess that's a good way to describe it even as of today I own it outright. Free and clear of the bank.
When I walked in today I put the mail on the table in the foyer. That table always made me smile. Hand carved legs. Gorgeous curves. The elegant bowl on top perfectly cradled the envelopes and catalogs and flyers.
I walked straight to the back of the first floor and opened the French doors leading to the back yard. My most favorite thing about this house. I walked outside and laid down on the outdoor chaise in my work suit and I stayed there until the chill of the air sent me inside. Once inside I poured myself a drink and retrieved the mail saving it for last.
And when I opened it...I cried.
And now? I'm in bed. Alone. Still crying.
I have to stop because I have to keep going. I have to live.
And I have to get up and go to work tomorrow.
Life doesn't stop because your heart wants to.
I have my own reasons for every.single.thing that I do. I stopped doing "It's All Kicks and Giggles" in 2007 because it grew into something so big in my head and I started living with the characters for far too long. They were distracting as they followed me EVERYWHERE and then...folks stopped commenting and giving me their opinions so it was like...I felt crazy living in this imaginary world with these people alone as if only I could "see" them.
I know that sounds crazy but those of you out there who write...understand what I mean and those of you who are filmmakers...you LIVE what I mean.
I continued their story even as I didn't share as I've toyed with the idea of shooting it as a pilot and shopping it. I still might...but only if I know there is an actual audience for it. I thought about a web series and actually pitched it a few times to some fancy people but they weren't interested and it was before my partner and I started working together and well...since we do movies...we really haven't focused any on pilots.
That said...I'm bringing it back because it seems awful that no one except me knows where the characters are currently and...I think some of you would enjoy it even as you don't comment and give your opinion or whatnot.
I hope that changes.
I don't care if folks don't comment on daily posts. Seriously. But let's keep it real here. I'm an artist...and I'm sensitive about my shit.
Get re-acquainted with "It's All Kicks and Giggles" so you may follow along. Let me know via comment when you're "caught up" and within the next coming months...the journey will continue and your participation would be appreciated.
Once again ladies and gentlemen..."It's All Kicks and Giggles" until somebody gets shot...
Why would she be in nursing school if she doesn't like blood?
Might as well clean that spot off my screen.
Where'd I put that all purpose stuff from Windex?
Oooh...my fancy cloth for cleaning the computer...I think it's in my work bag.
Now where's that?
"Ma...I'm coming on Sunday for church."
She listens on the phone.
"Ma...I just don't know what you're so worried about I told you I'm coming home on Sunday so I'll see you then. It's just a cold ma. I don't need you to come over just because I have a cold."
"God! Ma! I have a cold. Stop hovering over the phone! There is a CVS on the corner and I'll get something. There is no reason for you to..."
"Ma...Jessica just got home. Oh look!" she grabs a bag off the counter and makes crinkle sounds into the phone with it..."She brought me medicine! And soup! I'm going to eat, take some medicine and go to bed right now!"
"Okay! Bye ma! Love you!"
She hung up the phone and plopped down on the sofa next to Jessica.
"I've been home all night. Should I walk out and come in again?"
"I know. Sorry. I had to come up with something or she'd have my dad pull the car out the garage and drive the hour to get here."
"You know you shouldn't be so hard on Aunt Jackie. She's really crazy about you."
"Too crazy. It's been this way all my life."
"You're the only 24 year old I know whose parents bought them a condo so you didn't have to live far from your first job. It's pretty obvious yall got something special going on there."
"Yeah...I know I'm blessed and all that but sometimes the price is really a bit too high. Sometimes I wish they weren't so..."
"So what? Less loving? Less generous? Some problems you've got man."
Karina bit the inside of her jaw the way she always did when someone commented on how blessed she was. She'd learned long ago that nothing she said would make an affect on what they thought so she just said nothing.
She twirled a blond curl while she sat quietly.
A key was heard opening the front door and Jessica jumped.
Ryan walked in smiling. "Hey ladies!"
Karina stood up and walked over to him a big, goofy grin on her face. She kissed him.
"Oh...so he has a key now?"
"You have a key."
"I also live here."
"It's not a biggie Jessie. Don't start."
"Wait...you didn't tell Jessie you gave me a key?" asked Ryan.
"No. She didn't."
"Hey...I'll give her back her key. I don't want to start anything."
"That's not necessary Ryan."
"No...that's okay now. I mean...how long have you had it now?"
"Two days. She leaves before I do when I stay over on school days so she gave me a key to lock up."
"Well...I guess that makes sense."
"You ladies want to go grab a bite to eat? The Black man is treating."
"Sure!" Jessica stood up. "Where are we going?"
"What about that sushi place down by the Galleria? I could call Tommy and have him join us."
Karina watched Jessica rush to her room. She walked out of the living room and into her room. Ryan followed her.
Ryan closed the door behind him.
"She gets on my damn nerves. I can give a key to who I want to give a key to. It's my condo."
"Well...she does pay rent."
"She pays $300 a month. If she wasn't my cousin she's have to pay $1,250."
Ryan lays across the bed while she starts yanking out clothes.
"Okay...what's wrong? You seem antsy tonight."
"Why do you always have to invite her out with us?"
"Babe...I'm just being nice. She doesn't know anyone here and she's your cousin."
"She's just here to spy on me for my parents."
"Exactly. So we should keep her happy."
She walked into the adjoining bathroom and pulled her shirt off and turned on the shower. He walked up behind her and slid his arms around her burying his face in her neck letting his hands rise to her breasts.
"You mad baby?" He let one hand dip into the waistband of her sweat pants. "You mad?"
She bit her lip and closed her eyes. Turned around and raised her arms over his shoulders around his neck. He spread his legs wide and pulled her into him...backing her against the bathroom counter. "How mad are you baby? Show me."
She sunk her teeth into his neck.
He yelped and grabbed her hands from behind his neck and spun her around bending her over the counter. She struggled, but not really. She never struggled too much. He pulled her pants down and she felt him push against her struggle. Against her clenching. He kicked her legs apart and slid as he exhaled.
As she inhaled.
The rhythm they loved.
The shower steam enveloped them and she opened her eyes and saw Jessica standing in the doorway of her room watching them. Instead of being startled she looked Jessica in the eyes, bit her lip and then smiled. Jessica turned away.
She glanced over at the upper right hand corner of her computer to check the time. 9:57pm. Late. Yeah. Late. She clicked on the tab for her Facebook account and clicked 'Home' so she could glance at status messages for her friends and "friends." Her email notification blinged and she clicked on it to find that she had a comment on her most recent picture that she'd taken this past weekend at a Halloween party.
Sexy Snow White.
Her costume was hot and skimpy showing off her curves and dips.
And every man who could see her profile was in her inbox telling her how hot she looked.
10:10pm and she decided she'd "fake" worked enough. She posted a status message on Facebook and shut down her computer.
"Hard work makes you stronger, faster, better."
She pulled her gym bag from under her desk and headed to the bathroom.
It was creepy heading down the hallway with the bathroom key in hand. The building usually emptied out by 6:00pm so the quietness of being alone echoed in the hallway. Each door she passed was a landmark of safety as she hurried to the bathroom.
She pissed first and strained a bit to see if she had to defecate but found she didn't. While in the stall she used baby wipes to clean between her legs, under and between her breasts, under her arms and around her neck. She flushed the wipes down the toilet and stepped out of her underwear. Then...she pulled put on the fresh pair she'd hung on the hook in front of her.
Fresh and clean.
Her dress was gorgeous. She'd noticed the original in a magazine and decided she had to have it. Zoe Saldana was wearing it but she was ROCKING it. Zoe wished she had the curves needed to fill it out. The dress was gold and bronze with tiny sequins all over it in circles. When the light hit it she sparkled. It was fitted and structured in all the right places. Underneath the sides of her breasts, her waist, the curves of her hips.
She plugged up her flat iron and got out her makeup bag. She was extremely good at playing up her natural beauty with just a bit of color and she parted her hair in the middle and flattened the front down.
It only took her about twenty minutes but she was ready. She loved how she looked even though she had on flip flops in the bathroom mirror. She didn't drive in her expensive shoes because she didn't want to scuff up the backs of them. She'd recently had to break down and have the replacement soles put on them and wanted to keep them as scuff free as possible.
Extremely hard to do.
But those shoes got her noticed by men and women.
Back in the office she hung the bathroom key on the side of the receptionist's desk and used the phone to call Nessa. The phone rang 4 times and went to voicemail.
"Nessa, it's me. I lost my stupid cellphone. I'm on my way to Dominique's. You're on the list as my plus one. I'll meet you there in about thirty minutes. If you have any problems...tell them you're Malcolm Warner's guest. See you there!"
She turned the light out in her cubicle and rolled out.
The party was the same as always. Ballers in the VIP in the middle of the floor, wannabe's off to the side. Regular people a level up watching people they wanted to be.
Her wristband got her on the floor, of course, and she made her way to the center of the floor where all eyes were drawn to. She saw Malcolm before he saw her and she smiled at his reaction once he did. As always he was sitting on the side of his own VIP letting his boys enjoy themselves. He wore dark shades which seem ridiculous except for knowing that he liked to keep his eyes hidden as they very rarely matched the shape of the smile on his face. He seemed pleasant enough with his mouth curved into a smile but if you saw the sarcasm in his eyes that went along with that smile...you might think differently.
And he liked to keep it that way.
Dude was much smarter than he let on and she knew that.
She walked up and China saw her, nodded to the guy at the velvet rope and she walked up the one step. China reached her and she put her hand on his jacket as he lead her to Malcolm. Malcolm moved over on the bank-head and she sat next to him as he smiled at her appreciatively.
"I was getting worried about you."
"I had a lot of work to do so I was at the office late. Sorry."
"You look really nice."
"Thank you. So do you."
"Would you like something to drink?"
"You know I don't drink."
"You only don't drink because you don't trust anyone to take care of you if you get tipsy. You know you can trust me."
"I'm good Malcolm, but thank you. As always."
"I tried to call you."
"I lost my stupid cellphone. They're sending me a new one by FedEx."
"I hope by tomorrow because I'm truly lost without it."
"Want me to get you an extra one?"
"You just have an extra cellphone lying around huh?"
"You can borrow one of China's. He has two."
"I don't want to know why China has two cellphones. But no...I'm good."
"You never let me do anything for you."
"I don't need you to do anything for me. Hell...you have too many other people to do stuff for."
She only stayed for about an hour and a half. She yawned and stretched, told him she still had work to do for the proposal she was putting together by Monday. He protested, of course, but he'd see her all day Saturday.
He and China walked her out to her BMW and she hugged both of them. Kissed Malcolm on the cheek.
"You guys have fun."
"Call me when you get home so I know you made it safe."
"I will. Thanks for a nice night."
Her gas light came on 7 miles before she got off the exit near her apartment. That meant she had approximately 21 miles left she could drive before she ran out of gas. She parked her car and walked up the four flights of stairs to get to her small but neat apartment. A package was at the front door and she smiled knowing what it was.
She walked in and locked the door quickly behind her as she grabbed the flashlight in the corner by the umbrella stand. She used it to maneuver to the kitchen where she got matches and started lighting a few candles. The first one she lit was on the coffee table which illuminated her cellphone sitting next to it. The electricity had been out for 4 days now. She'd pay it in the morning as her direct deposit should be in her account by now since it was after midnight. She'd pay her cellphone bill too and buy some groceries. Fill her tank up with gas and pay her insurance. Next check was for the rent.
She opened a can of tuna and ate it. Washed it down with a glass of wine.
She'd wear what was in the box when she saw Malcolm on Saturday.
The home phone she'd attached to the line once the electricity was cut off rang.
"I thought you were going to call me when you made it home?"
"I'm sorry. I was so tired and I didn't want to disturb you since you were with your friends."
"Don't worry about that. It's more important I know you're safe."
"Well...I am. I came in, took a hot shower and was checking work email."
"You work too much."
"So do you."
"Point taken. You should let me come see you tonight."
"Negative playa. I'll see you Saturday at the food bank for volunteering and you'd better not be late."
"I won't be."
"And no China."
"And you promised me a movie after."
"What about a play in New York?"
"No. Local movie. AMC theater. $7. You're paying."
"You should stop being such a cheap date."
"You should stop trying to treat me like I'm one of the women you're used to dating. I already told you I don't need you to keep throwing money at me. I'm fine and it's getting to be annoying."
"Okay...don't start. Movie and then what? A street hot dog?"
"I'm sure we can do better than that." she laughed as she poured herself a second glass of wine by candlelight.
They got off the phone and she blew out the candles in the living room carrying her flashlight with her to the bedroom. She washed her face with cold water and brushed her teeth. Put her hair up and got in the bed.
It's been a good game. The course was the most perfect it's ever been and this weather is perfection indeed. Fall is upon us and the coolness on the end of each breeze brought with it a sharpness that can't be denied.
He concentrated on the ball in front of him and then surveyed the sky determining the best route his ball should take to get it to where he wanted it to be. This was the 18th hole and he'd been playing well all day. His foursome had changed from a free for all into a cheering section for him. Strangers all out for one thing. Their personal best.
And in him...they'd found their hero for the day.
Truth be told, before he turned 30...he wasn't much to look at. Good thing he'd married at age 28. Now at age 36 he was tall and lean and dressed with impeccable taste. His golf attire would be modest on some but on him...it was sexy. Long and lean. Chiseled even. With the grace that comes from being happy and confident. Everyone saw it and, whereas he knew it came from the love of his wife and children, he allowed others to attempt to discern it's origin.
Adult braces changed that dorky smirk into a chic grin and money afforded him the ease of a good life.
He'd learned to live in the moment...and the moment was upon him.
He wanted to hit the shit outta this ball and envisioned, as most golfers do, wearing a red shirt and pumping his fist at the British Open. Kicking ass and taking names. It was upon him.
He'd think of this day often. The day his life changed. Morphed really. Morphed into a zombiesque trance where everything moved around him as he stood still and watched. His screams silenced by his identity because where he was from...men didn't cry.
"Dude...I can't believe you got a hole-in-one on the last damn hole! That shit only happens in movies!"
"You? Think of how I feel!" He was so grinned up the corners of his smile lined up with the corners of his eyes.
"Good round guys. You got bragging rights that's for sure." Rich, a meaty guy with a third of his original hair, clapped him on the shoulder.
"Hey...would you mind taking a picture so I can send it to the wife? She'll get a kick outta this too!"
"Really? Your wife gets excited when you golf?
"Yeah? Really? Mine just bitches. I'm on my way to fertilize the lawn or whatever else her Majesty wants of me for giving me a reprieve to golf this morning." Said Stan.
"Yeah...I know I'm lucky. She's always been this way. She loves it when I get to golf."
"You sure the pool boy isn't home with her?" chuckles Rich.
"Nah...she's home with the kids waiting on me so she can get out the house and shop."
"Pool boy might meet her at the mall for a latte."
"Whatever...who's going to take my picture?" he laughed.
"I'll take it man." said Bobby. "I want to take one with my phone too hell. Your skills give me hope."
He smiled big holding his hole-in-one ball with one hand and the iron he'd used to hit it tossed casually over his shoulders.
Bobby took one, then two pictures of him and passed him his phone.
Striped shirt, traveler's khakis, Nike golf shoes. Typical golf wear and yet...on him...it looked as if he'd just stepped off a designer's pallet with six assistants making him look just...so.
Rich and Stan walked off leaving Bobby and Justin to catch up. A beer was in order, of course. I mean hell...a hole-in-one was practically unheard of on this course. The ridiculous fees didn't mean you were a champion golfer...just that you could afford to act like one.
To the clubhouse they went.
Two peas in a pod.
Justin's phone dinged and he smiled looking down.
"Your wife got your text?" Bobby asked?
"Yes. She's excited for me."
"Wow...that's pretty awesome. "
"Yeah...she's the shit that wife of mine."
His phone rang and Bobby could hear Justin's wife squealing with delight at her husband's hole-in-one. He watched as Justin's grin got even bigger and how happy he seemed.
"Yeah honey...it was awesome. Everything went my way for some reason. Hole after hole it just seemed right ya know?"
Bobby took a swig of his beer as he listened to Justin's half of the conversation.
"I'm at the clubhouse having a beer with one of the guys I met. He was a single too and they put us with a father and son. Pretty cool guys." he smiled. "Yeah...he's cool." Justin glanced down at Bobby's left hand. "I don't know...hold on..."
"Hey...I forgot we're having a cookout today. You want to call your wife and see if yall have plans? We just live around the corner and Simone already has the grill going."
"I'm not married so I don't need to check in with anyone."
"You wanna come?" He held his hand over the phone like it was a home phone. Like he didn't want to bother his wife with the semantics of the conversation.
"Sure. Can she cook?"
"Can she cook? My wife is Creole. She's been making roux since she was three years old in a high chair with a wooden spoon."
"Then count me in! I heard Creole women can burn!"
"Alright honey...we'll be there in a few. Do you need me to stop and get anything? Okay. Lava, lava. See you in a few." He hung up.
"That's something we started saying when we were dating. We knew we really liked each other a lot but we weren't in love yet. One day she decided we needed a word for between like and love. It was hot and heavy by then so yeah...lava, lava started."
"Dude...that's so gay."
Justin laughed. "Yeah...I guess so but hey...she likes it."
And they headed to Justin's.
Bobby hadn't been in a relationship in a long time. Sure...he'd had plenty of sex buddies but nothing stuck ya know? He was just ambling about biding his time until THE ONE showed up and caught his attention. He was a handsome guy so he knew it would happen all in due time but...to be honest...he was tired of waiting. He was ready for his house to be a home. To have the same warm body next to him at night. To be in a love so deep that he didn't want anything else.
They pulled up to Justin's house. Justin pulled into his garage and Bobby parked behind his car in front of the garage. Justin walked out while putting his keys in his pocket and the front door flew open while a woman and two kids piled out squealing.
"Whooooooohooooooooooo! HOLE-IN-ONE! DADDY MADE A HOLE-IN-ONE!" And she threw herself into his arms as the kids attacked his legs seeming to not necessarily understand why they should be so happy but they were just the same.
"Bobby...this is my family." Justin said underneath the munchy kisses his wife was giving him.
Bobby took it all in. The pretty wife dressed simply but intentionally and the two adorable kids. He looked the wife from head-to-toe noting she had the biggest, most beautiful smile and that she and Justin seemed too goofy for words in love. The kids didn't even know he existed as he surveyed them and she, Simone, straightened up, walked over to him and hugged him.
And it was the most genuine human touch he'd had in a long, long time. As if he was someone more than the body he was in. As if she genuinely wanted to know him.
He felt she already cared about what happened to him.
It was a good feeling indeed.
For the rest of the evening he laughed and had the loveliest of times. Their home? Beautiful. Their energy? Amazing. The love he sensed? Palpable. He marveled at the way each guest seemed at home. Folks were taking off shoes, unbuttoning their jean buttons and lazing around on their floor as if they'd been there a million times before. He felt so welcomed into their circle and he found himself imagining this was his life. His house. His family. His friends.
He watched Simone.
He watched the kids.
He watched Justin.
And as he swirled the last sip of his wine in his glass he decided that he wanted this life for himself. He decided he deserved this life too.
He decided that he could have this life...
...if only Simone were out of the picture.
Because if she was...he could have Justin, the kids and this life...
...ALL TO HIMSELF.
He swallowed the last sip of wine, shared his thanks and left...promising to return soon and baaaaaaaaaaby...when he returned...he'd have his plan in place to get what should be his.
"Wake up. You need to eat something."
"I'm not hungry."
"I know...but you need to eat something in case you don't eat all day while I'm gone."
She pulls herself up a bit and he puts a pillow behind her, kissing her on the forehead and he does so.
"Good morning. How are you feeling?" His voice is so gentle so as to not startle her into thought. Into thinking about what she didn't want to think about. Again.
"Leave me aloooooone..." she whines even though she doesn't want to upset him. Even though what she feels she doesn't want him to know because the only reason she tries is because of him.
"Come on. Eat something for me. Please."
She looks up at an angle at his beautiful smile and inhales his intoxicating smell. She picks up the piece of toast and takes a bite. A small one...but a bite nonetheless. He smiles. Sits on the edge of the bed and rubs her thigh while she eats.
"Do you want some coffee?"
She nods and he leaves the room to get her some. She uses his absence to give the dogs her Canadian bacon, eggs and the second piece of toast. No matter what he thinks she should do...she simply can't do what she can't do but he's important enough to fake it for him so that he doesn't worry so much about her. So that he can have a productive day without worrying as much as he does about her.
That's how much she loves him.
Enough to create a lie.
He returns with coffee and creamer because he knows she's particular about the color of her coffee and he wants her to have it as she wants it. He takes his job as husband seriously. He takes care of her and, in her broken state, he has his work cut out for him.
"What are you going to do today?" he asks looking down at her plate with a pleased smile on his face.
"Are you working on anything special or just writing?"
"You should go to the gym today."
"I don't feel like it."
"You should try honey. All I'm asking is that you'll try."
"Okay. I'll try."
"I took your truck to the gym this morning so I could fill it up with gas for you. You haven't driven it in a long time."
"I don't have anywhere to go."
"It's Fall. You're usually boot shopping or something this time of year."
"I have enough boots."
He turns slightly so she doesn't see the frustration and concern in his eyes but she notices. Just because she wishes she was dead sometimes doesn't mean she misses anything. It doesn't mean she isn't as connected to him as she's always been. It just means that she expresses it less. Oh...but she feels. Lord knows she feels.
She wants him to worry less...to feel better so she says hurriedly, "I like that tie with that shirt. I don't believe you've ever worn those two together."
"Thanks. I was worried."
"You smell good." And he did. He smelled amazing. Like complete freshness. Like the color blue would smell. Calming and soothing. Intoxicating.
He leaned over and munched her on her cheek the way he used to before the overwhelming sadness came into their lives. Before she decided she wasn't worthy of him. Before she wished he would leave her for a woman who could have a baby. Who could make him a father.
She used to laugh.
Instead she turned to him and kissed his cheek with her eyes open and he kissed her back on both cheeks and then her lips. "I love you so much baby. Please try and get out of bed today."
And she had every intention of doing so. She had every intention of attempting to make him proud.
She picked up the tray and held it out to him. "Put this over there so I can get up please." And he took the tray from her hands and put it on the dresser quickly so he could help her get out of bed.
She only wore underwear as other clothing made her hot when she was sleeping. Her black cotton bikini underwear looked 4 sizes too big. Drooping along the front and back and in the middle. Her ribs were clearly showing and her body looked gaunt and sharp. She looked down, shaky, and then back up to him, embarrassed. She reached for her robe and put it on with his help.
"I look horrible."
"You look beautiful."
"You are such a liar."
"Well...maybe you can go to the salon today. You know...get your hair done or something."
"You're saying I look a mess by the head?"
"Well damn. I thought I was beautiful."
"You're always beautiful to me no matter what but yeah...you should get your hair done."
She smiled. "If I leave the house today I will."
"Do you want me to stay home and take you?"
"No baby. You can't keep staying with me. I'm good."
"I'm sure. Now...get out of here."
"I'll wait until you get out of the shower."
"What? You think I'll fall? I'll be fine. Stop hovering." A bit of the flash and fire he was used to was in her eyes for a second...but only for a second.
And he wanted to say a lot but he didn't say anything next to near. "Okay. I'll call you when I get to the office."
He kissed her and held her. Tight. She put her arms around him and wanted to be better do better.
For him. Always for him.
And he walked out the bedroom with an "I love you." and then he was gone.
But his smell lingered. On her, in their room, in their bathroom. He was everywhere.
And she wanted to be better for him.
She took a shower and washed her hair and then conditioned it. She left the conditioner on and put on a plastic shower cap, got out of the shower and finished getting ready for the day. She walked past the bed as it was calling her to get back in and she decided she wasn't going to succumb. She was going to get better.
For him she'd try.
A little harder.
So yeah...she got out of the house and went to the salon. She got her hair done and was feeling a bit more like herself so she went to buy groceries and fresh flowers. Pink and orange. Her favorite combinations. And she bought him a fillet mignon because she decided she'd do a special meal for him to show she really was trying.
But she didn't eat. Couldn't eat. It just didn't seem fittin'.
So she didn't even though she was trying to work through the pain.
When she pulled up to her home she was surprised to find Miranda parked out front waiting for her but she figured it was time she faced the music. She hadn't talked to her in over a month because of the pain. She figured he'd called her and told her to come over and see about her. She got out of the truck slowly with a smile on her face and was startled to find that Miranda was crying.
For years people would speculate about their love. About how very much in tune to the other they were. For years people would speak of them in a way usually reserved only for fairy tales that people knew weren't real. For years they would romanticize what actually, factually happened.
You see...Miranda came to tell her that he was killed in a freak tractor trailer accident 5 minutes from their home. Miranda would then call their family members to inform them as she went to their bedroom and locked the door...took the bottle of Vimovo and the bottle of Cyclobenzaprin that was in the medicine cabinet and washed the entire bottles down with the cold coffee he'd brought her that morning before he left.
People would wonder at the Dove liquid men's soap smeared on her face and no one would figure out that it was the smell of him she wished to be the last thing she smelled.
For years to come they'd speak of their love and dedication to each other.
For years to come they'd mourn their love and wish they had what they had.
And even those that didn't believe would hope they were together in the afterlife and that the love they shared continued to be eternal.
***This is a conversation I'm working on. What do you think the two women look like? How old do you think they are? What do you think their relationship is? Do you think it could be a mother and daughter?
"So...has he still been calling?"
"Have you talked to him?"
"Are you ever going to talk to him?"
In my family I was the least.
That made me laugh just thinking it.
I was the least successful if you judged my life by those of my Aunts, Uncles and cousins whose lives were peppered with glitter. It wasn't odd for me to look at something online and see a relative's impressive bio or their picture at some sparkly gala. I never had the "it" they had because I was raised by my Grandmother who didn't believe in the excess of anything. It seemed my Aunts and Uncles couldn't wait to get out from under her just so they COULD taste the excesses a successful life could afford them and they never stopped it seemed.
So yeah...in my family I was the least.
This is the second time in as many weeks that I've been in this...this space wherein I can't seem to breathe. Calling it a panic attack seems to be too simplistic when you look at it from all angles possible because you see...there are reasons why my heart quickens, my breath shortens, the palms of my hands begin to sweat. There are reasons and it's too simplistic to simply say I'm having a panic attack because, if you're honest with me, they won't stop just because you've named them. Just because you've decided that there has to be a REASON for this to continue on.
I find it extremely difficult to write from point of views I don't necessarily identify with. Sure I can research and study all I want...but only the TRULY gifted can put themselves into bodies they don't understand and insert a voice that "sounds" right.
I thought I had it hard trying to write from a guy's point of view but baaaaaaaaaaby...the most challenging one I have yet is what I'm currently working on.
That of a lesbian woman.
Here I am thinking I can get it because it's just being a woman who is attracted to women so I try and think like a dude would think with heels.
It sounds like a drag queen gone wrong in a REALLY bad movie and I'm at a loss of how to continue.
Me thinks Imma have to table this one until I've found some good books on lesbians to read in my leisure. If any of you know of any...holla atcha girl.
I'm sitting back watching my stepson, who has been my SON since he was three years old, get ready to go off with his sperm donor for the first time in seven years.
I'm trying to relax. Trying to play it cool but the fact that he is about to go off with some stranger is really more than I know how to deal with.
I have to pretend I'm okay with this because I love my wife and I love my son but, to be honest, I'm far from okay with this and don't really know how to deal.
Dude will be here in an hour. My son is excited but scared. I told him that it's okay to be excited and scared and reminded him that his mother and I were a phone call away. Yeah...I was against an 11 year old having a cellphone before but the first thing I did when we found out we had to let him go was buy him a phone.
I'm not good with this.
But I have to pretend to be.
Dude better not cross any lines. My son had better come back happy and healthy.
Or it's going to go DOWN-T.
In the car Roman is checking his emails on his iPad. Duke is still looking uncomfortable and Ramsey is driving. Dargon is sitting in the back with his father.
Editor's Note: I'm working on something. Would mean a lot if you gave me some feedback. Thank you in advance.
I'm not a fan of watching movies made from my favorite books. I'd get all wrapped up in the beauty of the words and characters and scenes that my mind was able to help bring to life and then I'd see the vision through the eyes of a director and I'd be all..."MEH."
I've had this discussion with lots of people and they feel the same so that was pretty much my hard and fast stance.
And then I started translating my favorite bits of prose into script form and bringing other people who's opinions I trust and respect into the fold and I saw how the prose could change dramatically for cinematic delivery.
Lemme break it down for you.
When I'm writing in prose...I'm pretty good at developing the character in my head. I give them LAYERS. I don't just imagine them in the situation going on in the story. I imagine them in other situations too. I imagine where they work. What they eat. What their external family and friends are like. What their home looks like. Their favorite foods. Their favorite colors. What their bedroom looks like. If they like to do laundry. Do they drink coffee...etc.
My characters become PEOPLE to me.
So I take those people and places in my mind and write it in script format exactly as I "SEE" it all.
And then I walk away from it.
I ask myself how could I mix it up. What could I do to change it up and make people REALLY want to bite into it too? What would make the drama even MORE dramatical (I love that non-word word so...ROFL!)?
WHAT COULD MAKE IT MORE JUUUUUUUUIIIIIICCCCCCCYYYYYY???????????????????????????
And then I act a donkey's butt. I pull stuff from all over everywhere and end up developing something that might not look ANYTHING like the original concept...but that is entertaining as HELL.
See...with books we have a relationship with the characters that we control. We have the ability to create the visuals and that helps us interact with the story. We can put it down at anytime and pick it back up again.
With a movie?
It's all right there in front of you to see. The picture is painted by lots of different artists. The writer, the director, the director of photography, the producer, the director of lighting, the sound director, the AD, the makeup artist, the editor, the composer, the sound scrubber, the color correctionist, etc...
The actors, the actors, THE ACTORS.
These are the additional layers which bring a story to life.
A framily member had the opportunity to read the final script for "Marco Polo" yesterday. She'd read the first draft before the drama had been shaped. She couldn't close her mouth. "Monica...this.is.soooooooooooo.juuuuuuuiiiiccccccyyyyyyy..." Coming from her...that was gold statuette worthy.
I'd like to take the opportunity to thank our most FABULOUS team for working so hard over the past three months to bring "Marco Polo" to life. I already see it in my head complete and it's BEAUTIFUL, deep and captivating. It wouldn't be that way had we not had a team built of very REAL artists.
On to the next one...
Author's Note: What do you think she looks like? What does China look like? What do you think her father does for a living?
The fury on her face was what comes after the hurt. No…what comes BECAUSE of the hurt. The humiliation that followed standing in that hot ass chapel room waiting on the signal that he’d arrived…knowing it wasn’t coming fed a flame. Hotter, higher than anything she thought she’d ever experience.
She got that from her father. That move of standing squarely with her shoulders back. Her head tilted slightly. Her voice calm in a pitch others recognize as a voice of authority.
And everyone knows not to question.
The room cleared. Her sorors in beautiful couture dresses she and her mother picked out in Paris. Shoes cobbled in Italy.
Earrings? Diamond pear drops.
No expense had been spared for this day. She’d put a dent in the trust her Nana left her.
She was only getting married once.
When the door closed behind the last bridesmaid she unzipped her dress and stepped out of it wearing heels, thigh highs and her bra. With a body like hers…there was no need for anything else. She stared at the floor length mirror and pulled the pins out of her hair one by one and let them fall carelessly to the floor. When she was done she shook her hair out and smiled.
No teeth…just a tilt at the corners of her lips.
No shine in her eyes.
Just the darkness that comes with rage.
She walked over to the vanity where she’d taken pictures hours earlier getting dressed for her wedding day and got her phone.
“China…come get me. I’ll be at the back of the church in five minutes.”
She slipped on the ridiculously pink dress she’d worn to the church at her mother’s insistence, grabbed her bag and walked out.
China pulled up as she stepped out and she got in the car.
“Where to?” he asked.
“The condo in the city.”
He drove off as his phone started ringing. He looked in the rear view mirror. “It’s your father.”
She said nothing.
“I can’t lie to your father Danny.”
“I didn’t ask you to.”
China answered the phone as he drove.
“She asked me to pick her up from the back of the church.”
“The condo in the city.”
“No Sir. I’d rather do as she asks if you don’t mind.”
“I understand Sir but I think this is a time when she should get to give the orders.”
There was silence as China listened.
“China, may I speak with my father please?” Danny said.
“Sir…she wants to talk to you. Hold on.” He handed the phone to Danny.
“Daddy? Fuck you.” And she lowered the window and threw the phone out.
“I owe you a phone China.”
“Might be a good thing to not have one for a while I’m thinking."
She said nothing.
“China…how could he?”
China said nothing.
He looked up again…”I don’t know Danny Girl…I don’t know.”
And he drove her to the city.
"Da hell?" he jumped back.
"Um...I'm so sorry, please...I'm so sorry."
"Don't worry about it."
"Can I buy you another drink?"
He stopped. Looked at her. REALLY looked at her and smiled. She looked like she belonged in another time. Sad, dark eyes, gorgeous afro, baby tee tight against her breasts that were, he had to admit, nice.
"Don't tell my mother when you meet her but sure, you can replace my drink. Gin and coke."
I am pleased to inform you that your film has been selected by the ABFF Jury as one of the top-scoring submissions for 2010. It is therefore with great pleasure that we invite you to screen SISTERS in the NEW VISIONS section at this year's American Black Film Festival, scheduled to take place in Miami, June 23-27.
We recognize that completing a short film is a huge undertaking and we commend you on your accomplishment and the good work. Please e-mail us back by the end of business tomorrow to confirm if you would like to accept our offer of a screening position at ABFF 2010.
Authors Note: Hell...yall were so good with her...might as well get some ideas on what yall think HE looks like. Thanks in advance to all! This is AWESOME!
My shift is from 12 - 8 today.
I'm thankful for my job but I'll be damned if I wear my work shirt and name tag when I'm not there. That should explain to you why it is currently folded up in my backpack while I'm here at the library looking for a job before my shift starts.
Today. 8 hours on my feet smiling and shit ringing up and bagging people's groceries.
The library is right behind the grocery store where I work. Well...across the street and down a piece but you get what I'm saying. It's a nice day so I parked at my job and walked over to the library. Three days a week my shift starts at 12 so three days a week I get here at 9 and look for a job. A real job.
I'm not looking for anything much special but I just want the basics. I'm all out of dreaming so I'll take one of those good Federal jobs so I can shut it down. Get me some benefits. Get my kid some benefits. Have more money to give his mother. Help my mother out a bit more. Basic shit you know? Shit a man should be able to do. Yeah...I know I went about it ass backwards but I did it. I was in school for 4 years and didn't graduate and then got me a good job while I was still in school and then took some time off from education. By the time I figured I needed to finish school, I'd already been divorced with a child and back to living with my mama but you know what? I went back and I finished and when I started looking for me that good job seems like everybody else was looking for that same good job too. I thought I was doing something getting that degree finally and look...all it seems to be is some more paper trailing me around.
But I'm thankful for this lil piece of job I have because it's something and I see people. People with baskets overflowing with expensive foods. People who don't care if it's on sale or not. People who don't use their reward card because they don't think about every cent they spend. Imma be one of those people one day soon.
Probably not though. I'll always remember this feeling of not having enough and not feeling adequate. Of having a job that defines me by my current circumstances. I'll always be scared to be here again. Of living with my mother as if she's my roommate but not really because she's my mother.
I look around me at the people at the other computer terminals and I know there is probably one or more of them applying for the same jobs I'm applying for and I size them up and see what others will see in the comparison. Sometimes I'm good. Sometimes I'm not.
"I'm poor, Black, I might even be ugly, but dear God, I'm here. I'm here"
I have to stop watching that movie with my mother.
I was laughing at myself when I saw Thursday Morning walk in. I call her Thursday Morning because Thursday is the only early morning shift I have and she's in there every Thursday morning. I watch her because I can. She won't recognize me because I'm invisible to people unless I'm at my register with my shirt and name tag on but...I have a feeling she doesn't recognize many. She's got that look. Like she don't want no trouble so she's gonna keep to herself. I see how she balls into herself and has a faded look in her eyes all the time. Like there's a film cross her eyes.
You know how when your car runs outta window cleaner stuff and you flick the thing to get rid of bug juice and now it's all dried up and hazy? That's what I imagine her vision is like. She's never in a hurry but she doesn't linger either. I bet she has somewhere to be and stays tight up on a schedule. Ain't nothing wrong with sticking to schedule. I'm the same way. Hell...it's Tuesday and I'm at the library right? Right. It's what I do on Tuesdays.
I like knowing there is someplace else I go that she goes to as well. Seems that somebody with a schedule being where I am makes it seem not all that bad. I wish I could see her smile because I've never seen her smile. I bet if I told her some corny ass shit like "You should smile" or "Pretty ladies like you shouldn't frown all the time" she probably look clean through me and toss me an old fake ass smile like I've seen my mother do in church with Elder Morse who is always trying to holla at her on the sly.
Oh well. She has a nice ass anyway.
Author's note: This is a character I've been working on. This is what she was thinking and doing before action was called on the set. Her life is about to change today but I'd like to know if you can SEE her. If so...what does she look like? TO YOU.
It's been about two years now I suppose. Maybe more because I can't even remember what today is. Wait...I saw "24" last night so that was Monday so today must be Tuesday and it's May. Late May. I know that much because Memorial Day sales commercials be coming on the tv.
Lawd my daddy would have skinned me alive if he'd heard me talking that way. Why do I always sound like some old Negro character actor in my head?
I'm currently sitting outside enjoying a cup of coffee. Coffee is the one thing I haven't cut back on. I mean sure...I don't waste any like I used to mind you but I still get the good stuff. Oily, dark roasted fresh beans. I store them in that airtight canister I searched high and low for forever ago and make my coffee in my fancy coffee maker every morning. Fresh ground. If I have any left over, I put it in the fridge and reheat it the next day. I can't be wasting no coffee man and day old coffee gets a bad rap by the masses.
I gotta get up and out of here today so I can fax these distribution papers in. My unemployment ran out, of course...hey...it's been bout two years now. I take out a bit every 6 months. Enough to cover my mortgage and car insurance. Household bills and whatnot. Thank God I didn't buy that new car when I was thinking on it back when I had a work home that I'd gone to faithfully everyday for 12 years right out of grad school.
I've been watching "Ellen" because she makes me laugh big old belly laughs although I've started to have issues lately because of all the people she's been helping out recently and I wonder if I'd tell her all my business so she could give me a car or pay off my mortgage or something. But mostly I just be laughing cuz Ellen is funny as hell.
I never lived big. I always had enough by simply not needing much. My home is simple out in a quiet area and I live a quiet life. My phone doesn't ring. Not my home phone because I shut that off when I shut off the cable. I didn't really need either of them. I have a computer and internet so I can watch movies and tv shows online. My cell phone is the basic plan with the minimum minutes because nobody calls me anyway. People don't know how to be there for you when you're going through tough economic times cuz money is just so hard to talk about I guess. My friends invite me someplace and I can't go even though I'd love to and after so many I can'ts...they stopped giving me the opportunity. I didn't go to the wedding of my line sister and they thought it was because I was jealous because she was getting married. The truth of the matter is that I couldn't afford the flight, hotel, food and gift. Her wedding added up to a month of living for me. But they think it's cuz I be hatin because I don't have a man or children or the life they have chased down until they are thread bare.
Ain't none of their business no how.
But no...I don't have nobody to take care of me when I get old. Don't have nobody or nothing and no...I can't buy you a baby shower gift or a house warming gift or give your kid a First Communion card with cash.
I should have adopted that puppy but they gotta eat too and have shots and all kinds of stuff that costs money.
I'm living now as if I have nothing to look forward to except this cup of coffee in the morning sitting outside on the patio of my comfortable, adequate home because I don't. I stopped looking for a job months ago. I leave my home on Thursday to buy my food for the week. I don't need much. Two packs of chicken do me fine and I've been growing stuff I can eat too. Frozen veggies are always on sale and I simply eat what goes on sale come Wednesday. Right now my life costs me about $1,200 hard cash a month to live. After I take out this distribution today, I'll have about $92,000 left in my 401k. Good thing I always put in the max all those years for all my years left over. I do the math all the time cuz I be thinking. But this is all I can do right now. Live small and quiet and wake up every day. All that thinking will make a person feel desperate. I have lots of time for desperate when I stop avoiding the mirrors.
Well...that was my last swallow of coffee and I'm not in the mood for another cup today. The enjoyment it brings me makes me think everything was normal again even as I know that's a dream but I be wishing. I be wishing. I be wishing. I be wishing. I read they don't start harassing you really until you've missed 3 months of mortgage payments so I can always tack that time on at the end.
Lord...please give me the strength to repair my broken will. Please. Please make it harder for me to accept my life as it is now. Please make me want to re-join the pulse before I'm far too content with the quiet.
I be praying.
"Hey honey!" she smiled as her husband walked through the door.
The dogs were barking furiously in excitement as if they thought they weren't ever going to see him again when he left this morning. The 7- year old hurtled himself at his father and slid down his leg holding on as his father drug him across the floor. When he reached the kitchen island he unstrapped their daughter from her high chair and kissed her all over her face as she giggled and then he walked over and kissed her.
Lightly...on the mouth.
"Hey. Are you almost ready?"
"Yes. Christian is in the other room helping Marcus with his homework. Let me run up and get my bag."
And she wiped her wet hands on her jeans to dry them and ran upstairs to their bedroom.
On the way down she could hear the sounds of her husband giving everyone one last order of the rules of the game. Listen to Christian. One hour of television and it's Davey's time to choose. And...just because we're not here doesn't mean that bed time isn't the same time.
She kissed her three children while answering Davey's questions about what channels he could choose from and finally...they were out the door to date night.
Just the two of them.
"How was your day today?"
"It was good. We got the specs for that proposal I told you about last week so that's coming along."
"Oh...great. That was the thing for the county right?"
"Right. Did my mother call you about Saturday afternoon?"
"Yes. She is so cute. She knows good and well I don't have a problem with the kids going to church with her and for her to keep them all day Sunday too? Whew! We haven't had a Saturday night AND Sunday without the kids in so long I don't even know what to do with ourselves!"
"Yeah. Maybe we'll catch an independent movie or something down at the Landmark Theatre."
"That would be nice. Ooooooh...we could get ice cream from that little place next to it!"
"True. We haven't had that in a while."
"I heard this story on NPR about chicken being exported from Mississippi to Russia that was pretty fascinating. I'll have to find it and send it to you."
"I think I heard it on the way home. The one about how they changed the exporting rules and now they can export and they've made like $28 million since June."
"Yes! Can you believe one little law tweak could change the economics of chicken farming that drastically for them?"
"Just goes to show what dumb laws hinder."
And they pulled up to the building.
One of those buildings that had an exterior face lift that the interior hadn't caught up to yet except for the lobby. You walked in and it looked so nice and then when you got off the elevator...you were in a dumpy old corridor with tragic green carpet and beige wallpaper that was rolling at the seams. When you got to her office, however, you could tell that she'd made an effort to make her space warm and inviting using texture, colors and scents.
So her clients could feel better.
Judy White, LCMFT, LCPC.
It was some time before she got the answer from Mr. Google as to exactly what all of those initials really meant. A licensed marriage counselor and family therapist as well as a fancy counselor. Supposedly the best of the ones they could afford.
When they walked into the office through the reception area...it was small talk as usual and then...they were on the sofa. He on the left arm. She on the right. Same way they slept in bed.
Lots of space between them.
But at least it wasn't a kid.
"So...last week it was Meredith's turn to speak. This week it's yours. Start off with the most important thing you want to say and let's go from there."
"I don't love my wife anymore. I have no plans to leave her. She's a good mother, a good person, she's smart, she's funny...but no. I don't love her anymore and I haven't in over a year."
The words came out fast. In a hurry. As if he'd worked up the courage practicing in the mirror and then finally, finally...they were out.
Judy sat back in her seat and crossed her left leg over her right. She glanced at Meredith to see her reaction and what she saw there scared her...
This was the second time today she'd felt the pinch in her side. A sharp pain that made her catch her breath and she inhaled deeply and exhaled slowly. The first time was when she was doing the laundry and now...as she was running errands.
"Are you okay?"
She opened her eyes and saw a woman with two children looking at her expectantly.
"Yes. I'm okay. I just felt a sharp pinch in my side."
"Are you sure?" the woman looked skeptical.
"Yes...thank you. Have a nice day." and she walked away pushing her grocery cart in the opposite direction.
She moved fast picking up the few things she needed from the overpriced gourmet grocery store and went to the fastest moving line. On the magazine rack she noted the "Fit Pregnancy" magazine and reached for it when she saw the story "Pregnant After 40" on the cover. She stopped herself and had to focus on keeping her hands to her sides so as not to pick it up and flip through it or purchase it.
"Did you find every thing you needed?" the cashier asked.
"Yes. Thank you for asking." and she handed the cashier her recyclable bags.
She made it out to her car and loaded up her groceries to head home. She'd had a long day of preparing for tonight and she was determined everything would follow through without a hitch. She hadn't seen her husband in a week...
...and he was on his way home from a conference he'd spoken at in Santa Monica and today was their 14th wedding anniversary.
Television sucks. It's gotten to the point where ESPN is so repetitive that he knew what was coming on before they even announced it. The commercials weren't even enjoyable anymore and that sucked chunks because hey...what guy doesn't like a cheesy commercial? He was struck with the thought that he never really had the time to pay too much attention to what was going on on television so he probably missed the repetition aspect.
When the doorbell rang it startled him because it hadn't rang in so long he'd forgotten what it sounded like. He moved so quickly that he hurt his finger that he'd burned earlier cooking by hitting it on the remote. He looked out the window and what was left of any good will he had with the world dissipated immediately. He'd known he was going to have to deal with this soon but seriously...he wasn't ready for it.
He opened the door after taking a deep breath and there she was.
The first time they made love they knew two weeks before it happened that it was going to happen. They'd met years before when they were both happily married. Colleagues who always seemed to notice "extras" about the other.
He preferred sugar cubes in his coffee.
She preferred to sit on the aisle.
He never wore button down collars.
She had an endless supply of crisp white shirts.
He was a runner.
She was a runner.
The day their connection became evident was when they were headed to the same restaurant in their hotel lobby. Since they were eating alone they decided to have dinner together.
Her phone rang and she didn't glance at it.
His phone rang and he didn't glance at it.
They talked for hours as the light was replaced from the window by a single tea light in an alabaster votive holder. They glowed.
She was never the type of woman who would end up cheating. Truth be told she was always adamant that it was the only deal breaker she could imagine in marriage. If her husband ever cheated on her that is.
He was against the desk in the hotel room as she kissed him. As he kissed her. She stood between his legs and kissed him, inhaling as she did. His smile, his aura, the breathe flowing from his nose. Her hands pulling his shirt out of his pants so she could touch him. Feel the warm skin of his back under her fingertips, fully extending her hands feeling that jolt she always feels whenever she is skin to skin with him.
His kissed her completely and sighed as he stopped, both hands on either side of her face. His forehead on hers.
"It's been too long." he whispered. Hoarse from their kiss.
Her hands came out of his shirt, up his neck, rubbing lightly over his hair. "I know."
And the silence hummed with all the wishes and wants.
Outside the weather was nasty. Cold and rainy with a sharp wind that slung the rain sideways. In the quiet of the house she could hear the weather. Through the window by her bed she could feel the cold air.
Her husband hates that she has to have a window open to sleep when it's cold but she does it anyway. She needs that air to breathe. She needs a reminder that the air in this house isn't the only air she has access to.
She's been awake for an hour listening to her husband snore. A sound that has become unbearable as his weight has increased and his sleep apnea has gotten worse.The look on her face is one of a woman who is trying not to think too much but has no choice. She sighs and her husband stirs, his large arm drops on her chest and she closes her eyes briefly and then she gets out of bed.
As she stands at the base of the bed getting dressed in her running clothes she watches her husband. Listens to him. Takes him all in without emotion it seems.
She heads down the hall and stops to look in on both her children. Her daughter still in the same spot she fell asleep in and her son upside down in bed without covers with his arm slung across their dog, Rasta.
Rasta opens his eyes and watches her but doesn't move. She picks the duvet off the floor and gently places it over her son and dog.
She woke wondering if it was real. She used the pad of her thumb on her left hand to feel for the solid cool of the band and there it was. Slowly, she lifted her hand and saw it. Her lovely new engagement ring...the most beautiful thing she'd ever seen and she smiled. A genuine, huge, lovely smile.
He stirred next to her and she watched him sleep. Loving the way his face was expressionless. Picturing him as a sleeping child. Fighting the urge to kiss him.
"I'm engaged." she thought. "I'm engaged to the man I love...who loves me."
And she snuggled up close to him as his arm reached behind him protectively, "You okay Bey?" he said sleepily.
"Mmmhmmmmm..." she smiled into the back of his neck.
And she drifted back to sleep.
"Daddy! Come see my new flip!" Michael ran into his father's study wet from the pool. His footsteps making watery footprints along the dark floors. He slapped his hands on either side of the armchair Gregory was sitting in. Droplets of water fell on the documents in Gregory's lap.
He looked up at his son who was beaming.
"MICHAEL!" his mother screamed!
"Looks like you're busted podnuh. Your mother is yelling for you."
"Crap. Hide me dad!"
"No can do. You're a man. A Stinson at that. Stinson men face their music."
Rachel walked in the room visibly angry.
"Michael why in the world are you running through the house getting everything wet. Either you're in the pool or you're out and if you're out, shower and put some clothes on now!"
The phone rang and Gregory picked it up. Rachel stepped aside so Michael could pass through the doorway and followed him fussing. Gregory laughed and answered the phone.
"Is this Gregory Stinson?"
"Yes it is. Who's calling?"
"It's me daddy. It's Lily."
"It's Lily daddy. Your daughter."
"You must be mistaken young lady. I don't have a daughter named Lily."
"Oh...I'm so sorry to have bothered you. My apologies. Have a good day."
And she hung up.
Gregory sat deeper into his chair and put the phone back on it's cradle. Rachel came back in the room with a towel.
"Who was that?" she asked while wiping up water.
She continued drying the watery footprints saying nothing.
"I'll be ready for you to start grilling the steaks soon." She walked out of the room.
Gregory grunted at her and listened to her footsteps and she walked down the hall. He then picked up the phone and called the last number.
A man answered. "Hello."
"Hello, may I speak to Lily?"
"I'm sorry there is no Lily here." said Samuel.
"I just received a call from a young lady from this phone number."
"I let a girl use it when she asked could she. I don't know who she was."
"My apologies but do you know where she went?"
"Where are you located?"
"I'm sorry to have bothered you."
"No problem." said Samuel.
He hung up the phone.
"Honey I'm running out to the store. You want anything?
"No. But thank you for asking."
"Who was that calling?" she asked.
"Nobody honey. Wrong number."
Lily leaned over and kissed her husband. "I love you"
"I love you too baby. Drive careful."
Lily walked out the door closing it softly behind her.
Samuel put the phone back on it's crale. Finished watching the game.
"This is Debra, John's wife."
"Oh...hi Debra. I was just thinking I needed to call and get something on the calendar with you guys. How delightful that you called!" She sat back in her seat and pushed away from her desk a bit.
"I hope it's okay that I called you at your office."
"Of course. What's going on?"
"Well, I was wondering if you were available for a quick coffee? I'm at the Starbucks on the corner by your office."
"Yes. Right now."
"Debra, is everything okay?"
"Not really, but I'd like to talk to you about something."
"Okay. I'll be there in 5 minutes."
"Don't call Mark before you come."
Carolyn sat up straight in her chair. Cocked her head to the side slightly. With a bemused look on her face she said sharply, "Okay."
She hung up the phone and pulled out the bottom drawer of her file cabinet and got out her city shoes. Changed out of her heels, got her coat and her wallet. Her Blackberry. Wrapped her scarf around her neck twice and pulled one end though the other.
"I'm going to the Starbuck's on the corner. Would you like anything?"
Her assistant jumped. Startled. Probably doing something she should't be doing like blog hopping.
"No, but thank you for asking."
And she walked down the hall...her shoulders were squared and her chin set. A good looking woman. A confident woman. A women who knew control.
She walked out of her office past the receptionist and made a left. Walked down the stairs to the main level of the building. The cool marble shiny and yet warm. The security guard nodded in her direction and she nodded back. "Malcolm."
She walked out of the revolving doors and took a right. Adjusted the belt on her coat and breathed in the cold air. Walked steadfastly as her breathe breathed warm air out for all to see.
A woman with a stroller was struggling to get into the door of the Starbucks and she rushed ahead and grabbed the door for her. The woman gratefully clipped a thank you and went inside.
Carolyn stepped through the door and immediately saw Debra sitting at a table by the window.
She walked over and sat down loosening her scarf.
"Okay...I'm here. What's wrong?"
Debra reached behind her and pulled out an envelope from her purse. She laid it on the table.
"I think you should have this."
Carolyn reached for the envelope, saw a T-Mobile logo and looked up confused.
"That has been coming to my home now for the past three months. It's Mark's."
"Why would a bill for Mark come to your house?" She already knew.
"I wondered that too. Thought it was for John. Thought he was cheating on me. Again."
"Again? What do you mean?" She already knew.
"John cheated on me three years ago. Summer of '05."
"Summer of '05? But that was the summer we..." She already knew.
"...we all rented that villa in Spain for 6 weeks. Yes. I know. Guilt. That's how it goes. But hey...we worked through it."
"So you say this bill is for Mark?" She already knew.
"Yes. I got it out of John's office. I make periodic sweeps of it for anything suspicious and ran across them. I only took one."
Carolyn picked up the envelope. "How do you know it's not John's?" She already knew.
"Because I checked. I've been cheated on once. Maybe twice. I've learned a lot."
Carolyn pulled the bill out. Looked at her husband's name with Debra and John's address. Surprised at the calm she felt.
"He travels a lot more than I ever thought he would at this stage you know?"
"Yeah. I know. He golfs a lot less with John too."
"What am I supposed to do with this?"
"Whatever you want to do with it."
"I already knew you know? This doesn't shock me."
"When it happened to me, I knew too."
"How did you let him know you knew?"
"I was getting ready for bed and I just casually mentioned it. He's been making up for it ever since."
"How did you get over it?"
"I haven't. You don't. You can't. You won't."
"Do I know her?"
"Should I be worried about her?"
"What should I do?"
"That's up to you. I can't tell you what to do. I know I couldn't be single again. A divorced woman with three children and half the income I'm used to? No. I couldn't do it."
"How do you love him still?"
"Who says I do? I'm realistic about my options is all." She took a sip of her coffee. "You should get some coffee, or tea. We might be here for a while."
Carolyn stood up, folded the envelope up and put it in her pocket.
Got in line and ordered a grande mocha latte.
"Is there valet at this place?"
"Then Imma need you to wait for me cuz I don't have any money."
"Of course you don't. *sigh*"
"I don't know why in the world you're sighing."
"I don't either. How far away are you?"
"Right around the corner."
"Okay. I'm just pulling up now."
"Don't leave me out there looking dumb Candice."
"Candice? Did you hear me? Don't leave me hanging."
"Have I ever left you hanging Rebecca?"
"Exactly. I'm here and I don't see you. Where are you? Oh...I see you now."
When I looked up and saw you my heart skipped a beat. Not for the reasons you'll probably tell everyone, but because I've dreamed of this moment for years now...the moment you'd see me and realize you didn't break me.
And realized you didn't break me.
I looked good because I always do, always did...regardless of what you said.
You tried to break me and you know you did.
I've often wondered why. Why would you treat my heart so?
I was so in love with you then I didn't see it. I didn't see the hate you had for your mother and how she treated you during your childhood. I didn't see it because you pretended to love her so much. You did everything she asked of you suffering in silence, pretending to be the Cosby's because the truth was so many years ago that maybe the years wiped the slate clean.
I realized you were never alone with her. I realized your disdain for her when speaking of her to me WAS HOW YOU REALLY FELT.
I realized how jealous you were of my family...of my life. Of the fact that we were the normal. That my father loved my mother. That he loved us. That he went to work and came home. That he didn't kick our asses.
Like your father did.
AFTER your mother left him.
AFTER she left you WITH him.
It wasn't your fault.
It wasn't my fault either.
My hair was beautiful, as it always was. Gleaming dreads, natural. Gorgeous. Not ugly and nappy. You know...like you used to call them.
My legs, strong. Still. In lovely heels and a FABULOUS skirt. A little extra than you liked according to your snark. But strong and smooth, shapely. My waist, defined. My breasts...happy.
Happy to see you, and you, and you, and you.
And DAMN did I smell good.
I longed to see you so many times. Out of pain, out of remorse, out of loneliness, out of vengeance, out of spite.
Out of pity.
Looks like no one takes care of you. Looks like no one cares.
I look like someone takes care of me. I look like someone cares.
Today when I saw you...my heart skipped a beat out of gratitude to God above because you dumped me. Because you forced me to see your lack of love for me. Because you rubbed my face in my sheltered life like it was bad...like yours was better.
Yes it was painful. Some days...I thought I couldn't, wouldn't be able to go on. But I did. My daddy and my brothers packed me up. My mother cooked my favorite foods. My family helped me then...
As they do now.
My daddy will walk me down the aisle.
My mother helped plan my wedding.
My friends, who were NEVER jealous of me because of you, will stand beside me as I pledge myself to him.
A man like my daddy.
It wasn't your fault.
It was my own.
"Mommy, why come spiders have eight legs?"
"I don't know baby." She flipped through the mail that she'd picked up from the box out front.
"Mommy, why come spiders eat fly's?
"Because fly's fly into their web." She looked at a bill she'd never seen before.
"Baby, go change your clothes and get ready to do your homework."
She looked at the bill with her husband's name on it and tapped it on her chin trying to jar her memory. Nothing happening. She was unfamiliar and the dread crept up from her stomach to her heart. With a foreboding sense of dread she opened it and wished with all her heart she hadn't.
The roaring started almost immediately. She could barely hear her thoughts for the beating of her heart, the roar of her emotions. The sound of her breath, in and out, in and out. The bill was for a credit card she was unfamiliar with and the charges were for charges he would have wanted to keep hidden from her.
She picked up the phone and dialed her sister's house...arranged to drop her Mia off and then called her husband and arranged to meet him for dinner by the office as a surprise.
She'd have a surprise for him alright. And she'd bet he'd never, ever forget.
"Please...tell me why you are that way...no...really?"
"You know good and well you were thinking it too."
"Thinking it and saying it are two entirely different things....hey...I'll call you back, I see my girl. She just got off the train."
"Stop calling me that or I'm going to start a rumor that your left boob is larger than your right."
"Whateva heffa! I ain't scared of you! Bye!"
She pulle dup to the Kiss and Ride and popped the back of her truck so her friend could put her luggage in the back. It was raining so she decided not to get out. Seconds later, her friend was in the passenger seat and they were on their way grooving to music.
"Who is this?"
"I cannot believe you asked that. It's Frankie Beverly and Maze."
"I love this song and hear it all the time. I never know who sings what."
They hadn't seen each other in over a year and caught up on the ride home. They'd been friends now for about 5 years and it always amazed them how much they had in common seeing as though they met on the internet initially. Funny how bloggers end up finding people just like them online.
When they pulled up to Jessie's home, her husband walked out the front door and retrieved the bags from the truck. Jessie showed Karen to her room and left her alone to freshen up. The phone rang...area code 407.
She hung up the phone.
"Who was it?" Ron asked with one eyebrow raised.
"They didn't say anything."
"Area code 407?"
"Yes, how did you know?"
"That's the 5th time today they've called."
"It's an Orlando area code." he reached past her and got a handful of almonds. "Who do we know in Orlando?"
"Nobody since Dawn moved from there. She's in Atlanta now."
Karen walked downstairs looking refreshed and comfortable in velour lounge wear. Jessie handed her a glass of wine.
"Girl...that flight was HORRENDOUS! I need this drink hell. What's for dinner? I know you got something fabulous over there. I already smell it."
The phone rang again. Ron looked at Jessie and picked it up.
Area code 407.
"I'm going to need you to stop calling this number if you're not going to say anything. Thank you." He hung up the phone.
"Da hell?" Karen looked puzzled.
"Girl...we've been getting calls where no one is saying anything. It's very annoying."
"Who the hell does that? Don't they know caller ID exists?"
Jessie looked at Ron. "Have you tried calling the number back?"
"No. Lemme see." he pressed talk on the phone engaging the call and listened. Karen took a sip of her wine. Jessie watched him intently.
He hung up. "It just rang." He looked at his wife steadily. She looked at him unwaveringly. He touched her cheek and let his hand slide to the back of her neck and trail away.
They shared an animated dinner and finished off a bottle of wine. Jessie went upstairs to change into lounge wear and went into the guest bedroom to turn down the covers on the bed. The buzzing sound startled her and her eyes searched for the origin of the sound...Karen's phone was on vibrate...the number calling?
Area code 407.
She watched as his car turned the corner from where she was sitting upstairs. He pulled into the driveway and sat there for a few minutes and then got out, walked to the door. The doorbell rang and she went to answer it trying to appear casual...as if her heart wasn't beating, no...thudding in her chest, in her throat, in her stomach.
Her palms were sweaty and she wiped them on the back of her pants and went to the door and opened it.
She stepped aside to let him in.
"May I take your coat?"
"No. I'm not going to be long." He stood there questioningly. "Well? You said it was urgent, what's wrong?"
"I got the papers and, well...I just wanted to talk to you about it."
"We really shouldn't talk you know. You should probably just talk to your attorney."
"I don't have an attorney."
"Why Michelle? You knew this was coming. You knew." His gaze softened. "You always put off things you don't want to face."
She walked around him to the sofa. Sat down and pulled a pillow to her chest. Thought it made her look juvenile and retuned the pillow to where it was. He walked over and sat on the other sofa facing her...his shirt open at the neck, and leaned forward.
"I don't know. I just think this has gone too far. I mean...how did we get here? How did we get to where we're considering divorce?"
"I'm not considering it. This is done. We've been separated for months now." He leaned back and crossed his leg. One arm tossed casually over the back of the sofa.
"Yes, exactly. Separated. When you moved out it was so we could figure out what we were doing wrong as a couple. That's not divorce. We were supposed to start counseling"
"I don't know what to tell you. It just got to be too...hard."
"I don't want a divorce. I want it to be like it was. When you were my best friend and I was yours." She fought back tears. Blinking rapidly.
He looked away.
"Please make me understand how we got here." she whispered.
"I don't know. I just woke up one day and realized that...I didn't love you anymore."
She leaned back into the sofa and let the tears fall. She closed her eyes against them and when she opened her eyes they dropped even faster, choking back anything she could have said.
The doorbell rang and he stood up. She did too. He walked to the door and opened it, "I'll be right out." he said. He closed the door softly with his hand on the doorknob and looked at her standing away from him. He saw the girl she was when he first met her and he felt sorry for her. She hugged herself and the tears continued, her mouth opened slightly allowing her enough air to breathe...to breathe past the consuming pain.
She tried to speak and couldn't. She put her hand up to cover her mouth and closed her eyes against the pain. Nodded.
She nodded. Her eyes closed.
He opened the door and walked out. She waited...standing there...holding herself and then walked to the door and locked it.
He doesn't love her anymore.
Her phone buzzed and she grabbed it quickly before it buzzed again and woke him. She disabled the alarm and looked over at him lying on his stomach with his arms sprawled out, his nose deep in the pillow. She wanted to kiss his cheek but didn’t want to wake him as he lay there sleeping as she imagined he did when he was a child with not a care in the world. His lashes, so long, they curved against his cheek.
She slipped out of bed, her sock clad feet making a soft thud on the floor and grabbed the clothes she’d laid out on the bench, getting dressed softly.
Rasta, her dog, lifted his head and looked at her, put his head back down and repositioned for sleep.
In the bathroom she brushed her teeth and washed her face, pulling her hair back into a loose ponytail and then headed to the kitchen to make breakfast. Grits, scrambled eggs, and Canadian bacon. She put a plate in the microwave covered just as Rasta decided to come see what she was up to and she handed him a piece of bacon.
He sniffed it and turned around, walking out of the kitchen.
She laughed at how finicky her pooch was.
After she scribbled him a note, she placed it on his nightstand and, she couldn’t resist. She bent down and kissed him softly on his cheek. He moaned gently and put his nose deeper into the pillow. She was almost out the door when he realized she wasn’t in bed next to him.
My short stories are REALLY not short stories but pieces of scripts that I've wrote and have in my arsenal. Now...yall know I love yall and all...but of the 4,000 plus hits I get on average daily...only a MINUTE fraction of yall comment...so needless to say...I don't "KNOW" a lot of yall.
I can't be sharing all my ish online cuz I don't want nobody stealing my ish. I fully intend on bringing most of the stuff I write to life.
Now...THAT SAID...if you guys would prefer I NOT share some of them with you in "short" version...just let me know and I will stop.