I am chilling, glass of wine in hand, sipping and surveying the crowd. I am well aware of the fact that I am under dressed in this crowd of posers and even more aware of the fact that I don't really give a shit. The white girl in front of me is laughing a little too hard at a joke the Slim Thug looking brother in front of her didn't tell. The elderly group of women to my left discuss homos and their contribution to the destruction of marriage, forgetting apparently that gay people aren't contributing the 50% divorce rate.
I am pretending not to notice the waiter that keeps making his way conveniently back over to clock my homegirl TRS. Or the group of black girls complete with obligatory gay boy who are throwing looks at my small group of three and hating. You would think, after damn near 3 years of living in Texas, that I would be used to not only the white folks looking at me like I don't belong, but the ordinary ass niggas doing the same.
I'm still not though.
My eyes drag the crowd. I am crowd watching, checking the outfits, compulsively crotch watching. I catch the eye of a tall light skinned dude across the crowd and I smile a bit, long enough to not be rude, short enough to not issue an invitation to invade my personal space. I slide my eyes away, but not before resting them quickly on the bulge in pressing against his zipper.
During my optical escape from the guy single-handedly trying to bring light skinned boys back, I spy a very familiar blazer. I smile at what used to be fond memory. Before...
I've seen a blazer like that.
And then he turns...
I helped pick out that blazer.
KB catches my eye and smiles that perfect smile that used to turn me on so much. For a split second, I remember who he was Back Then and why I was so attracted, so bewitched with him, until I remember who he turned out to be. You know it's time to move when you can't go anywhere without bumping into mistakes. Repeatedly. I smile tightly, slightly raising my wine glass, and turning pointedly back to the conversation my two friends are carrying on with the extra black men far too excited to have business cards.
For the rest of the evening, I pointedly concentrate solely on the conversation happening in front of me, but still trying to stay aware of my surroundings. I mingle only a little, distracted, unable to carry any real conversation with TRS because I can still feel his eyes on my neck.
Like I'm trapped.
TRS and I part early after only a few after parties, partly because we have to get up in the morning, mostly because we both unwisely wore four inch heels. As I make my way to my car in the parking garage, I become immediately aware that the easy rhythm of my boots on the concrete are harmonized by the shuffle of a heavy foot and the click of a stiletto. Under any other circumstances I would be a bit worried. But I know it's him.
I turn at the driver's side of the my car, as he approaches. I size up the model chick on his arm. I would be lying if I said that she didn't make me feel bad about myself. That is of course until I notice her eyes lingering a little too long on my lips after awkward introductions, and sliding down to my chest.
"Babe could you wait for me in the car please? I will only be a minute," he says to the Rosario Dawson ringer, tossing her the keys. I smirk at the disrespect. Surely had he done that to me, his keys would be laying on the ground. Or, more accurately, if he were dismissing me so he could chat it up in a parking garage with some chick he used to fuck, he would find himself stranded.
But she ain't me.
"Well hello. What are you doing here? I heard you'd moved."
"I did move. We are just in town for a long weekend."
"Yeah. Rosario and I."
"Oh ok. Gotcha. You guys are dating?"
"Yeah. Pretty seriously for 6 months now."
"Well congrats. Though I hate to tell you, I think your girl," I lean in conspiratorially, "might be a dyke."
"Just a feeling."
"You're just saying that."
"I'm just saying that because I know."
"Because the last time I was that distracted by a woman's lips, I fucked her."
He laughs, the sound echoing in the empty garage before we fall into silence.
"How are you?" he asks me, struggling to maintain neutrality.
"You don't mean that."
"You're right. I don't."
Silence engulfs us again, him regarding me carefully, taking in the changes since he saw me last.
"You got your braces off."
"Your smile is beautiful."
"Happiness agrees with you."
"I think so."
When he doesn't follow up his comment I make a move towards my car, deactivating the alarm so I can leave Rebound Hell.
"I keep running into you," he says.
"God has a strange sense of humor."
"I think it's for a reason." I raise my eyebrows at him. "So I can say I'm sorry," he blurts out before averting his eyes like a child being scolded. "I said some... pretty awful things. And you didn't deserve it. And you apologized to me for what you did. And I treated you like shit. And I'm sorry. That isn't the kinda person I want to be."
I search his eyes for any hint of manipulation.
He smiles, attractive and lively again, and I hope he can hold on to that. Even if he is with Rosario the Model with No IQ.
He leans in to hug me, positioning his body for a close, intimate hug, as I shift away and give him obligatory stranger distance, complete with the 2 taps on the back. For a minute, I remember that once, I used to like him in my space.
In my ear he says, "Be well," and turns to walk towards his rental. He turns back about halfway across the distance.
"You're still beautiful. And I still miss you sometimes. Sometimes..."
He trails off, presumably because he notices my raised eyebrow, my look of skepticism.
I jump in my car shaking my head, simultaneously buckling up and turning on my radio. Remember how I told you my i.pod was psychic?
My i.pod ain't funny.
I turn it up and pull off fast, swerving, windows down, leaving Back Then in my rear view mirror.
I'm the shit
And your lady wanna be me
That's a fact
Yeah I can hang
I think that's why they call me
Cause I be goin' on em
Oooh they couldn't stop me if they wanted to