Monday, September 28, 2009

Ebony and Ivory

I adore my friends. I really do. But I don't see them as often as we all would like because I just cannot go out and get shit faced every weekend.

I do that shit at home.

But because I love them, and indulge them every once in awhile, I found myself running to meet them after work at happy hour and an undisclosed hole in the wall Mexican place with cheap drinks and a great salsa band.
What I meant was, cheap, STRONG drinks. Hence, my presence there.

I'm all about priorities, people.

About two hours in, I am holding my liquor quite nicely and my girls are loaded, out on the dance floor and making out with random guys they would never look at while stone sober. But that's what makes the pictures I am taking with my Black.berry funny.

I am sipping on margarita #6 #3 when I feel someone's warm breath funnel into my ear.

"You look like someone I know."
"Do I look like someone whom that line might work on? Cuz if so, I need to go home and change my face."

He's minty, and his cologne smells like Eau de Throw my Panties at Your Face so at least I don't so much mind him in my space. I turn to face him and have to damn near lay the back of my head back on the bar to make my way up to the top of his head.
This motherfucker is big.
I do love a big man.
"That was pretty bad right?" he says to me, and I can see him flush a muted shade of cherry that I find amusing.

"It was a bit like watching kittens drown."
"Forgive me. I haven't hit on a stranger in years. I'm newly dumped."
"Ah. Me too. All is forgiven."
"I'm Peter Parker."
"I'm La."

I motion to the unoccupied bar stool next to me, and I am very interested to see if his massive weight turns the poor stool to kindling.
This man is that. big.

"So how long were you guys together?" he blurts out awkwardly, almost despite himself.
"Two years. What about you?"
"Four years."
"Oh wow. You win. I'll buy you a shot. You drink the Gentleman?"
"I do but I don't know many women who do."
"You apparently don't know many women from the South. Where are you from?"
"Los Angeles." I make a face. "Did you just make a face at LA?"
"Yeah I did. But only cuz I know my big sis, who is an LA native, will feel it wherever she is and hit me in the back of the head for it next time I see her. I love LA."
"Me too. I miss the weather mostly. I've been considering a move back."
"Cutting your losses and running for the hills, huh?"
"Yeah. I'd rather go lick my wounds on the beach."
"I'll drink to that."

So we do. Out of the corner of my eye I am watching him slyly, taking in his short Ceasar, the definitive set of his jaw line, the deep dimple to the corner of his mouth that I have more than a slight urge to kiss.

"So. Let me guess," I say before he can catch me looking. "The breakup is fairly recent. You've been keeping to yourself trying to heal, your boys are having none of it so they dragged you out and told you to take someone home."

He laughs at my astute observation.

"That's it exactly. How did you know?"

"It's not my first rodeo. I am fairly fluent in the language of heartbreak. Besides, my girls did the same thing to me," I say pointing in their direction. "Plus, I'm really good at these things. I know that you hit on me because you knew I'd turn you down, but at least you could tell your boys you tried. Right?"
"Wow, you're good."
Pointing to my head I say, "Not just a hat rack my friend. No guy in his right mind hits on the girl sitting alone at the bar and not socializing. Not unless he's a masochist. Or has a REALLY big dick."

He raises his eyebrows at me and smirks. It takes all of my god given self-control to not let me eyes wander down to the zipper of his dress pants.

"Most of that is true. It's been barely 2 months. I'm not dealing with the break up as quickly as my boys would like. However, they've failed to factor in that their longest combined relationship is 3 months."
"And that was probably just with girls who wanted to pretend they had morals so they made them wait to hit."
"Wow! You're outta control."
"You know I've heard that. If people don't stop saying it I might start to believe its true."
"I bought a ring." He blurts into the margarita that has just arrived for him. He's so damn adorable and awkward right now I just want to give him a hug.

"Lemme see."
"How did you know-"
"Cuz you're still hurting. So you're still holding on to anything that gives you hope that everything you built that she threw away wasn't just a mirage on the sand. So I'm willing to guess you either still carry it with you or you have a picture."
"Damn you ARE good. If you're this good with men why did u get dumped?"
"Because I wasn't with a man. And women are like geometry. I'm not good at either but I certainly gave it my best. Once. And only once. And no more now that I don't have to anymore." He laughs and pulls out his phone.

"Here's the ring."
"Goddamn. I'm marry you. This ring is gorgeous." He beams with no small amount of pride.
"I spent 6 months learning about diamonds and settings and metals and designing the whole thing myself."
"Where on EARTH did she find you?"
"At a club."
"Wow. Guess I gotta throw my prejudice against club dudes out the window." He uses his thick fingers to scroll through a few pics.

"This is her."
"Wow. She's gorgeous." He looks pained for a moment. "But obviously a moron," I continue. She really is quite exquisite. Flawless chocolate skin from which a thick curly mass of ringlets sprout, perfect cheekbones, full lips, nice rack.

"She was. Is. Beautiful, I mean," he stammers, and I notice that he can't quite bring himself to look at the picture.
"I'd smash."
"She'd prob let you. Hence why we aren't together anymore."
"Oh shit. She just figured out she was completely into chicks?"
"She always kinda knew. But she played it down a lot. I just thought, wow I've got a cool ass girlfriend. We'll have threesomes! She and her family are really conservative and Catholic. I think she was just scared to come out. Then she met this woman at an art show. And then she wasn't scared anymore."
"An art show? Could that be more dyke-y? Jeez."
"I know right?"
"I had the opposite problem."
"Two years in some of her friends still thought I was her homegirl and/or roomate. None of her fam even knew I existed."
"To say the least. Sometimes you just wanna exist, you know?"
"I don't actually. But I can imagine."

He's given his eyes back to the picture on his phone; what looks like an intimate picture of them still in bed, his arms around her from behind, her leaning into him with her eyes closed, a contented look on her face.

"So," I say, because I am sympathetic, "tell me about her."

He does. Throughout his entire story I find myself both jealous of her and very in awe of the kind of man he is. And then jealous of her a little more. I'm adding up all my collective relationship failures in my head as he's talking and I am pretty sure that I have only one ex as great as he seems to be.

His story winds to a close and though he looks a little pained, I can see that he also feels relieved.
"Yeah. I have never sat down and just said all of that before. I feel..."
"Precisely. Thank you."
"I'm a pretty good listener."
"You really are. I am surprised you didn't get up leave."
"Well I was gonna but then I realized that my car key's are in my homegirl's purse so I figured I would power through."

He laughs, long and hard, like he hasn't laughed in awhile. It makes me smile, not only because I find myself kinda digging his laugh, but because I know what it's like to need to so desperately and have nothing to smile about. I like to pay it forward.

"So now tell me about your break up."
"No thank you."
"Oh no. You not gonna have me spilling my guts and you don't."
"That's different though."
"Just because you were all emotionally slutty the first time we met doesn't mean I am gonna put out that easily. I'm a lady."

He looks at his watch. "I tell you what," he says to me while motioning to the bartender, "if you come with me now we can go on our second date and you can tell me all about it then."

By this time, he has paid both our tabs and gotten off his bar stool.
"You coming?" he asks, his hand held out.

I hesitate. I don't know this guy. There is no way I am going to date him because he is fresh out of a relationship and so am I. So what is the point of going anywhere with him?

But he's funny. And he made smooth reference to James Baldwin without blinking.
And he's just... so... big.

"I'm driving my own car."
"Thank God. My truck is a mess. And I am pretty sure you are too tiny to get up in it."
"Shut it. I'm following you."

He takes my hand and that is precisely what I do.

And that's how La went on 2 dates in one night with her first ever white boy.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Innocent Enough

January 2007

-----Original Message-----
From: La
To: Bob
Sent: Sat, 13 Jan 2007 2:27 AM

…Goddammit, why can't you be goin to sin city the weekend of April 5th, on MY b-day weekend like the rest of us? Geesh. Change your plans!

From Bob
To: La

Hey girlie...long time.:) You going to Vegas for real? Last year we changed dates like 3 times so this year, since my bday is on a saturday, I copped my ticket EARLY so as not to give my friends any room to try to shift and cause confusion. lol

So i say all that to change your date! :)

From: La
To: Bob

*shaking her fist* damn you and your preplanning! LOL I'd love to change the weekend we go but unfortunately I can only get one weekend off a month and that's it. So you'll have to go twice, lol.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


North Avenue Beach- Chicago, September 2009

My skin feels damp. For a moment, despite the fact that I know better, I think that I might be crying despite the fact that I have yet to cry. I realize with relief, and maybe a little frustration, that it is merely the dampness hanging in the air that has evaporated off the water.

I am cold. Shivering, actually, but I refuse to ball up. I let the wind hit me at all odd angles, and watch the goosebumps rise like waves on my arms. I want to just feel it.
Or feel something, really.

The longer I sit here on this hard ass bench, the rougher the waves get. They swell higher, crash harder, cresting and falling over those in front of it before they can break on the shore.

It seems an appropriate metaphor; sitting and watching helplessly as something so beautiful turns so ugly and angry.

I try to call my big sis because I know I need to hear what I know she is going to tell me:

"...It hurts me to think my normally warm and vivacious La is feeling remote and cold. There is one thing, though... I don't want you to become habitually numb. I don't like it. I would rather see you cry and curse (in moderation, of course) than become this cold, remote, heartless woman. We are too much the same and if it can happen to you, then it can happen to me - and we can't have that."
Cuz, you know, stuff about me is about her :-)

But we keep missing each other some kinda way. Maybe this is the universe's way of telling to me to sit with it on my own for awhile.
So I do.

I root around for some remnants of the rituals I usually go through when mourning the loss of love.
And find nothing.

I look around for some feeling other than resentment; some small scrap of fear or sadness or anger or resolution or peace.

So I just sit with it. I watch the waves. I watch the people. I twirl my small fingertips in the sand. I ignore the cold.

Because really, that is what I do.

At the end of the rickety pier jutting out into the middle of the water, I try to make sense of the patterns of the waves as they reach for the shore. There is a definitive rhythm, yes, but no rhyme. Beauty in chaos; such is life.

I imagine jumping in. Not in any melodramatic Ophelia type of way. More in exploration of the tenets of baptism; in hopes that when the top of my curly head breaks the surface again, I will be washed clean and renewed. Revived. Ready.

There are no melodramatic bouts of hopelessness. Maybe some bitterness, but I've gained enough years on this side of the womb to know that it will pass. I will not die. I will not break. There will be some bending, sure. But I know I will heal, in some way. In as much as at least the scars won't be a part of my everyday ensemble.

The difference this time, I think, is that I am interested in totality. Not just getting over things, but truly being done.

I have certainly tried the other way.
If you are looking with the wrong eyes, it seems like waves have no origin. But there has to be some sort of occurrence, some sort of phenomenon, to move it towards the shore. There is no movement without a catalyst. So I start to trace back how I got here...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Set Up

I am not particularly smart.

I mean sure, the last time I took an IQ test I tested off the charts. And yes, I'm fairly well read and can hold a conversation about anything from Stanislavsky to Star Ship.

What I mean to say is, I'm not people smart.

I can read people fairly well. I have a keen sense of personal energy and all that new age bullshit.

I guess though, the real problem is, I don't listen to what I perceive. Because I want so badly to be wrong sometimes. I know that most people would kill to be as accurate and precise as I.
But for once I'd like to be proven wrong.

I'd like someone to prove to me that they are what they seem. I'd like to rest assured that feelings don't have to be unreliable. That there are some things that are sacred, solid.

I'd like someone to prove to me that love is enough.

The problem is, of course, that I am always right.

And I don't believe any of those things

I have learned though, when to say when. I wasn't always great with it, sometimes I'm still not. Sometimes it takes me longer than is good or healthy or sane.

But when I say uncle, I mean it.

This is a story about saying when. Even if you're two years too late.

Like most stories, mine at least, this one is makes the most sense if you start at the ending...

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Rebirth

At first, I was going to get rid of the archives.

I was gonna toss every single entry like emotional trash, proverbial spring cleaning, if you will.

Because everytime I re-read them, and I do re-read them more than I will ever admit to anyone who isn't a mental health professional, it's like tearing open old sores with my fingernails, watching the tears I cried bubble up over the jagged skin not quite healed together prettily.

I'd be lying if I said I was over it all.
That I'd dealt with all of it appropriately or totally.

But then I thought, they're my scars. They're my stories.
They belong.

So forgive me if I don't regale you with tales of my day or the books I'm reading or the joys of cheese stuffed chicken. If that's what you're looking for, this is not the place for you.

And if you'd like to judge me for my content...

Fuck you.

And welcome.