Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Altar Call

Sometimes I wish I were the type of person that stored my sentiments in pictures or presents. Things I could put away when circumstances necessitated it, tucking them away until they could be unearthed when they’d lost their emotional pull. Theoretically I could pour all that sentimental energy into these objects, these things, so they could store the whatever it was that it isn't anymore so that later, when they needed repacking or to be a visual aid for the retelling of a story, they could be bound neatly inside the confines of an old birthday/Christmas/I-saw-this-and-thought-of-you gift.
It seems like it might be easier.
If I were, perhaps I wouldn’t be so caught off guard in public when the opening chords of a song pick me up and drop me back in the middle of a motion picture of my memories before I can prepare myself. Or maybe if I were the type of writer who could write frivolously about inconsequential things, I would not have pages of written monuments in your honor. I would have no use for remembering the exact shade of your skin found mirrored in my favorite coffee or any documentation of my own obsession with loving so wholly, down to the details.
I am not that person. Instead, I am a writer. I write what I feel because I have to. Because my words aren’t just letters on a page but tattoos on my skin. They are small pieces of this life I’ve lived and how I’ve lived it and who I’ve shared it with and why I am and who I am. And they stay with me, as do the details of you, long after you are gone.
I wonder if you ever come here and read these words, bear witness to these things I've laid down on this altar, done in remembrance of you.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Case for Christmas

Anyone who has been around here reading for any significant period of time will tell you that I am not here for Christmas. It’s not that I hate it per se, just that I wish that everything from the day after Halloween to New Year’s Eve did not exist.
That came out wrong.
There is a large part of my Christmas loathing that is personal that I won’t get into. But there is another part of Christmas that makes it my least favorite time of year; it is overwhelming.
From October until the ceasing of after Christmas sales in mid- January, it is everywhere. It is big ass trees and bright ass lights and gaudy wrapping paper and syrupy Christmas carols. It is signs and sales and wreaths and garland. It is crowds and competition and over consumption. And that’s just at the mall. Don’t even get me started on what it’s like if you’re one of millions of people like me who have to actually travel to get to your family this time of year. The airport during the holiday season is where glad tidings go to die. And really, what other time of year would you be okay with allowing your child to sit on the lap of a stranger just because he is an old white guy with a beard and ruddy cheeks who may or may not have diabetes?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Nice Girls

There was a time in my life when I was wholly preoccupied with people thinking I was “nice.” Though I proudly espoused the old adage that “nice girls rarely make history”, I was fairly consumed with co-workers, friends, lovers, strangers not finding me to be an asshole while I made history. Or you know, lived.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Crown me King

At my core, I am a tactician. I am shrewd. I can, if I choose, deftly manipulate circumstances. I make calculated plans and I execute them. My plans are flawless, and my maneuvering around and in between the places that inevitably fall apart is astounding. If I were not me, I would be invariably impressed with my ability to project and plot, with the way I play chess on a red and black board.
If I were not me, I would demand you king me.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Said and Done.


There’s something interesting that happens when everything is over. When you are no longer a unit, a We. When you are no longer lovers that spent hours exploring the expanse of each other’s skin, laying claim to caverns and secret plains only you had discovered. When there is no longer a smile in your heart at a fleeting thought of them. When the warm timbre of your voice that rang in a pitch reserved solely for them no longer rings true in your ears.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Silver Sparrow

I miss my grandmother the most when I’m sick.
For years as a child her house is where I would convalesce when I was too sick to go to school. I would usually wake up in the morning pretending to be fine in an effort to still go to school (a combination of actually enjoying school and, moreover, the beginning of a lifelong pattern of trying not to be a burden) and my mother would take a brief moment to press her cool cheek to my fevered forehead before declaring, “You’re going to your grandmother’s today.”
If ever there was a good reason to miss school, it was to spend it with her. I’d generally arrive to find her in the kitchen, making me cheese toast and hard boiled eggs and ordering me to lay down under the heavy blanket she’d laid out on the couch while she finished. My mom would try futilely to explain to her what was ailing me and she would always shush her the same way; “That child can talk,” she’d say. “And I done raised plenty of children that I don’t need one I birthed telling me ‘bout taking care of one.”
And that was that.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Art of War

Have I mentioned that my mother has a propensity for being ridiculous? And also, that she was ready for grandbabies YESTERDAY?
These things are important.
If you don’t have a parent that is hell bent on getting grandkids outta your uterus whether you’re on board or not, there are a few things you should know about them. They’re crafty. And they are singularly focused on their goal. Which means that they are always looking for an opening to remind you that your heretofore unoccupied uterine apartment is disappointing to them. You can try your hardest to outsmart them, training yourself not to look at adorable babies in the mall, trying not to mention anything about anyone having any babies, while loudly espousing your love of all things contraception related. But you will never really be able to out maneuver them. Because they have far more years in the game than you. And no matter how you underestimate them, they are Machiavellian in their grandchild machinations.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Present

We talk in random fragmented lyrics, relevant to whatever preceded it, but random nonetheless. Today alone I have retorted with T.I., Miranda Lambert, Doris Day, Nikka Costa. And he’s caught every reference.
I watch him when he’s not watching me, memorizing the rhythm of his gait, the way his mouth forms the jokes that have had me laughing all day. Without my permission, my skin recalls how his now smiling lips felt against my bare skin. I shiver. And smile.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Facts and Examples

So many people have said things this week that have influenced this week’s post. They are all shouted out within, and you should check them all out.

It’s important that before you read any of this, you first go read this over at my boo SBG’s place…
Skinny Bits: The Single Edition
Don’t worry; I’ll be here with a drink when you come back.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Never Forget

I was in Ms. Morgan’s AP English class. It was my first class of the day and I was tired because I had stayed up the night before writing a fantastic but last minute five page paper off the top of my head. I remember I had just gotten my hair done the previous Saturday, and I hoped that its shiny length was enough to offset the fact that I had on an oversized, red Old Navy sweatshirt and dark blue jeans that were beginning to hang off my frame, as I had begun to spend far less time eating, and far more time in the dance studio.
My favorite teacher, who’d been my Honors English teacher in the 10th grade and had managed to stay one of my most favorite people in the entire world in the two years since, poked her head into the door of the classroom.
“You should-“ she stopped herself, glancing quickly at the small group of students seated in random desks. “You should turn on the TV. Now.”

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Hindsight

(day 30 of 30 in 30)
I was gchatting with a friend about the bittersweetness tha taccompanied dropping her little sister off for college. We started talking about all the dumb things we did at that age, neither of us having big sisters, or any older siblings for that matter, to guide us along the way. For both of us, there were tons of things we had to learn during those years on our own while growing into women away from home. The general consensus was that we learned a lot, but mostly too late. Learning by failing were really what our late teens and early twenties were all about. We were trying to brainstorm all the advice we could give her baby sister that we’ve come to know as women that we wished we’d be armed with when we entered college. These are a few things I know for sure, a la Oprah.

1.       Not everybody gets to make the trip with you.
I don’t mean the literal trip of leaving home and going off to college or a new city or whatever the circumstances may be. What I had to learn, as I think all young people do, is that not everyone will make it to the end of my life with me. They might not even make it to the end of school or the end of the semester. And that is ok. You will outgrow some people. Some people will change into people that you don’t particularly like or don’t want around or just aren’t good for you. And some people simply don’t deserve to bear witness to how you build your life. That is all ok. And the sooner you figure that out, the more heartbreak you will save yourself.

2.       Good dick is not love.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fix You

(day 29 of 30 in 30)

I have a difficult relationship with being “fixed.”
It goes without saying, I believe, that I could certainly use some fixing. And lord knows I could use some guidance or support while fixing. But I have never been particularly fond of the idea of letting someone else “fix me.”
Saviors usually get the ultimate side eye from me. You know, the people whom have never met a problem they couldn’t run into headfirst and come out the other side, preferably with some hopeless, hapless prince or princess by their side to lavish in the spoils with them. Not because they aren’t great people or because I don’t believe their intentions to be good. But because I have known too many Fixers.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Talk that Talk

(day 27 of #30 in 30)

We’re standing on the curb waiting for the valet to pull my car around. He’s behind me, his arms laced loosely around my neck and shoulders, his chin resting on top of my curls, his entire front pressed against my entire back. We don’t find ourselves particularly in need of words. Periodically he leans down to whisper something in my ear. Or worse, to drag my sensitive earlobe with his teeth. I struggle to keep my face passive for the passerby.
The valet comes, giving him the keys to my car. If I were in a different space, I would be irritated by the slight, the assumption that he must be driving. But as it stands, I am more concerned with retightening my usually iron grip on my self control. And besides, I was going to let him drive anyway. He feels like he should drive, some old fashioned Southern thing he picked up from his daddy and his grandfather and a long line of men that open doors and drove and walked on the outside of the curb. And this small thing I can surrender.
It’s the surrender of everything else that concerns me.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Longing

(day 22 of 30 in 30)


I’ve always had a complicated relationship with longing.

As I am deeply pragmatic almost to the point of extreme, it is not a feeling I am all that terribly acquainted with. I like it this way. Longing is the type of emotion that I cannot process on any sort of intellectual level because it makes no rational sense to me. You want something. You crave it with all your being. But, for whatever reason, you can’t have it. So, why continue to long?

But we do, don’t we? Certainly I do. The intervals at which I feel a longing, a tugging at my heart for something I cannot have, are so few and far between that it feels like the first time. Every time. I am never any better at dealing with it.

I keep telling myself it is natural. It is human. To want. To crave. That it doesn’t make me less than or weak or faulty or flawed.

But I never believe me.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Limited Engagement

(day 19 of 30)

There was a time in my online life, harkening way back to the days of BlackPlanet, when I felt it necessary to respond to everyone. Every message, every comment got a response. And as time wore on, the same thing proved true for MySpace and blogs and Facebook comments and emails and IMs. No matter what the comment, if I had anything of value to add or not, whether it was convenient for me or not, everything got a response.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

This is a Story About Control

(day 18 of 30 in 30)

Today totally got away from me.

I woke up after a fitful sleep with a plan for my day. Errands to run. People to see. Grocery shopping. Some jobs to apply for. Some cleaning that needs to be done desperately.

Somehow, with heading out for brunch (read: bacon and mimosas), all of that got thrown out the window. I am just getting home now, well after 11pm. I accomplished little or nothing on my to do list.

I find this is happening to me more and more lately; I set out with a plan and end up somewhere else completely. The thing is, everything is still kinda working.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Excuses

(day 16 of 30 in 30)

Sometimes when I write deeply personal things like the last couple posts, it takes a lot out of me. It makes me wonder why, all these years later, I'm still writing. If I share too much, say too much too openly to strangers. Not all of whom would wish me well.

I always reach an impasse with this conversation; maybe it's too much but would I have some stranger silence me?

But still, writing as I do sometimes makes me tired. This is no excuse for missing yesterday's post. But it is why.

This post is nothing but an excuse, no matter how valid it feels. I recognize that.

I slid this post in right as the door shut on today.

I'm still here. Tired and leery. But writing and, somehow, even at an impasse, unburdened.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sleep Walking

(day 14 of 30 in 30)

My day goes like this;
I wake up, in general 30 minutes later than I need to, effectively rendering my ability to put on a full face of makeup null and void. “Good Morning” plays, softly at first, then gradually growing louder. I am usually fully awake by the time Kanye says, “You got D’s mufucka, D’s! Rosie Perez…”
I lie there for awhile, convincing myself mightily to get out of bed. Before I even open my eyes, my mind shifts from park directly into 3rd gear. I am overrun with to do lists and deadlines and errands and the stresses I wrestled with the night before until I passed out from exhaustion before I even brush my teeth.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Cycles

(day 13 of 30 in 30)

A few years ago, seated at the breakfast bar in a far flung aunt’s kitchen in St. Louis, my grandmother said the thing I have been avoiding admitting to myself for quite some time. We had stumbled onto the subject of my daddy, both of us lamenting the fact that he was missing yet another holiday with his family (this one Thanksgiving) due to work and shaking our head knowingly at each other. She turned to me, her eyes the same greenish blue as my daddy’s and said, “He is just like his daddy was.” I opened my mouth to ask her a question but before I could start she interrupted saying, “And you are just like your daddy.”

Sunday, August 12, 2012

I Missed a Post for #30in30

(Day 12 of 30 in 30)

I totally thought I posted yesterday. Except notsomuch. I have absolutely nothing of any importance to say. So instead, a random assortment of things. This is all I got.

1. I have had a zoo's worth of assorted pets. In my lifetime I have had; a turtle. At least half a dozen fish. A cat. Two guinea pigs. A lizard. And no less than six dogs. I am missing a few. If I could I would own; horses. Two orange cats named Cheeto and Dorito. A couple more German Shepherds. And probably a couple black labs. A pig or two. A chinchilla. Possibly some rabbits. And a large tank full of fish. Apparently, I think I am Dr. Doolittle.

2. I desperately need to stop watching Investigation Discovery. Every single show on that channel is geared towards convincing the audience that every person you will encounter, date, marry, be treated by at the hospital, or cut off on the highway is in fact a latent serial killer. It's not good for me, lol.

3. Regularly while at the gym, I find myself singing aloud or twirking in public to whatever I am listening to while working out. I have embarrassed myself and the race countless times. For that I am sorry.

4. In the next few months, I will pay off my car. I am constantly paranoid that something will happen in the meantime to keep me from this milestone. Some financial tragedy or an accident or something of the sort. It is a terrible feeling but I have no idea how to get rid of the anxiety.

5. To that end though, I am going to enjoy a few years of not having a car note while I aggressively pay down my student loans. But I am pretty sure when I'm ready for another car note, I will be buying a Camaro. Probably white. I will name it Lisa Raye and keep a pre-printed ticket book in my glove compartment for all the tickets I am sure to get.

6. Gas prices just ain't never trying to go back down, huh? I have made some semblance of peace with how much it costs me to fill up my truck, but DAWG. THESE AIRLINE TICKETS. Fall/Winter is always travel heavy for me, but the airline industry is not trying to make it easy for me. Or at least not without pushing me to turn to a life on the pole.

7. I rarely if ever enjoy the popular books everyone else does. You know how everyone else was breathlessly in love with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? I never finished it. I tried four times. I'm not here for it. The same goes for all the Game of Thrones series, that God awful 50 Shades of Gray shit, and probably pretty much everything everyone has unequivocally loved over the last 5 years. The only exception is The Hunger Games.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Chivalry is Dead Because You Weren't Chivalrous in the First Place

(Day 9 of 30 in 30)


You know what thing I hate to see RTed on the Twitter almost more than anything?

"Maybe more men would stand up and be men if women would sit down and be ladies."

Or whatever that trite, patriarchal trope is.

I hope you know that every time you RT that or anything of the sort, an adorable, chubby little cherub has its wings savagely ripped from its body and is tossed down from heaven into a pool of acid by its big toe.

I won't bother breaking down the actual saying and its so-steeped-in-patriarchy-it-hurts wording. I won't waste time explaining all the reasons why anything that involves me "sitting down" so that I might be considered "a lady" by some as-yet unidentified, presumed authority on the subject (who also presumably has a penis) is likely not something I'm interested in doing. Nor will I even begin to entertain heteronormative standards or the politicization of gender roles, as I believe any discussion of the sort will go over most heads. Instead I will say this, as I have said hundreds of times and will continue to yell until I am blue in the face;

Do the right thing because it is THE RIGHT THING. Not because of how someone might react to it. But simply because it is THE RIGHT THING.

If “being a man” in whatever iteration, by whatever definition, is important to you, then BE THAT. DO THAT. Be that man you desire to be because it is your desire, because you feel convicted about it, because you feel it is the right thing to do. And any shortcomings that you may experience in becoming or being that man? Accept them as your own failures. Don’t blame them on the supposed inability of a woman to “let you be a man.”

But even the “sit down and shut up so men can be men” thing is old. The newest thing is, “chivalry is dead because women killed it.”

Oh my God, the bullshit. It strangles me.

You mean to tell me you were so wishy washy in your chivalrous ways that a stranger not saying thank you for you opening a door was enough to make you stop doing it? Or a woman hollering about how independent she is and how she "don't need you to do anything for her" suddenly sucked all the chivalry clean from your body? (If I had the patience I’d delve into how no man wants an evolved, independent woman until it’s time to discuss picking up the tab, but today is not the day for that.) You mean to tell me all it took for you to decide to not be chivalrous anymore was the manner in which some woman or a group of women reacted to it?

Or was it, as I suspect, that IT'S NOT WHO YOU ARE IN THE FIRST PLACE. But rather an act you wear like a costume to get a certain reward; a pretty woman's number, another date, a pat on the southern head. And when that hasn't worked out for you, when, God forbid, a woman dare not positively reinforce you doing just the bare minimum of common human decency, you decided women killed chivalry.

The truth of the matter is, if this is who you were at your core, and not a behavior you were willing to exhibit so long as it gets you a favorable outcome, no amount of doors held open without thank yous or I-am-woman-hear-me-roars could take it from you. Instead, you fake it ‘til you make it and then blame women when you can no longer manage the disguise.

I don't accept this.

Therein lies the root of every piece of bullshit disguised as “advice” being dream sold to women across the Internet and in newspapers and magazines every single day; somehow our failings are all fault. We are too much or too little or too big or too small or too loud or too smart or too conscious or too something. But then also, our predilection for being "too" is the reason for YOUR bad behavior. Your failures are our fault. And no one gives even a parcel of a fuck about personal responsibility. Everything is, if women would just _____ then men would ______. Everything is our fault. It's our fault you cheat because we're not sexy/skinny/whorey enough. It’s our fault you rape because we left the house in shorts/a dress/any article of clothing deemed slutty. It’s our fault you hit because we talk back and we provoke. Our fault you leave your children because we shouldn't have given away the milk for free and maybe if we just didn't nag you so much. Our fault you date outside your race and lie and tell us on the street to smile and grope us in the public places and that you don't let women off elevators first or walk on the outside on the sidewalk.

The simple fact of the matter is this; if you predicate your behavior based on someone else's response, you've already lost. Hard. Spectacularly.

You fail.
This goes for everything.

Maybe this is me being too optimistic. Maybe I am giving (heterosexual) men more credit than they deserve. Maybe you really are baseless, craven creatures incapable of monogamy or controlling your sexual urges, prone to violent outbursts of jealousy and possession and incapable of emotion. Maybe. But I don't buy it.

I think that's a bullshit excuse some jackass hell bent on excusing and projecting his bad behavior has peddled, that other people bought because the package was all shiny and, ‘cuz, SCIENCE!  And because it’s easy. You aren’t responsible for what you say and do. Those damn women are!
It just kills me that so many of you are buying into it.

Either way, y'all gotta stop killing the heavenly cherubs out here. Pretty soon they will be the only ones still opening doors.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Grown up Clothes

By very nature of the field I work in, as well as thanks to having lost a significant amount of weight recently, I am running into a sincere problem; I don’t have any grown up clothes.
Clothes to be casually cute for brunch on weekends? I am all over that. Club clothes just classy enough to say I have a daddy and a degree at home but that also let you know I might sweat my hair out if the DJ does a southern set? I’M SOLID. But age appropriate clothes to wear to work and/or job interviews?
*crickets*
My field, and my job in particular, is decidedly casual, so my work uniform generally consists of the same things I might wear to brunch (jeans and a cute top) and swapping out my weekend impossibly high heels for sensible flats or Nikes. In the winter the top becomes a sweater or cardigan. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have some work appropriate suits and dresses. And Lord knows I have more than enough pairs of heels to last me a few decades. But the vast majority of those things are too big for me now. Or, they are smaller but out of style. Or smaller but a bit too small.
It’s always something.
I find myself needing to rebuild my wardrobe. But I hardly know where to start. I need to start buying new pieces and phasing old things out. But herein lies another problem; I hate shopping.
I mean, I love getting new clothes. New shoes or bags or new anything really. But I HATE having to actually leave my house to accomplish this. Malls make me anxious. Messy stores are like sticks poking at my OCD. I am prone to calling out rude or inattentive sales people, and most food courts are ticking time bombs to my diet. I always prefer shopping online. This of course becomes a problem when buying clothes as I, of short stature and ample cleavage and hips, ALWAYS need to try things on. And there’s the hassle of sending it back if it doesn’t fit or heading to the store anyway for an exchange and… *falls out*
There’s also a little matter of my taste far outpacing my income, but that is neither here nor there.
At some point I have to start dressing like a grown up. I just hope it’s at no point this week.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

At Some Point I Turned into Cameron Diaz

(Day 7 of 30 in 30)
After lunch with my favoritest and most unattainable boo Saturday, I set off into the sunshine to run some errands. I had hair products to pick up. Maybe get my truck washed. Return a dress that turned out to be too big for me. And, most importantly, get some gelato I convinced myself I deserved despite having four martinis at lunch because, hey, it isn’t as fattening as the cupcake I actually wanted so it was a suitable substitute.
(As an aside- I have no idea if this is true. But that is what I told me. And I believed me. And I DARE YOU to try to convince me otherwise. Namaste.)
I drove all out of my way to go to my favorite gelato place. I walked in, greedily inhaling the sweet scent of forbidden foods, and stopped short to stare at a man already at the counter who looked like “What if David Beckham had another 15 pounds of muscle on him?” The answer; It is amazing.
I smiled, secretly hoping I didn’t have spinach from lunch in my teeth, and stepped to the counter to order from the sweet, young queen behind the counter who always has a compliment for my makeup or my shoes. I was trying really hard to focus on our conversation but I kept sneaking glances at David Beckham lite. I was plotting my approach when he made the first move.
“Hi, I’m Joe.”
“Hey Joe, I’m La.” He reached out to shake my hand. He had huge hands and a firm grip. I tried my hardest to climb out of the gutter where I briefly took up residence.
We made flirty small talk, as we made our way to the register where he paid for my gelato. We stepped to the side to exchange numbers, our convo an easy volley back and forth.
“Maybe,” he says tucking his phone back into his pocket after saving my number, “you can buy gelato next time after I buy dinner.”
“Maybe,” I reply coyly, throwing the words over my shoulder as we part, “but you’ll never know until you call.” I gave him my warmest, orthodontia assisted smile and turned around to walk away.
And walk right into the glass window next to the door I intended to push open.
Have you ever walked into plate glass? I have. Many times. It makes this solid, echoing thud that gets the attention of whoever is close by but might have missed you actually running into it. And to add insult to injury, I had dropped the cold gelato directly down my top.
I stood there, motionless and embarrassed, unwilling to turn around and see how many people are stifling giggles at me. Instead I faked left and spun around an older couple coming in the door, and hightailed it to my car.
I suppose that was the universe’s way of telling me I shoulda went to the fucking gym.

Accepted Everywhere You Wanna Be

(Day 6 of 30 in 30)

“Hey, beautiful girl.”
“Hey.”
“Uh oh. What’s wrong?”
“I didn’t get it.”
“Wait- are you serious?!”
“Yep.”
“I can’t believe this shit.”
“Me neither.”
“I’m so sorry, baby.”
“Me too.”
“Damn. I wish I could at least give you a hug or something.”


We both sigh on opposite ends on the country. But for different reasons.

“Are you walking outta work?”
“Yeah. On my way to the gym.”
“Skip the gym.”
This catches my attention. Mostly because he never tells me to skip the gym. For any reason of any kind. Not rain or snow or sleet. I am the goddamn USPS when it comes to making Zumba class because of him. Although I should admit, my waistline thanks him.

You’re telling me to skip the gym?”
“Yep. We gotta Skype date.”
“I don’t know…” I trail off, mostly because I don’t feel like being charming or funny or, to be quite frank, nice to other people when I am feeling so shitty. There is also a small part of me that is feeling a bit vain; my hair is barely fluffed into a presentable halo of curls. I have been reeling from this disappointing news for days, and I haven’t bothered to put on any makeup. My boobs look cute though, so this gives me some hope.


“Yep. Gonna make a deal with you. Tomorrow we both gotta go spin. But tonight, we eat French fries and Skype. Deal?”

I smile. Bigger than I have in a few days. He is sweet in ways I have been unfamiliar with for a very long time. And he has lured me with the promise of my favorite food to emotionally eat, that I haven’t in many pounds.
“Small fries.” Now I hear him smiling on his end of the phone.
“Deal. I’ll see you in an hour, pretty.”


A little over an hour later, I am curled up on my bed, bouyed by fries and the touch of lipgloss I slipped on right before I logged in. We are chatting and laughing, and against my better judgement, I am smiling at his face on my computer screen.
“I really am sorry, you know.”
“I know you are.”
“I thought it would work out for you. I really did.”
“Me too. Though, I would think you would want things to work out this way.”
“What?! Why?”
“Cuz for every professional setback I endure, I get closer and closer to moving there and just becoming your wife and a stay-at-home mom.”
“Well, I would love you here, of course. But not if it meant you had to be miserable to get you to me.”


I lay back across the bed, his voice in my headphones, appreciative of him being him. And basking in being wanted. Somewhere.

Even if somewhere isn’t where I am.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Vent


(Day 4 of 30 in 30)
I am at the point where I don’t want advice. Or, rather I should specify, I don’t want clichéd advice. I am uninterested in “time heals all wounds” or “just have faith” or “it wasn’t meant to be.” Mostly, because it is all bullshit.

But even more so because there is nothing inherently helpful in any statements of the like. It isn’t about helping me or guiding me. It isn’t about lending me any assistance of any real, tangible worth. More often than not it is about the mutterer of these words, their own need to feel as though they have helped without actually having to get involved or give of themselves. It makes them feel better. They are giving me what they feel comfortable giving.

And I don’t want it.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Doing it Well

(Day 3 of 30 in 30)

I know it’s not popular, and I’m not supposed to say it. ‘Cuz I’m a woman. ‘Cuz it’s shallow. And… some other reasons y’all have that I don’t entirely understand.
But in all the lofty, lovely qualities everyone lists that they desire in a partner, why does nobody ever mention they want to have great sex with them?
Maybe great sex isn’t that important to you. Really. (My theory on this is that you have not had great sex and therefore know to miss it, but that is all another story for a day that is not this one.) But here’s what I know; some of you are lying to yourselves. A lot. And I remain unconvinced.
It’s important to say here that sex is not the most important thing in a happy, healthy, functioning relationship. I suffer no illusions about that. Good sex has never been able to make clean a mess of a relationship. That being said, you mean you would have me to believe that having vanilla to mediocre sex for the rest of your life WOULDN’T FAZE YOU IN THE LEAST?
I call bullshit.
I get it though. We are socialized, especially as women and certainly as black ones, to not admit to enjoying sex, wanting sex, craving sex. Those of us who grew up religious have an even more stringent set of standards about discussing sex and its importance and hey- isn’t it just for procreation anyway? So I suppose admitting that you like it purely for carnal recreation and would like to have as much of it as amazingly as possible to continue to live a happy life, is too much of a stretch. We wouldn’t want someone (read: men) to think we were that kinda girl.
Our issues with our sexual proclivities, or lack thereof are varied and intricate and individual to us all and deeply and thoroughly psychological. But I will be the first to say it; I need to have amazing sex with a long term partner. As often and as un-vanilla as possible. I am not sorry about this.
I can imagine spending a lifetime with someone without the dizzying, out-of-control feeling of being completely and 200% monkeyfuck crazy in love with someone. But living a lifetime with someone with whom I have dispassionate, perfunctory sex? With no period of can’t-keep-our-hands-off-each-other-call-out-to-stay-home-and-go-at-it-all-day-hey-can-we-try-this-new-position-we-aren’t-going-to-make-it-home-pull-the-car-over-right-here-can’t-even-manage-to-get-all-our-clothes-off mind blowing sex?
DO NOT WANT.
I am not so young and naïve that I believe this type of reckless sexual passion will last forever. It’s the reason that sex can’t sustain you. But I would be lying if I said the idea of being old and gray with someone and turning to them and saying, “Remember that time we did it up against that tree in that vineyard?” didn’t make me quite happy.

I Gotta do WHAT for a Grown Ass Man?!?!

(Day 2 of 30 in 30)

I won’t even lie.
Spending the last week or so hanging out with a secondary group of friends, mostly married, some with kids, their stories peppered with  mentions of “my husband’ and “the house” and “when we were in (insert country here)” all punctuated by gesturing hands topped with glittering rings made me feel some kinda way. It often does. Partially because in all the years I have known these women, I have often been single (though, it stands to note, that these are not the friends I would be particularly pressed to bring a boo around). And partially because, you know, my mama. And the constant reminders everywhere I turn that something must be wrong with me. It wears on you after a while, no matter what your feelings on the subject.
But in the same vein of honesty I also have to admit; hearing these smart, funny, gorgeous women (who are by no means Stepford wives rendered two-dimensional or stripped of personality by marriage the way some might have you believe all women are) talk about how they had to pack for their husbands to make sure they remembered to bring underwear on long trips, or the trials of pregnancy and motherhood and all the trappings that typically go with married-with-2.5-kids-a-dog-and-a-house, I felt relief wash over me in big, overwhelming waves I can barely explain. I was overwhelmingly glad to be going to a big bed I can sprawl out in and that when I want to get up and go, to the store, to Atlanta, to Jamaica, I absolutely can. That when I buy something I have no business buying, I have no one pouring over our shared credit card bills and questioning how much I spent. That on any given day I can shut myself off from civilization with the shows I have DVRed for myself and watch them in my bed in my panties without worry for do I need to cook for him? Where is he? What do I need to do for us for ____ event? Did he pay this bill? Did he do this thing? “My husband”, “my kids”, him, him, them, us, he he he.
I won’t pretend I don’t often wish I was sharing my big Sunday dinners with someone. Or of going to see movies with someone other than my mama. Or extending the list of cities and countries I have made the sex in with a significant other when I travel. But after leaving my friends and dragging my sweaty, exhausted self into the shower and then bed, I lay there, diagonally of course, incredibly grateful of being exactly where I should be for what I’m ready for. And not a single thing else.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

#30in30

I'm going to attempt to do this challenge Muze hipped me to via Aliya S. King. The challenge is to write 30 posts in 30 days. It's gonna be...a challenge.

Not just because I have a life outside of blogging and twitter and all. But because in all honesty, I am not a finisher. I start things strong, sure, all caught up in the newness and the planning and execution. But I'm afraid if it isn't work related, where my inbred ambition overcomes my hard wired faults, my Aries tendency towards easy boredom lends itself nicely to brainstorming and conceptualizing but not always crossing the finish line.

I have pages of unfinished stories. Pictures unorganized into albums and canvases half painted. I have journals half filled with ink stained pages, with pristine, untouched pages in the back. I have people I've not seen to The End.

That's really a story for another day though.


In all honesty, this could well be one of those things I don't finish. But I'm hoping you'll hold me accountable. I need the discipline. If not for me, then for all the ideas I have worth finishing.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Without any Assistance or Guidance From Me

I have nothing to write about. At all. Well, that’s a lie. I have plenty I could say, but nothing I am particularly interested in sharing.
Usually when this happens to me, it means that I am too overwhelmed with my offline life to discuss it in any semblance of an intelligent, witty or thoughtful way online. This is the case currently. My life is changing right now, far too fast for me to keep up with all the shifting pieces. But, as I am a control freak, I am trying anyway and it is WEARING. ME. OUT.
The irony of it all is, I asked for this. I actually got down on my knees and prayed for this. I prayed not for the outcome (which, depending on the day you ask me was either an exercise in faith or extremely stupid on my part) but that things be as they are supposed to be. That I not get the promotion I applied for if it wasn’t for me. That I not get the man I wanted in every spiritual, mental, emotional way I could fathom (and in a few physical ways I am uncomfortable discussing with Jesus) if he was not for me. That I not grow comfortable here in this city, build a family and a network here if I am not meant to stay. That the people who are meant to be forever in my life stay and the ones meant to be temporary leave because I am rapidly getting to the point where I cannot bear to lose any more people. Plainly put, that whatever my life is supposed to look like, please, make it look like that, and I will walk whatever path I’m supposed to.
This is happening. And began happening almost as soon as I prayed for it. Was I entirely prepared for it? Absolutely not and not a single bit at all. I suppose that in and of itself is a lesson to learn; don’t ask if you aren’t ready for the answers. In theory, I suppose things transitioning as they are means that whether I doubt myself or not, God or the universe or something thinks I am prepared. That should mean something. The universe is moving with or without my permission. I just need to get with the program.
For now though, I am going to go get a drink.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Like, Every Day

The specter of you has been hanging around here for the last week. Heavily.

Saturday when I left the funeral, I found myself wanting to call you. To tell you about all the sorrow, all the joy of the day. To confess to a few unexpected tears so you'd tell me, in that reassuring baritone, "It doesn't make you weak, La." I wanted more than anything to reach out across the distance and tell you all about how unnerving and simultaneously comforting it was to experience the soul memory of what it was like to be in a church, the conservative nature of which I've long ago turned away from. I wanted to pour out all the mixed feelings I had about the pomp and circumstance and ponder aloud about the whys and the hows, knowing that even though I'd fumble over the words, you would understand with little explanation from me. That you'd listen when I needed. And laugh when I needed. And just; get me. Which I always need.

When I hit home I found myself wishing I could ask you to drive north, to go with me to the aquarium I've been dying to visit, knowing you wouldn't judge my youthful exuberance at the experience. For the first time in a long time I wondered if my friends would adore you, if my family would take to you, as I haven't wondered about anyone since way back when.

I thought maybe we'd go get sushi and have a drink on the rooftop and slyly crack jokes about passerby and look out at the skyline while I tried to pretend the temperature on the side where you sat wasn't 10 degrees hotter than everywhere else.

In my mind I turned over all the could be's, swiftly countering them with the are nots, but thinking them nonetheless.

It's 7am and I'm thinking about making you breakfast. I have no idea why I still remember how you like your eggs.

It's 11am and I want to go running in the park and I wish you'd come.

It's 4pm and I'm petting a strange dog on the street and I can hear you admonishing me, "You don't even know that damn dog, La."

It's 6pm and the man at the bar next to me orders your drink and I just shake my head at myself, disappointed in me for thinking any of this, feeling any of this. For feeling at all, really.

At 8, I find myself at a restaurant I think you'd really love. It would take everything in me not to tuck myself into your side in the plush leather booths.

At 11, I'm driving around enjoying the humid night air, listening to Sade and thinking that having you here, your presence in the passenger side, your cologne filling up the space in the car, your smile and your voice and your childlike laugh would make this even better. I think we'd have found our way into some deep conversation from nothing at all. I think we'd be listening to Sarah Vaughan or Amy Winehouse.

It's 5am and I can't sleep. I'm up and writing, watching the sun rise over this city I love.

And more than anything I want to call and tell you this, all of this, though I know I'd feel so foolish in the morning.

But you're not here. Literally. Figuratively. In every single way imaginable.

And I wish that didn't hurt.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Early Onset Age Alzheimer's or Also: Shouldn't this Part be Over?

Remember how I turned 28 a couple months ago?
Well, apparently you would be the only one.
In the last few weeks, I have, loudly, confidently and quite wrongly, referred to myself as 27. In a couple different instances. In a few different ways and under a handful of different circumstances. But in all cases, the threading tying them together was the fact that somehow whatever point I was making hinged on the fact that I was 27.
Except, you know, I’m not.
I have never been someone particularly concerned with aging. I would venture to say that I don’t have the same relationship with aging that some women have. It doesn’t concern me in any real way. I don’t fear losing my looks; my mom is almost 50 and looks not a single day over 30 years old. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram and have seen pics of my mom I have posted recently, you know this is no exaggeration on my part. I have never subscribed to the theory that getting older somehow meant you had to stop living or give up any part of yourself or your life that is significant to you. My maternal grandmother was fairly lively and gorgeous through no less than half a dozen fights with serious illnesses, right up until the day she died. My paternal grandmother travels more than I do, so much so that it is a miracle if I ever catch her in town when I go home. She is driving and remodeling her house and regularly goes to get her nails fancied up in the shade of pink she is partial to, replete with nail art. These women have always been the face of aging to me; growing older in years but more graceful, more fun and self-possessed with every candle added on top of their birthday cakes.
So, I am not entirely sure why I’m freaking out.
The truth is, many of the theories I had about my life and how it would go and what I would be happy with and what I would like it to look like are being tested. I suppose this is the definition of quarter life crisis. But I find that applying the theory to the everyday occurrences of living and loving and drinking is stressing me the entire fuck out.
I have no problem with the fact that I am 28 and unmarried. Or without children. I am not sure if I will ever get married and have children. And despite the admitted pitfalls that could come from either of those choices, I am comfortable with what that life would look like. And I know that no one else’s opinions or opining about my ever closing conception window should matter.
In theory.
But I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel a little pang of what the fuck?! with a twinge of are they right? every time someone incredulously asks me why I am neither married nor mothered and what am I waiting for? and I don't have forever, you know. In the interest of completely transparency, I find myself wondering if perhaps these women, older and wiser, know something that I, still in the infancy of adulthood, don’t. Or, are they just passing off to me the socialized trappings of womanhood they learned as girls and perpetuated as young women? You know, the very same ones I worked to free myself from when I was younger.
Freedom, I think, is a funny thing. It opens your mind. But you are in fact so open minded, so clear headed in your rationale that you cannot just blatantly eschew the very way of thinking you have been freed of, because you must always be open minded enough to consider the possibility that maybe they were right.
I suppose it’s the kind of thing everyone must decide for themselves, living and loving as they see fit, seeing which of their youthful theories about life still hold true, which ones don’t work and must be discarded. It feels like this is where I am now.
There is a revelation that comes to you around 25 and continues at least until you are 28 and hopefully ends sometime in the near future because I am fucking exhausted. Whatever it is, it’s decidedly uncomfortable. It’s confusing. There is an element of unknown which, for people who crave control like candy as I do, is impossibly infuriating. And perhaps even more so, intimidating.
Maybe this is the reason an entire year keeps falling conveniently out of my head.
At any rate, whatever is going on at this juncture in my life, at 27 with a side of a year and some change, is- right now- not the greatest period of my life. I may very well look back on this time fondly and be grateful for the lessons I am learning now.
At this very moment though? I am not grateful. I am paranoid that my forgetting how old I am is a sign that my memory is starting to go in my old age. Because 28 is old when you don’t know what the fuck is going on.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Where I Rant About the Affordable Care Act

I think if you take the partisanship out of The Affordable Care Act, and look at it for what it really is, not the distortions or glossy words from either side, you will see why this  is a win for the American people. And especially for the middle class and working poor. For me, it's personal.

It means in the fall when my daddy is terminated and rehired as a contractor by the company where he's worked for 20+ years so they don't have to pay insurance, 401K matches, etc to save money, he'll still have access to care so he can live a long and healthy life. That means something to me, and millions of other Americans who have been affected by the pitfalls of our healthcare system as it stands.

My daddy has worked 2 jobs for almost 30 years. You don't get to tell me he is just "not pulling his own weight" or some other partisan bullshit just because he will now be able to get affordable, mandatory healthcare. This, by the way, should be the right of every citizen in this progressive country.

Privatizing healthcare is literally KILLING US, not saving people. And no amount of talking points you spew about taxes or socialism or government intrusion or attacking the private sector, will convince me that should be ok BY LAW. And if you really thought about it, I think most people opposed to ACA know that.

More importantly I wished more people recognized that there are real people and families directly impacted by this partisan bullshit. Blatant power plays or rotely spouting talking points are doing NOTHING for people who have worked hard all their lives and are suffering. It is UNCONSCIONABLE, in every sense of the word, to support such power plays over people. I am forever unwilling to do that to my family or yours. And I will never vote for a candidate or a party willing to sentence its own people to poverty or death for the sake of a party win.

Monday, June 18, 2012

In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning

For as long as I remember, night time was the time for me to be my father’s daughter.
As a kid, gripped by what I can now identify as the start of a lifelong battle with insomnia, I would be stay up long into the wee hours, long enough to hear the rhythmic beep-beep of my father’s alarm clock. I’d slip out of bed quietly, folding myself into clothes I’d laid out carefully the night before, and wait until I heard the click that meant the door to his room had been opened. I’d bound into the gold hallway, hushed but insistent, “Daddy can I go?”
Sometimes, he would say no. But I would live for the times he said yes. Perhaps he just wanted company. Perhaps he knew I’d stay up anyway and wanted me doing something more constructive than watching old cartoons and infomercials. Or maybe he knew, just like I knew at that age, that these hours were the few hours we could manage where it was just us.
I was a child, looking forward to childish things like being up all night and the sweetness of the chocolate glazed donut he would inevitably get me. But even then I knew there was something precious about this time, not shared with my little brother or my stepmom, not burdened by to do lists or visitation endings. We’d ride through the night, music blasting or talk radio on, or sometimes nothing but our own conversation to carry us through the ride. It seemed like those hours of darkness right before the sun rose were when I could see my daddy for who he was; not the hard working if absent parent I got to see on designated weekends. Not the sometimes stoic man with the past he hardly spoke of. But he had his own life and his own memories, a rhythm to his jokes and a special timbre to his voice I wasn’t familiar with during the world’s waking hours.
Though not by much, little by little I got to know him.
In the wee hours of the morning this morning, just like many mornings when sleep and I are distant cousins, I think of my father somewhere out in the world, humble and hardworking as he has been since I was a kid. I think of long, drawn out emphasis on the e's in all the pleases I would shower over him so that he’d take me to work with him, of him teaching me to read maps, of throwing newspapers out of car windows and aiming for mailboxes. I think of him brushing my hair into a neat ponytail and bundling me up like an Eskimo for winter months. I think of him ordering my eggs just the way I like them and making me heaping pallets of coats and shirts that smelled of him to sleep on when I couldn’t keep my eyes open a minute longer. I think of him wiping icing off my nose and telling me I am the prettiest girl in the whole world.
And though he isn’t the type to admit it, to me or anyone else for that matter, I hope that wherever he is, he is thinking of the same.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Awkward

“I have been wondering all week if I should send this to you or not.”
Peter Parker’s voice has stampeded into the quiet with no preamble after I answered my phone on speaker without bothering to check the caller ID. Now, I am staring at the phone from a few feet away, the pic we took at the aquarium smiling at me from behind the digital display.

I wonder if it’s too late to hang up.
I would like to pretend that I don’t know what it he’s been agonizing about sending me. Like maybe it is some very late birthday gift. But I know. I know.
“See, the thing is I know if I sent it, you wouldn’t come. Because it would be awkward. But I know if I didn’t send it, then I would risk making you feel some kinda way. And I don’t want that. That would just be long distance awkward.”
“So essentially it will all be awkward. No matter what we do.”
“That is what I concluded, yes.”
We both exhale on our respective ends of the phone.  We are reaching that point where we have exhausted all the words between us, where once flowed oceans and rivers of conversations, are now instead sporadic spurts that hardly satiate us and will, at some point soon, dry up into total silence.
“I figured I should call. And then we could talk about it being awkward. And then it will still be awkward but we will have talked about it. And…” He trails off, unsure of himself. I hold my breath, 98% sure I don’t want to hear whatever he stopped himself from saying.
“And I could hear your voice.”
Don’t.”
I say that one word, one syllable, violently, throwing up a brick wall between us so quickly he has to skid to a proverbial stop to keep from crashing into it.
“Don’t. We aren’t doing that. Let’s talk it out, but don’t do that. I can’t.”
“Ok,” he replies softly, relenting to my boundaries.
We talk haltingly, stepping carefully, trying to be as sure as we possibly can of where we are placing our verbal footsteps. Unlike other times when we have had to talk ourselves around an impasse, this is not getting any easier.
I know.
“Please don’t invite me.”
“Ok. If that’s what you want.”
“It is. It is. Look, I want to be the bigger person. I want to pretend that I am nothing but happy for you and I can show up at your wedding and smile and wish you well. And I am, I am happy for you, I am. You deserve this. But that happiness is mixed up with such wistfulness and bittersweetness and hurt and anger at myself, and that is NO way to send someone off into married life.”
“I get it. I do.”
“When I was younger, I’d show up, looking amazing and being funny and charming and playing at being unscathed, but underneath it all I’d be hiding the weeks I spent leading up to it beating myself up and wondering why it wasn’t me and punishing myself at the gym to look great in some dress I probably can’t afford and on the way home I’d feel like I’d want to cry in the car, but I wouldn’t let myself because I’m too prideful. And afterwards, I’d feel awful. And then feel awful for pretending. For lying. For being there and giving any energy to the occasion that wasn’t pure in intention. And it’s all just exhausting. And I don’t want to do that. So please, please don’t invite me. Please. Because if that invitation shows up in my mailbox, I am going to feel compelled by my bullheaded pride to come. So please. Don’t.”
I have talked so long, ran so many, too many jumbled sentences together that I have to take a deep breath. In the silence I hear his thoughts shuffling, whirring and clicking, trying to put together what to say. But he knows just like I know. The words have run out.
“Okay.”
“Okay.”
“I’m not sure why, but I feel like I should apologize.”
“Because you’re a good guy. But there’s no need. There is no wrong that happened here.”
“That’s the part that kinda sucks isn’t it?”
“Oh my God, you have NO idea.” We chuckle a bit, the tension dissipating, if just enough to give us room to breathe.
“I think it happened the way it was supposed to.”
“It did. It absolutely did. I believe that wholeheartedly. And underneath it all, I am really happy for you. I just don’t think I should be there if I can’t manage to be completely happy without any vestiges of the other stuff.”
“I get that. And I appreciate that. I respect you for that. You know, you might be more honorable than you give yourself credit for.”
“I will take it into advisement.”
“Anyway, I just… well I wanted to talk this out with you. And I guess we have. So…”
“Yeah.”
“I love you, La.”
“Congrats, love.”
We let those words linger a bit in the silence before we both hang up at the same time, without saying goodbye.
No need to repeat what’s already been said.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Take Care

This time of late night, early morning there's hardly anyone out. We are flying down the highway, the moon roof on his rental open as far as it can go. It's one of my favorite times of year, before it gets inconceivably, unbearably hot and you can stand to expose yourself to the elements. I lean my head back on the headrest, enjoying the breeze on my bare shoulders and thighs.

It's there that his right hand has been occupied most of the drive. Lithely traveling the expanse from my knee to mid-thigh where his fingers, barely a few shades darker than the palest part of my inner thigh, rest comfortably at odd intervals. It's equal parts soothing and erotic and possessive as hell.

I like it.

"This song reminds me of you," he says, turning up Flashing Lights.
"Why?"
"Well I know it's your favorite. But also... this." He turns the volume up even louder.



“I know it's been awhile sweetheart we hardly talk I was doin’ my thing. I know it was foul baby, hey babe, lately you been all on my brain…”

"Reminds me of us."
"Hmm," I purr under my breath, remaining noncommittal.

We lapse back into comfortable silence for a moment, letting Ye say it all for us. Him focusing on the part where you find your way back to someone you lost after realizing you can’t conquer the world without them by your side. And me on where I'm at right now...



"She don't believe in shooting stars, but she believe in shoes and cars…"

I am not looking for a benefactor, but I do crave something more tangible than wispy edged fairy tales. And this, whatever it's been all the years that have passed since a mutual acquaintance introduced us, since the last time we tried this and stopped speaking until we were set up again over the holidays, certainly has been a shooting star. Pretty and promising, but far away and elusive as hell. Coming and going so quick you find yourself wondering if your eyes are playing tricks in you.

But you still feel the memory, so you know it was real.

He brings me back to where I’ve gone in my mind with his lips, first on my open palm, then the delicate skin over the blue veins of my wrist. He leans further, one eye on the road, steering with his knee to kiss the curve of my shoulder. I shift in my seat to look at him, and remove my neck from the line of fire. I might don’t make it if he makes it there.

"It could be like this, you know. With us. If I move here."
"Oh, no. Don't do that. Don't dream sell me."
He laughs. "Not dream selling. Just presenting the possibilities."
"Hmm," I say again .
The iPod shuffles to a new song.

"This one reminds me of you too." He's quiet as the first few words of the song beat through the speaker.


"I know you've been hurt by someone else, I can tell by the way you carry yourself..."

"Did you just tell me a song by Drake, the Paddington Bear of the rap game, reminds me of you? No T.I.? No Outkast? No ‘Pac? Bah."
He laughs loud and hard at me.
"You don't have a single shred of sense."
"Just sayin’."


"When you're ready just say you're ready when all the baggage just ain't as heavy..."

"It reminds me of you because I'd take care of you if you let me."
"I don't need a savior. And I’m not really big on the whole knight in shining armor thing."
"I know. But you could use a partner. An addition to the home team."

Now this? This gets me. He knows that. Because I am a team person. I believe in we. Equals. Building together. Partnership. No homo.

"But I get why you're leery."
"I've loved and I've lost," I say along to the song, turning my face back to the window. He accelerates.

"Here is what I'm saying. No sales pitch. Just facts. You listening to me, La?" he turns down the music to make sure I get every word.
"Mmhmm."
"I know how things ended with us last time. How I ended things last time. And I’m sorry for that. But there's some reason why we keep getting back in touch. Or why we never really completely lost touch. There's a reason why when we do wind up back together it’s like no time has passed. I dunno what that reason is. But I know for once in a long time, we are both single. Not nursing any serious old wounds. Ready for what we both want. And, for the first time, maybe in the same city."

I struggle to keep my face passive despite the fact that everything he's said is something I've already thought to myself without my permission.

"Look, I know you've been in this situation before..."
I raise my eyebrow at him, subtly warning him to watch where he's treading. Because that foolish craving I had in a situation very much like this one, is still a bit too raw for him to poke at.

"But we are not that. Whatever this is, I dunno what it is, but I'm not that dude."

Of course he isn’t. He's That Dude. The one that bears an incredible, remarkable resemblance to the Prototype. If I believed in building people to my specifications or the concept of The One, he’d be almost unreasonably close to it. One of only two men I’ve known that carry that distinction.

That's intimidating as hell.

I say nothing, determined not to give anything away.

"Just don't judge me by the bullshit you went through before I fucking got here."
"That's fair."
“And then maybe you can stop holding against me what I did before.”
“Maybe.”
"Thank you."
"You wanna hug it out now? Or go back to the hotel and braid each other's hair or whatever?"
"What?!"
"I’m just sayin’. All these feelings and whatnot. Thought we were friends bonding at a sleepover or some shit."
"Yo, La, you are a real life asshole."

We laugh, the spell of the moment effectively broken, as I intended it to be.

"Ain’t nobody trying to be your fucking friend. Though I wouldn't mind a sleepover." He looks me up and down, that cocky smirk on his face, just as alluring as the first night I met him. His gaze lingers on my exposed thighs. I may as well be naked. I squeeze my knees together and take a deep breath.

"I'm a grown ass man, La. I don't have time for all them bullshit games you play with these dudes out here. Hide-the-feelings and shit. I know what I want. I'm not so scared that I can't put it out there. It's just up to you to meet me halfway."
"You don't live here yet. And you might not."
"True. But ignoring it won’t kill it. You should know that by now."

He turns the music back up, his hand finding its way back to my thigh, and I turn my face back to the window.

This is too familiar. I have been here. I’ve done this. And this too, isn’t it part of my pattern? Developing feelings for a friend because of what could be, for a great person whom I have intoxicating chemistry with who lives in some state that is not the one I reside in? With whom eventually, despite it all, the distance becomes the thing keeping us no longer just literally apart but painfully figuratively estranged?

It’s enticing, the idea that someone might be able to take care of you. That maybe there is someone who can fix all the wounds you've not been able to heal completely yourself. Especially when you’re weary. And feeling alone. But no one can "fix you." And there’s a reason the credits roll once your favorite rom com heroine gets to happily ever after. Because ever after, after you’ve been “fixed” ain’t always so happy.

I know why all these things from my past are coming back. Because I moved on without resolving them. Most everything that's come back around, I’ve been able to effectively sort out and put to bed. This though...

Shit.