“Yo’ mother is real nice.”
Kim was leaning on my shoulder with her hand crawling inside of my jacket, rubbing my chest- a cold fingertip made its way up under my sweater to my nipples. I had told the cab driver to take us to Kim’s place, but she’d said, “No, I’m coming home wit’ you.” I had neither the energy to argue with her nor to resist her advances. I was spent.
Her hand began steadily working its way south.
The driver had the radio tuned to a talk show on a Creole station. He must’ve been Haitian. I’d picked up some Creole over the years. Then there was my high school French. I used to love French when I was a kid. I thought that the French were the coolest white people on the planet. I’d planned to take a trip to France when I grew up. I had to see Paris for myself. You know, the Eiffel Tower and all that jazz. That is, until I learned what they’d done to my people throughout history. After that, all bets were off. Fuck France!
Ma had taught me about the French, in her own special way, and more importantly what the Haitians had done to them. Now, of all the Caribbean nations, I admired the Haitians the most. I’m serious. The Haitians didn’t wait for Napoleon to emancipate them. Hell no! They kicked Napoleon’s ass, taking their freedom by force, and for that historical gem they will always receive the utmost respect from me. Though I’m not Haitian, I felt a powerful kinship with them and enormous pride. Like having a second cousin you’ve only met once win the Nobel Prize for Literature, I was just proud to have come out of the same African gene pool. I was even proud that I managed to learn this fact despite America’s efforts to keep that kind of empowering knowledge from me. I mean, I sure as hell didn’t learn it in history class in school when I was learning about the Louisiana Purchase and the Monroe Doctrine and all that manifest destiny bullshit.
Crown Heights, the neighborhood of my youth, raced by outside the window. The neighborhood was a melting pot, an American dream concoction. Only, in Crown Heights, all the ingredients were of African descent, except for the Hasidim who occupied a fort smack dab in the middle of the community surrounded by a conspicuous police presence.
As a youth, I had friends from just about every island in the Caribbean. My block was like the United Nations of the third world- my friends acting as ambassadors. We weren’t really united, though. Only thing we seemed to have in common was pride for our respective homelands and the color of our skin- and even that varied at times. I had to develop a perverse pride of being African-American in order to fend off the exaggerated dignity of West Indians.
Inhabiting the street I grew up on were immigrants from Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados, Guyana, St. Lucia, Panama, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Haiti. A lot of other nations, too. I would confuse them, at times, which would lead to fights. Confuse a Dominican with a Puerto Rican, a Jamaican with a Trini, a Cuban with a Panamanian, a Lucian with a Martiniqian (or whatever you call them), and at best an education in differentiating between the two would ensue. God Forbid, you confuse any of them with a Haitian. Those were fighting words. Calling someone a Haitian was equivalent of speaking ill of someone’s mother. The degree of ignorance in Crown Heights was off the charts. And, that ignorance bred an open hostility and periodic violence. If I didn’t have Ma to keep me grounded I don’t know where’d I’d be right now.
My heart fluttered when the cab passed by the tenement where Michelle had lived. She was Jamaican- a Yardee, as they were known. Her mother had hated the idea of her daughter talking to a Yankee (as black Americans were known) like me. A lot of the Caribbean parents were like that. They held up to the stigma that Yankees were lazy, shiftless and bad influences on their children. The audacity!
The Jamaicans were the worst (or was it the Trinis?) They thought they were oh so superior to everybody else. I called it the Bob Marley syndrome. They thought their culture was so undiluted, their music, history, and ideology was so pure, so…special. One would think that the brand of slavery they persevered was some type of sordid indentured servitude, or something. We agree to toil in your cane fields for you if you agree to only torture us whenever it suits you. Colonialism really did a bang-up job on them. A lot of the other islands, too. Every immigrant felt they had to be better than the rest. So much animosity within the ranks of people essentially in the same boat, and from the same damn slave ships.
Michelle was darling, though. Jamaica never produced a sweeter export. But, I was so young, then. So stupid…
A shouting match flared up on the radio program the driver was listening to. In the mirror, I watched as the driver’s eyes glowed red with rage. All I could make out of the argument was the topic. It was political, something about the elections in Haiti.
There was a large Haitian population in Crown Heights. Though my friends considered them the nastiest of the Caribbean islands, I still held them in high regard; despite all that was said and rumored about them: the Aids theory, the Voodoo stigma, the bad hygiene and general hostility. The Haitians took it all in stride. They seemed impervious to ostracism. As far as I was concerned they had more reason to be loud, proud and admired- more cause for celebration of their culture and history then any other Caribbean Island.
My admiration of Haitian people is due to Ma’s influence. She’d taught me a lesson about the world that I’ll never forget.
There was a Haitian kid named Toussaint Charles who had lived down the block. Everyday he and his Creole clique were teased and taunted as they made their way to and from school. Though I had teased him right along with the rest, (I was the one to come up with the clever nickname, “Two-Cent Charlie,” mocking Toussaint’s name and poverty) I’d never had occasion to actually meet him. Until, one evening, I came in from playing in the streets, and there were Mr. Charles and Two-cent sitting in the living room with Ma.
Apparently, Ma had seen and heard from her perch in the window the disparaging things I’d said about Haitians, in particular about the Charles’, and that the invitation to dinner was her way of addressing it. Over dinner, Mr. Charles gave a history lesson. He spoke of his beloved Haiti with such passion that I swore at times that he had to be talking about Mrs. Charles, who’d died during their escape from the tyranny of Jean-Claude Duvalier. He’d given an overview of the island nation’s entire history, including the prowess of his son’s namesake: Toussaint L’Overture- his leadership on the road from slavery to liberation. “Freedom or death” was the slogan that borne the former slaves as they hacked and slaughtered every white person that breathed Haitian air. I never called him Two-Cent again, and spoke up whenever anyone else did, too.
The Haitian Sensation…
Stephanie was of Haitian descent and she didn’t like it one bit. Stephanie Boujeux. Man, she used to get so angry when I called her the Haitian Sensation, or a Haitian Creation, or the Haitian Temptation. It wasn’t the assonance that riled her. It was her ancestry.
Her mother was African American, tall, light skinned and beautiful by superficial standards. Her father was the source of that vile surname and cursed blood that coursed through her veins, according to her. She spoke horribly of her father, and his people. How could her mother, a woman of sound background, classy and educated, fall for and bear children with that refugee? She would say. Stephanie had pissed and moaned way too often, seldom taking into consideration that she wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for that union.
When she’d told me the story of her first and only visit to her father’s homeland- a village outside of Port au Prince- she might have been relating the sordid details of her abuse as a child. She was nearly in tears as she recounted the harrowing experience. The squalor, the abject poverty, even at the tender age of nine, was so disturbing to her. And, her mother had married into that. That these people were her kin was the greatest insult to her pre-adolescent sensibilities. I used to find it funny until the humor of it had run its course.
The Haitian Sensation…
Then I felt Kim’s mouth on my dick. I looked down and there she was, bobbing away. I was about to stop her but it felt so damn good. Fuck it. I leaned back, closed my eyes, and tried to enjoy myself. Kim didn’t seem to care about anything other than bringing me to a climax. When I opened my eyes I met the driver’s lascivious pair in the mirror. They were red and veiny- sleep deprived. Also, they seemed to be conveying some sort of phallic fraternal understanding. A sordid gentleman’s agreement: Since I (really Kim, in this instance) had arbitrarily decided to engage in lewd acts in his back seat, then he had the right to brazenly watch.
Those eyes reminded me of Stephanie’s father’s eyes- the unabashed bloodshot fury in them- and such undaunted honesty and unflinching courage. It was like looking directly at an eclipse. So much power and pride…I’d like to think that the minimal dilution of African blood allowed Haitians to retain a greater concentration of purely African attributes. That would explain why us Americans seemed to have so much disdain for them. We were indoctrinated into believing that African was synonymous with savagery, barbarism, cannibalism, and bizarre pagan religious rituals. So, of course, we went out of our way to distinguish ourselves from anything African. And, the Haitians always seemed to know this. Seemed to understand that I, an African American, knew nothing of the feeling of fighting the Devil hand-to-hand and winning.
Mr. Boujeux had said as much over dinner the first time I met the man. He’d spoken in Creole the entire night. I picked out enough words, though, especially the invectives I’d learned from Toussaint, to get the gist of Mr. Boujeux’s sentiments. And, of course, Stephanie had understood and could speak his language perfectly, though she seldom did. From her English responses to her father’s rants I had figured out the rest. Her mother had looked on dumbly. She never bothered to learn her husband’s native language. She would have no parts of it. What a twisted family they were.
That was the night I discovered Stephanie had been using me to get back at her father for being Haitian and passing that stigmata on to her. She’d gone out and found the most American-African person she’d ever belittle herself to be with, knowing how strongly her father would resent it. And, it worked. He resented the hell out of me; me, and everything I represented.
Her mother didn’t seem to have a major problem with me, though. If I had to guess, I’d say Mrs. Boujeux was a gold-digger. I knew very little about her mother, though, except that she and Stephanie were close and very much alike, and that she cheated on her husband and told her daughter. Stephanie used to brag about her mother’s many extra-marital love affairs, proud of her infidelity. Just to let me know that her mother was no fool in love with a refugee. I should’ve gotten out of the relationship then and there. There are few truths more universal than like mother-like daughter.
The Haitian Sensation…
“What’s wrong?” Kim cried from below.
I looked down in my lap at my flaccid member. She had it in her hand, giving it CPR. This was the first time I’d ever lost an erection during oral sex. I looked into Kim’s wounded, worried eyes. She prided herself on her ability to fellate. I thought about the hundreds of erectile dysfunctional men I’ve surveyed over the past few months preparing some press materials for the Vigoral account at work and contemplated the horror of needing the drug myself someday. I was jarred from my consternation by the cab driver’s raucous laughter.
While I sat in the living room, Kim strolled into the bedroom and started taking off her clothes, unfastening her blouse one tender button at a time. Then she slowly unzipped her skirt letting it slide down her long legs. I wanted to tell her not to undress but I couldn’t find the resolve. Besides, I loved to watch her. She does it slowly, like a professional stripper. Not because she knew she was being watched, though. She just did. Handling her new clothes gingerly, slipping into a sensual zone, smiling, humming aloud the sweet song in her heart. She was wearing lingerie. A purple lacy bra and panty set I’d purchased on-line from Frederick’s of Hollywood. I didn’t need any Vigoral. I didn’t need anything right now except to be inside of her.
As I made my way to join her in the bedroom I noticed the answering machine was blinking- One message. I pressed the play button instinctively before the thought to ignore it could reach my brain.
“Kevin, it’s Cheryl. Where are you? Call me when you get in.” Click!
“Who’s dat?” Kim sang, coming into the living room wearing the oversized Boo-Berry cereal T-shirt I bought her and my slippers, dragging her feet like a patient in a mental ward. She had a look of strained patience on her face.
“She’s a friend of mine.”
“A friend!” she hollered. And, like that, the tender moment was gone, tangibly. “Friend, my ass! Who is dat bitch?”
“Do I ask you about your friends?”
“If you gave uh shit about me you would.”
“Just leave it alone, Kim. Damn! What difference does it make?”
Kim looked like she didn’t quite know how to put what she had to say, express what she was feeling. The anguish contorted her face into something approaching pitiful.
“I told you how I feel, Kevin. I love you. I love you so much I don’t even know what to do wit’ myself.”
I had a few suggestions but reserved them.
“Listen, Kim. I ain’t…I’m not in love with you…all right? And I ain’t trying to fall in love. I’m very fond of you. I think you’re a sweet girl. But, I’m not ready to get serious with anyone.”
“You mean wit’ me. You ain’t ready tuh get serious wit’ me, right?”
“No,” I said. “I mean anyone.”
“Kevin, please, talk tuh me,” she pleaded. “I ain’t stupid as you think.”
“It doesn’t take a genius to see that we’re not made for each other,” I said evenly. “Different sensibilities, different interests, different goals…different everything. We don’t have anything in common. Except, maybe sex. But it takes more than good sex to make a relationship work.”
“Dat’s dat bullshit and you know it,” she said calmly. “You trying tuh say dat as long as we’s been togethuh you ain’t like nothin’about me? ‘Cept some pussy? You expects me tuh believe dat?”
“You ain’t duh first man I done had, you know. I know mens. If all dey want is pussy, dey don’t be like you be. Dey don’t be doing duh things dat you be doing for me. It’s all about the booty wit them. Dey might trick uh little cheddar but dat only make you feel like a prostitute when all is said and done. What really matters tuh me is how I gets treated, and you always treat me good, even when you uh asshole. It ain’t never just about duh booty wit’ you. Sometimes you just hol’ me. And, I know you know what I’m talkin’ about.”
“Kim…I appreciate how you feel. Really, I do,” I cried. “But, I want to feel the same way you feel about the person I’m with. It’s not fair for me to stay with you if our feelings aren’t mutual- don’t you know that? You’d be taking a short and you don’t deserve no shorts. You deserve the best man for you. Someone who…” I couldn’t finish the sentence. It would have lead into a discussion of the deterrent keeping my feelings decidedly at bay.
Kim became very still- A frosty stillness. I’ve never seen her face so emotionless. She had gone dumb. It made me uncomfortable, almost fearful that she was about to flip- what with that homicidal gene she probably had inherited from her mother, or her father for all I knew.
But, I had to hold my ground.
“I’m sorry, Kim, but I don’t have any more to offer than what I’ve already given you.”
“Tell me why!”
“I don’t want to get into…”
“Fuck dat, Kevin,” she snapped; the emotion returning to her face in a furious display. “I wanna know. Yo’ mama wouldn’t say it, and she was right. It ain’t her place tuh say…but it is yo’ place. Be uh man, motherfucker, and tell me. Tell me tuh my goddamn face. Tell me why I ain’t good enough for you.”
Be a man!
Okay. She wanted to hear it. Okay. Okay. Okay…Hear it, then…but the words wouldn’t come out.
Be a man!
I am a man, I said to myself. My own definition of a man, not hers. She was just trying to goad me into saying what she wanted to hear. If I responded then I’d be responding because she’d coerced me into believing that being a man meant explaining your motives to women. But, that’s bullshit. Maybe the man she sought was that kind of man, but I surely wasn’t seeing myself that way.
“Kim, you’re just going to have to accept the fact that it’s over. We gave it a shot but it’s not going to happen.”
She looked shocked. Like she hadn’t realized that this was the talk, the end. Like she’d believed that we’d just been airing some issues.
“You cutting me off? You…you dumping me?”
When she put it that way I thought of her mother and brother. Oh shit. Stupid. This was supposed to be handled with care. But, there’s no really nice way to break off a…whatever we had. A liaison. Or, like Bill Cosby had said of his extramarital affair, a rendezvous. If Coz could use it, why couldn’t I?
“Oh, you think dis shit is funny. I’m just uh big fuckin’ joke to you, huh?”
I didn’t realize that I’d laughed aloud. Kim stormed into the bedroom and started putting on her clothes. I stood there like a statue watching her. She was mumbling something beneath her breath. All I could make out were the words, “laugh now, muthafucker.”
I looked around for objects she could grab to add violence to her exit. All the knives were in the knife rack out of reach. I positioned myself between the kitchen and where she would have to pass on her way out. There were vases on the coffee table and on the mantle, but I could dodge those, and they were cheap, anyway. There were empty wine bottles on the kitchen counter. She could crack one over the corner of the counter and come at me with the jagged edge. She looked like she could be a pro at breaking a bottle just so. It was a skill that girls from the projects probably perfected by the age of ten. I wondered if she owned a firearm. She was sitting on my bed putting on her pumps.
And, she wasn’t crying?
Kim raised her palm, shutting me up. She stood up, very dignified, brushing the wrinkles out of her skirt. This is your last chance written all over her face. She tried unsuccessfully to hide it beneath her scorn. Diplomacy is the key here, Kevin. I didn’t want her to go away mad. Just to go away. Sad, if need be. But, definitely not raving mad, running back to her nutty family, crying that I’d broken her heart and laughed at her.
“Save it for David, baby. You gonna regret dis shit, I promise you dat!”
“Now, wait a minute!”
“What! You gonna tell me you sorry. I already knows dat. Dass why I gave you duh pussy in duh first place. Felt sorry fuh yo’ sorry ass. But, you gonna be mo’ sorry den you is now!”
Now I was getting angry. Righteous anger! Angry that I’d allowed Kim’s mother to intimidate me. Angry that I hadn’t respected my foresight that Christmas day and bailed out. Angry that Ma had led this girl to believe she had a chance despite me. Angry that Kim had taken me for the type of man who’d take this shit from her! Who did this bitch think she was, threatening me like I was some punk that can’t handle his business?
I was standing in the bedroom doorway fuming as she stormed my way like she was going to knock me out of her way. I had to see this. When she reached me I stared her down, Yeah, you bad written all over my face. I could feel it- feel myself tensing up. Kim tried to push me but I wouldn’t budge.
“Get outta my way, Kevin!”
“You can’t make me so you might as well sit your ass down and listen to what I got to say!”
Then she slapped me across the face- but hard. I managed not to move, but my left cheek was stinging and my ear was ringing. She must’ve thought that was sufficient cause she proceeded to try and go through me. With a thrust of my hand to her chest I sent her stumbling backwards.
“Try that shit, again, and see what happens!” I said, manly. I was thinking about Stephanie, all of sudden. How I had let her provoke me.
Kim looked surprised once she’d gathered her balance. She sneered at me like I was crazy, tilting her head to the side. She turned around and headed for the phone. Started dialing a number. I wondered who the fuck she could be calling. The cops? Doubtful. Probably some other nigga she was fucking to tell him where I lived. All women have someone on the side. All of them…hoes! I dived over the bed and snatched the phone from her just as she was saying “Ma?” I hung it up. She slapped me, again. Before I could stop myself, I grabbed the hand she’d slapped me with and began squeezing it. She wanted to be violent. I’ll show her some goddamn violence. Let her know the magnitude of the might she was up against, the awesome power of the man in control here. This force to be reckoned with; she was nothing up against it. I didn’t have to pummel her to humble her. I could just squeeze her fucking hand. Looking her in the eye as she tried to resist, watching her succumb to me as she realized the futility of struggle. I kept squeezing it, though. I didn’t want to stop, ever. It felt so good, trouncing her this way. Until she screamed…
Oh shit, oh shit. Breathe, relax, breathe, relax, breathe, relax, breathe, and relax.
I stood up, a little wobbly, hyperventilated. I felt weak; like a weak man. I’d just confirmed my worst fear. I was nowhere near well. I felt like crying. I felt like dying. Like putting my emotionally disturbed life out of its misery. I was no good.
Kim was lying on the bed holding her hand, examining it. She tried to move it. Thank God, the hand cooperated. She started wiggling the fingers. Then, she glanced up at me- with warmth in her glossy eyes?
“You hurt my hand,” she sang.
I didn’t know what to make of her. Had she snapped? She had a look on her face like we’d just been making love and her pussy was sore from my being particularly rough. The way she liked it. I didn’t know what to say. Kim started to get up from the bed, careful not to put pressure on the hand. I knew what was coming. Well, go ahead. Bring it on. I could take it. I deserved it and worse. She could knee me, kick me, whatever she wanted. I braced myself for…Kim wrapping her arms around me? She started kissing me on my neck.
Then, she whispered in my ear “Oh baby, if you didn’t want me tuh go all you had tuh do wuz say so.”
“I’m sorry, Peanut,” I said, unwrapping Kim from my body and taking the hand I’d just tried to mangle in my rage, planting little kisses on it, thinking did I dodge a bullet or what?
The candles were Kim’s idea. There was no romance without candlelight for her. She’d arranged the candles around the room months ago and I never tampered with them. All I had to do was light them. As I did I tried not to think about what had happened a little while ago. I focused on the task at hand. The Jasmine incense was my contribution, a monthly purchase from the Muslim cat by the subway.
Kim emerged from the bathroom in the lingerie I’d caught a gander of earlier. She stood before me, a precious jewel. I lied on my back upon the bed watching her as she traced a finger up and down the inside of her thighs while she sucked on the middle finger of her other hand. Then, she threw her head back and let her hands roam freely about her various erogenous zones. She had so many. I was aching to feel the satin of her bra and panties.
“I want you to touch me on duh inside part,” she drawled, imitating that ghost in the movie “Beloved.” I almost choked I laughed so hard.
Once it was over, I laid there with Kim lying partially atop me with that hand planted on my heart. I stared at the ceiling in the dark listening to Kim snore. I envied her. She slept like she hadn’t a problem in the world. How did she do it? How did she manage to find peace? I had trouble sleeping almost every night. The average time I’d fall asleep, weekday or weekend, was about Two A.M. It was 12:03am now. I was tired but I knew sleep was a long way off.
I stared at the hand on my chest. The hand I nearly crushed. I tried to block out of my mind the way I’d felt at that moment when I had it in my grasp, had been trying to block it out for sometime, now. But, I learned tonight the futility of my efforts. That this rage had been lying dormant somewhere in my subconscious, like a virus, attaching itself to other emotions and thoughts, waiting for my defenses to lower. And, once they had, once the virus had seized the opportunity to rise from its latency, I was, once again, a monstrosity.
Like I’d been with Stephanie in the waning months of that relationship.
I had to get up. Dr. Rosenberg had said if I had trouble sleeping in the bed to move to another location and return only once I was ready to sleep. ‘Don’t allow the bed to become a place of restlessness’, she’d said. That made perfect sense, as did the advice about the Pepsi’s at night. That the soda had both sugar and caffeine, which I strangely never considered. But, still my sleeping problems persisted. I didn’t want to take drugs cause I had an abusive nature, and I could easily see myself becoming dependent. Like Trevor. Like Ma, too, with her ‘social’ drinking. Even my father abused alcohol, according to Ma. No, legal or illegal, I wasn’t going to go that route.
“Where you going, baby?”
Kim slept so lightly. All I’d done was remove her hand from my chest. She looked so serene, like an ebony angel. How could I have treated her so badly?
“Go back to sleep, Boo.”
She opened her eyes and looked at me like she’d been looking at me all of her life. How did she do that? I could see the love in her eyes. Like she was exactly where she wanted to be in her life. Total satisfaction- here, beside me. Everything would be all right as long as we’re together her eyes seemed to sing. It was like looking at a welder’s torch soldering something without a visor to protect my eyes. I looked away. I didn’t want to feel these tender feelings. Not with Kim. Not for Kim. I didn’t want her welding her love to me. She wasn’t the one. Perhaps there wasn’t any one for me. I wasn’t well.
I felt her hand holding on to my arm as I rolled out of the bed. But, it was a sleepy grasp. She wasn’t quite conscious. Even in her slumber she was holding on. Her hand dropped to the space I’d occupied on the bed. That hand.
I walked away lightly listening to her breathing heavily. She’d fallen back asleep just that quickly.
I went into the living room and sat on the couch, in the dark. I’d do this all the time. I wanted a smoke, but Doc had said smoking wasn’t conducive to sleep either.
Then, the phone rang. I grabbed it on the first ring, not to wake up Kim.
My heart recognized the voice before my mind did and began the race with a head start. My thoughts caught up pretty quickly, though. It was Stephanie. This was no delusion. Somehow, I was able to recognize the difference once confronted with the real thing. If I had been dying of thirst in the Sahara, I’d have known this was a true oasis and not a mirage. Her voice was as it would always be. Like a sirens call. And, no binds would keep me from diving into the ocean to swim towards it. Hearing her voice again after all this time was like praying to God all one’s life and to finally hear God say, ‘all right, what is it?’
She was sniffling like she’d been crying or had a cold.
“Are you alright? What do you need, baby? What can I do?”
“Where are you? Are you okay?” What the hell was going on?
“It’s me, baby. Just tell me where you’re at.” I was concerned, but I was losing patience with her drama. All those old annoying traits of hers were coming back to me. Her sniffling was a mnemonic device that triggered the rehashing of some rather unpleasant memories.
“Kevin. I…I need to talk to you.”
Was that all?
“Are you okay?” I said. The shock of hearing her voice had worn off. It had been about a year since the last time. At least it seemed like it. I thought I would never hear it again and now that I was hearing it I felt that I never wanted to hear it again.
“I miss you, Kevin.”
“You’ll get over it,” I said, coldly. “When you wake up in the morning, you’ll remember all the bullshit and come to your senses.”
That shut her up. Even the sniffling stopped. I was proud of myself. It wasn’t always this way. Once upon a time these conversations would lead to a rendezvous from hell- a date where flashbacks took precedence over the present. I’d sit there and watch her mentally kicking herself in the ass. My presence would become an assault on her self-esteem, confirmation that she didn’t deserve better in life. And, it wasn’t much better for me. I’d see the women I treated so monstrously denying her own reason and better judgment, just because I fucked her up so badly she didn’t feel fit for any other man. And, I’d be so contrite that I’d become an apparition of myself and cease to exist.
“I’ve been thinking about this for a while,” she said, sounding defensive. “I know we had our problems. And, I know it got pretty bad, but I…I still…love you.”
Easy for you to say. She still loved me? I couldn’t see it but it was a sweet sound nonetheless. I hadn’t heard her say ‘I love you’ in a very long time. She seldom said it when we were a couple. I was always the one crying those three words. Straining to believe in them. But, I’ve never had faith in love. I’d always known we would come to an end. And, so did she. There was no love. She’d used me and I’d given her carte blanche to go ahead and use away.
“Listen, Kim, go to sleep. If you feel the same way tomorrow, then we’ll talk about it then.”
“Who the hell is Kim?”
Oh shit! I didn’t know what to say. How the hell did Kim’s name come out of my mouth?
“Who’s Kim?” she said, sucking her teeth.
I couldn’t believe she was acting like a jealous girlfriend after all this time. Those days been over, baby.
“Kim is the girl I’m seeing now,” I said, just to put her in her place. Like she wasn’t seeing anybody. The Haitian Sensation, she always had somebody, and a somebody on the side, too.
“Is it serious?”
“What difference does it make? We’re over and ain’t nothing gonna change that fact.”
“Kevin…listen to me… I’m not…”
“Bitch, you need tuh be doing duh lissenin’! He done told yo’ ass it’s over, so get yo’ own fuckin’ man. I told you before.”
What the hell? It was Kim on the phone in the bedroom. But, I couldn’t even get riled up. For once, I was glad that Kim had invaded my privacy.
“I beg your pardon,” Stephanie said
“Stop begging, bitch!” Kim sassed. “I got yo’ number and yo’ address. Don’t make me haf tuh pay yo’ ass a visit.”
I leaned my head back on the couch, feeling relaxed. Stephanie’s stunned silence was like a drug I could get addicted to. Why hadn’t I thought of this myself months ago? I could have saved a bundle on therapy.
“Kevin?” Stephanie called.
“You gonna tell that pit bull of yours to mind her damn business?”
It was funny, listening to her trying to talk tough with her bougie self. She still sounded like the tortured prodigal daughter. This was great!
“We really need to talk. It’s important.” Stephanie said.
Then, I thought about something Kim had said: I told you before… Was Stephanie the woman who had called and hung up? How the hell would Kim know?
“Yo’ mama’s a pit bull,” Kim said.
Now, it was getting petty.
“Kim?” I yelled into the bedroom rather than over the phone. Kim came bouncing out of the bedroom, succulently topless, with those pretty purple panties on, the cordless phone to her ear. She came over and straddled my lap, her face inches from my own. Damn, she was lovely. She was holding the phone to her ear just like I was. I smiled and she reciprocated it. She really had a lovely smile. She was grinding against my crotch. I wanted, hell, I needed to be inside of her again more than I needed to breathe.
“Stephanie, I gotta go,” I said. “I’ll holla at you next time.”
Kim and I hit the ‘End’ buttons on our phones at the same time.
Coming Soon Chapter 5: The Scab
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