I had avoided this time in my mind for a minute – I made a mad dash to my car, up Crenshaw to Century. Jamba Juice before 11:00 p.m. I had to get a smoothie. The lighter flickered. Igniting an orange glow in the cabin of my truck, that was always the calm before the storm of the intricate, deep, mellow, unedited thoughts that took over and played in my mind like Chante Moore played in the background of my car:
Zhoo-be-da-bay-ow-u-dow Peow, peow, peow
Zhoo-be-da-bay-ow-u-dow Peow, peow, peow
I inhaled and thought about the way he would hold me. How I would feel the closeness of him, the warmth that would shoot through my body like an electric current through my body when I saw him again. It’s been 2 1/2 years, and a lot has happened in that time. But no matter what happened, he always seemed to be there. I never really got it, but he always cared – but when I recognized it and acknowledged it became more evident, what I’ve should have always known, the depth in which his emotions ran for me.
I stopped at Vernon when the phone rang. I looked at the clock and it was 10:36. The phone rang again. “I’ll be there by 10:45,” I thought to myself when I looked down and it read the screen: 8+8+7+3=26. If you decoded it, it meant it was my black and Cuban mixed boy that I’ve jumped off with off an on since I was 19 calling. His number, 26, represented his point system in my jump off book. 26 out of 40. The sex that I did have this year was bullshit sex. Suck my dick…let me suck yours, that type of thing. I didn’t want to do anything sexually until it was with him. No not 26, but the only man that I trusted enough to schedule an appointment for me to receive him. All of him. He respected me; he’s cared about me. . It’s been 2 1/2 years, and a lot has happened in that time. But no matter what happened, he always seemed to be there. I never really got it, but he always cared – but when I recognized it and acknowledged it became more evident, what I’ve should have always known, the depth in which his emotions ran for me.
Aside from that, I exhaled and turned up Chante Moore and went back and forth in my mind about calling him back. Not Ricardo, a friend…someone that you may know. I look at him, every given time and I just want to hold him and be intimate with him. Kiss him – listen to him talk and let him know that it’s gonna be okay. We exchange stories about the bullshit that dudes put us through and how hard it is being a different type of gay black man that people usually associate with being gay both internally and externally. In a weird way, we both kinda know that none of the men that we date are good enough, but we always give them the benefit of the doubt – but we always remind each other and some how convince each other to wait for the one…but in my mind, I’m the one for him. He’s someone that I could lay up with and watch a movie with. Talk to…have a glass of wine…cuddle throughout the night. Wake up and make breakfast for him…and do that when we needed to. I should have just called him back. Stop being a bitch and be there for my friend.
I made a right on Century and as the haze of smoke began to rise on my mind, I thought to myself, “I wonder if anyone has ever asked her about how she felt.” She, My favorite aunt on my mom’s side. Her daughter, who brings a tear that never falls to my eye every time I think of her and what she’s done for me in my life, was my favorite cousin. Now she’s my guardian angel. She – my aunt, to me has endured the worst deck of cards anyone can be dealt and has survived it and still managed to wake up every day and live. Although we never talk about it, the next time I see her, in private. I want to ask her, “How do you feel?” A person can tell you what they want you to know. Someone can tell you what they want you to hear. But if you ask them, very rarely will they lie. There is a certain intimacy in asking a genuine question that assures the person that you care and are sincere about their growth. In my family, we lack that, but on the strength of her daughter, my favorite cousin, that shared the day of the week, in which the day she died on – I will instill the value of trust and intimacy back in my family because she died so desperately trying to do it.
With minutes to spare, the store manager locked the main door. Eyes tight, smiling from ear to ear, beating the clock while talking to THE BLACKS in my left ear, he greeted me. Warm, calm, soothing, genuinely he smiled. Looking like a full-grown version of Solange Knowles son. 5’8. Light skinned, but not the typical. He wasn’t conceited about it. It was just who he was. He maintained a comfortable 200, thick pounds that fitted him right, but more so, just what I liked.
“We’re closed.” He said as he walked closer to me.
“Huh?” I asked just grinning.
“I’m just joking. What can I get you?”
“A Strawberry Surf rider and A White Gummy Bear.”
“Original on both, fiber in the strawberry.”
He laughed in my left ear.
“What’s so funny?”
“What you know about a white gummy bear?” THE BLACKS asked.
“That’s for ya auntie. You know how yall Libras are.”
“What you smokin’?” He walked up to me and asked me.
“Granddaddy and White Widow.”
“Damn! That’s why you be faded.” He said laughing.
“You want some?”
I thought nothing of it. I’m cool. Everyone wants to smoke with me. People recognize that I am a chill, laid back, cool ass nigga. I accept people for who they are and I am me and only another real muthafucka will get that shit. But I also know that everyone you smoke with aint you’re friend either. I learned that this summer. And one thing about this year I am not carrying that old ass shit from 07 into 08. I hung up the phone with THE BLACKS as I sized up the Jamba Juice worker. Face 9. Swagger 10. Dick Size…Technique... But just by looking at him, he was probably hanging about 7 and his technique gave me 9, which would have made him a 35, which also meant that when I called him he wouldn’t answer, and when he called me I was expected to answer. Somewhere down the line niggas with a little bit of “umph” even if it is a 35, equate being the bomb and knowing it too. They have this grandiose notion that they can get whomever I want, including the fat boy who is desperate. But see that’s where niggas get the game twisted every time. I chose them. Because my game is so sick, I am giving you C game to get your attention, using my B game to keep you attention and my A game to get what I want. So just like you and India.Arie, I choose too. But it’s okay…I let them get away with it sometimes. Cause look what happens when you’re a 26.
He is a 40. He, Donte, the only man that I trusted enough to schedule an appointment for me to receive him. All of him. He respected me; he’s cared about me. . It’s been 2 1/2 years, and a lot has happened in that time. But no matter what happened, he always seemed to be there. I never really got it, but he always cared – but when I recognized it and acknowledged it became more evident, what I’ve should have always known, the depth in which his emotions ran for me.
But he doesn’t let that 40 go to his head. He knows there is more to life than just being a sexual object. More than being a booty call. Even though there is that one thing that keeps us apart, I’d do anything for him. Just because we have that understanding – an understanding that people rarely get to have in their life. An understanding that people are jealous of. An understanding that I had, that I appreciated and didn’t take for granted. An understanding that would never be misunderstood. An understanding that made my love for him unconditional.
He carried my drinks to the car, opened the door and let me walk out before him. It wasn’t just because he was smoking my weed, that I offered and he gladly took. It was in his nature to be a gentleman. To be mellow and low key. To be masculine and seductive without trying to be. It was his nature. It was something that I was attracted to. The same connection that he reminded me of when I made a night run there a few months back like I did tonight.
“Where is your friend? The girl that you always come with?” He asked as he sat my drinks on the floor.
“Who?” I asked.
“The tall girl. The cute one.”
“Oh that’s my attorney. But she’s my best friend too. She’s up in the Hampton’s right now.”
“What? Like that.”
“If you only knew.” I responded.
“You’re funny. You said something the last time I saw you here.”
“Shit, what did I say?” I asked as I lit the joint.
“You and her were talking about something and you was like, ‘Come-on bitch, we leavin’.’” He said as he tried to imitate me in his gayest mock ever.
“That sounds like me.” I said as I laughed.
“You were fucked up that night.”
“This is my time to be blasted.” I replied.
He exhaled – twice. I watched his movement. The way that he timed things, the way that he said things. His mechanism was soft, subtle, yet strong and warming. He didn’t let things that he could not change get to him. He knew how to have fun. He knew how to surround himself with the right people. He was someone who was on a path to great things because he knew how to use the right tools in his reach to become effective at the plan he drew for himself. I smiled as he exhaled for the third time.
He remembered things about me. He paid attention to my jokes. He understood past what I put up. He wasn’t afraid to look me in my eye and get what most people don’t get. What most people look past. Me at the core. I always know people understand and get me, by the way they treat me. How they know exactly what to do – and what to say. And by the small, intimate gestures that make me smile.
It’s funny how you always seem to attract the people that always seem to be a reflection of some discovered or undiscovered part of you. If we’re lucky and if we pay attention close enough – we’ll meet these people every day, the inspirations of life. Sometimes we miss the messages that life sends us. More of the time they are subtle. Subtle messages that inspire us to be great, to keep going in spite of the negative things that block us from getting to a place of happiness. People are sent to be a representation of the things that we are, what we are becoming or who we aspire to be. They change the way we do things for the better or for the worse…but that only happens if we open the mail.
I looked at him again before it was time for him to go back in and close the store.
“What’s your name?” I asked him.
“If I tell you, we’ll have to do it a second time.”
He smiled and said Edward.