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Authors: Electa Rome Parks

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BOOK: Loose Ends
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She’s a trip, but I
love
her just the same. Sharon is a tall—we’re talking five-ten—big-boned woman, whom you usually heard before you saw. Yeah, she talks a lot of shit. Yet she’s the most giving and free-hearted person I’ve ever met. She’d give you the shirt off her back. In my book, that’s saying a lot.
 
 
It’s amazing how Sharon manages two personalities. At work, she is a true professional adored by her students and praised by their parents and the faculty alike. Outside of work, the woman is about having a good time. Give her two drinks—her favorite is a Cosmopolitan—and she gets louder than loud. Whenever we go out, there’s never a dull moment.
 
 
Thinking back, I don’t know why Sharon chose me to be her best friend, because we’re so opposite in lifestyles. I’m happily married with a child, and Sharon is independent, never married, with no children. She likes it that way; she can come and go as she pleases. The only thing she needs a man for is biweekly maintenance. If that fails . . . oh, well, she’s good to go as long as she has AA batteries in stock. Those are her words, not mine. She says that her toy may have been a little impersonal, but it got the job done.
 
 
Sharon was hired my second year of teaching at Fairfield. She introduced herself to me in the teacher’s break room and said she was going to be my new best friend, and the rest is history. Christian loves her like a sister and treats her like one too. They have a big-brother, little-sister relationship going.
 
 
Tonight she had me sitting in Taboo waiting for karaoke night, hosted by Wanda Smith. The place was crowded for a Tuesday night. Everyone was in a festive party mood. Sharon was nursing her second Cosmopolitan and I was working on my first screwdriver.
 
 
“Girlfriend, I’m glad I got you out of that house tonight. Tell Christian to let you come out for air once in a while. Y’all are like a li’l old couple, right under each other all the time.”
 
 
We both laughed, as friends do, Sharon a bit too loud.
 
 
“I know, I know. I live a sheltered life; I need to get out more. I’ll never be the life of the party like you are, girlfriend.”
 
 
“Don’t apologize; just sit back and take notes. I’m up for my biweekly maintenance and I’m badly in need of a sponsor.” She laughed like it was the funniest line in the world.
 
 
“Girl, you’re crazy.” I laughed as I looked around at the crowd. Atlanta has such a wide gap in its women-to-men ratio. I think it’s something like eight to one. Usually women outnumber the men at most events. I’d hate to be a single black female in Atlanta. But I don’t have those worries. I have my Boo, and I knew exactly where he was tonight.
 
 
“Seriously, Mia, what’s the deal? You haven’t been yourself these last few weeks. You’ve been distracted about something. Come on; come clean,” Sharon said with serious concern etched on her face.
 
 
“Is it that obvious?”
 
 
“Yes, it’s that obvious. Something is going on. You’re not my usual cheery friend that I’ve come to know and love.”
 
 
“I don’t know, girl. I guess I’m just nervous about this upcoming meeting.”
 
 
“And you have every right to be. You’re a better person than me. I would curse his ass out, tell him to fuck off, and keep on going. No love lost.”
 
 
“I bet you would.” I laughed.
 
 
“Hell, yeah, all that shit he put you through. Treating you like nothing. On second thought, no, actually, I’d get revenge and fuck him up.”
 
 
We laughed at the possibility. “Seriously, Sharon, I’m having mixed feelings. I keep telling myself that I’m doing this for Christian, but deep down I want to see him again. I want him to see Christian and me together and see how happy we are. I want him to bear witness that he didn’t ruin my life.”
 
 
“Girl, I wish I could be a fly on your wall. What are you wearing?” she asked in all seriousness.
 
 
I looked at Sharon in disbelief. “I don’t know. My wardrobe is the least of my worries.”
 
 
“Think, Mia, think. You have to wear something real sexy. Something that shows him what he missed out on and can’t touch again. Ever. You’ve got to be looking your best.”
 
 
We both turned to the stage as a lady approached the stage dressed in black with hair down her back like Diana Ross. She took the microphone and announced that she was going to sing “Fallin’” by Alicia Keys.
 
 
My thoughts drifted back to Brice while Sharon gave her full attention to the stage. It’s amazing that we made it through two and a half years of marriage. Brice was a definite control freak, and I was his number one controlee.
 
 
Looking back, I loved Brice with everything I had—and then some. I was young, naive, and probably had some unrealistic views about love and marriage. I thought my love for Brice could solve all problems, resolve all our conflicts. Unfortunately, our problems were too deep for my love alone. In the bitter end, my heart was broken beyond repair, and a part of me, that part deep, deep down, was forever lost.
 
 
Brice was like a chameleon. On one hand, he could be so loving, so romantic and devoted to my every need. Yet, at the toss of a coin, his temper, possessiveness and jealousy would overshadow everything else. It was his way or no way. Brice ran our household with an iron grip. His word was law. I tried to deal with it because I loved him. I did what he wanted, when he wanted, where he wanted and how he wanted. In return I received his love. However, that wasn’t enough. It just wasn’t enough. When his paranoia would come into play, I suffered from his beatings.
 
 
Brice never trusted me around men or women. I admit I used to be a bit of a flirt. Brice felt some man was going to steal me away, and the females, in his opinion, were just bad influences on me. So I didn’t have a life other than with him. For me, that wasn’t enough.
 
 
If I didn’t do something, anything he wanted, I suffered. If I did something that was a figment of his imagination, I suffered. Either way, I lost. Brice, at one point, totally controlled my existence. That crazy muthafucka would make me strip down out of my underwear so that he could smell my coochie to make sure I hadn’t slept with anyone. He would hit me one moment and, in his next breath, turn around and make the sweetest love to me. It’s amazing how some good loving will make a woman stay around much longer than she should.
 
 
Throughout history, women have stuck around with the bad boy, the one who shows them no love, no respect, no wining and dining, no nothing. We stick around because we don’t want to give up their boning us. We can get screwed by any man, but we find one who has skills and knows how to fine-tune our body like a violinist tuning his instrument and we don’t want to give him up.
 
 
Our cycle continued far too long. Some of the shit that man made me do . . . And I did it for him. Don’t get me wrong: When he was good, Brice was very good. I can’t deny that he made me happy. Unfortunately, there were far too many unhappy times. Sad to say, it took my ending up in the hospital after he beat the shit out of me for me to literally see the light.
 
 
Throughout all of this, there was Christian—my one true light. I had his strong shoulders to lean on. Christian was my sounding board and true friend. It’s true that we have no control over whom we love. The heart doesn’t know. Before I knew it, I was in love with Christian. It’s a different love, but a real love. A true love. A love that has evolved because of circumstances.
 
 
Brice was a love that I breathed for. Now he was coming back into my life. After five years, I haven’t forgotten him. I still remember his masculine smell, his voice whispering in my ear in the throes of passion. I remember his strong hands touching me in intimate places, his lips caressing my body as he went inside me. I remember how he moved inside me and remember how he made me feel when he looked deep into my eyes as I called out his name over and over.
 
 
Sharon brought me back to reality with her loud laughter.
 
 
“Mia, you haven’t heard a word I’ve said, have you?”
 
 
“What? I didn’t hear—”
 
 
“That’s obvious. You are in your own little world over there. If I wanted to come here alone—”
 
 
“Okay, okay, what did I miss?” I asked before she went on and on about how I was neglecting her.
 
 
“You see the tall, dark-skinned guy over in the far corner?” She boldly pointed him out.
 
 
“Yeah?”
 
 
“Well, he’s the maintenance man for this week. Sexy has been giving me the eye all evening. You just watch; I’m going to sample those goods.”
 
 
Sharon and I talked, laughed and drank some more, compliments of Sexy, for another hour or so before I called it a night. True to form, before we walked out the door Sharon had Sexy’s home, work, pager and cell numbers and a date for later in the week. Amazing. Girlfriend is unbelievable.
 
 
Christian
 
 
Brice and I were both quiet while we cruised down I-20 West and listened to V-103 on an early Saturday morning. It was like old times again, us back together again. Older and wiser.
 
 
Brice broke the silence. “Man, promise me you’ll think about it. I’d love to bring you in as a partner. The Two Musketeers together again. Wouldn’t that be a trip?” Brice said as we made our drive over to his parents’ house.
 
 
“I can’t make any promises, but I will think about it. It sounds like you have everything planned out to the letter. It would be a great opportunity.”
 
 
“Well, what’s the problem, my brotha?”
 
 
“Mia. Mia’s the problem,” I replied without looking in his direction.
 
 
“Man, you can handle Mia.”
 
 
“Brice, I don’t ‘handle’ Mia. We make major decisions together.”
 
 
“Hold up. I didn’t mean it like that. I’m just saying you can convince her that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It’s too good to pass up.”
 
 
“I don’t know; we’ll see. I’m still trying to get her to think it’s a good idea to meet with you. Let me get her used to one idea at a time.”
 
 
“How’s your pops doing, man?” I asked with deep concern. For years he was one of the only male figures I had in my life.
 
 
Brice looked at me out of the corner of his eye. “If you stopped by to see Moms more, you’d know for yourself, wouldn’t you?”
 
 
“Brice, our situation is kinda awkward.”
 
 
“Yeah, it is, but they never stopped loving you. Moms asks about you all the time. Even when I was in Germany, she’d tell me to call you and work through our problems. When I told her you were stopping by, she was ecstatic.”
 
 
“Cool.”
 
 
“But Pops, he’s not doing that well. He has his good and bad days, with Moms right by his side.”
 
 
“Of course. Your moms ain’t going nowhere.”
 
 
“You ain’t never lied.”
 
 
“How does she feel about this situation, our new lives?” I always felt Brice’s mother thought I had betrayed Brice by marrying Mia. Therefore I stayed away.
 
 
“Christian, Moms knows I messed up bad. In fact, she predicted this would happen if I didn’t straighten up. Moms always loved you like a son and Mia like a daughter. That didn’t change. She wanted you both to be happy; if with each other, so be it.”
 
 
“It’s that simple, huh?”
 
 
“Man, only you’re complicating it. You’re happy and I’m happy. Kree is the wife I’ve always wanted. She does what I tell her to.” With that statement, Brice started laughing. I wasn’t too sure if he was serious.
 
 
“Well, five years ago, you could have killed me with your bare hands.” I glanced back out the window.
BOOK: Loose Ends
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