Authors: Kiki Swinson
Tags: #Fiction, #Erotica, #African American - Urban Life, #African American women, #African Americans, #Drama, #Drug Dealers, #Inner cities, #Street life
“Okay, now tell me what happened last night that kept you from getting to work on time?”
“Don’t be mad, but I sat outside Darren’s house all night, waiting for him to come home, so I could talk to him since he won’t answer any of my phone calls.”
“You mean to tell me that this man has you so fucked up in the head, that you sat outside his house all night long, waiting on him to come home, for the simple fact that he refuses to answer any of your calls?”
Teresa nodded her head and gave me a cheesy smile.
“So, what did you accomplish from all of that?”
“Did you get a chance to see him?”
“How long did you sit outside his house?”
“Until about four in the morning.”
“Well, what makes you think that he wasn’t home already?”
“Because his car wasn’t there. But, his wife’s car was.”
“Well, did it ever occur to you that they were probably hanging out together?”
“Yeah, it did cross my mind.”
“Well, let me ask you this.”
“Tell me, what you would have done if he had pulled up in his car with his wife?”
“I would’ve gotten out of my car and confronted him.”
“But, why? I mean, didn’t he tell you it was over?”
“Yeah. But, I need some closure. I mean, I do deserve that.”
“For what?” I commented with frustration. “That man is married. So, that means he doesn’t owe you a thing.”
“Yeah, I know that. But, it’s the least he can do.”
“Look, Teresa. Just get over it and move on. Because it’s obvious that he’s trying to make things work at home.”
“But, what if all of this is coming from his wife?”
“I don’t understand what you mean.”
Teresa took a deep breath and said, “What I’m saying is, what if his wife told him that if he didn’t break it off with me, she would divorce him?”
“It shouldn’t matter if it came from him or her. The fact remains that he told you out of his own mouth that he doesn’t want to be involved with you anymore. So, just leave well enough alone!”
“Look, Faith, I understand what you’re saying. But, my heart believes that there’s more to that story than he’s telling me.”
Frustrated with Teresa’s non-acceptance issues was beginning to weigh heavily on me, so instead of continuously trying to convince her to see the writing on the wall, I literally threw my hands up and said, “Okay, look, do whatcha want to do. I’m done with the whole thing. But, the next time you decide to stay out all night to go on one of your stalking adventures, please make sure you call me bright and early if there’s a chance you’re going to be late coming into work.”
“All right,” she replied. And then she stood up to leave. But before she had a chance to make her exit, I said, “Oh and another thing . . .”
She turned around and gave me her full attention. “What’s up?”
So, I said, “You’re a grown woman, so I don’t care what you do on your own time. But, we need to be clear about you not getting high here at work anymore.”
“Oh, I’m clear on that. It won’t happen again.”
“Okay. Good. You can go now,” I replied, giving her a stern look. And as much as it hurt me to do it, I would not have done her any justice if I would have been a little more lenient. I just couldn’t tell her the shit she wanted to hear. It wasn’t in my character to do so. And the good thing about it was that she knew this and didn’t expect me to be any other way; which was why we had an understanding. Other than that, she and I had a very close bond. I just hoped she didn’t lose sight of that and continued on doing what she was supposed to do the moment she punched that time clock. Because if she didn’t and messed around and let somebody else catch her pushing that straw up her nose, she would take that fall on her own.
As promised, I stopped by my in-laws place on my way home. And to my surprise, I saw Eric’s vehicle parked in the driveway, directly behind his mother’s minivan. So, I braced myself for the unknown and proceeded toward the house. Mrs. Kathy, who happened to resemble the late actress who played Louise Jefferson on the sitcom The Jeffersons, greeted me with a warm hug and a smile.
“Come on in, darling.”
So, I kissed her on the left cheek and said, “How are you doing?”
“Well, my sugar has been rising a little these last few days, but other than that, I’m fine.”
“Have you been taking your diabetes medication?”
“Yes, I have. But, I still have a weakness for moist chocolate cake and butter pecan ice cream.”
“If you know like I know, you’ll leave that stuff alone, before it kills you.”
“Oh, hush, girl. You sound just like your father-in-law.”
“Where is he, anyway?”
“Sitting in the den with Eric.”
“She’s back there too. So, come on,” Mrs. Kathy insisted, as she led me in that direction.
And as soon as she made my presence known, I smiled and greeted both my husband and my father-in-law, who seemed like they were engrossed in their conversation. But, of course they spoke back. And as I made my way farther into the den area, I noticed that Kimora was sound asleep on the sofa next to Eric, so I quietly crept over to her and gave her a kiss on her forehead.
“Please don’t wake her,” Eric begged me in an irritated manner.
“I’m not,” I assured him and then I took a few steps back from him and her both. Judging by his facial expression, it was obvious that he didn’t want me too close to him. And since he was very polite with his words, I gave him exactly what he wanted.
But as I stood there and looked at him, I was becoming more furious by the second. So, I let out an exasperated sigh and asked him if I could speak to him alone in private. He immediately obliged and accompanied me outside on the back patio. And not even a second after we were alone, he wanted to know what it was that I wanted to speak with him about.
“Well, for starters I want to know why you refused to come home last night,” I began to tell him. “Because if it had anything to do with me not showing up here last night for dinner, then you’re being very immature and blowing this whole thing out of proportion.”
“Faith, please don’t stand here and lecture me. You, of all people, knew how important it was for you to be here to celebrate Valentine’s Day with me and my family last night. But instead, you chose to be at work.”
“Oh, Eric, please don’t play the work card on me. You knew I had a mandatory meeting to attend.”
“Yes. And I also know that you attended the after work cocktail party, too.”
“You’re absolutely right. But, it was work related,” I lied.
“Bullshit, Faith! That party wasn’t work related and you know it. So, stop it with the damn lies!” he replied as the pitch of his voice got louder.
“Look, I’m not lying. And please stop raising your voice.”
“You know what? I can’t stand here and listen to this nonsense anymore,” he continued as he attempted to storm back into the house.
But, I stopped him in his tracks by grabbing a hold of his arm, which probably wasn’t a good idea because he looked back at me with the ugliest expression he could muster up and said, “Let me go, please!”
“Well, are you going to stand here so we can finish our conversation?” I asked.
“I’m not in the mood to talk anymore. So, let me go.”
“But why are you always running away when I want us to have a discussion?”
“Because you’re always catching me at the wrong times.”
“You know what Eric? You are so pathetic!”
“Tell me something I don’t know,” he replied sarcastically.
So, I struck back at him and said, “And you wonder why we can’t ever resolve our issues.” And then I released his arm.
I stood there and watched him walk back into his parents’ house as if nothing had transpired between he and I, which, of course, made me cringe. But instead of flying off the handle and making a scene, I marched back into the house and made my way into the kitchen, where I found Mrs. Kathy wiping down her kitchen countertops.
“Need some help?” I asked.
“Oh no, honey. I’m fine,” she insisted.
“So, what’s on the menu for tonight?”
“Oh, yeah, where’s my plate?”
“It’s in the fridge.”
“Where exactly?’ I asked her as I scanned the entire refrigerator.
“It’s on the second shelf, behind the yellow salad bowl.”
“Oh, okay. I see it now,” I informed her, relieving the container the instant I closed the refrigerator door behind me.
“Wanna warm it up?”
“No. I’m going to take it home with me and warm it up later.”
“Yes, ma’am. I’m sure,” I replied in a manner of assurance. So, she handed me a plastic bag to carry the dish in while we continued our little chat. We talked for at least another twenty minutes before I threw in the towel.
Engaging in a conversation about what stores had sales this week wasn’t exactly what I would deem to be a juicy topic. So, I kissed her and called it a night. And on my way out, I asked Eric if he wanted me to carry Kimora home with me, but he insisted on bringing her himself. So, I let him have his way and left.
Teresa had been weighing heavily on my mind from the minute I left work today, so I got her on the phone immediately after I settled in at home.
“How are you doing?” I asked her, expressing concern.
Responding to my question, she said, “I’m okay.”
But, the weight of her tone told me differently. So, I questioned her sincerity. “Are you sure? Because you don’t sound like you are.”
“I’m just tired. That’s all.”
“Have you eaten?”
“Yeah, I stopped by Subway on the way home and picked me up a sub.”
“How was it?”
“It was good.”
“So, what have you been doing since you got home?”
“Nothing but watch a little TV. But, that’s about it.”
“Have you tried to call Darren?”
“Yeah. And I just found out he changed his number.”
“And how do you feel about that?”
“I feel hurt and betrayed.”
“Do you need me to come over and sit with you for a while?”
“No, I’ll be fine . . .” she began saying, but her voice faded out as if she had been distracted. “Wait, hold on,” she continued, and set the receiver of the phone down on a hard surface. And then a minute later she picked the telephone back up and said, “That’s my brother Eugene. So, let me call you back.”
“He’s there at your apartment?” I questioned her.
“Yeah, him and his friend Lamont stopped by to see me. But, they aren’t gonna be here very long, so I’m gonna call you right back.”
“Okay, you do that,” I encouraged her.
But, I knew if I sat up and waited for her call, then I would be waiting in vain. Because you see, her brother was there with her. And the only reason he was there was because he recruited different dealers to come by her place to supply her with drugs. So, when that guy Lamont was done replenishing her supply container, she was going to go into seclusion and I would not hear from her until the morning, which was why I was going to tune in to these Good Times re-runs and call it a night myself.
Eric finally brought his dumb ass home around eight o’clock. He still had nothing to say to me, which was fine. My main concern at that point was to get Kimora into bed. And that’s exactly what I did.
I had a ritual every Saturday, where I’d make plans to spend the entire day with my family. We’d always start the morning off with a nice hot breakfast at IHOP or Denny’s. And then we would either check out a movie or do some shopping at the mall. But you see, Teresa had another set of plans in store for me. So, when I received the call from her that Saturday morning and heard the urgency in her voice, I knew that I was going to have to deviate from my plans a little bit.
After I assured her that I would be at her place within the next thirty minutes, she sounded somewhat relieved and told me that she’d be waiting.
Now when I broke the sudden change of plans to Eric, he immediately blew up about it. So, there was no point in me trying to convince him to act a little more rational. He was a little too stubborn for that. And besides, my best friends needed me, so I had to be there for her.
On my way out, Eric met me at the front door with an ultimatum in hand. “If you walk out of this house, don’t expect me and Kimora to be here when you come back.”
I stood there with an expression of disbelief. I mean, I couldn’t believe that he would stoop this low. So, I asked him, “Why are you trying to blow this out of proportion?”
“Why are you always putting outside affairs before your family?” he retaliated.
“Look, I know it seems that way. But, the truth of the matter is that you and Kimora mean more to me than anything.”
“Well, prove it!”
“Eric, don’t do this.”
“Don’t do what?” he questioned aggressively. “Just admit it! You don’t have time for us anymore.”
“Eric, please stop. Because it’s not like that.”
“Oh, it’s like that. And it’s been this way ever since you took that position as an assistant principal. Always working late hours, and you’re hardly ever home to sit down and eat dinner with us.”
“Eric, it’s a performing arts school, and we discussed the fact that I was going to be working long hours before I even took the job.”
“Yes, we did. But, I didn’t think it was going to be like this.”
“Look, Eric. I see your frustration, but can we talk about this when I get back?”
“No, we can’t.”
“And why not?”
“Because I won’t be here when you get back,” he replied and then he walked off in the direction of Kimora’s bedroom.
It took everything within me not to run down the hall behind him, but when I realized that he was pulling one of his stunts, I opened up the front door and left. I figured it was too early to start the day off with drama.
Fully clad in a pair of flannel pajamas, Teresa was definitely glad to see me. Her eyes lit up when she opened up the front door to her apartment. So, after I was let in, I asked her what was going on.