Friday, October 12, 2007

what you won't do...do for [insert reason for doing stupid shit]

i had been standing outside of his door for two minutes trying to figure out what the fuck i should do. before that, there was:

10 minutes of walking through pitch black to the bus stop.
7 minutes of waiting on the bus.
24 minutes of riding said bus to the train station
36 minutes of riding the train before finally getting off at the station closest to his apartment
15 minutes of waiting for the bus i didn't realize wasn't coming until i finally broke down and checked the bus schedule and finally
53 minute of walking 3 miles to his aparment where i gasped my way up three flights of stairs before landing at his front door.

i spent those two minutes gathering in my wayward breathing, allowing my body to cool down, as i scrubbed the yearning from my countenance and contemplating how i could explain my presence there to him.

"i got worried when you didn't pick up your phone and seeing as you said you weren't feeling well, thought i should stop by to make sure you were okay..."

"i was on my way to a friend's house and figured i would stop by and check on you seeing as her spot is in the same neighborhood..."


"you didn't pick up your phone, and you know how active my imagination is. i thought maybe someone had broken in and attacked you or something so i decided to stop by to make sure..."

lame. all that shit sounded lame. meanwhile, the truth was even lamer.

"uh, when you cancelled our date i grew desperate enough to take a bus, then a train, then walk three miles to your apartment just to see you."

i considered the pathetic nature of my actions as i glanced around the hallway. the lighting was a congealed yellow streak of phlegm coughed up from sickly bulbs leaning listlessly from their perches. the walls were discolored and filthy, large pieces of enamel paint having been venomously scratched from their surfaces like skin off the face of a rape assailant. squinting my eyes, i made out a roach meandering on the floor like it was in no hurry to get where it was going. i furtively kicked it down the steps, not because i was in a magnanimous mood, but because i was grossed out by the thought of insect innards on my shoe. the air was heavy and moist, the stench of cheap booze and cooked cocaine and urine clinging to me as if i'd just been licked by a lush with a crack habit and a weak bladder.

i grew more uncomfortable by the minute and knew i had to make a move before i scared myself into leaving. stepping up to the door, i inhaled deeply to calm my nerves, raised my hand to lift the door knocker...

and stopped midway as i heard feminine laughter coming from inside his apartment.

i immediately pulled back my hand and stood there motionless and hopeful i was insane, because insanity would explain hearing voices.

then i heard his deep chuckle follow on the heels of her giggles.

i began trembling, my heart racing as the truth was stuffed down my throat. i was choking with it.

i was right. he'd lied.

i guess a part of me had felt he'd lied, which was why i was there in the first place. when i'd spoken to him earlier that evening, he didn't sound ill. he sounded like a guy who was taking the first steps towards severing a relationship...

"i'm gonna have to cancel our date tonight, luv," he'd said solicitously.

"but why?" i'd asked, stepping on the dejection crawling around in my voice.

"i'm just not up to it. i've been feeling ill all day," he'd responded, throwing in a cough for good measure.

"you know, we don't have to go out," i'd replied eagerly, "i could come by and take care of you."

then there was the barest of hesitations, almost like a second had hiccuped.

"i'm alright, nikki," he'd said, "i'm just gonna hang out at home tonight. i'll give you a call tomorrow and we can plan something then."

"but i really don't mind! it wouldn't take me long at all to get..."

"don't come over, nikki." he'd interrupted me, his impatience staining the exchange. "i don't want company when i'm not feeling well."

"i wouldn't get in the way, really," i'd continued to press, ridiculously oblivious to the desperate sound of my words.

"NIKKI," he'd said, a step away from yelling, "i'm a grown man. i don't need someone over here to take care of me. i've got this."

after feeling properly chastised, i'd relented...long enough for my doubts about the truth of the matter to surface like insect bites on my skin. my desolation clawed at them until they'd bled determination and i made up my mind to go over to his place.

and now i had confirmation.

i stood there wrapped in a silence beaded with the faux baubles of her blather and edged with a ruffle of his chuckles, the silky threads of maxwell's voice embroidered in swirls of seduction upon it. it felt like a burlap sack against my self-control, abrading the flimsy surface into a landscape of fractures. i held on with all i had, determined not to make an ass of myself by banging on the door and making my presence known in the worst kind of way.

instead i counted to ten as pieces of their conversation pierced the door and further weakened my hold on my anger as my mind ingested the barbs.

me: "one..."

she: "...so she believed you?"

me: wha? "two..."

he: "she'll believe whatever i tell her..."

me: what the fuck?!? "three..."

she: "damn. that sista sounds weak. too weak for you."

me: no that bitch didn't say that! "four..."

he: "yeah, she made it too easy for me. all i had to do was wash her feet one time and she was giving up the pussy the same night..."

me: oh my god. why'd he tell her that? "five..."

she: "oh shit, todd. i see you haven't changed one bit..."

me: who IS she, an ex or something?!? "six..."

he: "the women here in the atl don't need much. a nigga do a lil something different and they lining outside a nigga's door happy to suck his dick."

me: shit shit SHIT. "seven..."

she: "that's messed up. you couldn't get away with that shit in baltimore. washing a sista's feet is what you're SUPPOSED to do up there..."

me: please! you bitches be going through the same bullshit up there too! "eight..."

he: "you should have heard her earlier...basically begging a nigga to come over. she sounded so pathetic. that's why she's at home and you're here. you northern women keep a nigga in check."

me: but she AIN'T at home you fuckin BASTID! "nine..."

she: "that's right, todd. don't you EVER think you could treat me like that."

me: i never thought i'd be the kind of sista to let a brotha treat me like this...

i stopped counting before i got to ten. slowly, everything came into sharp focus around me. it was like i woke up from some kind of dream where i was this desperate, love-starved female standing in front of the door of a guy who'd washed my feet once, fucked me five times (not including the dry fuck i'd just received in front of his door), and basically found his way onto my pedestal without any effort on his part.

only it wasn't a dream. it was a sad fucking reality.

i stood there for a while, waiting for the conversation to end, knowing exactly what would happen afterwards. when at last the two of them stopped talking, i turned away from the door and made my way down the stairs. was i limping? it felt like i should be limping or crawling or something because my body had been blasted free of any feeling other than the jagged debris of bitterness and it pinched every nerve, squeezed every muscle, reminding me i wasn't gonna go numb anytime soon.

i wish i could say i immediately 'snapped out of it' and kicked that cat to the curb. actually, it was about a month before i'd finally had enough and cut him out. i'm not even sure what the final straw was, but looking back years later, it's obvious the final straw should have been that night. i can't imagine ever allowing myself to be treated like that again, but i wrote about this to let folk know that the self-awareness i have now is rooted in moments like those. that vulnerability is a part of me and it doesn't ever disappear. i just do a better job of protecting it.

remembering those times keeps me humble and prevents me from EVER looking at a sista and thinking i'm better than her because she settles for a situation that's not good for her. she got her road to travel just as i do. i just hope she eventually finds herself in a better resting area.

10 comments:

Femigog said...

Girl! Thank you for this! It is one of my favorite pieces and is so relevant.
I was sitting around one day thinking I was the shit while I was running down the new female in my ex-mans life. Until it dawned on me that I had been where she was now and that it was not a fun place to be. Sneaking and trying to dig up the truth on a no good partner is just so deflating and damaging that I wouldnt wish it on anyone.
Humbled my ass nice and quick.
Good stuff as always Nikki!

BloggersDelight said...

Thank you, Nikki for opening your heart and soul to us. This was a tremendously brave piece.

Mega Rich said...

I thought you would cover the peep hole (if there was one), knock on the door and pop him in the mouth once he opened the door, but maybe that is a dude response.

That was indeed brave of you to let us in on your life like that.

An aside - this has become one of my favorite blogs to visit. Nothing like a one stop shop for captivating stories.

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

what i wont do for "daily threesomes" and "all you can eat resturants." Im in agrement wit Rich on this one, glad to have ben invited

Sojourner G said...

"the lighting was a congealed yellow streak of phlegm coughed up from sickly bulbs leaning listlessly from their perches"

Who thinks to write like this?!?! You know this is one of my faves of yours. It's an Indigo Classic as far as I'm concerned.

Standin' O!

David Sullivan said...

Nikki,
I could feel your sadness and anger as if it were my own. Stream-of-consciousness at its best!

CapCity said...

DAYYYYuuuummmm. Nikki, u r a sistah of true self control...i don't think i could've gone that far and not seen the look on his face when he opened that door to see me standing there...watchin' him shyt his pants - priceless! M'Fker!!

Wow, i'm glad BD started this community cause I can't get out to all the blogs as i'd like to! this is my newest fave place, too!

Mizrepresent said...

nikki, one of my favorite's too!

Don said...

Believe me when I say we are not worthy. Nikki, you have a gift. I don't think there's another way to say it.

Self awareness ... forever shown vulnerabilty ... protecting it. No doubt.

Good ish.

MysTery said...

Wow.

WOW.

You DO have self control because man....I would have tried to kill him! Lol

Anyway, wonderfully written piece.