Monday, March 12, 2012

Memoir: Naiveté; Nay, Mr. D.J.




Last night, I received the most riveting Facebook message ever. A blast from the past humbled and anew, decided to share his big news with me.

“I married my girlfriend of two years, yesterday. All I could seem to think about as I walked down the aisle was you.”

Believe me, I was just as shocked as you are. I promise you; I’m not that kind of girl and it’s not that kind of party. However, Marcus and I have a complicated history. Let me explain:

It was sophomore year and the newbie feeling was finally starting to wear off. I’d gained my confidence and started to talk up the guys I’d shuffled past as a freshman. Marcus was one of the first. He was the DJ at all the parties, fine as all hell and always wore a white flight jacket, resembling the cloud in my sky. He knew me, but he didn’t know me, know me. He would smile at me from the booth during parties and give a shout out to “poetry girl”, but we’d never really had a conversation.

One night, as I was making my way to the dorms, our very first dialogue happened. He drove up in his black Maxima and rolled the window down, I immediately recognized his smile.

“Hey Marcus.” I peered into the darkness of his all black leather interior.

He leaned towards the window, his thick eyebrows arched, thinking of his sentiment, “You need a ride poet? You’re looking lonely out there.”

I agreed to the ride and many more. For the next three months, Marcus and I would shuffle between his apartment and mine. We’d talk about hip-hop and art through text and sever the boundaries of intimacy in person. He would scoop me after classes and he’d teach me things: The artist’s name who painted the DJ with elongated hands in a frame in his living room, how to recognize a good mix and the distance from my navel to my chest.

Oh, by the way, Marcus was my first. The naiveté coddled safely inside my heart would let him have anything he asked for. He wanted us to keep it cordial during school hours, so we did. We’d see each other in the buildings where we shared classes and gently smile as though we hadn’t laughed together the night before. This rule started to manifest in other spaces: At parties where he spun the records, I could only glimpse him in the booth exchanging “daps” with his comrades and avoiding my glances.

My roommate was angered at our fluctuating union. “What the hell is up with you and Marcus, one second he’s all into you and the next he’s ducking and dodging? You need to get rid of him.” She was right. Marcus had run up to me during one of his parties and excitedly introduced me to his sister who’d come to visit. He looked like a little kid in his black tux, holding his older siblings hand.

“Maria this is Riv! She’s an amazing writer and poet, one of my closest friends here.”

His sister’s face was suddenly flooded with remembrance, “Oh! I’ve heard so much about you. You’re so talented.”

A few weeks after that incident, Marcus confronted a guy who’d disrespected me at a party. I don’t know what the particulars were, but the arrogant asshole who’d called me a b*tch the night before laid down a full frontal apology the day after.

Amazing.

However, the same man who’d defended my honor and bragged about me avoided me often, ignored my calls and would go missing for days at a time.

One night, after one of his shindigs, he chased me halfway to my dorm. I was slightly angry with him, we hadn’t spoken in a three days and he was impossible to reach. My party dress flapped in the Virginia wind as he caught his breath. I wasn’t sure if it was the sweet smell of the southern summer or the sweat that lingered near his perfectly sculpted neck, but my irritation was suddenly vanished.

“Hey babe! Slow down. Where have you been?”

I stared at him, dumbfounded at his audacity. “Really Marcus? I’ve been calling you for days.”

“Word?” He checked his phone ferociously. “I haven’t been looking at my phone. I’ve been spinning at so many gigs; I haven’t had time to keep up with the personal life. I miss you and I mean that. Besides, you know you can come over whenever you want to. Mi casa es su casa.”

My naiveté crept in slowly, “I miss you too. I guess I’ll talk to you later though, I’ve got class in the morning.”

He grabbed my hand as I tried to walk away, “Come home with me. I’ll get you back in time for class.”

He got me back at 8am the next morning; I waved while glancing at him speeding away with a wink of his eye. Sucked back into the smooth that was Marcus we started our never-ending cycle and would repeat it for another month. He’d be too busy, I’d be hurt; we’d make up and spend a week in bliss. Repeat.

On a Tuesday around 10pm, I headed over to his place an hour earlier than we’d planned. I figured while he was on his turntables, figuring out his mixes for tomorrow night’s party, I’d finish up some homework. He opened the door like he’d just seen a ghost and slammed the door. I knocked on the door harder, upset at his foolery.

“One second homie!” He yelled from the other side of the door.

I heard the voices of three other men in the house, two of them familiar.

“Was that the poet?” One asked. They all sounded as if they were packing up to go. Two of them suddenly emerged from the small apartment. I sat on the nearby steps annoyed at Marcus’ unnecessary actions, waiting to blaze on him. Two of the guys walked past me, they were Phillip and Jerome. The twins went to my university, one of whom was a rapper, and they were probably just ending a studio session with Marcus.

“What’s going on poet? We just finished up recording, waiting on Lou. You here for a session with Marcus?” Phillip asked. Lou was their goon of a friend, I didn’t know much about him.

I smiled, “Something like that. New mix tape coming out soon?”

A loud conversation between Lou and Marcus, in the closed apartment, interrupted our banter.

“Nah son it’s not even like that. She’s here for a session.” Marcus’ voice boomed through the wall.

The other voice laughed, “It’s ten at night Marcus. You’re tapping that, I’m not stupid.”

“What? Not at all. She’s an artist, you know that right?”

“I don’t know anything. What I do know is that you can do better kid, much better.”

The two emerged from the apartment convinced that their dialogue had been silent. Phillip and Jerome stood still and hushed. The solace rushed over all of us as we all began realizing the words spoken.

Jerome spoke first, “Uh, you know these walls are thin right?”

Marcus looked like he’d just sunk into himself. Immersed in hurt I began gathering my things to leave.

Phillip touched my hand as I reached for the door, “I wouldn’t come back either shorty. That was beyond rude.”

I walked the 2.7 miles it took to get home from Marcus’ house. At the time, I didn’t drive and I didn’t want to bother the roommate who’d just dropped me off. The entire walk, my phone rung off the hook. I didn’t answer. I didn’t want to speak to anyone who was ashamed of me. With each step, the realizations of Marcus’ BS flew into my stomach butterfly by butterfly. Between the fluttering of their wings I asked myself, “How could I have been so stupid?”

I hadn’t spoken to Marcus in months. He called at first, sent a few Facebook messages but eventually he gave up. The few times I did see him on campus I sped in the other direction praying he didn’t see me.

One day he finally spotted me, only this time Marcus wasn’t alone. He stood before me with his mother and father that were on campus for Parents’ Weekend.

He ran over to me with a smile and grabbed me by my shoulders, “Hey Mom and Dad! Remember that girl Maria and I were telling you about? The one that I took her to see perform when she was here? This is her!”

His mother and father smiled, shook my hand and said an expected “Pleased to meet you.”

I was, however, the furthest thing from pleased. Suddenly I blurted, “I don’t understand why your son continues to speak to me. He made it clear that he and I weren’t friends a long time ago. In fact, I think he’s the scum of the earth. Perhaps you can rectify his mannerisms with women before you’re bereft of any grandchildren in your future. Goodbye.”

As I walked back to my dorm, they stared at my back in astonishment. At least that was the way I heard it from my roommate who watched from nearby. She and I also laughed at the angry Facebook messages I received that night, together. There were a few “ungrateful” and “I can’t believe” quotes in there but at that point I couldn’t care less.

Four years later, I received a Facebook message that I did care about. Marcus scribed in his smooth talk, even visible through font:

“I married my girlfriend of two years, yesterday. All I could seem to think about, as I walked down the aisle, was you. I don’t even know why I’m telling you this. I guess it’s because the last time I remember being the asshole, I regret, was with you. My wife is a thick, healthy and chocolate 210 pounds, an intellect and a surgeon. A few years ago, I wouldn’t have even spoken to her. When I was in love with you…(I did love you, you know that right?) People expected me to be with a certain type of girl. I regret it all because I never dated MY type. You were my type, I was just too afraid to admit that. You taught me about love. I would’ve never left the daze I was in had it not been for your loud mouth. I heard you loud and clear. Thank you.”

Usually, I’d wrap this blog up with a beautiful conclusion, a metaphor that would last a lifetime or an mhmmm-I-told-you-so. Today, I’ll let the message speak for itself. 

Literally. 

-riv-

7 comments:

Little Miss Knobody said...

Damn...
He was definitely a jerk back then, but you both were really young. You live and you learn. I guess you taught him one the important lessons about life and love I commend him for being brave enough to admit that.

As always, dope post!

Christina said...

That was powerful. You taught him a major lesson. With that, you both have happiness in your lives now. Your posts are always fantastic!

CAM said...

The fact that you taught him a lesson on LOVE and he waited 4 years to tell you, AND the day after his wedding (while he I'm assuming would be on his honeymoon???) Whew! That's just....

Anywho, I love how this post reads as a really good short story!

stephanie. said...

it's funny to me how you always seem to touch on things i can relate to. i just went through this kinda thing with someone except we're still in that sophomore in college phase. i feel stupid and used and a little (a lot) foolish but in my heart of hearts i know that he'll regret what he did to me someday. idk that it'll manifest how it did for you but i'm sure it will and if not i know it was his bad...thanks riv

Militankerous said...

"Sometimes it lasts in love, sometimes in hurts instead." This feels like from the same vein as Adele's "Someone Like You." Clearly, you showed this man what was wrong with his own views about the kinds of women he was into, but you know so many people actually don't ever get to this point. You may have just saved a woman the heartache she would have had to endure because he was pretending to loving someone that wasn't truly destined for him. Congratulations riv, you changed one of us trifling guys into someone to take home to your Momma.

a. chigozie said...

Wow! lovely storytelling. reliving these types of memories are hard to do

Toi said...

i've already rewritten this comment twice, and the words are not flowing how i want. i'll just say karma is b & this def. spoke for itself.