Thursday, October 15, 2015

Dating Series: Looking For A Love Jones, Part 7

It’s moments like these when you ask yourself if you’re paranoid.

You ask yourself if his sentiments are those of concern, jest, or disgust. You’d like to do that thing you do, with your girls. You stretch your arms out wide, you poke at the little bit of skin that hangs from your arms, you call yourself a fat girl while laughing.

You’d like to disappear.
You want to gather yourself for an appropriate response, one that emits no fear.
You want to tell him off, in the worst way and turn his question into something that chokes the next words he dares utter.

You ask for clarity, instead. He repeats himself.

“Do you need those fries?”

I heard him right, “What does that mean?”

“I just think you could have the burger by itself. As Americans, we’ve conditioned ourselves to pile carbs on top of carbs when we could just have one aspect of the meal. I know a lot of people that could eat less.”

I thought about the meal he’d just ordered. Hmph.

I tried to see through Mason.
Was he spouting a random fact or was it a commentary on my weight?

I tried not to think of the latter, when the food came. I twiddled the salty, carved fried potato, in my fingers, but it became difficult to eat them. Mason noticed but didn’t say anything. He chose to talk about the music, instead.

After the bill had been paid, we made our way back out into the bustle that is DC at midnight. U Street was filled with folks looking for good food and good times. We walked around and through them, making our way back to his car.

He finally spoke again, when we were inside, “I’m happy you didn’t eat the fries.”

I rolled my eyes and looked out the window.

“Where to, little lady?”

“Can we go home?”

“My place or…”

“You can just drop me at my rental. Ryan is probably up and waiting.”

He started the car, “Whatever.”

It had been about twenty minutes when I realized that we were almost in Virginia. I’d been so mad at the evening’s events and in my thoughts that I wasn’t paying attention to the street signs.

“Why are we leaving DC?”

Mason turned up his music, crossed the state lines, and told me to ‘chill.’

Avoiding Raymond was over when I got home from work, and he was on my doorstep.



He stood up and stepped down to open the gate, “Don’t hey me. Where have you been?”

“Working, writing. The usual.”

“Not avoiding me?”

I fumbled with my keys, nervous about where this conversation was headed, “No. Why would I do that?”

I finally opened the door, and he followed me inside, “Because of that drunk text message. Listen, I send stuff like that all the time when I’m wasted.”

“Oh, that’s comforting.”

He plopped down on my sofa, “I don’t mean it like that. You know I love you, but you’re like a sister to me.”

I was confused, “Okay, cool.”

I plopped down next to him. I turned the TV to a movie and leaned my head against a pillow.

Raymond took off his jacket and got comfortable, “I’ll grab us some popcorn.”
That’s the last thing I remember.

I woke up, the next morning, apparently dead tired from a full workday, all cuddled up next to my best friend.

He was already awake, scrolling through his Instagram. I jumped up when I realized how close we were.

“Why’d you let me sleep for so long?”

“You looked peaceful.”

“I have to get ready for work.”

“You have a little time, love.”

“Don’t call me that.”

I started cleaning up the couch and coffee table, hoping that he took it as a cue to leave.

“Since when do you have an issue with pet names?”

“Since they stopped being boy and homie.”

“How was DC?”

I thought back to the evening with Mason, how I’d stormed out of his place and called a Uber after his second negative comment for the night.

I lied, “It was cool.”

“I bet. Did you see Mason?”



“Well, what?”

“How did it go?”

“We hung out. It was okay. The end.”

"Right, Erica. It’s because we both can’t afford to get fired that I’m not pressing you, but I will get these details.”

I yelled while headed to the shower, “Right after you can reach me! I’m a busy woman!”

I heard my front door slam at the same time my heart sunk. Raymond was clueing me in. He wanted a chance. But I couldn’t stand to lose his friendship. It wasn’t worth the risk.

I was scrolling through the Bae App, again.

Although I’d been dating frequently, I sometimes did mindless swiping when I was bored. I’d just swiped my last match when a message came through.

“I guess I’ll just message you here, since you’re not answering my Facetime calls.”

It was Ricky.

I messaged back, “I didn’t get a Facetime call from you. Maybe my internet is on the fritz.

He mocked me, “May-be.”

“What are you up to this evening?”

“Takeout and some Netflix. Care to partake?”

I started cracking up, “Did you just Netflix and chill me?”

“We’ve been on actual dates, stop it!”

“You’re totally trying to Netflix and chill me, on date three.”

“I have a theater room in my complex; the upgraded version of Netflix and chill.”

We both started laughing.

“I’ll pass. I need to go to bed soon.”

“Really? Are you sure you’re not going to talk to your other beau?”

“No, sir. I’m going to bed.”

“Dang. I guess the brother from the Brooklyn Museum and Prospect Park doesn’t get any love either.”


It took a second, but I realized that he’d spotted Travis and me on our last date.

“Oh, Travis? Yeah. We hang out.”

“We hang out, too, but you’ve never kissed me before…”

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