Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Dating Series: Looking For A Love Jones, Part 9

We release an installment of "Looking for a Love Jones" each week. If you'd like to share it, you can do so with the hashtag #lookingforalovejones & tag @rivaflowz and @bae_app on IG or Twitter.

I did everything right.

This thought often crosses my mind as I thumb through melancholy, on my cell phone.

In a college bar, on the cusp of midterm and heartbreak.
On the lawn of my parent's home, watching crushes pace the neighboorhood.
In a beautiful apartment, that ceases to know love anymore.

But doing everything right, doesn't promise anything.

Closed thighs,
good heart,
meals cooked,
house clean,
speaks well,
funny and humourous,
the time you take to call,
seeming uninterested,
sexy in lingerie,
keeping a record of your attributes,
spitting them like ten crack commandments,
when he ask who you be,
white smile,
the things that we list,
the characteristics that relationship writers push into the palm of our hands,
none of it promises you anything, when it comes to romance.

Slurred and broken auto text looks like:

I'm sorry. 
I just woke up, and I went into the living room looking for you.
I thought you were still here.
Did I kick you out?
Did I imagine that?
Was I an asshole?
I'm not one. 
I promise. 
I'm sorry. 

I refrained from answering, long enough to change into my pajamas, long enough to let my best friend strum me with conversation and similes about how I deserved better, long enough to fall asleep.

In the morning, I asked for him to leave my life.

But it's not always that simple.

Ryan and I spent the day touring D.C., taking in things we'd seen before through the lens of our cameras. We made our lives look more exciting than they actually were, capturing the essence of our generation and crossaints and hair tosses in the right lighting.

I smiled at her after we'd put our phones down. We were sitting in a bakery on H Street, with French Ethiopian flare.

"Why are you smiling? You were pretty pissed last night."

"I'm just happy I know."

"Know what?"

"Who he truly is..."

"Sometimes you find out too late."

"Thank God I found out before I gave up parts of my soul that I can't take back."

"Word up."

My phone went off. There was a comment on my location status. It was Ricky: I'm in D.C., too!

Social media is amazing and scary, at the same time. It'd alerted Ricky that we were near each other and he was joining us at the bakery within a few minutes. I whipped out my makeup case and updated my foundation and my lipgloss the moment he confirmed that he'd be on his way.

Ryan rolled her eyes, "From what I've heard about him, he's pretty self-absorbed. I wouldn't doll up for him."

It's become instinct; I didn't even realize what I was doing. Before I could respond, he walked through the door.

He sat down and introduced himself to Ryan, and I reached over to give him a hug.

"Good to see you, hun. What are you ladies up to, today?"

Ryan answered for us, "Just some sightseeing, right now. Erica has a performance tomorrow."

"Really? Why didn't you tell me?"

"I didn't know you'd be in DC."

"It's nothing but a quick plane ticket. I've got it. Just keep me updated."

Ryan rolled her eyes, "We're updating you now. Will you be there?"

She was so protective of me; we'd be besties for life.

Ryan looked down at his phone, "I'm looking through my calendar. I'll tell you in a second."

His phone started to ring, he gestured his hand to excuse himself and stepped outside to take the call.

Ryan took a sip of her latte, "See?"

My mother demanded to see me. It had been three weeks, and I'd been in and out of town, performing and working. I met her outside of the school I taught in and prepared myself for a ride of inquiries.

She turned down the music and began, her voice a blend of British academia and Jamaican independence, "How was your day?"

"Same old. I spoke to some tough parents, finished up incident reports."

"All in a day's work."


"So, are you seeing anyone?"

I knew it was coming. As I got older, my mother forced the conversation of "the one."  She wanted to know if I was looking in the right places, maintaining myself, and saying the right things.

Was I feminine enough?
Did I drive him away with my aggression?
Did I treat my body, like it's a temple?

She never asked these questions, but I could hear them in her tone or the questions she did ask:

What dress did you wear?
Have you stopped that play fighting thing you do?
Did you *cough* you-know-what?

I sighed, "I'm dating, mom. There's nothing serious yet."

Dinner went by without much talk about romance. We talked about my work and hers; her passion is child welfare and mine is education. I teared up, telling her about being afraid to fail when it came to my dream of opening a charter school, and how scared I was for the some of the boys. She told me about a suit drive that was a success and I told her about the kinesthetic learning I was trying out, while writing curriculum.

We drove home, bellies full, and finishing our banter. Travis was calling me on FaceTime. (For the record, I'm weird about FT unless we've planned it.) I told my mother. She urged, "Pick it up."


"Yeah, go ahead."

I answered, "Hey."

He seemed to be lying back in bed, his Hershey skin on a white pillow, "Hey sexy."

I warned him, "I'm in the car with my mom."

He started laughing awkwardly, "Hey mom."

I laughed too; I turned the phone to my mother, and she said hello.

"I guess you'll hit me when you get home."

"I will."

I hung up, as my mother pulled onto my block, "You're blushing."

"You can see all that in the dark?"

"Yes, ma'am. I know you, you're my child."


"Nothing serious, right?"

I gathered my things, "Yup."

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