Saturday, November 28, 2015

Fiction Series: Jentrified, Part 2

2: ghosting & the b-words in apartment 3B

I lay awake, in bed, for one hour. 

Or was it two? 


My momma used to tell me that women daydream the most when they're in love. I was sure that I was smitten, perhaps a tad infatuated. I fell quickly, but I hadn't dropped yet. 


I reached for my phone, on the nightstand, and told Siri to call him. 


Siri: I don't understand you. Are you looking for Pamela?


"Call Samuel!"


"Pamela?"


Damn technology. I went to search his name and sent him a text manually. 


It was the expected "Hey." The word that made sure I didn't look desperate, but also expressed my continuing interest. 


I reread it. "Hey."


Perhaps I should have added extra y's. Heyyyyy. 

Perhaps I should have added a prompt. Hey, how are you?
Perhaps I should have been more forward. Hey. Did you enjoy last night, as much as I did?

Well, it was too late. I'd already sent it. 


This was one hour ago. 

I'd spent that total time in bed, on a Sunday afternoon, waiting for a text. Sigh. 

I should know better, about so many things, but they seem to leave my mind in a flutter when I'm in most situations. 


Samuel walked me home after our second date. He wanted to make sure I got home safe, although the erection of a Starbucks and impending Blink Fitness made it clear that police presence was about to be incessant.


"I took the train there. I could've taken it back too."


"My car is in the shop. If it weren't for that, you wouldn't have taken the train."


"It's okay. I had a great time. That's an alright soul food spot."


Samuel smiled, "Even though all of the chefs were uhh..."


"White. Yes, I did notice that. That's why I only had the pie."


We both laughed. 


"I had the fried chicken. It wasn't that bad."


"The fact that you said "wasn't that bad" and not "good" is all I need to know."


"Touche."


We finally reached my apartment building, and I stretched my arms out to give Samuel a hug. He smelled incredible and his fresh cut was apparent, as his hairline brushed my hands. He was growing on me. We'd had happy hour drinks a few nights ago, and he'd already planned another date. I couldn't wait for our next one. He had interests and ambition, none that I could name because I'd been too busy looking at his piercing eyes, but I'd be sure to catch them the next time. 


"We shouldn't have to say goodnight so early." 


I checked my phone. It was 9:39 pm. 


Stop. 

This is where common sense should kick in. 
It's almost 10 pm and a man who you've known for only a week is insinuating that he wants to come in.
You should be clear in your response.
Outstretch your arms and yawn; tell him you've got to get up early.
Anticipate the response: But it's the weekend.
Don't look like a lame.
Surely you can invite him in and control yourself.
Right?

I grabbed Samuel's hand and walked him inside the communal hallway, asking him to wait a quick second before I let him in the apartment door.

Fast clean:
Drying panties off of the shower rod? Check.
Bed fluffed? Check.
Wait...why do I need to do that?
Chinese takeout boxes on the counter. Garbage. Check.
Random shoes all over the place. Kick into a closet. Check.

I opened the door after two minutes to find Samuel smiling and leaning against the hallway wall, "Got everything together?"

"I did. I needed to umm...make sure my roommate wasn't here."

I didn't have a roommate.

"Oh okay. Can I come in?"

Could he?
Okay, Jennifer, now is not the time to be grammar jerk.

"Yes, you may come in."



Black boys don't love us.

I mean, black men.
Black men that I refer to as black boys, when I realize they haven't come to fruition.
...refer to as black boys, when I fathom that they're missing pieces.
Jigsaw puzzle, be-broken-sometimes, black men always need me to replace something or someone.


_______________________________

I finally put down my phone, anxiety flooding my chest.

Had he gone ghost on me?

I thought of calling one of my friends, but I knew they'd reprimand me for freaking out when I'd just seen him the night before. 


What was the courtesy for the next day, after you'd let a man visit your temple?

Was it a hello? 
Was it a required response? 

Ghosting wasn't a new phenomenon, by any means. 

However, with all the new apps and ways to meet it seemed more rampant than ever. 

You could communicate with someone via wifi and never have to exchange phone numbers. 

You could meet for lunch and send your disappointment through a site's block button and never have to speak to that person again. 
You could never have to answer for your actions or lack thereof. 

Could Samuel go ghost on me?

We kind of worked together.
Was that even possible?

It's happened before. I met an athlete, with a British accent, and the most perfect set of teeth. We spent the evening sitting at a bar, discussing the awkwardness of internet dating over Jager bombs. We exchanged numbers and spent the next month talking and texting. I even accompanied him to a friend's wedding, when he was in dire need of a plus one. 


& then he was gone. 

There was no warning, no argument, no odd moment.
He just vanished.
He wasn't updating his social media.
He wasn't answering his phone. 
Our one mutual friend hadn't heard from him either.

Months later, I'd see him on the train and ask him what happened. He gave me a story about a broken phone and broken dreams. I rolled my eyes and got off on the next stop. I couldn't be in the same car with his Casper ass. 


I worried about this behavior every time a guy took too long to text back, schedule another date, or call. 

I never told anyone about the ghosts, because I was ashamed of most of them.
It was almost as if I'd decided that I'd done something wrong. 

Was it something I said? 

Did I wear a bad outfit?
Was my energy wrong?
The frequency in which it was happening, it had to be my fault. 

In between my anxiety and finally getting out of the bed to wash the dishes, the doorbell rang. I wasn't expecting anyone and ran to my window to see if I could get a sneak peek. NYPD's finest stood on my steps.

Sh-t.

I fixed up myself, put on my slippers, and made my way outside.

I opened the door to two officers, one Asian and the other Caucasian, that were familiar. They'd started to patrol the neighborhood a few weeks ago. I wondered where they'd been when I'd moved in last year. There was a shootout almost every night of the summer and they'd always taken their sweet time to arrive.

"Afternoon ma'am. We've received a noise complaint, for this building."

I looked up the apartment steps. The hipster gals that just moved into the 3rd-floor apartment were always blasting their favorite tunes. I tried to get to know them; I even went up to deliver a package to them, but I could never get a hold of them. My landlord insisted that they were friendly, but the most I'd seen of them was their hair flapping in the wind hurriedly towards the train.

"I believe it's the apartment upstairs."

"Are you the super?"

"No, I'm not. I live downstairs."

"Are you sure you're not blasting music?"

I rolled my eyes and looked in the direction of the noise; I pointed to my door, "That's where I live. Clearly, it's not my music."

"Can you tell them to turn it down?"

"Um...sure."

I closed the door and tried to fathom the stupidity of the men I'd just met. I walked upstairs and knocked on the door. There was a towel in front of the door and Bob Marley vibrating the walls.

After an entire minute of knocking, a short brunette with a blunt still in between her lips answered. Smoke drifted out of the small crack she'd opened. I could see several of her friends, in the background.

"Yes?"

"I'm your neighbor. I live downstairs."

"The designer, right?"

"Yeah, how'd you know that?"

"We steal your magazines sometimes. They're dope. We always bring them back, though."

I held my Jersey girl tongue. They did what?

"Okay. The cops were just here. The music is too loud. Can you turn it down?"

The brunette looked me up and down, "Yeah, we will. Can you not cook your cultural food every day? We have issues with the curry smell."

"That's the Indian family on the...wait...that's incredibly rude."

"So is killing our vibe."

She slammed the door, leaving the dank smoke behind.

I could not believe how disrespectful she was! I took out my phone to call my landlord when I noticed that I'd finally received a text from Samuel.

"Hey."




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