Monday, November 9, 2015

Fiction Series: The Villa, Part 5

Read prior parts, HERE

Vacation is the cure. 

We work eight to twelve hour days, steeping ourselves in passion or monotony, and we're given two weeks to shed our tired. We sit in cubicles, behind desks, on our hurting feet, and long for the exfoliation of sand and the radiation of the sun.

For those of us that cannot wait, we find recess in another person or place: We find solace in the arms of a lover, strength in a conversation with a best friend, the will to live in our children's eyes. 

The people we love turn to sabbaticals before our very eyes, breaths released upon their embraces and gestures. 

Jasper was my vacation. 

I put my all into the dance studio. My mentor left me a slice of heaven, in the middle of Harlem. I was no longer professionally dancing and spent most of my time teaching girls, K-5, how to plie, stand upright, and smile. I hadn't realized that it was something I wanted to do with the rest of my life until Ms. Harris, my dance teacher of fifteen years, retired. She sat me down, on a snowy Monday morning, and went through every piece of information I'd need to run the place on my own. 

I went from working as an administrative assistant and dance teacher, part-time, to opening and closing the school. 

It was a Tuesday. 
I remember because that's the only day I allowed parents to bring in fees. 
My duffle bag was exceptionally heavy, laden with the dreams of small girls who wanted to be Misty Copeland. 
The chimes on the door sang, meaning Jasper had arrived. 
He would pick me up on the days that I needed to get money to the bank. 
He took the bag from my hand and smiled at me while he kissed me on the cheek.

But you know when something is coming...
The kiss was light, intentionally avoiding my lips.
He forced a smile; there was something behind it.
He'd slept on the couch here and there these last few weeks.
"I was too sleepy to make it to the bed." 
I brought up our future wedding, poking fun at him after a marriage scene on the show we were watching and he stuffed a forkful of salad into his mouth. 
He never responded. 

You know when something is coming; you know when it's arrived. 
Especially when you truly know someone, 
down to the birthmark on their right shoulder, 
or the number of eyelashes on their right eye, 
or the way the sunlight dances on their skin through the blinds. 

I stepped back and took the bag back from him, "What's wrong? Let's sit down and talk."

He lifted the bag back up again, "You're going to miss the bank."

"But you didn't say there's nothing to talk about... What's going on?"

Jasper sighed and sat in the chair next to him, "We've just been working and sleeping and working and sleeping."


"It's all we do. Don't you want more?"

"Of course I do. We have a trip planned for Europe, next spring, and we..."

"No, that's not what I mean. We've been dating forever. Don't you want more?"

I paused, I finally understood what he was trying to convey, "Are you asking me if I want to see other people?"

Jasper didn't respond. He stood back up and put the duffle over his arm again, "Seriously, we're going to miss the bank." 

Brianna knew when I was lying.
We could all see right through one another; years of friendship makes this possible.

She cornered me in a quiet room, "What's going on with you and Jasper?"

I crossed my arms in defeat, "What's going on with your cousin?"

"Jasper is telling her that he's single."

"He's what?!"

I headed for the door, but Brianna blocked the way, "If it's true, he's a grown man, he can say what he wants. Is it true?"

"Oh, you're on his side?"

"I'm always on your side, but I'm not having y'all ruin my wedding with this. What's going on with you two?"

"We're separated."

"Your W2 says you're single, in the eyes of the law, there's no separation. So, you're broken up?"

"I guess."

"What the hell happened?"

Brianna plopped into the bed, and I sat next to her.

"I just woke up next to him one morning, went to work, and by the end of the day he didn't want me anymore."

"Relationships end."

I looked at my best friend in shock, her bluntness was more than I could take, "We're supposed to be together! What kind of comment is that?"

She pulled me into her arms, and I leaned into her, I knew she meant well, "I've been here. If Jasper doesn't want you, let him go."

"I'm trying."

"Try harder."

Up next: The Villa, Part 6 & Looking For A Love Jones, Part 9. Tomorrow!

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