Monday, April 25, 2016

Guest Fiction Series: On The Other Side, Part 10

“Kamaria, what’s this about an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles? Did you call them back?”

“I did. It seems legit. I’ll go by there tomorrow morning and see if everything checks out. I’ve never been to Los Angeles. I think it would be fun.”

“So you’re just going to leave the kids here alone so you can have fun?”

“They’ll be fine. Besides, they’ve wanted to spend more time with their friends. Being stuck in the house all of the time isn’t good for anyone.”

“Well, you don’t get out much. Maybe it will be good for you. The kids can spend the night with their friends while you’re gone so if I have to work late, they will be okay.”

“So I can go?”

“Of course babe. Maybe we need some time apart.”

“Wait, apart how?”

“Just a vacation, babe. We can clear our heads. We’ve been bumping heads a lot lately.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. Was he going to let me go without a fight? Was he serious?

“You’re right. Are you going to be okay without me? You haven’t cooked in years.”

“You know I love takeout. I’ll be fine. Just enjoy yourself. Did he say when you would be leaving?”

“No, he didn’t. I was under the impression that I could choose the dates, though.”

“That would be good. That would give the kids time to prepare before staying with their friends.”

“You’re right. I’ll find out tomorrow.”

I wanted to let Ahmad know that it worked. But I knew that it wasn’t a good idea to call him while Martin was in the house. So that conversation would just have to wait. Since Martin knew that I would be going to see about the tickets the next morning, I had an excuse to see Ahmad.

“Good morning beautiful.”

Ahmad was the first embrace that I felt the next morning in a nearby coffee shop.

“Good morning. I guess when you say you’ll handle something, you do just that huh?”

“ I’m a man of my word. I told you I would take care of you. I meant that Kamaria.”

“At least someone is trying to take care of me.”

“Hey, don’t do that.”

He grabbed my chin and placed a kiss upon my lips. I knew that he cared, but he was extra gentle lately, and I liked it. It had been a while since anyone had embraced me, without me expecting a blow to follow. But there he was, giving me all the attention that I hadn’t felt in years.

“Never underestimate the amount of love that you deserve. There’s that smile I haven’t seen in a while. I can’t stand to see you upset. Let me make you happy. Come to Chattanooga with me.”

“When? Martin is already okay with me taking a trip. Just tell me when.”

“What about tomorrow?”

“Woah, isn’t that a little too soon?”

“Not to me. My week is free. Come with me.”

“Okay. Let’s leave in two days. Give me time to prepare the kids.”

“That works.”

We ended the conversation, and I headed home. I was excited. I knew that things could often be too good to be true. I didn’t want to get my hopes up too soon. So I didn’t get too excited.  I would just go home and pack before Martin got there.

I had a few hours before anyone would be home. I needed to pack, and I used that time wisely. I picked clothing that wouldn’t look too suspicious if Martin were to go through my bag. The last thing I needed were red flags to go off in his mind. I refused to go away with bruises. If Martin wanted to keep me from meeting anyone new, he would give me a reason to stay inside. That was his way of handling things.

But not this time. I refuse to let him ruin my vacation. I need this more than anything right now. Ahmad knew it, Martin knew it, and Amari knew it. Maria was oblivious to the whole thing. I liked it that way. I didn’t need to ruin her innocence too. Amari already carried many of my burdens. I hated that. He has such a beautiful heart, but it often caused him a lot of pain. I can no longer count on my fingers how many times he has slept in bed with me because he was worried about me. He wanted to protect his mom. I couldn’t blame him. It seemed as though I needed protection. He shouldn’t be the one protecting me, though.

When Martin got home that night, I told him that I would be leaving in two days. I told him that the sooner, the better and that the kids would be fine. He agreed, however, hesitant.

“What’s wrong?”

“I feel like you’re leaving me.”

“I’ll be back before you even have the chance to miss me.”

“I miss you already.”

What’s making him so loving now? Getting him to give me a compliment is usually like pulling teeth. They say that you don’t miss your water until your well runs dry; maybe he’s getting thirsty. He realizes that I can go out on my own. I can travel without him. All I need is a little push. I need this vacation.

“I miss you too babe.”

We spent the rest of the night watching television, enjoying each other’s company. The kids spent the night with friends, so we had the house to ourselves. We talked, we laughed. It was nice. We fell asleep in each other’s arms.

As I fall asleep in his arms, I can’t help but think about the upcoming weekend. I know that if Ahmad is as serious as he seems, this weekend will be perfect. I can imagine falling asleep with him. He’s safe; He’s secure. This marriage is not. I’ll remain in the arms of the man that has chosen to love me in ways that I would never feel again, at least I hoped not. Maybe Ahmad would be everything I ever wished him to be. Maybe love wouldn’t hurt this time.


Verina Wherry is a writer, poet, and aspiring author who spends her free time listening to music, shopping for incense and watching Criminal Minds reruns.

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