Tiny raindrops lightly tapped on Adrianne’s window of her 3rd floor apartment—blowing in at an angle and then sliding — drop by drop, some faster than others — into the pools gathered in the cement grooves between the dark red bricks. Pandora was set to the Neo Soul station: India Ari’s “Brown Skin” oozed from the speakers coated the light peach walls. Adrianne sat on the couch, coated in organic coconut oil and scrolled though Facebook in an attempt to distract herself. She looked back at her messages. The text said he’d be here in 20 minutes.
She sighed, curled her leg beneath her and thought, “He ain’t mine. He ain’t shit. But I don’t care…tonight.”
It seems as if no one wants to admit how similar we are to animals and sometimes nothing else matters, but being touched.
We like to go around all sophisticated-like — until we end up naked, with our weave half sweated-out making a decision that our boss, our best friend and our minister would all be disgusted with.
What about those of us who’ve given up on the happily-ever-after? Too many broken promises, too many tears, to many lies have smeared the picture of the perfect union—the hope of finding a soul mate. And time is a sneaky bastard, who goes as quickly as he wants without showing any concern for anyone’s plans or dreams.
Pretty, educated and smart: Adrianne thought she had time and choices when she graduated from Spelman 15 years ago. But all of these years later, life had tapped her on her shoulder and whispered in her ear that she was wrong.
So she tried to distract herself: nights out with the girls, book club, family obligations, and work—especially work. Two promotions in five years are the result of busting her ass and not getting any ass. Nothing like needing to be busy to help expedite your hustle.
But, even with her full schedule and her accomplishments, every now and then she needed to feel a man’s hands on her; a man’s lips on her; a man’s funk on her. So, she’d text him:
Him: Aight. Be over around 10.
It was 11:28.
She held her phone in one hand and continued to scrolling through Facebook. With the other, she started picking at her burgundy colored gel nails—taking her thumb to scrape off $35.00 worth of Lillian’s hard work. Neither age nor coats of shellac could break her childhood habit. Her mom, always donned in a designer skirt suit or dress (she couldn’t remember ever seeing her mother in a pair of pants), pearl earrings and the perfect Fashion Fair face, became so frustrated with her picking habit that she started making her wear white gloves from the minute she got off the school bus, walked in the house, ate her snack of apple slices smeared with peanut butter, all the way until bedtime.
Adrianne knew she wasn’t ever the girl that her mother imagined. Probably as soon as Dr. Nelson announced that she was having a baby, her mother started deciding between cotton candy, carnation, or bubble gum pink for the nursery and looking at Cotillion dresses. But Adrianne hated pink, hated the dresses her mother forced her to wear with matching socks with tulle around the ankle, and bows as large as her hand made of the same material.
So now with no husband and no babies, she was continuing the trend of disappointing her mother. There would be plenty of more lunches at the Ivy & Vine on 3rd with her mother asking questions carrying the hidden message “you are a failure.”
Her mother’s words hung heavy tonight—mixing in with the sweet sounds of Erykah, Tyrese, and D’Angelo—making their lyrics seem sad instead of sultry. She continued to scroll and pick, until she heard him at the door.
She was ashamed about how her heart jumped when she heard the knock. She placed her iphone down on her modern metal and glass coffee table, got up from the couch, tied the belt around her gold silk robe and opened the door. There he was, 6’2” and beautiful.
Next to him stood a petite woman, the color of sand with hazel eyes and long braids.
Adrianne grabbed the edge of the door tighter, her mouth becoming immediately dry and looked at them—the two of them.
Her impulse was to slam the door shut (WTF); but she imagined that they wouldn’t leave. Then what: a scene where she had to call the police and make the neighbors aware that she wasn’t just the buttoned up corporate, educated, Black girl who petted their dogs and cooed over their kids? So she stood there—hand grasping the door, eyes trying to gulp down this new information and burp up a solution. What the fuck?
She stared at him looking for answers. He wouldn’t look at her; but instead alternated between looking past her into her apartment and then back at the girl.
The girl, wearing a too tight pink adidas sweat suit, hit him on the shoulder, loudly sucked on her teeth and snapped, “say something, Nigga. Don’t just stand there.”
He shrugged his shoulders, suddenly looking small, and asked, “Man, can we come in for a minute?”
Adrianne’s mind raced from remembering that her cell phone was on the table to the pepper spray in her night stand, opened the door wider and stepped to the side. Her stomach became a trampoline for all of her fears—jumping and flipping.
He walked in first. He knew his way. He sat down on her couch, where they had screwed many times—her riding him as he sat down, him on top of her using arm of the couch to pull into her deeper. Somehow, her mind imagined him there, in her, again. What the fuck was wrong with her? The girl sitting right next to him jerked Adrianne quickly back to reality.
The girl placed her elbows on her knees and leaned in the the direction of Adrianne who was sitting on the the rust-colored Scandinavian leather chair she bought last year and snarled, “Look Bitch . . . I saw that text you sent to D’Andre. I don’t know how long you’ve been fucking my man, but we came to let you know that it’s over. You understand, bitch—o-vah.”
Adrianne looked at the girl, feeling as if she was watching this ghetto-ass situation instead of being a part of it. She then looked at D’Andre who was staring at his hands that were clasped and hanging down between his knees. He sighed heavily and offered, “Look, I told her we weren’t nuthin’. I just met you last week. I don’t know why she trippin.”
Adrianne always knew they were nothing. He was somebody who would fill a void, fill her body, and feel her body every now and then; but, hearing him say it made her feel like nothing. It revealed the desperate nature of their “relationship” and made Adrianne feel cheap, small—exactly like nothing.
Abruptly, Adrianne grabbed the brass lamp sitting on the end table next to her, jumped up and screamed, “I’m going to give both of you two fucking seconds to get the fuck outta my house or somebody is going to get hurt. And right now I don’t even give a fuck if I get hurt too. I just want you the fuck outta my house. Don’t let these surroundings fool you; I will beat yo ass and then call the cops and have you arrested for trespa—-.”
Before she could finish, the girl in pink leaped off of the couch and started to lunge at Adrianne. Adrianne went to swing the lamp, but it was plugged into the wall, so it fell to the ground and landed with a loud clanking sound onto the coffee table. Simultaneously, D’Andre, grabbed his friend from behind, wrapping his arms around her waist.
“Come on, girl. It ain’t worth all dis. I told you it wantit nuthin. Let’s fucking go,” he ordered while carrying her to the door as her legs and arms flailed mid-air.
She screamed, “Bitch, you done fucked wit the wrong one. I got your ass. You lucky I’m pregnant or I’d be all over your ass, bitch.”
Adrianne quickly grabbed her phone, looked D’Andre in his eyes as he walked backwards out of her place carrying his friend, and seethed, “Get. Out. Get the Fuck Out.”
She hurriedly closed and locked the door and then leaned back on it, out of breath. She looked down at her phone, and started sarcastically chuckling when she read her screen saver, “I’m thankful for my struggle because without it I wouldn’t have stumbled across my strength.” She walked over to her coffee table, picked up the lamp off of the coffee table, and laid back on the couch. She didn’t feel that she had the energy to move anywhere else. She laid there, listening to the music not really thinking. Her brain– blank, as if it needed to shut down to digest all that had just occurred.
Around 30 minutes later, the sound of her text notification beep took her out of her zone. She looked down at her phone and sees a text from D’Andre, “Sorry bout that. She’s trips out sometime. Wanna try for tomorrow?”
Adrianne smirked, turned her phone off and threw it on the coffee table.
My intention is for Black people to love themselves and each other. It sounds somewhat silly, I guess; but oftentimes my people are overwhelmed with negative images, bad news, and stereotyped characters about us. I’d like to flip that script. I’d like to remind us, as often as I can, how incredible we are. Read more