Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Of The Light - Chapter Two

Sunday, what a day. Like every other American, Sunday’s are what it’s all about. During the summer, it’s picnics in the park, swimming or going out to a ball game, but this is early Fall and the opening day for football. So, break out the chips, cold cuts and cola’s. This is why God invented answering machines and voice mail. Just kick back on the couch and enjoy my friend.

Speaking of friend, I could go visit one and watch the game, but I didn’t feel like going anywhere, as it were, I was in a stay at home kind of mood, besides, I kind of like it better watching the game alone. I’m strange that way I guess. Even stranger, I really hadn’t many friends. Except for the female variety.

First quarter, second quarter, third quarter and into the fourth. Why is it when every time I watch my favorite team play, they always end up losing? Go Cowboys. Well, thank goodness I didn’t have to ponder that thought for too long as the knock on the door spared me the agony. “Mother?” I partially exclaimed in surprise while opening the door. A few steps in and out comes the cheek. Rule #1) Always greet the mothers with a kiss on the cheek (and a hug goes a long way too) which, I did. “What brings you in town?” I quickly questioned. After all, she does live some sixty miles away and anytime she comes to visit, it’s always a pleasant surprise and welcomed treat. What can I say? I love her.

“I brought Jerry’s birthday present up this morning.” She answered. I should have guessed it, she did miss out on the party, and Tina mentioned something about her coming up today, but my body is not the only thing I rest on a Sunday.

“So,” I began, “you’ve already been to Tina’s?” Another stupid question I know, but it had to be asked.

“Yes.” She exhaustedly replied then moving to explain, “I’ve been there since 9:30 this morning.” I glanced up at my clock on the wall and noticed that it was slightly past 3:30. “That grandson of mine is going to run me to my grave one day.” She started in as she made herself at home in my favorite chair. I finished securing the door and placed myself back on the couch. “Speaking of which,” she continued, “when am I going to get a grandchild from you?”

It never fails, the question; that look on her face, nit picking at my bachelorhood again, but as normal, I played it off. “You couldn’t have picked a better day to visit.” I stated, hoping that would do the trick, and it did.

“It sure is a beautiful day. Why aren’t you outside enjoying it?” I was about to answer that very question until she quickly focused her attention to the television and saw the remains of the massacre. “Never mind,” she followed up, “football, I almost forgot, this is opening day, isn’t it?”

Good guess mom, I am impressed. However, instead of saying that, I mumbled softly. “Unfortunately.”
I picked up the remote and turned down the volume as her highly trained mother ears sensed my ever-lethargic disappointment, “Your team losing?”

I looked at her half grinningly and said, “That’s putting it mildly. Hey, can I get you anything?” I offered, rising up from the couch, almost forgetting my manners.

“No, no, not really.” She answered, “I just thought I’d stop by on my way home and see if I could talk you into buying your mother an early dinner.”

I smiled at her and her subtle way of asking for some attention from her only baby boy. I began walking towards my bedroom and softly shouted, “Let me change my clothes.”

“No hurry.” She announced, “I’ve got plenty of time.”

That lady, what a character. If there’s one thing that I could say, it is that I have one of the best mothers a person could ever ask for. Between her and my late father, Tina and I had more love than we could have ever hoped for. Of course, we never complained.

So, a quick change and off we went in my car, which mom enjoyed. She would always act hip with me when I drove her in the Grand National, she likes the power it has and always jokingly would say, “I’m going to have to get me one of these, then I could really burn some rubber and leave those old folks behind and eating my dust.” Then she’d giggle. So would I. My mom, a hot-rodder? Now that is a funny picture.

Our dinner discussion covered the basic topics, are you seeing anyone special? Are you eating right? Are you gay? (Okay, maybe not that one but who is to say she isn’t thinking it, right?) And then we would somehow get to the good ole days when dad was alive and the crazy things Tina and I did when we were kids. And so on and so on.

The answers, every time she ever asked, were always the same, “No, there’s no one special. Yes, I am as healthy as a horse, and no, I am not gay.” (Okay, I answered that one in my head, but who’s to say she didn’t hear it?) Mothers, can’t help but to love them.

We made it back to my apartment and talked a little more before she bid her farewell, leaving me with the thought that she wasn’t getting any younger and a visit every now and then wouldn’t kill me. I agreed, as usual, and promised her I would, which I meant. (What? No, I really did mean it. Stop looking at me like that.) One more hug and kiss for goodbye’s sake and off she’d go, scooting down the road. One thing that would never fail is, I’d drop a tiny tear or two every time I watched her pull away. God, I love that lady. Once out of sight, I retreated to my bedroom and checked my phone messages, turn on my bedroom television in the same process and try to catch up on the scores from around the N.F.L.

I wasn’t really tuned into my machine that much, just a few friends calling to, more or less, harass, but I did take notice to the one that Sabrina left me. Somewhat suggestive one would say. However, it gave me an option for the night, it was the message after hers that really caught my attention, although, I could never quite figure out why.

“Zen, this is Debbie, just called to say that I had a wonderful time last night and I hope we can do it again some time. My parents didn’t say anything about me coming home so late so, if you’d like, give me a call. Well, bye.” And ‘click’, I turned off the machine.

I don’t know what it was, but for some odd reason, I was almost frozen, standing there like a nitwit with a smile. Now I had another option. She didn’t say it in her message, but I knew if I invited her over, she’d come. Oh yes, she would come.

Let’s see, Sabrina or Debbie? Decisions, decisions, I had to evaluate this one. Since Sabrina and I have known each other for what seemed like forever, the thought of spending another evening with Debbie sounded rather pleasing if I do say so myself. (And I do … say so that is.) She is so refreshing in an innocent kind of way. She carried herself quite well when we went out. Like I said, decisions, decisions. Yeah, I’ll call Debbie.

Okay, something strange took place inside of me when I heard her voice. I still couldn’t get over how sexy she sounded. I don’t know what it was, but it certainly was uplifting, that’s for sure. She accepted my invitation to drop by, explaining to me that tonight she had to be back home by 12:30 am. I understood perfectly, school. But I didn’t mind, I just wanted her company. I enjoyed it very much despite what you dirty minded people might think. (Ha-ha).

She arrived by 9:30 and I fixed us a couple of colas and we sat snuggled up on the couch. The Television was on, but we paid very little attention to it as we were too busy talking about ourselves, you know, still trying to get more acquainted with each other and in that process she mentioned that she baby-sat for a neighbor during the weeknights and sometimes, as late as midnight on Fridays so it wasn’t like she was lacking in responsibility. She also went on to say that she thought her parents to be rather ‘cool’ and that they gave the weekend to her to do as she saw fit and trusted her judgment somewhat carefully, provided that she kept up her grades and did not get into any kind of trouble. She also went on to mention that college was in her sights upon graduating high school and to tell you the truth, I was easily impressed with her youthful ambition.

I still couldn’t believe my luck. This girl seemed to have it all, beauty, personality, and intelligence. She had a direction for her life and not too many young people today have such understanding of what they want for their futures. It just felt really wonderful to be with her. I wanted to mention that to her, but I didn’t. Then again, maybe she sensed it through my body language and by the tone of my voice when I spoke to her. I failed to cease running my fingers gently up and down her arm and every couple of minutes I had to taste those soft, luscious lips of pure heaven which she didn’t appear to mind in the least. All in all, we enjoyed ourselves very much even though we didn’t take it to the bedroom like last night. (Told you that you people have dirty minds.) That was fine with me because I didn’t want the same kind of relationship with her that I had with Sabrina. Where every time we got together we ended up making love, almost like it was expected.

Anyway, I thought about her after she had left and I fell to sleep with her scent in the air and her face pasted in my mind. And while I was still without guilt of being with her, I knew that sooner or later I would have to face up to my little lie if we continued to get closer with each other. The only question was, when? I decided to just wait and see what happens, play it by ear, so to speak, and when the time comes to spill my guts, I’ll know it. That is, of course, if the time ever comes.

“Car problems?” A stranger asked me, as I was standing next to my car and looking out at the open desert.

“No,” I answered him politely, “just looking at the scenery.”

“Well, okay, then.” The man replied, “Just thought I’d check. Folks sometimes get stranded out here on this open road. Kind of scary to them, wondering when someone else is going to come along, know what I mean?”

“Yes.” I answered, “I guess so.”

“Oh, yeah,” he stated, “it sure is pretty out here.”

“Sure is.” I confirmed, not thinking much about it.

“Going to miss it though,” he happened to mention, “lived here all my life.”

I turned to stare at him. ‘That was an odd thing to say’ I thought, but then took notice to his grayish beard and wrinkled face, which made him appear a bit fragile looking. My first thought was maybe he has a terminal illness, by the way in which he happened to say it, almost like he was expecting to die. But you know me, curious George here and so with that curiosity, and seeing how he had brought it up, I casually asked him, “Moving away?” Now that was the second possibility, but I was really just being nosy. He didn’t seem to mind the question as he serenely glanced at me and pleasingly mumbled.

“Something like that.”

This kept me in the dark but left my original thought intact. In no time flat he quickly made an about face and as if in some kind of a small hurry he said, “Well, got to go.” He halted at the door of his truck and looked back to be friendly one last time, “You sure there’s nothing I can do for you?”

“No, I’m fine.” I assured him, “But thanks for stopping.”

“No problem young man, no problem at all.” He replied before giving me one last sentiment. “You take care now, you here?”

“You too, sir.” I muttered. I then watched him as he drove away, leaving a trail of dust from the dirt road. I must admit, I was left standing there in the middle of nowhere feeling a bit confused. I mean, what just happened here? And speaking of here, how did I get here? And while we’re on the subject, where is here? And to add to the confusion was the fact that this old man was talking like he wasn’t going to be around much longer and yet, he appeared to be happy about that and I will tell you something, that bugs the hell out of me. Anyhow, whatever was going on with him I guess I had to just assume that he came to terms with it and so I surmised that it wasn’t any of my damn business anyhow. Letting it pass and resuming my sight seeing, I began to hear something. “What’s that noise?” I asked out loud to myself. I looked all around me, but I couldn’t see anything. Perplexed, something suddenly compelled me to look up. So I did. “Jesus Christ!” I franticly shouted, fearing what I had seen and repeating those words until finally, I found myself sitting up in my bed and looking over at my alarm clock which was humming to wake me up for another working mans day.

Despite the thrilling start of my morning I still managed to function properly at work. I didn’t think too much about the dream, but I did experience a few flashbacks, which upon returning home that evening, I made the decision to do something about it. I wasn’t sure where to go or who to see or how to go about it really, but I figured there was one person I knew who could perhaps point me in the right direction, and so after my shower, a change of clothes and a bite to eat, I soon found myself standing on Sabrina’s front porch.

And while I was happy that she was home, I was a bit reluctant to drop my problems on her. She knew something wasn’t right when she answered the door, I guess that’s because it is very rare for either of us to drop by without calling first or getting an invite. Even though we had a special relationship, we still were free from actual commitment and stopping by unannounced and unexpectedly could result in a bit of an awkward moment for the both of us and could prove to be an emotional bomb on what it was we did have between us but still, the tightly knitted bond we share is a rarity and somewhat unique, not to mention, hard to describe with mere words.

Fortunately for me, she had no ‘visitors’ and had some time to converse with me. She was in the middle of tidying up a bit and so we ended up in the kitchen where she fixed us both something to drink. I told her about the dream and how it had evolved in context. She absorbed every word like a concerned catholic priest. After I had finished, I left her with my utmost and deepest feeling about the whole damn thing, “I don’t know what to do anymore.”

Nothing was said at first, she just simply stood there, leaning against the sink while I sat at the table, slightly bowing my head. She excused herself for a moment and left the room. Upon her return, she handed me a slip of paper. “Here.” She said. I took it from her and glanced over it quickly. “What’s this?”

“It’s the address of a colleague of mine, Dr. Ortman Fletcher.” She placed herself opposite from me at the table and went on to say, “I want you to go and talk to him. This is more in his area of expertise than mine. He may be able to help to interpret your dreams for you. He’s very good.” I looked over at her with gratitude as silence briefly intervened before she broke it with a suggestion, “I’ll call him so that he’ll be expecting you.”

Our eyes locked in together. I began to realize her importance to my life. These dreams were bugging the hell out of me and while that may not seem to be a very big thing to many, it was beginning to eat away at my sanity little by little. “I really appreciate this.” I told her.

She just sat there smiling, like she had done some good, which in a way, she did. Maybe just caring about me was in its self, good enough. She placed her elbows on the table and cupped her hands underneath her chin and asked me rather devilishly, “Feel like getting crazy tonight?”

I peeked at her childishly, grinning. “How crazy?”

“Crazy enough to order an extra large pizza with everything on it.” She replied, maintaining her facial expression as she ventured further. “Including onions and very, very hot peppers.” At which time, she began to lick her lips, leaving me to figure out the rest.

“Whoa,” I squeaked, “that is crazy but,” I apologetically explained, “I already ate. Besides,” I stammered, “onions give me the farts.” Why I revealed that little tidbit about myself, I will never know.

It didn’t seem to bother her though. “Well, I haven’t eaten.” she so happened to announce with her face still gleaming. “And I never fart.”

“It’s your digestive system, do with it what you may.” I constituted. She rose up from her position and shuffled towards the phone. I focused my attention back to the piece of paper I held in my hand, to view for one more time, the address she had written while I listened to her placing the order. By the time she had finished, I had it snuggled inside my wallet. While we waited for the pizza to be delivered we wandered through her many selections of movies to watch. We finally agreed on a romance, which did set the tone for the evening.

I left her place early the next morning to get ready for work. In doing so, I thought about how good it was to have somebody like her to help me get my mind off of things when I needed it and I did glance over the address on the paper a few more times as I contemplated when or if I should go and see this Dr. Fletcher. ‘Do I really need to see a shrink?’ I would ask myself. ‘Was it really that bad?’ The questions kept flooding in. I don’t know, I just do not know. Perhaps I was over exaggerating a bit, I mean, it’s just some dumb, stupid dream, right?

Okay, so, maybe I will just hold off for now however, I will place it back in my wallet for safekeeping. Hey, you never know, better safe than sorry. Besides, I would quickly reason, in the light of day, these dreams just might go away by themselves. Sorry Dr. Fletcher, but I am afraid I am going to have to put you on hold.
Isn’t that the accurate account of our nature? We know what we want to do and perhaps what we should do, but we begin to rethink ourselves and the next thing you know, we’re putting it off like we know better. Of course, it is always best when we can look back and say, ‘Gee, I should have this, I should have that.’ Oh well, kind of like the man who picked his numbers for the lottery and found out that he won only, he just wrote them down on a piece of paper instead of buying the ticket. Some will never learn.

Anyway, I wasn’t very sharp at work that day and if it weren’t for my aunt, Sandy, who also worked at the company, and was partly responsible for my employment there, things would have gotten extremely boring.
Sandy is wild. Clocking in at an adventurous age of thirty-six, and by far the youngest sister to my mother. Now, I may be a little bias here, but let me say this, redheads do not get any prettier than my aunt Sandy, nor do they get much sexier either. To be honest, if she wasn’t blood related, I’d make a play for her no doubt. She and I are so much alike in the sense that we never take things too seriously and we love playing practical jokes. I often think that if she were a guy, we would be beer drinking buddies and probably inseparable.
We did, from time to time, find ourselves involved with some serious discussions, and like most women, if not all, Sandy was just as sensitive and vulnerable inside, but she like myself, kept it from really ever showing. She has two daughters to raise from her first, and she claims, her last marriage. Her and her daughters are more like best friends than parent/child, and I attribute that to her young at heart vitality. She loves dancing and loud music to go along with her rugged style of men, and as it should be with everyone, she really loves life. She certainly gets the most out of it, that’s for sure.

Sandy could not only tell that I was tired, as everybody else could see that by looking at my red, blood-shot eyes, when I wasn’t allowing them to be hidden behind my fallen eyelids, but she could sense that something else wasn’t quite right with me this particular morning. As it was, I didn’t seem my happy-go-lucky self, as she would later put it.

Now, she wasn’t one to stick her nose in where it didn’t belong, but our closeness gave her free passage to question the state of my condition. She was casual about it, as she is with just about everything and she would have backed down had I started barking at her when she approached me, but snapping at her would be the last thing I would ever want to do and besides, I knew she was just concerned.

I also didn’t tell her the truth when she inquired to my well-being. I really do hate lying, not just to her, but to anyone. This was something that I wanted to deal with myself. I couldn’t see how these dreams were affecting me all that much anyway, but after talking to her during our lunch break, I soon began to realize that maybe; just maybe, I was beginning to act like a little poop. I don’t think she bought my lie anyhow. Mainly because during the following days she would constantly give me that look of hers, you know the one, the ‘talk to me’ kind of look. I must admit, I was starting to shake off the dreams a bit as they hadn’t haunted me for the rest of that week, which did seem to go by rather quickly for once.

Debbie phoned a few times from where she was baby-sitting and that helped to cheer me up some as well. However, it would have been better if I could have been able to see her and spend some real time with her. I also failed to talk to Sabrina during this period, but did plan to see her before the weekend was done, as it stood, the weekend was just beginning. The work whistle rang out loudly, marking the end to another day and week as everybody raced to punch out and go home.

My routine procedure was to wait for everyone else, same for Sandy. We were always the first to arrive and the last to leave. I don’t know why, but I really did enjoy working here. Maybe it was the people or maybe the relaxed atmosphere or … maybe a little bit of both.

I knew that money wise, I could always, and easily, get a better job. Sometimes it is better to look beyond the financial and look at the intangibles. While I made my way to the time clock, Sandy approached me from behind. “Any plans this weekend?” she asked, knocking me a bit off guard.

“Who? Me?” I questioned, turning around to face her.

“Yes, you.” She confirmed, then taking it upon herself to ask me yet again. “Have any plans?”

“Not really.” I announced, which was basically true although I was contemplating calling Debbie. I knew she would be game for a spur of the moment get together, after she was done baby-sitting of course, but not revealing this to Sandy as she proposed an alternative for any weekend events I may have been considering. “How about meeting me over at the Ritz tonight? There’s someone I want you to meet, you’ll love her.” I looked at her rather cautiously which she read pretty well and was quick to assure me, “Don’t worry, she’s not a dog.”

I turned back around to punch out and asked her somewhat despairingly and half defeated, “What time?” As it would have done me no good to try and get out of it. She can be very persuasive when she wants to be and may have had her mind made up to do whatever it takes to get me to go. Women have this thing about fixing people up and I think she just wanted to play matchmaker this weekend, which she has an occasional knack to do.

“Stop by around nine o’clock.” She requested. “Just stay for a while, if you don’t like her then you can go, but whatever you do,” she needed to insist, “be nice, okay?”

“Am I not always nice?” I asked her. I looked back to watch her punch out to which, she just looked at me and rolled her eyes. “I’ll be there.” I promised. We walked out to the parking lot to our cars with her going on about how much of a good time I was going to have. “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” was my way of summing it all up.

The Ritz is Sandy’s favorite nightclub. It doesn’t, however, fit into my style very well. Live rock and roll bands, leather jackets and long bearded, beer belly bikers with tattoos from their neck to their ass. (Just like their hair) A very rowdy place where just one wrong look could put you in some serious pain, although, and I can’t figure out why, there are some really hot girls that hang out there, and yet at the same time, some real losers, very real losers.

Anyhow, I got home and took care of some basic necessities prior to this blind date that was so conveniently arranged by my beloved aunt. I did try to call up Sabrina as a back up, just in case cupid misses tonight. It’s always good to have a back up plan to resort to in times like these, but lady luck took the evening off as all I got was her voice mail. Oh well, I guess I could always wait until midnight and get a hold of Debbie after she is done babysitting, then again, who knows, maybe this mystery girl isn’t so bad. Evaluating it further, if she is hot then why would she need Sandy to fix her up? I know, the thought occurred to me as well; maybe this girl isn’t aware of Sandy’s devious scheme. She’s sneaky that way.

All kinds of thoughts raced through my mind while I drove closer and closer to the bar. I spotted Sandy’s jeep seeking out a place to park myself. As I got out of my car, I realized that the moment of truth had arrived. An argument was taking place out front (no surprise) as I walked through the doors of the low lit and smoke filled atmosphere.

My first objective was to seek out Sandy. She had just walked out onto the dance floor when she noticed me approaching her. She scurried up and grabbed me by the arm and led me to her table where two other girls were seated. Without hesitation, and in the blink of an eye, she quickly introduced me to my date. “Jolinda, Zenakis. Zenakis, Jolinda. I’ll be back, don’t go anywhere.” And then off she went to strut her stuff on the dance floor.

Well, I have to give credit where credit is due. Sandy was exactly right, this girl was hot, a very pretty blond. She looks fantastic! I greeted her as I took a seat. She smiled while doing the same, apparently pleased with my appearance as well. A waitress soon came over and took my order. I offered to buy one for Jolinda, but she politely refused while pointing at the half filled glass sitting in front of her. (Did I mention this was a low lit bar?) I quickly turned my attention to the other girl seated and introduced myself to her also and offered up to buy her a drink too, but like Jolinda, she politely refused. She introduced herself as Tammy, a little bit on the chubby side. Then again, she wasn’t the reason why I was there.

I began striking up small talk with Jolinda while I waited for my drink to arrive. As expected, the beginning is always a bit awkward and it didn’t help for fact that all I really had on my mind was slow dancing with her, that way, I could check out her hot little body a little better and hold it closely against mine. (What did you expect? I am a guy.)

She turned out to be a pretty good conversationalist and it didn’t seem to take much time for her and I to hit it off and as the night wore on; she finally began accepting those drinks I was offering. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, we did manage to squeeze in some slow dancing too. In fact, we worked that in quite a bit during the evening, every slow song they played, we danced. I also took special notice to Sandy and her occasional look as she seemed rather pleased with her little accomplishment. ‘Glad I came.’ I thought to myself, but sometimes I am prone to expect certain things from certain people for different reasons and while I didn’t know it then, my balloon was about to be popped.

At closing time, I offered Jolinda a nightcap plus a chance for us to talk in private and get better acquainted. She accepted eagerly. I played it cool. Everything seemed to be playing out perfectly as we walked to my car. Having known that she came here with Sandy in her jeep, I began to wonder if maybe there was a possibility that she knew about Sandy’s matchmaking plot all along. I guess it didn’t matter. With that in mind, I figured she was along for the fun just like me, and so I thought it was now or never as I well mannerly opened the car door for her and completely unannounced my quick and sudden grab, planting a kiss right on her waiting lips.

She didn’t try to pull away. In fact, she slipped me some tongue. (Okay, that’s what I’m talking about baby, yeah.) Taking my cue from that, I wasted no time what so ever pulling her into me and wrapping my arms around her gently and giving her the opportunity to feel what she is doing to me. She didn’t back down a bit. This scenario lasted for a good five minutes at least, but once we let up; it was jump in the car and a mad dash to the finish line. (For me anyway.)

My hormones got us to my apartment fairly quickly and as we got out of the car to go up to paradise, I noticed a man hanging out by the corner. It was an acquaintance of sorts, a neighborhood guy by the name of Tyrone. Haven’t seen him around much lately. I decided to halt my quest a little and go over and say hi. “What’s up, TJ?” which is short for Tyrone Jackson, which he preferred.

“What it is, homey?” He replied, as we slapped hands, street style, “What’s a white boy like you doing mugging around at this hour?”

“Partying, what else?” I told him, before glancing back at Jolinda, who was waiting patiently a few feet away.

“Nothing wrong with that.” He proclaimed, looking over at her as well, “Who’s the sweetheart?” he asked.

“Who knows?” I joked, hoping that she didn’t hear it, which she didn’t.

“Isn’t that the truth brother, who the fuck knows?” He mocked, while lashing out into one of his big laughs.

“What keeps you hanging out so early, dude? Hell, all the bars are closed.” I questioned while I began rubbing my hands together as it was a bit cool this morning.

“My bitches, my brother, my bitches, they be trying to fuck with me, man.”

“Well, that’s bitches for you.” I tried to reason as I kept up with glancing over at Jolinda.

“You know what it is my man, they be getting offers from other homey’s and I don’t like competition. This be my turf and I kills the mother fucker that messes with my shit, I’ll kill them.”

Tyrone isn’t very educated, if you haven’t already figured that out, but in his own street-smart ways, he does mean well. I think. Anyhow, he never gave me any trouble and he is always running the night and I figured it would probably be in my best interest to chum up with the guy since he knows all the low life’s around for about a fifty-mile radius. I have slipped him a few bucks here and there, not to mention some cigarettes and I guess that’s a small price to pay for a night watchman. Realizing that Jolinda was now beginning to get a bit antsy and I, still with my love motor running, quickly made the decision to move things along when I offered up another slap for my departure, “Well, I better split, dude.”

“Yeah,” he agreed, “you get that sweet thing inside where it’s warm, besides, she’s too hot to be waiting in the cold for a bum like you, bitch.”

“Be cool.” I replied, heading towards my prize for the night.

“You know I am, brother.” He shouted, “I’m always cool.”

I joined up with Jolinda, who remained quiet, and escorted her up the stairs and to my apartment. Once inside though, she asked me about him so I told her the story. You see, it wasn’t by complete coincidence that I know him, and like I explained to her, I came to the rescue of a few young boys one day who were kind of in a pickle with another group of young thugs. Anyhow, one of those boys was Tyrone’s brother and ever since then, he has been looking out for me, kind of, and makes sure that no one messes with me. I haven’t had any problems yet, but if I ever do then I guess Tyrone would be there to help me. I think he feels as if he owes me or something, which he doesn’t, not in my book anyway, but I’m not going to tell him that. I kind of like it that he’s out there most nights. Like I said, my night watchman.

Anyhow, I fixed us a couple of soft drinks and we sat down on the couch. We talked until 4:00 am, not getting too personal with our discussion, but making sure there were some kisses involved here and there. Noticing the time, I offered to let her sleep over, which she accepted, and as I rose up off the couch and proceeded to my bedroom, I realized that she wasn’t following. I ventured back to the living room and peeked around the corner and asked her, “You going to join me?”

The look on her face sure answered that question. She appeared to be a bit confused and/or offended. “You mean, sleep with you?” She nervously asked.

“Well,” I stammered, before going the honest route, “Yes.” Then trying to explain, I stuttered to finish. “I thought that ….” But, I never finished. She got up from off the couch and walked up to me, conveying an apology, “I’m sorry, I hope I didn’t mislead you, but I don’t sleep with guys I just meet.”

I gazed into her absorbent looking eyes and began to suddenly feel like a jerk. Realizing her sincerity, I did what any wannabe gentleman would do, “No, I’m sorry.” I offered. A little white lie perhaps, but I was trying to save her dignity, “You didn’t mislead me.” I lied again. Truth be told, I did think there was a pot of gold at the end of her rainbow. Or maybe I was just too used to the Sabrina’s and the Debbie’s of the world.

“Maybe I should just call a cab.” She reasoned, trying to put a dignified end to this little misunderstanding as she began to walk to my phone.

“No,” I motioned, trying to amend my doing, and walking over, gently pulling her around and placing my hands on her shoulders then tenderly caressing them with my hands. “It’s okay, stay here, please? I’ll take you home in the morning.”

“Are you sure?” She carefully questioned, placing her hands on my extended arms.

“I’m very sure.” I told her, leaning in to give her another kiss, which she didn’t seem to shy away from. And so it was settled, I fetched a blanket and a pillow for her as she insisted on sleeping on the couch, even though, I offered her my bed. (No really, I did offer her.)

This was something I wasn’t quite used to, getting turned down when I had them in
my den of sin. She was just one of those sweet girls, that’s all, or so I would tell myself as I
lay in my bed tossing and turning. Yeah, that’s it Zen, comfort that poor ego. Man, such a
good-looking girl with a hot little body and I can’t enjoy it? What a disaster. What dilemma.
What a waste. “I hope Tyrone don’t hear about this.” I jokingly mumbled to myself as I
softly laughed, making the decision to just shrug it off, falling into sleep. Why, oh why, do I
keep on playing this fools game?

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