I took a quick time check as I ironed my jeans. Forty-five minutes before my date with Ralphie and I was not nearly as excited as I should’ve been. After four weeks of his incessant advances, Claire finally convinced me to go out with him, more so she could live her cougaresque lifestyle vicariously through me. There was nothing special about Ralphie except the fact that he was the epitome of a cheese ball. The prime example of that high school dork all grown up, living a lavish lifestyle off his computer millions, assuming it made him an instant chick magnet and no one ever told him otherwise. An indication he had no real friends in the world. I was itching to tell him that the crushed velvet blazer and faded stunner sunglasses were a tad bit much for casual Friday and that he actually needed real muscles for that tight fitting V-neck tee. But then that would require me having to hear his nasal voice as he spit out more unnatural sounding slang. He sounded like an eighty-year-old grandma saying ‘word up’ for the first time.
We didn’t have much in common, but I welcomed the distraction. I needed a replacement, a new fantasy to take over the ones of Bad Habit. Four weeks since I left D.C. and he hadn’t called once.
Am I surprised? Not at all.
He barely called when we lived a mile from each other.
The actual status of our year and a half long relationship was still under negotiation. Ok, so maybe “relationship” is the wrong word to use. Yes, we were sleeping together, but I never intended for it to be a strictly dickly fling; of course, I wanted more. But after discovering a well-hidden secret and being disrespected on multiple occasions, our relationship dwindled to nothing but jump-off status, or what I like to call, a permanent booty-call. Our arguments, epic. No matter how many times I swore him off, a week would go by, and I would be right back in his bed, screaming his name.
Though I finally put states between us, I still wanted him to want me. Nothing like an ex calling to stroke your bruised ego.
Jeez, I’m pathetic.My Crackberry buzzed. A text from Kennedy.
Aye! What ya doing?Getting ready for date my with the mouth breather.
Jesus be a Listerine strip!LOL!I threw the phone on the bed and stretched into my long navy blue tunic top to hide my rapidly developing gut. Evidently, one-month home with my mother’s cooking had added at least five sagging pounds to my petite frame. I planned on wearing my dark blue skinny jeans with my chocolate suede flats and a pink chunky necklace, the one outfit I didn’t feel I was wasting on Ralphie. I slid my feet in and tugged the jeans up until they came to an abrupt halt at my thighs.
I gave them another tug but they only budged slightly. Not a chance in hell they would make it to my waist.
Ok, got to cut out the late night ice cream.
I tossed the jeans and pulled out the next pair.
It was an unfamiliar struggle. I sucked in my gut and looked down. The button was nowhere near the intended destination.
Jeez. And those Hostess cupcakes.Laying back on the bed, I sucked in my breath, determined.
“Mom!” I called, hearing her walk past my room.
“What’s wrong?” She came in with her usual worried eyes behind her bifocals.
“Help me put my jeans on!”
She snickered. The sight of me sprawled on the bed wrestling with myself was amusing.
“Well, why don’t you just put on another pair?”
“No they’re gonna fit. Just help me!”
“OK! Boy, have you been cranky lately.”
True, I had been a grumpy pants for the last couple of weeks but I chalked up it to PMS and told everyone to just blame Mother Nature if they their feelings had been hurt by my outbursts.
“Sorry Mom. I didn’t mean it. Can you help? Please?”
She sighed the way mothers do before the event leading up to the ‘I told you so’ speech and hovered over me.
“Okay, what do you want me to do?”
“Hold these together and I’ll zip it,” I said, while holding my breath.
She chuckled again as she proceeded to struggle with the button while I pulled at the zipper.
“I don’t think it’s gonna—”
“Just hold it MOM!”
With brutal force, the button secured and I eased the zipper up. She stood back and quickly covered her mouth, hiding a devilish grin.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, peering down to try to get a better look at my condition.
“There’s no way you’re gonna be able to sit up in those,” she said before breaking out into a hysterical hyena-like laughter followed by a snort. I frowned and sat up in spite of her. The jeans pinched my stomach like a mean Grandma as a muffin top of flab formed over them, the button screaming in agony. I forced a fake smile.
“It’s fine Mom,” I croaked. Even breathing the response was painful. She struggled to compose her giggles.
Defiant as always, I reached for my shoes on the floor and the piercing sound of splitting fabric echoed in the room.
That did it for my mother.
I remember a time when dating was easy for me. Dudes were lining up and down the block just to take me to the corner and back. Flowers delivered to my chemistry class in high school, walks through snowstorms to bring me late night dinners in college, personal chauffeurs in grad school. It wasn’t that I was using them (‘use’ is such a strong and nasty word). I was just giving them what they wanted, which was me. Now, one year later, I regret all the men I let slip through my fingers, blew off for the next, or was just plain bored with, stupidly believing there were plenty of fish in the sea. Because around twenty-five, the harsh reality that every black woman faces is we don’t live in the sea. We live in a fish tank. Options are brutally limited.
And Ralphie was one of those malnourished goldfish you win at the street fair.
“I had a really nice time tonight,” Ralphie cooed inches from my face.
We were parked in front of my house after a peculiar evening at Duvet, one of the hottest clubs in the city, where he paraded me around his pretentious and equally geeky friends. Okay, it wasn’t that bad. Ralphie did treat me like a princess. I felt guilty and sorry for him all at the same time.
“God, it’s hot!”
I unbuttoned the light sweater covering the only thing in the house that I could fit, a floral dress I borrowed from my mother. I was boiling the entire night, a change from my usual frigid condition. I’ve been known to wear wool sweaters in August. But that didn’t stop Ralphie from pressing against me in the tight quarters of his BMW.
“You know, I can really see a future with us.”
Yeah, I bet. “Oh really. That’s…nice.”
“I’ll be honest, I’m living the single life right now. But I can see myself settling down soon.”
Settling with whom?He brushed my hair back off my shoulder, exposing my neck.
“You know, I always wanted kids with good hair.”
“Yeah, I don’t want kids. Not for me. But good luck with that.”
He was eyeing my lips like he was preparing for target practice.
“I bet I can change your mind.”
Is this fool serious? I don’t feel THAT guilty.
He leaned in closer, wrapping his arm around my back. I tried to figure out a way to reject him without using mace.
Oh God, he smells like teen body spray. I’m gonna be nauseous.I regretted not moving away faster the moment his chapped lips wrapped around mine. He engulfed me, ravenously kissing me like he was afraid to stop. My head thudded against the window as he forced himself upon me. He was bad kisser. This only added to the many strikes against him.
There was a sharp pinch on my left breast, like a needle stabbing my nipple. My eyes flew open and I shoved him away. He fumbled back onto his seat, wild-eyed and confused.
“What! What happened?” he asked frantically.
I cupped my left boob.
“Why did you grab me like that?” I said, trying to catch my breath.
“Alex, I barely touched you!”
I crossed my arms over my chest then yelped. The needle was on my other boob.
“Ow!” I sucked in air between my teeth.
Oh no! Save the tay-tas!My breasts were sore and swollen, like he had tried to twist them off in some satanic ritual.
“Sorry, I…must be getting my period or something.”
“Um…oh,” he mumbled. We sat in awkward silence while I caressed myself with Ralphie stealing glances.
Figures the pervert would be turned on. This confirms the likelihood of a large amount of porn saved on his computer. Watching a girl feel herself up in his obnoxious automobile, a dream come true.
His eyebrow arched up and he cautiously leaned toward me.
Is he seriously thinking of trying to kiss me? Again! Nausea returned in full force. The two bowls of nuts I devoured by myself at the party rushed into my throat.
“I…I need some air!”
Frantic, I fumbled with the controls on the dashboard. But the moment I took a deep breath of the forced air is when the stench of his drug store cologne hit my throat.
I hurled like an inebriated college freshman, all over his German wood-grain dashboard.
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