A Sneak Peek
Some days I just feel some kind of way. Other days, as I'm writing a new book, things come to mind that my character may be thinking. And there we have poems from the Random File:
So I was being pursued for a while by this nice-looking man.
He offered to take me out and show me a nice time, so I let him try his hand.
We’re in a high-end spot; he was trying his best to impress, it was clear.
But then he opened his mouth, and his true motives appeared.
This guy said I walk like I got cotton candy between my thighs.
I smiled real big, and got that twinkle in my eyes,
The one that says, “Cause I do. Let you have a taste, but it’s gonna cost you.”
And just like that I put my business hat on; gonna milk this for all it’s worth.
He never even saw me switch up, but I’m about that business first.
They say if you got a skill, people should pay you for it. Well let’s have it sir.
Aint no girl from the hood ever got nothing she deserved just ‘cause somebody loved her.
Nah. What you do need is a product, a customer and a dream. That’s how you make bread.
But this was too easy; the work aint hard if I can get in his head.
Usually with somethin’ I said.
He wanna see me in this, show me that. He’s buying, so all night I flash the big smile,
I’m giggling, modeling, giving compliments and all the while
I got his mind racing, heart pumpin, blood rushin, and I aint even touchin him.
He doin all the work for me, mouth waterin, thoughts wanderin
Undressing me with his imagination, committin mental fornication
And I let him go on and on in his dreams, doing things as nasty as he pleases to me
While all I do is wear a pretty top and a pretty smile, let him enjoy my company,
Give a peek here and there at my thighs or my cleavage as I shift in my chair.
I sip my wine and lean back a bit, gazing into his eyes with a look that says come get it.
Wine makes me warm, so I begin to sweat.
Immediately his mind goes to soft, warm, and wet
Thoughts of where this night will go,
and how he’s gonna beat or bang, or stroke somethin nice and slow.
I mean, it’s usually not about making a love connection;
the goal is to sample my fluffy confection.
Otherwise, why would he even ask about my cotton candy or my soft gooey center over dinner?
How much more can he really take? Let me go ahead and get a to-go box for this steak
So I can put him out of his misery; he’s thinking “Yes, yes, yes; I know she’s feeling me.”
We get up to leave, and of course I walk in front. He shakes his head and lets out a little grunt,
“Mm Mm Mm, girl you sure are fine.” I’m thinking, “Yep, from the front and from behind.”
We ride and he’s got his theme music going, all the way back to my house with him knowing
It’s gonna be on and poppin. We going straight upstairs, no stoppin…
As we pull up in front, I turn and look in his face.
I thank him for taking me to a very nice place.
I tell him how I really look forward to seeing him on our next date,
Then I dash into the house ‘cause I have an urgent phone call to make. “Hey Babe,…”
What? I took him to incredible heights as he sexed me in his mind all night.
Surely he didn’t think steak, wine and bread would be enough to get him into MY bed; right?
Treated me like sirloin, or today’s fresh catch huh? Uh no suh. You played yourself bruh.
Lost Cat: Reward if Found
Ever heard a kitty roar before?
It’s not pretty; I assure you.
The implication is that you’ve got yourself a serious situation
that must be diffused. See, if you’ve refused
to give your kitty the affection she requires—the connection she desires,
after a while you won’t like her anymore.
But kitty only roars when she’s tired of being ignored.
You could forget the milk—once or twice, and she’ll still be nice.
She’ll still cozy up to you and purr,
eyes begging you to touch her,
rub her, love her, kiss her—if you’re into that.
I’m just saying, not everybody goes around kissing on cats.
You could be too tired or too busy to pet her,
neglect to let her sit on your lap, maybe.
But ooh baby, you will start to hear her fuss.
Stroking and milking kitty regularly are a must.
I mean, you brought her home, made her your very own,
hugged her, rubbed her;
you saw how she loved it, couldn’t get enough of it.
Now you always wanna leave her alone?
She’ll no longer be the sweet kitty you’ve known.
If you go to touch her, she’ll arch her back.
Nothing good about that.
She’ll scratch and hiss, cause she’s pissed.
Slowly but surely she backs away, and then one day,
you open the door and out she goes….
Think she knows her way back home? Could be.
Meanwhile, someone will see her and notice that she
Isn’t just some stray. “Poor kitty, who let you get away?”
He’ll scoop her up, she’ll purr.
He’ll find some milk and give it to her.
She’ll lap it up, clean the dish,
and once she gets a taste of what she’s missed,…
She’ll curl up in a ball and fall asleep.
I’m not saying whether or not he will keep her,
But he may do just that.
I mean only a fool just throws away a perfectly good cat.
The Winning Candidate
Every day. And twice on Sunday.
Yup, he can get it.
The book of Tonya D. Floyd—he read it.
When I spoke, I know he actually heard,
My thoughts, my feelings, my words.
It’s so very refreshing;
That he always asks me questions.
He challenges me, engages me;
He also enrages me.
Sometimes, sometimes, …
I could just slap him at times.
But mostly I want to be with him;
I always feel so free with him.
To laugh, to solve problems,
To sleep, to play, to share, to eat,
To argue about my Boys and his Skins.
He’s one of my bestest friends.
Let there be no more mystery.
He’s totally the guy for me.
At this time, in this place,
All that’s missing is a name and a face.
Have you seen him?
Do you know him?
Tell him I’m waiting for him.
From “It Is What It Is—Epiphany”
A Matter of Perspective (As seen in Nothing New Under the Sun)
I don’t feel the need to pronounce to the world
What I am anymore. Or what I’m not.
My facial expression professes what’s on my mind—a lot.
The digital originals let you know that I’ve got
Heart. Thought. Passion. Purpose. Drive. Vision.
I don’t need a consensus to make decisions.
I won’t seek approval from her, or him, or them, or you.
Because I already know what I have to do, and how.
I prayed on it before you knew it was there.
And when I finally decided I could share it with you, it was because I had my answer.
And I felt good about it. Don’t you ever doubt it.
You’re in my life because I choose you. Perhaps I never want to lose you.
But do not be misled, sir; I prefer to be first.
Don’t put me off, push me back, or hold out on me.
At this stage, as you do unto me, I shall likewise do unto thee.
It’s not about how many fish are in the sea; It’s absolutely, unequivocally, entirely about me.
I have treated you respectfully, tenderly, lovingly,
and my touch is an expression, an extension of who I am,
and how I feel about you.
My kiss is a message from my heart to yours—
An invitation if you will,
Into my soft, gooey center.
Can you hear me? Can you feel me?
There’s so much more in store for you.
Did you find your money funny? Have your days turned from sunny?
Don’t expect a hefty windfall in your lap?
When the bills are coming due, and your tummy’s growling too,
When your pay dates have a quite substantial gap,
It may come as a surprise when you finally realize
Every resource you once had has been tapped.
No ends, no friends.
Since you did not funds distribute in an effort to contribute
To the tab accumulated at the bar,
When they next consume libation, you will get no invitation,
So most likely you’ll be staying where you are.
Show accountability, responsibility, and therefore probability
Your fiduciary game is on par.
No ends, no friends.
It’s kinda funny, when you’re ballin, all these people keep on callin
Everybody wants to be your bestest friend.
When the bottles keep on poppin, they can party without stoppin,
But the second you need something, that’s the end.
No more parties, no more drinkin, no more chances of you thinkin
You got friends cause this is now and that was then.
No ends, no friends.
Here’s a lesson that I learned when the tables on me turned,
And the bank was breathing heavy down my neck.
I was feeling much afraid, so I bowed my head and prayed
There was no delay with my tax refund check.
Sure enough my Father saved me, what I needed yes he gave me
Right on time so the people could collect.
Tough day? Just pray.
Nothing New Under the SunSnapshot: Charlie Warner-Fletcher, 36; June 2009
“I want a divorce.” The words rang in her ear like a huge bell, as Charlie Fletcher held the phone with her mouth hung open in disbelief. He said it with such conviction, yet his reasoning couldn’t be farther from the truth. How could he think she didn’t care about him when she spent the last ten years of her life trying to make a good home and a comfortable life for her family? Lyle told his wife that he was moving out because he didn’t think it would work out between them. He hadn’t been happy for some time, and he felt they had made a mistake getting married in the first place. She would obviously be married to her family and no one else, according to him.
Charlie couldn’t understand where this was coming from, or what she had done to push him to this point. She tried and tried to come up with a scenario, an argument, or something that would have given her a hint that this was coming. There was nothing. She thought everything was fine. Their sex life was great. They weren’t having financial problems. Sure, they were both really busy lately, but that was par for the course. Still, he said the words and sounded like he believed them. He said she apparently cared nothing for him because she was too wrapped up in her family and she wasn’t willing to make the changes he wanted her to make.
Lyle had suggested to Charlie some weeks before that they move away from
She tried to speak, but only sobs came out. “You’re wrong, you’re wrong, you’re wrong!” was all she could say. Lyle gave her his disapproving tone of voice and told her he had already found a place and moved his stuff out of the house, so she could stop with the theatrics. Charlie usually wasn’t the type to fall apart, but where Lyle was concerned, she had developed a real soft spot; getting married and starting a family was like completion for her. She had done everything else she set out to do. And now he wanted to end it? She lost it, briefly.
Charlie sat in her plush office chair, but found no comfort in it. Her mind spun, trying to grasp what Lyle was telling her, and trying to ascertain why. She asked again what the problem was, and it angered him. He sneered, “I told you; you don’t give a damn about me, and I’m tired of it. You don’t even listen. I’m gone.” Then he hung up—just like that. And before she got home that night, he was gone—just like that.
Charlie didn’t sleep much that night; she tried to bury her sobs in her pillow so the kids wouldn’t hear. She felt depleted, as if she had vomited all night and was leveled to dry heaves. Her pillow was anything but dry. What just happened? How would she tell their sons what she herself did not understand? So many questions filled her head, but there were no answers readily available.
Charlie had this fortitude in most situations that made her believe she would be able to hold it together through anything. She had seen some tough times; she lost her best friend several years before to an asthma attack. How does a young woman of twenty-six just drop dead after living with and managing an illness all her life? Charlie never understood that, but even though it broke her heart, she kept going.
When her grandmother was diagnosed with cancer, she helped her mother care for Gran, while she nursed babies and ran the business too. When Gran died a few months after that, it was a devastating blow, but still she kept going. She didn’t slip inside herself and stop living; she kept making moves, working toward the business she wanted, and she got it done. R.A.G.E., Incorporated was a household name because Charlie started building it when she was in grad school—with blood, sweat, and tears—while working a crappy job she absolutely hated. But if she was to live out her dreams, it had to be done, and that was all there was to it. In a way, the two deaths propelled her to get it done; she wanted to finish what she started, because that’s what Gran and Kiara expected, and that’s what she said she would do.
Charlie Warner-Fletcher did what needed to be done whenever she had to—period. This time would be no different, she told herself. She was determined that with her faith and fortitude, she would get to the bottom of this thing and together she and her husband would turn it around. Lyle obviously loved her, and he would no doubt want to fight for her and with her. How did she get here anyway?
Once upon a time, Charlie Fletcher was on top of the world. At age thirty-five, she was married to one of the top attorneys in PG County. They had a set of nine-year-old twin boys, Logan and Lamar. They lived in
The sisters all had specialties—Taylor specialized in hairstyling and beauty concepts, and was stylist to some of Maryland’s elite; Madison was a financial analyst; Peyton was an interior decorator and wedding coordinator; and Charlie had her collection of specialties—organizing, marketing, and an entrepreneurial spirit, with degrees in Business and Communications to boot. The family business was booming; the sisters had a service or a referral for anyone in need of anything, and Charlie was living out a dream of hers—working with her three best friends, with a lucrative business and a beautiful family.
Her marriage was like any normal one probably was, she thought. They occasionally argued about whatever, but then they made up all night. And it was never anything really serious. She and Lyle took trips all the time. It was nothing for them to sneak away for the weekend and leave the boys with his mom. They actually had a lot in common too. They were both passionate people, intelligent, and ambitious. They seemed to belong together....
Snapshot: Hennessy “Grace” Carter, 40; November 2009
Alonzo was standing there, looking like he had lost his best friend. Grace couldn’t imagine why he would want to talk anyway; it was clear to her they were over. There was no way she could forgive him for that. There was just no way. It was too much. He began, “Grace, I am so sorry you had to find all that stuff. I was gonna get rid of it, but I was so busy on the road all the time. It just slipped my mind. It wasn’t like they were trophies or anything—well they were at first—but I swear that was all in the past, and I am so over it. You have to know I would never leave you for Ginger or anybody else. There is really no one else; never has been. There’s only you; there’s always been you. I knew it when I first saw you. I was sure it would be you.”
Now Grace was confused, and pissed. How in the hell did he part his lips to say such a thing? “Bull shit! I find out about all these places you’ve been and things you’ve done—with many women—not just one, and now you stand here telling me there was never anyone else?! How many were there? How much did you spend on them? How many fantasy vacations and getaways did our money fund? How many trips to
The questions were coming so fast, she couldn’t possibly expect him to answer. Grace was spewing out all the things that crossed her mind that weekend. “How much did you steal from our family to support your little whore habit? You out here trying to make yourself look good, paying for an image, splurging on broads, and acting like I’m lunchin’ for asking you to come home. I’m driving the same car I’ve been driving, living in the same house we’ve always lived in, and you wanna be out there acting like you on high profile celebrity status? But I’m the only one. I don’t understand any of that. I aint never been nowhere without you! How many of those bitches are at the show looking at me like the biggest dummy on the planet?! Never mind. Please don’t waste anymore of my time. I’ma need you to go ahead and leave.”
He corrected her, “Grace, I’m saying they didn’t matter. Each of them served a purpose—when I couldn’t get what I thought I needed from you, there was someone willing to give it to me just for the sake of being with me. When I couldn’t see you because you were at work, or spending days and nights writing, there was someone willing to do whatever I wanted to do—just because. They wanted me, they were always pursuing me, and they were willing to do anything to be with me. I was selfish; I know that. But here I had all these women trying to please me, and it was so easy to be that guy. I have women begging me to marry them right now, but it’s never gonna happen. They’re not you. I am so done with all that stuff Baby. I need you to believe me.”
Grace shook her head at his arrogance. But he continued on with his plea, “I went away because I really needed to decompress and forget all about work and life and stress; Ginger ended up going to
Grace was offended—and furious. She turned to walk away, but stopped short. “Alonzo Blackmon, I loved you so much. I reinvented myself to be with you. I did things to stay with you that I had no idea I could do. I wanted to be better for you. I thought I was complete because I had found you. I thought we were happy. But I have learned that you have to be the single most arrogant, self-consumed, manipulative bastard on this planet. How dare you come here and lie to me some more. All you ever cared about was you and your little music career. And you speak to me as if I should somehow understand that some shit comes with the territory, and you won’t even accept responsibility for choices you clearly made in your own best interest? That really helps me understand you’re not half the man I once gave you credit for. I’m disappointed—but not in you; I’m disappointed in me for making you out to be some kind of savior for me, and for wasting half my life. I guess I did such a good job putting you on a pedestal, I had you believing it.”
She just was not going to listen—at least not right now. He paused, and said, “Ask yourself this, Grace—can you live with yourself if you don’t give me the chance to explain, and I’m telling you the truth?” Then he turned and left. But he wasn’t ready to accept or admit that they were done. She didn’t know the whole story, and she was too upset to get it. But he was not interested in giving up or taking no for an answer. He got her once; he knew he would eventually figure out a way to get her back. He simply could not live without her.
Snapshot: Tamara Renee Jones, 25; May 2010
“Ms. Jones, you’re pregnant.” Tammy just looked at him at first. She couldn’t believe what this man was telling her. Sure, she knew it was possible, but they had been careful—sort of. The stick wasn’t exactly a clear read when she did it at work. The box said she had to see two pink lines; the second line never really came out too clear. It was barely there. So she went to the doctor to be sure.
He said the tests on the market are really accurate; if it said positive, she probably was. Tammy insisted they draw blood to confirm it. “We don’t do blood pregnancy tests anymore because of how accurate these over-the-counter ones are. They all pretty much tell you whether the pregnancy hormone is present, and that’s that.” What?! She needed concrete proof.
Pregnant was the last thing she wanted to be. What was she going to do? How was she going to tell Fred? It just was not happening—not now. It just wasn’t true. While Tammy was telling the doctor all the reasons she thought this was a mistake, he was prepping the machine for a vaginal sonogram to see what was happening. Yeah, that’s what I need; something definite. It will show him that the test was inconclusive. The thoughts flooded her mind, as the denial set in deeper. They had been careful enough. And they had been doing this for two years, so why would things change now? Nope; had to be a mistake, or like a warning for her to be smarter in the future.
The doctor got the machine all set up and went probing around inside her. Almost immediately, she could hear it—that unmistakable sound of swishing and swirling, accompanied by a tiny fetal heartbeat. It almost brought her to tears. They wouldn’t be tears of joy; that’s for sure. “Ms. Jones, do you hear that? That’s your baby’s heartbeat. It’s good and strong too. Congratulations!” Tammy wasn’t in a congratulatory mood at all. Oh my goodness; I am going to the clinic, she thought. There’s no way I can have another baby. I just can’t do it by myself.
She left the doctor’s office and called Fred. Tammy just didn’t know how to tell him; he was still trying to find himself. They agreed they needed to live apart right now because he just wasn’t ready. He would do what he could for Brian, and she agreed they could go slower. She wanted to marry him, but it was all so fast, and he wasn’t sure about his next move. He wanted to be better. She wanted him to be happy.
Fred’s phone went straight to voice mail. She hung up and didn’t leave a message. She chose a text instead. It simply said:
--“I’m positive we have a problem.” He wouldn’t know what that meant right away, but she would explain it to him when he called back. What would he say? How would he take it? Would he feel like she was trying to trap him? Oh, what would her family say? Two kids by this man who obviously didn’t want to commit to her would be too much. She could hear
Tammy got into her car and headed home. The whole way there, she tried to figure out which time they had slipped. How in the world had they gotten pregnant? It was the same thing every time. He knew what to do. How? She would ask him when he called back. She shook her head, thinking of how stupid the whole thing was. They were doing fine, then one day Fred comes with this revelation about not being where he thought he should be in life.
He’s twenty-seven years old, and he has no direction, and seemingly no purpose. But they were supposed to be his purpose now. He asked her to marry him—not the other way around. What was that all about? He didn’t want his son growing up in a household where his parents couldn’t stand each other. He said that was what would eventually happen if he stayed there.
Tammy didn’t know where or when they went wrong, and she hadn’t complained about anything. Apparently his male pride was at issue, but not enough to make him stop having sex with her, because they had just made a baby within the last eight weeks. Men could be so fickle sometimes. She tried to remember what day it was when they conceived. Eight weeks ago, what were they doing? They certainly weren’t arguing or breaking up; he was coming back home!
Fred called back within a few minutes. He was still at work. “What’s wrong?” Tammy said they needed to talk. But knowing he would think she wanted to have the relationship talk again, she retracted and said, “I took a test, and I went to the doctor. We’re pregnant again.” Fred knew she wasn’t one to pull stunts, so he knew she wouldn’t make something like that up, but still he couldn’t believe it.
“What? Like how pregnant? I was careful like always.” She explained what the doctor had done, and about the tests, and told him about eight weeks. Then she asked if he could recall missing, or what could have gone wrong the last couple of times they had done it. “I told you I was careful like always. I didn’t miss. Aw man damn. So what you wanna do?” He asked, but he didn’t really think they had but one choice. Still, he gave the courtesy of letting her make the call. He prayed she would want to terminate.
Tammy did not hesitate when she said, “Oh I’m going to the clinic.” He asked if she needed some help getting there, and told her to set it up. He would be there; they could do it the day he was scheduled to move. She agreed, and that was that. Tammy had friends who had been to some places, so she figured she would ask around and pick a place where she wouldn’t be accosted by protestors or media types. This could be fixed—even if it would be a huge violation of everything she knew to be right.
She thought about her own life. At twenty-five, Tammy thought she would be a college graduate, working for a big company in their IT department, with a six-figure income, and maybe a few prospects for a husband. She never imagined she would be with a guy like Fred, or have any children at such a young age—let alone two. The whole thing was very disheartening for her. She had done none of what she planned; instead she was struggling to be acknowledged in a dead-end job, making $50,000 a year, with a list of bills, no degree, and two kids out of wedlock. It was a long ride home, as she recalled what Fred had told her about wanting to rethink his life choices and plot a new course. She understood completely what he meant.
Snapshot: Audrey Sheree James, 26; April 2010
“Are you sleeping with my husband?” Audrey couldn’t understand how Dez could let this happen. Here he was all married up, living across town in that might-as-well-be-mansion with his wife and kids, and this broad shows up questioning her like she was his woman for real. “Seriously, Mrs. Hewitt; you have this all mixed up.” But Audrey could barely get a word in. Allison Hewitt was on a tangent, and she looked like she wanted to fight.
“Desmond, is this what you were doing while I was at home raising your kids? You were with her?” The woman was beyond belligerent and indignant, looking Audrey up and down like she was nothing. She said Audrey wasn’t worth risking what he had at home, and surely he didn’t expect her to sit around doing nothing every single night of the year while he was out with this trollop pretending she didn’t exist. Audrey was so stunned, and trying to speak, but the woman continued her rant.
Desmond was trying to explain. But she must have pissed him off, because he switched up. “I thought you understood. I’m not happy. You and I haven’t touched in years; we’re just roommates. I keep telling you that. You make our marriage feel like it’s a business arrangement, nothing more.” Then he thought about it. “And you didn’t look like it bothered you any that I wasn’t there. When I was keeping you in the store for what you want, you never mentioned her. You didn’t ask about another woman when I was…nevermind! This is not about me and her; it’s about the fact that you must have a little boyfriend on the side, and you know you wrong.” Audrey watched the two of them in disbelief. What?!
Allison laughed, hard. “OMG, are you serious?! I thought you knew you had to pay to play. Every married man knows that. Even single guys know that. You think any woman is just gonna sit around listening to you cry about how unhappy you are, deal with you rolling out all the time to be with some trollop, and whining about your responsibilities, sexing your socks off when it aint all that good, and sit around waiting for you to leave? Seriously? It’s 2010 honey; aint nobody got time for that kind of nonsense. I left your ass because there was no way you were sticking me with that mortgage so you could shack up with her.” She turned to Audrey and continued, “And don’t nobody believe you either Bitch.”
Now Audrey was beyond explanations. She picked up a piece of wood she kept behind the door in case of burglars. Desmond stood between the two women. He pushed Allison back out the doorway. Audrey followed onto the street. Allison wasn’t done. “You think I would cater to a damn cheating ass husband if he wasn’t catering to me in some way? We talkin’ bout me Sweetie. Not a chance. And you know it; that’s why you came at me like you did, trying to be my friend lately, offering to take me out, checking to see if I was okay. You aint been talking to me like that. Then you gonna give me money and tell me to do something for myself. When did I become a dodo, like I don’t know you’re screwing somebody and feeling guilty?! You did everything you wanted, and now you change up, trying to act like you didn’t do shit.”
This thing sounded like what another woman would say about being the other woman—not a wife. What the hell kind of arrangement did they have? Desmond was heated at this point. But what could he do? He actually thought she wanted to be with him, and that she understood he was getting better. He really was thinking about how things would be if they were back together for real. She was his woman, his wife! He did know he would have to do something to get her, and he knew he would have to do more to keep her, but he thought at least she would be loyal to him. Boy was he wrong.
Audrey felt like the victim of a practical joke. How dare this broad come at her like that—pulling up to her residence in a Benz as nice as his, after leaving that big pretty home that he shared with her, and with an attitude. She acted like somebody took something from her. Clearly she had everything. “Girl, look where I live. Look what I drive. I know you did your research because you found me. I know you don’t think I’d be living like this if I was screwing your husband. Please; I aint no little girl. I’d have your car, and you would wonder why he didn’t know your name anymore, Heifer. Now step up off my property before I really get mad and they have to lock my ass up for bashing your head in.”
Audrey wasn’t backing down. You don’t come to another woman’s house breaking bad without scrappin’. “Don’t come around here acting like you like that. You don’t know shit about me.” Now, if Miss Allison kept pushing, Audrey would definitely have to tell her a thing or three about her fat, unattractive ass, and how she could have been doing her man, in detail—and there would be no holding back. Desmond did his best to keep the women separated. But then Janelle came from upstairs. “What the hell is going on down here?!” Audrey quickly briefed her on the fact that Mrs. Hewitt suspected her man of cheating with her, and came to confront her about it. Janelle was instantly upset. “Oh she came to see somebody? She can see me.”
Meanwhile, Desmond is explaining his life away, as he pushed his wife toward the street. The two sisters began to listen to their conversation. He said he couldn’t just walk away with things like that. “So what about us? You’re obviously seeing somebody, so how are you gonna come over here demanding answers from her?” She paused briefly, then said, “Desmond, let me draw you a picture. When I get a flat or need some air in my tire, you know what I have to do? I find a way to get it fixed, or I take it and put air in it—even if it’s two degrees outside. If it needs an oil change, or gas, I take it and I get it.
When I get sick, you know who takes care of me? I do. Whenever I feel lonely, or I wanna sit in bed and watch a movie with that special someone, or go on a date, or roll over onto something, or anything else, you know what I do? I gotta call somebody. When something breaks around the house, and I need it looked at, or when I need a strong pair of hands to take care of something, you know where you are? Out here, doing those kinds of things for her.” Allison emphasized the word “her” as if she were offended by it.
Dez was beginning to get the picture. But he didn’t appreciate what she was saying at all. “Look how you treat me! You don’t even fix yourself up no more. You don’t give a damn about what I want. All you do is complain about me and how I don’t ever do what you need. So I go outside where people like me. You haven’t liked me in a very long time. Obviously, as evidenced by the numbers all on your cell phone bill. You been screwing this dude?!”
Audrey and Janelle were getting an earful. Old girl got a dude on the side? Looking like that? Damn, what did he do for a living, and what did he look like? They heard Allison say, “I’m tired of being your other woman Dez. Aint nothing other about me. I’m your damn wife, and I gotta beg you to do shit around the house, or spend time with your kids? This arrangement doesn’t come with good enough benefits. What I get from you, I can do myself. So what do I really want or need you for? I’m always gonna be on the outside, waiting for my turn—after your sports, your ego, your music, your car, and your need to be cool. But what am I waiting for exactly? Are you supposed to be the prize? No, because you took vows, made promises, and have the responsibility of being a husband, and you’re seeing her.”
“Allison, I am not seeing her. We work on a sports blog; that’s it. She’s cool, actually more than cool. And I wanted to have more with her, but she wouldn’t let me in. You are the one chasing me away. She didn’t do a thing. But I’d rather be anywhere with her than with your evil ass. Go ahead on over there with your little boyfriend. When I finish with both of y’all, you’re gonna wish you never met him. I hope he got big bread, ‘cause I’m coming after all that for wrecking my damn household.”
Allison interjected, “See, there you go. So now I’m a cheater?!” Desmond did not understand, and he asked again. “Did you sleep with him?” Allison said he didn’t have the right to question her about anything after the last few years. He was a liar, a cheat, and whether he was sleeping with this raggedy ann or not, he was with somebody, and therefore he didn’t deserve any answers. Audrey and Janelle watched this thing unfold like a soap opera. They had calmed down by now, and it was more a comedy than a situation. People rode by and slowed up; neighbors were probably getting an earful. What in the world had happened?
But Sometimes There's More (2006)Introduction
In my ongoing quest for knowledge, I have discovered that there are some issues and situations that people are either afraid to confront, or ashamed to even acknowledge--for different reasons, very personal reasons. My first book was all about announcing to the world in my own way that it’s okay, even therapeutic, to tell it like it really is. I wanted to introduce myself to the literary world, and the world in general because I have a deep-seated need to make a lasting impression and not just exist here. I think I have an interesting story to tell, and based on some feedback I received from my first book, people are feeling me. I think people enjoy reading real life stories of other people because we are all connected in some way or another.
I set out to enlighten some, to inspire some, and to connect with many by going first. No; I’m not the first woman to spill her guts to the world about trauma, drama, or plain old annoyances, but I am the first person I know who has attempted something of this magnitude. I realize now that admitting or acknowledging what appears to be the real deal is just the first step in a process. Once you get to the meat and potatoes of your situation, you have to digest it, break it down. You may feel your mother treats you like an orphan; does that make her a bad mother? Maybe, maybe not. It could be that she’s just doing what she knows from her own childhood. You have a wife who shows you no love? How do you mean that--is she just not a physical affection type? You might just need to hug her more; it doesn’t have to mean she doesn’t love you. You have a friend who drains you emotionally and makes you feel like your head will explode. But is that the whole story? Could she be bipolar? Sometimes you need more data to come to the right conclusions or draw the entire picture. It is what it is, but sometimes there’s more.
I heard a proverb a long time ago that said something like one who thinks he knows everything is stupid; for it is only through constant learning that we as humans grow. The truly wise man knows he knows nothing at all. I believe this wholeheartedly. It is this concept that brings me to my addendum. There usually is more to every story than we can see. I’m learning that even the situations you’re right in the middle of have other facets you won’t know about until later. When it comes to matters of the heart, or as my girlfriend says, “people in my personal space,” I have to go deeper than what is apparent on the surface. I recently discovered that I am more emotional than I ever knew was possible. Certain situations create the illusion of static all around me, my emotions take over, and I can’t think, so on occasion I shut down. When I step away, I can see and hear clearly, whereas before I couldn’t do anything rational. Sure it was easy to write off some guy I was “sort of dating but not really.” Next! History, consequence, and other factors play a huge part in what to do next when you care. Once you decipher the “more,” the picture becomes ever so clear, and the direction you should go manifests itself.
Sometimes it’s just a lesson learned too late. Sometimes it’s right on time. The bottom line is you have to keep your eyes open at all times, and pay real good attention to what’s transpiring. There’s a lesson in pretty much every situation. I wrote From Where I Stand, It Is What It Is with the focus on what I could take away from each situation--not just what badness I encountered or what pain I have experienced. Pain is a constant in life; it actually helps us learn and grow, but I wanted to focus on the other side where I used that to propel me to a better place.
This narrative focuses on the underlying issues that were only touched on briefly in my poetry. I write with clarity, in very real terms, but I left out quite a bit of history partly because I wasn’t ready to confront it, and partly because I didn’t know how to word it honestly without making it look like I was destroying people’s character. Demonizing people is not a goal of mine; I think everyone makes mistakes, and everyone is entitled to forgiveness. I know I’ve asked for my share of forgiveness.
I think I have captured the missing history in this narrative, preserving the honesty of it, while keeping the focus on the important stuff--who I am, and how I’ve grown. Consider this a cleansing for me. Protecting people and keeping secrets are not nearly as important to me as they once were because I have a need, and I feel like I have the right to liberate myself from some pretty heavy mental weights. Life is a day to day battle that can toss you about and leave you broken and despondent. But that’s only if you store everything away internally, fall for every distraction and never get the message or muster up the courage to do something to free yourself. Pay attention; sometimes there’s more.