It had been two weeks since me and King’s fall out. I only went back to the apartment once and that was when I knew for sure he was not there. My brother had come with me to collect the rest of my things: my clothes, personal paper work such as my car insurance policy, and that was basically it. He could have it ALL. I am just so ready to move on with my life and to start anew. I mean, don’t get me wrong, in the two weeks that King and I have been apart, I did miss him-terribly. The night that I left, King called me so much that I had to turn my phone off just to get some peace. The first twenty voicemail messages he left were basically him begging for me to come home. “Baby I’m sorry”, “So when are you going to come home”, and “I miss you”, you know the usual. The same thing went with the fifty plus text messages he sent and all of them went ignored. I did not speak to him until three days later, after I had cried and vented to my mom and my brother so much that I was beyond exhausted. I even called out of work for a couple of days because I just could not pull it together. Kendra had even called, and like King’s her calls went unanswered. I will deal with her in due time. My mom did tell me that Kendra did come by, but since I was finally sleeping so peacefully, she did not want to disturb me. But, like I said, I will deal with her in due time. Patience has always been my virtue.
So here I am back at work and trying to get back into the full swing of things; but as a single woman. I no longer feel like I have to work for two people. I do not have to come in super early to squeeze in some overtime. I can sleep at night, peacefully without having to deal with King and his insomnia issues. I do not have to deal with King at all…Sitting in front of my computer screen struggling to concentrate on imputing the client’s information into the system, it is hard to digest the fact that I am…free. Free from King and all of his drama. Free from tears and burrowed resentment. Free to be who I am. Free to…just then my line rings. “Lender’s Disability, this is Danielle speaking. How may I help you?” I say clearly and confident into the receiver. Damn, even my confidence has went up. “Danielle, this is King”. My heart drops. Of course King would call me at work. “What is it?” I say. God this man just refuses to leave me alone. “So you are just not coming home, huh?” That was not really a question. It was more of a demand. “And why should I King?” “Look I was wrong. We can work this out. We have been together for five years, Danni” (now he is using my nickname…typical but not going to work). I roll my eyes wishing that I could be somewhere else doing something else-anything but being in this moment, having this conversation. “And what does that mean?” I ask. “There is nothing to work out.” “So what after one little fight you’re just willing to throw everything away?” King replied. By the way he sounded, he seemed a little…hurt. “You threw everything away every time you lied to me…every time you” (I whispered into the receiver so that no one could hear what I had to say next) “slept with other bitches and especially when you put your hands on me King. You blamed me for everything that went wrong in your selfish little world and-““Baby I’m sorry…” He croaked. “Yes King you are sorry. And I bet the only reason why you are even putting this much effort into bringing me back is because you have no idea how you are going to pay the rent on your own this month.” There was a pause. “Man fuck you then Danielle. I don’t need your stupid ass anyways-“There was something in those words fuck you that made me see pure red. This was the last time he was going to utter those words to me ever again. “Good. Because after tomorrow I am removing my name from the cable, the lights, the gas AND that lease. Have a nice life King.” And, with that I disconnected the call. Suddenly, I felt a massive headache coming on so I reach into my bottom drawer and pull out a bottle of Advil that I keep on hand for moments like these. I get up and walk a few steps over to the communal water cooler, grab one those itsy-bitsy Dixie cups and fill the cup with water. Just as I pop my pill and take a seat, Martha, the firm’s receptionist who was also a charmingly vibrant older woman with an infectious Colgate smile, tanned skin and blue eyes approaches my desk. She had to be in her fifties but had such a youthful spirit, her age was the last thing anyone ever thought about. She wore her hair cut short in one of those Bob type styles and she recently died her hair this reddish brown color. Today she wore a yellow cardigan with matching wedge shoes and grey slacks. She wore a look of deep concern on her face. I force myself to smile. “Hey Martha. How are you?” She smiles back. “I’m ok Danielle, but the question is are you?” I raise an eyebrow, please don’t tell me King called and is harassing everyone in the building. “I’m fine. What’s going on?” She clears her throat before speaking. “There is a young man who keeps calling here looking for you. He told me his name was King. I think you should get back to him as soon as possible.” All I could do was shake my head. “Either that or file a restraining order against him.” “Thank you Martha, will do.” I turn and face the computer screen and pretend to be preoccupied with something of importance so that I won’t have to respond to the probing questions she has written all over her face. “Seriously Danielle, you should get a restraining order or at least tell that young man of yours to leave you the hell alone.” With that, Martha turned to go back to her desk. All I could do is rub my temples and pray that the day went on without any more King issues. But, like most things that have happened to me in my life, the thought alone was too good to be true.
The day went on without a hitch. King did not call me at all since and that was great. I just want to be done with the situation. After I punched out for the day and slipped my favorite bubble gum pink flip flops on, I begin my walk to the train station. I pull out my phone and my headphones so I would not have to be entertained by my thoughts that could easily turn depressing, and I guess I wasn’t paying much attention because I accidentally walk right into a young man who was exiting a tattoo shop. I dropped my phone while my headphones went flying in another direction. He and I both bend down at the same time to pick up my phone only to make a clumsy situation even clumsier. We bumped heads. “I am so sorry!” I shout, immediately straightening myself out. He hands me my phone. “It’s all good ma’. Are you alright?” I accept my phone and nod, “I’m ok. How about yourself?” Just then, our eyes meet and I do not want to sound cliché but there was a very strong connection. It was as if I knew him from somewhere, but where? I immediately brush off the feeling and scold myself for being so silly. Clearly we are not two star-crossed lovers. What I am is an emotional wreck and incredibly vulnerable and…those eyes, those slanted almond shaped eyes…”I’m good ma’. Hey you look real familiar do I know you from somewhere?” He asked. Couldn’t be…or could it? Stuff like this only happens to white people in movies. Maybe I’m trippin’…”No, don’t think so,” I say. I put my phone in my bag. I gotta get out of here, I think to myself. I think I am going crazy. “You seem like a nice person,” Mr. Slanted eyes says. “I am, or at least I try to be,” I reply. I check my watch. “Are you in a hurry? Where are you coming from?” “I uh, ummm I am coming from work…” “I’m sorry, I’m not trying to be in your biz or nothing it’s just-“No, no it’s fine. You’re good.” I hate myself. I’m such a lame. “Oh ok cool.” My mind is telling me to leave and that I have enough issues (namely King) but my feet refuse to listen. “So, you were getting a tattoo?” I ask, wishing that I could think of something else more charming or witty to say just to keep us trapped in this moment for just a few minutes longer. “Oh no ma’ I was here earlier with one of my homeboys while he was getting tatted up and I lost my brand new IPhone 5 so I came all the way back here to see if anyone found it. I’m pissed off man.” He looked around and then back at me. “That sucks. Those phones are super expensive…you had insurance on it though, right?” “Yeah, but they was like, it’s gonna take 7-14 business days, so I am basically without a phone until then. Plus all of my contacts and pictures of my son…” In the dimming light I could see his frustration. “Well, again I am sorry about your phone. But, I really have to get going now. I still have a train to catch.” “Oh you’re catching the Redline?” he asked. “Uh yes…” “Oh, well would you mind if I walked you?” I was not sure what to do at that moment other than say, “I don’t mind”. And there it was. We walked a steady, even pace and during the first few minutes of silence I snuck peeks at him. He wasn’t very tall. As a matter of fact he was shorter than King. He was maybe 2 inches taller than me and I am 5’7”. He had a slim build and a medium brown complexion. His lips weren’t full, but they were nice, he was clean shaven even though his moustache and beard looked more like peach fuzz. But I just couldn’t get over his eyes. He must have caught me looking at him because then he said,” You look good too ma’”. I never blushed before, and black people (unless they are very light) do not blush, but I felt the blood rush to my face. I couldn’t help but respond with a cheeky grin. “I forgot to ask,” he goes on, “but do you have a man? I got so caught up in not letting you get away that I-““NO!” I did not mean for it to come out that way but it did. “I mean, no, no I don’t”. Then he and I just burst out laughing for seemingly no reason at all. We continue on with our walk. “So what’s your name?” I ask. Good Lord, I am actually nervous. I thought all sense of shame went out the window with King, but I guess not. “Trey,” he says. “And yours ma’?” “Danielle.” I don’t really understand the whole “ma’” thing, but whatever. He could call me “ma’” all he wants. “Danielle…” he breathes, “so what do you do Miss Danielle. You look real professional,” his eyes gloss over me as if he taking me in and storing me away in a mental rolodex…and then he sees my feet. Mind you I keep my feet pedicured so there is never any crust I need to be ashamed of but my bubble gum colored flip flops did look out of place with my grey slacks and black my black blazer with white tank. “Please don’t judge me,” I giggle, “But my shoes were killing me and I keep a pair of flip flops on me for after work.” He cracks a smile. “It’s all good. I get it. I have five sisters so I know how it is.” In that instance, the walls came tumbling down on both parts. We both opened up about our lives and what we had to deal with and what we wanted in the future. I briefly talked about King and I informed him that our relationship was over for good. He talked a little about his sons mother and what she was putting him through, and to me, she sounded like a piece of work. Of course, you can’t believe everything a person tells you because folks lie and because you typically hear only one side of the story. But, the woman did sound like she had a couple of screws loose. By the time we made it to the platform, I felt like I had known him forever. “So where do you get off at?” he asked. I told him the name of the stop and that I also have to transfer trains. “Damn ma’ you live that far?” I nod. It was strange. I didn’t want him to leave. I could have stayed on that platform all night just to be in his presence for a while longer. He must have read my mind because he says, “I will ride with you, and don’t worry about me being a stalker it’s just that it is late and a woman such as yourself has no business riding a train alone.” I thought I had died and went to Heaven. I have a hard enough time trying to get a man to open a door for me let alone ride a couple of trains with me just to see me safe. I didn’t know what to do or how to even react. “Thank you but you don’t have to do that. I’m a big girl, I do this daily.” “You need a car ma’.” He said. If it was not for the fact that he had already earned 1000 points in my book, I might have been offended. “I have a car. It’s parked at my last stop in the parking lot. I just hate driving the freeway.” If his jaws could have fallen to the floor, I am quite sure they would have. He seemed stunned. It was obvious he wasn’t expecting that. “Well I’ll be damned. Alright then,” he said. “But I am still going to ride with you and I will even walk you to your car.” Would it have been too much if I had kissed him right then and there? I feel like I am in a dream. “Sounds good…I could use the company”, was my reply.
The train ride, well to be specific, all three train rides had me in a bliss. On each train he sat on the seat nearest the edge, like he was protecting me from everything and everyone-and I never felt safer. He wore a black hooded sweater over some khakis, and black and white Nikes. The day had finally gave way for night and the air was borderline freezing. The evening rush was near its end and I found myself wishing that I had a time machine just so I could start the day over again and relive this magical encounter. Our conversation never ceased, even when we changed trains, it was like we were in our own world…truly an enchanted moment. By the time we had exited my last train and he escorted me to my car, I felt bad that he had traveled so far with me. I started to ask him if he needed a ride but as soon as my mouth moved to say a word he says,” Don’t worry about me ma’. My car is parked right over there at that tattoo shop.” “But I feel so bad that you traveled all this way with me and now you have go all the way back.” He shook his head. “It was worth it, believe that.” “At least let me drive you…” “I thought you hate driving the freeway?” He smirked “I do but-““No buts,” he said. “Unlock your car.” I hesitated for a moment. Fear began to creep in. Was this a set up? I do so against my better judgment and he walks along to the driver side and opens the door. “Get in.” I do as instructed and once I am inside, I say, “You forgot to ask for my number.” His smile is big…and beautiful. “I surely did. Damn ma’, you got a nigga all discombobulated. You got a pen and some paper? You know what happened to my phone”. I reach over into my glove compartment and find a pen and a pad. I write my number down. “Don’t lose this.” I tell him. Then I scold myself for sounding desperate. He laughs. “Trust me I won’t. Now, start your car. I’m not leaving until I see you drive off.” This man unknowingly scoured another two million points in my book. King who? I fasten my seatbelt and start my car. “I feel like I am saying goodbye to my best friend or something,” he chuckles. “Me too,” I say a little sad. “But look ma’ I’m going to call you. I never met a woman like you before…let alone ride three trains with her to her car. Be safe ma’.” “Goodnight Trey. I look forward to that call.” And with that I rolled up my window, reversed, and honked my horn as a final goodnight and I pulled away. And as I drove off I felt like I had just left that missing piece of me right there in the parking lot.