FOUR YEARS AGO
I was working part-time as a receptionist for a law firm while in grad school. One day, in walked this tall, lanky, light-skinned stud with a piercing in her lip and four in each ear. She had long, straight red hair put up in a pony tail with low shaven sides and back. She had on a black v-neck t-shirt, purple dress jacket, black jeans, and yellow sneakers. This boisterous beauty was a little rugged for my taste but she was definitely anything but ordinary. This girl was gorgeous with this charming cockiness I could not resist.
“Wow, your smile shines bright like a diamond,” is the first thing Sam said to me followed by a dimpled smile. I returned my infamous smile, “thanks, red,” followed by a wink. The next time Sam came in to the office she sang some MJ to me, customizing the lyrics, of course. “I want to date you…Pretty young thing..You need some lovin’…Tender lovin’ care… And I’ll take you there.” The next week, it was SWV. “I’m so into you…I don’t know what I’m gonna do…I’m so into you”. From then on, she would always sing or rap some random song to me. After a few weeks of coming in and serenading me, she recited the sweetest poem. It was hook, line, and sinker for me after that.
Our first date was one of the best dates I had ever been on. We walked around the park just talking for what seemed like hours. She brought some bubbles for us to blow. We looked like two big kids playing with bubbles in the park. We had sandwiches at a nearby deli and talked even more. Our relationship was great in the beginning. We laughed and sang and listened to music together. We spent all of their free time together. Sam had just won a settlement, so she blew money on me left and right. At the time, none of that mattered, though. I just loved being with her. She was sweet, romantic, and sexy. We had minor spats because of the attention we both received because we were a gorgeous couple. Me with my sophisticated style; diamonds, red bottoms and pencil skirts. Sam with her hip-hop swag; Jordan’s, Polo, gold, and anything and everything bright and shiny. Sam was more flirtatious, though, flashing those dimples that girls loved. I was flattered by it initially. Every girl wants my girl – I’m lucky, I rationalized in my mind. She loved me in my “grown women” skirts but would hate when anyone else got a glimpse of my gorgeous legs. She would get possessive and sometimes a little jealous. It was cute.
About eight months in, the magical sparks we once shared became dim flickers. I became busy working on my dissertation for grad school, so Sam started hanging out and partying without me. I soon found out that she was hanging out with her ex-girlfriend, Tiffany, the whole time. I will never forget our first big fight. It seems juvenile now, looking back, though. I found texts from Tiffany about them meeting up at the club and flipped out. I hid her keys, cursed her out, and threw all the jewelry she had given me in the trash. We argued back and forth for about 3 hours before I finally calmed down. We nearly broke up then but Sam eventually just apologized for being deceitful. I apologized for neglecting her. We promised to do better. The next weekend we went on a getaway to the Virgin Islands. The next month we moved in together. All was good again, for a while.
THREE YEARS AGO
I graduated and got a job immediately. Around the same time Sam ran out of her settlement money. Sam was not working at the time so I began to support us both while she looked for a job. I did not mind at first, because I could afford it and I absolutely adored Sam. She was my boo. After all, Sam had done so much for me already; trips, shoes, clothes, jewelry. What was supposed to be a few weeks turned into five months and Sam even gained weight. She would only go out partying every once and awhile, but that still seemed too often for someone who did not work. Otherwise, she was sitting at home, playing video games or online all day long everyday. I would make suggestions on job opportunities but she would just get defensive, call me a micromanaging bitch and then we would argue. We were barely intimate anymore. Sam stopped singing to me completely. We did not sing and dance anymore. This went on for months. Tensions rose and I slowly became resentful.
One night I was fed up and did not even come home. I got a room at the W near my office to get some peace and relaxation. That started the storm that would become known as hurricane Samantha. My childish, young self did not even call and tell her that I was not coming home. Sam blew up my phone all night and after not finding me tore the apartment apart in a jealous fit of rage. When I came home the next day, Sam was sitting in a chair in the middle of the living room like a crazy person. We argued, yelling and screaming back and forth loudly until a neighbor called the police. We almost got evicted from the apartment. Hell, we almost got arrested. Sam’s brother came to calm her down and get her away from me. I literally threw all of her things out of the apartment. Sam moved out of the apartment and stayed with her brother. That should have been it.
TWO YEARS AGO
I was sad without Sam but knew it was best. Not having that someone to talk to, to confide in, to sleep next to even on bad terms, was hard. I was stubborn and prideful back then, so I managed, with out her or anyone. I did not call or text her. I heard that she got back with her ex, Tiffany, but was not sure. I was not the one to stalk ex-girlfriends. That is just not my style. I just threw myself into work trying to get a promotion.
Then, what Sam would call fate, happened. Sam was a little rugged, but her brother, Joey, was a complete thug. One night he got shot, twice actually, and ended up in intensive care. I was the first person Sam called from the hospital. They had lost both parents already, so all they had were each other. Sufficed to say, Sam was really emotional, hurt, and angry that night. I sat with her in the ICU all night, talking about Joey and her parents. She never really opened up about her parents to me before. She was vulnerable and honest. This was a whole new side I had never seen before. Her brother slipped into a coma the next day, which felt bitter-sweet. Sam sat by her brother’s side for a week straight. Her hope and optimism was incredible. I visited almost every night that week too.
We reconnected emotionally in way we had not in a while. Joey was in the coma for a couple more weeks, in which I was there by Sam’s side consistently. When he came out of it, he was still pretty bad and would have to remain hospitalized for a while. That night, I finally got Sam to leave the hospital for more than a few minutes. I took her home and fed her all her favorites. We listened to music and were really just submerged in the moment. We were emotionally raw with each other for the first time in a while. She said, life is short so we have to make the most of it. I think I fell in love with her all over again that night. We made unforgettable beautiful, passionate love all night.
Sam moved into my new condo. We were happy and in love again. She finally got a job and started helping with bills. We were content for a while but I did get the promotion and had to work long hours. I guess Sam became lonely and let her imagination get the best of her. She began accusing me of having an affair when I was working late. We argued. She began hanging out in the clubs on weekends and now some weekdays. We argued. She would not come home until like 5 am, so naturally I accused her of having an affair. Thought it was that damned Tiffany, again. We argued. She said that she started performing at a club and would just hang out afterwards. I felt like I could not trust her and I could not go through what we went through before. She said that she did not trust me either. I did not want to continue the arguing and mistrust. We did not speak to each other directly for days. Days of walking around on eggshells because we were tired of arguing. Weeks of no sex, no affection, no kindness between two people who had previously been madly in love with each other. We became miserable. The end was near.
A YEAR AGO
Sam got this idea to go to counseling to try to make it work. I think she had been watching a bunch of Steve Harvey. I hesitantly agreed. Not because I did not think we needed help, but because I did not believe a stranger could help us after all that we had been through. My first time going to therapy was with my lesbian lover. It’s an experience that I’ll never forget.
Dr. Schmidt seemed pretty good though. She suggested that we do trust exercises to work on the trust issues between us. It was simple things, like making plans or promises and then sticking to them. I would promise to get off work and be home for dinner by 8 pm. She would promise to be home to spend time with me on Friday nights. It was kind of cute, actually. We did that for a few weeks.The intimacy finally returned. We did it – I was ready to call therapy quits. The good doctor said it was a good start but only that, a start. The next session the doctor had us do role-playing to help us understand each others perspectives, or some nonsense like that. I thought it was a horrible idea. I played Sam as a needy, non-nonchalant, party girl. Sam portrayed me as a selfish, money-hungry, controlling bitch. Yeah, it was definitely a bad idea. We argued about, well everything, right there in front of Dr. Schmidt. She became a referee but still could barely break us up. She sent us home with the assignment to just to listen to what the other said without immediately responding. The opposite of fighting, basically. It’s like the previous few weeks did not happen. After one bad attempt that ended with us arguing over the past, we just stopped talking to each other all together.
“What life goals do you have,” Dr. Schmidt asked at the next session. Sam pieced together something about getting promoted to manager at work, rims on her truck, and buying this and buying that. I realized that we were on two totally different paths. I am trying to become a CEO, start my own business, and travel. Maybe start a nonprofit one day. That was the final nail in the coffin for me.
I turned to her, holding her hand gently in mine. “Sam, I have loved you with all my heart and I will always have a place in there for you. We have had some great times together. But, I, no we, cannot do this anymore.”
“I know,” Sam responded softly. “I will always have love for you too, bright smile.”
It was finally over. I agreed to let her stay at my apartment until she saved up to get her own place. She sleeps in the living room, of course. I started to travel more and more for work, so I just let her stay there. I was not dating anyway, so it was not a big deal. Until now.
CJ’S CONDO | 5:23 PM
CJ slowly drags herself thru her front door, drops her bag somewhere, and immediately flops down on the couch. She glances towards the bedroom. She was just here less than 24 hours ago, CJ realizes but tries not to reminisce as sadness overcomes her. She stares straight ahead into the air, not focusing on any one thing. Her cell phone rings for the ninth time in fifteen minutes, disrupting her daze. She continuous to ignore it. I don’t want to talk to or see anyone, CJ declares. She then lays on the couch in a fetal position and closes her eyes. She immediately sees Mya’s smile. She shakes it off and flips over on the couch. She sees Mya’s flirtatious eyes staring back at her. She just cannot get thoughts of Mya out of her head. Stop thinking about her. Stop wanting her. It is over, CJ tries to convince herself. She feels this extreme betrayal which angers her more than hurts because she opened up to Mya completely. She finally found someone that she connected with, that she could see a future with, only to be led on and lied to. The stress of agonizing over Mya all day finally released its grip on CJ as she falls asleep, nestled alone on her couch.
Her home phone rings, abruptly waking CJ. She instinctively jumps up and runs to answer it.
“Hello!” CJ sounds loud, disoriented and out of breathe.
“Hi,” a familiar voice replies.
As reality slowly kicks in CJ replies, “oh, hi Mya.”
“Can we talk,” Mya asks softly.
CJ grabs a bottle water from the fridge, taking her time to respond to the question.
“Please just hear me out,” Mya plies.
“Ok.” CJ wonders if Mya is actually going to talk this time.
“Ok. First, I have been agonizing all day over the thought of loosing you. I care about you so much CJ. I really want to make this right.” Mya pauses to get her composure so that she does not start crying again. “Second, I am so sorry for not being honest with you.”
“You mean lying?” CJ interrupts. “You straight up lied to me. And don’t try to argue that omission is not the same as lying. It is.”
“You are right. Correction, I am sorry for lying to you, babe. I promise to never lie, or even mislead, you ever again. You and your feelings mean too much to me.” They both take a deep breathe. “So now is the time for full honesty, full disclosure. Third, my ex-girlfriend, Sam, does literally live in my condo. But it is only that, literal. We broke up last year and I agreed to let her stay here, mostly because I am rarely home. Case in point, going back and forth to Atlanta. There is nothing going on between us, period.”
“Alright, what about the phone? And why didn’t you tell me this before?” CJ asks.
“Well, simply put, she is an ass hole. Another point to why we are not together. She did what she did on purpose. She probably knows how I feel about you.”
“Great, you live with a childish ex-girlfriend.” CJ responds sarcastically.
“And that is exactly why I did not tell you, at first. You were supposed to just be a fling. The longer I waited, the harder it became. I guess that I was just avoiding this conversation. I am truly sorry.”
“Okay, so what now?”
“I kicked her out this morning. I am packing up the rest of her belongings to ship to her brothers house as we speak. There will shortly be no trace of her here. You can see when you come visit me.” A sliver of hope shines through Mya’s tone. CJ is silent for a painstakingly long few seconds.
“When, huh, not if?” CJ responds, her tone still stiff.
“Yes, I can get you a ticket for this weekend. It can be a quick weekend get-a-way for you.” Mya says confidently.
CJ chuckles a little. “Oh really, you just decided that I am coming to visit you this weekend? Like you just decided to keep the fact that you have a live-in ex-girlfriend to yourself? Like you decided to get involved with me anyway knowing your situation?”
“I’m sorry, I did not mean to be presumptuous. I am just optimistic for…”
CJ interrupts loudly. “It doesn’t matter. I feel like you led me on because you wanted to have your cake and eat it to.”
“Come on CJ, it was not like that, you know me. You know what we have shared.”
“Do I know you, really?” CJ asks.
Mya begins to tear up. “You know where my heart is. With you. Do you feel anything for me at all.”
“I have feelings for you, yes, but I also feel like a fool.”
“CJ, I never meant to…” Mya exhales in exhaustion.
“Meant to, huh? The road to hell is paved with good intentions, Mya.” CJ responds. “But I’ve got to get off of this road.”
“CJ,” Mya pleas, “I will be in hell without you. Please think about this.”
“We can both think about it while we take some time apart. Maybe we started too hot and heavy. Now it is time to cool it down.”
“I do not want to cool down.” Mya sniffles, trying to hide the fact that she is crying. “But I will respect your wishes. Just know that I am not going anywhere. I will be here when you are ready.”
“I appreciate that. See you later, Miss Mya.” CJ’s tone is low and sad before she hangs up.
MYA’S CONDO | 5:49 PM
Mya finally lets the tears fall down her face. She puts the phone down on the couch beside her. She sits still for a minute in disbelief. Cool down does not mean stop, she thinks to herself. She literally shakes her head, shaking herself out of the temporary trance. She looks around at the boxes of Sam’s things and decides it is time to move toward her future, not dwell on her past. A sly smirk come over her face. You want to know me? You don’t know how I feel about you? Ok, CJ you soon will. Mya quickly forms a plan. I am not giving up that easy. I love you, CJ!
To be continued….