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Knowing When to Fold ‘Em…and other shit that I should’ve done a long time ago! (Part 1)

I was eleven when I first met him. I was eighteen when I first kissed him and I was twenty-eight when I finally left him.

 FINALLY LEFT HIM.

 Between eighteen and twenty-eight, there were several breaks, retries, and more breaks, but none of them took.

 Not even the retries.

 Nor the Breaks.

The first year after my break-up, I convinced myself that I loved him too hard. That’s why I didn’t leave before our ten-year tenure. The second year after our break-up I finally came to grips with the fact that love was never in the equation. I didn’t love myself enough to leave him and I didn’t love him enough to really give him a chance. That relationship and all hardship embedded lasted way too damn long.

 Way Too Damn Long!

 I realized that what I’d pacified myself with during our time together, the statement about about opposites being attracted to each other was a bunch of BULLSHIT! Opposites? You ask. Yes, opposites.

He was a Tupac fan. I was a Biggie Fan.

He was a Nas fan. I am a Jay-Z fan.

He was a Pippen Fan. I was (AM) a Jordan FANATIC.

He was a UNC-Chapel Hill Fan. I was (AM) DUKE BLUE DEVILS ALL DAY AND TOMORROW!

He was an Atlanta Braves Fan. I was a Chicago White Sox.

He was a Huge Redskin’s Fan.  I am a Huger JETS fan. (Don’t Judge Me)

He liked old school music and cars. I’m an eighties and above type of music lover and none of my cars have been older than five years.

He was a smoker. I am NOT.

He was a drinker. I am NOT.

He was a cheater. I am NOT…well listen, sometimes things happen. Yeah, I need your judgment. *rolls eyes*

He played a Brass Instrument. I play woodwinds. <That’s true. I’m clarinetist and a Saxophonist.

He didn’t like words. I need words to breathe.

He didn’t like to read. I can’t live without it.

I could go on, but I hope you got it by now. We didn’t match. Opposites were a sever understatement in our case, but I needed something to hold on to, to answer the question of why I was staying with this man. And the answer three-years after our demise, is that I value friendships…but sometimes you have to know when to fold ‘em.

 It took a while, but I got there.

 But I didn’t arrive there by myself…I was forced there. And here’s how it happened…

For the sake of diplomacy and because one of these days a lot of people will read this and I wouldn’t dare throw this man under the bus like this because I do believe in redemption, anyway, for that sake, we’ll call him, “Dee.” And for the sake of full disclosure and because I’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain, we’ll call me the Uncaught Recidivist. You can put a Ms. in front of that if you please.

 Digression

Dee and I met when we were in the sixth grade. We became instant friends and then later the best of friends. Dee confessed then, with a boyish charm and a wonderful smile that I still find endearing which is a trait that he’s known by in our circle of friends, his want to be with me (as more than friends) early. I politely declined. As far as I knew, friends didn’t date friends. That was a rule that I held near and dear to my heart throughout middle school and high school.

 And then there was college.

 Well at least the summer before we went off to college.

My memory is rather fuzzy on how this next part came about, but anyway before going off to college we kissed. I remember the kiss doing something to my insides and then walking away feeling like…Holy hell, I just kissed my best-friend and also, in the spirit of full disclosure, I’d felt a tingle in my nether regions that I previously had never felt before…and I’d like to remind you that all we did was kiss.

 KISS.

 KISS!

A kiss had done that. The next day I felt all sorts of ways, but the one feeling that I wasn’t expecting to feel was guilt. What the hell had I done? How had it got to that point? But then, I remember feeling that it was so fucking perfect. That kiss was the kiss that little girls dream of. It’s the kiss that has been forever relayed through emotional rhetoric in every romance manuscript that I’ve ever written. (See Previous Post for that explanation) Trudge with down memory lane, won’t you…

 The moment was perfect. There were creatures of the warm summer’s night cheering us on in the distance and near as we stood outside of his parents’ home in a quaint suburb of Richmond, Virginia. Though I had been to his home may times before; this time was different. I could feel it. My skin seemed to warm with the realization. My breasts felt it. They were heavy with anticipation. All I could think about, all I could feel, was that in this moment, in this time, something was changing with us, and I wanted to, I honestly wanted to fight it off with all of my might. But, I knew that it would’ve been to no avail, I was to be no match for him. How ironic that he was the Athlete of the Year. He wrestled, played football and baseball, so there weren’t many that were a match for him. It was sheer irony, I decided in that moment, that I would even dare to try. He smiled at me. The smile nearly predatory, but not quite enough to make me cringe. It was a smile that indicated everything he’d planned to do to me. A warning smile. That’s what it was. I smiled back, not nearly as bold as he, not nearly as assured as he, but I smiled nonetheless. It was my please-do smile. I knew what he wanted, I knew what I wanted, I knew what he needed, and I knew what I needed. What I didn’t know was why. Why was this moment, the perfect moment for this to happen? What had changed, what had happened, what was going to happen. My thoughts roamed as I searched my tousled brain for protocol of such a thing. Sure, I had been kissed before, many times over, but I had been asked, I had been coaxed, I had been urged. Now, all I had was a smile. A warning smile. Did I need to say something? Was I to make a statement of some sort to give him the go ahead he needed? What was a young woman to do in this particular situation? A young naïve woman, that stand before this young man, that was highly assured of himself, and what he wanted out of the situation. Fortunately, I was spared the burden of more thought. I had the right to remain silent and I obliged. He walked closer to me, he had been standing at a good distance away, and when he was within arm’s reach. Smelling distance—and damn, he smelled good—I could feel the heat from his body flow into mine causing me to feel even hotter. My lips parted of their own volition; perhaps it was to catch a quick breath, because as I felt myself sway a bit, I knew I hadn’t been breathing. I righted my actions quickly and then gasped. He pulled me around my thick waist with one of his strong hands and arms. I was flush against his body and felt everything about him that spoke to being a male. I was shocked and I jumped accordingly so. He was calm and didn’t move. He held me tighter and looked into my eyes a second more, and then he kissed me. When I felt his full lips over mine, the probing tongue urging my mouth apart wider, I relented and relaxed in his arms, and gave in to everything he’d ever wanted from me.

Seriously, I just relieved that moment, and “Dee” if you’re out there reading this, I really want to thank you for that moment. It was perfect. Simply perfect.  Anyway, back to the point, that kissed changed everything in me. That kiss made me a woman in every since of the matter. That kissed, changed our lives forever. And, that kiss was the demise of our friendship. As stated the next day, I wasn’t expecting to feel guilt, but I did. I wasn’t expecting to feel grief, but I did. It wasn’t because the experience was so terrible, but it was because I knew I had lost a best-friend. After something like that, one couldn’t go back. There was simply just no way.

 But, I did try.

When he called to see if I had gotten home safe, I answered his questions with affirmatives and spoke nothing of the life-altering kiss. I could tell that he had questions, I could tell that he wanted to say something, and I’m sure he could hear the hinder in my voice, but I wouldn’t. I couldn’t allow him to query, I couldn’t allow myself to query.

 And then the sun came up.

 The grief mentioned.

 The guilt mentioned.

 The mood mentioned.

All awakened me as if they were the rooster crowing for the earth to rise. I spent much of that day in despair and elation. I knew what the fuss was about! I knew why kissing meant so much to some people. I knew what it felt like to be wanted for not just my body, but to be wanted in general.

And I hated it.  

I hated with a vengeance that rivaled the Devil. I hated it with all of my might and heart; because I wasn’t suppose to feel this way with a best-friend.

Thus, I shoved his friendship away…at least I tried.  

We had made plans to spend some time together before the summer was out, but they were nixed by corresponding car accidents. We both totaled our cars within days of each other. I like to fashion that as divined intervention. Oh, and did I mention, I had a semi-boyfriend at the time? So yeah, I would’ve been cheating on him and no good could come of that. NO good! Kiss withstanding.  So, we didn’t see each other until the day before we were all to leave for our respective colleges. That night we (a group of our friends) had a going away gathering at a local restaurant. We said our goodbyes, took our pictures, and wished each other well. At the end of the evening, Dee and I found ourselves alone again. This time there were to be no moments, no nature’s creatures cheering us on. Nothing. Just pure unadulterated awkwardness. We tried smiling it off, laughing it off, pretending like things were just the way they were before we kissed, and it worked. Barely. The next day, I was off to my respective HBCU and he was off to his and our new lives begin.

 Without each other.

During the spring semester of our freshman year, the boyfriend that I did have and I split and without thought, without reservation, without sanity, I called “Dee.” And said. “So, you want to be my boyfriend or what?”

 His reply. “Hell yeah.”

 And that’s how it all started to end…stay tuned.

 The best is yet to come

 For now, however;

 Res Ipsa Loquitur

~Uncaught Recidivist

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