She Lost Her Soul on the I.R.T
My name is Rainbow Trina Patrick and since I was a little girl, I’ve been chasing my pot of gold. All a girl like me ever needed was money because one thing for certain and two things for sure life ain’t all peaches and wild berries without it. I could complain but then I will be like the rest of the whiners. I am a winner! Winners seek solutions in public, own their shit and in the dark fall apart. It is my safe place to break down and then build up. Last public cry of over some dude made me create a crisis plan and give myself permission to crack in the dark and become mentally stable by five a.m. Some things have changed but what remains the same is I am depression’s child. I am possessed by her because I refuse to let her go.
Oh, and I forgot to mention I am diagnosed with clinical depression but I won’t let it break me like it did my mother. I won’t let it place me on pause on any of my causes and goals. I work harder than most, no fake friends, have Dr. Janice Green my therapist on speed dial and text. I cry at night and once in a while let Lexapro help what ails me. Handsome men with big sticks who no longer want me are triggers for me to lose my soul. So I stay happily single; I have one friend name Ty whose gorgeous, gay and fabulous. I keep away my mother at a state institution in upstate New York. I made a vow to never visit or speak to her again. She is a reminder of what I can become.
The scent of Mrs. Water cinnamon buns fill the block of Quincy Street, headphones blasting India Arie, braids up in a ponytail, a jeans and sneakers type of day. I intended to ride to 42nd Street, catch the C train to 50th street because I needed to clear my head. Prior to stepping out the door, I had a crying session, sweating and after a while, I collected myself. The trigger was memories of my mother’s screams, gunshots, blood and then my sister slumped over and my mother lying on the train floor. My therapist offered to gift me Uber rides but I am a winner and I have to face the moment versus letting it succumb me. I take the train to show I am braver than my mother. I will not let life, a memory or a man break me.
I never intended an ongoing to war with a man name War. Marked up like the Harlem subway, a black man that can speak three different languages, tall, teeth white as porcelain.
Let me clear the air for you chicas I am not losing my soul to a man who can kick the words of an African God, think like Malcolm X and motivate me like Martin. Yeah, he made a millennial give up his seat for me on a crowded Monday. Yes, he calmed down an irate passenger with his deep voice. I refuse to give in to his charm. I have goals to become the head of the marketing agency. I am carving my name in this world. I run my side hustles selling t-shirts online. I make it my business to keep the drama, trauma, and heartache away. So what Mr. Was is an entrepreneur that makes shoes for men and women? So what from the print in his jeans he could make me my coochie clap and sing sweet liberties about. Nope, A chica name Rainbow got ninety goals and falling in love ain’t one.
The Meeting of the Minds
If I believed in love at first sight, I would say the moment he spoke I fell for him but I don’t. He matches my vibe and I expect to see him in the morning on our commute to work. I tell myself Focus, Rainbow, stay focus get off the road of even thinking of falling for a man name Mr. War. This morning I walked to the train station instead of hopping on the bus. The sun is shining; the air is warm and I need to get my cardio in. Crooning in my ear is India Arie. I stop by my favorite bodega entering the store and who do I see Rico is behind the counter and his father is making breakfast sandwiches on the other side.
“Pretty chica you want your usual turkey sausage, cheese and egg white on a roll, and a mix fruit cup.”
“I need caffeine can I please have a cappuccino?”
I grab a bottle of water off the shelf and a bag of cheese doodles for when I need to relieve the stress of dealing with the idiots at the office. I hear the bell chime as the door opens and from the reflection in the mirror who enters is Mr. War dressed like Mr. GQ in a suit cut to his body, a backpack on his shoulder and a big smile on his face. I found out his name from my best friend, Ty.
“Good morning Kings and Queens.”
I nod my head and Rico shakes his hand.
“Can I get a Goji and strawberry smoothie?”
“Sure thing, brother. I want to order some of those shoes you make. Can you set an appointment for me and Papi?”
Why is he all efficient and shit pulling out his phone scheduling them right on the spot? Papi rung up my order and I tap my phone to the screen to pay for my order. He moves in closer, and I can smell his cologne.
“Reimburse her whatever you charged, Papi. My treat for the lady.”
“I am wonderfully blessed to pay for my breakfast but thank you.” He stared me up and down. I turned my head because his square jaw, thick lips, smile and what the hell his eyes are the color of cinnamon. Nope, this dude is dope and I can get hooked. Instead of running and getting away from this man, I let him speak further.
“I have to pay it forward someone passed on an act of kindness. I am sharing it on to you. No strings just an act of kindness. I, too am a blessed man. May I know your name?”
“It suits you!” He raised his eyebrow, rubbed his square jaw and let his tongue trace over his lips.
“Yes, my name gifted from the creative mind of my father. My father said I took away the clouds from his day the moment I was born.”
“I can believe that you give off beautiful vibes. My mother gifted me the name War said I was a fighter the moment I was born.”
“How ironic we both have unique names? I have to escape to my job and catch the train.”
“Can I walk with you?”
“We commute together anyway. Let’s shut off the devices and have a conversation. I like to detach from technology and attach to you.”
I shrug my shoulders and he picks up his drink. He holds the door open and we begin this journey.
“You know taking the G train will get you to work faster.”
“I enjoy taking A train it helps me to… never mind,” I announced. He touched my hand and said,
“Efficiency beats routine any day of the week.”
“Okay, Mr. War let me clear the air I am all about my career, making this money and not getting involved. So, let me help solve your riddles before you try to get me to be your girl. No, we can not go on a date. No, I am not seeking a man and yes, I am single. This long walk is two souls making it to work on time.”
He chuckled and replied, “A strong convincing argument for yourself when I never asked you for a date. I spoke of efficiency and routine. You know two souls wandering usually are seeking what they are missing and want.”
He took a sip of his smoothie and I was searching for my clap back. He and I take in the gentrification of Brooklyn. Bed-Stuy wasn’t the same. I missed Hector’s store across the street and Victor’s store. I missed crazy Sal walking the block being nosy. The sound of rap music that blast from cars. The blocks where full of culture, and yet our history buried.
“I am not seeking and I was letting you know what I didn’t want.”
“I like to clear the air.”
“The air is clear.”
“Ms. Rainbow, what do you do for a living?”
“My main hustle is working at a marketing firm for up-and-coming entrepreneurs, and my side hustle is graphic design, t-shirts and whatever makes me a dollar. You sell shoes, right?”
“No, I make them for men and women. Own an exclusive shop right across from your corporate world. Not to brag but I’ve made shoes for Whoopi, Alicia Keys, Cardi B, Beyonce, Remy Ma and so many of the divas. Now we have a man’s line of sneakers and shoes.”
“What made you want to make shoes and where does a black man learn to make shoes?”
“I grew up always wearing someone’s else sneakers, and I made a vow to create a pair so I never have that issue again. Funny how not having something can create an opportunity of betterment. I learned how to make shoes in prison.”
“May I ask for what?”
“A lot of reasons. A lost man, selling drugs, and robbery. Life’s plot twist made me a business owner and a shoemaker. What they made to enslave me empowered me.”
“And you take the train. Shouldn’t you be driving a Benz, Range Rover or Jag into work?”
“Yes, but the subway keeps me humble and I get to see your lovely face. To skip the subject, I have to admit I want to take you on a date, I take A train and walked with you because I’ve convinced myself I found my wife.”
I fold my arms and scoff, “Are you aware of love, at first sight, is dead? Next, remember me not want dates, not seeking relationships and I am single. So, I will say a Big No for me.”
He adjusted his bag and cleared his throat.
“What are you afraid of?”
“Truth or your fairytale?”
“Falling for a dude and losing myself. Being so caught up and giving him all kinds of permission to break my heart. Next, I can straight lose my soul. To protect me, I accepted being single.”
We watched people entering the train station both of us face to face. The memory crept in of me and my sister standing in front of KFC, I could still hear my mother's voice and seeing the handle of the gun in her purse. I shake my head and divert my attention to the cars riding up and down Fulton Street. I count the white men riding bikes down Fulton street; the women jogging down a block they were once afraid to come on. Mr. War cologne making me want to kiss him. I was in the past, present and the future all at one time.
“Great answer. So in a single word fear.”
“No. Protection of my heart.”
“You can’t hide from love.”
“You can’t have my love, Mr. War. Settle for being my acquaintance.”
He smirked, and he took my hand in his and I knew there was a connection. He said no words, but I knew he was trying to steal my heart. I removed my hands from him, take two steps back and look away to ensure I don’t become hypnotized.
“I have never settled for anything in my life, Ms. Rainbow. In my eyes just meeting your acquaintance, I am getting the better of you but I aim for the best of you.”
“Okay, good one.”
We walked down the stairs, swipe our Metro cards. Rachel the songstress, a plus size woman with a beautiful birthmark of a heart on her face has set up the Nostrand Avenue platform into her stage. He puts twenty dollars in her bucket. I dropped ten dollars because her voice is impeccable. We hear the rumble of the train. I want to pretend he is a stranger but we’ve exchanged words and some facts. The doors open and announcements ring through the air. He allows me to go in first and I said,
“Tell me one thing about you that no one knows.”
He leaned and whispered,
“I am your new client.”
“Prestigious Marketing I am your ten o’clock.”
“Elixir Shoes is your company?”
“Yes, it is” He winked.
“Your multi-million dollar company still won’t make me date you. Mr. War.”
“But my heart will make you love me.”
I take a deep breath because loving me would taint him. My depression would make him obsessed with saving me. I have to remain single so I will not lose my soul like my mother or break another man’s heart.
Please join Monday for part 2 of She lost her soul on the I.R.T.