In and Out
I needed James, so much more than he needed me. I guess in some way I knew what it would do to me but letting go was not an option.
I smiled as I thought back to the first time we said I love you. It was midnight and we had just finished a conversation about what it means to be truly “woke”. James was deeply passionate about the issue. He hated how it was now a fad to claim to be pro black. I, on the other hand, thought that it was a good thing that even white people were seeing our injustice. He thought that was cute of me.
We had only been together for two months and eight days. To most people not long enough to be in love but we were. I rested my head on my pillow wondering what was coming. He sounded out of breath like he had been running, he told me later that he couldn’t sit still. There was a dead silence for a moment. I was afraid he was going to break up with me. “I Love You” he said it with such truth it made my heart stop. “I love you too” I was smiling so hard my cheeks burned. We fell asleep with each other on the phone.
But that was two years ago.
Im sitting on his bed as he is flipping through channels unaware of how annoyed I am. I rather go out. Out to eat, to a movie, anything but in his room. I hated his room, pieces of clothes stuck out from his half opened drawers and he thought that the corner of the room was a good enough hamper. Things had not been the same since the break up. He met a girl, someone I think he is still thinking of.
“Lets go out tonight” I said moving closer to him. He smelled good, like fresh soap and the cologne I brought him for his birthday.
“Its late, Rae” he grunted
He looked really comfortable leaning on his headboard one hand behind his head. He looked sexy as he licked his bottom lip. I usually dated light skinned boys figuring opposites attract. I had always heard that dark skin boys are not attracted to dark skin girls and up until James I had completely accepted this fact. I moved in closer to him and rubbed his ear, he loved it. It used to be that I could get him to do anything by rubbing his ear. I hoped I did not lose my touch.
“Babe, come on, lets just eat some popcorn and watch a movie” he said grabbing my arm.
Sucking my teeth and rolling my eyes I shoved him as hard as I possibly could but he did not budge. He kept flipping through channels, tilting his head as he tried to decide what to watch. He did not even notice me staring him down.
“Instead of staying here and watching a movie we should go out to the movies. I will check to see what is playing” I said taking my phone out of my pocket
“Nah, why go out to that cold movie theater with all those people when we can be alone” he pulled me in close and kissed my neck.
“If I was her, you would take me out” Exaggerating the word her, I pushed him away. I scooted off of his bed nearly breaking my leg on one of his textbooks. My toe was throbbing but I was to upset to pay it attention. He looked irritated and was now sitting straight up.
“First off, calm down. Second, what happened to the peaceful night I was promised” he threw his hands in the air defeated and let them plop back down on the bed.
“All I am asking for is a simple night out instead of being in this room watching stupid movies. When you were with her you took her places.” I couldn’t stop myself. I had my hands in the air as I spoke and I didn’t care that he was looking at me strangely. “You took her to the carnival and bowling downtown, all I am asking is to go to a stupid movie.”
The room went silent, well accept for the tv that he left on the news but it might as well have been silent. I am just standing with my hands on my hips waiting for him to say something.
“How the hell did you know all of that?” His eyes squinting but his voice was calm. I wasn’t supposed to know about her. When he called desperate to get back together, I never questioned him. I was to excited to get him back and that I had won. I never meant to bring her up. I just wanted to go out tonight.
“I’ll go make some popcorn” I said smiling as I walked toward the door
“Why are women so crazy” He said before I was fully out of the room.
The living room was a nice escape. Shaking off my anxiety, I reached up into the cabinet to get the box of popcorn. His roommate thankfully wasn’t home, he would usually be yelling at the tv playing some video game. Although I could actually use the noise to distract James from asking me questions. The microwave beeped making me jump. The smell of fresh popped kernels filled the air helping me to calm down a little more. I decided to give into this movie and popcorn thing because being with him in his room was better than not being with him.
“How did you know about her” he said not giving me a chance to get settled back on the bed.
“We are going to eat the popcorn and watch a movie like you wanted” I sat back down on the bed putting the bag of popcorn between us.
“Answer the question, Rae” his voice was deeper now it was making me nervous.
“I met her and we had world history together, its a small world us dating the same James” I said tossing a kernel into my mouth.
“You broke up with me remember that? You thought I was going to wait around for you, that wasn’t happening”
I paused for a second taking in what he just said. Yes, I was the one who broke up with him but I was mad. He didn’t want to understand why sometimes I feel like being alone, I don’t want to be touched. But there were times I demanded we spend time together.
“Are you in love with her” I asked calmly.
We became awkwardly silent again. I already knew the answer. Not meaning to I saw a text between the two of them last week. He called her kitten and she called him bear and it was the stupidest thing I had ever seen.
“Im in love with you” he said after a few moments. I believed him but I knew that he loved her too. It was all on his face. “I just need you to be…”
“Like her? How? Skinny and blonde? Well how can I compete with that” My hands began to shake. I don’t know how much longer I can sit here.
His eyes shot up to mine like his darkest secret had been let out. I rolled my eyes. I couldn’t sit here any longer.
“You love her, go be with her then” I grabbed my bag and shoved it over my shoulder. I gripped the door knob tightly but I wished he would call me back over and say he was sorry and he loved me.
“If you leave me again, I will call her” he said not moving a muscle.
He turned the tv loud and behind me I could hear it changing between channels. I suck my teeth opening the door. Slamming the door behind me, my hand was still secure on the door knob.
My heart was pounding heavily and I felt like I would cry. My body wouldn’t move. He is the only guy I ever really loved. And I was going to lose him again. I couldn’t lose him again.
I walked back into the room, wiping a tear from my cheek. He stared at me for a second then he smiled. He had his phone in his hand, Im sure he just texted her. I grabbed the phone from his hand and placed it on the night table. Climbing over him I went back to my spot on the bed. He put his arm around me, pulling me into his body and kissed my forehead. I sat silently hoping that somehow I would be enough for him. Although I know what this would do to me, letting go was not an option.