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Ties That Bind: Chapter V

Colby had thoughts swirling around his head. The other day he spent time deep in thought about Mavis, and those thoughts led to more thoughts. He wasn’t prepared to share with Mavis all he’d been thinking, but he had to get the thoughts organized, so he decided to write her a letter.

Mavis,

Every song…thought…scent…reminds me of you, and I’m too scared to tell you.  Yet, I’m more scared of another man telling you what I need to express, and sweeping your heart away.

So what can I do, but tell you exactly how I feel?

We’re two different people now. Older and wiser, at varying stages of our lives. But here I am, acknowledging that wisdom has allowed me to come to grips with you. And not just you, but you in my life. Nothing and nobody has captivated me for as long, or as deeply, as you. Like Donny Hathaway sang, “I love you in a place there’s no space or time”, and if I’m being honest, I always have. The feelings were just tucked away, pushed down, and locked in a box that I wasn’t supposed to open again. But, I did open the box, and now I realize everything I once thought and felt about you has come flooding back. It’s got me right back at being 20 years old.

I’ve asked myself, “why, back then could we not get it right?” I’ve asked myself “why I haven’t been able to let go of the thoughts of ‘happily ever after’ with you?”. And…I’ve also asked “why’d she wait until I was ready to be about her, and only her, to get fed up and not want ‘us’ anymore?”. I couldn’t blame you for being tired of my mess at the time though.  I’d done alot of dumbass stuff in my younger years, feeling like no matter what, you’d be there in the end?  Well, guess what?  I was the one that wasn’t there.  I had stepped away, trying to prove to myself that you were just another woman, when in reality, you were then, and now, the only woman for me.

We’re doing this song and dance right now, because I think we’re trying to feel each other out.  Spending time together, but not too much that we have to acknowledge that the more time we’re with one another, the more time we want to be around each other.  It’s funny that we have to take each other in small doses so we don’t OD.

You told me you feel like CJ and his sister should be ours.  I wouldn’t trade my kids for anything, but if they were ours, where would we be?  I’d like to think you’d be, no, I know you’d be my misses.  The hits and misses in our respective love lives wouldn’t have happened, at least I think.  There wouldn’t have been places for others to creep in.  But alas, the hits and misses have also gotten us to where we are.  I can’t say for you, but for me, I have looked back over our times together, and apart, and realized that I didn’t cherish you enough.  I should’ve had you on a pedestal, as the embodiment of love.  Not to worship you, but because you should’ve been set apart from all others.

I gotta tell you, even my mother thought and still thinks that you’re the one.  She’s liked the women she’s met since you, but nobody has ever gotten the “mom seal of approval”, but you.  That was probably something I should’ve paid attention to, huh?

With all I’ve written in this letter, you’d have a hard time believing that I am at a loss for words, right?  Well, I sorta am.  What else can I say to you about how much I think of you, everyday, or even when I’ve been out with a friend?  Hell, I even admitted to loving you above.  When have I ever said that?

I could sit here and tell you how my job will keep me from doing right by you, and by right I mean adequately supporting you. You’d probably tell me you ” not stressing it, as long as I’m looking to see improve”. You don’t have to stress it, because I am. How could I not wanna be a strong foundation? You’d say it’s a cop out, and by any measure, you’d be right, but it still doesn’t change how I feel.

CJ asked me one day, “Daddy, you gonna finish this”? I asked him what he meant and he couldn’t, or wouldn’t articulate it. I really didn’t need him to though. God used him to ask me one question that’s never been answered by my actions…”are you gonna finish this”? I’ve thought about that for a few months now. It was a gut punch, but one I needed. I’ve got to start finishing things. This goes for school, a business plan I’ve been working on, and whatever is going to happen with you.

This isn’t to pressure you into figuring things out with me. It’s to let you know where I am, and where I think I’m being directed to go. However, I’m not sure when, or if you’re ever going to get to read this. The manly thing to do would be to tell you all this face to face. Doing so would mean I have to be ready for whatever you’re reply will be, and I’m not ready for that, yet.

I’m rambling now, so I’m going to stop here, but do know this. You will always, and forever be my heart.

XOXOXOXOXO,

Colby

C folded the letter, placed it in an envelope, and placed it in his Bible to mark Jeremiah 29.

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Posted by on 05/19/2015 in Ties That Bind

 

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Ties That Bind: Chapter III

Neither Colby nor Mavis would’ve thought it was going to be three months before they got together again.  Mavis’ job had her working ungodly hours, and when she wasn’t at work she was resting, or doing things for her parents.  She called Colby a few times a week, but he’d almost always have to call her back.  He wasn’t brushing her off, but he didn’t have the time to give her the attention he felt she deserved, and he told her as much.  Colby knew his position had become precarious at work.  The longer he was at his current job, the more he hated it.  He wasn’t in the right frame of mind to be around Mavis, but thinking about her sure did set his mind at ease.

He finally called her on a Thursday and asked could they meet for brunch on Saturday, to which she eagerly accepted.  Now she just had to figure out how to tell her mother their plans were changing.

Mavis called her mother to rearrange the plans; instead of their usual brunch, they’d go to a late lunch and go shopping later.  But as with most mothers, Mrs. Wilson knew something was up, and it wasn’t just Mavis’ job.

“Girl, the third Saturday of the month has been our day for years. Now you want to cut it off?”, Ms. Wilson asked.

“No Mama. Something just came up, so I need to push our time back just a couple of hours. You and Daddy can go to breakfast and do something fun until I get free. Y’all need some quality time together anyway.”

“Mavis, tell that BS to somebody who’s not your mother. Besides, you know your father will want to invite you; you’re his princess now and forever.” This made Mavis smile, and her mother chuckle. Ms. Wilson continued, “but anyhoo, you still haven’t told me why our plans have changed. Something changed and don’t give me that nonsense about “something came up”. What came up?”

Mavis began, “Colby asked me to go to brunch this Saturday, and I told him yes. We haven’t seen each other for a while, and I think it’d be good for us to see each other. In some ways, I kinda miss him”. Mrs Wilson let a sly, knowing, smile creep across her face.

” What?”, Mavis asked.

“Chile, that man got youuu” Mrs. Wilson laughed.

“No he don’t Mama. I will admit that I enjoy his company, but Colby doesn’t ‘have me’ as you said.  As a matter of fact, I don’t even think Colby really views me like that, at least not anymore”, though she didn’t believe what she was saying.  “More to the point, I don’t even think I am the kind of woman he is interested in anymore.  We had our time, but that was then Mama.”

“Mavis, that’s bullshit and you, I, Stevie Wonder and Helen Keller can see it. In his own way, that man has let it be known he sees you, if not exactly like that, then something close to it. Whether he tells you now or later is up to him. I’m going to ask you one question, and answer honestly. I’m pretty sure I know what you’re going to say though.”

“Ok Mama”, Mavis answered, resigned to the inquisition that was coming.

“The only question I have for you is ‘how do you feel about that boy?”

“Hmmmm…he’s a good friend, even when we were kinda distant. He always tells me, even now, that if I ever need anything, to let him know. He’s matured, which I thinks stems from him having kids, and the drama that came with their mothe…”

“You do know all that drama wasn’t just his choice of women, right? He had a hand in whatever drama went on…don’t lose sight of that.”

“Yes Mama, I know, but like I said. He’s matured more than even I thought he would. It’s like, he’s the same Colby as 11 years ago, but more determined about taking charge of his life. He at least seems more of man now than past years. I guess life will do that to someone; make them more decisive about their life I mean.”

“Girl, I know what you meant. Okay, I have one more question then. Is there more to y’all going to brunch than just ‘catching up’?”

“For me, honestly, a smidge, but nothing so serious that if he canceled my world would crumble. Do I want to see him? Yes. Does he want to see me? I am pretty sure he does. But again, we’re just two friends going to brunch.”

Sabine knew she wasn’t being completely honest with her mother, and she also knew her mother could tell. But, even after she told Colby all she laid on him at their first “reunion” dinner, she wasn’t going to put all her eggs in the “Colby” basket. However, she didn’t see the need in informing her mother of that whole conversation yet, even if it had been months ago. For now, Mavis figured it’d be best to play her cards close. If there was ever more to tell her mother, she’d tell her then, but it wasn’t the time.

” Girl, I am your mother. I know its more to it than what you’re saying, but I’ll digress. Just remember one thing. That man has been around your life for years, but never in your life at the right times. I hope for your sake, and his safety, that will change”.

Sabine heard what her mother said…and didn’t say, loud and clear.

 
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Posted by on 03/22/2015 in Ties That Bind

 

Ties That Bind: Chapter II

“I know you want to know what I have to say, but first, you have to promise me you won’t get mad.”

“Woman.  After 13 years of knowing me, have I ever gotten mad at you?”

“No, but I’ve never told you anything like what I’m about to”, she replied.

“Ok.  Mavis Sabine Wilson, I will not get mad, or angry…happy now?”

“Yes.  Ok.  What I have wanted to tell you for a while, but especially after I met Colby Junior is this…I feel like I’m the reason Colby Junior isn’t our son.”

To say Colby was past dumbfounded would be an understatement.  After all, he knew that Mavis wanted children…but his?  While he sat quietly still processing what he’d just heard, she continued.

“I know I just dropped a bomb on you.”

With excellent timing, the waitress arrived to take their orders. Mavis wasn’t too hungry so she ordered salmon dip, a bowl of french onion soup, and a glass of rosatto. Colby ordered a steak, medium-well, with asparagus, garlic bread, and a Sam Adams Winter Lager. The waitress took the menus and left.

Colby finally found his voice, “Uh, yeah.  Ya think?  Wow.  I mean, what am I supposed say to that?  Gracious girl, I’m generally not a man of few words, but right now?  I just…are you for real?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact, I am”, she responded.

“How long have you felt like this?  What brought these feelings and thoughts on?”

“Honestly C, I’ve felt like this for a long time, probably since before the night you came over to see my condo.  As to what brought on these feelings, well, it’s a long story.”

“Mavis.  We’re at dinner for what feels like the first time in forever.  I don’t know about you, but I planned on doing nothing but enjoying you, I mean your company, tonight.  I have as much time as you’ll allow me this evening to hear what you have to say, so please share.”

She began…”about two years ago, right after my 30th birthday, I took myself on a much needed vacation. I went to Naples, Versailles and Lisbon.”

“Awww shit, let me find out you’re becoming ‘Ms. International Women of Mystery'”, Colby playfully interjected.

Mavis laughed, and it seemed to relax her. “You always could make me laugh at the corniest jokes. Anyway as I was saying, I went to Europe for two and a half weeks. I needed to recharge myself from all the working, studying, and never ending damage control from the previous 7 years. Even before my graduation from A&T, (cutting her eyes at C) which you missed, I was working way too much and too hard.”

“Hey, my fiancee was in labor. It’s not like I just arbitrarily didn’t show up. You know, if it wasn’t for that, I’d have been in the front row, with the biggest sign and loudest bullhorn. Well, if your uncle didn’t beat me to it first, that is.”

“Are you gonna let me finish?”

“Are you gonna keep making slick comments?”

“See, this is…” but before she could finish, Colby stopped her. “Look Bean”, resorting to what he called her when he got serious. “Dinner was your idea. I am here. You are here. You have things to share with me, that for some reason, I feel like I just need to know. I’ll try to keep my mouth shut, but don’t clam up on me. Deal?”

She signed and exhaled loudly, “Fine…deal.”

“Ok, so you were saying you’d been working too hard even before your graduation?”

“Yup. The internships during the seasonal breaks, my part-time job during the semesters, and then starting my current job even before I walked across the stage; all of it caught up to me. So one day I decided I needed to get away from everything for a while, and I picked Europe as my get away spot.”

“I would’ve thought for sure you’d have been the main character in Stella Part 2,” Colby cornily joked again. Mavis looked at him with mock disdain and continued.

“On my trip, the first week and a half went by fast. All I did was rest, read books, and think about where God had brought me in my life…and I was at peace. During the last week though, my peace was disturbed as I noticed something else about my life”, she paused.

“What did you notice?”

“For the first time, I really realized that outside of my parents, I had nobody to share my world with.”

Colby carefully, and quickly, processed his next words, as he didn’t want to come off as a douchebag. “In our intermittent convos, you would mention, um, geez what was his name? Um, Denard was it?”

“Yeah, that’s his name.”

“What happened with him? When we talked about y’all, you spoke as if everything was cool.”

“At that time, it was. We’d been seeing each other, exclusively, for a few months. About two months after you and I spoke, things got…weird, and went down hill real fast.”

“Can I ask what?”, Colby inquired.

“Well, I started getting an uneasy feeling…”

“Women’s intuition I take it?”

“No, smart ass…yes…hell, I don’t know. What I do know is that Denard just started acting odd. Like, you know how you men get when y’all are trying to keep up appearances, but are chasing after another woman?”

“Can’t say I do, actually.”

Mavis looked at Colby intensely, “you’re kidding, right? I know you’ve at least thought about having a sidechick.”

“Thought about, and having are two very different things. I’m a man, not that that’s an excuse, but yes I have considered it. In the long run though, I just knew it wasn’t worth it. I wouldn’t want my son doing that to a woman, and I definitely don’t want my daughter seeing her daddy treat a woman like that.”

She looked at C again, thinking to herself…”damn, he really has matured”, but all that escaped her mouth was ummm hmmm.

The ebb and flow of the conversation was effortless, as always, even when they disagreed. The food arrived, and they made small talk as they ate, even sharing a few laughs. As the last bites were taken, the main conversation picked back up.

Mavis started again, “so where’d I leave off?”

“Denard had started acting weird.”

“That’s right. So yeah, he just started tripping. Snapping at me for no reason, then apologizing five minutes later. Then, he went out and bought not one, but two new cars.”

“Ol’ boy was caked up wasn’t he?”

“That’s not the point Colby. I wasn’t with him for his money.”

“But it helped”, he retorted.

“Yes…it did. Buuutttt (she stated, drawing out the word for emphasis), that was not the reason we were together. The money thing is really beside the point. Why do you always have to find ways to detour serious subjects? It’s like you’re insecure about something.”

“What, the hell are you talking about Bean? I just asked if the money helped, and now all of a sudden, I’m insecure? That’s bullshit and you know it. Eff this…here’s the money for dinner, I’m out!”

“Colby! Wait. I’m sorry. I guess I was out of line.”

“Damn straight you were. It’s evident I touched a nerve, so I won’t ask about that anymore.” Colby sat back down, but warily.

They both looked at their plates before speaking. “He developed schizophrenia”, Mavis blurted out. “It seemed like it came on so fast I had no idea what do. I couldn’t prepare for it. It seemed like one day we were fine, and the next, he was talking about frogs telling him I was a demon. Not too soon after that, we were done, and I was putting my emotions back together.”

Mavis had tears streaming down her face. Colby took his napkin and gently wiped her face. Again, they sat in silence. After a few minutes, he took her hand, stood up, made sure the money on the table was enough to cover the bill and tip, and escorted Mavis from the restaurant. Colby walked her back to her car, hugged her tightly, and told her “they could finish the discussion later.”

She thanked him for his tenderness, entered her car and drove off. As she did, Colby watched until her taillights disappeared before returning to his own car. He leaned on the hood, lit a clove, and inhaled deeply, thinking about the just completed dinner. It definitely didn’t end the way he thought it would, but oddly enough, he’d never felt closer to “his Bean”.

Colby couldn’t put his finger on it, but there was most assuredly going to be something different happening between the two of them.

 
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Posted by on 05/13/2014 in Ties That Bind

 

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