When my phone rings I am just getting my boys out of the bath tub and into bed. I glance at my caller ID and I don’t recognize the number but I answer anyway.
“Hi, is this Ms. Tee?”
“Yes, who is this?”
“This is Philip.” (The Morris Chestnutt look-alike I met on South Beach the night before)
“You remember me?”
“Ofcourse I do. How could I forget?”
“Are you busy right now?”
“Yes I am, but you can call me back later.”
“I will. Save my number in your phone.”
I feel a vibration and I lift my head up and open one eye. It’s my cell phone. It’s under my pillow since I don’t have a night stand to sit it on yet. I look at my alarm clock which is perched vicariously atop a miniature suitcase which serves as my make shift nightstand. There’s only room for the alarm clock so I often sleep with my TV remotes under my pillow too.
The clock reads 10:16pm.
Damn, it’s early and I’m already asleep. I must be tired. I guess I’m not going out tonight.
I recognize the number this time, it’s Philip.
I answer sweetly.
“You sleeping?” he asks.
“Nope,” I lie. I’m curious to see what this brother is all about so I can make my mind up about him. Yeah, I admit when it comes to men I decide very quickly. If I even THINK that you are shady or lazy I cut it off, before I get too involved. Who says you can’t help who you fall in love with? Yes you can. You can’t fall in love if you don’t get losers a chance to begin with. I’ve learned my lesson.
“Can I ask you a couple of questions?” he asks. Mind you this is our first conversation since we met on South Beach.
“Sure,” I answer and smile. I’m used to being the one who asks the questions. This is kinda cool.
“What’s your last name?”
I pause. What a weird question. I tell him anyway.
“Are you mixed?” he asks me.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes I am sure. I get my green eyes from my Mama.”
“Oh, you just look like you’re mixed to me.”
“Well, I’m not.” ~rolling eyes~
Ohhh, I get it. He’s one of THOSE type of brothas. One of those dark skinned brothas who feels like he needs a mixed/lightskinned chick on his arm, probably to make light skinned babies. How sad. He was handsome too. I appreciate a man who appreciates my beauty, but I don’t want a man who is interested in me SOLELY because I can lighten up his offspring.
“Who do you live with?” he asks.
“I live with my two sons.”
“Ohh, you have kids! Why didn’t you tell me that?!”
“When was I supposed to? This is our first conversation.”
“I thought I asked you. I’m sure I did.”
“No you didn’t. I wouldnt lie about that.”
“So, two kids, huh?”
“Yeah. 4 and 2 years old. Great boys.”
Awkward pause. So what you gonna do Buddy, sink or swim?
“Well, you tell me,” I ask him. “What’s YOUR last name?”
He stammers. “Uhhh, It’s just that I hate my last name.”
“Why would you hate your last name? Is it weird?”
“No, it’s Jean-Louis.”
“So you’re Haitian?”
“Yeah I am.”
“Does that mean you’re ashamed of being Haitian?”
“No, it’s not like that. I guess I had this issue since I was in middle school about being Haitian. It wasn’t the cool thing to be. I mean, I would deny it all day when people would ask me and girls didn’t like me when they found out. It wasn’t until highschool that I accepted that I was Haitian and stopped pretending. I think it was when the Fugees came out. Then it wasn’t so bad to be Haitian anymore.”
“I hear you, I remember those days. It’s crazy how the media portrays the Haitian culture. When I met a Haitian classmate for the first time, I was speechless because she didn’t look like those people I saw on TV. She looked a lot like me. Anyway, you make me feel like you are STILL afraid to admit you’re Haitian.”
“It’s not that. It’s just..my last name is sooo Haitian. And that bothers me. Everyone can tell automatically that I’m Haitian and I don’t really look like I’m Haitian.”
“Well, once I met this guy and I thought he was Haitian so I asked him if he was and he was shocked. He told me that no one can tell usually and that when someone says to him that he doesn’t ‘look’ like a Haitian, what they mean is that he doesn’t look ugly.”
“See!” he answers emphatically.
“That’s what I mean. I’m not ugly, but I am Haitian.”
“My first love was Haitian,” I tell him. I tell this story often. “But he broke my heart.”
“That happens sometimes,” he says.
“It sure does.”
We chat a bit more. He asks me about life after college and how I found a job. I tell him my story and end up feeling like I’m giving a motivational speech, assuring him that if he is diligent he will find his place in the world.
We hang up after he promises to call me back soon.
I hope not, I’m done with him.
I lean back and think about my conversation with Philip, then my mind wanders to the dinner I had earlier with another new ‘friend’.
Dinner was great. A little french restaurant that I found a few weeks ago. The food was magnificent and the conversation was interesting. But I was feeling a very funny vibe from him. I think I have my guard up and I’m wary of a guy who shows interest. I mean, what are you hiding? What is your motive?
After I met him, during our first conversation I mentioned that I blogged. He didn’t even know what a blog was and I was practically jumping up and down in anticipation of teaching him all about it. He is a young professional, 28 years old, corporate job.
After I explained blogging to him, he asked to see mine. I hesitated. Hmm, do you give away all your secrets so soon after meeting someone? My blog is the avenue to my soul. You either take me or leave me after reading it.
I decided to go ahead and give it to him. If he even reads it, at least he’ll know where I come from and where I am in all areas, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I won’t have to explain much. We won’t have to play guessing games, if he’s mature he can like it or lump it.
The next day I get an IM from him. Like most men in technical fields, he’s into the internet and chatting too.
“It was amazing! He wrote me. I read the whole thing.”
Damn, he read the whole thing! He calls me on my cell to continue.
“It’s like a story. A story that doesn’t end. And it’s addictive.”
Now, I’m sure I heard that one somewhere before. Uh oh…
“I’m glad you like it.”
“Now tell me something. Am I going to end up as the subject of one of your stories?”
“Only if you make an impact on my life. Otherwise, no.”
“I don’t want to be in your story,” he says with a nervous laugh.
“I can’t promise that. It’s up to you to deal with me.”
“Man, I don’t want to be like that guy you wrote about who you had bad sex with.”
“Don’t forget about THE ATTORNEY.” I remind him.
“Yeah, damn. I don’t want my business out there like that.”
“Well, why are you so scared? Are you planning something bad? I only write according to what happens. You decide how your story will play out. But anyway, I don’t write about every man I meet on my blog, only those with an interesting story.”
Who knows, there may be no story to tell, you may never even get a mention. It’s all up to you.