So I made a decision awhile back to stop writing about my personal, recent experiences with dating, relationships and sex. And here’s why: when The Justin Fiasco happened.. Eh, I fell apart for a second. And well, there are people reading who I didn’t want to know my inner most thoughts on the matter, Justin included.
Two days after it all fell down (long story. I’ll tell it someday) Tariq was in town listening to me rant all around my apartment about much I didn’t care about Justin. He paused me midsentence when he asked “so why then are you so angry?” I rattled off some generic reasons and he stopped me again. He knows me too well. “No. Tell me why you’re mad.”
You ever look at someone and see the possibilities? Like I saw something in Jay that I could get behind, a cause I could rally for, maybe play the Michelle to his Barack someday, the Lady to his MacBeth. I dunno exactly why. I just saw the could-be. Didn’t want to change him, wanted to enhance him. Looked at his flaws and saw easy ways to positively channel his negative shit. His ish was familiar. I could deal with it. That doesn’t happen often. Last time was Mr. Ex.
So it didn’t work out. And because Jay is Jay and I am me, we had to have a long conversation about it. In fact, we had many long conversations about it. And the truth of the matter? He likes options. I’ve heard that before. And from other great guys. No matter how many times you hear it, it stings no less. And I get tired of hearing it too. When does someone great ever say “yah, it’s me and you against the world.”
After he explained his thoughts, I thought maybe I’ve got this whole dating thing wrong. Maybe the purpose isn’t to meet great people and have great times and eventually pair off. Maybe its just great people and great times until it fizzles out and you just move on. There’s no commitment, no promised tomorrows or even hours later. Just the time you spend together and when you’re apart, you are just that.
I’m not okay with the latter, but I thought I could be. There was a second, just one, where I thought, well, maybe that’s better than nothing? And then I snapped out of it. I don’t know where that came from or what I deserve in life, but I know what I want is more than to share a man.
So I bowed out, gracefully, I think. And yes, it hurt. And in the moment, I thought about Mr. Ex. And I remembered how bad walking away from that hurt. And I remembered that I can get over anything if I can get over that. (Cue Kanye’s “Stronger” or Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” now.) This might hurt, but nothing will ever hurt like that.
After I got off the phone with Jay, I decided to go out on the town. All day, I’d planned on staying in after the horrid day I was having (flurries of emails seems to be the standard M.O. in his world), but suddenly I didn’t want to be alone. Tariq was going to his other best friend’s birthday party (then another club) with my friends even if I didn’t go.
I dressed in my best and we hit her party, then a club. At the second spot, I run into an old friend, the guy from Queens who said the equivalent of “Mel, I adore you. I only want to be your friend.” We’re cool now though. We dance, we laugh. At some point later in the evening and in the middle of the club at 2AM, I ask him to tell me why we didn’t work.
“You want to talk about that now?” He looks confused.
“Yes,” I declare. “Now.”
He takes a moment to formulate his thoughts. “Mel, I think you’re great,” he begins. “But..”
I burst into tears. You know how you can usually feel them coming? Can take a moment to steady yourself or at least prepare for the onslaught? No time.
I cover my mouth, fully aware of the recklessness I am displaying in public, but I can’t stop. While sobbing, I try to tell Tariq that I am going home, that he should stay and enjoy the party, but he’ll hear none of it, of course. He tells the crew that we are leaving and Patent tells him, frankly, he’s surprised that I lasted this long. They all knew how bad off I was over this blow up and saw the downward spiral I was destined to take when I ran into Queens. Evidently, I was the only one who expected me to make it through the night with an emotional outburst.
Tariq’s a Black man so I stand on the corner to hail our cab. I’ve got one hand over my mouth trying to hold back sobs and hide my tears, the other stuck in the air trying to get a cab. I’m a real pathetic sight.
Patent exits the club to check on us and immediately commandeers the situation, hailing us a ride back to the borough (he was in a suit). Through tears, I apologize to Tariq the whole way back to Brooklyn for ruining his night, which he shrugs off.
“You’re a girl, you get emotional.”
My inner feminist is too upset to correct his sterotype. “But I don’t cry,” I remind him as I wipe away more tears with the sleeve of my dress.
He pulls me onto his shoulder. “Yes, I ‘know.”
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