Holy crap!!! I’ve had the best birthday week ever. I mean seriously. Thank you to every single person. Like seriously, I have the best friends/fans/readers in the whole wide world. I’ve never felt so loved. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! This week was one for the books, ya’ll. I’m so humbled to be surrounded by such greatness.
Unless I do a book just about my birthday weekend, I will never capture all of the details. So I won’t even try.
But I’ll do snippets of the weekend as I’m inspired. Let’s go:
I got a perm and no umbrella.
It’s the evening of my birthday. I’d met TLA at his house a few minutes earlier, but it didn’t smell like rain. Looked like it when I drove up, but I’m enough of a southern girl that I can smell it–usually. I don’t know why I left the umbrella in my car. Maybe I was too excited to be taken out on a date-date by a may-annn.
I’ve been on plenty of dates, but I haven’t had a “real” one in a long, long time. Not the NYC kind where you meet him there and you both jump on the train in opposite directions at the end of the night or if you’re lucky, he gives you cab fare. This is the kind where the man will drive you to your destination safely, look out for the night, and after, take you wherever you want to go. By my calculations, it’s been a good seven years (roughly the time I’ve lived here) since that happened.
I walk into his house and am greeted by a big, wide, fine-looking, great-smelling man, who says hello to me… well, very warmly. LOL! I don’t mean to brag on my boo… but got day-umm!!! I’ve never seen him dressed up. He doesn’t have to for work, and he doesn’t really like to do so. But for my birthday, he has broken out an iron and some hard soled shoes (fresh shine) and he is looking righter than right. Oh, yessir.
Just when we’re about ready to go, I look out the blinds and realize it is pouring rain. Of course it is. It rains at least once every single time I see this man. It’s like we’re living in Love Jones, but without all the smooky cafes and stuff.
He doesn’t have an umbrella. Mine is in my car, I announce. But nothing will ruin my birthday night. We’re going out, I’m eating birthday cake-red velvet! My freshly flipped mohawk will have to be damned. I will get wet to go out on my date-date.
I steel up. Breezily announce that I am still good to go and there is no need to be late for our reservation. If he’ll just give me a towel, I’ll throw it over my head and hope for the best.
He looks at me like I’m stupid… And starts taking off his clothes.
“No, baby,” I plead, reaching to button him back up. “We can do that after. I still wanna go!”
He laughs, smiles at me like I am the cutest thing ever. “I’m gonna run to get the umbrella.”
This negro undresses, re-dresses in basketball shorts and a wife-b and runs out in the pouring rain to get the umbrella from my car. Then runs to his car–still in the pouring rain–to swing it around the closest entrance so I will stay as dry as possible. Then, he runs back in the house, soaking wet. He dries off, undresses, and re-dresses.
I’m just staring.
He looks at me: “What? What I do? Hmmm.”
I’m amazed. Just plumb amazed. I am looking at him like he is a superhero and I am Lois Lane. My mohawk and good dress have been saved from destruction. “You’re amazing,” I blurt.
He smiles, brushes my compliment off. I think if he was light skinneded he would have blushed. I tip-toe up, grab his face and kiss him. “Thank you, XXXX.” (I have a nickname for him that I cannot say in public.)
“C’mon,” he says pulling back. “We gotta go.”
When he’s ready again, he takes me by the hand and leads me out the house. I happily follow.
TLA took me to a fabulous restaurant in DC. Great Italian food. Great service. Great wine. I let him order for me and he picked out a wonderful dish, fettucine with crabmeat and shrimp, that I loved. The only thing that was off was that he kept checking his phone all night, texting someone. He apologized profusely.
“Did something happen at work?” I ask.
“Um… no. I… just gotta take care of something.”
I nod. “Okay.” I don’t even let my mind wander to some next chick. He’s a man. He has man business to tend to. I keep eating my pasta.
The phone–on the table now–goes off again. He apologizes before checking it and typing back. I’m starting to get annoyed. I’d been sipping on water. I order a glass of wine when the waiter strolls by.
“I gotta run out. Ok?”
What nigga? I think it I don’t say it. I remember Anthony M. Patterson telling me about how he tortures Gold Dresses Tai sometimes when he’s about to do something big for her. The logic is that he will piss her off so that she near-hates him. Then when he does his great big thing, she will love him all the more. This makes sense to men somehow.
“Sure.” I try to sound as nonchalant as possible. I am slowly seething.
He goes away for about five minutes, then returns. The phone doesn’t buzz or ring again. It’s back in his pocket. We have amazing conversation (I’ll detail that in another blog. It made me realize something about men and I don’t want to detour here). I’m so suffed, I don’t even finish my amazing birthday dinner, but I am thinking about my bday cake.
When the waiter comes by to ask about dessert, TLA shuts him down before I can answer. Is he in a hurry to get somewhere? Maybe all that letting him order for me and lead me around has gone to his head. Red velvet wasn’t on the list of items the waiter ran off anyway. No red velvet birthday cake for me, I guess. It’s the only thing that keeps the evening from being perfect.
I get a doggie bag and TLA carries the shopping bag they put it in to the car when he runs to get it. All the way home [pause. I got that I called his house “home” when I was editing this. But I am going to let it stand because it reflects my mindstate over this dude in that moment], we’re laughing and joking in our own little world. He is just as random as I am. And how did I not realize he was funny too?
We get back to his house. And as I’m kicking off my shoes at his door (he has new carpet. No one is allowed to walk on it), he calls me to the kitchen.
“I have one more surprise for you.”
I’m beaming. “Really what?” I stick out both hands like a little kid, waiting for my gift. I even close my eyes.
He laughs. “Open your eyes, silly girl!”
I do. And there is nothing there.
He reaches into my doggie-bag… and pulls out a cake. A homemade red velvet cake!
I take it. It’s still warm.
So a week earlier TLA and I had a conversation about cake. He brought it up by telling me that he is obsessed with pound cake. I casually mention my love of red velvet, which is a hard cake to make well. You have to hunt down a good one. He makes a mental note of this apparently.
Tuesday night when I got down to DC, TLA realized my birthday was Wednesday, not Thursday. When he gets to work, he calls a friend who runs a part-time bakery from her house, and tells her in a panic, that he’s mixed up the days. He asks her if the cake is ready.
Of course, it’s not. But she says that she will rush home as soon as she can and make the cake. All the texts throughout the evening were updates about the cake’s status. I put it in the oven. I took it out the oven. It’ll be cool in 20. I’m icing it now.
I don’t know what he said or did to impress upon this woman the importance of the night or the person he was entertaining. But this gracious, phenomenal woman, whoever she is, made the cake at the last minute, then jumped in her car and drove from MD to DC to deliver it him while we were at the restaurant so that I would have red velvet cake on my birthday.
The cake was amazing.
The night was amazing.
TLA is really friggin amazing!
“You are the sweetest thing ever!” I blurt to TLA, going up on my tips for another kiss.
He has that look again, the one he gives when he’s trying to brush off a compliment. I swear he would blush if he could.
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