Monday, March 27, 2006

Bittersweet Interruptions - Ch. 10

At the end of the program, Onesha turned to her sister with inquiry on her face. She was the first to make a comment on the obvious, most prevalent point concerning the group date. “Even though you told us in advance that you didn’t get picked, I don’t see why not. Especially after watching the whole show tonight. Girl, that man was practically drooling over you from beginning to end.”

Kinda the way Percy does me, Onesha mused, thinking about her newest boyfriend, Percy Whitney. The tall, dark chocolate man went out of his way to please her whenever they were on the same flight. The other flight attendants couldn’t help but notice how much the distinguished pilot favored Onesha and a few of them even had a couple of things to say about it. Behind her back, of course.

“Yes, he was drooling over her, except when he kissed those other girls at the restaurant,” Asia inserted. “Then he looked a little angry because you refused to kiss him, too.”

“Yeah, I forgot about that,” Onesha said. Then her brows arched with humor. “Girl, I know you wanted to slap those two hoochie-mamas for kissing your man,” she added, reaching for her drink again. This tastes really good, Onesha mused. Her health conscious boyfriend would love the cranberry-raspberry mixture. I’ll have to get the recipe before I leave.

“Kirk ain’t my man,” Nyla protested, leaving out the fact that she’d kissed him, too, albeit away from the glare of the camera. Remembering it now caused a blush to rush into her cheeks and sent hot tingles up and down her spine.

Asia looked at her friend closely and smiled. “Naw, but from that silly look on your face, I’m sure you want him to be.” She got up and walked over to the window to see if Matt’s car was parked outside of her building yet. They had a date tonight. Asia didn’t live too far away and she could see her own apartment complex from here.

Nyla laughed again, neither denying nor confirming anything before changing the subject. “I’m actually glad I saw the show tonight. Something I said on that date just gave me a terrific business idea.” Then she turned to Asia. “Didn’t you say that China was looking for a new job? If she still is, then tell your little sister that I may have employment for her very soon.”

“Good as done, sugar,” Asia replied as she stepped away from the window with a wide smile on her own face. She’d seen Matt’s red jeep outside. It was time to go.

****

Back at Kirk’s house, Devon continued to sit on the couch where he’d alternated between watching the show and watching his brother watch the show. Now that the show was over, he commenced to massaging his inner ear with the edge of his car key. Devon’s face was contorted into numerous forms of ecstasy as he continued to move the key in slow rotations inside his left ear. Various moans escaped his lips.

Brentt arched his thick, bushy red brows in question as he looked at Devon, then at Kirk, who was already laughing from the funny sight. “Dude, are you all right over there?” Brentt asked. His freckled face was lit with humor. “I thought you had a hot date tonight, but it looks like your needs have already been met.”

Devon’s hand stopped as he laughed, too, accepting their teasing. “I do have a date tonight. I just like the way the key feels when my inner ear is itching, that’s all.” Then he looked at his older brother’s now scolding face and added, “Yes, I know that sticking foreign objects in the ear is dangerous, but I might take my chances on this one. It just feels so good.”

With that, Devon stood up to leave. It was time for him to go home and get as sharp as a tack, the way he always did when preparing to meet a woman. Since he’d only stopped over to watch the thirty-minute show with his brother, he’d worn gray sweats. After all, there were no women here to impress.

Halfway out of the den, Devon turned around and said one last thing to his brother. “Just tell me this before I go, Big bro. Why did you pick Talethia, when Nyla was clearly the woman you really wanted?”

Kirk debated within himself about what to say. He knew his younger brother looked up to him, but he couldn’t deny the truth. Something inside just wouldn’t let him lie about his feelings or even try to conceal them.

Squashing his pride, Kirk said, “To be completely honest with you, I still want Nyla. But I saw no sense in going on a second date with a woman that I knew I could lose my heart to.” He stood up from the stool he’d sat on and walked with his brother to the living room area. Brentt stayed in the den and called his wife.

“Big bro, are you running scared?” Devon asked, astonished by Kirk’s openness. This was not like his brother. In the past, Kirk would have just kept such things to himself. In the past, that kind of information would have had to be pried from his tight lips with a pair of pliers.

Kirk nodded, sensing more changes occurring within him. “Yeah, I am. As fast as I can, too. I’ve already been burned once, remember?” he said, referring to his relationship with Ulonda. “I’m not ready to go through that kind of pain again any time soon.” Kirk neglected to say that being around Nyla for that one day almost made him reconsider his position on love. But he would leave something to himself. He’d already said enough as it was.

****

Later that night Nyla received an unexpected phone call. It was from Antwon of all people. He was finally contacting her after four months of separation. After four months of Nyla wondering what went wrong in their relationship. After four months of her trying to figure out how to move on without him. Nyla sat straight up in bed at the sound of his voice, now fully awake at 2am eastern time, 11pm pacific.

“Hey, baby. I saw you on TV tonight and I must say, you looked great. I especially liked the new hairdo. That guy was a fool not to pick you,” Antwon said, leaving out the fact that he was glad that Nyla didn’t get picked. He also completely ignored the fact that he was a fool to have ever left her and had no right to judge another man’s actions when his were just as flawed, if not more so.

Antwon was glad that Nyla didn’t get picked for two main reasons. One was the fact that her being on that show was evidence that she was starting to move on with her life and thus was not still pining away for him at home alone, as his spy in the apartment building previously informed him.

Another reason Antwon was glad that Nyla didn’t get picked was because of fear. He’d seen the way Kirk looked at her during that date and it scared him. It scared him enough to call Nyla at two o’clock in the morning that’s for sure. Although Antwon had been gone for quite a while now, he still didn’t want another man to have his ex-girlfriend. Not when he’d finally gotten his stuff together.

With the pleasantries aside, Antwon got to the real purpose of his call. “Listen, I want to apologize for leaving you hanging like that. I just needed time to work through some things alone. And now that I have, I’m ready to try again.”

While he waited for Nyla to answer, Antwon pressed the ‘channel up’ button on the black TV remote in his hand. He was searching for the Channel 9 evening news. Enroute he passed by Channel 7 and paused as Tatum Bernau’s pretty face appeared on the scene.

Antwon frowned. She was his competition. Her station’s weekend ratings were higher than the company he worked for and he didn’t know what to do about it. Yet. After quickly flipping the rest of the way to Channel 9, he put the remote down.

“Try again?” Nyla asked. The man must be crazy. After four months of no contact. Please, she mused decisively, her lips in a scowl. If Nyla hadn’t been holding the maroon phone in one hand, both arms would have been defiantly folded across her chest as an outward sign of the anger that was floating around in her heart.

“Yes, try again. I’ll even fly you out here first-class,” Antwon said. His voice softened in that persuasive way that used to melt Nyla’s reserve every time. His attention was now focused solely on their conversation and not the TV screen across from him.

Nyla sighed with indifference and shook her head. His charm wasn’t working on her this time. “You must have finally gotten a job.”

“Yeah, I did. How did you know?” Antwon asked. He smiled at the very mention of his top salaried weekend anchor position at a thriving southern California television station. He’d been working there for a full month now and he loved it.

Antwon also loved his new apartment. After three months of staying alternately with his divorced parents, he’d been more than ready to find his own place. A place he imagined Nyla sharing with him. Unfortunately, co-habitation would again be the extent of Antwon’s commitment to her. Due to his parents’ rocky union and even rockier divorce, he didn’t believe in the institution of marriage. That dream was destroyed a long time ago.

“You wouldn’t be offering to spend that kind of money on me, if you didn’t have a job. A good one at that,” Nyla said. It was hard to forget how much her ex-boyfriend prided himself on being able to shower her with gifts.

As a whole, Antwon tended to equate love with money. This was largely due to the fact that money was all that his nomadic salesman of a father ever really gave to him or his mother. Consequently, when Antwon found himself without any money to give, he felt that he didn’t have any love to give either, and more sadly, no love to receive.

Antwon chuckled. “You’re right. And that’s not all. I have a big studio apartment just waiting to be broken in the right way,” he said huskily, making it clear that he expected their reunion to be an intimate one. Although he’d been with a few other women in the last four months, none had come close to replacing Nyla in his heart.

“Tyrone told me that you started back going to church with your parents again. But don’t worry; no one has to know about our little rendezvous. That’ll just be between the two of us,” Antwon teased, looking very self-confident now as he leaned back and propped his feet up on the navy ottoman in front of him.

Tyrone? Who’s Tyrone? Nyla mused. Her brows furrowed in a frown.

Suddenly she remembered that Tyrone was the ad executive from the second floor that Antwon used to play golf with on Sundays to keep from having to go to church with her. Nyla also remembered how as a result of Antwon’s refusal to attend church and the guilt she felt at times from their co-habitation; she stopped attending church, too. None of that had set well with her parents, particularly her father who didn’t think that the selfish, conceited sportscaster was good enough for his daughter in the first place.

So he can call somebody in Dapper City, just not me, Nyla mused hotly, realizing that her father had been right about Antwon all along. He was selfish and totally unconcerned about how his actions would affect her.

Then deciding that it was time to end this call and any hope that Antwon had of reconciliation, Nyla spoke her mind. “I’m not coming, Antwon. What we had is over and I’d appreciate you not calling me again. After all, you seemed to have done all right without speaking to me over the last four months, so the rest of your life should be a breeze,” Nyla said tartly, before promptly hanging up in his face.

The loud click in Antwon’s right ear sounded like a church bell tolling for those who’d been lost. Someone was lost. Nyla was lost to Antwon forever and he knew it. He’d waited far too late to reconcile with her and he knew that, too. As a result, the dejected man returned the black phone to its base.

****

Back in Dapper City, Nyla got up and went to sit on her covered balcony for a time of meditation. After that call, there was no way she could go back to sleep now. Talking to Antwon had caused her to think about some of the decisions she’d made in the past, both professionally and privately. Now Nyla saw where she could have done better in both areas of her life. Although she knew that she couldn’t change the past, she could make better decisions for her future. And that’s what she endeavored to do from now on.

Realizing that it had gotten chilly out, Nyla returned to her bedroom for a crocheted blanket that she and Onesha had worked on together as teenagers. Wrapping the lightweight pink and green material about herself, Nyla returned outside just in time to see the first raindrops of a quiet storm starting to fall. There was no thunder, no lightning, just a steady supply of liquid to saturate the thirsty earth and make things grow.

As she sat there looking at the impromptu waterfall created from the balcony above and listening to its soothing sound as it fell on the structures below, Nyla felt something growing within her. It was an idea. A great, wonderful, innovative idea that would surely bless the world around her.

Suddenly a scripture from Proverbs 3:6 came to her mind. ‘In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.’ Nyla smiled and looked upwards in gratitude of that reminder. “Yes, Lord. I realize that I’m gonna need You now more than ever before. And I’m okay with that.”

© 2006 Suprina Frazier

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