Monday, March 06, 2006

Bittersweet Interruptions - Ch. 2

Dressed causally in denim jeans and a green t-shirt, Kirk Russo finished packing for his trip down to Commonway, Florida and proceeded to carry his black designer luggage downstairs. Waiting to drive him to the Merit City Airport was his colleague and business partner, Brentt Foxworth. Together they ran a pain management center, as well as provided contracted medical assistance to several of the local hospitals.

Although they were from two completely different ethnic backgrounds, Brentt and Kirk were the best of friends. They had been since medical school when as roommates they both struggled to become the best anesthesiologists they could be in the face of adversity.

Back then, Kirk struggled to rise above racial issues and stereotypes that suggested that a black man couldn't/shouldn’t succeed in that field or any other field of that stature. He also struggled to fit in with other African-American residents who didn’t deem him as ‘black enough’ because he’d been reared in a two-parent home in an upper middleclass, mostly white neighborhood.

Kirk couldn’t seem to get them to understand that in the eyes of many in the world, he was still just another black man. Eventually, he stopped trying to make them see and instead diverted more of his attention to his studies and trying to live his life above the opinions of others.

Brentt’s struggle was different, yet just as intense. Because of his poor background, thick southern accent, red hair and freckles, he was constantly looked upon as being ignorant and backwoods. Some of his peers even secretly labeled him as ‘trailer park trash’. But when Brentt stood up in front of the class for presentations and demonstrations, his excellent work spoke for itself. In fact, he was second only to Kirk in their whole graduating class.

It was of no surprise to anyone how quickly the two men soared through medical school. It was also of no surprise how quickly the men bonded as friends, in light of their similar experiences and rejections. Now Brentt and Kirk were both living in their dream of operating their own company which provided relief on a more personal and larger scale to those with chronic pain.

Brentt and Kirk used to share another dream, too. One of which was to raise their children near each other in a racially unbiased environment. But there was one glitch to that dream. Although Brentt recently married a nursing assistant that he met at one of the hospitals he frequented, Kirk didn’t seem interested in marriage at all.

Well, not anymore. Not since Ulonda Langston broke his heart over three years ago. And because all the other women he’d dated lately had only been interested in his money, social status and all of the other benefits that went along with being the potential wife of a doctor, Kirk might not ever be interested in marriage again. He deemed women with those characteristics as definitely non-wife material. And based on other experiences from his past, Kirk also found that anyone with those traits seldom made a good friend, either.

At the age of twelve, Kirk learned a hard lesson about life and about people in general. Although his parents could afford to keep sending him to private school, he begged them to let him attend a public middle school in their district. Those three years were supposed to be the best years of his life. Actually, the first year and a half was.

In public school, Kirk was surrounded by people from various cultural, religious and financial backgrounds and he’d loved every minute of it. At least he did until the December of his seventh grade year. That December he happened to overhear two girls talking under the bleachers about how they wanted him to pick their names for their homeroom’s Christmas gift exchange. That one significant conversation would forever change Kirk’s life. In fact, he could still remember everything those girls said, word for word.

“You know Kirk Russo is rich. So he’s probably gonna get something real expensive for whoever he picks,” said one curly-haired girl.

“Yeah, I heard that he picked Donna Cutley last year and bought her a gold watch with a diamond at the twelve,” replied the second girl as she rebraided her thick black hair.

“If he picks me, I’m gonna ask for a pair of new sneakers and a watch,” the first girl said.

“You think he’ll get you all that?”

The first girl waved her hand dismissively. “Chil’ please,” she scoffed. “Kirk will buy a girl anything to get her to like him. Why do you think so many girls want his nerdy behind? I mean, who wants to sit and listen to him talk about science all day?”

“Yeah, the planets and stars are boring. And who actually knows the names of all the bones in the human body?” the second girl agreed.

“And who actually cares?” the first girl added spitefully, helping her friend to clasp a thick green barrette on the end of her hair.

Leaving the track field in fiery indignation, Kirk failed to realize that those girls didn’t know how much he liked giving to people. Especially to those he cared about. And in the 6th grade he’d definitely cared about Donna Cutley, the most popular girl in their class.

Those girls also didn’t know how much their comments had damaged Kirk. Right then and there, the young man vowed to limit his gift giving that year to the ten dollar minimum the teacher had previously set forth.

The next school term, Kirk requested to be sent back to private school. It took him a long time before he could trust females after that and when he did, he got hurt again. Now all Kirk wanted to do was play the field until he got tired. Being only twenty-nine-years-old, he didn’t anticipate getting tired for a long time.

That’s what this dating game thing was all about. It was yet another avenue in which Kirk sought to have as much fun as possible with the opposite sex without becoming emotionally attached. Plus, to date three women at one time was something he hadn’t done before and Kirk wanted to see how that would work out.

****

On their way out of the European, stucco-styled, four-bedroom house that Dr. Russo owned, Kirk and Brentt met someone who’d stopped by to wish him well on his triple-team date. That someone was Kirk’s younger brother, Devon.

“What’s up, fellows?” Devon uttered in greeting, shaking Brentt’s hand first, then his brother’s. “So tell me, Big bro, are you going to sleep with the winner or what?” The twenty-two-year-old man was all grins as he asked that blunt question. Devon had always looked up to his older brother. As a matter of fact, he’d patterned his own social life after Kirk’s womanizing example to their mother’s horror.

Kirk laughed at his brother’s question as he handed off his luggage to Brentt. “Let’s just say that I’m not against it occurring.” Whether the participants became intimate or not wasn’t something they would show or even allude to on the Three-To-One television program. That part was strictly left up to the viewer’s imagination.

Devon laughed, too. “Well, don’t forget to wrap it up.”

“Hey, don’t encourage his behavior!” Brentt scolded as he finished loading the backseat of his red truck with Kirk’s luggage. “At this rate, he’ll never get married. Bonnie and I were hoping he’d finally make a love connection tomorrow.”

“Fat chance,” Kirk said, winking at his brother as he opened the truck’s passenger door. “I’ll give you all the details later.” Then he turned to his red-haired friend. “Come on, sport. Time’s a ‘wasting.”

© 2006 Suprina Frazier

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