We release an installment of "Looking for a Love Jones" each week. If you'd like to share it, you can do so with the hashtag #lookingforalovejones & tag @rivaflowz and @bae_app on IG or Twitter.
We walked through hipster heaven, I mean Williamsburg, where he pointed out all the spots he loved to go.
"That's this sushi bar that's open 24 hours, seven days a week."
"They have the best lattes here."
"We have to come to this dessert bar, after dinner."
I smiled at his excitement, "You must pay a lot for rent."
He laughed, "Oh, you're straight to the point aren't you? I have two roommates. We make it work.
I couldn't stop thinking about Williamsburg, ten years ago. I was astounded at the change, no matter how many times I visited. I expressed this.
"You're looking at me like I'm a gentrifier."
"Policy and protocol rarely change when wealthy blacks move into a neighborhood, so no I'm not, but I digress. Where are we headed to dinner?"
"There's this gorgeous Mexican place I've been dying to try."
I did a little dance, "Cultural, I can dig it."
We talked, over just made guacamole and tacos, about Donald Trump, design innovations, and even the Bae app we'd met on.
"I think it's important to have our spaces. If you know what you want, a sista, Bae is the place to get it."
I nodded, "Some folks believe online dating is weird, but more than 50% of the singles in the United States are on one of the sites or apps."
"I think folks are terrified of telling their future children that they met through a swipe or that they might meet someone crazy."
"This is New York; you can meet someone crazy anywhere."
"This is true, and we're millennials...dating apps will probably be the antiquated thing to say you met on, twenty years from now."
"How will our children say they met?"
We both started laughing; the conversation had taken a nerd turn.
Geeks for life.
We ended up grabbing "crack pie" at The Milk Bar and hopped on the closest train home. He insisted on getting off at my stop and walking me to my door. I was leery of him seeing where I lived but decided to trust him. Brooklyn was foggy, the distance unclear, much like my recent dates. We had rain, earlier that day.
He broke the silence, "In some of your pictures on the app, you rocked an afro."
"Well...I see that you also had braids, and now you're rocking a weave. What's that about?"
"It's called protective styling and prerogative."
I was getting feisty; I wasn't about to let him give me any hair critiques.
"All I'm saying is that I like the afro."
"Oh, thank you."
I hugged Ricky goodnight and headed inside; I watched him walk down the block, through the window. I never knew how to take comments like the ones he'd just uttered. Was that a statement or a request?
Clearly Ty had something other than alcohol, that evening.
Perhaps I'd had too much.
I was angry at his statement, but I knew my anger was indicative of something I was denying.
"I'm not in love with Raymond."
Ty shook his head, "Yeah and I'm not drunk."
"What makes you say that?"
"Do you two see yourselves? You have a date night that you've disguised as a drinking night. At your last get together, he manned the grill, showed up early to help setup, and you were hosting together."
"We were not! He was just helpful."
"I showed up to the door, and this man took my wine and put it on chill. You two proceeded to joke around and play fight in the kitchen before you went back to the grill. Straight couple status."
Ty was putting some things into perspective for me, "Maybe it looks that way from the outside looking in, but here...on this side...we're just friends."
Ty sipped his drink, "Whatever helps you sleep at night."
"Well, you're his best friend. Has he said anything?"
"Yeah, that he's not in love with you. Denial. I can't stop hearing about how much he hates this Mason guy, though."
"He told you about Mason?"
Just then, Raymond came outside to call us back in with Miss-Coils' arm around his shoulders. The sight of them made me sick. I picked up my purse and hugged Ty and waved goodbye to Raymond. He stood there confused, trying to understand why I was leaving so early.
When the Uber driver pulled up to my home, my phone went off:
"I've never been to Prospect Park, this late."
Travis put the blanket on the ground and motioned for me to sit down, "First time for everything."
I snickered, "I feel like you're referring to yourself."
We dug into our meals and talked about the gallery, its owner, and how they'd met.
"You can't tell anyone that story, though."
I promised I wouldn't. I'm keeping that promise, here. *wink*
A young couple walked past us, headed to a nearby bench. The woman queried, "Do you two live over here?"
We both found her question to be awkward; thus we gave her a blank stare.
"My husband and I come here every night. It's just that we've never seen you."
Travis smiled, "I live around here. Do you need help with something?"
"No. I was just curious."
The woman and her husband took a seat and began to talk.
I nudged Travis, "What was that all about?"
"I'm just gonna keep quiet, or I'll have nothing nice to say."
He was visibly annoyed, so was I. I tried to lighten up the mood."
"Travis, you av' on expensive shoes and linen garment and yuh couldn't tek me to a nicer restaurant. You av' me ah sit on the ground, outside!"
He was startled by my patois, but he was also of Caribbean heritage. He understood every word.
He started to laugh and play along, "Listen gyal, this is what bad mon can afford."
The couple looked at us in alarm, surprised by our new accents and moved to another bench. We laughed even harder, as we watched them play into the stereotype.
Travis lay back on the blanket, still laughing; he spoke again "You're going to have to make me."
His voice was grave, all of a sudden, "I don't know how to stay in like, I don't think I've ever known love. I'm in and out of women's lives, and I can't stay still. Can you make me? Can you keep me here? Can you fight whatever it is that's pushing me away?"
"I...I'll try. But really, no one can do that but you..."
"I'm super comfortable around you. I feel like I could tell you anything. Is it too soon? Does that sound crazy?"
"Maybe it's the educator in me? I'm an excellent listener."
"Will you make me?"
"I can't make you do anything you don't want to do, Travis."
He held my hand, "I know, but it was worth a try."