Saturday, November 28, 2015

Dating Series: Looking for A Love Jones, Part 10

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.

A few months ago, I held a barbecue at my house. My closest friends and I spent a month clearing out the unwanted shrubbery and stray cats that infested yard of my brownstone, so we could use it to entertain.

After spraying the iron patio furniture a summer yellow and buying a grill, we were ready to go. Raymond was excited about the things we had planned.

"I'll man the grill; I'll even help buy the groceries. Do I get to invite my boys?"

"Of course! Who will entertain the ladies, if you don't?"

We both laughed and high-fived one another. Ryan and Ty snickered nearby.

I rolled my eyes at them, "What are you two laughing about?"

Ryan spoke, "You two sound like a married couple."

We both pretended to stick our fingers down our throats, disgusted at the thought."

"I'm just saying. You host events together all of the time."

"Yeah, so we'd make great co-hosts."

Ty laughed and high-fived Ryan, "Or mom and dad?"

Raymond and I ran after them, chasing them into the house.


It was difficult to suppress these memories while Raymond apologized relentlessly. He'd called every day, text me often, and my neighbor mentioned he'd stopped by a few times.

"What do you want me to tell him if he comes back?"

I shrugged and opened the door to my apartment, "Tell him I moved."

I was only half joking. I'd moved from the space that we were always in; the space where denial and regret meet. We were already where I never wanted to be: standing on the boundary of friendship and love, watching our bond diminish.

He had outdone himself.

I was sitting in front of a plate Travis prepared, surf and turf done well. I stuck my knife into the steak; perhaps it was done too well. I was still impressed, despite the tough meat. He'd tried, which is more than I can say for several men I'd dated.

What does that say about me?
Do I attract fools, because I allow myself too or do they hide their jester well in the beginning?
Am I not paying attention, to all the signs?

Travis wore oven mitts, as he pulled the dessert out of the oven. I sipped on a glass of wine and stared on in absolute awe.

"This is rare for you, huh?"

I was about to get defensive, but I realized my face might've shown it all. Travis also had a habit of seeing right through me. It was scary and sexy, all at once.

"Yeah, it is."

"Weren't you engaged for a while?"

"Something like that."

"Three years and no meal?"

"He tried once or twice. It wasn't cooked all the way through and on both occasions I had to ask."

"Sometimes men don't know what you want until you tell them. Women are the mind readers, contrary to popular belief."

"I'm sure that women are well aware that men aren't mind-readers, by now."

He chuckled, as he finally sat next to me. He stuck his knife and fork into his steak, "Perhaps. Women are tough cookies to crack, too, like this steak."

I snorted and almost spit out my wine, "Damn! I wasn't going to say anything, but..."

We both laughed together.
Travis was real.
There were no walls when I was around him.
I felt like I could be myself, hang loose.

"How's the new job?"

I smiled. He remembered the position that I told him I was going to take. We'd had large gaps in between seeing one another, due to his out of town trips. I didn't expect him to remember every little thing.

"It's good. I'm still getting used to the new kids. I miss my babies, back at the old school."

"I bet they miss you too."

I pulled out my phone to show him a picture an old co-worker sent me. It was a photo of my students holding up a large sign that said, "We miss you, Ms. Erica!"

I teared up a little, as I showed it to him.

"Hard to move on?"

He touched my hand, from across the table. I thought about all the dinners I cooked alone. I remembered the arguments post dinner. Flashbacks of a neverending makeup session suddenly flooded me.

Travis was worth moving on.


"Speaking of moving on, we're taking on some exciting clients for this new stock photo thing."

"Oh yeah?"

"We're trying to get well-dressed black men and attempt to target the fashion blogs. There are so few black male stock photos that reflect that reality of male attire."

"Dope. You guys are doing much-needed work."

"We're getting regular dudes with a sense of style. My partner has been targeting some of his wealthy friends. One of our first models is this guy named Ricky. I added him on Facebook the other day. You're the only friend we have in common, besides my partner. I thought you could tell me more about him."

"Oh, Ricky...."

10 Reasons I Still Believe In Love

I've found myself, within writing the posts on this blog. I've grown here. This is a space that has seen me from the start of my college career to the height of my actual career. I've written about so many things. However, there's one topic that I've managed to stay true to throughout the entire time. Love.

During my book release, this past weekend, someone asked why I still believed in love, after all I'd been through. My response was, "Because living and actively loving has taught me what I want and don't want. It's shaping the person that I want to love eventually." That was a partial answer. The exact response to that question lies deep in the depths of this site.

I still believe in love, because...

I buy myself flowers.
I take long, warm baths.
I have a sign above my mirror that says “You are beautiful, Erica.”
I kiss my arms before I fall asleep.
I tell the moon goodnight.
I write poems about the beauty that happens in my day.

Although I am mighty, I’ve learned that I’m fragile too. I learned that I no longer want to live and love as if I’m not. I will demand it of anyone who comes calling and all those who want my attention.

No one will ever love me the way you did. 

But there are several different ways to love.
& I'm learning a new style, so I can enact it with a man who's style of loving surpasses your own. 

You're right. 

You're my first lesson on what it resembles.
But you my dear...are the prototype. 

Remember those silent spaces we discussed earlier? Use them to your advantage. Fill the cracks.

Tell them about stories you’ve only told to those closest to you. Open your heart a little. Spread your vulnerability, while asking them to let go a little too.

It was the first time I was truly sad about rejection. The letter came in the mail and I waited three hours to open it. I finally did and they told me that they didn’t want to take me on. I never wanted to write again.

If he skips over the story to tell you his own story of rejection, walk away. If he listens, offers a shoulder, and tells you that one day you’ll write across the sky…keep him.

I was complaining, to my best friend, about the fact that we still weren’t together. We both understood why he and I couldn’t be together, but I was pissed that we were still playing the game.

“Stop,” she said. “You’ve been through so much this year with love.”
I know.
“Can we just celebrate the fact that you’re loved?”
Can we?
“You’ve been cheated on and lied to; you’ve been hurt so many times. Yes, you can’t be together. You know that he loves you. You guys are crazy about each other. Can you just…cherish that…for right now?”
I can. I think.

We’re so caught up in how it ends that we forget to live in the moment. When you look back, you don’t want to wonder why the arguments trump the lovemaking.

Cherish yourself.

It’s the most prevailing thing in this world, and it shadows anything that will try to crumble you. I am no disintegrating thing. I am rock, I am solid ground, and I’m everything you pretend to be. I am a canvass, but I no longer wait for an easel or a painter. I am my spine and burst of color. I am worthy of wall space and a gallery with no other painting alongside. I am worthy of a viewer who sees that I am sculpture refined.

That viewer must first be me. My Picasso is a mirror and upon reflection, she is a masterpiece. She is priceless, even standing alone. Especially standing alone.

Party of one.

Sometimes you’re cultivating a significant other for someone else, but the process is also cultivating you. You’re becoming resilient, magnificent, and cognizant of your worth. You become aware of what you spend your time putting your all into. You become a bullshit detector and deflector of manipulation. You become all the potential he could’ve been, would’ve been, and will probably be.

Most importantly…you become a woman with experience: You are a human quilt of scars and memories that’ll be evident in motherhood and spousal support. You are a voice box filled with stories for your daughter and younger kin. You are heartstrings that will be pulled when you’re spotted walking in your happiness or sharing it digitally. You are forward movement.

Don’t regret one moment of it.

Embrace that shit. Cultivate it. 
Remember the moment that she walked around your office inquiring the usage of everything. She sat on a small file cabinet, kicking her feet against it. She pointed to an old and filled manila folder, with colorful pages sticking out from it. “Daddy, what’s this?” Tell her that they’re poems and stories, ones you’d written for her mother and moments that only the pen could revive.

She will come downstairs, wanting to snuggle next to her mommy and cry her first love from existence. Kneel next to her, in the same way, the man who’ll ask for her hand will, one day, and present her with a letter. The letter will briefly mention beating her ex to a pulp, in jest (or not), and conclude with a reminder of love and a metaphorical poem about a tree and a bird. You’ll hope that it’s conveyed that although she will leave the nest, home is always rooted.

I looked at, my current boo, as if he was from another world, an anomaly in my idyllic existence. There he stood, unflinching and sure, understanding that what I did was not a reflection on our livelihood, but what I needed to breathe.

“This is what you do babe. It’s a part of why I love you.”

I have had several conversations with writers who struggle with releasing fantastic stories; for fear that their family members, friends, loves, and/or roommates might recognize themselves. I tell them that I’m an advocate for protecting those we care about, but I also remind them that those are their stories too. “They belong to you. You have no clue who’s listening, no idea who’ll blossom, petal by petal, because of your words. Don’t negate that.”

But you are beyond building. In fact, your castle is so high that I haven’t been able to reach you. This is the reason for this post.

Revivals do not come in the form of open mouths and flowers. They are already within you. You are everything you need.

Once I realized this, I was alive. I rose with the sun and set out for a purpose, my intentions bereaved of the opposite sex. I was more than a journal filled with words for men who didn’t deserve them.

& in the midst…
of finding,
and trusting…

My oasis arrived, as will yours.

and then I realized I could write you
pen you into existence,
like James and his testament

have worlds of women, bow down to your perfection
because even if this doesn’t work,
I will leave you a man
something will turn on inside of you
and fight its way out in the form of grit,
leave memories of my touch,
running down your spine

I am embedded,
and embroidered,
never forgotten


our princes are flawed,
our kings are bereft of thrones,
but they are not above building them

Guest Fiction Series: Vinnie, Part 2

For a few months, will be taking four guest authors #fromblogtobook. Each week you'll be able to read a new installment from unique aspiring authors. This tale is from Ronald P. Clark. Enjoy!

(Read all parts here.)

“You’re late.”

A layered regurgitation of past events continually infiltrating the present. James Baldwin’s sentence structure still resonates in my mind at this time, so do not mind that last sentence. I felt an urge to scream within an intellectual cage. Baldwin always seems to fit in those times.

I did not actually say ‘You’re late’. My mother may have. Either way it would have been a waste of breath anyway.

“I’m here, aren’t I?”

The lack of understanding behind this statement still baffles me. Ever known someone whose presence never necessarily meant they were there? My father has perfected this craft. He has molded his fatherhood into trying to convince my mother and I that what he is able to do is enough.

“Just show me what you need to show me.”

The painting does not even look the same at this point. All its vibrancy evaporated upon the realization that the most critical eyes to be laid upon it were not going to be laid upon it at all. It gave up on attempting to be at its best. It gave up on trying to be loved and adored, showcased for the rest of the world to see. It has given up. It has looked up to me, taken its cue from me, so none of this comes as a shock, now does it?

“Oh, that’s nice. You like this painting stuff, huh?”

The belittling of all that I am. If there was ever anything this man was successful at, it was this.

My mother is the one who put the paintbrush in my hand. A black woman whose essence is everything our ancestors would have wanted her to be. Something like a goddess on earth, mocking us with her constant ability to be more than human within the restraints of that humanity. I, her son, simply want to provide her with the warmth and love necessary for a being such as her to continue to function.

So I paint. She smiles. I paint some more. Her joy is evident. She takes my hand in hers, guides my paintbrush in regal strokes, the paint listening to her every direction at a level I have not reached yet. This is our time together. The time in which my life is the most colorful, most full of life.

Yet, the darkness his shadow is able to provide can swallow even her sunshine, even within a flashback to a beautifully designed memory such as this one. But we must leave this place now, and return to my father’s shadow. It is not done covering the present with its unwavering swirl of parental ineptitude.

“So, when is this thing over?”

My mother looks in my direction. She wonders the same thing I wonder. Will I respond?


“It was over before you arrived. It’s been over for some time now. But I guess a thank you is required in this situation since you wasted gas to get here.”

“I did. And you’re welcome.”

I imagined another conversation taking place in this moment. I really did. But my imagination is responsible for the vast majority of fond memories that include my father. I have to create a position for him within my memories in order for him to have any substantial impact. His gravestone will read ‘In Loving Memory?’

I am sure he held me in his arms at times when I was a baby. I am certain he tossed a ball around with me when I could barely run. I am sure he did – something. But the more I independently operated, the more he felt the need to not be a parent anymore. I will never understand the trigger in fathers to back off.

Do not ever stop loving me!

Excuse me. My throat hurts. That scream clawed at my vocal chords. Whenever I see him, I scream this. I scream this over and over again. He does not hear me. He does not listen to words. But I have not found the proper actions necessary to get him to recognize his glaring flaws. He cannot see my necessities. He cannot see my needs. But what is most painful is differentiating between cannot and will not. Maybe cannot can be forgiven. Maybe. But will not? Will not? Naw, I ain’t having that.

Do not ever stop loving me!

I can get so consumed by this, all of it. To the point that I no longer notice the words being stated around me.

By classmates.

“I have only ever seen his dad on, like, maybe, three occasions. He don’t be around like I would want my daddy to be.”

By Ms. Washington.

“There is so much potential here for something beautiful. Vinnie is calling for him, but Thomas refuses to listen to his cries.”

I should not have similarities to the character in the first verse of J Cole’s Breakdown.

So many things you could have told me/to save me the trouble of letting my mistakes show me/I feel like you barely know me…

I cried when I first heard it. I cried like a baby. I broke down. I had no choice in the matter. My father is right here, in the flesh, and I have an emotional reaction to a young man’s story about not knowing his father at all. I know his name. I know his occupation. I know his bank account number. I know what he feels is necessary. But I know nothing of his wiring. I know nothing of why he is the way he is. I know nothing of why he cannot love me the way I want to love him. For love is a two-way street, and despite how much love I have to give, I cannot give it all unless he returns the favor. And it should not be a favor at all due to the father-and-son correlation.

I just want to go home and dream. Dream of that day when I leave this earth, knuckles stained in red from battling a violent swarm of insecurities. He will be there then. He is always there when I die. He is always there to see me through my final breath. I want him to savor the opportunity to share oxygen with me. Only to never grasp it in time.

I truly hope that comes to fruition. My scars would be so worthwhile then.


R. Preston Clark is an educator, screenwriter, poet and open mic host with too much to say in too many ways.

Fiction Series: Jentrified, Part 2

2: ghosting & the b-words in apartment 3B

I lay awake, in bed, for one hour. 

Or was it two? 

My momma used to tell me that women daydream the most when they're in love. I was sure that I was smitten, perhaps a tad infatuated. I fell quickly, but I hadn't dropped yet. 

I reached for my phone, on the nightstand, and told Siri to call him. 

Siri: I don't understand you. Are you looking for Pamela?

"Call Samuel!"


Damn technology. I went to search his name and sent him a text manually. 

It was the expected "Hey." The word that made sure I didn't look desperate, but also expressed my continuing interest. 

I reread it. "Hey."

Perhaps I should have added extra y's. Heyyyyy. 

Perhaps I should have added a prompt. Hey, how are you?
Perhaps I should have been more forward. Hey. Did you enjoy last night, as much as I did?

Well, it was too late. I'd already sent it. 

This was one hour ago. 

I'd spent that total time in bed, on a Sunday afternoon, waiting for a text. Sigh. 

I should know better, about so many things, but they seem to leave my mind in a flutter when I'm in most situations. 

Samuel walked me home after our second date. He wanted to make sure I got home safe, although the erection of a Starbucks and impending Blink Fitness made it clear that police presence was about to be incessant.

"I took the train there. I could've taken it back too."

"My car is in the shop. If it weren't for that, you wouldn't have taken the train."

"It's okay. I had a great time. That's an alright soul food spot."

Samuel smiled, "Even though all of the chefs were uhh..."

"White. Yes, I did notice that. That's why I only had the pie."

We both laughed. 

"I had the fried chicken. It wasn't that bad."

"The fact that you said "wasn't that bad" and not "good" is all I need to know."


We finally reached my apartment building, and I stretched my arms out to give Samuel a hug. He smelled incredible and his fresh cut was apparent, as his hairline brushed my hands. He was growing on me. We'd had happy hour drinks a few nights ago, and he'd already planned another date. I couldn't wait for our next one. He had interests and ambition, none that I could name because I'd been too busy looking at his piercing eyes, but I'd be sure to catch them the next time. 

"We shouldn't have to say goodnight so early." 

I checked my phone. It was 9:39 pm. 


This is where common sense should kick in. 
It's almost 10 pm and a man who you've known for only a week is insinuating that he wants to come in.
You should be clear in your response.
Outstretch your arms and yawn; tell him you've got to get up early.
Anticipate the response: But it's the weekend.
Don't look like a lame.
Surely you can invite him in and control yourself.

I grabbed Samuel's hand and walked him inside the communal hallway, asking him to wait a quick second before I let him in the apartment door.

Fast clean:
Drying panties off of the shower rod? Check.
Bed fluffed? Check.
Wait...why do I need to do that?
Chinese takeout boxes on the counter. Garbage. Check.
Random shoes all over the place. Kick into a closet. Check.

I opened the door after two minutes to find Samuel smiling and leaning against the hallway wall, "Got everything together?"

"I did. I needed to umm...make sure my roommate wasn't here."

I didn't have a roommate.

"Oh okay. Can I come in?"

Could he?
Okay, Jennifer, now is not the time to be grammar jerk.

"Yes, you may come in."

Black boys don't love us.

I mean, black men.
Black men that I refer to as black boys, when I realize they haven't come to fruition.
...refer to as black boys, when I fathom that they're missing pieces.
Jigsaw puzzle, be-broken-sometimes, black men always need me to replace something or someone.


I finally put down my phone, anxiety flooding my chest.

Had he gone ghost on me?

I thought of calling one of my friends, but I knew they'd reprimand me for freaking out when I'd just seen him the night before. 

What was the courtesy for the next day, after you'd let a man visit your temple?

Was it a hello? 
Was it a required response? 

Ghosting wasn't a new phenomenon, by any means. 

However, with all the new apps and ways to meet it seemed more rampant than ever. 

You could communicate with someone via wifi and never have to exchange phone numbers. 

You could meet for lunch and send your disappointment through a site's block button and never have to speak to that person again. 
You could never have to answer for your actions or lack thereof. 

Could Samuel go ghost on me?

We kind of worked together.
Was that even possible?

It's happened before. I met an athlete, with a British accent, and the most perfect set of teeth. We spent the evening sitting at a bar, discussing the awkwardness of internet dating over Jager bombs. We exchanged numbers and spent the next month talking and texting. I even accompanied him to a friend's wedding, when he was in dire need of a plus one. 

& then he was gone. 

There was no warning, no argument, no odd moment.
He just vanished.
He wasn't updating his social media.
He wasn't answering his phone. 
Our one mutual friend hadn't heard from him either.

Months later, I'd see him on the train and ask him what happened. He gave me a story about a broken phone and broken dreams. I rolled my eyes and got off on the next stop. I couldn't be in the same car with his Casper ass. 

I worried about this behavior every time a guy took too long to text back, schedule another date, or call. 

I never told anyone about the ghosts, because I was ashamed of most of them.
It was almost as if I'd decided that I'd done something wrong. 

Was it something I said? 

Did I wear a bad outfit?
Was my energy wrong?
The frequency in which it was happening, it had to be my fault. 

In between my anxiety and finally getting out of the bed to wash the dishes, the doorbell rang. I wasn't expecting anyone and ran to my window to see if I could get a sneak peek. NYPD's finest stood on my steps.


I fixed up myself, put on my slippers, and made my way outside.

I opened the door to two officers, one Asian and the other Caucasian, that were familiar. They'd started to patrol the neighborhood a few weeks ago. I wondered where they'd been when I'd moved in last year. There was a shootout almost every night of the summer and they'd always taken their sweet time to arrive.

"Afternoon ma'am. We've received a noise complaint, for this building."

I looked up the apartment steps. The hipster gals that just moved into the 3rd-floor apartment were always blasting their favorite tunes. I tried to get to know them; I even went up to deliver a package to them, but I could never get a hold of them. My landlord insisted that they were friendly, but the most I'd seen of them was their hair flapping in the wind hurriedly towards the train.

"I believe it's the apartment upstairs."

"Are you the super?"

"No, I'm not. I live downstairs."

"Are you sure you're not blasting music?"

I rolled my eyes and looked in the direction of the noise; I pointed to my door, "That's where I live. Clearly, it's not my music."

"Can you tell them to turn it down?"


I closed the door and tried to fathom the stupidity of the men I'd just met. I walked upstairs and knocked on the door. There was a towel in front of the door and Bob Marley vibrating the walls.

After an entire minute of knocking, a short brunette with a blunt still in between her lips answered. Smoke drifted out of the small crack she'd opened. I could see several of her friends, in the background.


"I'm your neighbor. I live downstairs."

"The designer, right?"

"Yeah, how'd you know that?"

"We steal your magazines sometimes. They're dope. We always bring them back, though."

I held my Jersey girl tongue. They did what?

"Okay. The cops were just here. The music is too loud. Can you turn it down?"

The brunette looked me up and down, "Yeah, we will. Can you not cook your cultural food every day? We have issues with the curry smell."

"That's the Indian family on the...wait...that's incredibly rude."

"So is killing our vibe."

She slammed the door, leaving the dank smoke behind.

I could not believe how disrespectful she was! I took out my phone to call my landlord when I noticed that I'd finally received a text from Samuel.


Guest Fiction Series: I Used To Love Her, Part 2

For a few months, will be taking four guest authors #fromblogtobook. Each week you'll be able to read a new installment from unique aspiring authors. This tale is from Angelica Bryant. Enjoy!

(Read all parts here.)

June 24th,  2009
“Chloe, come on, let’s dance!!”
I sipped my Belvedere & cranberry as I watched Leslie sashay her way towards the dance floor, beckoning me to join her.  I rolled my eyes.  If her idea of getting me out of my “funk” consisted of me sweating out a fresh press, my dear sister had another thing coming.
“Go on!,” said my best friend (of practically my whole life) Amali, “Take that to the head and have some fun granny!” she teased.
Just as I started to protest, her attention was diverted by six-foot-three-inches of caramel; my whining would be no contest to that.
Come on Chloe, you used to be the life of the party—I goaded myself. Vodka was burning its way to my stomach, I stepped onto the small dance floor and found Leslie twirling and whining to the soca beats like she was alone in her loft, with her stereo pumping.
That’s when I saw him—well more so caught him mid-stare; staring at me.  I halfway expected him to drop his gaze; I mean usually that’s how these things pan out.  You catch them, and a mixture of shock and embarrassment leads to sheepishly averted eyes and a knowing nod among your girls; but not this one.  His look stayed fixed on his target—me—and only seemed to intensify once he was spotted.  I took him in, determined, for once, to be as composed and cool as I put on to be.
About 6’4.
Clothing tailored and dripping off of a perfectly sculpted physique.
How many drinks have I had? Just dance.  You’re supposed to be relaxing.
Admittedly, I did feel more relaxed.  I was wound up, but finding out that your longtime boyfriend had been seeing other women tends to have that effect.
Malik had been my “Mr. Perfect”; reliable, supportive, established, with looks that could intimidate any model sauntering down a runway.  We were a power duo; he, the high-powered banker and I, the talented producer.  Together we were supposed to take the world by storm—we were expected to be the fairytale.  That all came crashing down four days before, when he happened to leave his iPad at home.
Three FaceTime attempts from a raven-haired college girl, two hours of arguing, and one confession later, here I am.  
Let’s just say, a dream deferred. 
I danced and tried my best to put this week’s events out of my mind.  All I could feel was the beat of the bass and the fire of my drink.  My hips swayed to the rhythm, and I almost felt like myself.
I closed my eyes and got lost in Machel Montano –The way you dance and move yuh hips from left tuh right, Yuh really out ah sight, I wanna get with you tonight—
Warm hands, delicate but firm, brushed the small of my back.  I turned only to find myself face to face with Mr. Stare-me-down.  He smiled at my surprise.  
“I’m Chase.  Would you like to dance?”  
I placed my hand in his.  I can only describe what happened next in one word:  Heat.
Or passion.  Or magnetism.
Maybe there are several words.  Needless to say, that dance turned into eight, turned into laughs over doubles, turned into introductions and “you guys go ahead I’m going to stay a little while longer" (to which Leslie and Amali grinned in approval).
Eventually, it turned into a whirlwind that swept us up for eight months.   Like moths to a flame, we were drawn to each other.  Everything in me craved him and him me.  Chase was smart & artistic.  He wooed me with art galleries, festivals in the park, and at-home cooking classes that almost always ended with lips locked, fingers entwined, desert-before-dinner kinda love being made on his kitchen floor. 
Eight months of bliss filled magic...
...until Malik called.  He wanted to talk.  We agreed to meet and I was sure I’d be able to give him a piece of my mind, prove to him that I had moved on and nail the coffin shut on what we’d had.  I had imagined it going that way.  
Reality: Emotions are far more complicated than I wanted to admit and not hardly as rational as the scenario I'd thought up on the drive over to meet him.  The reality was I wasn’t over it.  I had a great man, who took all the pieces Malik left behind and turned it into something beautiful.  
There I was, opening old wounds for Malik to fill them with sweet apologies, as if they'd stitch my heart back together again.  I wanted to move on, but my heart was stuck in some torturous limbo.
I didn’t expect Chase to tell me that he loved me.  I didn’t expect the words to hit me like bricks, holding more weight than I'd thought they could carry.  I didn’t expect for his touch to  feel different.  I didn't expect to feel the urgency, the intensity when he drew me in as I tried to walk away.  I didn’t expect for him to follow me out, shouting my name, begging me to look at him.
 I couldn’t even look at him.  
And I didn’t expect to see him, something like a lifetime later, standing in front of me, preparing to be fitted for a tux he’d wear to marry a woman who wasn’t me.  


Angelica is a creator/writer living & loving in Atlanta, GA