"A story of love on the down-low"
Casey Banks is the hottest new thing to her Norfolk Law Firm since the invention of post-its! For her, life can hardly get better. But it does, when she meets the woman of her dreams, Jade Montgomery, a beautiful television executive.
But there's just one problem, Casey soon learns Jade's got a man!
Devestated by Jades reluctance to commit, Casey falls for the seduction of another woman.
Then all hell breaks loose!!!
This story of love will make you laugh, it will make you cry and it will definitely make you realize the enormous power we give to others in order to exist in their world.
EXCERPT OF "WHEN LOVE AINT ENOUGH"
When I was younger, I never understood what my mom meant when she’d say,
“Aint no sense like bought sense!”
Well I damned sho’ do now! As I think back on all the hell I went through, I realize my sense cost me my heart, my soul and I damn near lost my mind!
It was 11am Monday morning. I should have been at the office three hours ago, but I was still in bed. I hadn’t slept a wink all night from tossing and turning waiting on Jade to call.
At that point, my job was the least of my concerns. Now, all I could focus on was the two of them together doing God knows what!
In the midst of my agony, I cursed aloud at the devil for playing havoc with my mind, stealing my joy and forcing me to imagine shit I never dreamed could happen.
It was damn near 20 degrees outside, but I was burning up. I lay sprawled on my back, watching the ceiling fan spin violently, trying to hypnotize myself and escape to some far away place, any place, but there. For a moment, I imagined I was back home in Mississippi. Momma was in the kitchen cooking something that smelled good as hell and my brother was laid out on the leather chase flipping through the channels on the TV. My sister Chelle was locked in her room, hogging the phone, as usual. And me, well, I was just happy to be there, safe and secure from all the hell I’d been going through.
But my visit was short, as thoughts of Jade slithered to the forefront of my mind and her plans to marry NBA player, Trevaire Brooks. Upon realizing there was no escape from my awful reality, I moaned in despair,
“She’s getting married!”
The thought ripped through my heart, cutting away at my soul. I felt as though I was sinking in a pit of quick sand. The more I struggled to pull myself out of its painful grasp, the more it sucked me in. Tears welled up in my eyes, burning like hot coals, as I fought back the urge to cry. I opened my mouth to speak but nothing came out! My mind frantically searched for something else to concentrate on, but it was no use. The moment one tear escaped and rolled down my cheek, the others quickly followed.
I cradled myself helplessly, in a fetal position, trying to stifle the pain that quickly consumed me. Slowly I rocked back and forth trying to regain control of my shattered emotions. My every being cried out for the one person who could console me, Jade.
Weary of the tears, I rolled over in the crumpled sheets and reached for the glass sitting on the night stand. Hungrily I pulled it up to my lips and gulped down its contents!
“Ahhhh” I sighed, greedily savoring the taste of watered down Cognac. It was good and quenched my thirst momentarily.
As the liquor slid down my throat, I squeezed my eyes shut still hoping to find that “high” I’d been searching for since I realized sleep was not an option. Carefully I balanced the glass on my stomach as I felt around the bed for the remote to turn off the music that had been playing all night. I’d left it on, hoping it would lull me into a much needed sleep. It was something I did as a kid, afraid of the dark at bedtime.
But the Luther Vandross CD had become annoying and only made me want to cry more. But this time, instead of crying, I lay dazed and wounded like a deer trapped in headlights.
Soon I gave up trying to find it and decided to go turn it off my damn self! I grabbed my glass, finished it off and sat up in the bed. As I looked around the room I was shocked at the mess I’d made. The room looked like a tornado had hit it!
During my many tantrums over the weekend, I’d trashed any and everything that got in my way, after not being able to concentrate on anything other than her. Papers and books lay everywhere. The clothes and shoes that I’d thought about putting on, but never did, were thrown about the furniture and floor. Pictures of Jade and I were thrown about the room like confetti. Empty beer bottles, filled with half smoked cigarettes and ashes, gave off a terrible odor as if I was in a café alley.
Displeased with the room, I jumped down from the bed only to land in a saucer filled with more ashes and cigarette butts. As if it were possible to be any more disgusted, I kicked and rubbed the ashes off my foot onto the plush crème carpet and made my way out into the hallway, still clutching my empty glass.
As I walked through the hallway and down the stairs the music grew louder. My head throbbed from lack of sleep forcing me to squeeze my tired eyes shut, to release the pressure. When I got downstairs and looked around, it looked worse than the bedroom.
My eyes immediately gravitated to a bottle of unopened Cognac, sitting awkwardly by itself, in the middle of the marble floor. I stumbled over to it and anxiously looked around for a clean place to sit. Unknowingly, I’d left the patio blinds open all night. Now the blue gray sky spilled lazily through its partitions. Its light bothered me but strangely, drew me near. As I walked toward it, I caught a glimpse of myself in the door’s reflection.
I looked worse than I felt! My powder blue pajama bottoms, looked gray from the abuse I’d put on ‘em over the past weekend. My hair was a mangled mess, making me look like a crazy woman! I stared at my pitiful reflection and dropped my head. The sight repulsed me. I was broken! Slowly, I turned around and walked over to my favorite chair and plopped down.
It had been three days since I talked to Jade. Over and over I’d replayed our last conversation in my head. I’d been so sure about us. Now she was gone and I didn’t know what to make of any of it. I desperately needed to hear her voice. If I could just talk to her everything would be okay again.
Though I’d called her a million times since hearing the news, with no success, I was determined not to give up. I was at a point of no return, my pride and everything else could go to hell! My soul was grieving and the pain was unbearable.
Anxiously, I grabbed the phone off the table and said a quick prayer before dialing her number. Every vein in my neck stiffened, as I listened to it ring. I jumped to my feet and paced back and forth waiting on her to pick up. My steps grew increasingly weaker after each unanswered ring.
“Please pick up,” I whispered anxiously into the receiver.
But she didn’t. And slowly my heart sank again as the answering machine came on. I listened intently as though I was hearing the instructions for the first time. Suddenly breathing became a difficult chore and my heart beat violently as I waited for the beep.
Then it came! I quietly exhaled and began to speak,
“Hey Jade, it’s me,” I said, pausing momentarily still hoping she’d pick up. “Baby I really need to talk to you. I need to know what’s going on with you. What’s this all about? I’ve been calling you for two days and… you haven’t returned any of my calls…” I whispered into the receiver as though trying to hide my begging from anyone else within earshot.
“Baby I don’t understand any of this, its crazy!”
Then I grew really desperate.
“I thought you loved me Jade. I thought we were better than this?!” Baby I’m dying over here, please talk to me. Please baby, I love…”
The recorder interrupted my begging, announcing I’d reached my recording limit.
Slowly, I lowered the phone from my ear and stared at it incredulously. I plopped down on the nearby sofa and allowed the phone to drop to the floor. My face grew hot as tears welled up in my eyes and rolled down my cheeks.
“I can’t believe this is happening. I've really lost her. It’s really over!” I cried aloud.
In despair, I fell back on the sofa and hugged myself as my body trembled. My chest began to heave uncontrollably, as I frantically tried to breath. The floodgates had opened once again and this time I cried like a baby. And in the background, Luther sang on…
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Now, as I reflect back over everything that led up to this, I realize how suddenly life can change for a person. In a matter of months my whole life had gone from sugar to shit! I tried frantically to grasp all of the pieces of the puzzle and make sense of it all. Though by no means was my life perfect, still, I was happy. I had a booming career, a beautiful new home and was crazy in love with my girl. Now all hell had broke loose.
“It’s like a nightmare!” I thought.
A few months ago, Jade and I split up. She said she needed space and I guess I did too because I was more than willing to give it to her. She claimed she couldn’t take the pressure I was putting on her to commit. She didn’t want to be gay!
This in itself was a slap in the face because she spoke of it as if it were a choice she could easily make. Still I didn’t sweat it. We’d broken up and gotten back together too many times for me to believe that this time was any different.
Then, a couple of days ago, I’d seen her and her ex-boyfriend at Claude’s, our favorite restaurant. She’d look up to find me staring at them in disbelief, and then she looked away!
I stood awkwardly watching them, crushed by her betrayal. As I slowly came to my senses I walked out of the restaurant.
Adding insult to injury, my best friend, Kris, the owner of Claude’s, had witnessed the whole thing. She followed me outside and tried to convince me to stay. But I couldn’t. I was so humiliated that I couldn’t even bear to look at her for fear of falling apart right then and there. And I damn sho couldn’t stand to see Jade with someone else, acting as if I didn’t exist.
Kris knew it was killing me. And I knew what she was thinking. It was the same thing she’d always say whenever Jade and I argued,
“Kick rocks on her ass man! Let her go if that’s what she wants to do!”
But I couldn’t. I loved that woman more than I loved myself.
I thanked Kris for coming out, but told her to go back inside. This was a battle that I would have to face on my own. She told me to call her once I got home and I promised I would. Numb, I jumped into my truck and drove away blinded by tears.
When I’d settled in, I remembered to call Kris. That’s when she gave me the news. Jade and Trevaire had announced their engagement. For lack of a better phrase, you could have bought my ass on credit. I was done! Shocked shitless was a more accurate description! An endless number of questions swarmed around in my head,
“How can she do this, we just broke up three months ago?!” I yelled through the phone.
I was devastated! The bottom had just fallen out of my world and I had nothing to hold on to and no one to catch me.
“She don’t want me!” I thought repeatedly.
The room started spinning and I grew weak.
“Man I’ll call you back.”
“Do you want me to come…”
“No!” I insisted. “I’m ok…everything’s ok. I’ll give you a call later” I lied.
“Alright…” said Kris reluctantly
I hung up and dropped the phone beside me. My chest started to hurt terribly. I put my hands up to my mouth and breathed into my hands, trying to quiet the panic attack I felt coming on. Numbly, I looked out into space and waited.
Above all, I had always believed Jade loved me, just as I loved her. But now I was lost. Anger soon took over, as feelings of betrayal crept in. I thought back to how hard I’d tried to prove my love was real. My actions embarrassed me now! Angered, I walked throughout the house destroying anything that got in my way, as even more questions ran through my aching head!
“How long has she been sleeping with him? Has she been fucking him the whole time she was dating me? Or is she doing this to show the world she aint gay cause she got a MAN?!”
“She got a man!!!” The phrase slithered through my brain like worms! If I had a nickel for every chic wanting me to screw her then later declaring she wasn’t gay because she had a man, I’d have enough money to build-a-bitch! And I’m talking about a bad ass bitch at that!!!
Now, Jade was of that astute circle of women who “Had a man!”
And I, well I was left out in the cold, yet again! Why was I so unlucky at love?! What the hell ever happened to living ‘happy ever after?” Does it even exist?! That was the question of the day! And if so, what about me! Where was my happy ending?
Slowly, I began reflecting on how I’d gotten to this point, my life, my dreams and past relationships, trying desperately to make sense of this present one.
PEEK A BOO… I SEE YOU
My childhood was like that of the average young child growing up in the south. I was the oldest of three children with a brother and sister pulling at my coat tails all the time.
When I was six, my father left, and followed his mother to Chicago. At the time, up north looked real good to the average black man looking for a quick fix. Evidently, during that time, a lot of men must have needed a quick fix because most of my friend’s dads left for the Promised Land when their eldest child turned six.
At any rate, my mom was the head of our middle class household and she never let us forget it.
Momma was strict, but fair. Although we didn’t get our butts whooped as often as we probably deserved, she had her moments when we were ordered to go find a belt or get a switch from the peach tree in the back yard, because she was fed up with our mess. And as she’d warned, prior to this doomful moment,
“When I whoop your butt it will be for all the things you‘ve done!”
Not just the one thing that happened to break the camel’s back on that unfortunate day.
My mom worked hard for her money. She was a nurse at a local health clinic and damn good at it. Often her job would require her to work long hours. And when she did, being the oldest, I was left with the responsibility of ensuring us kids stayed around the house, did chores, homework, and took a bath before night fall. It was a lot of responsibility, but I dealt with it.
It didn’t hurt matters any that my brother Darnell and I were more like best friends than siblings and my little sister Chelle idolized us both. The only thing she adored more was attention. And she tried to get it, most times, by ratting us out if we didn’t let her have her way. Though mom would beg her not to be a tattle-tale, knowing Chelle as she did, but it was no use. Her response was the same,
“But I gotta tell you momma. I just gotta!”
During the summer time we kids would take our annual trip to visit my grandmother, Ida, also known as Miss Ann, in San Francisco. This was the highlight of my existence. I adored her. She was Lena Horne and Billie Holiday all rolled up in one glorious package. The fact that she lived in San Francisco only added to my illusions of her grandeur. She’d moved there after leaving my grand daddy, who still held out hope they’d one day get back together.
So, while I was there, I took it upon myself to accomplish two things: 1) reunite my grandparents and 2) convince my mom to move to California with the rest of her family.
As a child, I was painfully bashful with a vast imagination. So the gates of San Fran opened up a world of wonders to me. I felt at home from the first moment I stepped onto its sultry bay, at age tender age of ten.
I was rejuvenated by its aura and vibrant culture, which seemed to make room for everyone and anyone. There, a person was free to be whomever or whatever they desired and that definitely appealed to me. The possibilities seemed endless.
Each summer my shyness would shed like a well-worn cocoon, unleashing a beautifully crafted butterfly, anxious to see the world.
Those were happy times for me and very trying times for my mother, whom I pestered to move there each year at summer’s end.
But mom was practical. She saw things I could never see. So Mississippi remained our home. I would have to settle for visiting the fair city and never living in it, as I so deeply desired. And my grand daddy, well, he and my grandmother never got back together, but they were friends. And that was good enough for him, so I was happy.
As I grew older, my objectives changed. Still painfully shy, I began on a self-enthused quest to find myself. My mom laughed when I first told her about my search for self and asked me,
“Do you remember the last place you put yourself?”
Though funny, I wasn’t amused. I was growing into myself or something of the sort. And the realizations were shocking to say the least.
It was my freshman year of high school, when I started going with Mathew Sykes. He was tall, chocolate and very handsome. All the girls liked him but for some reason he chose me. And that was all she wrote. At his insistence, we both went out for the varsity basketball team and made it. When we’d go on road trips with the team, he would insist on my sitting with him on the way back home. This was our time to snuggle and share moments of passionate kisses, while covering our heads with blankets from the few onlookers who weren’t engaged in it themselves.
Matt and I became a serious item. We’d sneak and talk on the phone for hours, late at night, while everyone else in our respective homes was fast asleep. After we’d been going together for a while, he started bringing up the subject of sex. He claimed making love would make us closer and always swore I couldn’t get pregnant on the first time. Though he could be aggravatingly persistent and forever coming up with a reason why it was in my best interest to do it, I never gave in. Instead my response was pretty much the same each time he asked.
“I’m gonna wait until I’m married”
My mother, a devout Christian and true offspring of the old school had always instilled in us kids that sex was sacred and came after marriage. And I agreed whole heartedly. I was damned determined to save my virginity for that special man who would take me as his wife.
There was only one problem, lately I’d realized I was more attracted to women, than men.
Though I cared deeply for Matt and we did all the typical things teenagers did, like kissing and going to the movies, something seemed to be missing. The most notable thing was, I didn’t feel a tingly feeling when we were together. It was a fluttery tingle in the pit of my stomach I’d started having when I was anywhere near my best friend Lisa!
The tingle was uncontrollable and hit me at the weirdest times when we were together or just talking on the phone. At first I didn’t know why the tingle was there but I soon learned it was due to my strong attraction for her. An attraction that felt as common as the desire to have a drink of water when I was thirsty. But still, I was terribly troubled by it.
Lisa and I had been best friends since the sixth grade. And we were inseparable. We talked on the phone constantly, shared all the same classes and even dressed alike!
Lisa was beautiful. She had a pecan tan and was a bit shapelier than me. I in contrast, was tall, slender and flat chested while she was short and already wearing a B cup! Matt joking claimed to be jealous of her when he’d call and I chose to talk with her, rather than hang up to talk to him. Looking back now, I realize he had every reason to be, because I was crazy about her. But back then, I justified it to myself and him, by saying, she was my very best friend.
During our sophomore year, Lisa got a boyfriend. This wasn’t just any boyfriend. He was practically a man! His name was Don and he was a sophomore in college. Don was really popular and was the starting quarterback for his team.
Rumor had it, he and Lisa and had gone all the way. But I didn’t believe it and denied the rumor every opportunity I got. But the rumors kept coming. Soon, Lisa and I began seeing less and less of each other.
Now when I called her, she was already on the phone with Don. She’d promise to call me back, but most times never did. I soon grew irritated with her and her new man! After all, even though I had Matt, I always managed to make time for her and felt she could do the same for me, since we were suppose to best friends! Then, whenever we did talk, her whole conversation was about Don! She was definitely changing.
One day during one of our rare phone conversations, I took the opportunity to tell her about the rumors I’d been hearing. After spilling my guts and telling her everything the kids at school were saying, I expected her to go ballistic! But she didn’t. Instead she replied,
“People ought to mind their own damn business! They jus’ jealous ‘cause I have him and they don’t!”
I was shocked! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It was as if she was proud of the rumors! Nevertheless, I casually agreed with her. And a little while later, made an excuse to get off the phone.
Afterwards, as I lay across my bed, I began to cry. I didn’t know why I was crying. I just did, for a very long time. After that day, we grew even farther apart. I no longer understood her and she was too busy with her man, to miss me or realize we weren’t close anymore.
I went through the depression of losing Lisa’s friendship for months. During my senior year I was careful not to pick any of the classes she had. Matt and I were still dating and things were getting serious. So serious that on a couple of occasions I’d almost went all the way with him.
Still, whenever Lisa and I crossed paths or someone mentioned her name, I would get butterflies. The feelings were so intense I would be momentarily weakened by the sensation. Now, being a fairly intelligent person, I knew this was probably something different from what other girls were feeling for their friend girls.
“Am I jealous and want her for myself?
The idea of wanting Lisa for myself hit me like a ton of bricks! I had heard about “women like that” and the idea of me being one of them scared the hell out of me!
Discreetly, I researched homosexuality in the only resource I had available to me, the school library. I’d seclude myself in the back, carefully hiding the title, in hopes of getting information on the subject. I’d never check the book out and was careful not let anyone see me pull it from the shelves. To do so was a dead give away to anyone watching, I was a homosexual.
Unfortunately the books available were few and far between. But what I did find described homosexuality as a “mental disorder”, an act of depravity and most definitely frowned upon by God.
As I hid in alcoves of the library, reading and rereading theories about homosexuality, I cringed in despair because nothing I read was positive. Nor could it tell me why me, out of all people, was like that! In fact, after my research sessions, I was more frightened and confused than ever before.
My feelings of self-hatred became overwhelming. I can remember locking myself in the bathroom and staring intently in the mirror trying to reconcile the perfectly normal looking person looking back at me, with the pervert living inside me.
When I could no longer stand the thought of it, tears filled my eyes and I’d cried until my head hurt. All the while, my sister was outside, beating on the door, begging me to let her nosey butt in.
From then on, I was on a mission to keep my deep-dark secret from my family. I vowed I would never tell my mother or anyone else for that matter that I was “funny.” This was a secret I would take to the grave!
At night, I’d lie awake in my bed praying, begging God to take the feelings away, to make me normal like everyone else. I prayed that my love for Matt would generate the type of feelings I felt when I saw an attractive female. And when it didn’t happen, I was convinced if I didn’t leave home soon I’d turn into a man like creature that everyone hated and talked about. Then my family would hate me!
The only thing I knew to do was leave. And that’s where college came in.
College, proved to be my most revealing time. I never thought I would amount to much, being “funny” and all. I wanted to study law but my mother had her heart set on me becoming a doctor. She loved medicine. But it wasn’t all her idea. When I was younger, I’d told her I wanted to help sick people, like she did.
It was only natural that she would think her brilliant daughter would follow in her footsteps. But that was not to be the case. I soon realized the sight of blood made me faint and my knees ached terribly. Momma thought it was funny and it even became the family joke, much to my dismay. Still, I wanted to make her proud of me, since I was failing her as a person. That’s where Melbourne College came in.
It was a private, historically black college, renowned for its Pre-Med program and the high number of its students accepted to medical school each year. My mom even told me she wished she’d had the opportunity to attend Melbourne. But it was expensive. And back in the days when mom went to school, the opportunities simply weren’t as plentiful as they were to me. So, when the school offered me a scholarship, I took it. It was my chance to make up for the disappointment she’d certainly feel if she ever learned my terrible secret.
My first day of orientation was scary as hell. I’d tried, unsuccessfully, to convince mom to let me stay home until after I’d celebrated my birthday with the family but failed. So off to campus we went.
As we took the short drive to Jackson I stared out the passenger window overwhelmed. Even though was I with my mom I’d never felt so alone in my life. Still, I tried to keep a stiff upper lip and comforted myself with the knowledge leaving home was best for all involved.
When we arrived at the entrance of the campus it was introduced by a humungous white iron arch, bearing its name. As mom drove through the gate, I got a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. It was a feeling I’d I get each time I entered the gates, during my freshman year.
Our first stop was Ruston Hall, the freshman dormitory for women. Ruston Hall was a large, white antebellum structure, as were most of the buildings. Before the civil war, the campus had once been a vibrant plantation. It came equipped with a mansion and family living quarters. My dorm was one of those former living quarters. As we rode up the winding gravel road, lined with weeping willows and oversized magnolia trees, I pulled my welcome packet out of my backpack.
Our first stop, according to the instructions, was to check in with the RA, residential assistant, who would direct me to my dorm room.
The parking lot beside the dorm was jammed packed with cars and people moving about. Mom squeezed our ‘81 Chevy Camaro as close as she could to the side entrance as I peered out reluctantly at the people walking around the campus.
Most seemed of them so confident and relaxed. Some were with their parents but most were socializing. Yet all of them seemed happy. I didn’t see anybody I thought I could identify with.
Weary, I got out of the car and gathered my luggage. Along with most of my clothes, I’d brought Hannibal, my red and white teddy bear.
After checking into the dorm, we walked across the street and down another winding path, to an old red and white building with the picture of a large Eagle painted above the entrance. It was the gymnasium. As we made our way inside, upper classmen greeted us, instructing me to sign in and pointed us to the registration tables. There, I was assigned a mentor to guide me though the process.
The butterflies in my stomach seemed to be dancing a tango as I made my way through each line and finally to the Finance officer’s make shift office, on stage. Mom, being her ever sociable self, struck up a conversation with another parent whose daughter was also a freshman. They introduced the two of us in hopes that we’d hit it off just as they had.
Well, that wasn’t to be. I could tell from the looks of her we weren’t the same speed. Though she looked shy I could tell she wasn’t. Still, for appearance sake, we talked and I learned her room was only two doors down from mine.
When I’d received the last of my paperwork, we went to the chapel. There we sat through speech after speech and introduction after introduction as mom beamed with pride.
Afterwards, as mom prepared to leave, my mentor, who’d followed us to the car, reassured her I’d be fine, promising she’d be there to help me for the rest of the week.
“Be good and call me later” she said with a slight crack in her voice revealing the tears she was fighting back.
“I will,” I responded fighting back my own as well.
As I reflect back on it now, I realize, momma cried because her baby was leaving the nest. But I cried out of pure fear!
“What the hell have I gotten myself into,” I thought.
But I braved a stiff upper lip and kept it together, at least until she was out of sight, then, I fell to pieces.
After dinner everyone was invited to a “back to school dance” in the union. I made an excuse not to go and instead, hid out in my room. The thought of being around all those people scared the hell out of me and was a bit more than I was willing to deal with, being homesick and all.
The next couple of weeks I walked around the spacious wooded campus feeling like a fish out of water. At first I attended all of my classes diligently. But the more I went the more displaced I felt. A month had passed and I still hadn’t made any friends. When I think back on it, I know it was mostly my own fault. I isolated myself because I was afraid of anyone getting too close and finding out my secret. I stupidly thought my feelings on the inside showed on the outside. I craved “normality.” And if achieving it meant being alone, it was a sacrifice I was willing to make!
After a while I stopped eating in the cafeteria. Instead, I utilized my supply of canned goods I’d brought from home. When I grew tired of canned spaghetti and canned wieners with crackers, I treated myself to a Mel-Burger, at the campus grill. It opened at nine pm and closed at midnight. It was my safest time. Few people were out at that time of night, aside from frat boys and sorority girls who were too busy doing their own thing to notice me. I didn’t know them and they didn’t know me.
One day, during second semester, I opened my door to find a short dumpy girl who lived a few doors down. She quietly announced I had a visitor in the lobby and swiftly walked off. She didn’t give me a chance to ask who it was as she slipped neatly back in her room and quickly closed the door.
I grew irritated, figuring it was Mathew, who lately, had a knack for “just showing up!” To tell the truth, his surprise visits were starting to get on my nerves. But for all it was worth, he gave good face, meaning, he was hella fine and most of the girls couldn’t help but flirt with him and envy me.
When I walked into the lobby I looked around but didn’t see him. I was about to walk outside when a voice stopped me cold in my tracks. It was my mom.
“What is she doing here?”
I turned and smiled as I walked over to greet her. I casually searched her face wondered what was up with the unannounced visit. Her face gave no clues and my radar was reading improperly that day, so I miss read her, thinking she was tired from work. She told me to follow her to the car and I did, assuming she’d brought the food replenishments I desperately needed. I should have thought something strange about her being parked by the Deans office instead of behind the dorm where she normally parked, but I didn’t. Like I said, my radar was definitely off that day. When we got to the car I peeped in for my stuff but didn’t see anything. I looked up in time to see her getting in and telling me to do the same.
“Maybe God’s answered my prayers and she’s come to rescue me from this dreadful place?” I uneasily joked to myself.
Once settled in the car, momma opened her pocket book and pulled out a sheet of paper. I recognized it immediately. It was my grade sheet. Naively I’d thought I’d be able to intercept it, I didn’t know they mailed the damn things to your house. Hell I thought they’d give it to me like a report card or something. And I didn’t know it was time from grades to be posted in the first place. But I guess I might have known if I’d been going to class.
Momma held the paper in the air as if it were an official decree and began reading aloud my grades in a high pitched voice! With the proclamation of every failing score, I sank deeper and deeper into my seat. When she was finished, she stared at me.
The iciness of her stare pierced me like a knife and I seriously feared what would happen next. Nervously I looked out onto the campus praying for something to come to my rescue. The tension in the air was so thick I thought I’d choke on it. The silence in the car was deafening and seemed to last an eternity.
As we sat silently waiting on the other to speak as a chill filled the car from the cold outside. Birds of all kinds had descended upon the campus for winter and they were busily sweeping in and out of the gigantic old oak trees, creating a fanning noise which momentarily seduced me into a false sense of safety. The sound was hypnotic. But as quickly as I’d been entranced by their movements, I was snatched back to my current abyss. It was momma and she back in full force.
The sound of her voice made the hair on the back of my neck stand at attention! Calmly, she told me she’d also received a call from my Calculus instructor. She’d told her I was failing math and barely came to class.
You could have stuck a fork in my ass ‘because I was done! My brain was shot! I didn’t know what in the hell to say!
“You are going to lose your scholarship if you keep this up, did you know that?
My mind raced to think of something to justify my behavior but I’d drawn a blank. That always happened when I needed to tell a good lie. Soon my body grew painfully stiff from all the anxiety.
“Do you hear me talking to you Casey?
I nodded my head awkwardly as I stole a quick look in her direction.
“Don’t nod your head at me!”
My tongue fell to the back of my throat as I choked back my tears. I knew she was disappointed in me and for my teacher to have the nerve to call her really took the cake! Calmly I tried to speak but could only muster up a weak,
“What do you have to say for yourself?
Again my mind went blank!
Momma stared at me awaiting my reply but I couldn’t say anything, I was busted!
“Well let me tell YOU something! YOU will go to class and YOU will pass them with flying colors and I do mean all of them! Do you hear me!!” she snapped.
“Yes Ma’am.” I sniffed as I dared not look anywhere else but the car floor.
“I could understand it if it were any other class than math, but math Casey?” She yelled. “You’re excellent in Math!! I want to know what’s going on and I want to know now!!”
“Oh God,” I thought.
My heart was racing now and my legs were now numb. I thought I would surely pass out at any moment. Still, in a weird way, I was glad she was there, cause now she knew something was wrong. But I still couldn’t bring myself to tell her what was bothering me.
Momma continued to rant and rave while I “yes mam’d” in agreement to all her demands. Finally there was silence again. This time it was even more eerie. As the silence persisted I shifted in my seat to glance inconspicuously in her direction. She was looking out the window. Her face was filled with anguish and confusion. My mom, a beautiful caramel colored woman, who always seemed to know what to do and what to say, sat in frustration, agonizing over what could possibly be wrong with her daughter of whom, she had such high hopes.
Now this tall, slender woman sat slumped in her seat with a look of defeat plastered across her face. Today, she looked small and weak. Her fine, brown hair lay sprawled on her neck from the Afro that had long since fallen, from all the head shaking. Though I felt terrible for disappointing her and causing her to worry I still couldn’t summon the nerve to speak aloud the words that were going through my head,
“I’m sorry momma…I am so very sorry!”
After another mini eternity of silence, she told me to get out of the car and we walked me back to my room. I breathed a sigh of relief as we walked in to find my roommate was still out.
She was a small town girl with city girl dreams. She was then what’s now called a hoochie. Only she was a country hoochie. She knew most of the guys on campus and attended all the frat parties. When she dressed it was more like she was going to the club instead of class. I, on the other, hand was conservative and dressed the part. I wasn’t dorky but I wasn’t wildly cool either. Having her there now would’ve only add to my humiliation because I got the feeling that she didn’t care for me much. And I damn sure didn’t want her around to hear what momma had to say.
Inside the room, we continued to talk about my grades and class. I made several weak attempts to explain why I hadn’t been going to class but none of my answers justified my actions. As we talked I made up my mind to never give her cause to feel this way again. I was determined to work my butt off to make her proud of me even though I wasn’t proud of myself.
After she left I grabbed Hannibal, threw myself on my bed and cried. Again I cried out to God to release me from this heavy burden, to make me normal so I could live a normal life and not be an abomination to my family. Finally, in despair, I drifted off to sleep.
PRELUDE OF WHEN LOVE AINT ENOUGH
If I had a nickel for every chic wanting me to screw her then afterwards declaring she wasn’t gay because she had a man, I’d have enough money to build a bitch! And I’m talking about a bad ass bitch at that!!!