I came across my high school sweet heart at my favorite coffee shop in the Lower East Side. My eyes slowly traced his silhouette…Jeffrey grew some muscles on him…okay sir! He ordered a macchiato with vanilla sugar and a brownie. You know, I never took him to be a coffee man, but more so a chamomile tea type of brotha. He turned around to get some napkins and then it happened.. we locked eyes and the warmest smile graced his face. Of course this feeling of bliss overwhelmed me and the cup of tea I was sipping on soaked my emerald silk shirt. Foolishly, he found this to be nothing less than comical, and I couldn’t help but laugh with him.
Moments like this made me appreciate what warmth felt like. But, I grew tired of constant cycles of men. It was the same actions but with different faces. Tommy was the same as Darrel. Darrel was the same as Lakeith. And Lakeith was the same as every other brother before him. It would be rather easy to say, or to blame even, the series of brothers that crossed my path, but instead accountability is more up my alley. It was me. I was the issue. Love, or rather the fallacies of love, has silenced me. The voice of my love has been silenced due to the misfortunes of my previous lovers not knowing how to appreciate the delicate legato sound that left my lips. Now they are left with staccato; everything is chopped and screwed and no one is buying this bullshit….not even me. You see the beauty of action lies in having the full ability to cause a paradigm shift in myself or do the complete opposite and continue to limit myself.
Later that day, I found myself mindlessly strolling through the snow on Lexington and a ping goes off on my phone. It was a message from Jeff : “I was hoping that you still have the same number. Its Jeff, I was hoping to take you out sometimes to catch up and to be around you. But…it would suck if this isn’t your number lol” I’m really confused as to how this fool found my number but, I’m appreciative. The snow couldn’t stop me from responding fast enough. I told him that I’d meet him in Harlem at 8.
Rule #1: Sometimes the curiosity of life comes knocking at your door; you can either speculate of what can be or take the lead....
There are all kinds of love in this world
but never the same love twice
-F. Scott Fitzgerald
What is love, you ask?
It's that dualistic healing remedy that fixes all ailments, both internal and external. It's something that everyone through the ages look high and low to find; yet due to limitations of the flesh, we inadvertently limit ourselves. We get caught up in doing things correctly but sadly, we end up realizing that there is no correct way to love, besides purely. Love is listening to a jazz ensemble and allowing your heart to jump and dance to the beat. It does not create barriers and constrictions on day to day activities. Love is free and abundant.
Love can also be dark. In reality, it is a high that you cannot get away from. Once you get a small dosage of it, you just want to continuously increase your intake or else it lacks satisfaction. Love will leave you listening to some of the saddest songs in a dark room, for hours, and questioning everything around you. There's something about vulnerability that strikes fear in us. You find yourself searching for ways to exist without the person that you love, but you find that it is total insanity to even try to fathom it.
I prayed for a love that was heart wrenching, painful, and a paradigm shift even. Normal love was not something that I needed. Simple love was not something that would fit the love that I reciprocated. Love isn't supposed to be painful right? The love I was searching for was extraordinary; I wanted to encompass every emotion out there. I wanted to test the limits of love and test the limits of my being and my soul.
The ancestors listened.
,To explain the methodology of what occurred the other morning, when I kicked Kadeem out, would benefit you. Hindsight is 20/20, and maybe just maybe we could have continued to progress but it would only be on HIS terms and not my own. He was wrong for coming into my life and expecting me to be there with open arms after breaking my heart. His indecisiveness then, would more than likely strike again and leave me in a worst position than before. Kadeem is a lovely man, but he has a lot of growing to do, as do I. “Why not grow together?” you ask, I love him but I cannot sacrifice or silence my feelings to indulge in the nostalgia that once was. Maybe in a perfect world we would have been able to thrive, but currently, right now, that fails to be the case. Who knows what’s to come.
My priorites will have to be putting our children first. I cannot hate him, and I will always love him, but right now I’m not ready to accept what he’s bringing my way. Kadeem, my love, we need to remain best friends, because raising beautiful children will require that so that their happiness come first. I will always be in your deepest gratitude for blessing me with these two royal beings. You work on you and I work on me; eventually we’ll become the better version of ourselves.
As the years pass, we’ve seen each other encounter new lovers but it was never on the magnitude of the love we offered each other. Maybe what we had was sacred and just too powerful to even be expressed in this dimension but it was one of my most savored feelings of love. I love that it is never awkward around you and that we can act as a confidant for each other when need be. I love our new found maturity and respect that we have for each other. And I love whatever’s meant to come of this. Occasionally, you invite me out and so forth, but we’ve grown to learn how to handle certain affairs to be supportive and respectful to both of our beings and our children.
A few months ago, I found out you were moving for a new job opportunity and you hesitated telling me for reasons that were, beyond, obvious to me. Both happiness and distraught were battling for first place in my heart, but above all I knew this was destined to happen. Whatever he had established for himself would better him, our kids, and inadvertently myself. I lit three candles for him every week; one for prosperity, one for happiness, and one for knowledge. He would call every now and again to annoy me, and honestly I didn’t mind. When we met we were best friends, turned lovers. Now we are lovers, turned best friends.
We were brought to this point for a reason and to serve as a lesson to those, in love. The love we have for each other will always be prolific. I’ve revisited you in many forms, Isis, Oshun, Yamaya, and now Kiera, as you were my Osiris, Oya, Ogun, and now Kadeem; star crossed lovers for a lack of better terms. This on-going war between love and lust severed our bond earlier, but the love was strong enough to survive and bring two beautiful children into fruition. Maybe we broke the cycle that our ancestors wanted because our love, has not disappeared but rather transformed in a way that serves both of us. Maybe the next choice of star crossed lovers will get it together faster than we did.
Rule 7: Understand and come to terms with the crossroads that life brings you to. At first you might not understand, but trust me it will make sense in the end. Those who are meant to stay, will. Their role might change,but they will remain a constant. Oh yeah, if you’re shooting your shot, shoot wisely.
The morning after still surprises me.
I woke up to being tightly protected by muscles and the aroma of a man. I looked over and he was still asleep, as if he were busy the entire night. I gingerly stepped out of bed and proceeded cautiously to the kitchen, trying to avoid making any unnecessary noise. You know, Kadeem has never been the type to clean up messes, his own or others, so when I walked into the kitchen I was completely astonished. The kitchen was extremely spotless, the food was put away, the dishes were washed, dried, and placed in their respectable places, the countertop was wiped down of any debris, and the floors were swept. It felt refreshing to have someone else do for you, that you've been doing by yourself for years.
My mouth began to water for some cinnamon-sugary taste of Cap'n Crunch and coconut milk. I decided to be nice and bring brotha man a bowl to wake up to. I find myself just always watching and admiring him. Maybe, this is just a way of me trying to understand his motives. I really cannot fathom why he's here right now, out of the blue. Ya know, asides from the fact that I rang his line, but its just why is he back in general.
After breakfast, an awkward silence possessed the two of us and it forced difficult questions to be asked. Finally it came out, "If you were not ready to be married, why are you here now? Why are you wasting my time, again?" Again, this rage took over me but this time, I refused to let tears take control of the wheel. Of course, the "I'm a dumb ass" look was plastered over his face. His inability to give me an answer, even after waiting minutes for another round of awkward silence to pass, prompted me to kick his tail out. The hooting and the hollering was not going to win me over this time and neither was his sorry ass sob story.
Rule 6: Lasting love is forgiveness as well as effort to do better. But if negative actions are continuous, leave them.
A few nights have passed since I last saw Kareem, and tonight this Barefoot Red Wine has me truly feeling myself. Kareem has been on my mind and I decided to call him up. He hears the slurs and withdrawls in my speech and asks, “Woman have you been drinking?!”, whether I’ve been drinking or not is clearly none of his business. Abruptly, one thing led to another and the time gap was closed by a single ring to my door bell. Standing in front of my door was a fresh cut, cleanly shaved, and manly-scented man who was the love of my life. Was it the liquor embleshing his beauty or was it just him? Hmm.
Again, he just stands there looking at me. He began to laugh and procliam how something never changed. Between you and I, I’ve always been a light weight. Back in the day when we would go out, ‘Reem would ration my drinks because once that liquor kicked in and my eyes got low—all I could imagine was slowly stripping him down to his bare skin and kissing every spot where he’s been hurt and praising everything that made him a man. Tonight, nothing has changed.
I stand there with my head tilted pouring up another glass just staring at him. This time with more intent. This time noticing the slight grays in his hair. This time noticing the scars on his hands. This time noticing the muscles that highlights his beauty. I asked him if he wanted a cup and he refused. Hmm. He proceeds to my kitchen and notices that nothing is on the stove. He laughs again and says that someone is getting lazy. Rolling my eyes, I waltzed into the kitchen and asked him what he wanted—he said he wanted to treat me tonight and to go shower and pamper myself. The shower helped to sober me up a little but it also had me double guessing what I got myself into. With my hair wet and curly and skin lathered in oils and shea butter, I threw on an old college t-shirt and sweats and cautiously walked out. Whatever he was cooking had the house smelling warm and rich with spices. It’s been a while since I had someone cook for me so this was therapeutic. I lit a few vanilla candles and sat down and poured myself up another round. I told myself whatever happens tonight, happens; tomorrow is a new day.
Rule 5:: We all indulge in our guilty pleasures, just be sure that it’s something that doesn’t compromise your morals or values.
A feeling of disgusts takes permanent residency on my face. I really need to know if he bumped his head and forgot the reason why we are in the space we are now.
Two years ago, you left.
You left me at my lowest. How dare you. You left me and acted as if the six years I spent dedicating to us. You left me while we were building a family. You left me and went out looking for something else days later. How fucking dare you. You left me and chose to only show up to pick your kids up without an explanation for the previous infractions. What, you finally realized that the women you were looking at were temporary and only fed your ego? I’m having a difficult time understand why you would ever dare to show your face here. Riddle me as to why you’re here.
He goes on to explain what happened. He’s telling me that after six years he was just not ready to be married; after six years you finally decide to tell me that? He was telling me he didn’t deserve me, so honestly who’s to say you deserve me now? He’s telling me that I loved him so passionately but he just couldn’t grasp it because his father was not there and he was just afraid of not knowing what to do when it came to marriage. Again, I couldn’t grasp it; your father’s walked out and because he wasn’t there for you, you want to repeat that cycle to me and your kids, your kids?! This man really had some nerve. He just continues to go on and on and honestly it’s just going in one ear and out the next. I’m just not here for it.
The anger just devoured me and the tears soon followed. This man who I gave two beautiful children to has hurt me because of his inhibitions. He was perfect for me and it just hurts to hear all of it, but my pain is mine and I know I’m not wrong for feeling any of it. I wish that I could just hug him and kiss the pain away but no, I’m tired of healing others and pushing my pain to the side to continue to heal others. Somehow, the distance between us disappears and he ends up with his arms around me and wrapping me in his warm embrace. He kisses my third eye and just continuously apologizing for leaving.
Once I pulled myself together, I asked him to leave and he was confused but he followed suit. I walked him to the door and had to find all the strength in me to close him out, for a few. Once he left, the fireplace, a glass of wine, and my tears kept my company for the night; my loneliness comforted me in this moment of vulnerability.
Rule #4 : Learn to heal from the past, it will sneak up on you when you least expect it and knock on your front door. Do not allow others to suffer due to your open wounds. Also, learn to accept the reality that some people cannot heal unless they are OPEN to healing.
I stood by the door as he waltzed into my home. It’s been forever since I allowed him into my safe space, both literally and figuratively. He trails pasts pictures of me and the kids, examining every detail as if he were some sort of conisseur. My anxiety was gradually escalating and I found the courage to walk in his direction and take the flowers. I’m caught in this pretense of ambivalence with him being this close to me. He’s just staring at me and it’s uneasy yet comforting. This stare brings me feelings of nostalgia; he’s speaking to me without moving his lips. The suspense abruptly comes to an end when he pulls me in for a warm embrace. His hands trail all over my back and arms carefully avoiding anything that could lead to something that I wanted so bad but did not need. The thoughts that crossed my mind were of a sultry nature and I know he felt what I was feeling. The hold he had of me got a little tighter, and he whispered, “I’m sorry for it all, I love you and I always will.”
Again, I snapped out of it. I made a promise to myself that this wouldn’t happen again. But shit, forbidden fruit always tasted the sweetest. I had to take a few steps back from him and demanded him to explain all of this.
Kadeem gave me this perplexed look and said, “It’s you. It’s always been you and it will always be you. A year and a few months apart and I wanted to tell you this so badly. We are living like we’re gotdamned business partners, as if our children are some form of barter. I’ve been longing for you and I’m here now to make it all right. This is the black union, this is the black love we’ve both been preaching by and for all these long years, Keira”
Ya know, this is just like this negro to rush into my life without thinking how things impact me, without considering whether or not I have something going on. He believes that time ticks in his accordance and he fails to put into perspective what’s going on in my life. It enrages me that he thinks some little flowers, a handsome face, and some charisma is going to change the factors of the past. He’s got another thing coming if thinks I’m this foolish.
Rule #3 : Earn me
We met back in '08 at a Pan-African rally. Usually I try to stay away from these Pro-Black brothas because they embody a certain type of misogyny that fails to delight my senses, but he was different. He was one of the organizers for the rally, Kadeem X. You know, whenever a brother gets to college and picks up a book, he automatically becomes Malcolm X. He was super fine, I remember our first encounter like it was yesterday. He had a neat flat top, a crisp black v-neck under some dungarees, and a smooth yet raspy voice. Hearing him speak sent shivers down my spine mingling with my kundalini energy. Shit, I knew that HE was the one that I wanted and I was DAMN sure that it will work out that way. I shimmied my little self up to the information table where he was waiting and said to him, "Brotha Kadeem, my name is Keira, I would love to learn more about your love for our people over a meal." Just remembering the look on his face leaves me laughing; it was perplexed yet highly interested. He told me he'll pick me up around 8pm on Tuesday and since then I've been his lover. Every waking moment I spent drowning in the love of Kadeem, My Kadeem. The Kadeem that made me smile whenever I saw something that slightly reminded me of him.
But then I snapped back to reality.
Who is this man waiting here with flowers? Eight years later. Kadeem has always been the type to pull out of the blue stunts, but this? This here is on a whole new caliber. I tell him that I honestly don't know what to do or say. He says with a smirk, "You can start by letting me in." The kids were sleep so I guess this can't be such a bad idea...right?
Rule #2: When looking at relationships that lasted quite some time, it is important to remember WHY you fell in love with the person. Maintain that consistency. Maintain that pace. Maintain those feelings and let them grow.
,I find myself keep circling in and out, of what I perceive to be love. Exhaustion not only plagues my face, but it also plagues my heart. It gets draining when you find yourself giving away pieces of your vitality to anyone and everyone willing to take it. Maybe, just maybe, that right there is my issue; I’m looking for love in every nook and cranny. But honestly who the hell wants to date a Black woman in her mid-twenties with two kids?…yeah that’s what I thought.
The place where I REFUSE to look, is in my baby-father, Kadeem. This tired, good for nothing ass negro is all kinds of ain’t shit. You would think that he would want to see his children, but he would rather see wasteful women. I can’t even believe that I fell in love with this scrub and found myself so god-damned in love to have 2 damn kids by him. I promise to you that I do not hate the man, I more so hate his actions. You know, it hurts being so deeply in love with a person and to build this mystical future with them, just to have everything come crashing down before your very eyes. The pain…the pain that is there is just unforgivable and what hurts even more is that we both did things to come to this cold and frigid ending.
5:32PM appears on the clock and Issa and Lawrence’s love saga is interrupted by an obnoxious knock on the door. Oh. Its him. Was it his weekend to get the kids? Last time I checked, it was my weekend, so what is this fool doing here. As he progresses towards me he presents me with a bouquet of Forget-Me-Nots…my favorites. I don’t know whether I’m more shocked that he’s HERE with flowers or that he remembered my favorite flowers. What is he doing? He asked me if I remembered what today was and sadly I was stuck with the “Nigga what you talmbout” face. Disappointment danced over his, what seemed to be, subtle facial expressions. He goes on to tell me that today we would have made 8 years. But my question is WHY does it matter all of a sudden? Has this fool lost his mind? Entitlement, or for better words the thought of entitlement is really a motherfucker.
Rule #1 : People come into your life for a reason. Be patient in finding out the answer, but please do not over exert or over extend that welcoming feeling.
"When the music changes, so does the dance" - African Proverb
The ethereal goddess, Oshun has come to me in my dreams and spoke heavily on the evils of this pseudo love. The ancestors are raging at this disrespectful show that we are putting on. Is it truly all as a result of the genocide that has occurred to our people, or is it simply a hybrid manifestation that we've grown comfortable with? Love has become this broken clock, only ticking when a wo(man) is in heat. That ticking becomes confused and misconstrued as if love was some sort of aphrodisiac. The ancestors have painted over me and my lover's faith with a love versus lust rhetoric. But we are not the only ones afflicted by this cryptic aesthetic; everyone who has ever known love has come across this ongoing war. We should be able to look to our parents for this definition of love, but they have been poisoned as well. Where is the antidote?