Untitled Black Love Project - Chapter 1

one.

 

I have to pee so fucking bad, I think I might just die. In the front seat, Amethyst is telling me a story that I, in all truthfulness, couldn’t give half a shit about. The only thing I can focus on is the cramping in the tops of my thighs that tells me that I haven’t got much longer till I piss all over the back of Amethyst’s mom’s car, and something tells me that she won’t be so cool about it again. Not that she was thrilled the past two times but, still.

Amethyst mercifully shuts the hell up and parks the car, and I leap out without knowing or caring where we are. With a feeling that could quite only be orgasmic, I tear out of the vehicle and squat down on the pavement right in front of the open car door, releasing a hotness that soaks the backs of my flip-flops. Amethyst records me on his snap chat and I moon the camera.

When I get back in the car, he slides his hand into the front of my unbuttoned shorts and slips the tip of his tongue in the small dip behind my ear.

“First of all”, I interrupt, “I know that tastes awful, I haven’t bathed in a while. And second of all, you just saw me shake-n-go my pissy vagina, and you’re still ‘bout it?” I tilt my head to look him in the eye.

He cracks up, his ridiculous guffaw directly in my fucking ear – which I would have for sure pointed out if he didn’t silence me with that stupid fucking smile every fucking time. And those stupid fucking eyelashes. And that stupid fucking nose-ring that he got just for me, and not to mention that stupid f-

“You home, Lo?” He’s back in his seat now, playfully waving his hand in my face and I wonder how he managed to wipe clean the last three seconds of my consciousness without me even realizing. It’s like, the fourth time this has happened this month alone.

                “What?”

                “I was telling you about dinner? Before we parked? My mom’s having a thing some time this week, she said I should bring you”.

                “She did not tell you to bring me, Amethyst. She hates me.”

                He rolls his eyes. “Lola, she’s a Bajan mother. If she didn’t like you, you would know, believe me”.

                Fucking Bajan’s and their stupid mush-mouth accents. It was so hard to decipher whether Amethyst’s mom actually loathed me like I always assumed she did, when I could barely understand the woman.

                “Stop making that face”

                “I just hate the accent so much”

                “Please, like Jamaican accents are better?”

                “Um, yeah. Cause we don’t sound like hearing-impaired Trini’s”

                Another roar-laugh.

                “Shut up”, he manages.

                I realize suddenly where we are.

                “You actually thought we were gonna fuck, huh?”

                His smile softens in the middle.

                “Well after this morning-“

                “This morning was a whoopsie”

                He rolls his eyes again, and in the shapeless blue that the sky turns right before it begins to bleed sunset, his features ask me quietly to be gentle.

                “We’ve been having quite a few whoopsies, haven’t we?” He says, eyes unreadable. Guarded.

                “I told you that was an accidental blowsie”, I say raising my eyebrows in weak defense.

                He doesn’t respond, and I notice that the hope that curved the front of his jeans has died down, to my secret disappointment.

                “Maybe we shouldn’t hang out so much?” I offer, filling the silence. “I mean who actually wants to hang with their ex anyway?”

                He pulls out of the parking lot without looking at me.

                “This bitch right here, Lola.” He says, in a tone that I don’t recognize.  “This bitch right here”.

                 

***

 

                If slavery never existed, if Virgo was in my fifth house, if you could taste the color blue, if Winter time didn’t make people’s heart ache every year for some reason, then Amethyst would be the love of my life.

                We were raised in the church together, both our mother’s good-ole-fashioned ex-turn-up queens-turned-born-again Christians, both of our father’s good-ole-fashioned-not-there.

                Our attraction to each other was magnetic, and almost always fueled by the insatiable need in both of us to act the fuck up.

                From showing our no-no’s to each other behind the back pews at 7, to skipping youth group meetings to get high in the forest at 15, we fed off of each other’s rebellion, until our parents – throats and palms reduced to literally nothing – finally gave up and stopped forcing us to go to church, and even better, seemed to some-what look the other way at our intensely obvious hypersexual relationship (in retrospect we were literally seventeen, and just needed our asses beat a bit more).

                We dated all of our lives, taking many virginities from one another, and experiencing almost everything together.

                Our mothers, both single Caribbean immigrants, met in the waiting room of their OBGYN appointments, and grew to be each others support system. It was fate, surely. We were born within months of each other, those first few months alone being the only time in my life that I had been without him.

                The problem with this, is that for all the memories I had with and about Amethyst, our relationship couldn’t help but begin to feel borderline incestuous. He was in almost all of our family pictures, the smell of him in my room, his clothes bunched on my closet floor.

                Everyone whispered in awe at the laxness that our mothers had about our relationship, which is what would eventually do it for me because for all intents and purposes (minus the sex, hopefully) Amethyst was family. It didn’t dawn on me at the time, but eventually was all I could think about.

                When one person is there for almost your entire life, and when your name is Lola and get the tiniest inclination of how much more beautiful people out there, some things kind of have to change.

And you don’t think breaking up with Amethyst is a big deal anyways because you know he’ll be in your life regardless, and of course you’re right because you’re sleeping with him inside of his sweater and sighing his name through drenched fingers a week later.

How’d that happen Lola? Could it be because you’re a heartless whore?

Kind of. But it’s not like Amethyst is innocent either.

When you’re with someone for so long, shit happens, ok? Break-ups, and rebounds, and random bitches and niggas in your DM’s on some “Oh man, ya’ll broke up? L” shit. It’s the life; it’s the culture.

But we always found our way back to one another, slate wiped clean, I-love-you’s, I-need-you’s, and oh-fuck-baby-I-missed-you’s in abundance.

Which is probably why neither of us could actually take a break up seriously. There almost seemed to be no point.

                But I was for real this time – or at least I think I was. We’re 21 now, this shit isn’t cute anymore.

But how exactly do you disentangle the person that’s been your brother, lover and soul mate all in one? How do you loosen one tie, without unraveling the whole knot?

                This makes me sigh out loud, forgetting for a moment that we were still sharing a space in the small car.

                Amethyst hears this, and can already tell what I’m thinking about, without burdening me with a “what’s wrong?”

I see him bite down soft in the middle of his top lip, pulling it into his mouth, and causing his jaw to jut out a little; bottom lip hanging. His thinking face – I almost smile.

                “Do you want me to take you home?” He asks finally.

                “No… Yes. No… Actually I don’t know. Can we just drive?”

                “Mmmhm”, he says, apparently not in the mood to tease me about my infamous indecisiveness.

                “What time do you have to take the car back?”

                “I don’t. Your mom is giving my mom a ride to work tonight”.

                “Turnt, let’s go to the docks”.

                This elicits a little smile “We haven’t been there in forever”

                Not since the last time we were “broken up”, actually, but I don’t need to say this.

                “The docks” are the usually deserted and smelly ferry docks that connect the city to The Islands –  a tourist destination across the lake with scant amusement parks and all the goose shit you could ever hope to see. We used to go there as kids, but it has been uninhabitable for the last couple of years following a flood. Since then its become one of the many “spots” we decided belonged to only us. Untrue, obviously, but it always seemed that way.

                It doesn’t take us long to get there, and I roll a couple of spliffs in the front seat to occupy the time, and give me an excuse not to talk.

                It’s routine – we park, roll, and smoke inside of the car with the all of the windows down.

                He watches me as I spark, not breaking eye contact as I pass the j to him.

                “What?” I mutter.

                “Lola” he says evenly, stretching out the syllables in my name. “You leave me for him again, ghost for a like, a month, then just pop back into my life when you fucking feel like it, and then refuse to even acknowledge what the fuck even happened”.

                He doesn’t yell – we’re passed that now. He passes me the spliff instead, signifying my turn to speak.

                “Yes”.

                “For fuck’s sake, do you think this is funny? Why is everything such a joke to you?”

                “I’d say it’s lack of a firm father figure, wouldn’t you?”

                “Lola- “

                “Emotional unavailability caused by generational trauma”

                “Lola”

                “I’m sure slavery had a hand in there somewhere”

                I wait for him to interrupt again – I have plenty more –  but he doesn’t. In the silence that ensues, I’m forced to give him an answer.

                “I’m sorry” I offer, insubstantial and unsatisfying.

                I see him close his eyes. The spliff is done, and I grab the roach from his hands before he can flick it out the window.

                This distracts him momentarily.

                “Roach teef”, he says recalling an old nickname.

“Some things never change” I offer clichéd, and immediately regret saying it after I hear myself speak the words out loud.

“Nope”, he echoes slamming us back to reality.

I light the other spliff.

“I just want to know” he begins quietly, after a few minutes of a wordless exchange of the j, “how you can turn loving me off and on so easily”.

Ah. This hurts to hear, and I suddenly cannot have this conversation. I lean in to kiss him.

“No” he says, leaning away from me. “Explain”.

“We’re out of weed” I counter, biding my time.

He pulls a tin from his knapsack in the back, and produces a fresh joint.

“Explain”.

I scrub over my face with one hand, and grab the weed from him with the other.

I take my time lighting it, and exhale twice before beginning.

“I’ve never had the ability to stop loving you, Amethyst. That’s the fucking problem”

“That doesn’t make any sense”

I laugh once.

“That’s funny?”

I don’t answer. I blow a plume of smoke into his face instead.

“You know I don’t love him”

“Then why do you keep leaving me for him”

“So that you’d finally hate me, and I can stop fucking you up”

He rolls his eyes, perfect moons in the reflection of the stale water.

“So you move in with a guy you don’t even like- “

“I like Kai just fine” I interrupt. “I just don’t love him”

“A guy you don’t even love” he amends, “just to rid yourself of someone that you do?”

                I don’t answer again. Instead I ask “Am, do you ever think that love, real love can exist outside of each other?”

“No”

The quickness of his answer hurts me in a way that I cannot identify.

“Come on,” I push. “You’ve been with other people. You’ve never felt the slightest inclination? It was actually just sex?”

“It was actually just sex”, he repeats, solemn. “And I know you feel the same way,” he continues “because you keep coming back”.

“I keep trying”, I whisper, lifting my eyes to his for the first time. The spliff is almost done, and I hold it to his lips for him. “I keep trying to feel it somewhere else”.

He exhales, and meets my eyes for the first time as well. “But, why?”

“I don’t know”, I answer, still whispering.

He’s quiet for a moment. “And that’s ok”, he says finally, losing his hand in my hair.

Except we both know that it’s not.

 

***

 

                We fuck that night. Of course we do. 

                It’s the first time we go all the way since I’ve been back, and when he slides into me for the first time, we both cry but pretend that we don’t.

                I don’t want to go back home, and neither does he, but he has work in the afternoon, so he drives me back shortly after the sun rises.

                My mother is home when I get there, and she sits at the kitchen table with her Bible spread open.

                I greet her – customary in a black home – , and she flips a page with a moistened finger.

                She is not speaking to me. Even better for me, because I don’t want to fucking hear it. I don’t linger in her disappointment, and instead climb up the worn staircase.

                I am still getting acclimated to my room after being gone for so long.

 Even when I am back in town, I spend so much time out with Amethyst or other friends, that it’s almost unrecognizable to me even after months of being home.

                My long-dead phone on the charger, I peel off my clothes to go shower, pausing like I always do to look at myself.

                Amethyst tells me that I will definitely be blind in my next life to make up for my vanity, and he’s probably right. Although I have been slightly less pleased than usual lately.

                My eyes immediately flit to the little pouch at the front of my stomach, and the wretched dimples on my ass that were definitely not there last summer. I turn to the side. Not bad. I mean, not great, but not bad.

                My face is my favorite, small and brown with deep dimples and a mouth that screams “INSERT DICK HERE”. The bags under my eyes are hidden perfectly under the rims of my glasses, keeping the charm and playfulness that quickly disappear upon closer inspection when I am not bespectacled. I take them off now, and don my bonnet before padding naked into the bathroom.

                Too tired to stand, I fill the tub with warm water and salts, and lay face-first into it.

                Underwater, I hold my breath and think of the answers that I do not know to the questions that Amethyst will always have.

 

 

                I’ve been back in town for two weeks now. Prior to this, I had been living in Miami with a man who I really didn’t deserve.

                Kai was my boss at the employment agency that I used to work with. Well not my boss-boss, but he was my supervisor, so same shit.

                I knew he wanted me, and after one particularly awful spat with Amethyst, I let him.

                I never lied – he knew about Amethyst, and Amethyst knew about him, but the thing about transparency, is that sometimes it doesn’t mean absolutely anything at all.

                It was an awful position to be in, hurting the person I loved more than anyone, in some kamikaze-style attempt to find love elsewhere.

                Neither of them understood. Of course they didn’t. I guess the best way to explain would be that I knew Amethyst loved me, but I also knew that he kind of had to love me. How could he not? We were raised together from birth.

It was fate; our destinies already written. But had this not been the case, could he ever? Someone so selfish where he was pure, so flippantly jaded where he was his most passionate and serious? Of course I would he had said in response once, which had just made me cry harder.

At the same time, Kai was a wonderful person. A little fatter and older than my usual type but kind, patient and had the organ-rearranging skills of a fucking pro. I liked him fine, but I did not love him.

Being the same city with both of my men made me sick. Especially because even with all the time I spent with Kai, all I wanted was Amethyst. Every touch, taste, thrust, made me want him that much more.  But I was determined to break that hold – so we left.

He had a condo in Miami that he gave me free range over to decorate – homeboy was loaded, ok? – and gave me everything I could possibly want, but of course that didn’t mean shit.

My not loving Kai was not for lack of trying. I played the role, stayed faithful, completely cut ties with Amethyst and the other distractions I had picked up along the way. I found a job, made some friends, kissed him with my eyes closed, but still.

Him, him, him, him. Staring up at me in my cup of tea, visiting my dreams, flitting through my mind in a flash right before I came.

I could feel Amethyst in my blood – felt the times he missed me the most, when my heart would ache hotly at three in the morning and I knew he was up and thinking just like I was.

I could sense when he was having a particularly bad day, and had to stop myself from many calls, letters, texts that would say – what? The same shit. I was miserable.

And then one day I woke up, and just couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t deal with the beautiful condo, the beaches, the ever-eager Instagram followers I had accumulated (I told you I was trying –  I started a lifestyle blog, for fucks sake).

I was twenty one, living the life of a married woman to a man fifteen years my senior who I knew I would never, could never love.

So I got up, bought myself a one-way ticket home with Kai’s AmEx, and left.

I went straight to Amethyst, and he greeted me without surprise, but also without relief or joy. I remember him regarding me on his porch, neither of us saying a word, until he grabbed my face and kissed me so hard that our teeth scraped.

And now we’re here. Again. Ugh.

I spend far too much time in the tub, bathing lazily, and eventually just wiping the suds of my skin with my towel; not bothering to rinse.

Back in my room, I check the notifications on my resurrected phone.

More texts and voicemails from Kai that I choose to ignore – at least for now, and one from my best friend Zafa. Amethyst has not messaged me, and I try not to think of why not.

I swipe to open Z’s messages:

10: 34 pm: biiiiiiiiiiiiitch y are u not answerin ur phone???? u gettin some D???? (that’s a joke, we had the Amethyst talk already)
11: 46: Lo?? omg are u with him rn??
12:01 am: YOU BETTER BE LEAVING THAT BOY ALONE LOLA
1:14 am: ffs I know ur with him, just call me when ur home
4:02 am: if I warm up a glass of chocolate milk, would it be hot chocolate, or just warm chocolate milk?

I thumb a response:

9: 21 am: warm chocolate milk

She calls within seconds of my text, and I glance at the time. Does this bitch ever sleep?

“Nyell-ooo”, I greet.

“Explain”, she demands cutting me off.

“Well, I mean hot chocolate demands so much preparation, I feel it a little unfair for it to have to share a title with just microwaved chocolate milk”

“Bitch you know damn well I’m not talking about no damn chocolate milk”

“Hm?” I ask, stretching my time a little more

Delor-“

“Hey, hey, alright none of that”, I say cutting off her indignant calling of my wretched full name.

“What do you want to know?” I ask, defeated. I’ve been careful to cover my Amethyst-hunting activity from all of my friends, but can never get anything past Zafa. I’d been dreading this conversation.

“First of all, when the fuck did you get back and why the fuck do I need to find this out by seeing your bare ass on Amethyst’s snap? And why the hell are you on his snap in the first place? And wh-. Actually, fuck this, I’m coming over”.

I have no time to object to this, as she hangs up right after her self-invitation.

I pull on a pair of underwear and a t-shirt, and calmly await to get my ass handed to me.