The Honeymoon is Over Chapter 1
Phillip Thomas Duck
Dr. Frederick K.C. Price
Eric Jerome Dickey
I found her silence more than disturbing. It was like the sound of a car horn blowing just before dawn, wafting down a quiet, sleeping street, making its presence felt by all who heard it. I was in my office, working late as usual. Parris Stalls, my girlfriend, had called and she sounded strange. At first, I didn't pick up on it because I was still working, shuffling papers, trying to get caught up before heading home for a few hours of much needed rest. I had asked her if she loved me, but she didn't respond. Parris is thirty-five, midnight black, vivacious, alarmingly pretty, with a wide mouth and a perfect heart-breaker smile. We've been seeing each other for four years and planned to marry. However lately, she's been evasive, quiet, hinting, never saying what's on her mind.
I had dismissed it all and continued working, attempting to take the company my father started, Kennard Janitorial Services, to greater heights. I guess I had been neglecting Parris, and that's something a man with a beautiful woman can ill afford to do. I guess I got a little too comfortable, started taking her and our relationship for granted. I guess I thought I had her wrapped around my finger-tighter than a snare drum, but oh how wrong I was. To the best of my knowledge, I was her first and only lover. Until this very moment, I had no reason to doubt her commitment to me-to us-to the life we've been planning.
I sensed she was out of the relationship already, but she didn't know how or didn't have the guts to tell me it was over. While we held the phone in silence…me waiting for her to answer, and her, I supposed, waiting on me to figure it out…I began to wonder if she was seeing another man. Is that what she was waiting for? Was she waiting for me to ask her if she was seeing another man? My heart began to pound, my breathing grew erratic; I was scared. Was I about to lose the love of my life?
I contemplated asking her for a second or two and quickly decided against it. If she was seeing another man, I didn't want to know. I wanted to bask in the bliss of unabashed ignorance. That would keep my heart from breaking for a few more precious minutes, a few more precious hours, or perhaps days. If she was seeing another man, I knew she wouldn't volunteer the information because she was having trouble telling me she didn't love me anymore. How was she ever going to find the strength it took to tell me she'd found another lover?
"What's wrong?" I asked her, knowing, or at least believing, I knew already.
Again, silence occupied the space between us like a threatening thunderstorm. This time, I closed my eyes, now knowing she wanted to leave me and why. Still, the love I felt for her wanted to hear every tortuous word from her. In my complete and utter desperation, I hoped if she couldn't say it, if she couldn't speak the words, it wasn't over until she did. In my foolish mind, I knew she would never say the words, and therefore, it would never be over-that's what I wanted to believe anyway. Then, for the first time since I asked her if she loved me, she spoke.
"Since you can't figure it out, I'll say it. It's over, Nelson."
There was such finality to her words, like there was no need for me to try and hold on to what we had together. I could hear it in her tone. It was like she had been thinking about ending the relationship for a long, long time. As a matter of fact, her words sounded like the relationship had been over for her for quite sometime. Saying the words only closed the casket of a dead relationship that had been prepped for burial months ago. Only I didn't know it. Or did I?
"Can we talk about it?" I asked, nearly pleading like a pathetic beggar with no means to sustain his life.
Parris took a deep breath and blew it out, her exasperation exploding in my ears. "Talk about it for what, Nelson?" she screamed. "You know why!"
"No, I don't," I said, lying, still desperate to hold on to her.
She sighed heavily into the phone as if I was getting on her last nerve. "You wanna know why?"
Now I was quiet. Chillingly quiet. Hell naw, I didn't want to know. I wanted to remain in nirvana for as long as I could.
"Because I'm sick and tired of waiting for your ship to come in! That's why!" She was screaming into the phone again. "Night after fucking night, I sit in this empty apartment, waiting for you to get me the things my girlfriends have, the things I deserve. I'm sick and tired of them living like queens and me living like a fucking pauper. I'm beautiful, Nelson! All my friends say it. They all told me to leave your broke ass a long time ago. But I didn't, Nelson. You know why? Because I tried to believe in your sorry ass. I tried to believe in you for as long as I could. And now. . . I'm going for mine without you. I hope you make it, Nelson. I really do. At least then you'll have something to show for all the nights you work in that office."
The fear that was about to consume me disappeared and was immediately replaced by blinding vengeful rage. "You stupid-ass bitch! Why the fuck are you listening to those bitches?" I continued, not expecting an answer. "Dorothy's man is a goddamned drug dealer! And you're okay with that? And your other so-called friend has three goddamned kids, all with a different daddy; none of them muthafuckas are paying child support, and the fat bitch is pregnant again. And you're listening to those hoes? Damn! They say birds of a feather flock together, but I thought you were smarter than that. I see I was wrong."
The line went dead.
I was about to call her back, but changed my mind as my pride replaced my fear of losing her. I began to tell myself it was her loss, not mine; anything to assuage my feeling of profound emptiness. I tried to throw myself back into my work, telling myself I didn't need or even want a woman who listened to losers, but I couldn't. I stood up and looked out the window of my office as the realization of the end of our relationship washed over me. The innate pain I felt, the kind that ruptured a ventricle in a man's heart, the kind that pierced the soul, the kind that could never be salved, enveloped me, completely obliterating my sense of self-worth. I grabbed my stomach and doubled over as though the wind had been knocked out of me.
Tue Feb 28 07:47:44 2017
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