I learned early on what the fundamentals of relationships were. The less you give a man the more they give you. I always worked hard more than one job and if I only had one job I was in school full time. So I never wanted financial means. I mean Lupe said it best. “What constitutes a prostitute is the pursuit of profit.” I just learned the less of my body I gave the more attention and love they were willing to give me.

So I stayed on my grind.

I had just moved to Boston. I was seventeen. I had left my first legitimate job where I enjoyed my time working in the back with the guys. It was easy to get in cool with them. At seventeen I was still a virgin. Holding my v card with pride while all the people I would have went to school with were getting ready for or already having babies.

I guess there was a method to my mother’s homeschooling madness!

So here I am in a new city understanding the guys in a different way because of the stories I heard the guys I used to work with tell. The idle talk of aisle facers between the hours of seven and eleven at night gave me privy to information I would have only had, had I been allowed to be raised with my father’s son. My brother.
We worked hard for the money at Jewels while I came to understand that if I didn’t guard or hold on to my precious jewels I would be discarded like yesterday’s trash.

So here in Boston I meet him.
Fine and caramel. A medium build and lips like LL that he stayed licking. He knew he was fine.

Then his Trinidadian accent came out. I melted but I didn’t give in.

He explained to me that there were some women a man married and some he got intimate with. At the age of seventeen he had no in between and since he had decided I was the marrying type he would not touch me. He never even tried. We would go to about three movies a weekend and I knew there were other girls. I knew their purpose though so I never tripped.

Some girls you marry some you…

Yeah I was being schooled in life before I knew it.

I wouldn’t allow a title to be placed on our friendship for that very reason. I wasn’t ready for marriage and I didn’t want to wonder what he was doing out of my eyesight. Even though the 143 texts came in faithfully every morning before he got ready to leave for school. I would text back the same and what was understood never needed to be explained.

Things change. Big time. The following year I lost him. He found someone that was willing to marry him and at the age of eighteen/nineteen he married the woman I am pretty sure he is still with.

I stopped keeping track of him the year my mother died. It was in his mother’s arms my mother took her last breath. I couldn’t stand to see or hear the pity coming from him knowing that was the family I was supposed to have to carry me through life after the hardest time of my own.

I discarded my treasure way too long ago. And asked, in essence, for this hard life of grief and sorrow to be put in it’s place.

But what he taught me was valuable. If someone doesn’t want you there is no reason to hold on.

So in my next situation when the man that played games continually let the next man come and sweep me off my feet I finally said yes to my first relationship. I was nineteen. He was twenty four. I met him days after his birthday early February and knew I would love him forever.

But this was different. Our love was sincere. He taught me that a man will put down everything for what matters to him. Maybe it was a Trinidadian thing. His heritage was the same as mini LL. But he was a stark contrast.

Tall, browner than me with strongly ethnic features. I thought at times that he had been chiseled just for me. The six pack he was quick to bare in shirtless summers always seemed to amaze me. Still now at almost forty he stay working on his physique.

He showed me. Motivated me.

We took black paper and silver ink and expressed our sentiments to one another unabashedly.

He read Zora Neale Hurston with me. And as he tried to get me to love his god my eyes stayed watching my own.

He had no car but would come pick me up from work everyday. Some days running to the doors of NikeTown hoping he hasn’t missed me because the busses set him behind schedule.

The day he told me he loved me he gave me one yellow rose for our friendship. See I could chill with him on the block with all his boys and he told me secrets I would never repeat to another or throw in his face. One pink rose for how thankful he was that God allowed our paths to cross. And finally the red rose symbolizing his love for me.

He showed me how a man expresses love. That way I never had to wonder. If he did not deny Jesus as Lord and Savior calling him a mere prophet I would have married him at the age if nineteen.

But how can two be on one accord when they are unequally yoked about who they believe in.

Actions and people change. Judgements get discarded. But I know who I believe in was quite different from whom he believed in.

That was our melting block of success.

We tried for years. Ten to be exact but never got past those set of beliefs.

All I know is what was taught to me by these men. Lessons I carry and cherish today.

One of the more important being when you fail to choose what is right it becomes easier and easier to get left.

So this is why being single is easier for me than one may want to believe. I get the innuendos. But I learned how to love as a friend before anything. I learned how to be treated. I learned how to walk away still in love when I wasn’t getting the treatment I felt I  deserved.

I knew because as a teen I learned how to love me before allowing another to.

So I once told the man I entered into my first  relationship with that if I couldn’t have something like what he gave me comfy like a quilt I would never settle for something shallow like a shawl.

I still won’t.

And I will still love. I will just put an exclusivity to the love of the one that is willing to love me back.

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