It was raining and we didn't want to get our hair wet or scratch up the bottoms of our Louboutin's too much, so we hopped into a bright green taxi cab to leave Brooklyn and head back uptown to Harlem.
I took a couple of selfies when I received a totally unexpected text.
"The last time I ever read his text or heard his voice was in January."
I met him on an unseasonably warm night in November. The girls and I were sitting outside of a frat party on a stack of brownstone steps in Harlem when he stepped outside.
I eyed him earlier on in the night, without him knowing... And I caught him looking at me a few times during the frat's block show as well. So when I saw him come outside and walk to the corner to use his phone, I decided now was my chance to talk to him.
"Excuse me..." I yelled ...
"Excuse meeee..." I said again. Still to no avail.
"Yo! Boy! You hear us calling you!?" Meekz yelled.
"Excuse me?" He finally turned around and walked toward us.
"Did you hear me calling you?" I asked
"No.. Well, yes.. But I didn't know you were calling me.."
"He knew!" Meekz yelled.
"Exactly!" Jas chimed in.
"You knew. No one else is out here! You're playing games sir." I said.
"Who are y'all?! Who are you?" He began to walk closer to me. I could tell he wasn't expecting us to gang up on him like that but it didn't cause him to shy away at all. I liked that.
"You serious? Is that how you introduce yourself to women?" I asked.
"I'm sorry. I'm Matthew. And you are?" He put his hand out for me to shake..
I took his palm into mine and asked,
"Are you a Christian?"
"Wait.. What?" He began to laugh at my forward questioning. "Yes. Why?"
"Because your name is Matthew. That's a biblical name."
"You are really something. You know that? I still haven't even gotten your name."
"My name is Valencia. Are you ever going to let go of my hand?"
"I don't really want to.. Valencia."
I paused. First to take note of the first time he ever said my name ...and then to smile at him for not wanting to let go of my hand.
"Holding hands is intimate. Are you ready for that?"
"I said I didn't want to let go right?"
"Okay Miles Davis.."
I called him that because he was reminding me of horns in, Davis' "It Never Entered My Mind." He's a NUPE so he was truly living up to their stereotypical jazz-like demeanor. Real smooth.
Physically, he was everything. I was sitting down but I could tell he was taller than six feet. Wearing denim on denim.. A rare pair of black and red Bred 11 Jordan's.. And a black North Face book bag. I liked his style but I had to get back to business. I needed to know who he was on the inside and if he was worth my time.
"Where are you from? How old are you? When's your birthday?"
"Im from BK. I'm 27. My birthday is August 19th."
"19? That's my favorite number. My birthday is June 19th."
"June 19th... You're a Gemini! That explains everything!"
"Yes I am! And proud of it. Let me finish with my questions. You got a job? What do you do?"
"Yes I have a job Valencia. I'm a teacher." He answered me with no hesitation.
"A teacher?" This was too good to be true. He had to be kidding me. Fine. Black. And educated. I was almost ready to jump the broom right then and there!
"Yes, I'm a teacher. You want to see my lesson plan book?"
He opened his book bag and pulled out his planner. He started telling me all about his beloved second graders and how he works at a charter school that wasn't too far from where we were sitting.
I can't even remember what else he was talking about because I got lost in his eyes. It was after midnight and dark as ever outside but the dimly lit street lights gave enough exposure to his face for me to see the hazel-greenish tint of his slanted eyes.
"You know what I mean?" He asked me.
"I'm so sorry. I wasn't even listening. I was distracted by your eyes. They're perfect."
He looked at me so hard that it felt like he was peering through my soul. "Yoooo.." He finally replied in a calm tone.. "You're a G.. I can't fuck with you. You hear what you just said?"
"I was just being honest. But fine. Don't fuck with me then. I'm out!"
"Come on. You know I wasn't serious."
"I know. I just wanted to see if you were going to let me leave." He kept laughing. I knew I had him. Truth be told: he had me too.
A few of his friends came over to us.. First talking to my girls and then attempting to tell him that they were ready to go.
"I can't leave. Y'all go without me. I just met my future wife." They all laughed but he was looking me dead in the eyes when he said it. Not even the slightest smirk.
"Val we're going back inside." I didn't want to leave him either though.
"Okay! I'll be right there." I told them.. Then giving my attention right back to him, "Im sorry but have to go .."
"No. You can't." He grabbed my hand again.
"I'm coming to visit you in Baltimore. I promise. I'm off this whole week. I will come down there on Sunday."
"Yea right! You only just met me five minutes ago!"
"No. Look, give me one of your rings. I will take care of it and give it back to you when I get down there."
"Hell no! Take this.." I tried to give him a pen. At the time, he didn't know I was a writer and didn't find any significance in me giving him my pen.
"No. I want a ring. Give me that one."
"My 'God is love' ring? I got this in Egypt. You would choose this one out of all of them!"
I'm still not sure why I trusted him but I took off my ring and put it in his hand, folding it closed.
"This ring means a lot to me. Don't lose it."
By this time I was standing.. And he looked down upon my face with his sincere hazel eyes.. "I won't. Can I have a hug before you go?"
"I'm not going anywhere until you give me something too!"
He started laughing at me again. "I don't have anything to give you.. Wait.. Actually.."
He reopened his North Face bag.
"I have these two books. Which one would you like?"
"I can't give you both. I need something to read on the train."
He reaaaddssss... I thought ... He readsss...
"Fine." I opted for the Joel
Olsteen book, "I Declare".
"Okay. I'm going to head in now."
"What about my hug?"
I slowly turned around and leaned into him, allowing his strong arms to gently wrap around my waste ..I looked over at the bare branches on the trees, closed my eyes, and inhaled the scent of his laundry fresh chest as we shared our first hug.
Not even five minutes after going back upstairs and meeting the girls on the dance floor of the party, he texted me..
"It was nice meeting you. You're different. It's refreshing. Please let me know when you get home so that I will know that you are safe."
....to be continued......