do i have a crush on you or am i just lonely
do i like you or do i like that you like medo I like you or do I like the idea of you
do i want to be in a relationship or do i just want to prove that i’m worthy of one
are you flirting with me, or can i just not recognize when people are being nice to me
Am I still in love with you or am I just comfortable being with you ?
Natural is always better .
It was one of the happiest moments of my life, watching my baby walk across that stage to receive his diploma. He smiled, broadly, as he shook hands with his teachers and his principle. “That’s my baby!” I cheered. I looked over at Austin, who was cheering and clapping just as loudly as I was. This was a moment that I can actually say that I was very happy to share with him. Of all the parents of high school graduates present, nobody was more proud than Austin and I.
After the ceremony was over, we met Malachi outside where we took pictures and spoke with some of his former teachers. Before long, Austin cleared his throat, as I anticipated he would. Once he was sure that he had the full attention of Malachi and I, he spoke. “Son, I’m so very proud of you. As a father there is no greater joy than seeing his boy so effortlessly walk down the road to success,” Austin started as he dug into his pocket. He withdrew a wad of cash and handed it to Malachi. “I’m very, very proud of you, son. But I do have to run. Herbert has been covering for me back at the office and I’ve already missed a very important meeting at eleven. There’s another at two and I don’t want to miss that,” Austin informed our son.
I rolled my eyes and watching the look of disdain on Malachi’s face. I often wondered if Austin ever took notice of that let down look on Malachi’s face, or was he really just that oblivious and self absorbed? “Nah, it’s cool. I understand, Pop,” Malachi said, hiding his emotions right behind his voice. Austin smiled. “I knew you would. Remember, as soon as you’re ready I have that spot available for you at the office. General assistant. It has your name written on it, son,” said Austin, already backing up. “I’ll remember, Pop,” Malachi solemnly replied. Austin then looked at me. “Stay beautiful, Damaris,” he said with a wink. And then he was gone.
Later that night, I drove home with Malachi after having dinner with him at one of his favorite restaurants in the city. We resided in a beautiful home in Westchester, that Austin so generously allowed me to keep after our divorce. I parked in the driveway, just in front of the garage. I shut my car off and turned to face Malachi, who sat in the passengers seat. “You okay?” I asked him, before exiting my Range Rover. He looked at me, trying his best to give me a look of utter confusion. “Yeah, I’m fine. I’m okay, why wouldn’t I be?” he responded. I studied him. “You know I know you, Malachi. I know you like the back of my hand,” I told him. He was quiet for a second. “Yeah I know, Ma,” he finally said. “But I’m okay.”
He wasn’t okay and I wasn’t about to let him out of my car until I was sure that he was really alright. “Malachi, you know your father loves you. He loves you very much. We both do,” I said. Malachi said nothing. “You know your father would have come out to eat with us. But he had to work,” I told my son. That did it. “He always has to work! All the time! That’s all he ever does, Ma! Name a time when he’s not at that office. He cares about working more than he cares about me!” Malachi exclaimed, angrily. My heart sank. “Oh, baby. That’s not true,” I said to him. “It’s not? Then, how come he hasn’t come to not one of my football games throughout high school? Parent teacher conferences he always left you to come alone. Why didn’t he come over to see me before I left for prom, Ma? If Pop doesn’t care about work more than he cares about me, why couldn’t he have come to dinner with us tonight? Benihana’s isn’t even that far from his office!” Malachi said, almost all in one breath.
I gently placed my hand on his chin and turned his face directly toward mine, so that I could look into his beautiful bedroom eyes. “I hear you, handsome. I swear I do. And I agree with you, your father should make more of an effort to be around, he should. But I need you to listen to me. Austin loves you. You are his greatest creation, baby. And he is so proud of you. He’s just an over achiever and he works so hard because he wants to provide you with nothing but the best. He wants nothing more than for you to have opportunities, my love. And so do I,” I explained.
“But you show that you care about me, he doesn’t,” Malachi went on. “Malachi, different people show their love in different ways. I just happen to be more attentive than Austin. But that doesn’t mean he loves you any less,” I pointed out. “I hear you, Ma. You’re right,” he replied, his tone much softer. I leaned over to kiss my baby’s cheek. “I have a surprise for you,” I then said, in a cheerful voice. Malachi laughed. “C’mon, Mama. I’m too old for Yu-Gi-Oh cards now. I just graduated high school,” he joked. I playfully swatted him on his arm. “Boy, shutup! I haven’t bought you those things since you were seven. Get out the car and stop playing,” I said.
We got out of the car and Malachi followed me toward the garage. Once we stood directly in front, I hit the open button on my car keys and the garage door rolled up. I watched my son peer into the garage and I smiled widely when I saw his eyes widen at what he saw. He turned to me and hugged me tight. “Yo, Ma! This is fire, I love it!” he said, excitedly. I laughed and handed him the keys to his new Cherry Red Benz. “Go check it out!” I said, dismissing him. Malachi hurried to the drivers side of his car. I watched as he happily checked out and touched everything inside. He hopped back out and ran over to me. “Ma, you have to let me drive it into the city,” he said. I raised an eyebrow. “C’mon, Ma. Please. Dejon has to see this,” Malachi pleaded, referring to his best friend.
“It’s nine o’clock, Malachi. You shouldn’t be out on the highway this late. Especially going where Dejon lives with this new car. Doesn’t he live in the projects?” I asked, concerned. My son laughed. “No, Ma. He doesn’t.”
I frowned. “Well, let me move my car out the driveway,” I finally said, giving in. There was nothing I could deny my child if it made him happy. Malachi’s car came past mine as I pulled out of the driveway. I rolled down my window, as did he. “Okay now, handsome. You be careful and don’t stay out too late,” I lectured, calling out from my vehicle. “I won’t be out too long, Mama. And thanks again for this. This is my new baby,” he told me. “You’re welcome, baby. I’m so happy you like it. I knew you would. I love you,” I let him know. “I love you more,” he replied. “I love you most,” I finished. He grinned and drove off. I watched the car disappear down the street and around the corner. Then I heard the horrific sound of screeching tires and a loud crash, followed by shattering glass and the frantic honks of car horns.
The following two weeks went by in a blur. I hardly remember any of it, thanks to all the drugs my doctor had prescribed to me. But nothing, nothing could permanently numb the pain. Because whether I was high off the medicine or not, the heartbreaking fact still remained that my baby was gone. And there was not a painkiller in the world that could bring him back. I didn’t take anything the day of my son’s funeral, though. I didn’t want to be numb. I would be saying goodbye to my only child that day. I wanted to feel it. I wanted to remember it.
After the funeral was over, everyone in attendance retreated over to my place to “Celebrate Malachi’s Life”. Hosted by my older brother, Marius. I was disgusted. There was food, music, alcohol. There was even laughter. I had never understood the reason behind this type of gathering, anyway. How dare there be laughter? On the day I buried my son? What was there to laugh about? There was nothing funny! There wasn’t anything humorous about me laying my child to rest. I excused myself from the guests and retreated to my bedroom. I grabbed the vial of pills Dr. Washington had prescribed me and brought them into my personal bathroom with me.
The orange cup I had been using sat on my bathroom sink. Grabbing it, I filled the cup with cold tap and took a small sip. I then opened up the tube of medicine and began pouring pills into my hand, staring into the mirror as I did so. My reflection stared back at me, almost unrecognizable. There were bags and dark circles all around my eyes. My face was completely swollen from crying so much, and it seemed as though my cheeks were permanently stained with dry tears. My long, thick, dark brown hair was coarse and dry. I looked a mess. I gazed down at the twelve pills in my hand and slowly began raising that hand up to my mouth. Trembling all the while. With more tears falling out my eyes. In walked Austin, just before that hand full of hopelessness reached my open mouth.
When it registered to him what was about to happen, anger flashed across his face and he quickly slapped the pills from my hand. They flew everywhere. Scattering to the floor, some falling into the sink drain while others landed into the toilet, which had it’s lid was wide open. Austin grabbed me, forcefully. “Don’t you ever try no shit like that again, Damaris! You hear me? What were you thinking?” he scolded. I collapsed into his chest, crying hysterically. “My baby! Austin, my baby! I can’t live without my baby!” I wailed. Austin held me tight and then he kissed my forehead. “Shhhhh. It’s going to be fine, my love. I promise,” he consoled me. He walked me out of the bathroom and back into my bedroom. The room that we once shared. He sat me onto the bed and wiped my tears away. “I don’t want all these people here. I want them out of my house. Austin, please make them leave,” I said, weakly. “You want them to leave?” Austin asked me, softly. “Yes. I want them out right now,” I replied. He nodded. “I will do that. Can I trust you to sit in this spot until I come back?” he asked me. I nodded my head. He watched me for a minute, probably trying to decide whether or not to believe me. However, he finally said “I’ll be right back,” and left the room.
Austin returned about ten minutes later, with a plate in his hand. “Are they all gone?” I wanted to know. “They’re all gone. Except your mother and your brother. They’re both downstairs. Tidying up a bit,” he informed me. I said nothing. Austin then, cleared his throat. “Mrs. Wilson saved you a slice of her strawberry cheesecake. She knows how much you love her cheesecake,” he said, lightly. He began inching toward me with the plate, a forkful of cheesecake in his hand. I shook my head. “I don’t want any,” I told him, flatly. “C’mon, Damaris. Just take a bite. Your mother told me how you haven’t been eating,” he tried, yet again attempting to force a forkful of cheesecake into my mouth. Agitated, I knocked the fork out of his hand and stood. “I don’t want no damn cheesecake! I want my son back!” I shouted at Austin. He sighed and took a seat on the bed. I continued to stand. Austin looked up at me. “My love, I know how you’re feeling right now,” he said. “Do you really?” I asked, accusingly. “Of course I do! Damaris, my heart is broken, too! I’m crushed because of this!” Austin stated. “Oh please, Austin. You have no idea how I’m feeling right now,” I said. “He was my son, too!” Austin shouted, getting riled up.
Up until that moment, I had forgotten that Austin had a quick temper. Back when we were married, I’d become intimidated whenever he’d lose his patience with me. But not today. At that moment I was feeling so many negative emotions, that I believed I could have Austin if he said the wrong thing to me. I wasn’t against challenging him at all. “You surely didn’t act like he was your son!” I shouted back. Austin stood back up and got directly in my face. “I didn’t act like he was my son?” he asked, searching for clarity. “No! You didn’t!” I answered. “So, what did I act like, Damaris? Huh?! You tell me what did I act like, if I didn’t act like a father to my boy,” he said. My eyes filled to the brim, tears threatening to pour out. I wouldn’t let them fall, though. Not at that moment.
“You wanna know what you acted like, Austin? I’ll tell you. You acted as though your career was much more important than your son,” I answered. Austin clenched his jaw. “You don’t believe that, Damaris. I know you don’t,” he said. “This isn’t about what I believe, Austin! That’s what your son believed,” I let him know. Austin paused. “What?” he asked. “That’s what he believed,” I repeated. “He told you that?” he questioned me, almost astonished. “Yeah, he did. Right before the accident,” I revealed, finally letting my tears fall. Austin clenched his jaw again and spun around. He walked toward the night stand beside my bed. “FUCK!” he yelled, furiously. He then kicked the lamp from off of the night stand, in a fit of rage. I gasped as the lamp flew across the room, smashing into the wall and breaking into a million pieces. Austin turned back around, brushed past me and stormed out.
Three days later, I sat in my kitchen at the counter. I was in my house alone for the first time since Malachi’s accident. My mother had been staying with me, taking care of me and making sure that I didn’t OD on my pills. Apparently, Austin had let her know what had happened when he walked in on me in my bathroom. My mother had definitely kept her eyes on me like a hawk after that. Today however, was a very important event at the church she attended and she said that she couldn’t miss it. She was, after all, part of the ministry. But even still, she’d been calling me all day long checking in on me. I appreciated her. I sat at the counter, deep in thought, when the doorbell chimed throughout my house. I didn’t budge. Whoever it was could just go away. But the doorbell kept chiming and I still stayed put. It wasn’t until the person started banging at the door; making it clear that they weren’t going anywhere, that I exhaled loudly, got up and went to see who was there. I peered through the glass alongside my great, big, cherrywood oak front doubled doors. Austin stood outside.
I swung one door open, letting him inside. “Austin. Where’s your key?” I questioned. “I left them back at my loft,” Austin said, his eyes bloodshot. He started walking toward the staircase and I followed him up the stairs. “Are you okay?” I asked, genuinely concerned. “No,” he said once we reached the bedroom. “I’m not,” he added. I stood, awkwardly in the middle of the room. Unsure of what to say or do. I just waited for him to continue. At last, he did. “Damaris, the last few days I have been completely out of it. I haven’t slept. I’ve barely eaten. I haven’t even bothered with work. I’ve been thinking. I’ve been thinking long and hard, Damaris. And I realized something; you’re right,” he said.
“Right about what?” I asked him. “What you said to me the other day. When I left here, I was so pissed off. But I wasn’t pissed with you, I was angry with myself. I kept thinking, how the hell did I let all this happen? How did I let my career destroy my family like this? I’ve been so stubborn, Damaris. Because all throughout our marriage, you made it clear what you wanted from me. And my love, I know you weren’t asking for much. But still, I put work first,” Austin said. He then broke down. “I swear I always had good intentions with you and Malachi. I only wanted to be the man to you and father to him, that my father was never to my family,” he confessed, now crying. Tears fell from his eyes, bringing tears of my own down my face as well.
“Baby, when you left me that was my first sign. We were arguing so much back then. About how you wanted more of my time. I should’ve listened. I could’ve given you that. I was just so caught up with being the provider,” he got choked up. However, he did continue. “Baby, I wasn’t thinking. I’m so sorry. And I still love you, Damaris. I always did. Everything was always for you and our son,” Austin wept. We fell to the floor together, holding onto each other tight. “I still love you too, Austin. I never stopped,” I let him know between sobs. “How did I let this happen?” he wailed like a baby. I rocked him in my arms. “It wasn’t your fault,” I whispered to him. He coughed. “I want to fix it. I should have been done so, but now I get the picture. I want to make things right, before I lose you, too. I already lost you once. Now that I’ve lost my boy, I’ve realized I couldn’t carry on if something happened to you, too. Because all we have is each other now,” he admitted. I nodded my head. “Yes, I agree,” I told him, in a voice so soft. He then grabbed my face and kissed me. Hungrily. It was intense and passionate. As if he desired me. Just as his kisses had been when we were together. Absolutely nothing had changed during the three years we’d been divorced.
I kissed him back, just as aggressively. I needed him in every way imaginable. I needed him to touch me, hold me and caress me. And I believe he needed that from me, as well. In a nutshell, we had just lost our only child. We needed each other. It was then and only then that I realized that what I said was true and I really did still love Austin. I also realized that the divorce more than likely didn’t help matters, either. I melted at his touch, because at that moment my body was already yearning for him. I allowed a soft moan to escape my throat as he explored me with his big, strong hands they way he did years ago, when life seemed so much more golden. As Austin undressed me, I finally found a reason to live another day, in which I hadn’t felt since the night my son died. And it became abundantly clear to me that we needed one another now more than ever. With every stroke of emotional sacredness that he gave me, I fell deeper and deeper in love with him. All over again.
I made sure to tenaciously grip my walls around his manhood, with the intent to make him feel every sensation of love that I did. As if reading my mind, he reassured me that feelings were mutual by placing a gentle yet powerful tap kiss upon my lips. Silently sealing the deal that yet again, we were back in this together. By the end of that night, new hope was restored. And as we lay together, sweaty and naked, wrapped into each other’s arms, I felt a sense of completion.