“I can exist in this world but I can’t live without you. I’m ready to live again babe! Can you give us one more try?”
I couldn’t get Jade out of my head! No amount of alcohol could clear my mind of the calamity from the previous night! My heart continued to replay the misadventure over and over. She tortured me with visions of a love meant for fairy tales and daytime soaps operas, which I knew could never be. She beseeched me to call off the wedding. My mind however, implored me to stick to the script. He reminded me that today’s merger would not only help me financially, but it would help me socially. Stephanie’s celebrity and good looks would open doors for my music. Besides that, she was secure in who she was. Ms. Stephanie Amir was not about the drama! And here I was debating whether or not to marry her!
I started to regain my focus. I desperately needed to pack! The wedding planner had me and the fellas scheduled to be at the church by 1 p.m. in order to take pictures, but here I was . . . lying on the bed staring into an empty Evan Williams bottle! I hadn’t shaved. I hadn’t brushed my teeth. I knew I needed to get up! Shit, I couldn’t afford not to! When I thought about all the costs for the helicopter, the honeymoon to France, and the reception, I reluctantly rose to my feet and headed toward the closet.
I reached to pull down my suit bag. In my haste, I knocked over some of my shoe boxes. As fate would have it, one of the boxes hid the letters I had been saving from Jade. I didn’t have the strength to return them let alone read them. Ms. Alexander had written a letter faithfully every week for the past five months! My heart convinced me to read one of the letters. Then I read another. Then another. Jade had poured her heart out over the canary colored pages. From the first time our eyes met to the last time we touched, she described how every moment we shared gave her new life. She explained how she didn’t know what love was as she fell victim to the system as a child. Tears fell from my eyes when she wrote the lyrics to the first song I sang for her:
“I think I must be dreaming,
That you are here with me
Must have died and gone to heaven
And it’s all that I hoped it would be
When the eagles forget how to fly
And it’s twenty below in July
And when violets turn red
And roses turn blue
I’ll be still in love with you”
Before I knew it, I was sitting in a sea of Jade. Each manuscript chronicled what we had when we were together. Despite all the drama she caused, Jade brought me a happiness I’d never known. She gave my complex world balance. My heart pleaded to give my mistress another chance with each written word. Just as I was about to give in to my emotions, a voice rang out through the condo:
“Princeton, are you here? I hope you’re ready because we gotta get to this show on the road!”
I attempted to shout my whereabouts but I couldn’t. My heart was still left somewhere on the floor. Before long, Ant had found me.
“Princeton! What in the hell are you doing?”
“I . . . . . I . . . . don’t know . . . . . . I don’t know man . . . . .”
I could feel Ant surveying the scene.
“Awwww man! Seriously? You doing this shit today? Of all days? Nahhhh player! You are going to get your ass up and get ready! I have spent way too much on this tux for you to be getting cold feet now!”
“But what if Stephanie is not the one? Jade is . . . . .”
“Look bruh, not to be mean or anything, but Jade’s ass is trifling! She was perfectly fine dating those athletes and mega preachers before you got with Stephanie! She only wants you now because she can’t have you! You can’t allow her to invade your heart on the most important day of your life! Nah, man! Gotta let that chick go for your own personal health! Didn’t you tell me that Stephanie was the woman of your dreams?”
“Yeah . . .”
“Between the two, isn’t Stephanie the one that compliments you the best?”
“Yeah . . .”
“Doesn’t Stephanie make life easier for you?”
“Well . . . . . yeah . . .”
“Then why the hell are you on the floor thinking about yesterday? Nigga your future is on her way to the church! Man! Let that head case go!”
“Ant . . . . . I don’t know if I can. I’ve been trying to get Thursday night out of my head. . . . ”
“Thursday night? Princeton . . . . . what happened?”
“Somehow, Jade found out where we were going to be. She ended up being the entertainment in the champagne room”
“What the . . . ????”
“ . . . and we . . . . . had sex . . .”
Ant stood there in the state of shock! His hands shaking uncontrollably, as if he were about to turn into the Incredible Hulk!
“Nigga!!! Have you lost your motherfuckin’ mind?!”
“I know Ant . . . . I know . . .”
“No nigga, you don’t know!!! Dammit man! So that’s why your ass was all quiet afterwards ready to leave? Your ass wasn’t tired! She probably rode the shit out of you didn’t she?”
“That she did . . . . .”
“I can’t believe this shit here! How the hell did she. . . . .? Look, I don’t even want to get into all that now! It’s after 12 p.m. and you look a mess! Get in the bathroom and shower! I’ll pack your bags”
“I dunno if I wanna marry her Ant . . . .”
“Look Princeton. Stephanie is the woman that we all dream about. She has her own money, she has a job at the number one news station in Atlanta, and her Egyptian ass is fine!!! Every dude in the state would give their right hand to be you today! Man don’t blow a chance at a stable relationship chasing some broken pussy! Remember all the times Jade disappointed you? All the times she left you? Let all that fuel you while you prepare for Ms. Amir!”
I nodded in agreement as I got up from the floor. Ant put on Public Enemy’s “Can’t Truss It” while I got ready. My mind was congratulating me for coming back to my senses. He had placed my heart under arrest and threw away the key! There was no need to get caught up in what could have been. I knew what needed to be done.
We made it to the church just in time for the pictures. Although my mind was strong, my stomach was feeling pretty weak. It started bubbling as we pulled into the parking lot. I did my best to not focus on the pain. But after the first round of pictures, I had to excuse myself and head toward the bathroom! After about twenty minutes, I was ready to begin again . . . only to have to go back to the commode once more! After my second trip, my mom looked me over as I walked up to where she was standing.
“Princeton . . . . . you don’t look well. Are you sure you’re okay honey?”
“I’m gonna have to be today momma. It’s my wedding day! Can’t cancel a wedding because of upset stomach! I had one of the groomsmen to go get me some pepto bismol. I’ll be fine”
“Baby, I understand all that but you don’t look well. In fact, that’s the same look you had when you brought home that D in Social Studies in the sixth grade! You were so scared to get off the bus that you started shitting in your pants! Remember that?”
“You were so afraid of what your father was going to do to you for bringing that bad grade home. And in the end, it was typo. You remember that Princeton?”
“Yeah, I remember”
“So what’s making you so afraid that you are running to the bathroom every five minutes?”
I turned my mother around to pose as the photographer took our picture.
“Momma, I drunk a little too much last night. Trust me, I’m okay”
“Hmmmm . . . I know you Princeton. This ain’t alcohol sickness. This is God telling you not to go through with this sham of a wedding. Your spirit is rebelling against your mind. Remember, you haven’t said “I do” yet! Are you sure you wanna marry Stephanie son?”
“That’s just it momma . . . . . . I don’t know! I really don’t know!”
“Then I think you need to tell her instead of marrying her and living a lie”
“But we’re already here! All this money that’s been spent! Can’t get those deposits back now if I tried!”
“Princeton, would you rather marry a woman you didn’t love?”
“But it’s too . . . .”
“Like I said before dear, talk to Stephanie. You still have time”
“But I will be talked about for months! I proposed to her on the air! If I don’t go through with this, I won’t be able to get a job in this town again! I’ll be known as the Runaway Groom!”
“Well son, it’s up to you. It’s better to lose some money now than all your money later. You can get pass this. Just tell her son . . . .”
I shook my head as I turned to leave the stage. Before I could turn all the way around, there was Stephanie . . . . . standing to the side of me with confusion in her eyes.
“What do you need to tell me Princeton?”
Written by the Wednesday Gentleman