“Kyla? Kyla? Is that you?”
Uuuuuuggggghhhhhh! Even at eight in the morning wearing an oversized t-shirt and tights, I was being hit on! I was so not dressed for public interaction. The bonnet on my head and my morning breath only reiterated the fact that this was a grab and dash grocery run. I only anticipated being in the store for five minutes, ten at the most. I didn’t even plan to talk to the cashier as she rung up my milk and cereal.
I kept walking with my items in tow. I refused to look back in the direction of the voice because I desperately wanted to get back home to my cozy bed (plus there was the morning breath thing going on . . . . . ). I wasn’t prepared to entertain anyone’s advances. Not this morning. So I continued my march to the fifteen items or less check out. However, this brother was persistent! With each step I took, I could feel his presence gaining on me. I reached for my keys and grabbed the Mace, ready to spray if buddy got too touchy!
“Damn girl! You can’t even say hello to me?”
I took a deep sigh and armed myself with all the petty put downs I could think of. As I turned around, I was shocked to see . . . . .
“Chance, is that you?”
“I’m glad you remembered my face! Now, do you mind putting the Mace down?”
We shared a laugh, but I didn’t know if he was chuckling at the Mace or how I looked at this moment? Jesus, Joseph, and Mary! I picked the wrong time to be somewhere in a fucking bonnet with no makeup on! And my breath! Lord Jesus be a breath mint! Anxiety started to come over me as my hands started shaking. I tried to control them, but I couldn’t. Seeing my instability, Chance placed his hand over mine and began to sing to me . . . .
“You don’t have to cry alone. I’ll be right by your side to help you be strong. So baby dry your eyes, hold on, cause I can pull you through these times and help you be strong”
The customers near the register quickly turned and began to stare, attempting to figure out who was this beautiful man singing to me in the middle of Food Lion? His soothing tenor could always put my soul at ease.
“I just can’t take you anywhere, huh? Nicca always gotta be singing!”
“Well I remembered it’s the thing that cures your nerves. Didn’t want you having a panic attack in a supermarket”
“This is true . . . . . . . .”
Very true. Damn, for a brother who treated me like a groupie when we were dating, he certainly remembered quite a few things about me. There was so much that was running through my mind. It had been two years since we last spoke. The time away treated Chance very well. That pudge that haunted him since middle school had finally disappeared. His new physique was only enhanced by the black muscle shirt and jeans he had on. His chest begged for my lips. My inner peace hungered to be disturbed by his muscular flesh. And the way he smelled? Lawd hamercy! He smelled like some great day in the morning mixed with please be the father of my next child!
“Kyla, it’s great running into you love. After our last conversation, I never thought I would see you again”
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is when my heart and mind came from out of the clouds. Ah yes . . . . . . . the last conversation. I remember it as if were yesterday now. And thinking back on it, I’m really surprised that he approached me! Let me take a moment and give you the highlights . . . . . . . .
So Chance and I met at Tony and Tashira’s wedding. Tashira happened to be my best friend and Tony was his line brother. Like any other maid of honor, I was trying to make sure that my girl had everything she needed to jump the broom. At the reception, Chance provided the music along with his band. During a break, he managed to come over and speak. Somehow, someway, we ended up talking after his set for the rest of the night. Even though Chance and I were from the same hometown, our paths hadn’t crossed before that weekend. We exchanged numbers and we went our separate ways.
Well . . . I called him a few weeks after just to say hello. What should have been a ten minute conversation turned into a three hour exchange of ideas and dreams. It was evident that we liked each other because we began corresponding daily. I wasn’t one for falling in love without a test drive so I coaxed Chance into flying to Georgia. I wasn’t a fan of long distance relationships. Chance was living in New York and I was struggling school bus driver for Richmond County. I knew things would be difficult. But I thought with us talking every night on end for nearly two hours meant that he was falling as much as I was. I wasn’t even looking for love, but Chance made me love him. He really made me pay attention to him. He had me interested in everything that he was doing. He would send me music he played and would even sing his new material for me via Facetime. I had my own private concert every week! I was beginning to think that I was special. . . . . .
“Yeah, we didn’t exactly end on the best of terms”
“Yes, and that was my fault Kyla. Breaking in as one of Charlie Wilson’s back up singers was hard work! That brother works us like his name is Beyonce!”
“Yeah . . . . . . so I’ve heard”
Chance looked at me with those brown eyes that I had dreamed about since the day we met.
“I would love for you and your girls to be my guest for the show tomorrow night in Columbia. Charlie’s gonna let me do a cover of “Without You”
Without you? Damn! How did he know that was my favorite song? But I couldn’t let him win that easy.
“I dunno Chance. I think my oldest has a school thing going on tomorrow night”
“During the summer? Okay . . . . well if you can’t go tomorrow night, can we at least have drinks later this evening?”
“Aren’t you here to visit your mother? I mean, that is why you’re in Augusta right?”
“Well yes. Moms hasn’t been doing too good since my grandmother passed away. I call to check in on her weekly, but I could tell that she needed more. So I rearranged my schedule to spend some quality time with her”
I stood there in shock. I knew how much Chance’s grandmother meant to him. From his favorite candy to his demeanor, it was all his grandmother’s influence. I can’t believe he didn’t tell me that she . . . . . But he couldn’t. I refused to return any of his phone calls or texts after that night.
“Chance, I’m so sorry to hear about you losing your grandmother”
“Thank you Kyla. That means a lot”
Just as I was about to bring up that offer for drinks, a young, lanky fellow ran up with butter in one hand and sausage in the other.
“Chance, I got what your mother asked for!”
“Did you get the Land O Lakes? Momma doesn’t use anything outside of Land O’ Lakes”
I looked at Chance rather perplexed.
“I’m sorry Kyla. This is my assistant Dre. Dre this is Ms. Kyla Cunningham”
“Please to make your acquaintance ma’am. Mr. Waters, do you want me to go ahead and pay?”
“Yes Dre. And pay for Ms. Kyla’s things as well”
I looked at Chance with that same side eyed look I had before.
“You know I can pay for my own groceries right?”
“Kyla, just let me do something nice for you”
“Something nice for me?”
“Well, you can buy me drinks tonight . . . . and on one condition”
“And what condition is that?”
“Tell me how is that a background singer can afford to have an assistant go everywhere with him?”
“Well, I’m more than just a background singer Kyla. For the past year, I’ve been writing songs for several singers, including Charlie. All of my songs thus far have hit the top ten”
“Oh wow! So you’re like another Babyface huh?”
“You could say that”
“So why are you doing background vocals if you are making a nice living writing songs?”
“Because singing is my passion. And since Luther is gone, the next best vocal teacher/stage performer is Charlie. I’m scheduled to release my solo project at the end of this year and Charlie is helping me”
“That’s big! Congratulations!”
“Thank you Kyla. So did that answer your question? Are we on for drinks?”
“Absolutely. Let’s meet at Logan’s at 8 pm. I love their “teas”.
“So you don’t want me to pick you up?”
“I’m a big girl. I can drive there. Besides, if you become too Hollywood while we are out, I can get in my own car and leave”
His bright smile turned into concern. He knew that I wasn’t going to let that situation go without resolution. I needed to know why he led me on for so long. I needed to know why he didn’t say “I love you” back. I needed to know why he wouldn’t have sex with me . . . . . .
Written by the Wednesday Gentleman