Before Love Ruined Us, Part II

“Good morning Hamilton”

 

I played it cool as I continued to walk in her direction.  I could feel my heart leaping, reveling in it’s latest victory. . . . . . 

 

“I told you she was worth it!  I told ya! Good things come to those who wait!”

 

“You ain’t said shit!  Stop spouting those corny ass quotes to me!  As far as I’m concerned, she’s not better than Monique, or any of the other chicks jocking us!  And this still doesn’t excuse the fact that she doesn’t compliment us or starts a conversation!”

 

“But she’s here!  And we didn’t even tell her about momma’s anniversary!  Can’t we be happy with her effort?”

 

I continued to mull things over as I was now standing in front of her.  Naomi’s fragrance was so damn intoxicating! Her hypnotic potion made me want to fall to my knees, lift up her yellow sundress, and thank her . . . properly.  Before I lost all of my good sense, I simply replied . . . . . . 

 

“Good morning Ms. Sunshine.  So what do I owe this visit?”

 

Naomi surveyed the reception area to gather her thoughts.  Then, as if in a whisper, she said . . . 

 

“Is there somewhere we can talk?”

 

I nodded and started to escort the professor to my office.  

 

“Oh Dr. Simon!  Before you go, your guest brought these flowers for you.  Where should I put them?

 

I had failed to see that Holly had a bouquet of white roses at her desk. I stopped Dr. Brock and asked . . . .

 

“Did you buy these . . . for me?”

 

“Yeah . . . . I did.  I didn’t . . . know . . . . Can we just go into your office and talk please?”

 

I opened the glass door and let her in.

 

“Holly, can you put those in a vase with some water please?  Thank you”

 

Naomi walked into my workspace and stood . . . . no, paced, behind the chairs that were in front of the desk. 

 

“You know you can take a seat right?  That’s what the chairs are for”

 

I smiled, but the enticing instructor had none of her trademark comebacks today.  Instead, she continued her pace, back and forth, as if she were about to tell me that she was pregnant!  After a few more moments of pacing and some deep breaths, Naomi began.

 

“Hamilton, I didn’t know that today was the anniversary of your mother passing?”

 

“I didn’t expect you to know Naomi.  I never told you”

 

“And that’s just it!  Why didn’t you tell me?  It’s never easy losing someone you love.  I have a brother who has been gone for eleven years now.  He was my rock and . . . . it’s hard. So I can only imagine how you feel with it only being five years now?”

 

“So how did you find out about today?”

 

“It popped up on my Facebook timeline.  It was a video of your mom at some blues concert.  She was asked to get on stage and was dancing with some old man.  I can’t remember his name, but he appeared to be pretty famous”

 

“That was Smokey Robinson . . .”

 

“Well anyway, you stated that this was the happiest you had seen your mother in a long time and how you missed her.  Why didn’t you tell me yourself Hamilton? I thought we were trying to get to know one another?”

 

“Know one another?  Naomi, with all due respect, getting to know each other requires a certain amount of vulnerability.  And honestly, I just don’t think that you are up for that right now”

 

“Really?”

 

I wasn’t going to hold back and water down my feelings.  We promised from day one that we would be open and honest with each other.  I needed to walk in that. If I didn’t now, I never would.  

 

“Trust, I understand that you have walls and all. but damn!  You make it difficult for a brother to get to know you! Just to get a conversation going, I have to initiate it.  When I call you, you don’t give me your full attention. You are either watching Grey’s Anatomy or texting someone else. And when I send you a video message, you’re always talking about my camera being dirty instead of giving me a compliment.  To be honest, it’s annoying. It makes me wonder if you even like me!”

 

Naomi finally took a seat.  I could see she was trying to digest what she had just heard. 

 

“Hamilton, I apologize for my actions.  To be perfectly honest, I’m not used to this at all and it scares me to death.  Let me say this to you . . . . I like you. I’ve never dated anyone quite as intelligent as you.  That scares me a little. I’m sorry that I don’t compliment you. I guess I am as bad giving certain people compliments as I am with receiving them.  I do enjoy our friendship. I enjoy the conversations that we have. I would like to keep that going”

 

“Hmmmmmm . . . . .”

 

“So are you going to tell me what mental health issue I have?  You gonna have one of your clinicians diagnose me so that I can get better?”

 

I leaned forward in my chair.  I kept looking at her face, her eyes, her lips.  It was as if I was looking at my own reflection. I wanted to stop looking through applicants and make a life with her.  When we were mentally connected, it was as if the world stopped. She knew how to love. I could see that in her smile. I could see it in her hips.  The question was could I be patient with her?  Could I make it through the process of winning her heart?

 

“Naomi, we’re all going through something.  I’m not gonna sit here and analyze you”

 

“I know because you’ve already done it haven’t you?”

 

“Somewhat, but we all have issues that we’re trying to work through”

 

“Not Dr. Hamilton, CFO of the biggest mental clinic in North Carolina?!  Co owner of my favorite watering hole in the city! I bet you’re gonna tell me that you own several barber shops throughout the state too, huh?”

 

“Well actually it’s salons, not barber shops”

 

“Damn!  And I was just being funny!  Nigga you’re bank! So why in the hell would you want to deal with someone like me?  I mean you probably have six or seven women right now that wouldn’t mind being sister wives just so they could be with you?”

 

“That may be true, but I’m not seeking attention from them.  I want you”

 

She laughed but I remained serious.

 

“Naomi, I’m not perfect.  In fact, I have an issue as well.  I suffer from major depression”

 

She immediately stopped her laughter and, almost in an instant, became tearful.

 

“Say what?  You don’t look like a person that suffers from depression?”

 

“What can I say?  I take my meds faithfully.  So in addition to my sleep apnea, I suffer from depression.  I battle with it every morning. I have to center on the goal at hand in order to get out of the bed.  Once I’m up, I’m good. Just an ongoing battle with my mind that I’ve been winning for years now”

 

“I never . . . would . . .”

 

“Yeah.  No one ever believes it until they want to spend the night with me and see all these pill bottles I bring.  I really need to get this shit blister packed. Or either in a med planner”

 

“Wow Hamilton . . . .”

 

“Yeah, so now I’ve been very vulnerable.  I’m trusting you with a secret of mine. It will be up to you if you guard that secret, or blab it to everyone you know.  I would prefer the first option”

 

“I’m not going to tell anyone.  So I guess I can be straight with you right?”

 

“Yes.  That’s all I ask”

 

“Well . . . . I’ve been seeing someone else”

 

“Besides Calvin?”

 

“Yes . . . .”

 

I didn’t know how much of this truth I could take, but I asked for it!  It wasn’t like I wasn’t seeing other women so I checked myself . . . . . and let her finish her story.

 

“I finally broke it off with Calvin when I got home from dinner that night with you.  It was hard because he was waiting for me when I got home”

 

“Word?”

 

“Yes, I forgot that I had called him.  He tried to call me back during dinner, but I was too preoccupied with you to answer”

 

“So how did Calvin take it?”

 

“He didn’t believe me.  Fact of the matter is he is giving me a lot of attention now!  He’s sending me texts throughout the day. Checking on me. Sending me little gifts.  All the things that I wanted him to do from the beginning”

 

“Hmmmmm.  So I’m in a race with two other men?”

 

She didn’t answer.

 

“Look Naomi, I understand the game so I’m not worried about the new dude.  You and Calvin have a history though.  He’s my competition”

 

“Competition?”

 

“Yes, competition.  You have an emotional tie that you are trying to break with him.  I had that issue today before I walked into work”

 

“Issue with an ex?”

 

“Yes.  Until today, Monique had never reached out to contact me.  I would send her an email every blue moon to check on her.  Well today of all days, she reaches out. She calls me before my speech and we talk.  Needless to say, I asked her if she wanted to get back together, to which she never responded”

 

Naomi sat there in silence.  

 

“I think that we are better off not being in a relationship.  I ended up being the villian in that story, so there’s nothing I can do to gain her trust back.  All I can do is be better”

 

“So let me get this right.  You asked your ex if she wanted to get back with you?”

 

“Yes.  I wanted to know the reason behind the call.  Why now? It just seemed weird so I just wanted to know straight up”

 

“So what would have happened if she said yes?”

 

“Well I would have thought about it”

 

“So . . . am I just someone you wanted to pass the time with?”

 

“Naomi, I’m trying to get to know you.  When I saw you that day on the bus, you took me back to when I met love for the first time.  My heart had never felt that way since . . . until I saw you”

 

A warm smile fell over her face.

 

“So you shouldn’t entertain anyone except me!”

 

“Well first you have to act like you wanna be with me.  I stopped being a simp in my late 20’s”

 

My delightful guest began to laugh.

 

“I hear you Hamilton.  I have to win your heart as well.  So tell me Mr. Cassanova, how did I do today?”

 

Written by the Wednesday Gentleman

 

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