“Hello? Who is this?”
“Has it been that long Mr. Simon?”
It sounded like Naomi, but it was an unlisted number with an Arizona area code.
“I don’t mean to be rude, but I don’t have this number saved in my phone”
“My apologies doctor. I had to change a few things”
“Change a few things like what?”
“My number which is why you didn’t recognize it. So friend, what have you been up to?”
“Nah, Ms. Professor. You don’t get to skirt pass the question”
“I could have sworn I just answered it”
“No you didn’t”
“See? This is not what I called you for dear sir”
“So why did you call me, Naomi?”
“Well obviously I wanted to talk to you”
“It’s been what, about four weeks now? And besides, I’m tired of your friend thinking I’m stalking your house”
I couldn’t help but laugh! Now I knew what Allen was talking about! He reported a week ago that he had caught someone staking out my house. They were parked a few feet shy of the driveway, but never got out. When Allen came towards the car to inquire, the robber sped away. He couldn’t tell what type of vehicle it was in the dark. Only that it was white.
“What’s so funny?”
“You! My man told me somebody was trying to break into my house! I never would have imagined it was you!”
“Well, you should have called me. Got me sneaking around trying to make sure you’re okay”
“I guess you did miss me after all, huh?”
“I think I’ve already answered that question. So, is everything alright?”
“You sure? I mean you haven’t responded to any of my memes that I sent you?”
I looked at the phone and couldn’t believe that she was going to omit the fact that she ran from me that Sunday morning. I got up from the kitchen table and proceeded to the bedroom for some privacy.
“Why should I respond to your memes?”
“Because they’re funny maybe? I was trying to brighten your day, Mr. Serious”
“Memes and good morning texts are not substitutes for genuine conversation. And if I remember correctly, you ran out of my car the last time we conversed”
There was no response. I had went through this earlier today and I was not about have this dance with the professor. Just as I was about to disconnect, she responded.
“I was wrong for that Hamilton”
I looked at the phone again. Did she just say that she was wrong?
“Why did you run away from me Naomi?”
“Honestly because I don’t believe any man would put off having sex with a woman if he cares about her. I just thought that you didn’t like me after you saw who I really was. That you were just saying that shit because it’s what I wanted to hear”
I sat on my bed and digested her words slowly before I responded.
“Naomi, what I said came from a sincere place. And if I can be transparent for a moment, I wanted things with you to be different from anyone else I’ve ever dated. When most women approach me, they use sex as a manipulation tool, thinking that it will lead to marriage. But that’s never the case”
“Never. I normally end up losing interest because those women don’t have any substance. If I want to have a conversation, I shouldn’t have to beg for it. It shouldn’t be an act of Congress to get a person to disclose simple things from their childhood. But to meet somewhere to fuck? Yeah, they’re down for that!”
“They sound like the men I’ve dated!”
“And for some damn reason, I keep running into them! But when I saw you that day on the bus, you reminded me of what love truly is. You’re unique. I wanted to listen to your thoughts. I wanted to know how you processed things. What mattered to you. You know? Real shit”
“So you do find me attractive?”
“Woman, did you hear me?”
“Hamilton, on the real, I have some issues from my past that I’m still dealing with. So I’m not asking you to gas my head up. I need reassurance. There is a part of me that still feels like the little girl that my dad picked on. When I missed a lay up or a rebound, he would say it was because I was too fat. I’m still trying to get over that”
My heart dropped as I knew the pain that she experienced. My mind went back to the time that I was in the sixth grade and the kids used to make fun of me and my clothes.
“I know exactly what you’re talking about. Kids used to clown me in grade school. Even made up a little song”
“And what was this song?”
“Hamilton Simon, fat as a diamond!”
“Well that shit was just corny! You should have busted them in the lip!”
“Looking back on it, it was corny. But I didn’t know how to clap back then. I mean, when that kid Wayne got the whole class to sing along with him, there wasn’t much I could say. I just pretended not to hear them and walked away. But I heard them. And when I’m feeling low, I still hear them. That’s one of the reasons why I go to the gym daily now. So I understand what you’re saying”
“I have a whole lot of bags Hamilton. You sure you wanna help me and my counselor unpack them all?”
“You have a counselor?”
“Yeah. My preacher cousin thought it would be best if I went to a professional counselor. She said that my level of fucked up was more than her and her god could handle”
“I’m sure that she didn’t say it like that?”
“Nah. She did. And it’s okay. I go once a week and the kids and I have a session every other week, too. I never knew how much they were hurting inside by their father not being around. Goes to show you that no matter how much you give your children, you can’t substitute having a father in their life”
“Damn, I gotta meet this counselor! Just a couple of sessions got you acting like this?”
“Oh shut up! I wasn’t that bad before!”
“Need I remind you that you ran from my car in the rain?”
“I needed to get home. I mean, you were trying to seduce me over some shrimp and grits!”
We both laughed. I envisioned her smile on the other end and actually thought to myself that this may work. Just as I was about to ask her out, my mind got the best of me.
“Nigga are you falling for this bitch again? I mean really? Haven’t we had enough of the shenanigans? Besides, we got women on tap to fix us when we need it. Who needs that love shit when we can get recalibrated any time we want? More money means more options and we are living in the Cheesecake Factory!”
I started to agree, but then I thought about the whole situation with my family. I wanted someone that I could talk through these issues with. I needed someone that I could be vulnerable to. Secretly, the issue of having a grandchild that I was not permitted to see was tearing me up inside. Not to mention the strained relationship with Brandon. That was just hurt on top of hurt. And while Jimbo was family, I couldn’t tell him how depressed I was feeling. Hell, I couldn’t even disclosed my fears of my son being dead. No, I wanted a safe place. I knew that now more than ever.
“Hamilton, are you still there?”
“Yes, I’m sorry. My cousin had me a little distracted”
“I did call out of the blue. I didn’t even ask if you were in the middle of something”
“No, it’s okay”
“So are you coming back to Charlotte? I would like to treat you to dinner”
“I’m not too keen on going to any restaurants right now”
“No silly! I mean that I can prepare dinner one night for you. Would you like that?”
“Like that? I would love that!”
“So when will you be back?”
“I’ll be back tomorrow”
“So tomorrow night at 7 PM?”
Written by the Wednesday Gentleman