In case you missed it…here’s Part One.
Home is Where the Heart is
Sunday dinners at my house are kind of a big deal. Every Sunday, rain or shine, my family and I enjoy each other’s company with a table full of salad, fried plantains, and assortment of meats after church. It’s no contest when I stop into my hometown, I am guaranteed a full course meal and leftovers to take back to my humble abode. Sunday dinners are reserved for family time and close friends who were close like family. It was sitting together at the table, sharing news about our lives, exchanging jokes, and spending quality time with each other that made Sundays, a day to look forward to.
“I made the salad,” I instructed my ex (for legal reasons like call him Xavier). Now if you recalled in the Backup Wife (Part One), Xavier was my ex-boyfriend from high-school who proposed more than once in the past two years…without a ring I may add you.
Xavier was hunched over the table as he was deterred from eating, but he was already invited to the table so that meant he had to eat. I filled his plate, then everyone else’s. I was raised in a patriarchal culture and since I was going to be a wife, I was determined to show how much a wife I could truly be. But first, I fixed his posture, surely no husband of mine was going to be a hunchback.
Xavier sat right between the kids and I. The kids posed him questions about his life, grilling him because they were more intrigued on the fact that I brought a boy home. Xavier kept it cool, answered the grilling answers. My uncle (also known as my substitute dad) gave him a stern look.
“You look familiar,” he said in his accent to Xavier to which I almost replied…oh course he does, he came by here last year proposing the same old dog and pony show…marriage; except last time I was laughing at it because I was still in my prime. This time, I considered it because I’m slowing realizing that our ten year high school reunion is right around the corner and I didn’t have any out of wedlock kids to brag about.
“Dad, you remember, this is Xavier, we went to high school together,” I replied. My uncle-dad gave me a settled look as if he didn’t recall but proceeded to agree in approval. It was a weird situation, traditionally, if a man proposes marriage, he supposed to ask the father for permission and since mine had kicked the bucket, my uncle-dad was next in line. Xavier neglected that aspect. This was the first time my family was officially getting to know him and it was going smoother than I anticipated. He was blending in, they even shared a few laughs at times. Xavier should have done this sooner. I couldn’t believe after knowing me all these years, this is the first time he’s hung with my family. After dinner, I will announce to them (although I hadn’t officially accepted) my official letter of engagement, but of course after I dump the other guy I was seeing first.
Oh yea, the other guy…him…about him.
Pause. For the first time in almost three decades, I actually was cool enough to have not one…but two guys to choose from. I was becoming a wacky situation comedy show. More on that later.
Lady Sings the Blues
You know that point in your life, where you look good: hair cooperating and life choices on point, that all of sudden your ex’s want you back? It’s almost like they can smell when you’re on the path to greatness to let you know to never forget them. This scent you release (I call it the smell of future success), urges your wild ex to come out the forest and want to ride on your coat tails. Then, you get that proverbial text message of “how you been” followed by “I’ve been thinking about you” long after the awaited… “we should get back together”…or in my case we should try for the 150th time, surely we’ll make it this time around.
I was staring at the martini glass in front of me, then at the man that I used to be dating who wasn’t name Xavier (for legal purposes let’s call him Andrew). Drew was better looking than Xay, taller, more financially stable, and intelligent. He and I were doing the meeting up and talk about getting back together tango and frankly I was tired of it.
Drew and I dated for a couple of months, and I could give you a million reasons why we didn’t belong together but I’ve already told you too much about my business. Still, I was drawn to him and the madness. He was equivalent to taking that first hit, he made the sting of loneliness go away. But just like coming down from a high, reality sinks in and you realize it brings more darkness than light. Andrew became hard to withdraw from. Our relationship was toxic and neither one of us wanted to quit.
“You want anything else drink?” Andrew cleared his throat, distracting me from my thoughts.
I already had four martinis in front of me so I wasn’t sure if he was being generous or my enabler. My mission was to finally choose one ex. After all, stringing guys along was not my forte. I wasn’t a player and I didn’t feel cool about having too guys half-assing their attempts to win my affection. I had one proposing to marry me without fulling committing to the cause and the other wanting to rip my clothes off without signing up for the long term. In actuality both guys weren’t truly in love with me. I felt that when they were with me. It was the feeling you get when you walk into room and everyone is quiet like they were just talking about you. In my case, my ex’s were acting they were in love with me because I was safe…I cooked, I cleaned, I lived on my own, and I didn’t need their money. Other women didn’t want them, what could they possibly have to offer? Xavier was barely employed, and living at home with his parents. Andrew had problems beyond a few empty liquor bottles and being a single dad.
“Uh, no thanks. I am starting to feel a little tipsy,” I replied. Andrew smirked. I kept my head down and twiddle with my phone. Andrew did the same.
I looked at Andrew across the wooden table, the alcohol was giving me courage to truly stare into him. My mind was made up but at anytime, if Andrew wanted me back, I would take it, that’s how enchanted I was by his spell. Physical wise, Andrew was my type: tall, lean, and handsome.
“Look at this,” Andrew did a slight chuckle when he handed me his phone. It was Facebook, there was a message on there from a girl. It was almost a novel. My face was getting heated. Was this his new girl? He had sworn he wasn’t seeing anybody else.
“Why are you showing me this?” I replied. My chest felt heavy as the liquor wore off.
“I don’t know, I thought it would be funny,” Andrew remarked as if it didn’t phase him. The message was from a girl he went on date a week ago, about the time Xavier proposed. Andrew took her out on a date and she was telling him how nice it was but, but she felt he wasn’t feeling her so she went and found someone else.
“Oh, it that what we’re doing?” I posed. My mouth felt dry and I could not for the life of me figure out why I was being shown this. Andrew just sat there looking dumbfounded.
“Do you not have feelings for me anymore? I mean are we friends now? I would never show my ex-girlfriend a message from girls I’m dating,” I posed. All those questions running through my mind. I asked them each after the other, not holding a second to breathe nor compile my thoughts. Andrew was being disrespectful. I didn’t expect him to wait for me, but I sure as hell didn’t think he’d move on that fast. Then, I thought about Xavier. I never gave him an answer but I sure wasn’t avoided him like the plague either. Who was this new person I was becoming? Hanging out with two guys who clearly had their mind’s somewhere else.
“Of course, I do have feelings for you. I just. Well, I wanted you to know that I was bad a dating, I guess you would know that better than anyone else,” Andrew replied.
“Tell me, if you have feelings for me or not. I can handle it, and just be your friend but this taking me out for drinks thing is just confusing,” I pointed out.
“Well, yeah, I do,” Andrew replied.
“Well, then, that makes this all that much easier when I tell what I need to tell you,” I was more than pissed, I was damn-near ready to tell him all about Xavier and his proposal. All this would make me feel big like I won the break up or even better, Andrew would do better…and want me. I wanted Andrew to tell me to get rid of this guy and to tell him that he was 10 years too late. I suppose that was my job.
“You’re not pregnant are you?” Andrew spat out.
I shook my head at how ridiculous Andrew was. When it came to books, he was brilliant but my goodness did he lack common sense: a pregnant lady having four martinis in one night, that was one for Parenting Magazine.
It took me a minute to reply, muster up the courage to tell him that I was about to be engaged. I was going to accept Xavier’s proposal to be his backup wife.