Archive for the ‘Chapter 19’ Category

The next day, Tuesday, I sat still.  My mother and I had nothing planned, so we decided to sit by the pool in Qiyana’s complex. I sat on the steps of the shallow end of the pool and  my mom sat on a lounge chair close by.  She was on the phone mostly, and I just sat quitly.  I just looked at the water.  I didn’t want to get all the way in, and I  didn’t want to get all the way out.  I just sat on the steps…


Me and Kesner’s second date was at a swimming pool.  This date was two weeks after I told him that I couldn’t date him because I was seeing someone else.  “Just friends,” I’d told him.  Two weeks later he sent me a text message after work and said: 

“do you want to get together this evening?  just friends?” 

As it turned out, the guy that I was seeing had shown flakey that day.  He was a professional swimmer who lived in my apartment building (bad idea to date the guy that lives in your building) and we were supposed to go swimming on Princeton’s campus that day after work. But he’d canceled at the last minute… 

I responded to Kesner’s text:  “sure, feel like swimming?” 

Kener met me at the Princeton pool and we swam laps.  I wore a blue and white bikini, and he had on fatigue swim shorts. He swam in his lane and I swam in mine; we swam the length of the pool back and forth doing every stroke that we could remember from gym class… and summer camp.  It was fun, I must admit. 

But we were just friends. 

It was August; August was my “natural” month.  This meant that I could swim without concern for my hair because I was wearing it in its natural afro-kinky state. I was free. 

After we swam, I went to the locker room and pulled my hair back into an afro puff pony tail.  I put on a yellow cotton sun dress and some sandals and I met Kesner in the parking lot; he had returned to his business suit.  We went to a sushi restaurant and had dinner together, it was pleasant. 

We talked about life and community…  He told me he had diabetes; he had to be careful about his diet.. We talked about his involvement with the Big Brother’s Big Sister’s Program…  I told him I was traveling to Cleveland the following weekend, he joked and said he would come along..   We had a nice time together that night,

but we were just friends.

He later told me that the swimming date was his favorite date. 

After I’d sat on the shallow steps of the pool at Qiyana’s long enough, I got up and decided to go for a walk alone.  Mom had been telling me how I needed to get out and take a long walk by myself… to scream and cry.  I thought I would give it a try.  

I drove around the corner to a hiking trail in Princeton that runs along a narrow canal.  Many people use this trail for hiking, biking and running.  I have even walked miles and miles down this trail for exercise in the past. 

The Princeton Canal Path

But on this day the purpose was not to excercise, the purpose was to scream and cry.  I was a mess.  Disheveled.  I was wearing a loose coton dress that was too big; it was hanging off of one shoulder.  And I was wearing flip flop sandals. I simply did not look like anyone who belonged out there in that moment.  I think I looked like some sort of savage crazy woman; walking down a dirt trail, snotting and crying and screaming in my loose cotton dress and flip flop sadals.   And to make it all worse, when I wasn’t screaming, I was desperately panting and breathing his name over and over: 

Kesner…   Kesner… 

I felt so vulnerable, so exposed and alone.  Kesner was my solid; I felt so safe with him and it was like I was desperately trying to call him back to me.  My pleas got lost in the air.  I couldnt find him anywhere.  I was desparate.  I wanted him back. 

Bikers and runners were passing by with strange expressions on their faces; ‘who is this crazy Black woman on our preppy Princeton trail?’  

 waling, crying, hollering.

 When I had enough I returned to Qiyana’s.  Talithea had arranged for her cousin, Marquita, to come by and wash my hair.  I didn’t care about my appearance but I knew deep down that I needed to pull it together.  I had to get myself ready for the Kappas.  The Kappas were doing a dinner for mom and I the following night and even if I couldn’t pull it together for me, I could do it for Kesner.  Kesner used to love the way that I put myself together, and I loved getting pretty for him… 

when he was alive. 

He was dead now, but I could still pull it together for him.  These were his fraternity brothers, after all.  And I was his woman.  It was time for my savage state to end,  I had to get ready for the Kappas.

© Copyright Thank You Very Sweet, 2011

Read Full Post »