Monday, May 30, 2016

The Fred Experience

     From the very beginning, I'd said that after the 2 months he'd spent with me, we'd either be that much closer, or we'd never speak again. It was that simple for me. We've got a lot under our belts. Two months together would mean a shift and neither of us knew what it would be. I didn't tell him about "the options" but in my spirit, I knew they were there.

     The awesome thing about Fred staying with me was that I got to fully emerge him in my life. He got to witness the firsthand hustle things. The constant juggling of bills, motherhood, school, work and life. I make it look way easier than it is and only those closest to me see firsthand what I'm going through. He had a front row seat. There were occasional moments of physical intimacy. I remained drawn to him, whether we were together or not. I was proud to be with him. My friends all giggled about how good looking he is. He enjoyed the moments with me and my classmates.

      One day, some things happened for me to think about things differently. It was all a ruse. Nearly a decade later and I felt like an idiot. A loser. And everyone knew it but me. He and I talked and I asked him what I'd meant to him. He said we were "friends." What the fuck?! A fucking decade and we're "friends"?! Where?! How?! How the hell could he label us as just friends? I've always known that there was another woman he fancied. I've always known that he and I could never make it as a couple. But still, how the hell could he and I just be "friends"?!

     I cried long and hard. I sat in a restaurant with my friends and bawled my eyes out. I've learned that heartache does eventually go away, so I just needed to work through this. He had 3 more nights in Atlanta. I told him that I wanted him to leave my home pronto. We got back to the house and he wanted to talk. I went straight to bed. The next day, we talked. He walked into my room where I was in bed, crying heavily. My heart was on the floor. The fact is that I've come to love this man immensely. He went from that sexy guy I was fucking, to a beautiful soul that I'd come to love in and out. He even came to court with me and sat with me, as I went in for a child support modification from my ex. But it meant nothing. I was just a meal ticket to him. I wanted him to leave my home as soon as possible so that I could move on with my life.
     I told him that we could't be friends. I saw no point. I felt used. He didn't love me, he loved her and that's where he needed to be. My coworkers were pissed (some were) and worried about me. I cried for four days straight. His final night, oddly enough, I didn't want him to leave. I mean, I wanted him gone. I wanted the pain to stop. But I didn't want to lose him. I asked him if I could lay next to him one last time before he left. He said yes. We lay there, together, my arms wrapped around him. I knew this was the last time I'd see him and I wanted it to be beautiful. I'd already told him that once he left, we'd never see one another again. I've learned the hard way not to hold on to men that were no good for me. I needed to just move on and him going back to L.A. was what I needed for that to happen.
      As he packed up and got ready to meet his cab outside, he hugged me and told me that we'd talk once he got settled in LA. I nodded. But I didn't mean it. I just wanted him to leave. As he walked out of the door, I told him that I loved him. He told me he loved me too. Then he left.


       The next day, I started to feel better. He was gone and I hurt a little less. While at work and trying to hold back the tears, I saw none other than Jasmine Effing Guy. I don't get choked up when I meet people often, but I've been a huge fan of hers for YEARS. I've always thought she was exceptionally gorgeous since her days on A Different World. She looked a bit tired and I confessed to her that I was mending a broken heart. She encouraged me to hold on and told me that things would get better.

        The following day, I went to see a friend perform in a play (she was INCREDIBLE!) and the day I went happened to be Senior Day. I scanned the room of the multiple gray-haired women and something occurred to me. That at only 35, my journey isn't over. I looked at these women who I knew had been friends for years and I knew that I'm blessed to have my friends and we've got tons more living to do. It was the first time I started to feel like things would be all right.

       While there, Fred texted me. I was less than pleasant to him. He had some damned nerve. I wanted to heal, he need to be gone! I typed some ugly things to him. He kept it cool. A couple of hours later, I realized that I was starting to say things that weren't fair. I apologized and tried to call. He didn't pick up. But then he texted me back and said that he's running around, and getting things together to re-acclimate to L.A. and said he'd call me later. The next day he texted me good morning and promised we'd talk later that day, once he was settled.

     He did as promised and called. He started by asking how I'd been. I was honest and told him that I still had no appetite, but being my size, there are far worse things in the world. He said he wanted us to be good again. I told him that I didn't know if that was possible. I didn't feel like he wanted Malika, the awesome friend, he wanted Malika, the resource. Then I said "why do you even want to be friends with me?" preparing for some canned answer. All of his answers up until this point had been canned. But then he said "because you're funny, you're fee spirited, you're kind and you're warm, and I want you in my life." I don't know what it was about those words. I think its because it finally showed that he'd paid attention to who and what I am. All those years, he'd been watching and noticing.

     Despite how much I'd wanted to punch him only days earlier, I was immediately disarmed. Then he said something else I'd needed to hear. He stated "its only natural that after all those years of us sleeping together that it would mean something to me. It may not have started off that way in the beginning, but later on, yeah, you really started to mean something to me." I've come to realize that despite the lovemaking and the hours of phonecalls and conversations, he's not one for loving and mushy words. He shows through action. And what I really needed, was to hear that I was loved. Not just shown it.

     God, that was all I'd needed that whole time. To be told that he loved me too. Although our lives were just too different to make a serious try at things, we still loved one another. It was about an hour of conversation, but in the end, he said "Malika, I'm sorry about everything you've been through. So are we good?" And for the first time in what seemed like a painful forever, yeah, we were and are good. I'm not crying anymore. Things seem back in place. My appetite came back, although I'm now sticking to small salads and veggie based dishes (my waistline and skin thank Fred for whatever happened).

       So yeah, that was me and Fred. Actually, I read back over some of my blogs about our time together. It went from being just about sexual attraction, to being so much more. What's funny is that although I was dealing with him physically before I got with my son's father, it was my son's father missing my 30th birthday party that started Fred and I on more than just a sexual quest. From the night of my 30th birthday, Fred became so much more than just some encounters. He became my rock, my friend, my lover, my confidante, my support, my cheerleader. He became my love. I'm finally ready to let him go love others, while we remain good friends. Because I love him. And because love is fluid. My intuition was right.

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