Two hours later my ringing phone wakes me from my sleep, a rest that I don’t remember falling into but gladly welcomed. Yawning and stretching I realize I must have been a lot more relaxed than I thought. I can tell from the sun shining through my blinds that the air is warm outside. Examing the files and books around me I notice my computer that has been sleeping beside me. Getting my phone I see that is Gayla, yeah I'm coming outside its Saturday; I smile and give my friend a call back.
Gayla is my one true girlfriend. I have a few associates and sorority sisters from college. But Gayla is the one person who knows all my bullshit and can advise me without me jumping on the defense. I met my best chick at a block party when we were eight years old both of our families being a part of the neighborhood watch program. This block party was a combined effort by the neighborhood watch and our subdivision police department to keep the neighbors familiar with each other for easier notice of possible intruders. Turning away from Ms. Loretta’s booth with cookies, a rice crispy treat and large lemonade, all from different booths, was a struggle. I was having a hard time juggling it all with my little hands, hurriedly trying to get out of the way of Ms. Loretta’s other customers. All the kids in line where looking at me impatiently when Gayla popped from out of nowhere nearly causing me to drop everything. Before I toppled over she offered to help but I was a little skeptical. She was way too eager. But then she introduced herself, got my name and never stopped talking. We both attended an all-girls private school with her at Hope and me at Visitation Academy. She was very friendly and different from my distant self. But knowing Gayla over the years has really brought me out of my shell. We are both from only child households. Only difference is Gayla’s parents had siblings who had kids which gave her a host of cousins.
From that day forward Gayla and I were inseparable. We never went to the same school me always at an all-girl private school and she attending public school through high school. We had sleepovers at each other’s house. Her parents argued a lot so she spent a lot more time at my house. Whenever one of our families where going somewhere they invited the other, anywhere from the movies to Disneyland. Gayla became my sister.
Then right before Gayla’s eighth grade graduation her dad packed up and left. No note to her, her mom or her gram. She never talked much about it just that he was gone. I guess when you don’t know why, what is there to say. Sometimes when we spent nights together she did share some of her wonders about the situation with me. Whenever it seems like she may have been holding it in for too long she may say something like, ‘I still look at his pictures, I wonder if he looks at mine’ or she will ask, ‘Do you think he’s okay?’
Over the years even those comments stopped. Gayla didn’t see him for some time like he just vanished. Then seven years later she sees him holding hands with a pregnant Asian woman and a toddler girl with slanted eyes and brown skin. Same brown as Gayla’s and the father they shared. But Gayla wasn’t concerned with that, she was ecstatic about seeing her father. The answer she had been searching for just a few feet away. Her enthusiasm didn’t let her care about his new family she just wanted to hold him and shed some tears. She couldn’t wait to tell her mother and Gram.
When he helped his family into an all-black Mercedes SUV he turned and looked at a still staring Gayla, shook his head telling her no. Signaling her to not approach then got in the car and pulled off like it was nothing. Drove by her but didn’t take a look back at his now grown daughter. She came straight to me. Told me she didn’t know who to tell. She couldn’t tell her mother who for years couldn’t come to terms with what happened. I think different when I see Mrs. Sharon but I didn’t live with her she could have been crying at night. Gayla felt she didn’t want to rock the boat. I didn’t think she gave her mom enough credit.
“Hey girl I just called you. What you up to?”
“Nothing fell asleep after Dwayne left. But I see that sunshine and I'm feeling like getting out.”
“You and Dwayne.” And I know she shaking her head and saying that in her condescending way but pay her no mind.
“I'm about to put on some clothes get out this house. Start with a pedicure then I could meet you somewhere.”
“Well I'm not far from you how bout I stop by to get you. My nails could use some attention.”
“Okay how far are you?”
“Bout fifteen minutes.”
Gayla and I hang up and I go into my master bathroom and start the shower. Grabbing a black thong from my undies drawer I go back into my now steaming bathroom. Wrapping my hair before I step in the shower, as I rub Summer’s Eve on my special place I think of Dwayne. Ooowee. He always leaves me with a tingling feeling every time, those lips and those strokes. Pulling myself together before Gayla is banging on my door I step out the shower and rub some honey almond oil then a liquid bronzer into my skin. Just as I run down to unlock the door for Gayla I see her pull up through the front window. Running back up I grab an olive green backless maxi d it back dress and slide into some gold sandals. Making it back downstairs I see Gayla has on similar attire in black with her hair freshly lined and colored. Upon seeing us people always get the wrong impression. They believe I am the more conservative one and Gayla is wild and crazy. So not true. Mine depends on the atmosphere or moment. Gayla on the other hand is very straight and narrow but the girl has style. She has a fade that she keeps copper and sharp over her dark skin. Five ten without heels. What she lacks in her A cups she more than makes up for in her hips and ass.
Gayla owns a bakery, Sweet Cakes downtown on Washington and Fourteenth. Everyone in town goes to Sweet Cakes for her apple pie and homemade ice cream. Her Gram was her inspiration always calling her Sweet Cakes and teaching her to bake at a young age. Amazingly this is her father’s mother who he also abandoned after her attempts at getting him to be a father to Gayla even if no longer a husband to her mother.
Our differences factor in many ways but the most obvious is our difference in our approach to a romantic search. She doesn’t agree with my ways and yes she judges just not consistently. Gayla is the only person I know who can criticize my slightly whorish ways, with her beliefs in finding the one and that one would never be attached to someone else. Our friendship could have ended years ago because of this difference but it hasn’t and I my grateful to this. I don’t think she and I will ever see eye to eye on this, its good that we love each for other reasons.
Gayla sits at home day after day or out with her much older employees instead of dating the men in her face. He doesn’t have health insurance, he doesn’t have a mustache, he has someone and there’s a mole blah blah blah. I say “None of those are your problems if he wants to take you out to dinner. Just stop before you get to sex talk if you absolutely don’t want to. But have some fun and stop watching reruns.” And I'm the only one who can say that to her without her taking it personal.
I on the other hand wore a chic bob in its natural color. Standing five six without heels I always feel so small to her. Equally proportioned in all areas, I’m slim with all the right curves. We are both equally beautiful women, well educated and will bring the right man to his knees. Willingly and happily of course. Difference is I sleep with all men who can show me a good time without the headache. I would welcome love but she seems to not feel like knocking on my door. So I go with the available options.
“Ready,” I say watching her go into my fridge, “nothing there I need to be at the grocery store.” She laughs,
“Yeah mine looks pretty much the same.”
I grab my Louis Vuitton, a gift from Terrance whom I hadn’t seen in close to a year for his need to lie and control. He was very generous when things went wrong but also slightly controlling something I am not putting up with. Go home and control your wife. I can buy my own things I don’t need someone holding this purse over my head. Although that wasn’t the only problem it was a big one for me.
We pull up to N&J’s and are happy and surprised they are not crowded on this beautiful Saturday afternoon. Once we are settled into our seats Gayla turns to me, “I went to Lola’s last night after we closed up with a couple of the ladies.”
“What ladies? Everyone who works for you is old,” I say shoving a fry from the McDonalds we stopped at on the way here, into my mouth.
“That’s not true. My manager Toni’s the same age as us and Shelly is only forty.”
I turn to her as much as I can without interrupting my pedicure, “Really Gayla? Was it just you three? Because I know everyone else is over fifty and I’m thinking forty is still too old to be hanging out with you.”
“Well we didn’t actually hang out. Just a couple of drinks Shelly left at nine. Toni and I left at ten thirty.”
“How was it,” I ask because I still hadn’t been and because I know she has a story.
“It was cool. We should go back sometime.”
“Did you meet someone? You know what I'm waiting for?”
She laughs indicating she is withholding some type of information, “I did” she comments smiling immensely from ear to ear. This must be good.
“After Shelly left at nine a crowd started showing up. There was a scatter of guys nothing to write home about. Then some drinks show up at our table.”
“Yeah that’s always appreciated. The waitress points to these two guys’ three tables over. And from where we were standing they were both handsomely dressed. You couldn’t see much under the low lights you could clearly see one chocolate one vanilla. And you know I want some chocolate.”
Shaking my head, “That’s sad. Why doesn’t anyone want the light skin brother? What did they do to us?”
“That’s too close to a white man up against this chocolate skin.” We both laugh. “Anyway since Toni is spoken for I made it completely clear that she is to make a strong play for the yellow one and leave coco to me. At least that’s what I thought I wanted. Toni waved them over and girl the closer they got the worst the chocolate turned. He was way past his expiration date. The light skin one was getting better and better but I couldn’t help wondering how they knew each other. Jeff, the expired Mr. Goodbar was missing one of his two front teeth and his shirt was too small.”
I burst out in an uncontrollable laughter along with the two Asian women doing our nails ease dropping.
“I know right. This is what happens when you prejudge,” Gayla says trying to control her laughter, “I felt so stupid.” I gather myself and wipe the tears from my eyes.
“Toni knew right away to make a play for him because he was grinning the hardest. Tyrone, dressed neatly, freshly trimmed and smelling good introduced them both and we struck up a nice conversation. He is a manager at UPS, has a daughter and an ex-wife with whom he shares custody.”
“Well there is your ready-made family. But a manager at UPS? Come on Gayla. You own your own business.” This was one of the things I hated about my girls personality. She saw the good in everyone. And I am not saying that that’s a bad thing because I am sure it is the reason she is my only girlfriend. But I wouldn’t take advantage of her and so many other people will.
This may also seem hypocritical considering Dwayne is just a fire-fighter, but he was married and didn’t count. Besides my financial situation was my business, which is why most thought I just lived off my paralegal salary.
“So because he is just a manager at UPS he can’t love me properly?”
“No Gayla.” And this would be true if this wasn’t a pattern for her. The last guy she dated told her he did home health care. HOME HEALTH CARE, first of all that’s gay. Don’t get me wrong I believe in male nurses but really? Whatever. He was sleeping at her house with a key within a month. “I just want you to stay open. Date, don’t take this guy too serious too soon.” And better evaluate them I want add but leave it.
“I know. But it felt nice talking to someone, besides you, into the night.”
I feel sorry that she really wants to be in love and men ain't shit. “Well enjoy him. But enjoy others. So are you gone see him this weekend?” I ask to lighten the mood.
“No he picked up his daughter this morning. He will have her the next four days. He likes to be at home with her when she is with him. He figures he can spend the rest of his week out with friends.”
This statement makes me not like him more because I'm sure that’s exactly how he said it to her verbatim. But I don’t say anything. “Well maybe we could do something tonight.” I'm use to my men not being available on weekends.
“Sure. Magic 100.3 is having one of its boat rides tonight on the Mississippi. I have been dying to go on one of those and tonight is going to be a good night.” Magic was an old school station her in St. Louis jamming old school from the eighties, nineties and even some of today’s good jams. From what I heard they kept the dance floor packed and the food trays full.
“Oohh me too. Although I won’t lie I was hoping it would be with a guy.” And on that note we are back to us without me judging.
After our nails are finished we head over to the West County Mall to see what we will be wearing tonight.
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