Love Without _______________
Saturday the most unfortunate scene unfolded outside of my window. I was comfortably nestled in the pillows on my sofa, enjoying the Latin lilt to the language in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Voices approached my window long before any bodies passed. A young man & woman walked hand in hand discussing something burdensome. Clearly taking place outside of where I sat, which should have made it easy to disregard them in favor of the joy of reading my book. The look on the young woman’s face struck me as odd, a look that signaled she may need some kind of help sooner rather than later.
Through my window wafted the words, “the baby’s mine…” The words hung in the air & her chin hung low, mouth agape as she processed what he was saying to her. Her cheeks went slack & her eyes got really heavy. Her face was in full plead as mouth searched for the words. Before she found them he asked, “uckf am I s’posed to do? It’s mine, I’ma handle my business & pay for it before she come for me.” Days ago I posted how I felt learning that a man I wasn’t even with was expecting a baby with another woman. My heart went out to her as hers turned to powder & crumbled onto the sidewalk. Many more words were spoken from her, falling on his deaf ears & meeting his blank stare that was 30 degrees off from where she stood begging for his attention. He stood in that classic post that young black men often rest in when leaning against fences & walls. It’s the 1 that says the block is his, daring anyone to challenge that. The poor young woman couldn’t see it, or didn’t want to, that he was there in body only. She’d been left.
A few things struck me about this scene, more than just the sadness of it all. First, I was concerned about this very private matter being hashed out on concrete & iron. The conversation was so public that another young couple walked by, with the young man asking for a light for his cigarette. Driving & pedestrian traffic was all in their mix. I wanted to tune them out from my window but couldn’t because they were loud enough, with their very private business, for me to hear from the 2nd floor. Neither 1 had enough sense or dignity to take their conversation back inside wherever it had started. She was opened up to not only to be hurt by what he was saying to her but by having herself exposed as she exhibited desperation unlike any I’ve seen in a long time before strange audiences.
Where has our dignity gone? Him in a skull-cap & baggy sweat pants with his boxers showing. She with her disheveled weave, wearing a tank top & shorts a la bedtime in the summer with print socks & dirty pink Croc-like shoes. They both looked like each other’s last resort, though he clearly had options. This trend of going out as though you intend to remain in for the rest of your life concerns me; people finding no importance in the places they’re headed or personal pride in their appearance. Couple that with the loud & wrong conversations folks are comfortable having on the street, yelling all kinds of obscenities & embarrassments at the top of their lungs. Is this all for shock value? If it is, it’s working because I AM shocked. Slippers are not shoes & pajama bottoms are not pants. Street corners are not where relationships should typically begin or end.
In the end, he literally RAN away from her. She walked behind him, weeping, & looking lost. I wondered, impotently, what I could do for her in that moment to at least get her to see the waste in being so…low before him. I wanted to hug her. I wanted to wipe her tears. I wanted to tell her, in my mother’s words to "SHUT THAT NOISE UP!,” & get herself together. I wanted to tell her to take off that raggedy hair hat—at least replace it with a better 1—put some clothes on & go get some of this sunshine on her face so she could lose the gray hue of desperation she wore like foundation. I wanted to whisper the secrets to loving her self so that I never had to see her outside my window again, or drive by her on the streets, so that she could carry the message forward & prevent at least 1 other girl from being her.
Neither of them walked, or ran, back up the street & apparently the arrival of an ambulance & a squad car were gifts of her 911 call, though her pain was only of the internal sort. The look on her face lingers. It’s a look that even in my worst moment I refused to wear before the eyes of the person whose actions I allowed to take me there. Never let ‘em see you sweat…or rain, such as it is. I hope she’s OK, though I know she’s not. More than that, I hope that in a day or 3 she’s not legs akimbo & waving in the air like flags with this same lame dude thrusting his disregard for her into her naïve body. I’ve read this story. I know how it ends. I wish I could advance her a copy of it so she could skip living the ending. Keep her in your hearts. & every girl out there like her who isn’t clear of her worth & is busy seeking for everything she believes she isn’t in the arms of a dude who never will be.
Watch me move.