2 comments

African American Romance Sad

This story contains themes or mentions of mental health issues.

The decadence of him was captivating. She craved his touch, his scent, his conversation. Elation was not descriptive enough to illustrate just how he made her feel. And sometimes, it was just his presence that fascinated her spirit. It was like her very essence was defined by his existence. And she could not catch her breath at times. She often smiled at the thought of him and could not bare to imagine her life without him… in it…

              But

                             He

                                            Was

                             Bad

              For        

Her…. And she hated to think that right now, she is not able to have him. Not that he wanted her back or anything. She was just a toy to him. She was just a seat filler, something to do while he searched for the woman he really wanted. She knew this, but just like any other drug, the high was unmatched. She needed to be free of this intoxication. It was changing her into the woman she never wanted to be. She would one day hope to be free and he be a distant memory. The ones that seem like a dream.


The first few days, she kept her phone close to her. She hoped that he would call from some other number. Or that she would get a text message from him that he would send from a friend of his phone. Of course, she had blocked his number. She deleted it also, but she’d known his number by heart, 813-760…. She would change the subject in her mind in hopes that she would one day forget. So far, she hadn’t called him. But she knew that if he had called, she would eagerly answer. He’d tell her he wanted to see her, and she would willingly oblige him. Running to his arms as swiftly as a cheetah pursuing its prey, only she was an enthusiastic target of his exploits. She had it bad. This was the only way to get from under his influence. She had to go dry.


A week goes by, and she is still suffering from withdrawals, but she finally isn’t crying every day, every single day. She didn’t even realize that she barely left her room for that week. She stayed in bed most of the day. Stuck in delusion hoping that he would find himself on her doorstep, with her favorite flowers begging her forgiveness for taking her for granted. He would ask if he could come in to talk and when she obliges, he would proceed to tell her how much she meant to him and how amazing she truly was. She would start to cry, but this time he would grab her and pull her close as she sobbed in his arms. Finally releasing all the pain, he had ever caused her. She would feel accepted and loved and they would finally enjoy an amazing life together. She even dreamed it a few times because when she woke from her grief-stricken slumber, her reality would seem unreal. She just wanted to hold him, talk to him, lay her eyes on him. But she was stuck in this flagrant nightmare where she was nothing to him. This made her sadder.


After she had gotten through the first week, she realized that she hadn’t showered, brushed her teeth, or spoken to anyone that entire week. Luckily, she had taken a week off of work for this. She knew that this would be bad. She didn’t want anyone to see her like this. She responded by text when she got phone calls. She lay mostly in the dark and she avoided looking in the mirror. She ignored some text messages telling her that they were coming over to check on her. She just wanted to lay there hoping desperately for a reprieve from her anguish. Some of those hopes drifted to wanting to end it all. Had she been engulfed in him that life without him would not be worth living? Damn, she thought to herself, when did she fall this deeply. Was this love or a deep desperate desire to belong to something and he was the most familiar thing to perfection upon which we had ever happened.


She was jolted awake on the eighth day to a strong knock on the door. It was authoritative and demanded that she snapped out of it. She was a bit disoriented, but as soon as she had started to come to her senses, we jumped out of bed. She walked briskly to the door. She had hoped that it was him and if he saw how much pain she was in, he would come in to tend to her needs and nurse her back to health. If you can nurse someone back to good mental health. Had she even had good mental health? As she got closer to the door, she got nervous. She didn’t know what she would say if it was him. Her steps slowed down within a few feet of the door. They knocked again.

“Who is it?” Her voice cracked. She hurriedly cleared her throat. And was going to ask again, but the voice on the other side of the door interrupted.

“It’s me, Jim. Open the door girl!” He demanded.

Her hope shattered with disappointment. It was her cousin. He would come over often and the text responses probably wasn’t cutting it. They grew up more like brother and sister. Her mom died when she was ten and his parents took her in and raised her. He was like her best friend. Her very first friend, but she did not want to see him. She did not want him to see her like this. She stood there for a moment trying to think of something to say to him that would make him go away. She was drawing a blank.

“Nita, you know I have a key right? You can open the door, or I will open it for you.” He said with a calm but stern tone. “It is up to you. But dad is not going to let me live in peace without a welfare check report.”

She knew he was serious. She stepped back a few steps and took a deep breath. He started counting. She knew that she would have to face it eventually, but she needed it to be later. She wanted to yell out, I’m fine. But those words lingered between her brain and her voice box. Even though, she opened her mouth, nothing came out. She stepped back some more and tripped backwards into the chair that sat near the door. She just settled into the seat and waited for him to open the door.

When the door swung open, it was with a lot of caution. It was like he was unsure what he was getting himself into. He really didn’t want to come. He knew his cousin well and also hoped that if she were in trouble, she would reach out to him. He wondered if she knew that he would do anything for her. That, of course, was his sister as far as he was concerned. He stepped in lightly so as not to disrupt the energy in the house. He wanted to know exactly what was going on.

When Nita saw Jimmie, she broke down and started crying. She told him everything and she had kept this “love” a secret. She knew he would not approve of it. She did not know what it was and how to describe it anyhow. She felt ashamed and lost. How could this happen???? He stood in the doorway for a moment and watched her with such pity he almost started to cry. He only ever seen her this bad when she was dealing with her mom’s death. She wore despair and mire like a trench coat hiding even more underneath. He moved closer with caution as if she were a bomb ready to blow and he, her “cousin/brother” was tasked to diffuse it. He wondered what exactly happened. But he didn’t need details in order for him to spring into action.

“Nita Nita! Are you okay cuz? What do you need?” He asked her as he moved closer to her, quickening his space. As she read her facial expression, it seemed more emergent to get to her.


“I…I …” She sobbed loudly. It was almost like a guttural muffled scream. “I don’t... know.”

He quickly pulled her up and hugged her tightly. She wailed. She couldn’t remember if her cries even had a sound before. This time it was deafening almost. But he didn’t let her go. Normally she tries to stop crying, but she couldn’t stop. And it felt as if he gave her permission to release all of her pain. Permission to fill the room with her despair, disappointment, heartache, and disgust. All of the feelings were swirling inside her and she didn’t believe she had really ever let it out. He just let her, saying nothing.

When the cries began to subside, after what seemed like hours, he led her to her bathroom, sat her on her vanity chair and started the shower. She just sat there, still crying, this time much more quietly, but still strong. She just couldn’t imagine how she got here. She had been depressed before and he had come to her rescue many times. This time was different. She felt him grab her hand and she stopped crying suddenly as if she had snapped out of it.

“Take a shower cuz. I’ll grab your robe and find you some clothes. I’ll make you something to eat.” He said to her, disappearing behind a closing door.

She felt relief. She had forgotten how much he loved her. She felt that she could be better if she only had her cousin. She wished she were strong like him. And as she started to think about her life, she imagined that the frustrations and disappointment were washing off her and going down the drain. She imagined that all of the shame was washing away. She wanted to wash away the desperation.

When she got out of the shower, she dried off and put on her robe. She walked slowly into her room. Laid neatly on her bed was a cute outfit, sweatpants and a matching T-shirt, socks to match and a pair of sneakers. She put on the sweats and found a bra. She chuckled a bit because she knew he wasn’t going to pick out her bra. She put on the shirt and socks and walked to the kitchen. He wasn’t there. But she saw yellow rice in one pot and broccoli in the other. The oven was on, but she didn’t think to open it. She didn’t think she was in the bathroom long enough for anything baking to be finished baking.

She sat at her kitchen table in silence. She knew Jimmie would be back, but she wondered where he went. She drifted off into a daydream of her beau kissing her softly when she heard the door open.

“Jimmie? Is that you?” she yelled out, looking over her shoulder.

“Who else has a key to your house?” He asked comically.

“No one!” She replied smiling with delight to see his face when he walked into her view. She hadn’t really looked at him intently. Her emotions took her out of that reality.

“All right then! I had to go to the store. You had nothing in your fridge. Well, what you did have, I had to throw it out!” He exclaimed. “We are having Publix chicken for the main dish. You need to eat now. So, I threw some yellow rice and broccoli on. I threw some biscuits in the oven.”

She smiled as she watched her cousin wash his hands to make her a plate. He gave her the wings out of the eight-piece chicken box, he usually took a breast and a thigh. She watched him pile on the rice and add some broccoli to her plate. She got excited and started to notice that she was hungry. She tried to remember the last time that she ate anything. She couldn’t remember when or what. He placed the plate in front of her, then a moment later, a glass of sweet tea with a splash of lemonade and a fork. Shortly after that he sat down with his plate piled to the brim. He had lemonade with a splash of sweet tea. This was their thing when they cooked for each other. They ate in silence most of the meal. But, as their plates were almost empty, Jimmie broke the silence.

“What’s going on cousin? We haven’t talked in 3 weeks!” he asked as calmly as he could.

“It’s Malcolm. I know he is just toying with me, and I left him alone. He was seeing another woman and I just had to let him go. It’s so hard cousin. So hard to believe that I love someone so much who didn’t care anything about me.” She explained. “Wait, three weeks!?”

Still looking down at this food. He paused and said, “Yes. You have been M.I.A. for 3 weeks. Vanessa from your job called me and told me that you’d taken a leave of absence for up to 6 weeks. I was really worried Nita. But I came by a few times and saw that you were sleeping, and I was able to keep things secret. I just had to let you get through it, but this is the longest you’ve been this sad.”

“I thought it had been a week, going on two.” She said staring off, her eyes focused on the calendar on her fridge. “How has it been three weeks? He really has a hold on me for me to be this out of it. Like I was suffering from withdrawals.”

“Wow cousin. Well, you needed a shower! And a good meal! So, I decided to make the move. Dad was worried and Mom was going to call the police for a welfare check.” he said as he looked up and gazed into her eyes trying to understand how she was in this space. Then he pulled out his phone, shuffled through a few things on an app and then passed it to her.

“You wrote this poem about 2 months after you started seeing that clown. Anita, you have to start thinking more highly of yourself.” He said with pity and concern as he pointed to the poem saved in an email in his phone.


It read:


She was just his seat filler.

Willer of his loins. She's on his mind sexually as he pines for another maritally...

Never really needing her to be anything but available, until he says...

I don't need you anymore... But thanks. It was... Great? I guess.

His yesses reserve for the real conquest and she knew that... And yet...

She let him utilize her hidden talents for his sexual gain and silently complained with secret tears she'll never let him see...

 Like he'd care... Why should he?

She was just a seat filler...

A willer of his sexuality...

The reality of this was clear.

He was only here because he couldn't be there and here was better than nowhere.

And that right there is how they could relate.

 But the hate for herself grew as she knew he could never speak truths to her or…

 He'd lose his grip.

What he didn't realize is....

 He never really had her...                            He was her vice!

 The “feel right;” The “get me through lonely nights.”

And as soon as she realizes her worth, His girth would not be enough.

It would not contain enough "stuff" she needed to feel complete.

 Outside looking in seems simple...

But to her every blemish every pimple....

internal and out...shout to her and are magnified a thousand times!

And she's blinded by that.

Reminded that she will never be pretty enough...

Never be smart enough or have enough of what she needs to be...

Successful with him... Playing fields unleveled...

the devil whispers in her ear that her fears are true.

and she can't “do” because her strength is through her vice.

That she allegorically holds on tight to her night to be with him.

Her fight to be with him,

Despite the knots in her stomach,

 palms sweaty,

fingers tingling,

heart racing,

Her vague attempt to exist thinking he probably wouldn't miss her if she left...

Because she was his seat filler...

Dealer of temporary fantasies,

 romantically being a dynamic presence that he just didn't want...   

And she let that taunt her instead of just leaving...

 Believing one day it won't be the same.

She will be the main object of his affection.

When her objection should be to be the only.

 But her lonely heart and his lonely desires

 Are not able to let this seat be empty.

A viceless space for the right one to take its place.

Leaving                     them              both               empty.


She sat there in awe. She knew that she was a seat-filler from the beginning of the relationship, and she still let herself get caught up and hurt. What did that say about her? How could she fix this? Was her self-esteem that bad? She realized she had work to do! Love is a hell of a drug. Or was that lust? Damn!


January 16, 2024 02:19

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

2 comments

Robin Owens
16:17 Jan 25, 2024

So heavy, love with nowhere to go! Even the title is sad. I loved the line: "But those words lingered between her brain and her voice box." I am glad the character has a loving cousin who sees her. Enjoyed this read.

Reply

K Fields
21:44 Jan 25, 2024

Thank you so much for reading and your feedback! I really appreciate it!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in the Reedsy Book Editor. 100% free.