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African American Romance

      The steam from the pot misted my face and lightly coated my beard. I poured the hot liquid into her ‘Unicorns Are Mystical Like Me” mug and the “Beardlicious” mug she bought me for my birthday last year. The water seeped through the bags of my homemade blend of herbs. We have tea every time she comes to my place. Though her aura warms me up from being near her, it is a bonus to feel the well-steeped elixir coat my insides. 

         I handed her the mug of tea and sat down next to her. Before my body touched the seat, she was already spilling everything that happened at work. I blew the steam-coated drink and watched my breath make small ripples in the top. I took a comforting sip before I brought my attention back to her. 

         I watched her lips. The way they moved when words flowed over them like rolling clouds on a mountain. She had so much expression in the way she told stories. Her face so animated from joy to annoyance, and back around again. About ten minutes had passed before she stopped. She took a deep breath and sat back on the sofa, tucking her legs under her in the process.  

         She noticed my stare, “What?”

         “Nothing,” I said, taking another sip of my tea. 

         I gave my two cents on the matter. She never wanted me to fix it, just an opinion or two. One thing I loved about her, she listened when I did call her out on her bullshit. She was self-aware and accountable for her actions. I watched her continue to sip her tea slowly.

         When I met her two years ago, there was something about the way she existed in a world hell-bent on destroying our people. She spoke with passion when it came to the love she had for our culture. She danced, she told corny jokes, and she stole my heart one word at a time. 

We had little spats, but nothing as bad as the argument—six months into our blissful relationship. I was still working on ways to express my emotions. It wasn’t something that came to me. I had only been going to therapy for a few months. The whole disagreement was stupid. To be honest, I can’t remember what started it. But I remember her standing in the middle of her living room, tears staining her perfect cheeks.  

I wasn’t good enough for her. I didn’t deserve a woman like her. She begged me to reconsider before walking out the door. My mind was made up. I was done with trying to love. Things got hard, and I did what I knew how to do. Leave. I had to do it before she did it to me. Her tears meant nothing. Honestly…they meant everything. 

I walked closer to the door, yelled that I was done with the relationship. If she couldn’t do whatever she couldn’t do at that time, I had more women that wanted me. Women that would make my life easy, and I wouldn’t have to grow to have them. She stepped closer to me. For a second, I stood there. I wanted her to reach me. I needed her to touch me. I could feel her love pulsate and electrify me. 

She was only a few steps away, but the pride, my ego, had me out of the door before she could. We didn’t speak for a week. I fought the urge to reach out because I needed to make a point. I needed her to know that I was serious. Until I realized that I was seriously messing up. 

The phone was in my hand; I stared at the cursor as it blinked, awaiting my confession. I had self-sabotaged, and she knew it. Maybe why she had held her ground. Or perhaps I was right; she didn’t love me like I loved her. And she was waiting on the right time for me to end it. I pushed past my fear. I sent, ‘Can we talk?’ A few endless seconds passed by before the zip of a reply came through, ‘Come Over.’

I faced one of the scariest moments that night. I allowed myself to be vulnerable. We made love that night like it was our first. And I will never forget the first time our bodies met. Our third date. Stunning, a descriptor for her that was and still is an understatement. Before dessert arrived, I couldn’t hold my tongue anymore.

“I want you,” I said. 

I became obsessed with tasting her honey skin. Many nights of sweaty embraces and being lost in one another. We made love for the rain to pour and the sun to shine. Our joining became the unleashing of this world and diving into the universe. I love her.

She continued to sip on her tea in between breaks of recounting the events of her day. I could only smile to remain calm. The tea cut the edge off. I needed it. Once she reached the bottom, I had to tell her.

I knew. I had always known who she was to me. My forever. But I did not want to need her. I wanted it to be my choice. When I made decisions out of necessity, then it wasn’t always made for the best reasons. Need becomes addiction if it wasn’t looked after. When that switch from ‘a need to want’ happened, it was time to take things up a notch. 

“You have been staring a lot today. What’s up with you?” she asked me.

She took one final swig of her tea and set it down. Did I forget to plan this properly? 

“All done with your tea?” I said, nodding towards the cup.

“No, well yeah. You’re being strange, and I don’t know if I like it.”

My cup found its way to the table. I chuckled from nervousness and her observation. I could have sworn I was playing it cool. The room started to feel like the back of a garbage truck, pushing in on me. I told myself a million times I could do this. I am worth all the things I desire. Being a black man saying such affirmations; at one point, I could never.

“Can you check your cup?” A slight tremor in my voice.

“Why? Do you want the rest of it? It’s probably cold now.”

“Bae, please. Just check your cup.”

She rolled those chocolate eyes and leaned over to grab her cup. She stared in the cup. She then swirled it around as if to release the aroma. Her eyes glowed as she continued to wonder at the contents of the cup. She turned the cup up to her lips, draining the rest of the liquid.

When she looked up, the ring was on her lips and her eyes darted towards me. I had already moved to one knee beside her on the couch. A single silver drop escaped her left eye. I reached up and took the tea-coated ring from her full lips. Her lips quivered and matched the speed of my heart. I couldn’t overthink this.

“Indigo, since the day you walked in my life, I knew I had met the person I was meant to spend the rest of my lifetimes with. I love you so fiercely that it scared me. It literally terrified me to allow you to see me in that way. See me so entranced by something I knew nothing of. I was scared I would love you wrong. But you have taught me that love is the base of who we are as celestial beings and there was no way I could get it wrong when I love from my soul.”

Tears flowed down both of our cheeks. I had always thought men had to be strong and not cry. I learned allowing myself to be vulnerable, carried more strength. I was on the verge of losing it. My hands full of sweat grabbed hers.

“Would you do me the honor of being my wife?”

Her lips pushed against mine with such force. She nodded her head, but that was not enough.

I moved my lips from hers long enough to say, “I need to hear it.”

“Yes, Cy. I will be your wife.

Knowing is one thing, but doing something about it, that is the real thing. 

January 15, 2022 04:10

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