When I was 23, I met a man. A true “man,” as I saw it.
He was 5 years my senior and the first guy I’d talked to seriously since college.
We met in downtown Detroit in front of the storied Renaissance Center. Hundreds of thousands of visitors were in town for the Super Bowl. Detroit was hosting it that year even as we fought through budget issues and political problems.
He was standing in front of the building with a group of men. They were suspiciously inconspicuous. Turns out they were a group of police officers working undercover during the run up to the big game.
I’d just left a press conference that was filled with many of the performers for the 2006 pre-game show. Traffic and parking were impossible so I had a friend drop me off and was waiting on her to pick me up when he approached.
I remember thinking his facial hair was perfectly lined. What some lesser individuals may refer to as a “Steve Harvey line.”
Anyway, one thing leads to another and soon enough we’re dating and eventually in a relationship.
About 10 months into our thing — I could’ve behaved like a fool. Like a straight, unadulterated, liberated fool. (Technically, I could’ve acted this way at least 2 other times – but for purposes of this list let’s focus on this incident.)
He’d given me a key to his house. I’d had it for months.
On this particular day – it was a Saturday, I will never forget – I’d headed to his home with leftover pizza.
He worked overnights, and I figured he’d be hungry from a long nap so I’d come with gifts.
I’d found it odd he hadn’t called or texted me when he’d gotten off in the early morning hours but I decided to let that feeling go.
I pulled up to his home and noticed his car wasn’t in the driveway. Again, I dismissed any nagging feeling.
I walked up to back door, key in hand and went to put it in the lock when I noticed the door was slightly ajar. Odd.
I pushed it open as he was walking up the stairs from the basement with a bewildered look on his caramel face.
“Hey,” I said in a friendly tone.
I went to close the door behind me when I noticed a pair of magenta snow boots on the lacquered wooden floor. What?
They were at least a size 10.
So it’s a big bitch in here?
Without thinking, I pushed passed him and headed straight to his bedroom. It was a tall, thick woman lying across the bed – wearing child-like pajamas.
She’s talking on the phone; her hot pink Razr Motorola flip phone.
“Come pick me up,” she says.
I launch into a high-pitched, verbal attack.
“WHO ARE YOU?!” I scream – still holding the brown pizza box in my small hands.
“Just come pick me up,” she repeats to the person on the other end of her flip.
I repeat myself; attempting to lower the octave of my inquisition.
She snickers and doesn’t answer. Or maybe she does. But at this point my heart is beating in my ears. I can’t hear and whatever she said or didn’t say wasn’t good enough.
After what seems to be an eternity, I storm out the room. He was behind me and I hadn’t noticed.
I stomp into the kitchen and finally place the cold pizza on the counter.
Then I make my way outside, keenly aware that he isn’t on my heels.
Why isn’t he right behind me?
I reach my car and I notice he’s 30 paces behind. Too far.
We begin to argue. Our yells are heightened because the block is so silent. It was a lazy Saturday – the Saturday before Christmas 2006.
“Who is that bitch!?!” I shriek.
“Why she gotta be a bitch?” he questions.
To this day, that answer makes my blood boil.
The rest of the argument is a blur but for some reason I go back into the house.
Now, we’re arguing in the kitchen. Big Bitch is still inside – hiding out in the bedroom.
He rambles off something about a “Pajama Jam” party he’d gone to after work that somehow spilled over into his home (2 cities away from the original party.)
Suddenly, in the middle of his convoluted tale I see his car pull into the driveway and a dark-skinned woman get out of it and start walking towards the back door. She opens it. She walks in.
“You ready?” she calls to Big Bitch.
My mouth smacks the stark white linoleum.
In the middle of what I’d consider the run up to World War III, he says, “I’ve got to take them home.”
He walks out the kitchen, and then walks out the house. Big Bitch emerges from the back and slides out the back door, too. I’m left standing there…alone…on a Saturday…the Saturday before Christmas…with cold pizza on the counter.
In the silence, my anger was audible. I can still feel my pulse beating in my ears.
I thought about bleaching his clothes.
I thought about cutting his clothes.
I thought about breaking all the glass in that house.
I thought about stopping up the sink and tub and causing a flood on his first floor.
I thought about ransacking his entire home.
But, instead of acting out a scene from a poorly-produced BET movie, I left.
I walked out and I left the cold pizza on the counter.
Rage was standing on my shoulders – but I didn’t buckle under her. I decided I wasn’t going to be his “story.”
I decided he’d never get the chance to sit around with a group of the fellas and share a, “let me tell you what this crazy ass woman did to me once…” – at least not at my expense.
Leaving without destroying a thing ultimately spoke volumes.
Don’t act crazy over a man.
**And I should note we didn’t break up after this. It wasn’t until later that I learned to know when someone’s had enough chances. That’s another story for another time**