When Tamara arrived at Travis’ studio apartment he was playing Black Ops and watching Discovery Channel w/ Basketball Wives playing in the picture in picture. He was drinking whiskey sour out of his favorite pimp cup (he won it at his best friend bachelor party last year.) On his wall was a framed black and white photo of him at the top of a graphically designed mountain in the classic “Rocky pose” with an African proverb reading. “However long the night, the dawn will break.”
How fitting, Tamara thought to herself. It was time for the dawn to break. She had been standing in the doorway for approximately six minutes already. She made a key for herself when she “house-sat” for him one summer and he never asked for her to return it so she assumed they were “exclusively dating” and she moved on from there. After all, a key was a big deal right? Well right now it was irrelevant. She was done. Travis was okay. He just wasnt okay for her. She was tired of love-making that consisted of him asking a bunch of rhetorical questions and answering them on his own. In example, “Yeah you like that right? Yea you do…yea you do.” -_- She wanted cinematic love. Cliche love. Novel worthy material. She wanted a happy ending (not the kind he was receiving at massage parlors in the city.) She knew he wasnt committed to her. She knew he wanted his ideal. Deep down inside he had this portrait of his perfect match and sadly she didn’t even slightly resemble that portrait. She wasnt even sure if she loved him. She once wanted to love him but he never gave her the chance.
9 minutes and 23 seconds…
Finally she cleared her throat. Without even looking up, he chuckled and said,
“I know a perfect alllll natural remedy for an irritated throat , little mama. You thought I didn’t know you was standing there? I heard your car when you parked across the street. I know how many times your heart beats per minute. You think anyone would ever be in my personal space without me knowing it? You love attention. You want the whole show to stop when you walk through the door. Awwwwwww… it’s not your world girl.”
He’s such an a____
interrupting her thoughts he said, ” You’re probably calling me out my name right now. Probably questioning why you deal with me. But I think we both know the answer to that question…”
Travis stopped the game and put the remote down. He really wanted to finish what he was doing but his “power cord” needed to be re-charged and there was a charger standing in his doorway wearing skin-tight jeans and a hot pink top that looked like it came off easily. He decided to smooth things out a bit. He could be a little arrogant at times but it’s because he knew Tamara wasnt going anywhere. She thought she could change him. She thought he was emotionally inept. None of this was the case, however. Travis knew what he wanted and never settled. Tamara was okay. Just not okay for him. She was supposed to be a “one-nighter” but he kept her around because she was cute and she had a dependant nature about her. As a man, it felt good to be needed. With Tamara, he was needed and wanted.
He attempted to touch her hair but she flinched and took a step back. So he grabbed her arm and smacked her right butt cheek so hard that it stung and a tear ran down her cheek. Tamara was quiet. She just glared at Travis. He pushed her on the floor. Purposely missing the couch because his magazines and his remote controls were there. He glanced up at the television to see the beautiful Shaunie Oneal. “Motivation…”, he thought. He turned Tamara around, grabbed her long brown hair, jerked her head back and said, “Why do you play these games with me? This isn’t a battle, T.” He let go of her hair and her head almost hit the floor. He looked at her jeans again and decided they weren’t worth the effort so he pulled at the waist and broke the top button and the zipper.
“You can go to Rainbow Shop and get another pair”, he said.
Tamara’s body remained motionless. Travis continued his one man show. In her mind, Tamara had already left the building and the “relationship” and this living nightmare.
Wait for it…wait for it…
His classic monologue began, “Yeah you like that right? Yea you do…yea you do…”
Tamara muttered something through clenched teeth and tears.
“What? I can’t hear you”, he said.
I hate you.
He heard that. Loud and clear. Threw him off completely. Psychologically and physically, Travis was paralyzed. He was just playing. He thought she liked his rough exterior. Was she crying? When did that happened? Did he go too far? He didn’t want her but he didn’t want to lose her either. Not right now. Travis got up and sat on the couch motionless and emotional.
“I hate you”, Tamara repeated. She took advantage of this lull in the storm and moved quickly to his dresser drawer. She pulled out his favorite sweats (after all, she’s the one who bought them) and she swiftly took off her jeans and replaced them with the grey Ralph Lauren sweatpants. She tossed the jeans in the garbage. She grabbed what was left of the whiskey sour from the refrigerator and poured it over his flat screen television. Its sparked and sputtered and finally a smile crept over her face. He still didn’t move.
Finally, Tamara threw the spare key through the glass frame of that sickening black and white photo of Travis and said:
“However long the night, the dawn will break. I’m cutting your phone off and taking it off my plan tomorrow. Have a nice day.”
She left and then she peeked her head back in and said, “When I see your mama in church on Sunday….I’m telling her everything. Bye!”
(To Be Continued)