Five minutes later when I was wiping down the counter I heard a familiar ping. I took some extra time drying my hands, nervously anticipating the response I would encounter.
I wish I could come over and hang out with you for just a little while.
I stood stock still overcome by the sheer thought of having him alone in my home once more. It was almost too much to bear and yet too good to pass up. I was wild for him and I didn’t want to deny it. I craved the same thing.
Well it just so happens that I’ve got the joint to myself tonight. You could come over and hang out for a bit.
I hit send and gritted my teeth. I could feel this was a turning point. If he came over there would be no going back.
Stop playing with me Cat. I’m serious. I would hop on a train and come through if you let me.
I smiled. He thought I was playing. Foolish tiger. If only you knew how I burn for you.
No listen I’m serious. You could come through if you wanted to.
I was playing it cool when I was anything but.
A minute passed then two and nothing. I started to think that maybe he was the one playing games. Ah whatever. I still had to clean the bathroom and planned a Netflix night with Baby if all else failed. I was gonna be alright. Right! Right? Right.
I broke out the cleaners, fastened the shower cap over my hair and turned on the bathtub faucet. Just as I started wetting the walls down with water my phone rang.
What the hell? I pulled my yellow gloves off, dried my hand and looked at my phone screen. Oh my gosh, it was him. I could hardly believe it.
“Hey.” I answered in what I hoped was a casual sounding tone.
“Cat are you serious? You really have the place to yourself tonight? It’s really ok for me to come through?”
He was so cute, innocent and nervous that I had to giggle.
“Yes of course you can. I’m just cleaning right now but we can watch a movie or something. I have some food I could whip up real quick if you’re hungry.”
I was downplaying the evening, like we were just two friends chilling. I mean it could be like that right?
“You know it’s gonna take me about two hours to get there. Is that gonna be too late for you?”
What did dude think I was an old lady who needed her Sanatogen and bed by 10? Actually I should be quiet, these days I would fall asleep on the couch while watching a movie in less than half an hour.
“No actually that’s perfect. It will give me time to finish my cleaning and heat this food up.”
“Ok cool Cat. I’m leaving the house now. I’ll see you in about two hours.”
“Ok see you later.”
I had been listening to the dial tone for a few seconds, too stunned to end the call. Had I just decided to have an affair? No I reasoned, nothing happened yet. For all I know nothing would. But I knew that I was lying to myself. I wanted that boy from the moment he called me on the phone and that feeling grew into something tangible the first time I met him. Every conversation, text, meeting since that time only served to fan the flames between us. I wanted him in the worst way possible and I was certain that he felt the same way. How could one explain this familiarity that I felt when I was talking, texting or seeing him? I was playing games and yet I was more transparent than I’d ever been in my life. I just told him I was cleaning for Pete’s sake! Did I also volunteer to make food for him? What the hell good little Indian girl shit was that? Hell that wasn’t even me. Actually the thing is that it was me, just not something I portrayed to any and every dude. I was always the tough girl, the chic that voiced men were more of an unwanted burden, distraction, something that always wanted to be catered too and I wasn’t down with any of that.
But if you were my man then you were privy to a softer side of this female. You would find me to be different altogether. I am the chic that cooks, keeps my joint spotless, washes clothes, keeps a regular 9-5 gig. I am that chic that can hold a man down when he’s down and out, when he goes through a period of unemployment, when family and friends leave him vulnerable. I am that girl who would shield him, soothe his wounds with my words, with my body, with my soul. But there are few who knew this and it looks like I was going to open the door for one more.
I had to distract myself from my thoughts. Electric energy was pulsating through every cell in my body. I put on my Youtube playlist and started singing to Lana Del Ray. I scrubbed the bathtub with unbridled vigor. About an hour and a half later after I had showered, creamed every inch of my skin with Victoria Secret’s Amber Romance and donned my boy-cut shorts and NY Yankees sleep shirt, I stood over the stove, opening my Chicken Florentine dinner in a bag for two. It was the quickest, tastiest way to a man’s heart. Trust me, as a busy woman with a family you had to learn to cut a few corners yet do it with panache.
Did it bother me that I was using one of my tricks that I reserved for my family? No but maybe it should have. Somebody ought to tell it to my conscience if they could find it. I felt as if I was on a runaway train rambling down the track at 100 miles an hour. Everything else was behind me and I was going to fast for my peripheral views to make any difference. Whatever weak argument that might have been tumbling around in my head was all but banished now. My tiger was on his way.
I contemplated several outfits before putting on my regular sleep clothes. It just didn’t make any sense to act coy at this point and everything else I tried on didn’t really make sense for this time of night. Ah, who was I really kidding? I knew what was going down but I wasn’t trying to really face it openly even to myself. I preferred to play the girl scout card and be prepared for whatever. That would also explain why I shaved every inch of my body. I was fresh, smelled like a million and ready for wherever the night would take me.
Once I finished cooking I lit my pumpkin spice candles in the kitchen and gave the joint a once over. As usual everything was perfectly clean and in its place. I turned down the bed and turned on the TV lying down trying not to contemplate all of the scenarios that were writhing in the corners of my brain.
The ping on my phone startled me out of Lieutenant Joe Kenda’s commentary.
Cat I’m at the front door.
I was too excited to answer. Instead I leapt off the bed and threw my front door open.
Let the games begin.