I think I was ten years old when the song Secret Lovers by Atlantic Starr came out. I had no idea what the hype was but every adult I knew sang that joint with intent. Eyes closed, sneaky grins. They knew some good shit.

While the intrigue of stolen encounters and steamy lovemaking sessions are dope, it’s a little more complex that.

For me, the days of being a side chick are long gone. Oh honey, I don’t know too many who weren’t one at one time or another. Knowing and unknowingly. But we grow. Our needs change. What’s ideal for some may not be the move for others and to avoid explaining any grown ass decisions you make, you keep your business to yourself. I tell people to always give me a choice. Don’t put anything on me – other women- without me deciding if it works for me. Routine does not work for me. Seeing someone on a regular basis does not work for me, right now.

You all can hold on to your husbands, no worries I’m not interested. Gone are the days of wrecking homes. Grown, wise women don’t make messes. We avoid them. And may even help to clean up a few. You can’t be out here hurting people. That ain’t the move.

I have a secret friend. Emphasis on the word friend. No one knows about him. No one. It would complicate too many things, blur too many lines. I made a very grown decision to cross a lot of lines in my dealings with him. I keep it a secret because I’m not explaining my decisions at 44 years old to anyone. And truth be told, he’d require alot of explaining.

Over the years, we’ve had good, good sexual encounters but that’s not our thing. Our dynamic evolved. We could be in each other’s company for three months straight and maybe only have sex two or three times. If we do it at all. Our connection is different.

He’s like that hidden support beam under the bridge doing all the work to hold it up while others travel back and forth across it. I’m his support beam too. We get each other.

For five years, he pursued me hard. I couldn’t do it because there were too many common threads. There is a whole tribe of hot in the hiney women who see him as king-ding-aling, the cream of the single-man crop and I refused to be one of the rustlers. I watched and laughed. This dude had them all wrapped around his finger. But since we’re being honest, after having sex with him it was not hard to understand why. That stroke game was legitimate enough to make you tolerate some shit.

I was not interested. I never really paid any attention to him. Each time he hit me up, my response was “chile bye.” He actually just reminded me of this yesterday. Then he hit me up on a boring Friday night. One of those dry ass nights when you don’t want to go anywhere but you don’t want to stay in either. I told him to come on over. We had a ball. It was on that night that I started to see him differently but the jury was still out.

That became our thing. We spent a lot of time building a genuine friendship and it evolved into a genuine fucking friendship. And then it became a little too heavy for me. I was seeing him too often, it started feeling too routine. When the wrong things become routine, they can get quite messy. I did not want to attach to him emotionally. He was a messy dude. But oddly, that part didn’t bother me. He left those bags at the door, never once did he bring any of that my way. But I could not just be the someone he was currently fucking. So I fell back.

And then one night he called while I was dealing with an emergency with my youngest son. He said, “How about I come up and help?” I sincerely didn’t want to be bothered but I obliged because I was by myself and stressed. My son was stuck out of state, with no phone. He had one phone call so I had to give him a load of instructions in this one call to get him home safely. I was a wreck. I had a bottle of Sweet Walter Red that I’d been drinking straight out of the bottle. This man sat up with me all night. Both of us making calls, he paid for ubers and bus tickets and offered more money to pay someone to drive my son to Maryland and even mapped out the route to drive if all else failed.

Once we knew that my son was on the bus safely, my adrenaline dropped and I realized I was tipsy. Man, I was drunk. He told me to get some rest and he’d wake me up when it was time for me to get down to the bus station. I woke up to him sitting in a chair watching me sleep. I opened my eyes to him in that same moment. He was my friend.

That chair became his. Whenever life hits me hard, he finds his place right there. Not in my bed or between my legs and helps me figure things out. He leaves that gigolo persona at the door too. I get him. Vulnerable. Open. Real.

He shares him demons. His fears. His shortcomings. His errors. He soothes mine. He celebrates me. He will travel miles to rescue me. He takes care of his broke little bestfriend. We have a code and in seven years, it remains unbroken. We could be sitting right beside each other at social gatherings and our conversations are as cool and casual as everyone elses. No one knows and no one ever will.

We were at breakfast yesterday and I told him that I’d be writing about him. I explained that this season of my blog would be dedicated to my lovers.

He laughed and said, “I’ve always wondered that. Just never asked.” I asked what he was talking about. He said, “We talk about everything and you’ve never told me who your other lovers are. As far as names.”

I picked up a piece of burnt turkey bacon, took a bite and chewed it. He put his fork down, folded his hands and stared intently, waiting for me to answer. I smiled and replied, “Good girls never tell.”

He smiled, winked and picked his fork back up.