As soon as I saw him taking his clothes off, I knew that once again things had gone too far. Come on, Janell.. really? I’m at home on my second week of post-op from my hysterectomy and there stood my work husband taking his clothing off in the middle of my bedroom floor. My space felt vacuum sealed and tight. Uncomfortable and clammy. I could not breathe. This shit was weird. Weird. I wasn’t fucking this man. Hadn’t, wouldn’t and could not. No way in hell. For several very good reasons. The main one being how uninteresting he was to me and I wasn’t even attracted to him sexually, but I was also only a few days post op. I would not be wasting any mercy humps and certainly wasn’t going to waste any with him.
I liked him. But after having a few unsuccessful dealings with coworker boyfriends in the past, I vowed that I would never cross the play where you get paid road again. I wasn’t this ethical professional either. Experience taught me that while my crazy was the kind that could in fact handle workplace romance, theirs couldn’t. We could be booed up, damn near living together and I’d still greet you with a plain, standard good morning as if you didn’t have an assigned side in my bed.
My crazy could also bust every window out of your car the night before and walk past you in the workplace the next day, offering that same stale greeting. Their crazy would have them ranting and screaming our business to every listening coworker’s ear. Mine would look at him shocked and appalled by his immature display, as if I hadn’t struck a match to his worldly possessions just that morning. They ain’t my kind.
We had worked together and slowly cultivated what I told myself ( I be tripping) was a friendship out of a flirtationship and this nigga caught feelings. It happens. He was dull. A very routine, eat the same meal everyday, dull dude. Work, home and talk radio. His idea of free time was spending his Saturdays at his dad’s repair shop “kicking around and making noise”, as he described it. I knew his type. It’s not even a type that was limited to men. These folks get into these stagnant, bland life routines and pretend to be content. As soon as a spark of color and sprinkle of zeal comes sashaying through their black and white worlds, they’re wide open and out the gate. And there I am, one big ball of color and zeal, greeting them with arms wide open. It’s dangerous because they really believe that they can navigate two lives…two lies. Stay black and white on this side – the family side, the committed side, the other life side. Play in color on the other side – the sex side, the lust side, the free to be anyone you want to be side. That’s the side that gets me into trouble.
I love to make people feel good about themselves. I love making them smile and feel silly. I’m a “don’t think about tomorrow, stay in the moment” type of person. I make people cast their cares to the side, even if just for a little while. I love watching them light up from compliments and friendly teasing. Playing like twenty-somethings with but a few cares in the world, when we’re leading stressful and burdensome fourty and fifty-something realities. Which is one of the reasons why I’m so good at reeling people in. I make them forget. But anyway.
He was stopping by to visit and I had curved so many of his previous attempts to check on me, I felt bad. What felt worse though was seeing how that line that I told myself I’d never crossed was clearly crossed the fuck out.
I was getting ready for a nap and thought that by mentioning it for the third time, he’d catch the hint and make his visit a quick one. Nope. I invited him into my bedroom, no worries I told myself because I invite everyone into my bedroom. It’s where I chill, where I entertain, it’s my living room; I live there so it’s natural for me to invite people into it. This is where I also play the game of telling myself that everyone is normal. Everyone ain’t normal. That was the first thing I thought when I walked to the other side of the bed to climb on top of my comforter, only to look up and find him damn near nude on the other side of my bed. Everyone ain’t normal.
“What are you doing??” An appropriate question. And also the only words I seemed to be able to form in my state of shock. “My outside clothes are dirty.” He explained in his thick accent. “I want to sit on your bed with you. You said you were resting and I wanted to rest with you. ” There was that voice again: “Janell, what the fuck are you doing??” Before I could offer a rebuttal and high-tail it back into the living room, he was pulling my blanket back and planting his gray undies on my sheets. Bitch. No. “Hold up, wait, wait, wait. Get up. This is weird. *insert nerves laughter* Too weird. Come on, now.” BECAUSE FIRST OF ALL THAT’S MR. 51 SIDE OF THE BED AND HE’S THE OOOOOONLY PERSON WHO CAN COME IN HERE PULLING COVERS BACK GOTDAMMIT!
So I didn’t say that last part out loud, but I’m certain my face said it all because the look of embarrassment on his face made me wonder if it truly were an innocent move (see how naive I pretend to be?? Bitch he wasn’t worried about no outside damn clothes!! He was being fresh!! He wanted a midday feel up session! Janell, STOP!). “At least put your shirt and bottoms back on. I have to change my linen today anyway. And don’t pull my covers back.” His visit was every bit of 20 minutes max. He kissed my neck. Kissed my hands. He attempted to caress and hold and touch and I felt repulsed and smacked and removed his hands from their own exploratory journey. I had flirted with this man relentlessly for several months and had invited him into my bedroom and really expected for him to behave like one of the homies? Girl bye.
I couldn’t wait for him to leave so that I could breathe. Just a few nights before, I had laid next to Mr. 51, eyes closed, loose, threadbare pajamas on, massaging his scalp while we chilled with our heads smashed together. Doing our thing – music, silence, caress and repeat. Time stops with him. My spirit travels with him. It never feels like we’re in any one space because our collective energy is so open and free. It doesn’t feel convoluted and messy. I don’t feel weary or fatigued by his presence. When he leaves, I feel lifted. Isn’t that how in the fuck it’s supposed to be, people? And there I sat on my bed, watching this pudgy little man, who had only been in my home one previous time, snatch my air from me.
There you go again Janell. That sentence played on repeat in my head. It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t take a perfectly innocent, playful something and turn it into a tangled mess of confusion, while pretending that it’s all normal. Little fires everywhere (author’s note: I totally stole that from the book turned miniseries on Showtime. If you haven’t watched, get into it. The show is a barnburner). Acting as if I’m not the motherfucker striking these matches. No Limit Nelly. When did it stop? I knew exactly what I was doing but what type of ego was I carrying around that made me play these games with myself? This isn’t the first time that my flirting has gotten me into trouble, and yet I still did it. I loved to flirt because I tell myself that I control it. I can turn it high, turn it low and excuse myself at anytime with no hard feelings. It’s just flirting right? Sometimes.
Most of the time it’s me playing with the heat in a kitchen that I cannot stand. The ” This is Who I am in My Head But I Ain’t About This Life For Real” Bistro. I’m not some damn sex kitten. I’m wifey for real. A good, trashy, loyal one too. I just hung my apron up to play for awhile because I haven’t come across any “hubbies” out in these streets. Yes, I so enjoy being #teamsingle but there are quite a few of us who genuinely just want to settle down and be monogamous hiding in the crowd. Afraid. We’ve talked about this in previous posts.
Fear makes you do stupid things. Like making connections and trapezing back and forth until someone loses interests and lets go. Like pretending that a handful of random suitors is the move; that it makes you happy not be too wrapped up into any one man. Like you’re happy to not have someone all wrapped up into you. On your Nola Darling shit. Hey, I know the game. She is me. Seek, find, play, keep it moving. Until your work husband is standing in your bedroom.
A very good work husband he was too. I’m speaking past tense because I need to get his ass gone asap. But he served in his work husband role so well – feed you good, carried your things to your car, brought little treats and things in; a good damn work husband. Oh, how things change. This man has offered to pay my bills, wipe/wash my ass, feed me, fix my car, wash my clothes. He prayed over me before my surgery. Called to pray and read scripture the night before my surgery – and I had been given the OK to engage in cannabis joy until 12 midnight — I was so hiiiiiigh that I giggled through the sincerity of his reading. I was giggling at game too.
This man is very married. Oh, I don’t just play in frying pans. I have a tendency to jump my ass right into the fire. I own it. It went from playful smiles and eye winks and me offering a sweet “Good morning, Sunshine” to him every morning and complimenting his craft at work to him doing little sweet favors, enjoying his morning tea in my office and telling me about his childhood in the islands. He’d talk and I’d listen. I’d ask questions and he’d talk some more. Innocent behind closed doors and pouring it on hot and sticky in front of our work family. Making him blush. It delighted me. He went from the hardworking shadow who grumbled a few words here and there to the big man on campus and I was tickled. Look at him lighting up and glowing and shit. Go Janell. Just playing around, right? I saw the look in his eyes change and heard myself say to myself out loud, BITCH STOP. I even said it out loud to a few friends. This has gotta stop…giggle-giggle, hee-hee.
Two of my very good friends slammed with the real though: “This is what you always do. You play too much. You see it turning into something else and it’s almost like it gets you off to have that type of attention. Everybody can’t handle that. It’s not always playing to them. You need to chill with that flirting shit because to you, it’s over when you become bored with it. But for them it doesn’t mean it’s game over. You’re going to get yourself into some shit that you can’t easily get out of.” Yikes.
Getting myself into some shit that I can’t easily get out of, scene two. Action.
His presence in my room made it feel so small. My big, comfy space felt like a vacuum and I knew I had gone too far. I thought about how airy and light is my norm. That’s how I feel. Not this shit. I thought about how my space feels wide and free whenever my sweet Mr. 51 is in it. That’s how it’s supposed to be with everyone really. I didn’t feel any of that with the dude from work. He ruined the work husband game. Ugh, honesty right? I ruined it. We run around the world with smudge sticks, clearing negative vibes but we neglect to mention that most times it’s our own. Throwing rocks and hiding hands at our own lives, man.
I’m becoming less entertained by my own bullshit. Growth? Wisdom? Boredom? Maybe it’s all three. But I gotta be real about some things. Honesty is my favorite thing until I’m telling the truth to myself. Because it hurts. I’m too old to be crossing the same lines that I crossed twenty years ago. Repeating patterns. That’s the consequence right there. They repeat. And repeat. And repeat. Why am I still refusing to listen to the voice that loudly screams “Janell, don’t do it.” There’s no thrill to it anymore. When I was young and free and all up and out in the world, I didn’t care about the type of men that I chose. I didn’t know that I was supposed to. As I’ve grown and see that the only world that needs to feel good is the one that I create for me, I’m not feeling the mess. I hadn’t lived enough to give a fuck back then. It’s different now. If I’m going to be single and content, I can’t move like a person who doesn’t know peace. If you don’t know it, you can’t cultivate it. I know better.
Honestly speaking, I still haven’t quieted the voice that wants to be seen and adored. Who doesn’t want to be adored, sometimes even when you know it’s a lie? She’s irking me now though, so I guess that’s progress. This whole work husband saga though, I’m building up the courage to tell myself that I don’t need that kind of attention, so that I can cut him off. See? I’m still telling the truth. Hang with me while I write this Dear John to his ass, you know I’m an oversharer (again, that attention thing), so you guys will know line by line. Lawd.
In other news though, my post op life at home has been pretty damn interesting. Me and this out of bounds craziness. Which is why I have 19 posts coming your way. Old lovers reappearing, new coochie vibes, the blessing of stillness, all ready to go. I have some shit to share my loves.
See you soon <3.