While You Were Away, Part III
He grabbed my arm tightly, it felt like blood vessels were bursting all at once under my skin.
He released my arm and as he did, my right hook connected with his jaw. He pushed me up against my car and held me there as I tried to headbutt him. I squirmed around trying to free myself. Finally, able to break free, once I stomped on his pinky toe with my 4” stiletto boots. OUCH!!!!! He screamed, and at the same time, one of his neighbors exited the front door and ran over to my aid.
“Hey guy, get the hell off her!”
Shawn, still in shock from the pain shooting through his body and this now, “Captain Save-A-Hoe” guy that appeared. Before he could say a word, the guy did some Bruce Lee move on his ass. All I saw was Shawn pinned up against the ground, with his left cheek in a urine stained chunk of snow, by my foot, on the sidewalk.
“Miss, get out of here. I got it!”
Within seconds, I heard the sirens, yes, the boys in blue pulled up. Now, let me paint this picture. Woman, clothes looking disheveled, due to man trying to prevent her from punching him again in the face. My appearance would leave anyone to believe that I was the one that was in danger. Then, you have a barely dressed black male; in gray sweatpants, no shirt, and barefoot. To make matters worse, you have a Caucasian male, restraining this black man, and a woman crying uncontrollably. What they don’t realize is that I am not crying because he physically hurt me, no, it’s the emotional pain that has me in this current fragile state. If you were the cops, arriving to this scene, it is quite obvious whom you would assume was the culprit in this matter. As you can see, this has escalated rather quickly.
One cop rushed over to assist the neighbor whom still had Shawn pinned on the ground. The other officer walked up to me to ask how I was doing. I told him that I was okay and was only having an argument with my boyfriend. He looked at me, if I were lying and merely covering up for Shawn, as if he were an abusive douche bag. I reassured him that I was leaving in the heat of an argument and my guy was simply trying to prevent me from leaving without talking. During our disagreement, the guy from the building came on the scene. My boyfriend was trying to prevent my attempt to repeat something I had done to him. I tried to avoid disclosing the fact that I physically assaulted Shawn.
By the time, the officer walked away to go and talk to Shawn, I leaned up against my car for support. My toes were numb, and my thighs felt as if I had hundreds of needles sticking me. Obviously, I was having the early onset of frost bites. Officer Wright, from the 79th Precinct, came back and told me that Shawn was not going to press charges. This son of a bitch! I can’t believe he told them that I sucker-punched him in the face. Well, he deserved it for cheating on me. I should have kicked him in the throat with my boots. Better yet, I wish his neighbor gave him a Karate chop to the throat.
I sat in the car waiting for the police to drive off. I had my head down browsing my Instagram page and watching a video, all while the car heat up. The tap on the window, broke my attention from the video I was watching on ‘Callhimrenny’ page. I looked up and it was Officer Wright.
“Ma’am, we’re going to need you to leave the premises. Your boyfriend said he feels unsafe with you being in front of his home. He is fearful of what you may do once we leave. He’s considering filing a restraining order against you. However, until he decides what he will do, please avoid any contact with him.”
I told the officer that I would comply with the request. I pulled off and drove to the corner store on Lewis and Jefferson Avenue. I bought a dutch and a ‘torch’ lighter. When I walked back to my car, I noticed that the back-left tire was a little low and in need of air. Before I pulled out of my parking space, I turned on the radio and DJ Dahved Levy was playing, “Hills and Valleys” by Buju Banton. The perfect song to get me in the right vibe before I smoke this spliff.
I began singing aloud to the verses and then my phone interrupted the song, over Bluetooth. I looked on my console and saw Satan’s name pop up. I let it ring out because I wanted his dumbass to know I was avoiding his call. I’m sure he thought I was driving back to DC now, with tear-filled eyes. It’s all good. I had already text Blake and told him that I was on my way to his house. He told me that the keys would be left in his mailbox, so I could let myself in. I was halfway home jamming out to some culture music. I was high as a kite. I made it from Brooklyn to Maryland in two hours, with only an hour more to spare. It was almost six thirty when my phone began ringing again. This time, the trifling demon called ten times back to back. I decided to find out what he wanted.
What the hell do you want?!
“Cut the crap Jen! You wanted this to end. You came fishing and you found what you were looking for. I want you to ship my stuff to me. And while you’re at it, send back the engagement ring. You don’t deserve to keep that ring.”
You are as small as your manhood. Only a useless person would say what you just said to me. You know what?!!
I am happy that I lost our baby. I wouldn’t want to bring a child into this world with your dumbass!
“Jennifer Madison Beckford!! Lose my F#$%*! $ number.”
Babe…I’m sorry! I didn’t mean it…
I heard the phone go dead on his end. He hung up. It was at this very moment that I came to the conclusion that there was no coming back from what I had just said. I crossed a line that no woman should cross. What we lived through was no joking matter to make light of. Nor should I have thrown it down his throat in a vindictive way. I’m an a@#hole.
I pulled into the driveway and bawled. It felt as if the life was escaping me, like a balloon losing all its air. I was unaware that I was holding my breath, thankfully my brain reminded me that it needed oxygen. I gasped and swallowed a gulp of air. I cried the same way I did the day we lost our son that was born stillbirth. The same heartache, this time worst!
It was our 8-month check-up with my OB GYN. I always enjoyed our visits, especially when I was further along and could hear the baby’s heartbeat on the fetal doppler. Today was the day I would show Dr. Liz my engagement ring, as she kept teasing Shawn on putting a ring on it. She’s a huge fan of ‘Queen Bey’ and loved bringing up any Beyoncé song at the drop of a dime. She even went as far as singing one of her hit songs on our last visit,
“If you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it.
“Don’t be mad once you see that he want it…” We shared a laugh.
I went ahead and changed into the scrubs prior to her entrance. I laid on the examination table, with Shawn to the right of me holding my hand. Dr. Liz walked in and greeted us with the same usual perky attitude. She would always remind me to eat, as my pregnancy caused me to experience rapid weight loss. My morning sickness was horrendous. I hated the mere sight of food. I had 24-hour nausea. We small talked to pass time, as she reviewed my chart. My blood pressure was normal, weight was the same as the month prior. She put the lubricating gel on my stomach, we talked about the trip she was going on with her husband to Dubai. She put the device on my stomach and started making circular motions. The next thing I knew the conversation came to a halt.
She asked if I felt any kicking or ‘flutters’ today. I told her that the baby wasn’t as active today. Not realizing until that moment that there was a problem. She told her medical assistant, Kem, to run into the other examination room and grab her the prob. I asked if everything was okay. She didn’t want to look at me.
Dr. Bryan, please speak to me!! Is everything okay with my baby?!
At this time, Shawn stood up and walked to the counter. I guess he needed to lean against something because now, I had released his hand. He slowly put his hands to his head, then his mouth. I’m guessing he was battling something internally. My baby was doing his darnedest to hold it together.
“I’m sorry but I’m not hearing a heartbeat. Please wait until Kem returns. I need to confirm with the Probe.”
Dr. Liz…No, No, Nooooo! This can’t be happening.
What do you mean you don’t hear a heartbeat?!!
Kem entered the room, sweat beads had formed on her eyebrows. She looked confused and concerned at the same time. I looked at Shawn, he was off to the corner of the room now, rocking back and forth but still on his feet. He walked back to the counter, directly facing me but his eyes were looking pass me. He clearly was in a trance, somewhere mentally far, far away. The agony in his face, of the unknown; was grueling.
Dr. Liz inserted the probe inside me and asked that we all remain silent as she listened for a heartbeat. I laid there stock-still with tears streaming down my face. When she spoke, a part of my heart shut down. Sometimes, the simplest words carry more weight than you can manage.
“Jennifer and Shawn, I am terribly sorry.”
As she said those words, I realized my plans to bring home our baby boy were over. The nursery that we had spent months decorating, in anticipation for the day we brought home Shawn Anthony, were gone. I don’t think we really recovered from that. We simply have been in autopilot for the past few years. How does one recover from the loss of a child. The day after the visit, they scheduled the procedure for me to deliver my deceased son. I wanted to hold him, and feel him in my arms. I always wanted to be a mother. I wouldn’t let this unfortunate outcome rob me from hugging and holding my baby. When Shawn held him, he finally released that pain in a deafening scream. He sobbed as he held him for more than twenty minutes. The nurse had to convince him to give her our son. The way Shawn looked at me, caused me to feel as if I was partially to blame. Not sure why I felt that way.
Shawn and I began seeing a Bereavement Counselor for a year. We went twice a month as a couple and the other times by ourselves. Within the year, instead of healing and growing closer, we grew a part. We realized there was a major strain on our relationship. Shortly after, my friend Nanna, introduced me to smoking weed. Marijuana became my outlet with coping with my emotional pain. I hated the smell but grew addicted to the way it made me feel. I was obsessed with not wanting to feel anything and weed was successful in allowing me to achieve that.
I walked up the steps and grabbed the keys out the mailbox. I stopped and sent him a quick text, letting him know that I was about to enter the house. I wasn’t sure if he deactivated the security system. When I walked inside, I smelled bacon and eggs. I made a pit stop to the bathroom, all that water had my bladder extended. I dried my hands and walked past the kitchen into the bedroom. He didn’t realize that I was in the house, as he had “Shake Body” by Skales blasting. I glanced him in the kitchen but decided to continue to the bedroom.
I walked into the bathroom, now filled with candles and the smell of Strawberry Butter incense burning, making love to my nostrils. I undressed and retrieved the towel and rag he left on the chaise, at the foot of his bed. I kept the lights off in the bathroom and allowed the natural light to fill the space. I turned on the water to achieve the desired temperature. I then pinned my hair and put on his skull cap to prevent my hair from getting wet. When the water was to my liking, I stepped into the steamy shower. I washed and scrubbed my body as if I were washing away the pain. I spent more than 20 minutes just letting the water flow off every inch of my body. When I felt a freeing sense of calmness, I turned off the water and stepped out of the shower unto the memory foam bath mat. I began drying off but his bathroom is narrow, so I decided to finish drying off in his bedroom space. When I reached for the handle of the door, at the same time, Blake swung open the door. He looked at me, as if I were a precious prize. He stood there with my breakfast on a Sterling Silver tray. I was surprised to see that he had coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice as well. He was as thoughtful as he was sexy.
The best part of this was that he was standing there in his birthday suit. He obviously was happy to see me and his body confirmed that visually. I love getting his attention in that way. I walked past him, holding my towel closed, as it was small and was not easy to keep fastened. I sat on the chaise and began eating. At that time, he got on his knees and put my right foot in his hands. I was unaware of his intentions with my feet at this moment. I figured he would give me a massage. Yes, a massage. I sure as heck needed one after the frost bites my toes experienced. I finished the bacon and eggs, now I tackled the pancakes. OMG…this food is so damn good. Wait a minute! The blood from my stomach went to the lower region of my body. I opened my eyes, unaware that I closed them from the sensual bliss I just experienced. He had my toes in his mouth, in an apparent attempt to feast on them, as I was with his delectable, mouthwatering meal. I quickly put the plate down on the chaise. No longer able to concentrate on eating. I leaned back on the arm of the chaise and allowed my body to respond to this surreal moment. I told him to stand up because he needed to be rewarded for making me feel so good. Now that he was standing directly in front of me, I tied my hair back in a bun and began to… <>
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While You Were Away, Part II
We Need to Talk…
I walked to my car, afraid to look back to see if he were watching. I couldn’t find my car keys at first so I turned on the flashlight app on my phone, great; found it. I sat in my car and waited for the engine to warm up, as the weather outside was frigid. I watched the cold escape my mouth as little mini clouds filled my car and fogged my windows. I shivered uncontrollably until the lever went past C. I could have taken him up on his offer to spend the night but I wanted to speak to Shawn before I went to bed. I have no desire to catch feelings for Blake. He knows what this is. It is and will remain a booty call.
Relieved that the car was finally warm enough to drive, I turned on the heat at full blast. As I put the gear into drive, I heard tapping on my window. I almost jumped out of my skin, because he scared the crap out of me. I unlocked the door, afraid to wind down the windows and risk letting in too much cold air. He sat down in the passenger seat and remained silent. After a minute, he broke his silence, “are you sure you want to leave without finishing our conversation?” What is wrong with this dude?! We were in bed after our session and he wanted to cuddle and talk about our future. I told him, it would be awkward to do cuddle and do things that are symbolic to what couples do, as we are far from ever being that. I also stated that, it makes no sense to try to put a label on what we were doing because I am not leaving my fiancée. As soon as I brought Shawn into the discussion he shut down. I wasn’t going to negotiate my comfortability with this man. I told him that I really enjoy what we’ve been doing for the past month. However, I would really like to keep [emotions] out of our situation. Before he could respond, I jumped out of bed, threw on my clothes, and walked out. I felt like he wanted me to make a decision and I already made my choice.
He called my behavior childish and rudely insensitive. I chuckled. He stopped talking for a second and lowered the volume of the radio. I guess the volume was too loud or maybe, he didn’t like the Drake song playing over the speakers, “O to 100.” I guess that was making him feel uncomfortable. All I know is, this is not a conversation that is worth having. Nonetheless, I sat there and listened to him bitch and moan. I immediately felt like the dude in this sit-uation-ship. I softened up and interrupted by expressing how much I cared about him. As a matter of fact, I think because I care so much, it is best that we cut back on our frequency. I think, quite possibly, seeing each other three times a week is showing itself to be a bit much. He looked at me, pulled my face to his pillow soft lips and smiled. He kissed my forehead, the way I grew accustomed, and shook his head. As he reached for the handle to open the door, I stopped him.
“Blake. I think you should know something. I’ve been keeping a secret from you but I don’t think it’s fair for you to not know.”
Ok. What’s going on? Is there something troubling you?
“Yes. Shawn and I have decided to get married in two weeks. We are going to use our planned vacation to Jamaica, as a destination wedding. I just purchased the tickets for our parents today. Our two best friends will be the witnesses. I thought you should know that once I am married, we can no longer see each other.”
Are you kidding me?! Why would you marry him, if you and I both know that you are not happy?! If you were happy with dude, you wouldn’t be here with me.
“Yes, there are some things about him that I am disgusted by but the pros outweigh the cons. I am not satisfied with him in the bedroom but that’s mainly because once he turned 40, his man parts have a hard time staying stimulated. He has been taking the pills the doctor prescribed and they have been helping for the most part.”
LOL. So, you rather marry a dude that can’t keep it up?! I don’t need pills to keep it stimulated for you. I’m a year older than him and don’t have this issue. EVER! You are MORE than enough, to keep any REAL man stimulated. Why are you marrying him? Is it the money?
“Blake. Though I have financial stability with Shawn, we were never together for the money. I make my own damn money and don’t need him or any man to hold me down. Heck, I hardly need a man to satisfy me. I have toys that do a better job and cause less stress. So, if you really think, I’m with Shawn for the money, you are bugging!”
So, why the hell are you with me? You pull me into your world, only to dump me so easily. Do you even realize that I broke up with my girlfriend because I’m in love with you. I broke up with a damn good woman, that I was with for two years, to be with your crazy ass! And this is how you repay me?! You’re going to marry a dude that’s cheating on you with his former colleague.
“What did you just say?”
You heard me. Did I stutter?! Your fiancée is banging Emily. You know Emily, don’t you? I believe he mentioned that a year ago, you grew suspicious of their interactions. He said one night while he and Emily were away on business, you were blowing up his phone and he didn’t answer for an hour. When he finally called you back, he gave you some bogus excuse that the two of them were entertaining clients.
Just know that, he wasn’t with clients, he was with Emily. To ensure that you stopped pressing him for information. About two weeks later, he told you that she no longer worked for his firm. Something to the effect that she moved away to Chicago for a new role. Do you want to know why she moved? Hmm…
She moved because his assistant caught them making out in one of the conference rooms. When Shawn was confronted, by another senior executive, he told them whatever it took to save his ass. He threw Emily under the bus and she was laid off. They didn’t tell her why they were letting her go, they made it about performance. The assistant was debrief by Human Resources and warned that if she spread any rumors, she would be fired and sued .
Shawn felt guilt for being responsible for her termination. He decided to take matters into his own hands and reach out to one of our college buddies. He’s a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs and owed Shawn a solid. By the time, he convinced her to move to New York, he fed her the dream that he would eventually leave you and they would be together. Some riding off into sunset fallacy. She bit the bait and moved there. However, New York, isn’t quite Chi-town.
Now, let me get this straight. You paid for an apartment for him to move into, and live with, his side piece. Ha-ha. That’s some funny stuff.
Let me ask you a question, why haven’t you visited him at his place in New York?
When I spoke, it was to let him know that I needed to head home. He let himself out of the car and I watched him as he climbed the stairs and entered his home. He moved into his house a few weeks after the dinner at my place. Once he walked in and closed the door, I jumped on 95 North. I had a few things I needed to find out from Shawn.
I arrived at Shawn’s place about thirty past one. I had my girlfriend meet me at the building so she could let me into the premises. As she no longer had keys to the apartment, I needed to have someone let me in. I wanted to catch Shawn, if he were up to no good. Ringing his bell at one in the morning, was not going to be the wisest. I hugged her and told her that I was good and would call her once I was headed home. I walked up two flights of stairs and once I got to his apartment door, I put my ears to the door to listen. I heard nothing but the music blasting from the apartment three doors down. I forgot I was in New York, the city that never sleeps. I took out my phone and dialed his number. After three rings, he answered and sounded very groggy.
“Hey. What’s up babe?!”
Where are you?
“What do you mean?”
I said, where are you?
“I’m where I’m supposed to be, in my bed.”
Ok. Open the door.
“What?! Are you joking?!”
Nope. Not at all.
I heard footsteps on the other side of the door. I stepped to the side, so he couldn’t see me from the peep hole.
“Why are you playing with me? I am home babe, wish you were here.”
That’s sweet. Funny thing is, I am here. Come back to the door.
On his end, he grew silent.
“Oh okay babe. I am in the bathroom now. Let me take a whiz and I will be right there.”
I hung up and leaned against the wall in the hallway. I counted down how long it took him to come back to the door; five minutes. I heard a door close and then lots of movement but couldn’t decipher what caused his delay. I used this time to unbuckle the straps on my shoes.
When he opened the door, he looked visibly uncomfortable. I took off my pumps by the door and noticed a pair of black shoes, too small to belong to him. I shifted my eyes to the living room, he still had the television on. Nothing out of the ordinary, just Sports Center. I walked to the kitchen and saw two plates, one wine glass, and a scotch glass. I kept quiet because he was a wine drinker, why assume he had company. I walked to the closet door and he grabbed me from behind and pulled me into his arms for a warm embrace.
“Baby. I’ve missed you so much. What do I owe this surprise?”
Why are you trying to stop me from going into the closet door?
“Babe. Please, don’t start. You can go anywhere you like.”
I opened the closet door and found only containers and a few jackets. I closed it and walked over to the couch. I told him to join me so we could talk. It was then, I heard a noise coming from the bedroom. I jumped up and ran to the door. Once I got to the door, I put my hand on the handle and turned the knob. It was locked. I turned around only to find him by the main door.
Shawn. Come and open this door, RIGHT NOW!!!
He began walking towards me with fear in his eyes.
“Babe. I must have accidentally done that. Let me go and get a dinner knife. Maybe I can pry the door open.”
I noticed that he elevated his voice, when he said, “Maybe I can pry the door open.”
I heard wind blowing on the other side of the door. By the time he came back with the dinner knife, I had used force to push open the door. I walked in and saw an opened Magnum wrapper, next to his very messy bed. I noticed that the window was open and it was obvious that whomever was here, had escaped down the fire escape. I smelled the same perfume that was on one of his business jackets a year prior; Jadore. I walked into his walk-in closet and found two women suits, coats, and two shoe boxes. None of these items belonged to me.
“Babe. It isn’t what it appears to be. I let my boy use my apartment earlier. I came in from work and passed out.”
So, you mean to tell me that you jumped right into your bed, knowing that your boy had had sex in it earlier? Then you decide to leave the open condom wrapper on your night stand. Not to mention, you allowed him to let his female friend leave clothing here? Okay, if these items mean nothing, then you won’t mind me throwing them away?
“I snatched the clothing off the hangers and threw them on the ground. I stomped the shoe boxes and threw the shoes at him, in a fit of rage. Within seconds, I collapsed to the floor in emotional pain. I screamed at the top of my lungs and sobbed. I was certain his neighbors would call the police. I didn’t realize that he had his arms around me until I came to my senses. I threw his arms off of me and stormed out, but not before leaving my engagement ring on the kitchen counter.
By the time I reached my car, he was within inches away, still in boxers and barefoot.
<To be continued>