Crazysexycool (And not necessarily in that order)
It’s the same year, a different month. Autumn is singing Atlanta a lullaby for the long winter ahead. There is a homeboy sleeping in my shoebox. He’s getting on my nerves. She lives not too far away.
We crossed paths on the job. We have the same sense of humor. The outline of her breasts beneath that tight-fitting tee were the tractor beam that lured me in. But it was more than that. She too lived in a house filled with printed pages, VHS tapes and DVDs. She was over the scene I so desperately wanted to be a part of. And she’s older, which in my mind translates to her being wiser. It takes nearly a decade for me to figure out just how wrong I am.
I’m trying to watch the movie because I don’t want to make a mistake. I’m trying not to look her in the eyes because I know the dam will explode. We know too many of the same people. We want too many of the same things. She is not one of us. But she wants to be. Hindsight being 20/20 I realize that I might have just been her way in.
But I am hundreds of miles from my closest home. The afterglow of mangoes and incense has long faded. She wants me to feel safe on her couch. She wants me to stay.
It starts with the lightest of kisses upon my neck. A chill goes down my spine. She straddles me. She pulls her shirt over her head. They are perfect, bordering upon spectacular. She feeds them, switching them out for the warmth of her mouth every few spoonfuls. She slides south, her long hair covering her face as she begins a life within my lap. I am an explosive set to detonate as soon as she begins. She makes it feel like the first time down below. She makes me believe that this is not just another episode if the same. The cream rises to the top. She swallows it all for dessert.
The next thing I know I am in a tub of hot water. Her fingers squeeze the soap through my lengthening locks. She dries my hair and oils my scalp every Thursday night. I never ask. She always volunteers. I get the flu the same time she gets staph in her toe. We take care of each other.
But the same things we want come in different packages.
I don’t realize that I’m just a boy and she’s a woman. I don’t see that I might have been her perfect candidate because to me time and options are still infinite . Back then I just went with the flow and tried to do the best job I could. I was always late to the dance on the games people play, even when they didn’t realize it. But that’s another story.
Six months fly by like gulls crossing the Hudson. I am 20 pounds heavier from all that she’s fed me. She barely lets me near a stove. But today is Valentine’s Day. I’m trying to break the curse that has rained disaster upon me every 14th of February since the girl showed up in my dorm room wearing another man’s shirt. I just want her to know how much she means to me. I want things to be cool.
I buy penne pasta and littleneck clams and a few jumbo shrimp for an appetizer. I put a fire under one skillet and then add another to the range. Water comes to a boil. I crack the Bajan rum and mix it with pink grapefruit juice, her favorite.
She watches me while I cook. We drink. I mix heavy cream with prosecco and squeeze a lime until it’s dry. The meal comes together like Divine order. I am thankful to my homeboy for the rum. So I take 30 seconds to call him and tell himself while the shrimp saute’ in butter, lemon and ginger. Her content expression turns to a frown. The argument erupts long before dinner is ever served.
I don’t understand why a phone call upsets her. It seems selfish that she wants me there every night I choose to work on novel. It will take me years to fully grasp that I made her happier than most of the men before me, that what she was most afraid of was that I was destined to choose someone or something else.
It is only a few months after this, after she left the airport in a cab because I was caught in traffic that I decide to say goodbye in the form of “Your fired.” This is more than five years before The Donald made it into a catch phrase. Her final set of heated words over nothing put me across the line.
During digestion on that birthday night, more drunk than I’ve ever been before. I tell her its over. She says ‘Ok’ as she drifts off to sleep. I don’t mention it in the morning. Neither does she. Neither of us can let go just yet, even as our nails leave marks on the edge of an existence hanging directly over oblivion. I can still feel that first kiss upon my neck. I wanted it to last forever, but like my lil sis Kaypri is fond of saying, “everything has its expiration date.”
Clams in a Prosecco Cream Sauce Over Penne
1lb. littleneck clams
1 pound jumbo tiger shrimp
1 small carton of heavy cream
1 bottle of Prosecco (Italian sparking wine)
1 box of penne pasta
1 bulb of fresh garlic
1 piece of ginger
4 tbsps unsalted butter
1 yellow onion
Wash clams and peel and devein shrimp.
Put a pot of water on the stove to boil with a bit of sea salt and a dash of olive oil.
Pour the cream and prosecco (2/3 cream to 1/3 prosecco), squeezed lemon juice and a touch of sea salt to a small pot and put on a low heat.
Put a medium heat under a skillet and add several cloves of chopped garlic and onion. Then add the butter, followed by the clams, and shrimp. Saute’ until both are done.
Add pasta to water, cover and lower heat. Let cook for 10-12 minutes or until pasta is soft but still a bit firm, then turn off and drain.
Serve clams, shrimp and onions on tops of pasta and then cover with sauce and serve.
(A Caesar or mixed green salad is a perfect appetizer)