Every time I go to my local grocery store I see the same neighborhood boys hanging out on the corner. I always wondered what in the world would make them get up so early in the morning just to hang out on the corner. It took me a long time to realize they were drug dealers. They were the kind of boys my mother warned me about. I remember being thirteen and my mother saying, “Liana them boys ain’t about nothing good and will never be as long as they out there on them streets.”
My mother was a tough bred island woman; a single mother of two. It was just my brother, Larry, and I. My father passed in an automobile accident when I was three years old. I have no memory of him except photos on our mantle in the home my Grams left me when she passed four years ago. It’s the home I live in now, back in the old Queens, NY neighborhood.
I usually avoided walking to the local deli and drove to the nearby Pathmark but not today. I just needed a dozen eggs, a loaf of bread, orange juice, butter and turkey bacon. I promised Larry I’d make breakfast for him this weekend so he could come over. I was happy we’d grown close since mom passed five years ago from breast cancer. It was hard on us, first mom then Nana. Although we were five years apart, and had never been really close, it was just us now. He was 33 and I, 28. Even though Larry was married to his beautiful and bourgeois wife, Francoise, with two kids, LJ and Ly-anne, every last Saturday of the month was our time together. I was happy when it was just us. I loved my niece and nephew but at eight and nine years old they were too damn busy and inquisitive. And forget Francoise, she irked my nerves. She never corrected the kids on anything. She thought they were perfect; the apple of her eye. But today would just be us and I was happy about that.
The deli wasn’t far away, just two blocks and a sharp left turn around the corner from my Springfield Gardens home. I honestly wasn’t in the mood to drive today anyway so it would have to do.
As usual, there were several young men hanging outside the store. It was about 9:15 am on a Saturday morning. As far as I’m concerned, if they could get they’re asses up this early to hustle they might as well got legitimate nine to fives.
I walked in the deli and said hi to the owner and his wife, Marcos and Gloria. They were two really nice Cuban-Americans who had devoted their lives to their chain of stores and three children. I admired them. They worked really hard, but what I loved the most, was that they did everything together. After three failed relationships, I was beginning to think I’d never have that; that Cosby family dream. Where was my Marcos? I dated Trevor, Alan, and Timothy each for about a year, only to find myself, dumped and alone. They’d each complained about the same thing, I was too emotionally guarded and devoted to work. Truth is, I never loved any of them. There was no sparks and no passion. They were just time fillers; someone to call, hang out with and a quick booty call was I needed some fine tuning.
I’d only ever been in love once when I was eighteen years old. Fresh out of high school. I was so green, naive about life and everything in it and he was everything my mother had warned me about. He was a drug-dealing, high school drop-out, living for the moment with no plans for the future kind of guy. It was fun and carefree and everything I needed then. I was too sheltered growing up, closed minded and always stayed on the straight and narrow. My mom wanted to ensure I would be a “proper” young lady. A God fearing Christen woman who would marry a doctor or lawyer, have three children, and live happily ever after.
Well, I got one thing right. I was successful in my field as a physical therapist; something I took interest in after Larry’s football dreams went straight out the window after a severe knee injury in his junior year of college. It took six months before he made a full recovery. His physical therapist, Miss Susan, took a keen interest in me and taught me how to help Larry regain his strength when she couldn’t visit any of the three days out of the week. I realized I was good at helping people and made up my mind what I wanted to do then.
But back to the deli. I saw a black Mercedes pull up in front but was too busy to see who was the owner. All I knew was that, whoever it was, all the hustler’s knew him from the ruckus they were making in front of the store this early on a Saturday.
As soon as I got a better look at Mr. Mercedes Benz I stopped dead in my tracks. I couldn’t believe it was him! It was Calvin….my first love, “Mr. Everything my Mother Warned Me About”, it was my….”Daquan.”
I almost dropped the gallon of milk in the middle of the aisle when he said “hi.”
It was like I’d just seen a ghost.
“Wow, Liana Peterson. How have you been?!”
“I was actually doing good until I saw the ghost of Christmas past.”
He chuckled. I’d almost forgotten how handsome he was. He stood at an impressive 6 “2” with a deep chocolate hue to his complexion, white teeth, in a well tailored suit (not the over-sized court appearance suit I’d seen him in before).
“So what are you doing here. Thought you moved away?” I asked.
Honestly, last I heard he was doing five years upstate on a drug charge. We’d met in college. Although I was in college and he was selling drugs to students on campus.
“I’m actually in town visiting some old friends for the weekend. I’ll be back in Virginia by Monday.”
It was more a thought than a question.
“Yeah, I live in VA now.”
How did he spot me anyway, I wanted to know. It had been ten years. I was no longer the skinny teenager with long stringy black hair. I had gained at least twenty-five pounds and now wore my hair shortly cropped and tapered with blond highlights. I had little time for hair maintenance so this was convenient. As for my highlights, I could use a touch up however.
“How did you know it was me?” I asked.
“I’ll never forget my first love Liana come on.”
The statement caught me off guard. That was the first time he’d ever said it, “his first love.”
I’d always thought that was a one-sided deal. I mean, I learned everything from him; good and bad. I didn’t think I had anything to offer then, just the occasional advice on giving up his “day job” and going back to school.
“First love, since when?” I laughed at the statement.
It was then that my phone appropriately began to ring before I could respond.
It was Larry calling to let me know that he had to cancel our Saturday breakfast. Apparently Francoise thought it was great weather for a family picnic with the kids.
Typically, I would have been annoyed. She knew today was my day with Larry but with Calvin in the neighborhood that was the last thing on my mind.
I got off the phone and we both stood there for a few seconds longer that we should have.
He was the first to speak. “You know Li I thought of you everyday I was locked up. I’m grateful for the moments we spent together. You really taught me a lot.”
“I mean, I know you think I taught you all about the streets and the world outside the four walls you lived in but because of you I made lots of changes in my life so thank you,” he continued.
“I thought if I saw you again I would make sure you knew that you had more of an impact on my life than you thought,” he added.
Again, I was speechless. He wasn’t good at expressing his feelings. At least, not the man I was knew once but, I guess, five years behind bars and a decade later can change a person.
I loved him. I craved him. To hear him finally say all the things I needed to hear then was a breathe of fresh air. But we were young and needed to live life and grow.
“Wow Calvin I really don’t know what to say. You’ve really grown a lot from the hot-tempered and impulsive guy I knew ten years ago….where are you headed now? I mean who did you come to see?”
“I was actually headed to my mom’s house. You remember? She lives about fifteen minutes away in St. Albans.”
“Oh wow, she still lives in Queens? Thought she moved down south.”
“Nah, still here”
“So why VA? What’s in VA?”
“A new start. I got family there. My uncles and cousins thought I could get away from the Tri-state for a while after leaving prison. I needed that it was a good change. I finally went back to school. Got my GED and went to mechanics school. Now I’m running my own shop thanks to the money I was able to stash away. Turns out I actually had a few family members I could trust.”
Well, that explains the Benz. It wasn’t one of the latest models but a fixer-upper. I wasn’t mad at him though.
“Wow, I’m really impressed. That’s great, I’m glad you picked up a trade.”
“Yeah, well you always did say I was good with my hands.”
And there it was. The opportunity to say something slick. He was good for that.
It was hard not to blush. He was good at doing that too.
“Ah there we go. I finally made you smile,” he said.
“Oh boy stop. It’s just too damn early for all this flirting.”
“Okay, so what are you about to do right now?” He wanted to know.
“Well, I was buying groceries to make breakfast but my date just cancelled on me.”
“Yeah, my brother Larry. You remember him right?”
“Yeah I remember, he tried to kick my ass once or twice for making you stay out too late,” he said and laughed.
I couldn’t help but laugh too. Although Larry and I hadn’t always been close he was always protective. That I could give him.
“Liana” He said my name like he was unsure about something.
“Can I be your date?”
“Date for what?”
“Breakfast fool what you think? It’s 9:30 in the morning and I’m hungry.”
We both laughed again.
“Alright Calvin let me pay for these items and head home.”
Before I could, Calvin paid for the merchandise. He said it was his consolation for me cooking breakfast, although I did not remember agreeing to cook, but, hadn’t exactly said I wouldn’t either. I assumed we’d be going out to breakfast.
“But what about your family and friends you came to see?”
“No worries, I’ve actually visited a few times since being home. They can wait. It’s been ten years since we last saw each other I’m sure they’d understand.”
I was glad to be heading home. Hadn’t realized I’d left the house in a pair of old worn out tennis shoes, washed out dark denim shorts and white t-shirt. I wanted to freshen up and change out of these clothes.
As promised, I cooked Calvin and I breakfast; scrambled egg whites, turkey bacon, grits, and toast. He even helped me to cook.
I never did get to freshen up, however. We talked for hours reminiscing about the old days like there was nothing and no one that mattered, just us. It felt nice. It was nice.
He finally got around to asking why I was still single. I couldn’t tell him he’d broken my heart, he was a disappointment for going to prison, for not getting out the game when he should have, for not being what I needed then and walking away from the relationship. I couldn’t tell him that I couldn’t trust another man because of him and that I held on to every memory for dare life. I couldn’t tell him I was afraid of loving again because I was afraid of losing the man I loved again.
He was the only man I ever loved romantically and who I was able to be my complete self with. So I told him my work took center stage in my life.
Since getting out of prison two years ago he’d been trying to get his life in order. Thankfully that meant he didn’t have time to focus on a relationship. He hadn’t been married and didn’t have any kids.
Before we both knew it, it was 4:30 in the afternoon and we found ourselves sitting at my kitchen table in silence. It’s funny how much things can change in ten years and how little things can change in those same ten years. I still loved him.
Calvin finally kissed me. It felt like the longest deepest kiss anyone’s ever given me and I started to cry. Every hurt I’d ever felt pour out and continued flowing.
At this point my eyes were closed and he kissed each eyelid, although tear-filled, then my lips, cheeks, forehead, hands and lips again, this time cupping my chin.
My eyes were still closed when he lifted me up off the chair. He walked me over to the couch in my adjacent living room.
He laid me down and started taking off each article of clothing. My denim shorts, white t-shirt, bra and underwear. He lifted me up again, this time carrying me up the stairs. We were in the bathroom now. It took me a few moments to realize the shower was running. We both got in. He kissed me again, deep. The lukewarm water on my body and his body on mine felt good. It was comforting. At this point, I started kissing him back. It was my turn to take charge. I kissed his lips; passionately and profusely. I kissed his chest, stomach and finally down to his scrotum. I needed him, all of him.
We were both hungry now, clawing at each other like animals wanting more. He lifted me up high enough to support my weight while I hung from the shower rod. He was tasting every drop of me. I didn’t want him to stop, I wanted more.
Somehow we managed to make it the adjacent bedroom but failing to actually make it to the bed. He continued to lick, and suck between my thighs. He made his way up to my breasts and sucked and licked around my each one of my areolas. He continued to suck then while cupping my ass with his left hand and penetrating me with the right. He was the only man that could make me climax without penetration. And it didn’t end there. That was only the beginning. We made love for first time in ten years, deep, love, slow and passionate stroke after stroke. I came three times that night.
It turns out the entire run-in was orchestrated by Larry. Calvin had tried for months to get a hold of me without much success. A few older friends from the neighborhood was somehow able to get in touch with Larry. I’m guessing Larry was impressed with the changes Calvin had made in his life, at least, enough to tell him where to find me. I don’t think he anticipated things would move so fast though.
We’re together, committed and in love. Will we make it down the aisle, have children? I don’t know, but, it feels great. It’s been great and I can’t wait to see where this leads. But, for now, I’m happy.
Written By: Ms Toni
For more from our series head to The Cotten Kandi Diaries.