We met on the corner of 125 street and 8th avenue. It was your typical Harlem summer day- perfect for shenanigans, barbecues and showing off skin. As I struggled with my heavy bags filled with grown-up goodies, chips and dip to my friend’s house, I heard a voice ask me where Amsterdam Avenue was. I answered and as I prepared to walk off into the best night of my life, that same voice told me I was absolutely gorgeous and asked if it could have my number. Although I was exhausted from the emotions dating usually cause, it had been a minute since I indulged in the type of scenario you will tell your grandchildren about. So, I said “yes.”
Twenty minutes later, he called and immediately I lost him. He was hurt I did not remember his name, although he never told me what it was. Rolling my eyes, I played into his self-projecting game of feelings. After receiving the instructions of what to call him, I told him we will speak later. The next day, he wanted to set up our first date but my intuition wasn’t having it. His energy encompassed me with a sense of urgency that made me nervous. I denied the free meal and suggested we get to know each other better. But better never came. Our intimacy, or lack thereof, could not save a person on life support and often left me feeling unmoved. When we eventually began to spend time with one another, our physical chemistry blazed the boredom of our (often) silent conversations. Usually, I carried our conversations, but I realized it wasn’t worth it when we appeared to want only one thing- to lose each other.
He wanted me to lose my dreams of being a journalist. He never asked what my job entailed or what I craved about climbing up the career ladder. He wanted me to lose my vision of married life that was filled with adventures, simple romance, wild nights and a realistic approach to eventually becoming someone’s parent. I lost him when I told him about my late nights, early mornings and how the hair he would love to caress sweated out from too much dancing. I became extinct when I could hardly tell him what I cooked for dinner because I was busy restaurant hopping. I lost him being me.
Although people may misread my modernity for a girl who is just looking for a good time, I believe in designing my own relationships against the grain of society’s status quo. I recognize for me to set the tone in any relationship I have to show a man how I love me. No one should have access to change your lifestyle just because he has a cute face. This summer I lost him, when fine — in the literal and figurative sense — was no longer enough. I needed surprise, drive and, ultimately, someone who made me become the sun when I spoke of him. I lost him by never being made for him. And he lost me through a quick late night text message.
Just like that, the season changed. Mornings became more crisp, the temperature became cooler and I became, freer. This is how you lose you summer fling, or better yet, this is how he lost me.