I ended up going to Andrew’s show that night. I managed to make it through my first full festival work day, but every chance I got, my mind wandered to Andrew. I sent him a message, “Where are you?”
“Hangin’ around town with Lydia.”
Lydia was Andrew’s homegirl who worked for a local radio station in his hometown. She was also in town for the festival and I guess she was playing the role of supportive friend to Andrew since his girl (me) kicked him out of their hotel room. I was sure that was the story Andrew told Lydia.
“Are you coming to my show tonight?” Andrew asked. Before I answered, he sent me the address.
“We’ll see,” I replied. I knew I was going.
I decided to skip the festival concert to go to my man’s show in the middle of a residential neighborhood at a small and slightly sketchy venue. When I got to the spot somewhere deep in a ward I’d never been to in the nine years I’ve come to Nola, I texted Andrew “I’m here.”
Those three bubbles popped up immediately. My heart smiled.
“I’m glad you came. Make your way to the front of the line. I’ll come get you.”
I moved as swiftly and politely as I possibly could to make my way to the front. A few folks had a problem with it, but when I got to the front, Andrew was there and he hugged me tight. “I missed you something bad today girl. Come with me.”
Andrew slipped through the door he came out of and pulled me with him. The room was crisp and cold, a stark difference from the sweaty breezeway the crowd was waiting in. Chairs were placed in neat rows facing the stage. Andrew walked me around the space, introducing me to each and every person we came in contact with. Most of them were crew, testing sound and what not.
And then there was Lydia. “Lydia, this is my girl Danielle, Danielle, this is Lydia,” Andrew stepped aside for us to meet.
“Oh Danielle, I’ve heard so much about you! It’s so nice to meet you. That man loves you!” She laughed an infectious laugh and showcased her beautiful smile. She reached out for a hug.
I hugged her back. I’d heard bits and pieces about Lydia, but not much. “Nice to meet you too Lydia.” I smiled back her. She was nice and I liked her instantly. I didn’t think anything was going on between them, but I did feel a way about them spending the day together. But where else was he going?
“I gotta get my mind right before the show. Danielle, you can chill with Lydia. I’m gonna get my shit together. But I needed to see your face,” Andrew kissed me soft, sweet, and quick on the lips. Mmm those lips.
“Get a room you two!” Lydia laughed.
Andrew went to get in the zone, which left me and Lydia to chat before she had to open the doors and host the show. “So how long have you known Andrew?” I asked Lydia.
“About six years now. We’ve always been tight.” If was as if Lydia knew I would ask and before I could, she offered, “And we’re just friends. Always have been. Always will be. Just friends,” Lydia smiled at me and put a hand on my shoulder.
“Well that’s good to know. I trust him,” I smiled.
“You should. He’s a good man. And that man loves him some you!” Lydia laughed her infectious laugh.
“Well that’s good to know…”
“He told me you guys had your first fight. He’s an idiot. You guys will be fine,” Lydia hugged me. “I’ve got to get this show started. Come with me and I’ll get you a good seat to see your man perform.”
Andrew started the show. He was good. He was always good, but there was something about his performance this time around that was distracted and disconnected. I knew our fight had affected him, but watching him on stage as he attempted to get through his tongue-twisting, energetic rhymes with seemingly no energy, I couldn’t help but feel some type of way about my involvement in his emotions. This man was hurting too, but for some reason he wouldn’t explain to me what the night before was all about. We needed to figure this out. I needed to figure this out.
After the show, I followed folks out to what quickly became a “let out” situation. Every Black person who has ever been to any type of function knows that the pre-after party is basically the time from walking out of the spot to walking to your cars. I spotted Andrew standing near a car, using the trunk to roll up.
“I was waiting for you to get out here.” Andrew left the broken up weed on the trunk and walked toward me with his arms open. “Hey baby.” He kissed me.
“Hi love,” I said after the kiss. “Who’s car is this you’re using as a table?” I laughed and nodded towards the trunk.
He laughed, “It’s Lydia’s car. I am waiting for her to be done so I can get my stuff out of her trunk.” He continued to roll up. “How was the show? Shit, how was I?”
“Not great. You should work on that stage presence,” I said with a straight face.
Andrew laughed a big, hearty laugh. “I missed you baby. You make me laugh. You dead ass serious too. ‘Shit was terrible,’” he said mimicking my tone.
I laughed with him. “You know I’m gonna be honest with you.”
“And that’s why I love you. You love me?” Andrew asked.
“No,” I said in the same tone I criticized his performance. “Not right now.”
“Baby please forgive me,” Andrew dropped down on his knees. He grabbed both my hands. “Please baby.” He let go of one of my hands and used the free hand to fish in his pocket.
“How am I supposed to forgive something and I don’t even know what was happening with you Andrew? You still have some explaining to do before I can forgive you,” I looked down at him and explained.
“Baby please,” Andrew said as he pulled out a ring.
“No, don’t do that,” I said trying to pull my hand from his grip.
“No baby please. It’s not that. Let me explain,” Andrew said tugging me back towards him. He stood up. “It’s not an engagement ring. When I get you that, you’ll be able to see that mother f-cker without a magnifying glass,” Andrew said making fun of the tiny ring he presented me with.
It was tiny and I could tell that it wasn’t going to fit my chubby fingers. “What is this Andrew?” I asked.
“Danielle, I want to promise you that I can be the man you need me to be. Right now, I’m not, but I want us to be able to grow together. I believe you’re my one. I’ve made some mistakes, but I want to promise you that I can do this thing.” Andrew attempted to push the little ring on my right ring finger. “See, I’m gonna put it on this one,” he pushed.
“It doesn’t work babe. Put it on my pinky.”
“Oh, so that means yes?” Andrew smiled, pushed the ring on and pulled me into his arms.
Yes to what, staying with your stupid ass? I guess so,” I sighed into his embrace.
He spent the whole night apologizing to me – if you know what I mean – but Andrew never did explain what was going on with his emotions that night that he walked away from me, from the start of the argument until I decided to stop following him. The incident just boiled over and we enjoyed our time together at the festival. We bounced around the day parties, drinking until we were drunk, having dinner and drinking again once we got to the concerts. We immersed ourselves in the experience of the festival and each other. I still smile thinking about our time together after his initial temper tantrum, but as we all know when you don’t address things head on, they have a way of popping up down the line.
Until next week, do grand (or not-so-grand) gestures win you back when your significant other refuses to explain their questionable behavior?