In The Meantime, Part 4: Best Friends and Semi-Cougar Behavior

April 1, 2014  |  


Note: This dating series will go in and out of parts. Some will address the ghosts of past relationships, others will talk about current situations, and most will give advice. Pay attention to the page breaks; they help you understand the transitions. It would help if you read the following parts:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

There’s always a shoulda-coulda-woulda in your life.

Jean plopped down into my sofa, with a ton of DVDs in his hand. I laughed, as he sorted through all of the selections.

“Why’d you get so many movies?”

“I wanted you to have options girl. A brother was trying to make movie night unforgettable, since you’re always forgetting me!”

I pinched him, “I do not! I just work a lot.”

He smiled and punched me softly in my arm, “You mean…you work way too much.”

Jean finally picked 500 Days of Summer and put it into the DVD player. I looked over at him, as he kicked off his sneakers and cozied up into a corner, with a blanket. Jean was my best friend. Five years ago, we’d tried dating and things didn’t work out. We were in the middle of making out and pulled away from one another simultaneously.

I asked him, “Is it just me or does it feel like I’m kissing a sibling?”

He admitted to feeling the same thing. We’ve been friends ever since. Well, except for that one drunken text message, this summer:

“Drunk late nights thinking of past loves, what should have been and could have been slightly remind me of you, but I stay cool, because sometimes nothing is better than what’s new.”

It came to me at almost at midnight and I was asleep. I answered it with a ton of question marks, the next morning, but he never wanted to talk about it. I shrugged it off.

Jean was a great guy. He was on the short side, about 5’8, and he kind of resembled the actor who plays the young grandfather, in Tia and Tamera’s “Seventeen Again.” Whenever there was something that needed to be done, around the house, he’d handle it. If I was ever lonely or I wanted a dinner companion, he’d come right over. He was the boyfriend that all girls wanted, just without the title and the complications.

I paused the movie, “Why’d you pick this movie?”

He sighed, “I’m going through some expectations versus reality bull with my ex.”

“Oh, Candy? What’s going on?”

“Yeah. Nothing really, she just wants to come to NYC to visit.”

“That’s not nothing. You guys haven’t seen each other, since the breakup. That’s a big deal. What are you expecting?”

“For her to see me again, through different eyes, now that I have my life straightened out.”

“Well…what’s the reality that you’re afraid of?”

“That none of that will happen. That she’s moved on and just needs a place to stay, because she’s cheap.”

I laughed, “No one is so cheap that they’ll stay with an ex they don’t like. There’s something there.”

He jumped up, “You think so?”

“Slow down cowboy. I said something, not everything. Just take it easy and see what’s up.”

He leaned back again, “I will.”


There was a feeling that started to churn inside of me. I tried to put my finger on it, but it seemed impossible. Was I jealous?



There’s a weird period, between age twenty to twenty-three, where you think you know absolutely everything. You are years past the moment where you’re defined ‘legal’ and so you tell yourself that you know exactly what you want.

But you’ve still got so much to learn:

What knowing feels like.

What not knowing feels like.

What it feels like to be sure and find out that you were a fool.

What the world feels like when it’s upside down.

What it feels like when the ‘right one’ puts it back together.

& how it feels when he tears it all apart again.


I swore I was grown. I thought I knew exactly how to handle a relationship and how to keep a man.


I had no clue.


It isn’t until you’re in the midst of your sabotage, when you have no one else to blame but yourself that you realize you have so much growing to do.


When you’ve said all the wrong things, even though he was just trying to help.

When you accuse him of wrongdoings, because of past mistakes that others made.

When he’s trying to compromise and you interpret it as selfishness.

When he loves you hard and your attention seems to shift.


When we’re young, we’re roaming.

We’re searching.

We’re always looking for greener grass and brighter horizons.


I needed to solidify. I needed to choose a path. I needed to break and mend.


I would never take those lessons away from anyone.


& that’s why I had to let the following date go…


Every few months I have a NYC write-in; it’s an event for female writers, which includes a workshop and share-out. I usually asked good friends to help out with different aspects of it. I had a videographer, photographer, servers, and ticket takers. The photographer was a friend from college. He arrived before everyone else, with another photographer in tow.


I hugged my friend, at the door, “Long time no see stranger! How are you? Who’s this?”


He smiled, “I’m great. This is my boy Keenon. He’s taking some classes with me and I told him he could come down and get some work in, to flex his skills. Is that alright with you?”


“Sure! I don’t mind at all.”


I let the two of them in and gave Keenon the eye. I could tell, by his baby face, that he was younger, but he was an absolute cutie. They worked the room all night and even had time to flirt with a few of the women who attended the event. At the end of the night, they both promised to send me the pictures, via email.


The Emails:


From Keenon:


Here are the pictures, from last night. It’s a really dope thing that you’re doing. I hope I can be a part of the next one.


From Erica:


Sure! Are they free of charge? Ha! I’m just kidding, I’d be more than willing to pay. These are really great shots! Thanks again.


From Keenon:


Look, I know this probably isn’t professional, but I’d freelance for you anytime if you let me take you out sometime.


From Erica:


How old are you?


(Don’t judge my bluntness. I needed to make sure he was legal.)


From Keenon:


Twenty-one. But before you judge me on that, just let me take you out once. I promise you won’t regret it.


I didn’t regret it. He was a great guy and he had so much to offer, but sometimes that’s not enough.


There are moments in life that you realize that people are not aligned with you. You know you have to let those people go, even if they don’t agree with you.


I swear I’ll let you know how this all played out.



Until next time…

Come back next Tuesday for the next installment of the series!

“RivaFlowz” is an educator and professional writer living in New York City. You can follow her on Twitter: @rivaflowz or read more of her work on her blog.

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