This is a phrase that I never considered, during our late nights bouncing ideas around the living room and mapping out our future. I never imagined that our eventuality would be in someone else’s arms and we’d never speak again. As far as I knew, when our futures progressed they would align accordingly and everything would fall into place.
Jamar and I had been on and off for a year, both aware that we were in no place to be in a relationship, but too infatuated to let one another go. I’d like to say that we spent our fickle union strolling through the city hand in hand, gazing at each other, and kissing for the world to see. We did not.
After meeting at a networking event, he trying to get his foot in the door and me trying to climb the ladder, we started to spend a lot of time together. We spent weekend evenings debating politics, activism, and philosophy. We were both educators, working for different agencies, passionate about our work. We were both also writing on the side. At the time, I’d been freelancing for about a year and I was finally getting editors’ attention. Jamar, who’d only just considered writing professionally, was curious about aspects of the craft that I was already immersed in.
I spent hours delving into things that I thought he should know, he sat and listened wide-eyed and excited. Jamar lacked the dedication and organization that he needed to thrive. I’d matured into a schedule and process that was slowly starting to see gain. I tried to instill this into him frequently.
Hey. Didn’t you want to pitch that publication by Friday?
You should probably get on that.
Oh wow! It’s awesome that she responded.
Don’t wait! Respond right away. Get started on that article.
Sometimes he accepted my advice with open arms, but there were times that he also grew annoyed. I knew that there was sense of urgency and commitment that you needed to do this work, so I ignored his rolled eyes and sighs and kept the help coming.
There were nights that didn’t involve work.
Despite the fact that our intense intellectual debates were always amazing, I enjoyed and preferred our silent moments so much more.
We immersed ourselves in each other’s company: Movies, plays, walks, laughter.
He’d grab Japanese on his way home from the office and surprise me when he knew I had a rough day. Actually, Japanese was his go-to ever since I’d cracked on the way he used his chopsticks on our first outing.
I’m going to practice using these things until you respect me, woman.
He kept that promise.
We walked through botanical gardens on the Sundays that deadlines weren’t creeping up upon us, laid down blankets, and read books that we’d recommended to one another.
He teased me about my students calling me Frederick Douglass, after I went natural.
I chased him around the house, yelling that he was diminishing the importance of an important historical figure.
We’d end up falling into the couch, out of breath, kissing and laughing all the while.
There were moments that involved just us. No career talk, no pontification, and no debate. Just us.
As treasured as these moments were, I grew weary of not defining what we were. (I’m very aware of the divided opinion on “titles” and I respect a woman’s/man’s right to choose, but I’m clearly on the side of definition. Tuh.)
One night, after a night of clicking keyboards and trading ideas, I asked him. We’d been “dating” for almost a year.
“I’d say that we’re in a relationship…right?”
He looked nervous, “Where did that come from?”
“Nowhere in particular. I just wanted to know.”
“I think we’re the best of friends and we truly love each other, but I don’t think we’re ready for that kind of commitment.”
“That’s not what you said when we met.”
“A lot has changed for me, this year.”
“Well, not for me. I’m not there yet.”
“Are you saying that you will be one day? Should I wait for you?”
He smiled and patted me on the knee, “You can do whatever you’d like. You’re a grown woman and you’re single.”
Jamar was honest. I wanted honesty, but I didn’t expect his answer.
After a few more months of on and off, I decided I wanted to end things. It was a clean cut. He looked sad, dusted his clothes off, and stood up.
“So…I should probably go, right?”
I sighed, “Yeah. It’s been fun.”
Fast forward two years later….
I’m at another networking event for writers and a bunch of women are in a corner discussing everything but their craft. I join them. Eventually the topic of who we’re dating comes into play.
A small, brown and funny journalist starts telling us how awesome her new guy is: He’s so organized, timely, writes amazing pieces, and he plays no games. I just adore him. He’s so grown up. I never thought I’d be dating another writer. His name is Jamar, he writes for….
I knew instantly that she was talking about my Jamar. It was the publication that he really wanted to write for. I smiled at the thought that he’d finally got the job. We both had accomplished our dreams. She described him as everything I knew him not to be.
I responded, “Isn’t it awesome when they come to us unbroken?”
She giggled in excitement, “Indeed.”
I am no longer in the business of mending men. However, I’m aware that there are probably a few brothers who’re bestowing awesomeness, I’ve given them, to their new women & that’s fine.
Join us next Tuesday for another installment of “In The Meantime”.