I’m Still Looking For A Love Jones: Full of Hot Air
This series happens once a week. In order to understand what’s going on in the series, be sure to read the column, in order.
I don’t know how long you’ve been following along. However, if you’re just tuning in, here’s the skinny. I’ve been going on dates or something-like-dates with three gentleman: Trey, Edwin, and Christopher. The short version: Christopher is from the DMV, an upper-middle-class socialite, and extremely attentive. Edwin is from around the way, he’s a singer, cook and is also the apple of my best friend’s eye. I didn’t know this. I swear. (Awkward.) Lastly, there’s Trey: a banker and what seems like a gentleman. We’ll confirm that sooner or later.
Although all three guys have endearing traits: wit, charm, protectiveness, style, intellect, etc. There seems to be something wrong, a minute flaw that I can’t quite discern, with each of them.
I spent the morning running through the mall, trying to find the perfect dress, for my date with Christopher.
Wait…let me revise that.
I spent the morning running through a mall, in the middle of Maryland, trying to find the perfect dress, for my date with Christopher and his parents.
Yep. It just got weird.
I’d spent a few months facetiming and talking on the phone with him and the first time we met face to face he wanted me to meet his parents. The conversation about it was…well…unique.
“You’ve been complaining about not seeing me. I’m just trying to take things to the next level.”
“Can’t you come up here?” I asked.
“No. I mean..I have a lot of things happening with my family that week. It’s best if you just let me bring you down here.”
Christopher always had family outings that inundated his schedule. It seemed like they did nothing apart. They had dinner, outside, five times a week. They went to church, together, every Sunday. They had fraternity/sorority conventions they attended together and also had a mandated family meeting once a week.
A part of me found the time they spent together and their closeness endearing, but a part of me was concerned about Christopher establishing his independence, especially during his late twenties.
“Erica, it’ll only be for an hour at most. We can hang out on our own, after that.”
I started doubting the whole dating multiple guys thing. Here I was, agreeing to hanging out with a guy who sent me unpleasant videos of himself solo strolling in videos, one that was overprotective one second and weird about seeing me the next, and far too involved with his family. I truly wanted to give him the same chance that I’d given Edwin and Trey.
I arrived at his parent’s home around 7:00pm. Christopher offered to pick me up, but I declined. I didn’t know if I’d be ready on time and I wanted to show up on my terms. (Damn over-independent Black woman, in me.) I fluffed the black dress I’d chosen for the occasion, when Christopher opened the door. A beautiful young woman, who looked like a more feminine version of him, pushed past him and walked to the driveway. I wanted to say hello, but she seemed like she was in a rush. This had to be his sister.
She yelled, through the window, while starting up the car, “Have fun with your Brooklyn girl!”
I looked back at Christopher as she drove away, “What did that mean?”
He looked me up and down, “Nevermind her. Um, why’d you wear a dress?”
I looked at his attire, “The same reason you wore a nice shirt and khakis.”
He smiled, “I guess you’re right. I like you better in pants, though.”
It was the weirdest thing I’d ever heard a man say, but I brushed it off in anticipation of meeting his parental unit. The house was beautiful: It had three living rooms and a kitchen that would make chefs envious. His mother was in the fridge, with a white dress on and pearls that I’m sure several mollusks died for, and his father sat at the counter.
His mother spoke first, “Brooklyn, huh? Is that where your people are from?”
I sat at the counter, with Christopher, “We’re actually half Cuban and half Jamaican. Most of my family moved to Brooklyn and I moved there recently, but my parents live out on Long Island.”
His mother’s eyes brightened, “Oh? Sag Harbor?”
“No. Actually we live…”
His father cut me off, “Tracey, so many questions. Let the girl breathe.”
His mother sighed loudly, “She’s dating my Christopher. I need to know everything about her.”
I moved in my chair, uncomfortably. I could tell his mother didn’t approve.
“So you’re Caribbean, from New York City, and you do what, exactly?”
She completely ignored her husband’s request, I obliged her, “I’m an educator…”
His mother sipped her tea, “How modest, a teacher.”
Christopher spoke up for me, “Actually she directs an entire program…”
His father interrupted again, “Where are you two headed, tonight?”
Christopher answered quickly, “To the vineyard for a special event and then perhaps a film.”
His dad chuckled, “Well, you two have fun. Christopher, be home by eleven.”
“Got it, dad.”
He grabbed my hand and pulled me to the front door. I was confounded and what just took place, but I tried not to let it show. Did this man have a curfew? He looked me up and down, once more before we left, “I really prefer you in pants. Next time, pants.”
Christopher and I drove in silence. I could tell by his face and the way he drowned the silence with music, the moment that we got into the car, that he wasn’t happy about the interaction with his parents. I put my hand on his, he clenched the stick harder and drove faster.
We arrived at the vineyard. I completely forgot about the earlier incident, when I saw what they were setting up. Hot air balloons were scattered throughout and folks were lining up to take a ride.
He saw my excitement, “That’s why I told you to bring sneakers.”
I’d followed his instructions, I had Keds in my purse, “This is so ill.”
“They have wine and chocolate tasting afterward. I think you’ll enjoy it.”
I wasn’t even in the air yet and I was already slightly enamored. It wasn’t often that a guy was this creative. This is the type of date that took research and creativity.
Christopher reserved our ride, so we were able to skip the line. He grabbed my hand and helped me into the basket, alongside the attendant. We ascended in the twilight and it was almost as if our “pilot” wasn’t there.
When we were all the way up, he asked, “What do you think?”
I wanted to tell him that I didn’t appreciate the way I’d been questioned, I wanted to tell him that this took entirely too long to do, I wanted to tell him that I felt like his family didn’t think I was good enough for him. I didn’t. I looked out at the forthcoming stars and decided that I didn’t want to ruin the moment, “It’s perfect.”
See you next week!
Rivaflowz is an educator and freelance writer, living in New York. You can read her first dating series “In The Meantime” and her fiction, at Rivaflowz.com.