That was before the divorce. Before Betty, before Tatiana, before Daphne, and long before Zara. Sleep set the precedent, having loved and subsequently abandoned me. Like others who followed in her wake, I clung vainly to the hope that someday, she’d return. In the aftermath, her wayward daughter rushed in to occupy the space she rightfully claimed as her own. I don’t recall giving her a set of keys, but Insomnia let herself in at will; coming and going as she pleased.
I probably know more about women than the next guy, but that’s because the next guy knows bupkis. Guy friends have often likened my friendships with the opposite sex to time inside an enemy camp, learning about them from the inside. What meaningful relationships with women have taught me is: they’re not the enemy. What I lack in insight, I’ve gained in compassion.
Very carefully, I removed the blade from the exacto-knife in my hand, and placed it inside my mouth, between my cheek and gum. “During my first week of high school I learned how to have a conversation with a razor blade inside my mouth” I said, smiling. “I mention this only to say: your standing over me as I try to concentrate is probably not helping me finish this any faster.”
Who’d you come up with? Jay-Z? P-Diddy? Shaquille O’Neal? Tiger Woods? Kanye West?
Now let’s play the same game, but with one minor qualification: Name five black men who aren’t professional athletes or entertainers, with a net worth of over $100m.
You’ve got ten seconds. Go.
Who’d you come up with this time? Alphonse Fletcher Jr.? Quinton Primo? Kenneth I. Chenault? R. Donahue Peebles? Ulysses Bridgeman, Jr.?
Congratulations if you recognize any of those names. Generally speaking they aren’t mentioned in “mainstream” media. If a rapper farts into the wind it makes the 11 o’clock news, but when’s the last time you heard an interview from the CEO of American Express?
Her response is autonomic; she arches her back ever so slightly and curls herself into me. I hear her stifle a moan as we merge; everything about her is warm, welcoming; receptive. At least, that’s how it begins. Gentility, having enjoyed her time, excuses herself and makes way for her wayward sister, Frenzy. We’ve rolled; I’m on my elbows now, pinning her to the mattress; my thighs outside hers, whispering filthy things into her ear. Our sweet morning escapade has crescendoed into something more… frenetic.
Once, racism was men in hoods burning a cross on your lawn. It was separate entrances and separate water fountains and the back of the bus, and if people didn’t know their place it was okay to remind them who’s in charge. The great thing about those folks was: at least you knew where you stood. A man with a noose has clear intentions, about as easy to spot as a harvest moon on a clear autumn night. In a best case scenario, with a bit of discretion, you could avoid these people entirely. In a worst case scenario, you could at least defend yourself.