Far from timid • Caveat Lector

Fiction Series: A Nice Backstroke Part 4

Fiction Series: A Nice Backstroke Part 4

I sit on steps of Tay’s house and cry. I mourn for the woman who was my everything. I did not realize it until it was too late. This woman is everything to me. I just want this entire situation to be over. I want to turn time back and go to dinner with Keith and end it. Tell him he isn’t the man for me. Tell him that I am definitely not the man for him. I go to knock on Tay’s door. I need her back.

She opens the door after I knock for fifteen minutes.

“Robert, if you don’t leave me alone, I swear on my grandmother’s grave, I will call the cops.”

“Baby, I need to talk to you. I was out of line for Keith. I want to be with you. I want to marry you and give you some babies. I want us back.:

“Robert. Robert. If you don’t get your gay ass off of my porch, I promise the next thing you will taste is some mace. I am not playing. You know what? You stay. I will leave.”

She closes the door. I sit back on her steps and cry. I royally fucked up and couldn’t fix this. Tay is forever gone from my life.

Ten minutes later, Tay emerges from her house with an overnight bag.

“Baby, don’t leave. I don’t want to make you leave your house. I will go. I am about to call a tow truck now. I promise. Go back in your house.”

She turns and looks at me.

“Robert, you really think I want to be in that house? Your smell is all through it. The love you just made to me is all over sheets; it’s inside of me. I want to burn it down. I don’t want anything to remind me of you. Nothing. I am changing my number tomorrow. Hopefully I can move by the end of the month. Every time I think of you, I think of Keith. I think of you being inside both of us. I hate you. I hope you rot in the lowest pits of hell. Enjoy your fucking life.”

She jumps into her car before I can respond and speeds off.

I call my roadside assistance and request a tow truck. I have no way to get home. Tay has flattened all of my tires. I sit on her doorstep and cry more. I mourn for the woman I broke. I mourn for the woman who would never look at me the same way. I mourn for the woman who was my everything, still is my everything. Forty minutes later, the tow truck finally arrives. The owner, a white guy, in his mid-40s just looks at my car and chuckles. He is bald and has a beer belly. He has on a Ninja Turtle t-shirt and jeans with steel toe boots.

“That kinda night, huh?” he says as he gets out of the truck.

“Yes. Can you just load up my car and take it to my mechanic on Buford Highway?”

“Ya. That’s fine. It is going to cost you an additional 200 because that is out of my mile range.”

I am not in the mood for this.

“Do you take checks?”

“No, only cash.”

“Of course, that way no one can know you are ripping your clients off.”

He chuckles.

“Two hundred or no deal.”

“Sure. I just need to visit an ATM. I don’t have that kinda cash on me.”

“So what do you want me to do? There is a store around the corner, we can stop there. If you don’t have the money, I’ll just leave you and your dick sucking car there.”

“Yea man, whatever.” I grab my phone to send my mechanic a message. I didn’t check my phone when she threw it at me earlier, Tay cracked my screen. I could barely see it. I would have to replace it tomorrow.

Five hundred dollars later, my car is at my mechanic’s and I am heading home in an Uber. The tow driver charged me three hundred dollars for towing my car, plus the additional two hundred. I am livid but the money means nothing to me. I lost the love of my life because I was being selfish. I never imagined I would be one of those guys who would be dreaming about the woman he lost years ago. I am turning into that man.  Tay says she will never speak to me again but I don’t believe her. I love her. I have to make her see that I love her – that I only want her.  

I finally get to my apartment. Keith is waiting outside my door. I take a deep breath. I am not in the mood tonight.

“Keith. What are you doing here? Is everything ok?”

“Just unlock your door and let’s go inside. I don’t want to make a scene in your hallway.”

“Keith. I have had an exhausting night. What is this about?”

He didn’t know about Tay. She said she didn’t tell him. I have no idea what this is about.

“Ok, you want to do this here? Let’s do it. Remember when I told you one of my best friends lives in Decatur?”

“Yes. Bruce, right?”

“Yes. His name is Bruce. Guess who Bruce saw at the gas station getting cash out of the ATM?”

Fuck. This wasn’t happening.

“You. He recognized you from the pictures in my apartment. He actually sent me a picture of your car. So do you want to explain to me why someone wrote ‘I like my dick sucked by men’ on your car? I have an idea, but I want you to tell me.”

“Let’s go inside.”

“NO. I gave you a chance to go inside and discuss this but since you wanted to question me outside, we will do this outside. Now explain or I will get loud. You know exactly how loud I can get.”

I rub my hand across my face. I am not in the mood for this. My night is already in the pits of hell.

“Keith, please. I don’t want to wake my neighbors. Its almost 5 in the morning. Please come inside.”

“I said no. Now answer me or I will wake the neighbors for you.  Who fucked up your car and why?”

“I don’t have to explain my car to you. It’s not your business.”

“OH. IT’S NOT MY BUSINESS?!?! ROBERT…” he yells and starts to pace back and forth in front of me.

“Robert, I am going to ask you a question. Once. One time only. Are you cheating on me?”

“Yes. I am. I mean I was.”

Keith punches me right in my right eye.

“Keith, that wasn’t necessary. Please don’t touch me again.”

“You are lucky that is all I am doing! HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN CHEATING?”

“Two years.”

Keith punches me again. I can’t even defend myself. I deserve this and more.

“Two years?!?! I…. Robert.” Keith starts to cry. “I can’t believe this bullshit; you have been stringing me along for three years…”

“Keith, it wasn’t like that. I was faithful to you that first year. She just came and totally turned my world upside down.”

“She?!?!? You were cheating on me with a fish?!?”

Keith punches me again.

 I wake two hours later to my neighbor’s dog pissing on me. Keith knocked me out. 

It takes nearly a week for my eye to go down completely. Now I have to totally replace my car. Keith further ruined my car; well at least I think it was Keith. My mechanic said when he got there the next morning; my car was sitting on bricks. The windows were all broken, and there was some sort of paste on my car. My mechanic thinks it was eggs, flour, milk, and an assortment of spices. When he tried to remove the paste, the paint came off also.

Keith and Tay have both avoided me like the plague the next couple of months. Every now and then I would send them both flowers to their respective jobs. Keith has moved on from his, but I think his old employer enjoys the flowers. I went from dating a man and a woman to being a single man in Atlanta, a single, heartbroken man.

Three Years Later...

Late. Late. Late. I am late to my appointment. Atlanta traffic is going to be the death of me. I left my office 30 minutes ago and I am still going to be at least fifteen minutes late for my meeting.  I finally opened my own real estate office. I am one of the top, no scratch that, I am the top commercial real estate agent in Atlanta. Everything is going like I want it. My team of five are some of the best in the business. We are slowly taking over the market. Hopefully, this team is pretty chill. This meeting is unofficial. It is during happy hour so I should be ok. I am meeting with the newest team assembled alongside the development of the newest Whole Foods location in Atlanta. I have the perfect spot for their location; I just need them to hear me out. Commercial real estate is a job of gambling, sometimes your buyer loves your location and sometimes they don’t.

While my career is flourishing, my personal life is stagnant.  I haven’t seriously dated anyone since Tay and Keith.  A couple of flings here and there but no one has touched my soul like Tay. I haven’t spoken to her since that night. I have only seen her via her social media accounts. I have a fake account and I look at all of her accounts daily. She looks happy. She cut all of her hair off and had this short haircut that looks amazing on her. I could tell she gained weight, also. It fit her small frame. I knew she finally accomplished her dream of opening her own salon. I anonymously sent her flowers during her first week.  I just want to see her and apologize. Tell her that I love her, still. After all of these years, I really fucked up with this one. I ruined the best person in my life.

I finally arrive to the W. It is the location for my meeting. I valet my car and walk inside. I send my receptionist a message and ask her to send Tay and Keith both flowers. I am so enthralled in my message that I bump right into a woman.

It’s Tay.

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