“Sheena, I’m sorry, I didn’t know she was coming to town like this,” he said.
“Juan, I love you, but I just don’t know if we can make this work,” she said.
I sat in my booth at Gino’s restaurant. I devoured my baked chicken, cabbage, black eye peas, and corn bread. As I worked on my small plate of bread pudding I inhaled the glaze of cinnamon, sugar, and baked goodness. The fork slid through the bread pudding and I was on my third or fourth bite when I realized that I was listening to a conversation between Boss Man and his wife. I thought for a moment that this is some sad stuff. Then my second thought was, are these people stalking me? How can these fools ruin such a sweet moment?
“Juan, you a good man. You’ve tried to do right by me, but we ain’t been together to long. I feel like there’s too much for us to overcome for us to stay together,” she said.
Juan spoke softly, “Sheena please just give it some time. Think this through, I love you too much for you just to walk away because these kids are mine. Give me some time to figure things out…”
I sat in my booth listening to this man cry a river. I looked at him as the Big Boss Man, and now I listened to him cry like a chump. It was disgusting to hear a man say that he needed time to “figure things out” in relation to his flesh and blood. I mean what’s there to “figure out”? You’re a daddy so you need to take care of your kids bruh.
As I listened to them talk, I couldn’t understand how this man became so weak over this woman. She’s literally leading him down a path to walk away from his family. If I were sitting where he’s sitting I would stand up and be a man, I would stand up and tell this woman to be quiet and follow my lead. I would stand up and say, look here woman, this is how it’s gonna be!
“Let’s go Juan,” she said.
“Aight baby, give me a second to pay this bill,” he said.
I saw her stand up, and I realized that the exit door was closest to me. When I laid eyes on her face, I realized right then and there why Boss Man lost his way. She’s beautiful.
She is around five foot four, with a light brown skin complexion. Her facial features reminded me of an African woman. Her lips didn’t need lipstick, the blood flow that pumped through her veins had already given them the perfect tint. She has a slender build with distributions of fat in all the right places. When she smiled, it was like my heart paused. Her beauty is stunning. I honestly had nothing to compare it to.
“Hey,” she said.
“Ummm…hello, “ I said.
“Carlos, I didn’t see you sitting over here,” Boss Man said.
“Juan introduce him to me,” she said.
“Carlos, this is my wife Sheena, Sheena this is Carlos. Carlos works at the carpet mill,” he said.
She extended her hand toward mine. My palms were already sweaty by her just speaking to me and acknowledging my presence. It felt like time was going slower. Does she have this effect on all men? What’s happening to me right now? I kept asking questions, but it was simple as one plus one equals two. This woman is finer than Halle Berry and is stuck living here in Shadesville.
As I shook her hand, I said, “Nice to meet you ma’am”.
She smiled, “Nice to meet you Carlos, and please don’t call me ma’am. I ain’t much older than you”
“Have a good night Carlos and take care of yourself,” Boss Man said.
“You have a good night Sir, I’ll see you at work in the morning,” I said.
I walked outside and got into my Chevy Impala. I was lost in wild thoughts all the way back home. I listened to the thump of the bass in my car and watched the sun set a little bit more each minute at each red light that caught me on the highway. In the car I listened to my spoken word. I did poetry night a week earlier and they sent me a cd of those that spoke. I clicked next until I heard my voice. I listened to myself and I cried. I cried because I sounded like a man that knew something. Deep down, I knew I was a man that was lost. I knew that I needed to make changes in my life. I had been sitting here in Shadesville for years now, and I knew nothing would change if I didn’t wake up.
Author, Sam Blakemore, August 1, 2017