As the sunset burned its radiance into her retinas, Lee thought about the events of the day. The way she and Dom had fallen back into sync, getting their daughter off to school for her junior year at the University of Pennsylvania. She marveled at the way they’d not argued one single time and she noted how delighted Dom and Felicia had been all day long. She couldn’t help but say to herself, Now why couldn’t we have been like this…four years ago? Then she remembered. Four years ago, I cared more about his feelings than I did mine, that’s the difference. Just as she shook off the nostalgic moment, Dom said,
you want to..."
“That was nice wasn’t it? Didn’t it remind you of old times?”
Without a twinge of guilt she replied, “No, not really, because I enjoyed today. Had this been 'old times' I’d have been ready to murder you by now.”
Dom had the nerve to give her an uncomprehending look; a look she pretended not to see as she continued gazing at the horizon, blind to the exit signs they passed as the car sped on towards Allentown.
Oh Lawd, why did I open my big mouth? Lee thought to herself as they left the restaurant and headed towards Wal-Mart for the fourth time that day. This time, they made the trip so that Dom could obtain overnight toiletries for his unplanned overnight stay at Lee's apartment.
To ensure that things would move along nicely, Lee got out of the car, pulled a shopping cart, and headed purposefully in the direction of the men's section. Finding the correct underwear, she dropped it into the cart, moved along to the toiletries and added razors and a toothbrush, then did a speedwalk to the checkout line. Just as she was about to pay for the items, Dom arrived to take care of the bill.
The trip to her apartment was accomplished in silence as Lee mentally choreographed her "to do" list before she could politely shut her door and have some "Lee time" before she went to bed.
As they entered the apartment, Lee assumed her hostess role. She went to the closet, took out clean sheets and towels, and made up the bed in her mother's room for Dom, then placed towels in her mom's bathroom. She was retreating to her room when she was halted by the question:
"So I can't sleep in your room?"
Lee cracked up and, without turning around, continued into her room. "Yeah, right!"
Still chuckling, she turned to close her door. She had only an inch left to close when Dom knocked on the door. She opened it with a smile. "What?"
She was met by a face that didn't seem to mirror her good humor. She stopped smiling long enough to repeat her response. "What?"
"I can't believe you're being so rude!" Dom said.
Confused now, Lee replied, "Rude? Rude how?"
"Well, you see me here, I'm your guest, and you're just going to go into your room and shut your door?"
Has the negro been sniffing something? "Let me get this straight. I invited you to sleep over so that you don't have to drive back to New York tonight; you've got your own room and bathroom; I even made the bed for you--and now that I'm going to change my clothes, in my room, I'm being rude?" Lee said
"Yes," he replied. "You don't have to shut the door on me. What are you hiding anyway? I've seen it all before."
Oh no he din't go there! She rolled her eyes and placed her hands on her hips, then stated. "Well, since you've seen it all before, I don't see what's the problem. Ain't nothing new or changed since you last saw it all." Lee smartly shut the door.
As she unzipped her jeans, she heard another knock. She did a frustrated silent tantrum dance as she thought, See? That's what you get for being nice. Shoulda let his a** drive on back to Brooklyn, but noooooo...you had to invite him to sleep over, talking 'bout there's two bedrooms and mom's in the nursing home right now. That negro look like he wanna sleep in any other bedroom?
"What? she replied, in her "you're-working-my-last-nerve" voice.
"Can I shower in your bathroom?" was the tentative response.
"NO!" Lee exploded. "Use that bathroom out there."
Silence. There was finally blessed silence. Taking the silence as a sign of defeat, Lee undressed, showered, and put on her sleep gear. Just as she'd settled in front of her computer to check her emails and get her chat on, she heard another knock. Knowing better this time around, she didn't even go to the door. She shouted, "Good night Dom!" and continued reading her emails.
"Can I come in for a minute to show you something?"
"Ok, make it quick!" she said, harried. When her door opened and Dom walked in naked from the waist down, all that went through her mind was, I think I'm gonna hafta hurt his feelings tonight, cause the negro is thicker than a plank. I don't know if he's in denial, or if he thinks he's irresistible or if he's just a horny toad and ain't thinking...but...
She kept her gaze on the computer screen and said, "No thanks. I really don't want to see that."
She hadn't outright screamed at him, and Dom took that as the all-clear to walk his naked behind into the room, stand next to the computer and peek over her shoulder. By that time Lee had finished checking her emails and was browsing one of her dating websites, AfroRomance.com.
His eyes lit onto the screen and he said, "Aha, I knew you wanted some. Why look for it online when I'm right here? C'mon, hold it, you know you want to..."
Lee had had enough. Delicate male ego or no, he was about to get it. His guardian angels must be off duty tonight or something, cause there ought to be some serious flapping of wings right about now. He took a good look at her face and backed away a bit. Ahhh "Houston we have a problem message finally got through...good job Angels! She simply stated, "Please don't make me regret that I extended my hospitality to you."
His eyes slid sideways a bit and he turned to leave the room. When he got to the door, he couldn't resist one last try. "You really gonna let me go to bed with blue balls? I haven't had sex in almost two years--since the divorce began."
"Welcome to my world," Lee replied. "A cold shower helps."
The door was almost shut when he popped his head back in one more time. "I know you've always been particular," he said, "so this internet thing you're doing really scares me. Be careful, I don't want you to get hurt." Lee gave him no response; just stared at the screen and clicked the mouse until she heard the door close. She stopped clicking and exhaled. Although she didn't let on, Dom's persistence had scared her a bit. Deep down she doubted it would have escalated to a date rape situation, but her previous experience had left her a bit wary.
As she shook off the fear, anger came in. Had Dom thought that it could really be that easy to step back into her bed, her heart? Why would she allow herself to go back there? Why would she become the other woman, when she'd held the number one position for years? And he even had the nerve to warn her about online predators! What about the predator in the other room?
If it wasn't so sad, she thought, it would really be funny--the man who ripped my heart out and served it up to me on a plate is concerned about me participating on an online dating site. Heck, at least the online predator is upfront about what he wants. He doesn't couch it in unfulfilled promises of fidelity. Even if an online relationship did hurt her, she knew that no one after a short acquaintance could ever equal the damage done by Dom--no one would, ever again, because no one would ever be allowed the chance to get that close. She would never be that open. But heeeeyyy, she wasn't bitter... much.
~ The End.
Every day of our lives we are faced with choices. Some days the choices are clear-cut, some days the choices slide into the gray zone. In Lee's situation, her choice to house her ex-fiancé overnight falls smack dab into said gray zone. So let’s deal with the questions—shall we?
Can lovers really revert to friends?
Who do you think was right in the above situation? Lee or Dom?
Did Lee send conflicting signals?
What do you think motivated Lee's response to the situation?
a) Her vow of abstinence?
c) Her fear of pain?
d) Her pride?
e) Her increased self-esteem?
Was she expecting too much of Dom?
Do you think Dom was really as thick as he acted?
Do you think Dom had grounds for worry with regards to "real" relationships vs "online" relationships?
Do you think the situation could/should have been avoided?