Friday, June 24, 2011
You have those moments, where you are thinking about someone quite often, and then you run into them, or they call you out of the blue. Well, for the past few weeks, I had been thinking about him, but not just him. I had been thinking about him, and his wife and kids. Although, I had never been to his house, I had been invited a couple of times. There were times when he would mention something in his house, as if I should know what he was talking about, I would have to remind him, I’ve never been there. He would insist I had been. I would shut the conversation down, and just let him know he was confusing me, with one, of his other men. All I knew was that he had to live in area of town, based on the malls; he shopped at, the grocery stores, and the Wal-Mart he shopped at. There is 5 Wal-Mart’s that are in 10-15 min radius to one another, yet the one he shopped at I was familiar with. So in the past couple weeks, I know some might think its crazy, but that what my gut was telling me. Know in my mind, I had the feeling I was going to one day walk into a store and he would be there with his kids, or sit down to eat somewhere, and he would be at another table with his wife eating. Even worse run into with his whole family. I thought about scenarios of how I would handle it or how he would handle. Would we play it like we knew each other or just strangers who give a courtesy head nod, with a knowing look in our eyes? I figured I would take his lead; he would have the most to lose, so whatever he wanted. I’m not an evil revengeful person. These were the things I was thinking about, the weeks prior to that day.
I was so busy reading the calligraphy written labels, of the dishes, that I never noticed anyone coming up to me. It was a man’s voice. I was with any man at the Brunch, so I knew it wasn’t someone I came with. It startled me for a second; I looked up, to see the man that was talking to me. There standing in front of me was Loe. Even though I had been thinking about him lately, I wasn’t prepared to run into him. There he was in the flesh. All I could mutter out was hey. My head was spinning fast, not because of seeing him particularly, but the situation at hand. The minute my eyes went to him, my mind went to racing. I wasn’t that crazy in forgetting where I was at, and who I was with. In all of the times, in the past couple of weeks, I had been thinking about running into Loe; not in one circumstance, had I thought about my family and friends, let alone my Mom, being with me. Instantly my mind went into Danger mode…Sirens and alarms were going off in the cockpit of my head. I had to keep remind myself quickly, whatever you do, remain cool and calm. Now that I think about it, he may have used my full name, “Hey, Young.” That sounds more like it. He reason, thought usually calls me “Y.” He sometimes would call me Baldwin, as in Baldwin Hills, because he for some reason thought I lived likes the kids on the television show. He felt like I never worked, but was always shopping. I worked enough for him to ask to borrow money.
Moving on, all I could muster out was, “Loe?”
He was all smiles. “How you doing, man?” I wanted to say not good right now, that’s for sure. I’m running into you, they got no waffles, not a good day so far. Despite that I say, “Good…yeah…yeah…I’m good.” It’s at the moment that I finally notice something about Loe that, I can’t believe I hadn’t paid attention to, from the moment I saw him. He was standing there in a white chef’s jacket and a white chef’s hat. He was looking like a chocolate Chef-Bo–R-Dee. My mind is saying, what the hell are you doing, Nigga? I know it may be hard for some to believe, but I do have home training. As I’m looking him up and down, I simple say, “And how are you doin’?” He then gets this huge grin on his face and says, “Guess what?” I’m not even in the mood to play this game. I give him a half smile, and I just shrug my shoulders. With a huge smile on his face, he says, “I’m getting a Divorce!” I mean his head is nodding up and down, and cheesing, like he won an award. I want to say…You want a cookie? However what I said, “Congratulations?” I mean, what the hell was I suppose to say. I go on to say, “Is this a good thing?” He then replies, “Yeah man, I had to do it. I mean I couldn’t continue to live like that. It wasn’t good for any of us.” I’m not quite sure what exactly he was referring to. Was it living the double life? Was it her financial issues? Was it, that they were simple not happy? Was it other issues that I didn’t know about? I didn’t inquire, didn’t want to get into that. I have to ask him about the pink elephant in the room, but I couldn’t quite go there yet. I instead ask him, “So everything else is good?” He says, “Yep everything is cool.” So he wasn’t getting where I was going, so I have to say it, “So are you no longer with your firm?” He finally gets where I’m going with this. He hadn’t addressed it yet. He gets a small grin on his face. “Oh, yeah I’m still there, but someone once told me, ‘It was cheaper to keep her’” He laughs at that. Okay a pet peeve of mine was when he would take my words out of context and make me sound bad. This perhaps was the only time; he may have used it correctly. I did say that to him. It was in reference to them having financial issues, and him leaving her because of the issues she caused. I told him leaving her was only going to make things worse, because he would have to continue to help pay for her and the kids, and then pay for his new single life. Once again I never heard of two people divorcing, to improve financial problems. Both parties never walk away and saying, “Well that was profitable;” maybe one party, but never both. Anyway he goes on to say, “I needed a few extra bucks, now that I got two households to take care of.” I’m thinking, ‘No really! I wonder who mentioned that to you first.’ He then tells me, “I work here a few weekends a month. It supplements my living expenses.” I then notice another man with a white chef’s hat and coat, about the same age as Loe, starring at us, a few chaffing trays away. It’s a funny look he is giving us. I can’t explain it the look. It doesn’t seem to be a look of why is he talking and not working. It doesn’t seem to be a look of being nosy and trying to figure out of what we are talking about. It’s just a weird look. Loe interrupts my train of thought, with a comment that unravels me a bit. He asks,” Is that your mother, Y?” He has a hug slick grin on his face. I look at where he’s pointing to. He points directly, to where my mother and aunt are eating. I can’t help but wonder, how long before he spoke to me, had he been watching me. I mean it wasn’t like we were the only blacks in the room, so how did he know where I was sitting and with whom. Usually I’m so observant, how did I miss him being in the room. This was making me uneasy. All I do is nod. He then says in a goofy childlike way, “You look like her, Young.” Once again my nerves begin to unravel. I hate the position, I’m currently in. This is not a good look. I just continue to nod. What else could I say? I look to my side, and the other chef, is still looking at us, a couple of chaffing dishes down. It’s time for this little reunion to end. I start doing that thing that you do, when you want a conversation to end; you say, “Well, okay then…” He just continues to smile at me. I can’t help but wonder, if he is waiting for those magic words. You know those words you are suppose to say after you run into someone you haven’t seen in a minute. I think about it for a few seconds, but what would be the point. I had done this a number of times with, especially with Loe. I continue to ponder it, but I decide against. Loe doesn’t hear, “I’ll call you” today. I had to stop going in circles. I get nowhere with it. Besides all of that, my phone was stolen a couple weeks before, along with all my contacts. All his numbers are gone, and I don’t ask for them. I’m sure my number is gone from his as well, because an excuse of his, was that he was always misplaced my number, when we hadn’t spoken in a while. I just had a weird feeling that was what was on his mind as well. I leave it unsaid though. He finally says, “Well, alright Y.” I simply say, “Bye” He then tells me to take care. I turn around, that other chef is still starring at Loe, I can’t help but wonder is he messing with Loe now. I mean Loe isn’t the finest nigga, but he gets it in. To think of it, I couldn’t help look at Loe and wonder, why did I let it go on as long as I did? I mean when we first met he, had a sort of an Anthony Hamilton thing going on. Not exactly my type, Anthony Hamilton, doesn’t really do it for me. However now he had a kind of Ceelo Greene, with a fro going on. His neck was looking real swole. I think since the separation, he must be eating a lot of take out or perhaps a lot of leftovers from the hotel. As I walk away he continues to look at Loe, I could be totally wrong, but it looked like jealousy I was seeing.
I was so flustered, that I didn’t even realize I was walking back to my table, with an empty plate. I knew I couldn’t go back to the area Loe was at, so I went to another section, to find me something edible. I really needed a drink at this moment; even though I don’t drink. Even if I wanted to, this janky brunch didn’t have any. Most brunches I’ve been to, at least have some Mimosas flowing. Even if I did find something edible, I couldn’t eat. The whole time I was back at my table, I felt eyes on me. I tried my hardest not to look over there, just in case he was. It wasn’t long before I was just ready to go. I was not enjoying this brunch at all. All I ate was an omelet, some bacon, some fruit and a croissant that tasted like it came from Costcos. I know a Costco croissant, when I taste it. The chocolate fountain, chocolate was nasty, the dessert all felt store bought. I was more than ready to go. I had to get out of this dining room. We couldn’t leave without Loe catching my mother’s attention though. We are sitting at our table talking, when we hear a couple gasps and yells, Loe is at the omelet station, at this point. I’m not exactly sure what was going on, but something he was doing, caught on fire. There was a huge flame in front of him. My mother couldn’t help but wonder, “What’s wrong with that dumby? He’s just standing there like an idiot. Why isn’t he trying to put the fire out?” Loe was just standing there. It took that other chef who was looking at him to put it out. After the “Starring” chef put it out he kept patting Loe’s back as they had a little chuckle about it. My mother continues, “They don’t need that guy on an open flame, if he just going to freeze up like that.” I had that crazy feeling in my stomach, if only she knew. I pay for my mother and me. At $35.00 dollars a person, plus tax and tip; I paid over $80.00, for the two of us, and something I could have gotten at Burger King. My aunt was on her own, she wasn’t my mother. I couldn’t have gotten out of there faster. I was just happy to get out of there with as little drama as possible going on. We had an intense conversation about how I hated that Brunch, in the car. It wasn’t the greatest in her eyes, but she didn’t hate it. She then mentions how she really wanted to go to this restaurant that I personally love, but she didn’t want to say anything. It was our little tradition, and she thought I wanted to do it, so much, so she didn’t want to upset me. I’m thinking that truly wouldn’t have upset me as much as that brunch did. We decided that no more Holiday brunches were in store for us. Only if she knew that wasn’t the only tradition, that ended in that brunch that day.