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Save Me From Myself
By André Williams
AuthorHouse LLCCopyright © 2014 André Williams
All rights reserved.
Eric lopez was the last person I wanted to see while I was taking my stroll along 5th Avenue. I felt tingles all over as I glanced over Eric from head to toe. I quickly remembered all of his features that I had forced myself to forget over the past year since we broke up: that infamous dent in the bridge of his nose that I used to run my finger along while we were lying in bed together. His luscious Dominican red lips were a sight for sore eyes. I wanted to kiss Eric so badly although I know that is the last thing I should be trying to do with him. I wanted to relive the splendor of how much I used to crave this boy at one point in my life. Our eyes then became fixated on one another's and I immediately thought about the lyrics to Amerie's new song "Talkin' To Me". At this very moment I totally understood exactly what she meant in that song. I knew what Eric was thinking the minute he recognized me. There was softness behind Eric's gaze, like he had been missing me all this time and had been waiting for this day to finally occur. Today was the day when he would finally see me again.
Eric and I used to be a lot of things. First we were co-workers when I became stuck with him for a month thanks to my boss, Colin. He made me train Eric for management at the pharmacy that we worked for. I was immediately nervous around Eric because he came off so macho, cocky and straight. I just knew that we weren't going to mesh well together but I was wrong. Eric and I became friends after we broke the ice over the fact that I was gay and he was straight. Or so I thought.
Shortly after becoming friends Eric found himself being extremely comfortable around me. He always insisted on giving me hugs whenever he saw me instead of daps. Eric didn't even have a problem listening to all my sordid men drama. Eric wasted no time giving me advice on how special of a person I was and how I deserved better than my supposed soulmate, River Drake, who was the guy I was pining for at the time. I had spent so many years being teased badly by straight guys about my sexuality only to have Eric be the first one to actually take the time to get to know me. Then there was the infamous kiss on the forehead.
One night as I was driving the both of us home from work Eric asked me if he could crash at my place since he and his father had had a fight the day before. After many moments of jokes and teasing, Eric began to ask me serious questions about my sexuality. Before I knew it he wound up kissing me on my forehead. It was such an exhilarating feeling, yet at the same time confusing for me since I had spent about a month wondering if all of his friendliness towards me was his way of being nice or if he was actually interested in me further. We chatted about the forehead kiss before spending the rest of our awake time together lip-locked and spooning.
Eric and I took off from there. He moved in shortly after that and we began having a relationship although it would be months before he actually had the guts to call me his boyfriend. Eric had been raised by his father to believe that being gay was wrong. Eric just would not admit to me or to himself that he was gay or even bi-sexual. This caused tension between us because it made my own insecurities grow more rapidly. I had been through plenty of shit with guys and their games and for all the times that I didn't pay attention I was trying my hardest not to wind up with egg on my face again. It was a constant struggle that began to plague our relationship until finally I was able to get Eric to see where I was coming from and how he was hurting me. He finally gave me a proper title and apologized for making me feel like he was running game on me before promising me that he would never hurt me like that again.
I didn't believe Eric when he said that. I couldn't even possibly try to. I had spent five years of playing the tug-of-war game with men: come here now, go away, stay with me, leave me alone, I think you're the greatest but you're just not good enough for me right now ... By the time Eric and I began messing around I had pretty much given up on ever having love the way that I had always wanted it to be. I never told Eric that I didn't believe that he would never hurt me again. I wanted to believe that Eric was the one but my heart had been toyed with for so long that I just wasn't open enough as I had hyped myself up to be.
Shortly after that I ended up finding out that Eric had a girlfriend named Brenda while he was also in a relationship with me. I still remember those weeks leading up to that big betrayal clearly as if it happened just yesterday. Eric was being very secretive about his whereabouts. There were times when I would hit him up while I was working and he would not answer his phone. Hours later he would then tell me that he had been doing something like washing clothes downstairs in our apartment building in the laundry room. I found that hard to believe when I got home that evening from work since his basket of dirty clothes, which I saw in our bedroom before I left for work, was still in fact full. I called him out on it and he made up some story that he was washing his son Ethan's clothes, not his own. I still didn't believe him since Ethan hadn't stayed over at our place for weeks.
I hadn't seen Eric in over a year. The last time I saw him was when he was standing in my dining room begging me to talk to him about Brenda. I never gave him the chance to tell me his side of the story. Truth be told I don't even think his version of events would have changed how hurt I had felt that day. In my eyes I felt like out of all the guys that I had fallen in love with Eric was the one who knew me best. Eric was the one who raised the bar when it came to spending quality time together with a man while also having a friendship and maintaining a very torrid sex life at the same time.
I had wanted a relationship like this for a very long time. Other men prior to Eric had made my dreams of happily ever after seem like it was too hard to obtain. Eric's betrayal destroyed everything I was trying to hold on to in regards to love. There was a time when we were so good together as friends and lovers and by the time we fell apart I felt like I just didn't want to ever go through something like this ever again. Eric became that infamous relationship that turned me off from love, a common experience that always seemed to happen in the gay lifestyle.
Eric extended his arms out towards me and quickly pulled me into him. I wasn't trying to be touched by Eric but he moved so quickly and was so forceful that I had no choice but to just go with it. Eric held onto me for what felt like forever. When I had thought our embrace was over and tried to pull away he was still holding onto me tightly. Despite how things went the last time I saw Eric I thought it was pretty bold of him to immediately think that he had the right to touch me.
"Sebastian Walker! Wow, I can't believe that it's you!" Eric said when he finally released me from his hold.
"I know. Totally unexpected," I replied as I tried to force a fake smile.
"How have you been?" Eric asked enthusiastically.
"Not bad at all," I replied as I tried to remain upbeat.
"You look great my nigga! I'm diggin' your haircut!"
"Thanks man," I replied.
When I met Eric I was rocking cornrows that fell past the nape of my neck. I had just recently shaved my head as a way of starting over my new life. I noticed that Eric was also sporting a shorter haircut as well. He had chopped off his short curls and we were both rocking short caesars. I was diggin' his cut as well. It made Eric look even more mature and sexy.
I honestly believe that if Eric continues to take care of himself that he will continue to become more attractive as he gets older. I sure as hell wasn't about to tell him that though. I wasn't giving out any compliments to him today. Let him second guess if whether or not I still think that he could still get it.
"What are you doing around here?" Eric asked as he continuously licked his red, plump lips.
"I just came from an appointment ..."
I was planning on keeping everything short and sweet. I wonder if Eric is smart enough to catch on to my cold, nonchalant behavior. No flirt mode whatsoever.
"Cool. I work nearby at Rockefeller Center."
I don't think Eric caught on to the fact that he wasn't being successful in baiting me into asking any questions about him in return. I don't think he was smart enough to realize that our conversation, one that I wanted to abort so badly, was going to be all on him.
"I've been hoping to see you again," Eric said as his voice turned extremely tender. He quickly looked down at the ground and I could tell that he was feeling slightly embarrassed. "I wanted to stop by the store so badly, but I couldn't. Then I thought about going over to your place like a thousand times. I wasn't sure if you wanted to see me."
"Your assumption was probably right," I replied matter-of-factly with a patronizing smile as I gazed across the street.
I could see out the corner of my eye that Eric was now looking back at me again. I got the vibe that he was hurt by my response but I didn't care. What the hell am I doing standing up here talking to this fool for? I decided that I would have to be the one to end this conversation now.
"Well, I don't wanna keep you any further than I already have. It was nice to see you again Eric!"
I tried to walk away but Eric blocked my path. "Wait, you're gonna leave just like that?"
Eric's voice sounded like he was in pain and his facial expression read as if he were shocked that I was cutting our reunion so short.
"Eric," I began as I looked down at his fresh pair of wheat Timbs. I admired the fact that Eric still stepped out so fresh and so clean. I then wondered if I should "accidentally" step on his boots since I know how angry people get when someone steps on their new shoes or boots. Maybe I might feel just a tad bit better for running into him if I did that. I finally finished my sentence with a huff. "I have somewhere to be ..."
"But I just told you that I've wanted to see you for a long time ..."
"Yeah, I heard you," I replied with an attitude.
"I never even got the chance to explain my side. First of all, I wanna apologize for ..."
I stuck my hand up in between us as if to say "stop" while shaking my head.
"No need to apologize. It happened and I really don't wanna talk about it again."
"Why not?" Eric replied.
His infamous cocky demeanor, the one that I often saw in the midst of our past heated battles, finally resurfaced.
"That's not where I'm at anymore. I don't want to talk about it."
"Okay, I understand. So can we move on from this then?"
Eric's voice sounded shaky, as if he were afraid that I might blow up on him for his request.
"I've already moved on," I lied.
I sure as hell wasn't going to give Eric the kind of ammunition or satisfaction of knowing that I was still holding on to the hurt of his betrayal. If Homeboy really wants me back then he's gonna work for this fucking reconciliation. I meant what I said earlier during my therapy session with Dr. James. I never wanna give a guy power over me ever again.
At that moment I noticed that the light was about to change. I just might have a chance to try and book it for the crosswalk and hopefully get lost in the 5th Avenue Veteran's Day crowd.
"So then let me take you out to dinner or something so we can chill and catch up ..." Eric smiled as he tried to entice me with his warm suggestion.
"I don't want to catch up with you!"
My words came out in a fury as I quickly rushed past Eric. I attempted to fly through the crosswalk so I could get away from him. No way was I ready to deal with all of this.
Just as I was making it to the other side of the street I felt a hand grab me on my right shoulder. I was spun around so quickly that I almost lost my balance. Eric quickly grabbed my arm to help me steady myself once we were facing each other again. He did not let go of his grip either.
"Why'd you just bounce like that?" Eric asked as he stepped in closer to me.
"Eric, you can't possibly be serious about dinner!" I replied as I tried to back away from him.
"I'm very serious!"
Eric pulled me in closer to him and held me in his arms so I couldn't try to run away again. I felt so confused. On one hand I wanted so badly to release myself from his grasp so that I could punch him in his face. On the other hand I wanted to tongue him down right then and there. I could smell his Issey Miyake cologne surrounding us like a blanket of protection. Just then it finally dawned on me that this boy was actually holding me on the corner of 5th Avenue and 51st Street in broad daylight! His embrace softened my heart slightly even though I began to panic inside.
"Eric, please let me go ..." I whispered in a weak voice.
"I miss you," Eric replied as he ignored my request and continued holding me. "I've been missing you and I've wanted to see you my nigga. I finally get to see you and you wanna run away like that?"
Back in the day I used to dislike it when Eric called me "nigga". I don't know if it was the fact that I hadn't heard it from him in a while because this time I didn't mind it all so much. I wasn't sure if Eric expected me to answer his question so I just remained quiet.
Eric then continued speaking.
"I don't want you to ever look at me like how you did the last time I saw you at your place ever again. That look on your face killed me. I wanna make up for it. I gotta make up for it. I wanna take you out to dinner ..."
It seems like I will never get rid of this boy if I keep on resisting his dinner advances. I finally decided to play along and give him what he wanted.
"Fine, give me your number," I replied.
I figured that if I had his number then it would be up to me whether or not I ever used it. Somehow I was going to maintain control over his desires to reconcile. This time I would be the one in power.
Eric finally released me from his grip and gave me a sly smirk.
"Gimme your phone my nigga!"
"What?" I quizzed with a twisted facial expression.
"You heard me! Gimme your phone! I'm gonna put my number in your phone and then I'm gonna call my phone from yours," Eric replied in his usual cocky manner.
"Eric, I can put your number in my phone by myself. It's not that serious!" I replied with a nervous chuckle as I finally re-introduced my flirt mode act.
I was hoping to get my way. Eric wasn't having it though.
"Give me your phone!" he demanded as he held out his hand.
I finally gave up and realized that I wasn't going to win this one. I made a mental note that I was going to find a way to get Eric back for this later on, not to mention everything else that I couldn't wait to fuck him up with as well.
"So, when are we going out to dinner?" Eric asked after he finished calling his phone before giving my phone back to me.
"I don't know," I replied abruptly.
"Sebastian, come on my dude ..."
"Eric!" I said in a firm tone. "You wanted my number and now you've got it. You can't get everything your way all the time. We will go out when I feel like I'm ready to and not before!"
Eric sighed as he turned his head back down towards the sidewalk again.
"I don't think you're ever gonna go out to dinner with me ..." His tone of voice sounded grim and I was simply delighted to witness it.
"You're just gonna have to wait and see," I sang as I finally started to walk away from Eric slowly. "You waited this long to see me again. You can wait a tad bit longer to have dinner with me."CHAPTER 2
"News flash: I saw Eric today ..."
"Shut the fuck up!"
"I will not do any such thing my darling! Mind boggling, isn't it?"
"Omigod Sunshine, you hafta tell me everything!"
I spent the next five or ten minutes explaining to Leighton, one of my managers and closest girlfriends, what had happened earlier with Eric. While I was filling her in I was also searching through my freezer to see what kind of meat I had in there. I wasn't convinced though that I actually felt like cooking dinner for myself. Being single and living alone can be depressing like that sometimes.
"This fool wants to take me out to dinner ..."
"For real, for real? Are you gonna go?" Leighton asked.
"I don't know yet. He wants to explain the whole Brenda bullshit. What's there to explain?"
Excerpted from Save Me From Myself by André Williams. Copyright © 2014 André Williams. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse LLC.
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