Spoken Word: Part I

"I think about death all the time.

I think about death all the time.

I would jump.

On a gorgeous, clear sky, sunny, hot day in the city. I would make love to the ledge with my eyes, my last love, before stepping onto its weak embrace. I would smell the air, feel the sun, hear the bustle of the city I love, call myself crazy, tell myself no, don't.

I would repeat this cycle again and again.

I would block out anyone who called out to me.

I would feel the hot metal press into my thighs as I sat there. I would let go with one hand, let it float through the air. I would smell the concrete, the grit and grime, even from up there.

The heat would remind me of first days of school, basking in the sun, waiting for the bright, yellow bus.

I would distract myself on purpose. I would repeat the mental cycle.

And then as if by accident my other hand would let go, joining the first. My heart would instantly drop, the first feelings of regret rushing in. As if it weren't my choice, as if someone pushed me, my body would lunge forward."

"Bitch, what the hell did you get me into?" I leaned over and asked Trina accusingly.

When she suggested we hit up Spoken Word Night at Mango Cafe, I didn't think I'd be sitting here, contemplating whether or not I needed to call the Suicide Hotline on this Negro's behalf. 

"Girl, I don't even know. Maggie at work said this place was crawling with fine, sophisticated brothas on Thursday nights."

"Yeah, well I have a feeling Maggie lied to you. So far we've seen a wanna-be Maxwell who just can't sing. I don't know why he was even singing at a spoken word night in the first place. And this dude who clearly needs to call on Jesus or his momma or goddamn, the hospital. I don't think we'll be seeing any Darius Lovehalls tonight."

"Bitch, why you gotta be so negative?"

I just gave her a look, letting her know that I knew that she knew damn well why I was being so negative.

She got the hint.

"Let me get us two more drinks. You just keep your fine little self here and try to smile."

I flipped her off lovingly and watched her walk away.

Trina wore a skintight, floral print, mini dress with six inch purple pumps. If it weren't for her two-a-day workouts, she'd look a hot mess but her body was perfect and she was far from afraid to show it off. She could throw on anything and look flawless. I wished I had her courage. Hell, I wished I had the body that came with that confidence. Don't get me wrong, I kept it tight. My weightlifting three times a week was enough to keep me in a comfortable size six. Just don't expect me to enter any of the fitness competitions my best friend did twice a year. 

Surveying the room, I clearly realized I didn't care what I looked like at the moment. I'd met Trina here right after leaving the office so my hair was still swept up in a bun, black-rim, hipster glasses adorned the bridge of my nose and my modest yet sleek black heels matched my tailored black blazer and cream-colored dress. My outfit was the perfect mix of "sexy librarian" and "go the fuck away". Perfect for this evening.

Mango Cafe was dimly lit and intimate. There were about fifty people in the room, cozily gathered in front of a simple, black stage. The decor was Moroccan inspired with colorful throw pillows casually tossed on each love seat that matched the same tile patterns on the walls. The cafe would actually be perfect for a romantic night despite the fact that there was absolutely no talent in the room. 

"Don't look now," Trina whispered loudly, interrupting my exasperated exhale. 

"Okay," I said while impetuously starting to scan the room.

"Nigress, I said, 'Don't look!'"

"Calm yourself! What exactly is it that I'm not looking at?"

We huddled our heads together as Trina began in an actual whisper.

"At the bar, nine o'clock, the finest man you've ever seen in your life. I tried to lean in, show him the cleavage. He wasn't having it. No ring and my gaydar didn't go off so, fuck him for dissing me but still, we officially have our eye candy for the night."

Our heads parted as we sat back in our seats simultaneously as if some imaginary sports coach yelled, "Break".

I sipped my vodka tonic and looked to my right, away from the bar. Letting my eyes linger on that side of the room for a bit, I slowly swiveled my head towards the left, hoping Trina wouldn't disappoint. We didn't usually have the same type in men so my hopes weren't too high. 

Three more seconds of swiveling and our eyes found each other's. My brain screamed, "Bitch, keep swiveling!" But, I could not look away. 

He exposed an enchanting smile while I licked an uncontrollable grin off of my lips. I took another sip of my drink. 

"Mmhmm, I told you," Trina said, surreptitiously surveying my surveillance. 

"God damn," I released.

"Mmhmm," she repeated. 

In a place like this, I expected brothers to be well-dressed but quirky with full-beards, glasses and clad in dashikis while they stepped to the mic and "dropped some knowledge" on their "simple-minded" audience. I expected educated pretentiousness dripping from every pore. This was spoken word, after all. The skinny brotha with a Ph.D. was exactly my type so I could take a little arrogance as long as it came with brains the size of Russia. 

"My type" was exactly NOT what I saw over at the bar. My mind would usually protest but the sudden moistness between my legs informed me that my body argued otherwise. 

His skin was the deepest, smoothest, richest looking chocolate. Hair cut close to his head, his waves tapered neatly off into that jaw-dropping dark sea of skin. While he did indeed have a beard, it was short, not protruding further than the skin on his face, well maintained and sexy as hell. He wore a suit that I could instantly tell was tailored specifically for his body and a five hundred dollar watch. The same one my boss sported when his boss was in town. 

Jesus help me. 

"Well?" Trina asked.

"Well, what?"

"You gonna sit there and pretend you're not undressing him with your eyes or are you going to go over there and say something?"

"Girl, please. You know that is not my style. If he's interested, he can come to me. You know the deal."

"Mmhmm, I know you're bougie as all hell."


I finished my drink and contemplated getting another. I could use some more liquid aide to get through the rest of these "performers" if they were going to be anything like the crazies that already spoke. I didn't want to walk over to the bar though. I didn't want Mr. Perfect thinking I was anything more than physically thirsty. 

"Hope you're ready," Trina said slyly through the corner of her mouth.

"Ready for what?"

"He's coming," she informed without ever parting her teeth. 

Shit. Why the hell didn't I go home and change first? Why was I still wearing these dorky glasses? Should I quickly do the slow motion, shampoo commercial, take off my glasses and release my hair move? No. Too obvious. Shit. What do I do? Sip your drink and relax. Fuck, it's already done. Fuuuuuck. Breathe, bitch, just breathe.

He took a roundabout way and was now directly behind us. I could feel him. I could smell him and Lord Jesus, did he smell good. Maybe he was trying to sneak up behind me? Maybe he planned to confidently whisper some sweet nothing in my ear. I wouldn't jump. I'd be ready. I could feel him.

I waited. 

I waited.

I waited.

And nothing. 

Damn, maybe he was gay. 

The ice in my glass had to absorb my frustration as I demolished a piece between my teeth. This night was back to being a bust.

The host returned to the stage, pulled his wack ass fedora lower over his eyes and massaged the microphone stand. It was quite uncomfortable.

"Ladies and gentlemen," he said in his worst Barry White impression, "Please welcome to the stage, a man that needs no introduction, a man we all know and love, our featured artist of the night, Mr. Kevin Lowe."

The crowd erupted for a man that clearly did require an introduction because I had no idea who Kevin Lowe was.

"Excuse me," I heard from behind.

Trina's head whipped around simultaneously with my own. 

Holy shit.

Clean cut, Mr. CEO was a well-known, well-loved artist? Could have fooled me. 

He walked between our chairs, closer than needed. He definitely could have gone around. He looked over his shoulder as he approached the stage, unapologetic and comfortable, he rested his gaze on mine and licked his lips.

"Holy shit," Trina released, again through unparted teeth.

I tried to keep my cool as Kevin Lowe finally turned and took the stage.

Now this I had to hear.