I’m going to miss being at the shop: the whiz of clippers, the smell of perm chemicals, the conversations. I guess I’ll miss Trap as well. We haven’t really said much since he cheated on me. He’s tried but, dang right, I’m giving him the cold shoulder. I don’t know why guys expect, after they’ve wronged us in some way, that we’re going to just bounce back and be best buds again, jump right back in the sandbox and let you get us dirty again. These things take time. I’ll speak for myself. These things take time with me.
I’m leaving CoEd. I feel it’s the best move right now because I can’t go on working around Trap. It’s not the same anymore. We used to have a comradery that was difficult to put into words. We weren’t dating but we were hella close. We weren’t pretending to be play brother and sister, didn’t pretend to be play cousins. The relationships of play brother and sister and play cousin are just façade associations that create this boundary that allows a woman to keep a man near and dear to her heart without getting emotionally and physically involved. I guess it’s cool to have that opposite sex around you and know that the imaginary line will never be crossed and that you’ll never have to worry about your heart being broken. That’s the goal anyway, right? Your play brother or play cousin can be that man that you talk to about the actual man that you’re emotionally and physically involved with. Perhaps a counsel of sorts because he’s a man. Who better to know the inner workings of Manville than one of its inhabitants?
The play relationship has many benefits but it is also fraught with unavoidable pitfalls. I truly believe that there is this energy that women and men emit, opposite and attractive. Just like wild animals, we’re not far from our primitive roots. I’m not that far from a doe spreading her estrous on the bark of a tree and Trap isn’t that far off from a buck coming by and sniffing the whiff. The play relationship says those things aren’t done just because there’s no physical attraction or because we have put up these invisible borders that neither of us will cross. That is the agreement we had. But while our mouths are saying one thing, our primitive hearts were still spreading and sniffing scents that we couldn’t help but emit.
With Trap and me, it was worse than a play relationship because we never agreed to such a thing. In fact, in the back of our minds we left that door open. Ladies and gentlemen, here’s the blatant and honest truth: my hooking up with Trap was bound to happen. There was never a wall, invisible or otherwise. We walked around each other butt naked, just daring each other to come and get a taste. And our moving in together, I admit now, was a set up from the get up! We both knew we’d end up in bed together because that’s what we both wanted. We just didn’t want to admit it.
But if we never learn from our mistakes, we never grow. It was a mistake to buy the shop with Trap. It was a mistake to move in with him. It was obviously a mistake falling in love with him. And now it was time to correct my mistakes.
We were closing up and Trap was in the office. Sulking, because I hadn’t spoken to him all day, even though he tried on several occasions to get my attention. He sighed when I entered the room and asked, “So how long are you going to just dog me like this?”
I said nothing to him and that caused him to shake his head in disgust. I guess it was time to let the brother off the hook. Besides, I needed to tell Trap that I was leaving.
“Why’d you tell Teddy about our towel incident?” I asked.
“You’re speaking to me now?”
“Didn’t I just ask you a question? Now what’s up with this ‘you had me at the Terry cloth towel’ business?”
“Sade, I was just trying to find some way to break through your defenses. We need to have a conversation and for that to happen, you need to be speaking to me.”
“Okay,” I said. “We can have this conversation. Besides, there’s something I need to tell you.”
“Well go ahead,” he said. “Ladies first.”
No Trap. If I started the conversation, I would also by default be ending it. Because my part of the conversation, besides listening to whatever cooked up excuse Trap had for cheating on me, was to tell him that I was leaving.
“You’d better go first,” I said.
He looked nervous, like he wasn’t really prepared. It’s easy, Trap, I thought. Just tell me you’re stupid and then I’ll tell you I know that and then I’ll tell you that I’m leaving.
“You see, Sade, it’s like this.” He held up his right index finger and then curled his left fingers until his left middle and ring finger met the tip of his curled thumb. Then this clown stuck his index finger in his hand hole and started moving it in and out. I gotta tell you; I did not see that coming. “Well with me and you,” he said, “it’s more like this.” Then the boy bundled the four of his right fingers and put them into what I assumed was my hole. Now my mouth was wide open. What was he trying to say?
“Okay, Trap,” I put my hand over his to stop the hand porn thingy that was going on.
“No, Sade. I’m nervous.” He pulled his hands from mine and the brother started doing a sock puppet show. “I was trying to talk to you all day,” he motioned his right hand as if it were a mouth moving a mile a minute, “and you were like this,” he clamped his left hand tightly. I wondered if next he was going to play rock paper scissors with himself.
“Trap, I’m leaving.”
“What?” He dropped his hands.
“The shop. I’ve gotta go. This, you and me being together, ain’t happening.”
Are you kidding me right now? This boy had the nerve to ask me why I was leaving. Of all the stupid one word sentences, that one out of his mouth took the cake.
“We hadn’t been official for one day and you cheated on me, Trap. And if that isn’t bad enough, now that we’ve flamed out I feel I have nowhere else to go and nowhere else to turn. I slept here in the shop the night before and was about to do it again last night until Ken called me and invited me to sleep at his house. And like a fool, I did it. I slept in that creep’s house because for some strange reason I’m afraid to live alone. I can’t move back in your house. I can’t find a roommate for some strange reason. It’s like all the roommates in Greenville County decided to pair up on the day I needed one. So yeah, I’m living with Ken, a man I detest probably more than you. And it’s all your fault. If you knew you couldn’t be faithful, why didn’t you just tell me off the rip? Why’d you have to break my heart?”
“Sade, I cheated on you because I didn’t want to hurt you.”
“Newsflash, dumbo! You did hurt me.”
“But I never got the chance to hit you.”