Updated: Oct 6, 2021
Copper-colored sweat dripping down her face.
“Pace yourself” she mutters.
Half a mile left of this stretch to complete and she is headed to the finish line. “One foot in front of the other” She is fatigued, worn down, the sun beams on her back. Florida humidity and dewy grass, a breeding ground for gnats and mosquitos, swarming at the smell of her sweet sweat.
“Almost there, just a little bit more...3...2...1 Victory!
The traffic post at the corner of Walgreens and Dunkin Donuts, her holy grail.
She enjoys the run, the air, the heat. She enjoys the progress on her body and mind, She enjoys the little things, she has so much to be thankful for.
She is strong, independent, confident, carefree. She is poised, kind, gentle-hearted.
She has chocolate skin, kinky loc’d hair, and pink pierced lips. Golden brown eyes and crescent moon dimples, she resembled much of her mother. Her features captured the room, she was breathtaking.
Born prematurely at only 28 weeks, no one ever thought she would make such great strides in her lifetime. Her devoted parents stopped at nothing to ensure she never felt inadequate and only gave her the finest they could offer.
The sound of his footsteps breaks her train of thought.
“How are you doing today?” His thick accent makes his speech almost incomprehensible, but she knows that voice. A small shiver down her spine followed by a wry smile.
“Hello Pedro, I am well, how are you?”
“Good. I seen you running while I was headed in. I just wanted to say you looked good out there! Keep it up.”
Head down, up the stairs she goes. Not all compliments are wanted, and his compliments were top of the list. Pedro, the neighbor downstairs, had his eyes set on her from the day she moved in. The friendly neighbor was Pedro’s position, and he played it well. She knew the playbook, she could see right through him, the game.
“If you ever need a running partner, I’d be more than happy to join.” He smiles that churlish grin showcasing his tobacco encrusted teeth.
Just before entering the front door into freedom she replies a halfhearted joke. The door slams shut before he can even reply, she is not interested. She plays nice but she isn’t amused.
She gathers herself and heads upstairs to freshen up.
Pedro Bravo, friendly neighbor and apartment aid. He is known as the handyman of the complex, he does it all. From maintenance repairs to trash pickup, part-time personal bodyguard. Not sure how legal his operations here with the complex are but Pedro has been an undeniable help. In exchange for work Pedro scored a room right under her, rent-free.
Pedro had his eye set on her. He watched her, he was fascinated with her. Her physique, her charisma, her secrecy. She seemed quiet and reserved, but when Pedro spoke to her, she was always polite. She laughed at his jokes, and never shut down his advances. Pedro had a chance, he just knew it. Pedro fantasized about her, what she liked to do, what she liked to eat.
She loves to run. What better way to bond than to offer her some company.
Pedro was always there to help her with her clogged sink and leaky shower pipes; any requests she had, Pedro completed. Pedro knew he would need to get into shape to keep up, but that didn’t matter, she never complained on the prompt service, The least she can do is run with him right?
She owes me.
A locked treasure he was dying to open, a fruit he was forbidden to eat, a cheetah hunting his prey. Pedro would be patient, yet present, push, yet not too hard. Pedro loved a challenge and she would be his latest quest.
Before Pedro was Lacy.
“Never trust your neighbor” they say, but she didn’t think that meant the ones that slept in your bed.
Lacy was her suitemate sophomore year of college. Lacy was the typical art major who spent her days high with her deadbeat boyfriend but produced quality artwork. Lacy was the college student freelancing her way through life and enjoying every minute of it. She admired Lacy’s spirit. Lacy was the black girl magic poster child for all things black girl essential. Black kinky curls, big brown eyes, and plump purple lips. Her free-spirited nature enticed her, she wanted to know more. How could one be wired in such a way? She fell for Lacy before she could even see.
Harmless fun and innocent experiences were Lacy’s kind of vibe, and although she knew better, she didn’t listen to her instincts. Lacy was the spark she thought she needed, her inner voice no longer mattered.
Lacy came to her offering her friendship, however, Lacy wanted more. Lacy lusted after her. Lacy was into experimenting, and who better to experiment than your friendly innocent suitemate.
“It’s college, so you’re into that stuff right?” Lacy would tease.
Jokes filled heavily with innuendos leaving her to question. She settled for joking, laughed it off, and quickly changed the subject.
She never said she was into it, but she didn’t say she wasn’t either.
That gave Lacy all the answers she needed. I mean, why else would she flaunt around her body in her towel after a shower? Why else would she want to cuddle up during movie nights?
She wants me.
Waiting for the perfect moment, so special, just right. She was Lacy’s friend and Lacy’s primary goal, friends got to look after each other.
Or so she thought…
“I can’t tell you when. When was that moment I let her in. When she was invited in between my sheets. She eased her way in there. So stealthy. She played her cards right, she waited for me to be comfortable, she invited me in. A nice smile, a nice touch on the shoulder.
“Do you need anything? I’m here for you” Companionship. Company.
I longed for a soul, a body so close. She wanted more and I could see that. She could see me beneath the surface, she knew what I wanted. Desperate to be touched, to be kissed, to be loved, she wanted to be that for me.
I wasn’t looking, but I called her. I didn’t want it, yet she was drawn to me. Her inner being called mine. The perfect storm. The innocent giver who wants to please the world and the self-serving artist ready to give her all. Two broken souls coming together in chaotic matrimony comes at a price. In order for her to get what she wants I had to lose a piece of myself. She released me from her grasps, but forever etched in my soul”