THIS EXCERPT IS STRICTLY FOR THE SEASONED, MATURE, ADULT READER NOT FOR UNDERAGE READERS*
Angie Situation (NAIVETE') SNEAK PEEK of the PREQUEL TO <--THIS SEQUEL "Angie Situation" (INNOCENCE)
ENTIRE CHAPTER 2 "Secrets, Lies & Ties"
Perhaps it was the constant belly patting I was doing. I don’t know, but Thing’s single relay races and drop-kicks from the inside out to me, or those cute little early morning butt-in-the-air stretches changed my heart, my mind and my plans. It got lucky and made it to life and into my arms.
Throughout my pregnancy, that little thing seemed to have a mind of its own and knew just how to play my emotions like a harp many-a-mornings while up at that pregnant jail. Eventually, it became a game of “damned if I do” or “damned if I don’t” between the both of us. Together, we bonded and disbanded back and forth like some rubber-band game of passive-aggressive, aggressive-passive.
In between that time, when I would come home on the weekends and if Santana and me were together; I would be sleeping, then awaking to him having slipped away someplace-somewhere, doing some thing I couldn’t quite put my finger on...
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I would be left alone, repeatedly playing this classic RnB song I personally dedicated to Thing, by Rene and Angela: called “You Don’t Have to Cry.” While bonding, I would be singing to Thing while making promises in my mind that I would not give it away to some strange couple who finally got “how to love” right-for better or for worse, for richer and for poorer-simply because Santana and me were struggling to.
My poor baby was probably so stressed with this emotional tug of war that I was putting it through, that it refused to wait any longer and as if it was ready to catch me at an emotional moment during a time when the rope was on its side of this constant tug of war and pull between us.
Well, “Thing” got lucky and got a name finally: “Lucky.”
I ended up bringing Lucky into this world by cesarean.
Everything happened so fast.
It was almost as if I went in, fell asleep, woke up and then there was love and life.
The dramatic side of me at first-was hurt and sad because I had no say over the birthing because back when we were honeymooning and literally living a fairy-tale relationship; I fantasized about the whole knock-down, drag-out, panic, screams, hair pulls and hysteria that I would see only in the movies. Daddy at mommy’s feet watching his seed being brought into the world-taking pictures and video taping the whole shin-dig.
Yet that other side of me, which heightened especially after he cheated on me and proved himself unfaithful and unworthy, did not think that childbirth was one of those things that a man should witness; it’s too sacred.
With a firm maybe, the exception of a man and woman who are truly in love and never cheated the relationship, I felt that the only thing the man should witness in the birth of a child was the pain on the woman’s face as the tears would roll down and the veins popped out of her head and neck so thick that he could see the blood flow through them-pumping life through to his seed. Other than that, he should never see the business down below, because when all was said, screamed, squirted, quiet, and done; that other side of me felt that he could appreciate the agony involved in giving birth much better than all involving the birthing process itself.
Childbirth should always be a female mystery to a man throughout his life to his death. For me, despite my fantasy and emotions of what I felt was ideal, in the truth of my heart; that was on the top of the list (even my bearing Santana’s child).
In my heart’s truth, I felt that a man could not process the thought of childbirth after it was over because the fact still remains; he has to touch that, kiss that, suck that, and fuck that-night after night. And as my mother would say: “That’s a whole horse of another color.”
That other side of me knew, that in my mind, after seeing all that business below-in due time, he would rather buck that-than to touch, suck and fuck that. Maybe not every woman (like, if he saw his niece or nephew being born), the back of his mind could survive that-but definitely not the sight of his very own child being born to the mommy that he was still laying up with.
That other side of me-in my mind, was sure that mommies sex-life had an expiration date no matter how “beautiful” or “special” the moment of witnessing childbirth was for dad. Childbirth is just something inconceivable for his mind that other side of me never felt men could not process retaining and then mix it with sex, romance, intimacy and sensuality.
Sex + romance + intimacy + sensuality + [childbirth?]…Hmm...
That other side of me felt like something in that order of things did not compute.
That childbirth business down below was still something that he has other business with and eventually, one moment-one day out of the blue; the thought of it would clash in his mind.
The only way that other side of me could make sense of it was sort of like the process of buying a present and wrapping it: the tape, the folds, the bends, the twists and the turns is not as exciting to a man as that present simply being handed to him-all wrapped up in a red shiny bow, awaiting him to untie it.
That other side of me said there was a difference between the baby in the box below…and what was inside of the box below the shiny red bow-where all the work to make it presentable and pretty was unknown; never any of his business.
The finished product, the agony and the effort was all he needed to hear about and imagine-but never see. Like: immaculate perception.
For me, in my mind, childbirth is the top of the line godly experience that a man and a woman could be responsible for procreation of. It’s the catalyst for the beginning of life of all mankind.
But “sex” for men was an altogether different thing, so I was learning and experiencing-my experience was showing me. Sex for men, is in a class by itself by which the sacred is temporary.
Throughout my innocent years and in ways that I shouldn’t have known; I had already retained so much about boys and men even before I lost my virginity to Santana. Being with Santana day in and day out, having perfect love, affection and attraction for one another could all change, even if temporary and for the moment-no emotional connected needed-with mere space, opportunity, and just the right moment in time and the opening of another lover’s legs as if somehow: the perfect love, affection, and attraction that you already have and feel-never mattered or meant anything sacred, at least for that moment. The plethora of unrighteous secrets that we can keep and somehow, still manage to function is something little did Santana know; I learned and retained along time ago.
Throughout being preggers with “Thing,” I learned that men are not as maternal as the attachment and feelings a woman has to what’s growing on inside of her. In my experience-my agony and emotional tug of war night and day over what to do, and what not do with Thing-was all mine.
I learned that men could only handle the emotional anything for short or long moments in time, but all definitely had an expiration date as to when something in him would cause a change in him, or he would simply change.
Sex as well, has an expiration date however-it was still in a different class by itself with men. It could lure them, retain them, and even keep them for however short or long period of time whereas the emotional, monogamous, and fraternal are in a class by themselves.
Men are sexual funny creatures-so I was learning…
I was convinced of that because throughout my (sexual) “grinding” little lifetime at “inappropriate” ages in time; I had mounted and unmasked many men much too older than me and boys my age during private times when I should have been just a little girl being a little girl and doing little girl things.
Growing up without even having a name for what I still was understanding, I knew what made them tick much earlier than I should have.
I knew what was beneath the surface in a male, and like a puzzle or an animated picture; I had watched many men and boys’ facial expressions, heard many-a-pulses, heartbeats and wiped the sweat from atop the brows of them all-earlier than I should have, all-while still remaining a virgin.
When it came to a man, I always knew just what each one of them wanted and needed individually, as well as the thoughts they retained within their thoughts, desires, likes, dislikes, apprehensions, inhibitions and fears. They seem to have some secret society inside of them-connected to their secret little and big desires, “secret” nonetheless.
That other side of me-when it came to a man (women too)-sexually, sensually, intimately and romantically; I knew just what to do to with a body and a mind if I didn’t know anything else. And my mind and my heart didn’t know much else during my innocent and naiveté years of life outside of what my own experiences taught me and I was still in the process of learning, while this history of mine was in the making...
I still wanted to be a mother that Lucky could be proud of.
I wanted to have something, to be something, and do something with my life.
I always had a fear of a trifling life that, where I was from-no doubt-began with a young girl getting pregnant and having a child. That was just the ticket to “Team High School Dropout” and a nonproductive life, but I was not going to fall into that trap-I insisted on getting my life.
Although my tummy was sore from my cesarean, from the moment I was wheeled to the front door of that hospital and Santana’s mom came to get me to take me home, I was looking out into the light of the day making plans in my head to avoid being a county check mom: going through the motions of ghetto life, ghetto living, and all things that reminded me of it: Monthly checks and social workers, Similac formula, WIC food and pamper allotments and food stamps. Oh the horror, the pain, the pain.
In order to execute my plan of productivity, I had to gather up all my records from the artsy school then the pregnant jail I attended in order to design the perfect plan of action that would ensure me that I would be graduating on time-still. Although I would not be graduating with all my friends I had grown to know and love for all those years back at the artsy school, nothing was going to stop me from graduating on time and “as-was,” down to the same exact year and month as if there never was a baby or even a Santana (I insisted). Any day, or year other than what “was” before one of my many situations, was too much like my signing my “statistic certificate.” So I persisted.
This approximate six-month wait time could not come soon enough for me.
Paperwork was gathered, phone calls made, and preparation date set for me to meet this goal of mine included my having to go to night school and summer school in order to do so. I didn’t care what it took-it was going to get done.
During this wait time however, within a couple months into these six months, I was up at the mall trying to find myself the first job that would have me-all to avoid being a magnet to the welfare line, aiding and abetting the beginnings of all that I could see was a trife life, doors open welcoming me to the team.
Although I dodged being the magnet to that bullet (because a job did have me) here I was…drawn like a magnet to
Pucker who too, was drawn to me and stalked me practically throughout my whole pregnancy, unbeknownst to him.
So when he sprung it on me-the fact that Soccer told him about my (once upon a time) fairytale love life; he had no idea about the transitions, transformation and changes that I had gone through since his relentless pursuit of me.
Along with any conversation or details about Santana and me, my plan of productivity, my baby, my transitions and changes too—none of that was up for discussion in full force even more so now that Pucker threw Soccer in my lap and now the full truth was out and on the table [about the extent of both of our situations].
As far as I was concerned, the best that Pucker and me could do in this situation of ours (that by now, both of us would rather die than let go of) was to kiss, make up, and take up one another’s time wherever and whenever I would have time to squeeze him into my situation and he would be able to squeeze me into his.
With everything already out and in the open, Pucker began to feel comfortable telling me more. He started in timidly:
“There’s also something else that I didn’t know either. I didn’t know you had a twin. I know him. He goes to school with me. Why did you never mention him?”
“It was never a subject between you and me. Twin is living with my dad and his wife.”
I was shocked to know this information as well, because last I was told, Twin was attending a school for delinquent bad boys-I didn’t know he had enrolled into a high school so close by, which, in mind-was too close for comfort considering all the things I had going on with Pucker at this time. These things would be much harder to get around with Twin back home-if that would soon be the plan. My mom never said anything about it but still, Pucker telling me he had changed schools was even new news to me.
I listened on:
“Well, when I found out that he was your Twin I told him that I never knew he had a sister, and then immediately he said: “Man, don’t ever let me catch you on Nethrand Street Man. My sister’s got a baby and a boyfriend. I’m serious, Man-don’t ever let me catch you on her street-ever!” mimicked Pucker, desperately, sounding as if he wanted my help on this badly.
“Why would you do that? What would possess you to ask my brother anything about me especially knowing that you and your girlfriend both go to the same school with him-and furthermore, you know that I have boyfriend too! You were out of line for that one, in so many ways!” I scolded.
In my mind, I could only hear the theme music makings from a movie of a soon to be murder about to take place of an over-protective brother killing some man for liking his sister. Man, Pucker shouldn’t have done that. I was pissed. That opened up a can of unnecessary worms and fucked with my comfort and what I had going on with him.
I continued going in on him:
“That was not necessary-at all, I mean, it just wasn’t,” I sighed and said to Pucker-thinking that he really must be borderline retarded to have done such a thing, especially considering both of our situations.
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry! Okay!” he pleaded.
After the moment of silence, he continued, slowly (treading lightly):
“You know uh…and uh…you know he mentioned your baby and boyfriend and all,” he said-again-this time in the form a statement with a question-type of undertone.
I went on to offer him a tiny bit of information, just to alleviate the confusion that I knew he had going on in his head about how I could have possibly had a baby considering all those many months and Sundays he stalked me and I never had a big belly:
“I was pregnant all the times you were pursing me, but I just wasn’t showing. I was one hundred thirty five pounds all that time you saw me preggers, and afterwards, I was one hundred thirty three pounds. The baby came much sooner than expected. But I do have baby. Please believe it. And again, if you don’t mind, I would like to keep my baby and my boyfriend out of this thing that you and I have okay?” I replied empathetically (but firmly).
He was feeling so bad and beat up at this moment, he replied (stuttering):
“I understand. But-but-but what’s up? I mean, do you have feelings for me?” he asked, wondering exactly where he really was going to fit into this equation and complicated situation of mine.
I felt really bad. I softened up my defensiveness:
“Yesssss. I do. I really do Pucker and they are very strong, they really are-please believe me,” I said softly (and empathetically).
I began to process how badly I had been going in on him about this whole debacle and opened can of worms-not considering that he sounded as if he brought up his knowing me to my brother with some crazy hope that brother was going to offer him some warm welcome into the family but instead, got threatened and forewarned not to so much as be seen on my street.
I had always cut him off at the knees where the subject of me and Santana was concerned, so he probably thought it was okay to ask my brother about me in hopes of finding out I was lying about having my same boyfriend that I had all that time that he was stalking me. Understanding that it probably seemed next to impossible to be able to spend any amount of time with this “boyfriend”-especially considering how much time I was spending with him. Little did we both know, it wouldn’t be until later in this history of mine in the making; that I would find out just how Santana left me open for being able to be with Pucker the way that I was with him…
And believe me you, I enjoyed every single minute of it.
Sitting here on this phone-in this very moment of feeling so badly about Twin and myself coming down so hard on Pucker; my body was curdling up inside from my heart pumping blood through to my fingers and toes. I more than liked him at that moment; I think it switched to loving him-in this very moment after he spoke again:
“So…if this all came out, would you be prepared to leave your boyfriend? Would you even leave your boyfriend for me?” he asked softly and innocently.
“Well, yeah…I would. I would,” I replied back. Feeling that side of me that knew deep down inside for quite sometime, I was over Santana and what we had was gone; knowing that the only tie that bound us at this point was our baby. Regardless, I still wanted Pucker to know that he mattered to me and that no matter what; he was here in my life and in my heart to stay.
Yes, I was crazy as hell about him and wanted to be with him, but the test of those waters being sampled would have to be the bridge we would cross if we ever got to it-and to be honest; I didn’t foresee that happening anytime soon. I certainly was in no emotional position to just up and leave Santana despite what we were going through and despite the fact that I knew in my heart, something even outside of what I was doing with Pucker had already been driving us apart (whenever we were apart). But when we were together-I had his undivided attention: completely. It was just like when he cheated on me with Carmen-back in school his senior year. There were no signs, and within our relationship; no reasons. He just took advantage of the place and opportunity and saw it as an opportunity-then cheated. Even (then), like despite whatever it is I knew in my heart he was doing (now), he never stopped looking at me, touching me, caring for me, desiring me, holding me, and making love to me as if we were drifting. But the fact still remained: we really were drifting (now)-but why…I just couldn’t put my finger on it.
I can’t say that I even cared to because this time, the shoe was on the other foot and I found somebody that couldn’t keep his hands off me, and well…mine off him either. So this time, should the situations come to a head, Santana would most probably have a lot put on his head to deal with.
In this history of mine in the making, I just hoped to not ever have to cross that bridge because some hearts are going to bust and some heads are certainly going to roll…
I continued to work at the fast-food joint but began to avoid Soccer like the plague for as much as I could. I had gotten very quiet, reserved, and a little less inviting and receptive to her. I did not want to continue our breaks and leisure time any longer because I could tell that in due time, especially considering the fact that she lived so close to me, eventually our work friendship would possibly extend past us being work-friends. At this point, I definitely could not let that happen.
Part of me struggled not to feel so bad about it because we weren’t technically “friends” outside of work. She didn’t have my phone number and had only known where I lived because she visited my house with Mutual some time ago. But other than that, our friendship remained that of the work-friend kind with my now purposely avoiding any close encounters of the strange kind.
Regardless of anything, the fact of the matter was: I was kicking it with Soccer’s Pucker. The factoid was: I was in this thing with him unknowingly. Neither ever said anything about the other-ever. Thank goodness I was always secretive and kept my business to myself because had I not, me sitting at work telling my new work-friend about how good I was having some of the most insatiable and intense sex with a hunk of a man who was driving me wild, would have been less than a scrumptious lunch break and awkward time to find out that it was indeed her boyfriend lighting sparks to me in more ways than she could ever imagine.
The other part of me felt badly for her because she was so very nice to me and really wanted to be my friend. This was a bad situation that my heart would not feel good about even if I had quit working there. The mere fact of just knowing that it was her man fucking the shit out of me (despite the fact that I didn’t know he was her man) my heart felt bad for her. But I couldn’t help what I was feeling when I would be snuggled up on the phone with him and especially having actual sex with him. It was all too new for me and as far as my mind and body felt, it was meant to be. Pucker felt the same way-which aided and abetted all that I was feeling; right or wrong. Pucker seemed to feel no way about it. Although he lied about having a girlfriend, he seemed no way as protective about discussing the details about he and Soccer like I did with me and Santana.
He admitted that she had a key to his house (where he lived with his parents) and spent many-a-nights there in his bed, and had gotten up to get ready to ride to school with him as well (many-a-days). He admitted that she was practically in a “family way.” Let him tell it, her parents and his parents were close and had been “Team Pucker + Soccer” since middle school. They were an “item”--kind of like how Santana and I were.
Although Pucker told me everything about he and Soccer, he insisted on Team: Me, and that I remain Team: Him for Team “Us,” and I did too.
Back at the gig and still avoiding Soccer, when I was jotting down my work schedule down for the week, across from my name and my Monday through Sunday hours, the opposite side read: “Soccer: M-T-W-Th-F-Sat-Sun” I wrote hers down as well.
As if Pucker didn’t already have this under control before confessing that Soccer was his girlfriend, I was checking the schedule to make sure she was indeed at work mashing potatoes while I would be working on Pucker-smashing him. I never told him that I knew her work schedule, but he seemed to really be about this “Team Us” because he never missed being with me on the exact days and the exact times that I had stuffed in my purse where Soccer would not be an interference.
Although I wished the situation wasn’t the way that it was, my young mind would not allow me to let go of my selfishness. Selflessness and that kind of empathy comes with time and experience, and alls I knew was that by this time-the experiences that I was having with Pucker during sex had gone from “Ah shit” to “Ah damn” to “I love you.” Soccer definitely kicked in and during “I love you.”
I wasn’t feeling vengeful about Santana cheating. Everything with Pucker and I happened naturally. Initially, the only apprehension I had was that now, another man other than the man I lost my virginity to would be touching, kissing and loving all over my body. But I never set out to get Santana back. I simply let things flow and while allowing, knowing that outside of Lucky; any bond that Santana and I had was officially canceled-null and void after that November 4 day that I let Pucker in (the door to Shana’s house), into me (my heart), and inside of me (my body). I knew it was over. From my own experience with Pucker, now, in hindsight, I knew it was over in a way like when Santana cheated on me, it was probably over for me too—the moment he went in (to her friend’s house), and inside of her (body). That changes everything, no matter what was.
No matter what—that changes everything…
The shit hit the fan and the secrets came out. If I knew Twin, that retarded move that Pucker made by opening up that can of worms made Twin want to probe to find out what, if was anything he needed about me and Pucker. I know Twin headed straight for Pucker’s inner circle and swarmed down on the most honest one, non-other than Wes-Shana’s guy. Wes told everything-every detail and that sent Twin into a rage.
Instead of Twin roughing Pucker up-something that would surely get him sent back to the bad boys school, he turned it on me by telling Santana on me, putting the fight on me-in my corner of my humble and disrupted abode at moms:
Santana was doing his best to knock that door down.
I had just got done getting dressed that early afternoon.
I opened the door.
“Come on! Come with me! Now! Come on! We’re about to go somewhere RIGHT
NOW!” he demanded-grabbing my wrist so tight that I could feel the blood rushing to my fingers ready to skeet from them.
He was in a tizzy and wild like a mad man. I had never seen him like this before.
“Where are we going? Where are we going! What’s wrong?” I asked him, but the tizzy he was in was told me everything.
As if his heart was literally falling to the floor in front of both of us he asked exhaustedly, in complete denial and disbelief from a low to a high octave:
“Tell me Angie…Tell Me It Aint So…TELL ME IT AINT SO!!!!!!” he broke down and cried in tears-so badly.
“Tell me that your cheating on me is a lie-a LIE! Tell me! PLEASE!” he begged.
I could totally identify with that feeling going through his body. It felt just like the one going through mine that very day that Aya brought me the news of his cheating and I came rushing over to him. Who would’ve thought that the irony of this very moment of my history in the making, it wouldn’t be but a short time after all this that my friend Aya and Twin would be hooking up as a couple-and it would be Aya that sealed the nail on the coffin of mine and Santana’s relationship forever and for good-that right now-in this moment in my history in the making; Twin is the cause of drilling in its hole in preparation for that very same nail.
In a tizzy of tears and frantically, Santana continued to beg to be put into denial: “Tell me that your cheating on me is a lie-a LIE! Tell me! PLEASE! Just tell me it’s a lie! Tell me!” he begged.
All he needed to hear was me say that I was not cheating on him and I could tell that he was ready to turn around and live in that denial.
Instead, I mumbled something-trying to probe him to tell me exactly what it was he knew, although I knew he knew enough: I cheated-regardless the details.
He yelled and grunted:
“Are you fucking some motherfucker that lives out here Angie?”
I replied again-mumbling-this time, some scattered rhetoric, wondering how something like this news could have gotten to him. Pucker and Santana were from two different worlds and associated with two different kinds of people. In this moment, I hardly put two and two together and entertained the thought that Twin could be at the forefront of this.
Santana knew me for being a homebody who never hung out-at all-not even so much as sit out on the porch for five minutes. He knew I had no real interest in getting to know the neighborhood or anybody in it. He also knew that all of my friends were from the same artsy school that we both attended. My other closest friends were the ones I had grown up in the neighborhood during my innocent years-the same neighborhood mom and I had just moved from. Santana knew those friends as well, so, he knew that there were no new friends. He knew I didn’t fuck with people like that-strangers and such. He knew me all to well and any moves I would or would not dare make, all but this one…but neither did I.
He and I were conjoined at the hip for years and everything that needed to be done-we practically did it together or I did with his auntie or his mother.
He knew everything. This one threw him off and boy was he baffled and rattled.
He grabbed my wrist and like a rag doll; dragged me out of the door of the apartment building, opened his car door, grabbed me by the waist and plopped me tightly in to the seat as if I really was a doll or a kid. He was angry-and steaming mad. And still, I had no idea where we were about to go and was just as baffled about how he knew anything.
Twenty minutes later, we were pulling up to Twin, Pucker, Soccer and Wes’ school’s building. My heart dropped.
Everything was set up and preplanned between Twin and Santana.
Twin had worked his way and managed to commandeer school security-they had all obviously had been expecting us. They were waiting at the front door and escorted us inside the building and up the first set of steps like royalty.
This shit was timed and covert like some movie plot. It was even more staggering for me because all my years, I had attended the artsy school, and the entire look of this high-school and the people walking around it looked totally different-in every way possible.
I was so shaken.
Everybody was in the know about what was about to go down except for pulsating-hearted me.
Twin spearheaded the line with Wes and two other guys next to him as we stood in this empty hallway for about five minutes.
Nobody said a word.
Then something I hadn’t heard in a long time rang violently loud in my ear: the sound of a high-school bell.
When the door to the classroom that we were standing by, opened, Soccer and Pucker lead the line exiting that door.
The first face Pucker saw was mine.
He was a mixture of shocked and confused at the same time.
I threw my shoulders up as if to say: “I have no idea.”
Soccer, who hadn’t seen me as yet, had already turned to her locker and but turned and looked up to Santana charging towards Pucker whose arm was in sling from hurting himself while playing basketball.
All hell broke loose.
I was leaning against the lockers-stunned-with my hand over my mouth.
This all was a total culture shock to me-everything.
Throughout these halls, there were no sleuth-foot ballerinas, painted faces, sketchbooks, tackle boxes, loud singing or trumpets blowing.
Instead, these halls were overcrowded and thick with wild boys, loud girls, a bunch of big numbers on leather jackets and strumpets with asymmetric and identical hairdos galore. They all looked the same and dressed the same.
It was a wild.
I had never seen Santana behave in this manner-he was from my neck of the woods. But in this moment, he was becoming a different person to me.
I was blown away at his riot.
Santana didn’t get a hold of Pucker during this mess because all of Pucker’s friends, some I knew and others I had never seen before; stood guarding and protecting him-yelling out to Twin: “Just let it ride man! Just let it ride man. Long story man. Let it go man-please! Let it ride. It’s deeper than this!”
It was all like vertigo. My head was spinning.
The commotion and the scene was so overwhelming to me.
The security guards lead Santana and me back out to the car where I remained quiet, sitting on both my hands and looking out the window to my right with my brows frowned-in tears-bottom lip shaking like a baby.
“Angie-you didn’t do this to me did you?” asked Santana still insisting on being put in denial.
I kept my head turned then crossed my legs and turned my body towards the window so as to let him know that I did not want to talk to him.
This was all Twin’s behavior and m-o, not Santana’s.
Santana, knowing how I was as a person, knew that lil’ scene most probably turned me off and that I was not only upset, but embarrassed as well. My still pleading the 5th + this scene put the ball back into my court, at least for a little while.
Santana’s needing to believe this was all some misunderstanding, compounded by the fact that he knew me so well and could account for the majority of my whereabouts most of the times; bought me the silence and the left-alone that I so badly needed right now.
I had Soccer on my mind.
I had Pucker on my mind.
…and in that order.
I gave Santana the silent treatment for the rest of the week.
Pucker got the cold shoulder as well. I just needed a break from everybody. It was getting too messy.
When I got settled into the house, I reached into my purse and pulled out the handwritten schedule of mine and Soccer’s; crossing my fingers and hoping that we didn’t have to work together that evening.
Low and behold, we did.
In Soccer’s world, before work and the moment we were due to be standing next to one another at that clock-in machine-usually smiling and talking-she must have gotten all the details, because that evening and that entire week at work, she did not speak to me at all.
We would be face-to-forehead with one another-her head was always the one hanging down-when it was mine that should have been hanging down, but I wanted her to look up at me so that I could talk to her. She couldn’t do it. She refused to look me in the face. She was too hurt.
We would be in front of one another standing at the clock-in machine putting on our smocks and sliding into our greasy work shoes; waiting for the time to turn to clock in and then out for break but eating our biscuits at two separate tables in the lobby as if we never sat at a table and broke bread and honey together.
She would look out the window the whole time, eating her biscuits without even looking at them between each tear of the bread. I would be eating mine, looking straight at her, trying to provoke her to say something to me so that we could talk. She refused. She couldn’t do it.
It was so weird.
That whole week, in sync and in unison; all of her work friends would stare at me, lowering their heads, stare at her and then lower their heads again.
This shit was crazy. I wanted to yell out loud, write it in the sky, and hang a sign around my neck that read: “I DIDN’T FUCK ‘YOUR BOYFRIEND.’ I FUCKED A GUY WHO PRACTICALLY STALKED ME AND BUMPED INTO EVERYWHERE FOR OVER A YEAR-WHO I FINALLY OFFICIALLY MET AND TOLD ME HE HAD A GIRLFRIEND NAMED YOLANDA WHO HE WAS NO LONGER WITH! ONLY TO FIND OUT THAT HE HAD A GIRLFRIEND NAMED SOCCER WHO HAPPENED TO BE MY NEW FRIEND ALREADY!”
I wanted to scream. Every day was hard for me-for everybody.
Later that week on Friday, Santana was outside waiting for me to get off from work so that he could drive me home. That was his usual routine anyways, but this particular day felt weird. That night, Soccer and I were closing the restaurant together that night but typically, she would be gone about twenty minutes before Santana would be picking me up. Pucker would be out back where there were no windows, waiting to pick her up (which was why I never saw him at our job). This time, she spotted Santana outside and got it poppin.’ She put in a phone call to her people to come up and jump on Santana, since Santana had come up to the school to jump on Pucker.
I was out in the lobby busting tables.
I never heard her speak a word that entire week then all of a sudden, from the kitchen where she stood talking on the greasy phone, I was listening the sound of her voice-loud and aggressive; rounding up a posse for my boyfriend who stood outside my job all by himself, not knowing that he was about to be toast.
That angered me so badly, especially considering the fact how she had been mute all week. I was ready to kill her at that point because little did she know, in my world, my man was still on silent treatment and I still had yet to get the details about how we ended up at her school, myself!
I removed my smock and headed into the kitchen, clocked out and went in on her:
“So you’re just going to sit here all week-quiet as a church mouse, making me feel all bad and not having the courage to ask me any questions and won’t even look at me. Yet, you see my boyfriend and you come to life! How dare you! You don’t even know what happened, why, or how, or nothing!” I yelled (into her forehead-still hanging low).
She lifted it-finally.
“He came up to my school to fight my boyfriend and my boyfriend can’t fight him back right now!” she yelled back.
I had turned away from her, hurrying to get outside to Santana.
“Get in!” I yelled at Santana, opening my side of the car door.
“We have to hurry back to the house-my brother is still over there I believe. This bitch is making phone calls trying to have some people come and get you for that stunt you pulled up at that boy’s school the other day Santana! You up there acting like a thug and shit…the fuck’s getting in to you!?”
Santana didn’t reply, probably stunned to hear my voice that aggressive, considering the fact that I gave him the silent treatment all week.
When we got to the house, Twin quickly placed phone calls to Wes first, and all other people in the know so that whatever didn’t go down up at the schoolhouse could go down outside of my mothers house.
My mom’s baby sister lived right across the street from us and wasn’t used to the kind of excitement that she was about to see involving Santana and me. It was almost as if this time, the tables turned fast on Santana-he was the only one out of the know: A visit had already been planned to roll up on him wherever he would be and standing.
Meanwhile, all kinds of cars and trucks were pulling onto to the long but narrow one-way street that I lived on as if they were the fucking secret service hauling the president.
Once everyone exited their vehicles, in the mind of the mind that I was used to, the only thing I could compare this to was as a scene clearly out “West-Side Story” I was horrified! This was serious. These public high-school seniors were nothing like the seniors at the school I came from. This was a full-on war. Twin knew this kind of thing would go down and that Santana was no where near the type of guy that could handle all this heat on his ass. I was pissed.
Everyone positioned themselves as such that both sides of the street knew who was on what side or the other. Everything happened so fast. My head was turning from left to right to back around behind me-trying to figuring out who the fuck were all these people and where they had come from. We had just left work some minutes ago.
Still somewhat green to the neighborhood, I was very aware now that this was “The Land of ‘Pucker’ and ‘Soccer.’ ” It was as if the whole neighborhood knew them both. In this moment, it was all coming together for me as I remembered the scene up at the school the other day: these two were the superstar athletes [slash] popular couple of their school and treated a little bit like royalty themselves. My relationship with Pucker had nothing to do with anything remotely close to my even being in the know that he had some other happening and popular life going on, but when this all went down, it became evident: unmistakable and unequivocally so.
Although my side of the street was outnumbered but the one link that carried the weight on my side was Twin: nobody fucked with Twin. And each and every bad ass, and pretend-to-be bad ass knew this.
Pucker hopped out of nowhere with his arm still in a sling but swinging a night-stick around in his free hand, chasing Santana around several parked cars with his lips folded and grunting: “NOW WHO’S THE MAN? WHO’S THE MAN HUH? YEP, I’M THE MUTHAFUCKIN’ MAN! YEP IT’S ME MUTHAFUCKA! I’M THE MAN!” he kept yelling. I didn’t know if that was some male-domination tactic of survival of the fittest or some male code to prove to Santana that he indeed was the “man” for fucking his woman (me), but alls I knew was that I was startled by it all.
I felt like I was going to pass out.
Santana kept dodging between the parked cars and Pucker’s long strong one arm swinging about in a back-handed striking position.
“Fight heads-up, put the stick down and fight heads-up,” Santana said to the one-armed “man.”
“Hold on, I got something for you too,” Santana said-heading to his car.
It was wild.
I knew Pucker had it in him to behave this way but this side of Santana was something I was not used to-he seemed to like this kind of thug shit. I didn’t.
None of it made any sense. The whole night didn’t.
I was stunned, hurt and embarrassed for us all: Pucker & Soccer, Santana and me.
Although it served its purpose by breaking up the commotion, out of nowhere, a voice came down the middle of the mess yelling but trying to make peace amongst it all:
“ANGIE...YOU AND THIS MOTHERFUCKER RIGHT HERE KNOW Y’ALL BOTH NEED TO TELL THE TRUTH!
He turned to Pucker and pointed:
“YOU TELL THE TRUTH MAN!”
He turned to me and pointed: “AND YOU TELL THE TRUTH ANGIE!”
I was scared shitless.
Pucker was calm.
“There’s NO sense in keep fighting over something that we ALL know is true! Y’all say y’all want to be together! THEN BE TOGETHER!”
I guessed Pucker had told Wes that should this thing ever go down, I agreed to ride off into the sunset with him, and him-me. Yeah, I said that-but I didn’t want to truly consider it until we ever got to that bridge and we were forced to cross it. Well, here we are, and I was standing there feeling like I was drowning.
Wes lowered his voice as if another personality set in:
“All I know is that I’m tired of this shit right here man,” said Wes’, sounding like an old man-ways tired. But then the first personality came back and spoke some more-he continued on-standing out in front of this big crowd of people and told our entire story from the point of the mall when he drove Shana and me home, all the way through what happened that night at Shana’s house, and anything else he knew about me and Pucker. He left no doors closed and no stones unturned including he and Shana’s secret. With all that he told, nobody could refute it. Shana was out there in the crowd on my side too, attempting to rebuke what he said about the two of them but Wes threw his had at her and shut her down because his spilling the beans wasn’t necessarily about the two of them. He wanted this case to be heard; and it was about his friend Pucker and a girl he claimed to want to be with should this very thing were to ever go down. That’s all Wes cared about getting out there in this open street of public opinion.
The street was quiet with everybody staring at Pucker on one side of the street and me on the other. This dime that Wes dropped was news to the majority of everyone standing on both sides.
My mom, auntie, Shana, my friend Aya (who, for a while now, had been dating Twin) spared me the embarrassment and turned away from me and everyone’s gaze at me and began to fidget around. Nobody could save me-not even the people on my side of the street who loved me.
Everybody stood there waiting on the announcement from either Pucker or me.
I had nothing to say. I had a family. I sure as hell was not going to say a word.
I just stood there. So…catch me if you can.
I glanced over to look at Pucker, who, like Santana; I had been giving the silent treatment to for entire week since the schoolhouse incident. He was standing over there looking all luscious in a pair of black jeans, black turtle neck and a fresh haircut. Not seeing him for almost a whole week was a pretty long time since the day I had first been with him. He looked so good standing over there-I couldn’t lie. I missed him and didn’t think I would feel that way with Santana standing near me.
Pucker stared back over at me with his one hand above his head holding onto the night stick-waiting on me to speak. He squint his eyes as if he wanted to ask me if I remembered what I said I would agree to should thing kind of thing ever go down.
I turned my head away from him-I couldn’t do it. All eyes were on us.
I took a brave glance back over at Pucker and I could see another Wes-type stunt forming and oozing out the corners of his lips that he was literally biting, a frown on his face-looking over at me like I lied and knew I would embarrass him if he took it upon himself to get “Romeo”-brave. He looked up at my auntie’s window then back at me.
I moved away from Santana and closer to my aunt, afraid Pucker was definitely about to drop the next major dime by pointing up to my aunts window to confess that he had been in that house to see me many-an-evenings as well, when I was babysitting.
I was so shaken and nervous.
Pucker's eyes followed, looking at me, my aunt, the window then over at his friend Wes like it was on the tip of his tongue to go on and put me on blast, or hoping that Wes would take it from there-because Wes knew that Pucker would come visit me over at my aunties house too, but Wes spared me.
Still, I kept my fingers crossed but glancing over at and Wes saying a silent prayer.
Pucker kept literally biting his bottom lip but locked his eyes in on me.
Santana stood nearby staring at all of us.
It was wayyyy too quiet for mmmmmmmmmuch too long.
Everybody was waiting for Wes, Pucker, or me to speak again.
Soccer couldn’t take it anymore, she knew something to further drill the knife into her heart was about to go down if she didn’t do something-fast.
It was she who broke the silence and broke Puckers stare, so as to remind him that she was out there and still standing there. She popped the question-she couldn’t hold it in any longer:
“Is this true!? Is this true!? Is this true!?”
Pucker did not answer her.
He face turned intently serious as he stared over her and across the street at me as if he too, no longer wished to participate in this lie anymore either.
It began to feel like everybody was out there protecting me and my feelings, dying to let the whole cat out of the bag but wanted to give me the opportunity to step the plate to speak.
Still-I had nothing to say.
And-I have a family.
No-I sure as hell was not going to say a word.
So-I just stood there.
Again: Catch me if you can.
What happened was unintentional, and I wasn’t prepared to hurt Santana this way, nor was I prepared to break my family up for Pucker-as much as I was in love with him. What we had and what we were doing meant something totally different than what I was willing to cop a plea to.
Soccer got brave.
She didn’t get an answer from Pucker so she walked over to me (face-to-face this time) and yelled desperately. She was in tears-exhausted and practically out of breath:
“Angie. Will you just tell everybody that it’s not true so that we can all go hooooooome,” stressing the word “home” as if she was fatigued and hadn’t slept in days.
I could tell that she knew it was true, but all she needed to hear from me was that it wasn’t true. She wanted to be in denial the same way Santana wanted to be in denial. I felt her pain and her plight in ways that she could never imagine I did. I could tell she made a promise to herself that she would go on and believe that it wasn’t true if she just heard the words: “It’s not true” from me, since Pucker didn’t do the honors. But I couldn’t give her that answer anymore than I could not admit that it really was true.
I felt bad for her in that moment-because I remember all too well, that same burning feeling inside of my heart while I too, had stood between Santana and the bitch he cheated on me with, asking for answers as well; totally not wanting to believe it-totally wanting to believe that I was caught up in the middle of someone else’s nightmare. Totally remembering how I, too, embraced a girl whom I too, treated so kindly-like I thought she was, yet she fucked my man too.
Now here it is-life was unfolding, and in this history of mine in the making, I am now that very same girl to Soccer but under a slightly set of different circumstances.
I remembered that feeling all too well that feeling that Soccer was feeling while in front of me crying, begging and pleading for answers.
Although like the girl who fucked my man and didn’t give me any answers in the middle of my despair, that same man of mine who fucked her, got his chance to get an outer-body experience in this haunting nightmare he was now experiencing.
There he was, standing right across from me, watching the girl of the man who I was now fucking, in the same exact despair as well-looking just like me (back then).
Sure, it was déjà vu for me, but it was déjà shoe for Santana-because the shoe was now on the other foot and this time, I had cheated-big time.
They say Karma is a bitch but I don’t know if she would want to have anything to do with all that had happened, and all that was going on right now. Perhaps they meant she had a bitch of a cousin named: “Boo” who would make her way around to you haunt you because Boo! The joke was on Santana now, the tables had turned. He had a date with Karma’s cousin at the most inconvenient time in the relationship for the both of us, but definitely at an even harder time for the deeper depths of where his grown-man heart was in this, as compared to where his school-boy/first love heart was (back then)…
The night eventually ended, without further incident (or resolve).
Everybody walked away hurt and quiet-like a funeral procession...
My brother and Aya, Shana, my mom and auntie all went up to my auntie’s house.
Shana was my girl, so she knew what to do for me should Twin, my auntie and mom start asking her any questions. She totally had my back on this and no one could break her down about it.
Aya on the other hand, knew every true detail up to and including the truth behind Wes’ side of the story. Although we Aya and me were closer in grade school, middle-school and high school, the fact still remained that after this night for sure, I could tell she was now fully under Twin’s spell, so no telling what she would do-that-in this history of mine in the making; I would be soon finding out about the bomb she dropped on my life in a short time from this very night…
Santana headed to his car to get something as we began to walk across the street to my house. I continued to walk up the steps slowly, to give him time to catch up to me.
When we got into the building, and the door slammed shut. Just like the way he grabbed me by the waist and plopped me into the seat of the car that day; he grabbed me by the waist and shoved me into the kitchen, picked me up and plopped me on the kitchen counter then grunted angrily:
“Tell. Me. The TRUTH Angie! Tell me the truth Angie! TELL me the truth!” he begged-repeatedly, holding his body up by the counter between my right thigh and left thigh.
Still, I was silent.
This time, it was he who was violently angry-just like me (then) when he cheated.
I will give him credit though-at least he buckled and told the truth. Me? I couldn’t. My mouth was shut like cement.
He may not have been in love with the girl he cheated on me with, but I sure as hell could not say the same about the guy I cheated on him with. And by this time, I had grown out of love with Santana. Santana merely cheated out of boredom and having the opportunity, time, space and thrill of knowing he had a chance to fuck a second virgin, knowing that me: his first virgin- was at home and in love with him and like he was-me. But that still, did not stop him from stealing away with the moment.
Now here I am, having stolen away with many moments myself but knowing I was fully out of love with Santana and only hurt over the fact that now we have a beautiful child involved in this mess of ours that if we hadn’t, this particular night, some hearts would have been busted wide open and some heads would have certainly rolled at the end of this procession-for sure.
Everybody’s lucky that Lucky saved ‘em all.
And even me too…sitting here straddled with Santana in front of me, now, denying it over and over-shaking my like "Styx" from the movie “Sparkle” while sitting in the back of the limousine with the loan shark holding a gun to his head playing Russian Roulette, asking for the girls or his life. Still, like "Styx" sweating bullets and the whole sha-bang. I still shook my head “no” repeatedly-refusing to come up off of the truth. I was scared for myself, just like I felt bad for everybody else in this triangle. But this girl: me-I was going to sit on the truth and guard it with my life, even if that night, Santana held a gun to my head-about my role…
Enough already with this night, I was exhausted.
But Pucker refused to hang on to the cold shoulder that I had been giving him since the day of the riot up at his school in conjunction with what had just occurred-he felt like now, I owed his something. He took the plunge and his chances on calling me late into the night. I answered the phone, he did not even say hello:
“Why didn’t you say anything Angie? Why didn’t you say anything? Why didn’t we say what we both were going to do if this ever came out?” he insisted.
“I have a family, and I can’t give that up. I just can’t. I couldn’t do it.” I told him.
“Yeah, I mean-I will admit, it would hard as hell in my household-my house and my life without her too. My mother is in love with her. But, you know…”
He breathed into the phone:
“Now, I have to worry about your brother and shit, too” he sighed, as if that was the only obstacle between us that he had to think about a master plan-to try and work through in order to be with me in a special kind of peace. As if he was a free man himself.
So what! You opened up this Pandora’s Box and now you have to figure out how to close it, so deal with that Pucker!” I replied.
Although I loved Pucker, as far as I was concerned, leaving a relationship with Soccer simply because she was in a family way around his parts-was nothing in comparison to the family I had around these parts.
I had much bigger fish to fry. And after what I had gone through tonight, I was as dipped, cooked, and under enough fire as I could take anymore this day.
At this point, I just broke down and cried because I was so overwhelmed and sad.
Pucker sighed and replied:
“Angie. I miss you. Don’t cry Angie. We are going to work it out okay? We are going to work this out-you hear me? We will…”
He had no idea, NO idea what I lived through that night...
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