Segment Five: Write In the Middle of It

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It was a crisp autumn morning that Mekayla was not too thrilled to be awake for. She had put on her gray sweats with a Sixers hoodie and glasses and ran her fingers quickly through her newly twisted hair

The reason for her lack of sleep.

She looked in the mirror and smiled in approval. It was nine in the morning and Mekayla figured she would grab her laptop, walk to the corner coffeehouse, grab a Chai Tea and write a few pieces, possibly a few chapters. Then she would go home and take a quick nap before Erik came by to get his braids done.

Book bag clad, Mekayla power walked the blocks to the coffeehouse. Upon entering gave the what up nod to Ervin. Ervin smiled and put his newspaper down to fix Mekayla’s usual.

Mekayla took the back booth that was a corner window seat and set up to write.

“Nice hair.” Ervin said sitting down handing Mekayla her tea.

“Thanks Erv,” she said taking a sip. “Did it last night.”

“It’s becoming on you.”

Mekayla just smiled.

“Good job last night.” Ervin said getting up from the table, “Erik give you your money?”

Mekayla shook her head, “Not yet, I’ll get it from him later”

“Ok. When’s the last time you’ve seen that man of yours? He said going back behind the counter.

“Three weeks ago.” Mekayla said beginning to type.

“Damn, I dunno how you do it.” Ervin said going back to his paper.

“Patience, trust, and more patience.” she said somewhat under her breath.

Besides missing Kevin, having writers block is quite possibly the worst feeling Mekayla could feel.

She somewhat equated writing to achieving an orgasm.

When she’s blocked: she’s not writing anything, doing anything.

When she has a concept that needs to get out, it’s somewhat like getting rubbed through her clothes and being kissed passionately in a dimly lit parking lot. When she’s writing, she is in the moment creating images in your mind so folks can feel them.

When it’s done, she wants a cigarette.

Right now she is just blocked. Mekayla played with one of her twists hanging from her forehead and sipped her Chai. She was lighting a Newport when she heard the front door open. As usual she was having trouble with her lighter and she began to look up to ask Ervin for matches when she came face to face with Brett.

“You need a light?” Brett said reaching into his pocket.

“Yes please.” Mekayla said smiling and Brett leaned forward to light her cigarette. “Thank you.”

“You’re very welcome, Mekayla. May I sit down or are you busy?

“No go right ahead,” Blowing smoke.

Brett sat down across from Mekayla and Ervin approached him.

“Hey what’s goin on? You want anything?” Ervin asked.

“What are you drinking?” Brett asked Mekayla.

“Chai-Tea” she responded

“Is it any good?” Brett asked smiling.

Mekayla sipped again, “I wouldn’t drink it if it wasn’t good.”

Brett turned to Ervin, “Ok I’ll have one.” Ervin upon leaving rolled his eyes and

stuck his tongue out at Mekayla, which made her giggle.

“So,” Brett said when Ervin was out of earshot, “You’re up awfully early for someone who was sick last night?”

Mekayla nodded and flicked her ashes and looked at Brett over the laptop, “Yeah

I know but after I had a hot bath. I couldn’t sleep.”

“So you did your hair, looks good.”

“Thank you.” At that point Ervin came and left with the tea.

“I wish I coulda put chu to sleep.” Brett mumbled sipping his tea.

“Excuse me?” Mekayla said slightly frowning.

Brett put one hand up in the air as a sign of slight surrender, “Nothing I’ll behave.”

Mekayla when she hasn’t slept had a tendency to be playful, not to mention flirtatious. She never got carried away with it and usually knew when it went too far. Besides, Brett was an appealing subject.

“No don’t behave on my account.

“What about that man you are so in love with that makes you so happy?” Brett

replied sarcastically

“What about him?” Mekayla replied matter of fact sipping her tea.

“Well if I don’t behave myself, he may get upset.” Brett said in a hushed tone leaning forward in the booth.

“No he won’t.” she said abruptly.

Brett chuckled and leaned back, “Ok this is some sort of test, and you’re teasing me.”

“No,” Mekayla pushed the laptop aside so she could lean forward and look into

Brett’s eyes. “I love my man,” she said sternly. “I refuse and will not do anything to hurt him, so despite all of your sexual innuendo, I am completely and totally in control of my actions.”

“Commendable and noble, but I don’t believe you.” Brett responded smiling.

“Why is that?” Mekayla said never changing her expression while she put out her cigarette.

Brett leaned forward again. Mekayla could smell his soap, “Because underneath your sweet exterior, I’m sure inside you are not so sweet.”

“That depends.” Mekayla said leaning forward even closer.

“On?” Brett said licking his lips.

“The man and the situation.” Mekayla said looking dead in Brett’s eyes.

“I see, so how do I figure in on all of this.”

Brett wanted to kiss her.

“You don’t,” Mekayla said leaning straight back into the booth. “You know my

situation, I have a man.”

Brett frowned and sat back, “Tease.”

Mekayla laughed while sipping her tea. “No I was just proving my point.”

“How so?” questioned Brett tossing his hands up in the air.

“I am completely and totally in control of my actions.”

“But you set me up?” Brett challenged, “So that doesn’t quite count.”

“Not really, “she shrugged,” You think it was easy sitting that close to you and not acting on it?”

“So what are you sayin?” Brett looked confused.

“You’re attractive, I’m sure you know that.” She got her lighter to work this time and lit another cigarette. “You smell good and even in those baggy sweats and God awful white T-shirt, you look good.”

Brett frowned and pointed to his shirt, “What’s wrong with the white T-shirt?”

Mekayla exhaled smoke, “You a little old for that ain’t you?”

“I’m in my twenties,” he said defensively.

“Closer to thirty.” she spat back

“What’s your point?” he said frowning.

Mekayla pushed the laptop in front of her again, “I dunno, but I was gonna ask you if you were cold, it’s pretty brisk out.”

“Well” Brett admitted, “I was just coming up here to get a cup of coffee, until I saw you.”

She just looked at him.

“Ok Ms Mekayla, let me ask you this. If you are so happy with your man, why did you give me your phone number?”

Mekayla sighed, that’s what Erik had implied last night. Ok how does she tell a man that she gave him the number because he was cute, and gave her the high girl butterflies?

She figured she’d flip the script.

“Why did you ask me for my phone number when you knew I had a man?” she replied.

“Touché. Brett replied.

Mekayla then realized that he wasn’t as bright as she first thought. She typed a little while and there was silence between them. Brett sat straight up as if he had a great idea. “Can I ask you a personal question?”

“Be my guest.” Mekayla said still typing.

Brett leaned forward and whispered, “How do you do it? I mean how can you go weeks at a time without…you know?”

“She masturbates.” said Ervin from over top of their heads as he handed the two of them fresh tea. Brett jumped, and his jaw dropped to the floor.

Mekayla smiled but didn’t respond.

Ervin walked away whistling to himself. Mekayla continued typing while Brett just stared at her. She had to chuckle because Mr. Aggressive seemed to have been shut down by Ervin the poetical coffee guy. She stopped typing as while watching him fumble for his cigarettes and decided to let him off the hook.

“You really wanna know how I handle it?” she asked

Brett just looked at her and lit his cigarette.

“I don’t. I don’t have to. My man is the type that could walk in the door right now and take me out to lunch, to a park, and then head back home. When I miss him all I have to do is say so and he’s here. Now I admit there have been times that I have gotten frustrated, but you get that with any relationship.”

Brett, a little more at ease, asked, “How long have y’all been together?”

“About a year.”

“And you never cheated?” he asked.

Mekayla paused an unusual length of time because answering this question so she wouldn’t give Brett the wrong idea.

There was a time she hadn’t seen Kevin in about two months and she went out with a friend and at the end of the night the friend kissed her– a

full kiss on the mouth tongue and all. It felt good and she didn’t stop it. But when he wentto kiss her again, she did stop him. Mekayla knew that if she didn’t stop him in her weak state, she would have gone home with him.

Luckily Kevin was waiting for her when she got home because she was actually contemplating seeing the friend again. But if she did, she would have to end it with Kevin.

Was her relationship worth a random and quite possibly unsatisfying piece of dick?

As she said before, she loved Kevin and she would never, ever hurt him. Thank God for patience, restraint, and divine intervention.

“Define cheating,” she said through an exhale

At that point there was a knock on the outside window which startled both Brett and Mekayla. Erik sighed as he pushed the door open to the coffee shop. He headed right to the back where the stunned Mekayla and Brett sat.

Well okay maybe Brett was a little more stunned than Mekayla

She just had a weird smirk on her face. Erik scooted Mekayla over looking at her the whole time. Then just for good measure kissed her on her cheek.

“Nice hair mami.” Erik said not taking his eyes off of her. “Who’s your friend?” finally acknowledging Brett was sitting there.

Mekayla returned Erik’s kiss just for the hell of it. “Thank you papi, and this is Brett. Brett this is my best friend Erik.”

Brett gave Erik the what up nod which did not impress Erik at all. He sat stone-faced until he decided to comment.

“You’ve been hanging out at The Basement lately?”

“A little bit” Brett said blowing smoke out of his nose.

Erik took off his navy hoodie almost knocking his hat off of his head. Mekayla noticed his braids were a mess and sucked her teeth. Erik initially ignored her and responded to Brett instead.

“Yeah, I think I’ve seen you there.”

He then turned to Mekayla, “Am I interrupting something?”

Mekayla put the last little bit of her cigarette out, “Nah, not at all, we were just talking about relationships.”

Brett began to shift uncomfortably on his side of the booth.

“Oh really.” Erik responded, “How is your relationship by the way? When was the last time you spoke with Kevin?” Erik asked in a tone that only Mekayla could pick up as sarcastic.

She gave him the same tone back.

“Last night actually, we’re great.”

“Well that’s good to know, when is he coming up again?” still in the tone.

“I’m not really sure,” Mekayla, becoming annoyed, answered through her teeth.

“Oh okay. Well maybe he can come up for Halloween because I just got this email about the Haunted Poetry Weekend.” Erik said pulling a piece of paper out the back of his sweat pants, handing it to Mekayla.

As she took the paper from Erik Mekayla’s expression changed from annoyed to serious. “Hey I didn’t get this?”

“I just got it. So you interested?”

“Hell yeah I’m interested.” Mekayla said looking over the paper.

“Tell Kevin about it.” Erik sighed as he took Mekayla’s tea and sipped it.

“I will.” she said not looking up from the paper.

“So Brett, you a writer?” Erik asked with a smirk on his face.

“Nah,” Brett shook his head and was becoming as uncomfortable as Erik was trying to make him. “I just like to listen.”

“I feel you,” Erik said with mock sincerity.” Some folks just like to be on the outside, lookin in, knowing they have no business on the stage.”

At that point Mekayla snapped out of her distraction, “Erik!”

“Poets have a lot of groupies.” Erik continued to speak and you could see the rage well up in Brett’s face, but he remained quiet.

“Erik, that’s enough.” Mekayla said starting to become a little loud.

“But don’t let me stop y’all conversation.” Erik said ignoring Mekayla. “What were y’all discussing?”

Brett all of a sudden got some balls and looked Erik right in his eye. “Infidelity.”

Mekayla buried her head in her hands.

“Oh really?” What about infidelity?” Erik said, his tone becoming serious.

“Mekayla asked me to define it.” Brett said matter of fact leaning forward.

Erik grabbed his hoodie off of his lap and began to put it back over his head this time exposing his unkempt hair.

“Oh that’s an easy question. Mekayla knows the answer to that as a matter of fact I think she’s the one who gave me the example I live by.”

Erik put his hat back on his head and turned to Mekayla.

“Can I tell him Meek?” Mekayla responded by lifting her head out of her hands.

“I knew she wouldn’t mind. Infidelity is the committing of any act that would anger you if you knew your partner did it.” Erik kissed Mekayla on her forehead and whispered in her ear.

“I’m not even Kevin and I didn’t like how this looked.”

 He then turned to Brett, getting out of the booth.

“Did that clear things up for you?”

Brett just chuckled slightly to himself.

Erik then turned to Mekayla.

“I’m goin to the gym so I’ll be over at two instead of three.”

She just nodded and Erik walked out.

Brett looked over his shoulder and then back at Mekayla.

“What the fuck is his problem?”

Mekayla waved at the air “Don’t mind him, he’s just real protective.”

“Is he gay?” Brett said snarling.

“You’re kidding me right?” Mekayla asked almost in a laugh.

“Nah, I’m just sayin he seems kinda soft to me.”

“Believe me Erik, is anything but soft.” Mekayla said starting to get a little annoyed.

“Is that your man’s boy?” Brett said still kind of frowning.

Mekayla chuckled, “Nah, as matter of fact, he hasn’t met him yet.”

“Wait a minute, “He said confused,” Y’all have been together a year and your man hasn’t met your best friend, who is also male?”

Mekayla slightly frowned but didn’t respond.

“Shit if I had a woman like you, I’d want to know everyone who was around you.” Brett said leaning back in the booth.

Mekayla shrugged, “Kevin isn’t insecure like that.”

“Doesn’t that bother you?” he asked.

Mekayla began packing up her laptop “Why would that bother me?”

“Well it seems to me, Kevin, really isn’t concerned about what you do?”

Brett said folding his arms planting the seeds.

“No.” Mekayla said firmly, “Kevin trusts me.” she said putting the laptop in her book bag

“So Kevin would have no problem with walking in here right now with you

sitting across from me?”

“No, not at all.” is what she said but in her heart she wasn’t sure. “He has female friends.”

“And you know all of them?” Brett asked.

He couldn’t have dug deeper if he had a shovel.

“For the most part.” Mekayla responded.

“I see, for the most part. So you don’t know them all? He asked again almost going for the kill.

Mekayla shrugged, “I’m sure there are one or two I don’t know.”

“My point exactly. Does Kevin know about me?” Brett asked now smiling.

Mekayla felt her stomach flip flop. She now knew where Brett was headed but tried to play it off.

“Shit Brett, I don’t even know you.”

“And yet you were flirting with me.” Brett paused slightly and began rubbing his finger along the rim of his cup. “Now using Erik’s telling of your version of infidelity. If you overheard the conversation you and I had earlier with Kevin and another female you didn’t know, what would you think?”

Mekayla felt her face engulf but she sucked her teeth casually.

“That’s stupid, I have nothing to worry about.”

Inside she felt as though she were about to throw up. She knew she was flirting with Brett and just the mere thought of Kevin flirting that way with another female set her stomach on fire.

“Are you sure?” Brett said grinning, “Because your face is turning beat red.”

“I’m just tired,” Mekayla said getting up putting her book bag on her back. “And you heard Erik; he’s coming back earlier than I thought. I haven’t had any sleep”

Brett grabbed Mekayla’s hand, “I’m sorry sweetie, I didn’t mean to upset you.”

“You didn’t. But I have to go.” Mekayla was starting to get pissed off, but she couldn’t let Brett see that. He never let go of her hand, stood up and came out of the booth to give her a hug. The hug was a strong one but she didn’t hug him back. She just wanted to get out of there. Mekayla walked up to Ervin, who was still reading his paper, put money on the counter for the tea, and left.

Her head was spinning.

What the fuck just happened there?

All she knew is she had a need to call Kevin, on his cell, while his team is at practice.

Brett sat back down smirking. Knowing that the next time he saw her again Mekayla would have talked to and possibly argued with Kevin and all he would need to be was a sympathetic shoulder to lean on.

When Mekayla got home, she heard what sounded like a baby crying from her bedroom. She put her book bag on the dining room table and cautiously walked into her room. When she came to her back door leading to the fire escape, the crying became louder. She opened the door, looked through the screen and found a little tiger striped kitten wailing. Mekayla gasped and opened the door and cupped the kitten in her hands.

“Aww.” Mekayla said to the kitten, “Where is your mommy?” She continued to cup it in her hands as she walked into the kitchen. She placed the kitten in the sink, went into the fridge, and pulled out a bottle of spring water. Then she got a small bowl from the cupboard, placed it in the sink with the kitten, and poured the water in it. Then she heard more crying. Mekayla knew the kitten couldn’t get out of the sink without help, so she walked back into her bedroom and looked out the door to see a black kitten wailing. This time she picked the kitten up, put it in her pocket of her hoodie and climbed the steps of the fire escape to the roof. When she reached the roof, there was a basket in the middle full of a dozen kittens wailing and attempting escape

Mekayla looked around, but of course there was no one on the roof. She grabbed the basket and went back down the fire escape into the loft. She took the black kitten out of her pocket and put it back in the basket. She went into the kitchen to retrieve the other kitten, but when she did she jumped because Brett was standing at the sink petting the purring kitten.

“What the fuck are you doing in here?” Mekayla yelled as she put the basket on the dining room table.

“Shhhh,” Brett said as he came toward Mekayla “You’ll wake her.”

Brett backed Mekayla into the table pinned her with his torso as he gently tossed the kitten into the basket behind her, but he didn’t move

“I’m going to ask you one more time,” Mekayla said through carefully measured breath and trembling,

“How the fuck did you get in here?!”

Brett leaned in to her ear and whispered “You let me in here.” Mekayla’s eyes fluttered closed as Brett began biting and kissing her neck.

“I didn’t.” Mekayla gasped giving in to his kisses. Brett lifted her up on top of the table as his lips met hers. He had the softest lips Mekayla ever felt against her own and she moaned with his tongue in her mouth. Brett moaned back and then pushed her legs open with his knee and began rubbing the fabric covering her newfound moistness.

Mekayla pushed his hand away.

“What, we are only kissing?” he kissed her harder and grabbed her breast and squeezed so her nipple was in between Brett’s index and middle finger caressing it until it a small lump formed through the fabric of her sweatshirt. He then lifted her shirt and bra and began tickling it with his tongue. Mekayla let out a louder moan and arched her back. At that point Brett climbed on top of the table and positioned himself accordingly. Kittens were wailing and jumping out of the basket but it didn’t stop

Mekayla from scooting out of her sweatpants and now damp underwear. Brett pushed himself in between her and the table legs began banging up and down on the wooden floor. The kittens were screaming now. The banging was getting louder. All Mekayla could do was moan and inhale his cologne. Brett was moaning. The banging was getting faster and louder, the kittens wouldn’t stop screaming. Everything just kept getting louder until Mekayla opened her eyes and found herself in her living room lying across her big fluffy pillows. The teakettle was screaming for mercy and she heard a banging at her front door.

Dammit I didn’t mean to fall asleep!

She walked over to the teakettle that was so hot she couldn’t even pick it up.

“Ow shit!” She yelled as she dropped it into the sink. The banging became louder at the door.

“Hold on a minute!!” she yelled as she ran her hand under cold water and hissed. She heard the top lock to her front door click open and she stood there trembling.

With her knee she eased open the cabinet under the sink and bent down and pulled out a small, metal, baseball bat. She stood back up and shut off the water as the front door opened. Mekayla lifted the bat up over her head and almost took Erik’s head off if he didn’t snatch the bat with one hand and twist Mekayla up on to her dining room table.

Ironically they were in the same position as her and Brett was in her dream but the bat was in between them.

“How many times have I told you that little bat ain’t gonna do shit?” Erik snickered as he kissed her forehead. Mekayla kneed him in the stomach just hard enough for Erik to let out a small grunt and stand back up laughing.

“Were you asleep?”

“Yeah,” Mekayla walked back into the living room and flopped back down onto the pillows. Erik put the bat on the dining room table and took his shoes off at the front door. He then walked behind Mekayla and playfully tousled her hair before he flopped down next to her.

“I really like your hair.” he said.

“Thanks.” she said as she sat up on her elbows and began taking out Erik’s braids.

Just as she began to frown above his head, Erik pulled a rat-tail comb from his hoodie pocket.

“Thanks, again.”

“I’m always prepared.” Erik said half seriously

“And if I didn’t know any better I’d swear you were white.” Mekayla joked. “Cause you’re always early. Weren’t you supposed to be at the gym?” she said tilted his head back to look at him.

“I changed my mind. Plus I wanted to see if you were okay.” he said looking up at her.

Mekayla pushed his head back down and resumed removing his braids “Why wouldn’t I be okay?”

“Brett is trouble.”

“Mmmm, I dunno. He seems okay.” Mekayla said not believing her own words.

“Nah, he’s definitely weird. Like if you were alone with him too long he may hurt you.

Mekayla’s thoughts went back to her dream. She closed her eyes and reminisced about Brett’s lips on her body and shuddered. She couldn’t understand why she had the dream and it was unsettling to her. She was thinking about Kevin and if he found out he woulda flipped. But it was a dream right, she had no thoughts of acting on it.

Or did she? Maybe the dream was about her own frustration of missing Kevin. Mekayla was going to call him as soon as she was done with Erik’s hair. She needed to talk to her baby.

“Why you so quiet?” Erik asked her.

“I’m thinking about Kevin.”

“Good. You should be. And you also should be staying away from temptation?”

Mekayla wrinkled up her face, “Who’s tempted?”

“Oh please,” Erik responded,” When I came up to the window you looked as though you wanted to eat that man alive.”

She chuckled, “I did not!”

“Meek, I know you better than anybody. And I have seen that look on your face before. You remember the bass player?”

“Oh God!”  That was so long ago!”

Erik chuckled, “It was, but he was the inspiration to a poem, wasn’t he?”

“Shut up!”

“See that’s when I know I’m right, because you always tell me to shut up.”

“Whateva!” she snipped

“Followed by a whateva.” Erik chimed back. “But seriously, what do you know about Brett?”

Mekayla shrugged, “I know all I need to know considering the situation. I’m not pursuing him Erik.”

“You better not be.”

Mekayla pulled Erik’s hair a little harder than normal.

“Ouch. Watch it.”

“Sorry.” she said half-heartedly.

The two sat in relative silence as Mekayla did Erik’s hair. Erik was concerned about her because she always seemed to attract the worst men. The last few people she was involved with either wound up cheating on her or just blatantly doggin her. The bass player was no exception. Erik felt kinda of bad because it was him who introduced the two. He gave her his phone number and Mekayla would strategically plan when to call him, but he was never home and never returned her calls. Because Erik knew Mekayla, he knew that only intrigued her. She had this theory that chaos caused her to be a better writer. She wasn’t wrong though. When Mekayla was going through things her poetry had so much flavor. But it bothered Erik that she had to go through hell to write the way she did. Mekayla became the definition of a “tortured artist”, until she met Kevin.

Kevin brought a glow to her eyes that Erik had never seen before. And although he was skeptical of the whole long distance thing, he for the most part couldn’t argue that Kevin made Mekayla happy. He just hoped that the artist inside Mekayla didn’t have her pining away for new torture to ruin her happiness.

All Mekayla wanted was to call Kevin and have him come up to kill the dream in her head.

Or, even better, outdo it.

to be continued…

Photo Credit: © Hassan Davis

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