Comic books, Christmas movies and White Castle burgers make me happy ... I'm just saying ...
Once upon a time, it was no big deal for me to have sex on the first date. And if I asked a guy if he wanted to get a room or wanted to come inside the house, not one would turn down my offer.
The power of sex ... It can create blind spots. That's when you begin to overlook red flags, blemishes in a person's personality ... That's why I was so strung out on my former "boyfriend", Lamont Stokes, for about a decade. Only halted by him choosing the virginal Kimberly Stewart to not only date, but marry.
After Lamont, I decided to readjust my method of doing things. Such as keeping dates casual and engaging in activities that ended at a decent hour.
I chose to skip romantic walks on the beach in the wee hours. I had to. I'd done some of my best work on beaches and lakefront parking lots; up against trees, on the grass, in fieldhouses ...
Most of all, I had to stay away from mind altering substances. Because waking up in the bed with someone whose name I never knew in the first place had gotten old.
I realized that I needed something new to get addicted to. Especially when Lamont reformed. That had to be a sign of the End Times. Just my humble opinion.
It needed to be something safe. Something that wouldn't lead to tears from a broken heart. So when i found myself inside of one of those discount video stores, it came to me.
Growing up, I sort of missed out on the fad of buying video game systems and cartridges. Other than going to an arcade to boy watch, I was nver really interested.
At the store I bought an old Colecovision game system from 1982. It allegedly had been used as an in-store demo back in the day and then packed away in someone's storage unit. Which meant that it didn't have much wear or tear.
It came with Donkey Kong, which took me about a month to master. Then I moved on to Donkey Kong Jr., Zaxxon, Burger Time and then Mr. Do.
Between video game sessions, i watched recordings of my favorite cooking shows. And I must admit, I was pretty proud of myself for picking up on the recipes so quickly.
I'd never been one to help my mother in the kitchen. Because of that, once I tried to help, I would get pushed out by one of my sisters and labeled as 'the non cooking Reed sister".
As far as they were concerned, I was still the non cooking sister. They'd hurt my feelings so much over the years that now I was keeping my talent to myself.
It wasn't about showing off anyway. It was about therapy. It was about having a non destructive outlet to channel my energy; deprogramming myself from my former way of life.
Which was why I was alone. Most guys appeared enchanted enough with my beauty to tolerate my vintage video games and cooking fetish. But when they found out that I was no longer passing out "party favors", they quickly lost interest.
Before I knew it, I'd been celibate for 15 years. Which was not the plan that I'd mapped out for myself. Yet, here I was. For better or for worse.
My nephews, Jeremy and Ennis, went to a Christian school run and owned by the church it shared a building with.
The boys' dad, Esteban Archie, had taken a leap of faith. Not only leaving his wife, but taking a job as a youth minister and janitor. And with the job came a house next door to the church.
Apparently the school was great for the boys. There were smaller class sizes than they were accustomed to. Which allowed the former "bad seeds" to have more of a one on one experience.
Another thing I really liked was that the boys were taught memory scriptures and had chapel service everyday. This meant that the dynamic duo would come home singing Praise and Worship songs, rather than the latest tunes by LIL WAYNE and TWO CHAINS that their mother had exposed them to.
Esteban was granted custody of the boys simply because my niece, Kelly, didn't seem to care. And although it wasn't truly known if Esteban was the biological father of Jeremy and Ennis, there was no denying the love he had for them. As well, his name was on the birth certificate. Which was enough reason for my sister, Lalisha, and her husband to provide a strong character reference to the court and wish their son-in-law well.
The only reason I knew what I knew was because I had a friend who went to that church. So when I visited one Sunday morning, I spotted my little nephews. Or rather, they spotted me when I came into the gymnasium that doubled as a sanctuary. And just like that, I was sitting between them and their dad -- like a family.
I'd always considered Esteban a little more than cute, but had only been in a room with him a handful of times for brief moments. But here at church, dressed in his only suit, I couldn't get over how handsome he was. That's why when the boys asked me over for dinner without checking with him first, I hesitated. But then when he extended his own personal invitation, just like that, I was hooked -- line and sinker even.
My Nephews ... And Their Father
I had one nephew who was going to be a wise man. The other would be singing Jingle Bells with his class in the school's annual Christmas program.
I cried as if they were my own kids. And Esteban held my hand as if I were his wife.
It wasn't as if anything lovey dovey had happened between us over dinner. All I did was read the boys a bedtime story, help with their baths, washed the dishes and listened to Esteban vent ... A couple of hours with some Smooth Jazz playing in the background. That's all. No biggie.
So imagine my surprise when Estban had the boys to call me and invite me to their program. Then imagine how surprised I was to actually enjoy the amateur dancers, singers and and actors. From the babies in the nursery to the 8th graders.
Friday night we ordered pizza at my place and I pulled out a old video tape I'd made of EMERIL making candy and ice cream. I was attempting to copy him, but it didn't turn out quite the way I expected. Still, the boys didn't know the difference, eating it like it was the best thing in the world.
The plan was for the boys to spend the night at my apartment to give their dear old dad a break. But then we ended up on the phone, talking about them most of the night.
"Did I thank you for coming to the program?"
"A few times."
"You just don't know ... Their mother never came to any of their assemblies or the first day of school."
"That's messed up."
"Not as messed up as the fact that she agreed to sign her parental rights over to me. So no matter the DNA ... They're mine."
"That's for the best."
"Thank you ... Um ... The boys truly enjoy having you around."
I swallowed. "Well ... I truly enjoy being around you all as well," I said, hoping that he noticed how I included him. "In fact ... I never really knew what I was missing .... Not having kids of my own, I mean ..."
"Oh ... So .... Would you .... You know ..."
"Would you want to be a mother? Does the thought of that appeal to you?
I smiled as he went on his fishing expedition. "Lately, it appeals to me a great deal."
Wednesday. December 23rd. [61 Degrees]
After work. A little Donkey Kong. a little Donkey Kong Jr. A little Burgertime. A little Frogger. All while demolishing a Orange Chicken platter and a order of Egg Foo Young. Nothing better than that.
Sitting on the floor with my styrofoam plate between my legs, I held on to an egg roll in one hand and managed to manipulate the joystick with the other.
I paused the game as I nibbled on my egg roll. Truth was, I could concentrate completely on one of my favorite past times. Not with Esteban Archie on my mind.
He was my nephew by marriage. Nephew-in-law? But I didn't need him as my nephew. I needed something a little more intimate. The good part was that he seemed to feel the exact same way. It was just a matter of one of us knuckleheads coming out and saying it.
Since I was a bit of an impatient type, I tried to muster up all of the boldness I once had in my skanky days. Back when I was the ultimate party girl. Yet this time I intended to use my power for good.
"Uh, hi Esteban ... This is ..."
"I know who this is," he said with a smile in his voice.
I smiled too ... Blushed even. "Um ... I didn't disturb you did I?"
"No ... With the students on holiday break, I don't have to go in either. So with all of this free time on my hands, I find myself sitting up all night, reacquainting myself with Sanford and Son."
"Is there a marathon on?"
"No, I have a DVD box set."
"Get out. Ae you serious?"
"So you're off for Christmas?"
"So um ... Okay ... Do you and the wonder twins have plans?"
"The boys are spending the night with the grandparents. They open their presents on Christmas Eve. So I'll pick them up a little after midnight, bring them home and let them go to sleep so Santa Clause can visit them at their new house."
"That's a lot."
"Yeah ... I don't even have all of their shopping down ..."
"What? You know the stores close early on Christmas Eve, right?"
"And the wrapping ... I hate all of the last minute wrapping ..."
"You want some help. Don't you?"
"Uh ... Maybe?"
"I'm on my way."
Being with Esteban was easy ... Comfortable even. He must have thoguth that I was crazy the way I kept blushing, but I couldn't help it. He made me feel like that. Not like some random chick, but like a lady ... I liked that so much.
We hit a couple of strip malls. We hit Southlake Mall in Hobart. Together, split off and then together again.
I bought a bunch of junk for the boys, but I wanted to find something special for Esteban. Cologne? A watch?
As I sat on a bench and considered what to buy, I people watched. Like the teeny boppers walking in hoodies, sweat pants and flip flops. Or some had hoodies matched with pajama pants and fluffy boots. I think that I was doing that back before it was considered fashionable. Except for the boots. But look at me now. I definitely won the prize for most sophisticated Christmas shopper.
Gizzards, 50 Chicken Wings, Bottled Iced Tea and Christmas Movies
We spent the rest of the day wrapping gifts. Though I must admit that I kind of took over on the wrapping. Not in a mean way, just because I was enjoying myself and Esteban was struggling.
I sent him up to a local joint for a order of gizzards, 50 chicken wings and bottled iced tea. Which turned this into a really cool Christmas wrapping party.
In the midst of eating and wrapping, I showed Esteban my crate of Christmas DVDS that I'd collected over the years. Definitely not something I would do with just any old body. And to my surprised, I actually had a comrade in arms with the same affliction.
We thumbed through my movies. "Stop. You have A Boyfriend For Christmas on DVD? I love that movie ... No! Recipe For A Perfect Christmas?! I watch that every year. Can we watch that?"
"Uh ... Yeah."
I couldn't believe that he didn't tease me. He wasn't being sarcastic. I'd finally found someone who shared my love for Christmas movies. Someone who believed that the saddest day of the year was December 26th. Someone who
-- like me -- was not in any hurry to take the tree down after the holiday was considered officially over.
"When Kelly and I had our own house ... She was always nagging me about when the tree was coming down. And I guess. I was too embarrassed to say how strongly I felt about not taking it down ... That after a long, hard stressful day at work ... Seeing that three shining brightly in the living room ... It just lifted my spirits."
I sighed as we both glanced at my little five foot tree. "Yeah ....," was all I could think of to say.
The tv was muted. The streets were quiet. It was definitely a silent night. But sitting next to my friend on the floor, it was not a lonely night .... I loved that.
"How come you and I seem to match so well?" Esteban asked softly.
I swallowed, afraid to look at him. Afraid to let him see in my eyes how much I was falling for him.
When I didn't answer, he turned towards me and touched my face ever so gently. My eyes heavily drawn to the floor, I forced myself to look into his beautiful green eyes .... I'd never seen green eyes before. And I knew that I could get used to staring into them.
What I enjoyed the most was that he knew ... He actually knew. I could see that in his eyes. Which was why my own eyes teared up. to the point hat i just couldn't take it anymore and decided to kiss him. But before I could, he kissed me ... And it was such a lovely kiss. A kiss that I wanted to go on ... and on ... and on ... And it pretty much did.
© 2020 LaZeric Freeman