Read an Excerpt
Best of Friends
Dahlia looked down the bar at her ex-husband, Martin Gray. She was slightly drunk, and the sight of him was messing with her high. Her disdain for the man was palpable. He was sitting there with a beautiful, caramel-skinned woman, who looked to be about a size twenty-four, Dahlia guessed, categorizing the woman by her dress size the way she did all women.
Dahlia felt sorry for the woman. Her ex-husband was a piece of shit. It had taken her too long to figure out his true nature and hatred for women. It certainly wasn't obvious to her at first. Martin was a tall, dark-skinned, handsome man. He kept himself well-dressed and well-groomed; a manicure and pedicure was a part of his weekly regimen. He spent money like he had it to burn. He was a catch for any woman at first pass.
Dahlia was married to him nearly two years before she finally let the gilded lenses she saw him through shatter, along with her self-esteem. Initially, he treated her like a queen, taking her out, buying her gifts and making love to her like no one else ever had. Soon after they were married, he started using her size, which he feigned reverence for, to belittle her which heightened her already keen feelings of insecurity. Still, his derogatory remarks hadn't kept him from climbing on top of her every night and humping away like some wild boar.
Months after Dahlia and Martin divorced, she inadvertently met a woman at the Laundromat who had dated him. Dahlia overheard a bit of female bonding between four women who were folding clothes and joined the conversation. While the woman spoke of her past love, how hot and intense the courtship began, how his love had turned cold and, finally, how he began to mutilate her with his words, it dawned on Dahlia that this woman was speaking of her ex-husband. She never let on that she and the woman shared something in common. By the time she finished folding her clothes, she reached the conclusion that her ex-husband had a fetish for abusing overweight women. First luring them in with his fine clothing, perfect manners, and good looks and then, when he had them hooked, go to work on their self-esteem. She became nauseated when she heard her own tale, told in excruciating detail, through the mouth of the woman at the laundry.
Dahlia caught Martin's attention and sneered at him through narrowed eyes. Noreen had only agreed to meet with Martin after he begged her relentlessly to meet him one last time at the restaurant where they first met. She enjoyed the oysters there and had nothing better to do, so she went for the free meal. She knew she wanted nothing to do with Martin. He was too bogus, the way he gushed and swooned over her. She didn't know what he was after, but she knew the difference between a man who loved big women and a man that was just full of shit. Martin was definitely full of shit.
Martin kept staring over Noreen's shoulder at a woman sitting alone at the bar, tossing back chocolate Cosmos. Noreen had already finished her meal and was ready to give Martin the "brush-off." She'd suppressed her urge to see what he was looking at during the entire meal, and finally turned her head to see what was so interesting.
"Do you know her?"
"Yes," Martin sighed. "She's my ex-wife. She took to drinking right after we divorced two years ago, and I hear she hasn't been sober since."
Noreen looked back over her shoulder at the woman downing her most recent Cosmopolitan and then turned back to Martin. She picked up her napkin and wiped her lips, having decided that it was time to call this meal and this relationship to an official end.
"Goddamn!" Noreen said, throwing her napkin on her empty plate. "Who would think a woman could go on celebrating for that long?"
Martin stared at Noreen. Noreen stared right back at him, daring him to say anything else. Martin diverted his gaze first, and tried to play it off by raising his hand to call the waitress for the check.
Noreen decided she wasn't ready to go home quite yet. She got up from the table and patted Martin on the cheek.
"You can go on without me, sweetheart. I'm going to stay at the bar and get myself a drink." Noreen turned to go.
The waitress arrived at the table and looked from Noreen to Martin sensing that something more than she needed to know was going on.
"Leave her a big tip, honey, maybe it'll make up for what you're lacking in your pants."
"Fucking bitch," Martin said just loud enough for Noreen to hear.
Noreen turned back to Martin with a smile on her face and in her most sugary voice responded, "Oh, what a coincidence, I was just thinking the same thing about you." Noreen left the table and headed for the bar.
Two minutes later, Martin was leaving the restaurant. His ex-wife and ex-girlfriend were sitting seven feet from each other, and he could smell the hatred oozing from their pores. He was determined to walk past them without turning his head to look in their direction. He didn't like a lot of negative attention drawn to him. He had a reputation to uphold in the community and didn't need it tarnished. Harlem was his natural hunting ground. The selection of big beautiful women of color was plentiful and he didn't need anyone fucking that up.
Both of the women knew his style and neither of them was willing to give him a pass. He was walking with his head up too high and full of himself. As it worked out, when he reached an equal point between the two women, they had the same idea. Both tossed the remnants of their drinks on him as if they had choreographed their movements and synchronized their watches.
Martin was embarrassed into paralysis as he stood between the two women with his jaw hanging open as he was completely stunned. He quickly composed himself and continued on his way without so much as a glare over his shoulder.
That was how Noreen and Dahlia met. They were two women, despising the same man, and out for a good night on the town. The kindred spirits became fast friends. They were both smart, professional, no-nonsense women. They shared other noteworthy physical characteristics that made them sistas, three times over. They were big, black, and beautiful. © 2008 by David Rivera, Jr.