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We had just broken up for the second time. Why couldn't we work things out? Was I being stubborn or was she unwilling to let go of the past? We lived nearly 500 highway miles apart, and making trips to the airport twice a month was becoming more laborious than enticing. Both of our families supported the idea of us being together. I had just landed a good job and she was finishing school so we felt confident about mapping out a course for our future dreams and aspirations. We attended church together, traveled together, and enjoyed dining together in upscale restaurants. Whenever she was in town, we made the best of our time by virtually living, breathing, and soaking up as much of each other's presence as was humanly possible. However, the challenges of our long-distance relationship were beginning to take a toll on me. Before long, I found myself falling prey to the allure of entertaining other women in her absence. As bizarre as this may sound, I certainly did not desire the other women like I desired her, but each of the other women possessed something that reminded me of the affection and love that she showed me when we were together. Thus, in an effort to "manage" my longings for her, I looked for "her" in others when we were apart. In my mind, I justified them as simple substitutes until I could reclaim the original. I was wrong and she deserved better. It was definitely time to reclaim the original, but guilt was gnawing at my heart.
"Baby, what would you like?" I asked tenderly. Her soft, hazel eyes and intoxicating smile ... oooh, I missed her so much. "I'll take the #8, 6-count with lemonade," she said. We were almost to my house and I could not wait to get home. We were stuck in a lot of traffic leaving the airport and were both anxious to get home and be consumed by one another. She had just completed her last final exam, and I knew she was mentally drained. I reached for my cell phone and turned it off. My baby was home, and for the next three days and two nights, her voice was the only voice I wanted to hear. As we approached my driveway, I noticed that I had failed to turn the outside light on before I left. I guess I did not anticipate getting home after dark. "Baby, stay here while I run inside and turn the lights on," I said. The smell of freshly cut grass tickled my nostrils as I fumbled in my pocket for my house keys. I pressed "play" on the stereo and let Maxwell set the mood for a much-anticipated evening. The car light came on and she slowly made her way to the front door. "Baby, I'm going to go use the bathroom; I've been holding it since I was on the plane," she said. "Okay sweetie. Let me grab your bags and I'll meet you inside," I said. As I walked to the car to collect the rest of her things, I began wondering when I should begin "that" conversation with her. I rehearsed what I wanted to say to her over and over again in my mind so that I could actually say it backwards if I had to ... "Sweetie" ... there were days I longed to sit and talk to you about my day, but you were nowhere to be found. Days when my frustrations grew so high and I needed you to place your tiny hands on the small of my back and tell me everything would work out. Moments when the world, which confessed it loved me, would turn its back on me, leaving me in a room full of backbiting people laughing at me in disgust. When I looked for the escape hatch of your heart, you were nowhere to be found. I didn't know how to fight without you by my side. Because I was not strong enough alone, I searched for temporary love to pacify me until you returned. Moments shared with them were never meant to take your place, but I realize now that the more I gave them what I needed to give you, the further and further apart we grew. What my mind wanted and what my heart was feeling, were found on two different musical chords. What I want, and have always wanted, is you. I messed up BIG, but I had to tell you because I cannot keep living with this guilt in my heart. Will you forgive me?
Now that was the poetic version. I wondered if I should cut to the chase, be blunt, and wait to see what happens. I rehearsed the blunt version as well ...
Baby, while you have been away I have been seeing another woman. It started just sending occasional text messages. Then we began talking on the phone, going to the movies on occasion, and even having dinner. Now, I know what you are thinking ... NO, I did not sleep with her. Yes, I kissed her. I was wrong and I am sharing this with you hoping that you can forgive me. I was not sure which version to use, but whatever version came out when I started talking was the one I was going to use. As I shut the door, I could hear the running of water in the bathroom upstairs. As I made my way upstairs, she met me at the top of the stairs with a kiss. All I wanted was to retrace the steps to the bedroom we had taken in the past, but I couldn't. My heart was heavy, all I could think about was sharing with her how selfish, and inconsiderate I had been. "Baby, I need to tell you something," I said. The somber look that quickly took over her faithful countenance made me feel even worse. I grabbed her hand and walked over to my bed. It did not go well. I had never before been so verbally berated and insulted by anyone. Ever! I certainly deserved her wrath, but not to be called something other than my name. Her words were extremely painful and they shot right through my pride as a man. I couldn't hash it out with her while feeling attacked and disrespected in my own house. It was a little cool outside, so I grabbed my light jacket out of the closet and headed down the steps. I could hear her yelling, "Where are you going? Are you just going to leave me here like this?" I did not stay long enough to hear what she was saying and her words were becoming more and more jumbled as I made my way out the door and into my car. I was crossing the Woodrow Wilson Bridge before I knew it. Still steaming, I was driving in the direction of nowhere. I played her words over and over in my head like a broken 8 track. Yes, I was wrong, but did I deserve to be spoken to like that? NO. No one deserves to be spoken to like that ... ever! Especially after I humbled myself and had been honest about something that I could have easily hidden from her. Riding with all the windows down, I desperately searched for peace. The cool breeze was the only refreshing thing in my chaotic world that night. A low sound broke through my intense thoughts. My phone was buzzing in my coat pocket. She was calling. I pressed the "ignore" button and the call went straight to voicemail. She called again. Again, I selected the "ignore" button. She continued calling and after about the eighth call, I finally decided to answer. All I could hear were her sobs and sniffles. "Slow down, what are you trying to say," I said. "I-I-I need you to come home," she whispered. In frustration and over the sound of the rustling night breeze, I yelled back, "I'm out clearing my head and I will be home later." She insisted I come home and said it was an emergency. I maneuvered a u-turn on the interstate and headed back home. My heart was pounding and I was perspiring profusely; wishing and hoping she was okay. As I arrived back at the house, several thoughts began to putrefy and grow rancid in my mind but I kept pushing them all out. I rushed in forgetting to shut the front door behind me. I raced upstairs skipping two steps at a time and there she sat, sitting in the same position as I had left her. I slowly walked over and touched her gently on her shoulder as she held her head in her hands. She looked up. "Baby I'm soooo sorry," she exclaimed. I held her close and rested my head on hers. The room was dimly lit, but I began to notice a bunch of my clothes were on the bed. What were all these clothes doing on my bed? I had finished folding and putting away my laundry long before she had arrived, but as I looked more closely, I noticed that the clothes looked funny. I pulled away from her and she kept saying, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I will buy you new ones." New ones? New what? I started picking up my clothes and quickly noticed that they were ripped. I reached for my new suits with the tags still on them and the sleeves had been cut out of the jackets. The belt loops had been cut out of the pants. The tongues of my dress shoes had been cut out. My dress shirts were missing the collars. I could not believe it—all of my clothes were ruined! I could not even begin to fathom all of the thousands of dollars that lay on my bed in ruins! Words could not even begin to describe what I was feeling. I gazed in her face and watched tears continue to roll down her cheeks. She kept saying, "I'm sorry, I'm sooo sorry." I did not say a word. Many of us have been there before, questioning whether we left too soon, stayed too long, put up with too much, or even started too early. Let's take a journey. Go back to the time (or times for some of you), when you just knew you had found "the one." We have all been there. How long did it take for you to reach the conclusion that he or she was "the one" for you? One week? Three weeks? A month? Or maybe you stretched it out to six months. However the scenario played out, you knew sooner rather than later, that they were the one for you. You could not wait to call home and tell mom about the amazing date you had with the handsome man you met at a networking event, or tell your best friend the details of the intelligent conversation you had with that astonishing young lady you met while getting lunch at the corner deli. Euphoria began to take over.
Long walks and long talks; holding hands, fabulous dinners and movies begin to create a picturesque story. A Man telling his boys that this woman motivates him to want to do more with his life and helps him to realize that there is MORE locked up inside of him. A woman telling her friends that he is a man of vision, consistency, romance and inspiration. We can all agree that these events seem monumental enough to lead us to think blissfully about future plans between you and your "hopeful future"—so blissful that you begin to find yourself taking that mental walk down the aisle. Wow, how we rush! Like the famous song, "Fools Rush In," we are already committed in our hearts. They have become such an integral part of your life, that wherever they are, you are. You are excited—they could be the one. "Are they God?" you ask, but you do not stick around long enough for an answer. Who wants to hear a "no?" However, not wanting to hear "no" is a sure sign that you are getting way in over your head. So hold on ladies and gentlemen, before you go picking out stationary, bridesmaid's gowns, and a honeymoon in the Virgin Islands ... don't send out the invitations yet!
We are human. Let me say that again—we are human. Therefore, we act as humans act and we think as humans think. This may sound very elementary and a bit redundant to you, but hear me out: we do not possess infinite knowledge. Remember, our mode of thinking is finite. And because we come across someone that we feel is good for us and fits into our lifestyle, we think this is a sign or that it's "Providence" that has graced us with an angel. There our minds go ... wondering and wandering down that aisle. I believe that as human beings, this is natural for us because a special person makes our serotonin levels—our happy hormone—rise to record highs. Simply stated, we all like to feel good. Having someone in our lives to talk to, spend time with, seek comfort from, and connect with even on a spiritual plane, makes us feel very good indeed. We will even begin to do things that prove how much we trust the other person. Our conscious actions will non-verbally say to him/her, "hey, I'm in this for the long haul." We may give them a key to our place; let them hold the ATM card (from time-to-time), and buy them high-end gifts. Moreover, the silliest, but most widely accepted act of showing our commitment: we will leave a toothbrush at his/ her place! Come on now, be real, you KNOW that means, "I want access—real access and I plan on sticking around." At every thought of them we will even shoot a haphazard prayer to God, "Please Lord, let them be the one."
More Than a Friend
Take a minute and think about something with me, and it is going to make you smile when you see where I am going. Go back in your life ten years ... now five ... and finally, to the present day. Ten years ago, what did you want in a mate? Ladies, probably someone that was a little "street," a little rough around the edges, drove the nice car with the rims, and just maybe every now and again he would take you to out somewhere fancy for dinner. For us men, ten years ago, we wanted someone with the perfect figure, long hair, light eyes, and could turn the heads of other men; we wanted that "dime piece." As we matured a bit, so did our ideals. Five years ago, say that you matured to the point where some criteria from the past did not matter anymore. For the ladies, rims were pushed aside and his pants hanging way below his waistline had now become quite embarrassing. Men, you finally let go of the light eyes, but that was about it, because she still had to be a "dime!" Nonetheless, you had progressed. Now that most of us are at an age of responsibility and are more established, what do you seek? We all desire someone we trust who is grounded, gainfully employed, has goals and ambitions, and treats us with the utmost respect.
Do you see that the mate you may have chosen five years ago is not that mate you would choose today, and the mate you choose today may not be the mate you need ten years from now? What you will face in life ten years from now may require a spouse that knows how to stand in the gap for you and buffer you from the attacks life will bring. You must believe that wherever you are in life right now, you are there for a reason. Your life has been spared and if you are reading this book it serves as a divine indication that whatever you were placed on this earth to do; you have not completed it yet. Learn to trust in what you cannot see and stand flat-footed until the best arrives at your doorstep.
A clone is a replica of the real thing. When scientists produce a clone, they take cells from the genuine organism to produce another. The clone may either be identical but not have the same cellular structure as the host, or it will have the same cellular structure but not be identical. It will never be on the same level as the original. Too many of us are accepting clones and allowing them to take the place of our "good thing."
Excerpted from Pillow Talk by Jason Alexander Ottley Copyright © 2011 by Jason Alexander Ottley. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Posted February 16, 2014
I'm sure many readers are similar in the sense that it is typically difficult to read a book that doesn't spark something within you. Well I literally could not put this book down as a result of the anticipation to discover what the next page entailed. Each page was filled with more than just words but actual content! At times, I truly felt as though the author was either speaking directly to me or responding to the wonderment in my mind.
I would sincerely recommend this book to anyone in a relationship, seeking a relationship, or even content being alone but just wanting to gain further insight.