by Jeanarre M. Davis
The week had finally come to an end, and I had made it to Friday in one piece. It wasn’t like I just needed my eight hours and I would be all right, it was more like I needed eight day’s and then maybe I’d be all right. I was just tired of the same boring routine day after day after day. Get up, got to work, hear crap, go home to more crap, sleep and do it all over again when the sun rose. It was pathetic! At the very least I would have liked to have a man so then I could release some pent up tension every now and again.
What I needed a change, something new and completely different. I needed time off from work and away from here. Away from this! The only thing was the way I am, I couldn’t take a vacation for no reason, which was why I had the company record for the most sick days and vacation time saved up, but I couldn’t use them unless it was for something reasonable.
I was Terry Chloe (named after my grandmother) Ragman and that was how I was for as far back as I can remember. A complete and total goody, goody might as well have been my mission statement, well at least for the things that mattered, i.e. career.
I will be the first one to admit that I have a little road rage in me, but it only comes out when I am provoked, like the guy diving the semi that damn near tried to run me off the road, or the chick in the Pontiac who was so busy talking on the phone she forgot to signal when she barged her way into MY lane.
I finally got home after fighting my way though rush hour, changed into my lounge clothes, my ‘I AM TOO FINE’ T-shirt and running pants.
I was going through my mail, and there was my answer. My girl was getting married! True enough I was pissed off completely because she had the nerve to send me an invite without giving me a heads up.
I mean she could have called me, sent me and email or something to let me know she was even gonna get married. I didn’t even know she was seeing somebody, let alone engaged to him!
I ripped open the invitation. It was nice that she wanted me to be the maid of honor and it made me feel a little better. The wedding was going to be next week in Colorado Springs, which was only an hour drive for me, two for others. The two of them rented a house for three days for wedding party to stay in. She had planed everything from a bachelor and bachelorette party, to a shower.
I didn‘t care where it was I was going to be there for her no matter what.
“TERRY!” Gloria came rushing out as soon as she saw me get out of my car, and greeted me with a huge bear hug. I returned it, immediately feeling the happiness she had plastered all over her face. It seemed like it’s been years since we’ve seen each other, rather than just three months.
“You look so good!”
“Me? Look at you.” Her fiancée wasn’t the only thing she forgot to tell me about. She had chopped her shoulder length jet black locks to a sassy cut and colored her hair auburn, which flattered her skin tone perfectly. She actually looked better with the new do. She had that glow that you only get when you are truly happy and a ear to ear smile that looked permeate to match.
“I know I cut it.” She said touching the tapered hair above her neck. “What do you think?”
“It looks great on you.”
“Thanks. C’mon lets go inside and get out of this heat and catch up.” She grabbed my by the wrist and let me into the rental.
The house was more than gorgeous, and the air conditioning was unbelievable, and an answer to my prayers! I thought they had rented a condo or something; they went all out and got a mansion! I followed Gloria into the living room.
“That suit is sharp!” She pointed to my brown pantsuit with cream trim as she bounced down on the leather sectional. It wasn’t fancy, but I had gotten used to dressing conservatively with my own twist of sexy. “What are you some type of CEO?”
“No,” I took a seat across from her. “I just like to dress nice.”
“Well anyway it’s a long jump from the mini skirts and halters you used to wear.”
“I wasn’t that bad!” I protested in my defense, hoping not to get struck down. “And how you gon call the kettle black. Just cause you’s about to get married don’t mean nothing.”
“All right, all right you made your point. But anyway all that stuff is in the past.” She waved her hand in front of her face as in attempt to push away the old memories. “So how have you been?”
“Good. I’m still working hard and getting paid better for it. So I guess I can’t complain.”
“Not anybody special enough to talk about. Unlike you.”
Gloria blushed knowing exactly that I was referring to her secret fiancée.
“I know, but don’t feel like I was trying to keep it from you. I didn’t tell anybody about him at first, and then things started getting good, and I didn’t want to jinx it, so we kept quiet.”
“Until he proposed?” I pointed to the square cut diamond ring on her finger. It was impressive! With a rock like that how could she have said no?
“Mmm-hmm. Then we decided not to draw it out, so we decided the sooner, the better.”
“When did he ask you?”
“Two weeks ago. We’ve been together only a year.”
“A YEAR?!” Gloria was never the on to rush into anything. No matter what it was! A year was hardly enough time to know someone especially well enough to marry them.
“I know, but when it’s right, it’s right. And I know it’s right.”
“So when do I get to meet your Mr. Right?”
Her eyes went to the opposite side of the room and her smile surprisingly widened. “Right now.” Gloria hopped up from her seat and went over to the well-dressed man who had entered the room. She greeted him with a kiss and linked her arm in his. “William this is my girl Terry Ragman. Terry, this is my fiancé William Wright.”
I slowly stood up from my seat in amazement at the man standing almost six inches taller than Gloria. The door opened and the rest of the party poured into the house.
“Hello. Nice to meet you.” I extended my hand to him.
“I’ve heard a lot about you.” William shook my hand, and then was taken away by his half of the party who also arrived.
Gloria introduced me to her third bridesmaid Lydia, a round woman with dark smooth skin and eyes and I already knew Renee and Jasmine.
I was in a beautiful house, going to be in my best friends wedding tomorrow, and I couldn’t get a second of sleep. I ended up tossing and turning the entire night. As soon as the sun rose, I go up, early as usual, and went into the kitchen for breakfast. I sat down at the counter and played with a bowl of pineapples and a cup of chamomile tea. I didn’t have much of an appetite, for the same reason I couldn’t sleep.
There was a man on my mind. Not just any man, my EX Rodney. I hadn’t thought about him in months, almost the entire time we had split up, or more like since I left his sorry ass. But I couldn’t help myself. Gloria was getting married to her man tomorrow, and I was thinking about that reject. Weddings were always an occasion where I wanted to be with someone, and I hated going to them alone, not to mention being in one.
I finished my breakfast and went outside for a run. I made it halfway up the street before I turned around and headed back to the house. The man was on my mind so much I couldn’t even get in a decent cardio workout. When I got there I decided to sit out back in the gazebo where the wedding would be held.
White folding chairs, about fifty of them, were neatly placed in rows, making room for an aisle. White carpet lined the floor of the area. Possibly all there was left to do were the finishing touches and fresh flowers.
“May I join you?” A husky voice asked from behind me.
“If you want.” I said trying to drop a ‘go away’ tone.
“Okay.” He didn’t get the hint, typical, so I slid over to the end of the bench. The husky-voiced gentleman sat down. A man I all too well remember.
“I see you’re an early bird.” He looked around hoping to continue the small talk a while longer.
I glared at him, folded my arms across my chest. “What is it that you want?”
“I was hoping that we could talk just me and you.”
“Why don’t we just get to the reason of why you’re marring my best friend Rodney!?”
“Because I love Gloria.”
“You mean you love the idea of being in love with her. Isn’t that the same way you loved me?”
“Terry it’s different. I’m different.”
“Just because you changed your name doesn’t make you any different. I see the same Rodney Wright I knew back then.” He had the same hair, dimples and mustache that I always hated. “I don’t know who this William Wright is, but you haven’t changed.” I was highly pissed off, which was usual when dealing with Rodney. This fool was gonna sit here and try to convince me that he of all people had changed.
“Terry believe me, I’m not the same man I was when we were together.”
“Hmph!” I rolled my eyes hard at him. He had to be joking. “Well then tell me William what makes you so different from Rodney? What drastic change have you made in the past twelve months that makes you not a liar, not a cheater, not a drunk, and not a controlling insecure ass!”
“Terry, don’t be upset.”
“WHAT THE,” I lowered my voice, and took a breath. The last thing I wanted to do was wake up my girl by having her hear the two of us going at it. “How can you not want me to be upset!? You’re marring, or planning to marry my best friend tomorrow and she doesn’t even know who you are. You haven’t even told her your real name and you expect me to believe you have changed. You’ve been lying to her all this time which sounds like the same old Rodney to me.” I was burning with anger towards him. Not for me, but for Gloria, and he could see it in my eyes. She didn’t know half of what she was getting into, and if she did, she hid it WELL!
“William is my real name, I changed it after us. And Gloria knows that I have my past just like she has hers.”
Neither of us said anything. We just waited for the other one to talk. There was plenty more I wanted to say to him, to ask him. I wanted to know what made him turn into this man after I left him. I wanted to curse him out for treating me like shit and putting me though all he had. I wanted to know how Gloria’s beloved William Wright, or Mr. Right, was my hated, but forgiven Ex Rodney Wright, my Mr. Wrong.
“A leopard can change its spots Terry.”
“Or it can believe they look different from his ass.”
“I learned that it takes loosing a good woman to turn a man around. That’s what makes me different, and that’s what makes me better.”
The wedding was six and I was still getting no sleep. The entire day I sat around and let Gloria enjoy her happiness without saying one word. I pretended that I was thrilled for her when all the time I wanted to sit her down, expose her man, and hand her a jumbo pack of Kleenex. She always was the over-dramatic-emotional one. She had her bachelorette party, while Rodney had his and Lord only knows what went on there and I’m sure neither one of them are talking. I turned in early with betrayal on my mind. I felt too low. Some vacation this was turning out to be.
If I wanted a stress migraine I could have went to work or visited my parents, or even my too nosy sister Trina. I hoped someone could work some magic with some makeup; because I was gonna look like shit backed over twice in the morning.
I knew what I had to do. I had to tell Gloria about her man or my ex man, whoever he was. As her best friend and maid of honor I owed her that. I just needed the right time. I should have told her as soon as I saw him, but I was shocked. She was standing next to him, glowing with happiness to introduce me to her husband-to-be, and all I could do when I saw him was shake his hand and say ‘glad to meet you’.
What the hell was I thinking? I wasn’t glad to meet him, I was sorry I met him back then and I didn’t want to see his sorry ass again, especially frontin’ like he was in love with Gloria. P-L-E-A-S-E! I went and opened the window the let some of the air in the clear my thoughts out.
I should have told her sooner but I didn’t. She was running around drunk with her own happiness. Why did I have to be the one to bust her bubble? I had two options. My first was to tell her first thing in the morning, before she got her hair, and makeup on, and well before she put her dress on. And my second was to wait until the preacher asked if anybody objected to the marriage, and I could stop the wedding in front of everybody to say my peace.
I decided to go with the first option. There was no way I was gonna stand next to my girl, in that bomb ass dress that I paid for and couldn’t return, and watch her go through with even the beginning of a ceremony to Rodney. I just couldn’t do it.
I threw my bag in the car and headed back home after my ‘vacation’, which does not even count as one. Next time I was going to go far away to somewhere exotic all by myself. I gotta get my grove back too! The road was clear, except the occasional semi and car here and there. I could stay in my lane and fly all the way home. Maybe I’ll get some sleep in before I go to work tomorrow. I did have two days to make up.
I left my girl without anything going haywire. Actually I’m meeting up with her in a few weeks. She’s going to the islands--her honeymoon. And it better be a good one after all I went though! I was going to tell her, shit I intended to tell her, but what would that do.
Just like William said, he had his past just like she had hers. I just didn’t want to tell her that his past included me. Something I definitely wouldn’t want to know if I were in her shoes. She didn’t need to know who he used to be, that was in his past, no matter how recent. The only thing she needed and wanted to know was who he was now. And she definitely didn’t need to know I had been there, even though I had NO intentions of going back. He was married, and my girls man, and I don’t redo ex’s—for anything.
Telling Gloria about William wouldn’t do her any good or me for that matter. I forgave Rodney a long, long time ago, and I needed to act like it. Besides I knew absolutely nothing about William. It is so amazing how a no good man can turn right around after you leave him.
The wedding was beautiful. Yellow and White tulips were everywhere, the weather cooperated perfectly, and every chair was filled. They even had to get a few more for extra guests. Gloria was radiant in a modest white Cinderella ball gown, and William looked good, in a tux. All the time I was thinking they looked like the topping for the cake, and when I would get to be that happy, not that I was in a hurry, I just wanted to know.
The reception was the bomb, everyone had a good time dancing to a little bit of everything and acting like complete fools. I even caught the bouquet when she threw it, and I even did it fair and square. I’ll take that as a sign and put it on the back burner.