I guess I should have told him about my thing. My motorcycle issue. Now I know why he said wear something comfortable. He's riding a friggin motorcycle. This is not good.
Two weeks after our initial meeting, we've finally coordinated our busy to-do lists to fit each other in. When Abram called earlier and asked if I wanted to hang out, I was thrilled. The stress of school and work has been getting to me and a evening of fun socializing and eye-candy sounded wonderful.
When he pulls up on his metallic silver ninja sportbike though, I immediately throw any notions of fun out the window. I see him from my first floor window and head outside. I'm sporting skinny jeans, a white tank, and white sandals. My hair in long box braids I stayed up all night doing. I flex my cramped fingers at the memory. He is looking particularly scrumptious in his jeans, army fatigue tank, and black motorcycle jacket, but that does little to ease my racing heart. Where are the rest of the wheels? The metal encasing? The doors? I need an automobile!
He smiles a perfect 32 at the sight of me approaching. "Hey, beautiful."
Okay, I feel a little better. Just a little. The word 'beautiful' sliding out of his lips would make any woman smile "Hey. You didn't tell me you rode a motorcycle."
"Well, I have a car, but I thought it would be more fun on the bike. Have to take advantage of these 90 degree days. You know how unstable Michigan weather is, it might snow tomorrow." He dismounts his bike, reaches out for a hug, the smile still adorning his brown face. "Mmm, you smell good. What is that?"
I am glad I chose to skip the perfume and go with Bath and Body Works today. Always does the trick.
"It's brown sugar and fig. New. You like?"
"I love. Smells edible." He says, looking at me with those sexy eyes.
Oh snap, he said edible.
"Thank you." I say coyly.
"So, you ready?" He asks, nodding towards his two wheels of death.
At this, an involuntary shaking starts. I panic, feel sweat beads forming. "Uh, yeah. Just excuse me for one minute okay? I forgot something in the house." I say nervously, hoping he can't see the fear pooling in my eyes.
I rush back up the steps, stumble over the top one. Not enough to fall, but enough to incite giggling if I had been around strangers. Now I'm embarrassed. Dammit. This was supposed to be a good day. So much for that.
Abram notices my misstep and calls out after me, concern lacing his tone. "Ata, are you okay? Is everything alright? Did I do something?" He trots up the porch steps two at a time, reaching the door a few seconds after I do.
I let him in, walk towards the back of my apartment where the bathroom is, my heart still beating with the furiousness of a angry drummer. I can't do this. I just can't.
He steps in, clearly confused by my sudden shift in personality. "Ata, what's wrong? You okay?" He says to my back.
"Yeah, just give me a minute, okay? I'm fine."
"Uh, okay." He responds, disbelief ringing clear in his voice.
I close my bathroom door, study my reflection in the tiny mirror above the sink. See the still-open wound bleeding in my chest. Why is this still affecting me so? I try to dry the tears that trek down my cheeks, but it's no use. One after another they fall, ruining my perfectly applied mascara.
Taking a seat on the toilet seat helps a little. Breathe Ata, breathe. First dates are important. Abram is an amazing man. I can't blow this. Breathe some more.
Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.
After about five minutes, there's a soft tap on the door. "Ata, I don't mean to pry, but I'm concerned. You okay in there?"
I open the door to his tall wiry frame, furrows of concern wrinkling his forehead.
"Talk to me, Ata." He sighs.
I guess I didn't do a good job of hiding my wet irises. He knows I've been crying.
"I'm sorry, I know this is not the start of a great date." I say, a embarrassed smile on my face.
"No worries, Ata. Just clue a brotha in. You have me thinking I smell like dead fish or something." He says, smiling.
He follows me over to my favorite sofa, the cushy beige one. My living room looks like Autumn. A myriad of warm reds, beiges, oranges, and browns color each sofa, table, pillow, and picture frame. Luckily I decided to clean up last night before I braided my hair, so it's looking nice and presentable.
We have a seat and he softly brings my hand to his. My head is down. I can't believe I've made such a spectacle of myself on our first date.
"Don't be embarrassed Ata, just talk to me, please." The tenderness in his voice lets me know the date isn't blown after all.
"My father died when I was sixteen, Abram. He was...an amazing photographer. Wonderful father. Motorcycle enthusiast. He and a group of friends would go riding every Saturday morning when the weather got warm. One Saturday he didn't make it back. This fool in a SUV was speeding and didn't see him. Side swiped him and threw him off his bike."
At this, Abrams face crumbles. He shakes his head slowly. "Oh, man. I'm so sorry Ata. I should've told you I was riding. I'm so sorry. I feel horrible."
"No, it's okay. It's not your fault. You had no way of knowing that. I'm sorry, I acted like a lunatic."I let out an exasperated chuckle.
"It's cool. I can't even imagine. If it was my pops I would probably be the same way. So, we don't have to go anywhere. Or, I can go home and get my car if you'd like." His hand holds mine a little tighter, his thumb rubbing electric shocks with every stroke they travel my hand.
His touch is magnificent.
I am moved by his kindness and compassion. Why should he have to drive all the way back to Southfield to get his car. He shouldn't. Today is a good day to face fears. I breathe. Inhale. Exhale.
"No, I think I want to take the bike."
"You sure, cause it's really okay. I'll go get the car for you."
"No. let's take the bike. You have a helmet for me?"
He breaks out into a smile. "Of course."
We get up. He wraps his long arms around me, hugs me tight until I feel all fuzzy inside. Then I slide my feet into a pair of white sneakers.
"Just don't speed okay? I'm not trying to be a victim of one of Detroit's infamous craters, I mean potholes." I demand.
"Whatever you say, my lady. I'm not trying to be a victim tonight either. You have to just trust me, I'm not going to let anything happen to you."
"Where are we going, anyway?" I ask.
"You'll see. Just hold on to me." He says mischievously.
I look cute in the silver helmet he hands me. I'm glad my hair is braided, don't know how on earth I would have fit this thing on around all that madness I call a fro. He helps me on and then climbs on. I immediately grip his firm side like my life depends on it. Just trust, Ata. I repeat over and over.
Engine revs. I close my eyes. Warm wind hits my face. Here goes nothing.