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I pick up my phone for the fifth time in the last ten minutes. Nothing.
This negro has lost his mind.
One-thirty. In the fucking AM.
And Abram still hasn't returned my call.
Three voice mails I've already left, which he'd probably know, if his phone wasn't turned off. The last time we spoke, I ended the call before he had a chance to say a proper goodbye. Yes, I hung up on him. So.
He should be used to my temperament by now. He should've known I'd call back. And he should've known that whenever I decided to do that, that I would expect him to be available to talk to me.
But his phone is turned off. Off.
1:30am and his phone is in the off position. If it was voluntarily powered off, he has some explaining to do. If it died, that means he's not home (since his car charger has been at my apartment for the last week and a half) ...and he still has some explaining to do. Especially when he told me he wasn't going anywhere tonight. Especially when he said if he did go anywhere, it'd be to my place. And he very clearly isn't here.
My street is quiet, dark. No headlights coming towards my place in the distance, not even a lone wondering soul on foot. Yet I can't help but peek through the blinds every five minutes. Nothing but the moon's glow keeping me company. Oddly enough, it's full.
I pick up my phone again, the small hope that somehow the Berry has malfunctioned and forgot to notify me of a new text, or missed call; something. A press of the trackball button only reveals the screen-saved image of Abram kissing my temple as I smile so hard, my cheeks look as if they are about to burst.
No new texts. No missed calls.
The day has found my heart in turmoil yet again over the state of our relationship. I just want to be happy. Can't he see that? Why can't he see that? Arguments, attitudes and irate discourse have plagued almost every interaction of ours lately, despite both of our promises to 'make it work'. Trust is hard to come by these days. And I have just about run out.
I know he Loves me, I do. But as Toni, Halle, and any other woman who has waited up pacing the floor for her Him to walk through the door has said, Love shoulda brought his ass home.
1:40am. Still no word.
Anger boils over with a fervor that I almost can't control. I find myself constantly checking my phone and ... nada. Nothing but that smiling screen saver, reminding me of happier times.
The strand of hair that has become the victim to my stress yet again, winds and unwinds around my forefinger. The soft gleam from the moon though the open blinds provides the only light inside my little abode as Billie sings the blues in the background, provides the solemn soundtrack to my ire. A half-empty wine glass sits atop the counter, its maroon content slowly but surely decreasing with each completed pace around my living room.
All that's missing is a few more glasses of wine, a stumbling alcoholic fit, maybe me drunkenly wielding a butcher knife at the air, and this would be a perfect motive scene for a Snapped episode.
I can see it now. It'd start off with a smiling, happy picture of Abram and I, probably my screen saver: "They were the perfect couple; young, happy, and in Love. But one full-mooned night, something went drastically wrong."
Cut to Abram lying on the floor bleeding after my drunken knife-wielding. All bad.
"Stop it, stop it. You're not going to have to kill him. Just stop." I say aloud. Oh great, talking to myself. I may as well just call the Snapped producers right now.
When my phone lights up suddenly, I pick it up before the first vibration is complete. It's a text.
[Heard from him yet?]
A text from my best friend Jasmine. I type with heavily disappointed fingers as I reply a simple "no."
We talked earlier, when she was on her way out to a party near his neighborhood. "If I see him, you WILL be getting a 911 call to come whip his ass, don't worry." She said. My girl. Always had my back.
Soon my phone lights up again.
[That's not like him is it? Not to sound morose but are you sure nothing is wrong?]
He'd said he would call me when he made it home ... and he hadn't called yet. The thought that maybe something happened has been in my mind, trying to creep through the anger. The rational side of my brain telling my heart that I shouldn't jump to conclusions, that I should make sure he is okay before assuming he is somewhere he doesn't belong, like between a foreign pair of thighs.
But that would be worse than cheating. Far worse. I need him to be alive and well so I can kill him if he IS between some foreign pair of thighs. Hadn't even allowed those thoughts to develop. Now Jazz has fertilized the seed my mind planted hours ago.
[IDK. I'd rather him be doing dirt, honestly. What should I do?]
[I dunno. But maybe you should make sure.]
Immediate panic sets in. What if I've been huffing and puffing all night and he's laying in a dirty alleyway shot and robbed? What if he's had some horrible kind of accident? What if a bout of latent epilepsy seized him and rendered him helpless in some fast food place somewhere? I'm saved in his phone simply as 'A'. My idea, so that I'd always be first in his phone book.
But no one would know to call 'A'.
For the next ten minutes, my mind continues these traumatic somersaults, conjuring all the possibilities of tragedy that could have occurred since I last spoke to him. The thoughts alone almost make me sick. I immediately ask forgiveness for all the not-so-nice names I've been calling him in my head.
Damn that Jazz.
I call Abram once more, his voice mail kicking straight on. The outgoing message so professional, his tone so deep and sexy, I always let it play all the way through.
"This is Abram. Please leave a detailed message and I will return your call at my earliest convenience."
The newly trusting girlfriend in me loses the battle with my curiosity, and I press the pound key when it ends. During his now infamous "company" week two months ago, when it was a hit or miss on whether he'd answer my call or not, I'd figured out the code to his voice mail. His mother's birthday. Not something I'm proud of. Not something Abram will ever know. Not even something I've used since the week after our reunion.
I promised myself I wouldn't be that girlfriend. Wouldn't be the insecure woman who felt she needed to decipher access codes and passwords to break into her significant others' voice mail, email, bank accounts. I wouldn't. I have friends like that. And no desire to be like them.
Yet, here I am.
I convince myself it is out of necessity. That this will somehow provide pertinent information and ease my worries as to whether or not he is okay.
"You have five new messages." The automated lady says pleasantly. "Press one to listen."
I press one.
The first is from me. As soon as I hear my slightly irritated voice start speaking, I press the pound key again.
"Message skipped. Next message, received yesterday, at eight twenty-seven pm."
"Mmm what a sexy voice mail. You know, my new friend Abram, you just may have the whole package. I suppose we'll find out tonight though, won't we? Ha. Anyway, the gallery address is 2301 Woodward in Royal Oak. Starts at seven. And my room number here at the Omni is---"
The sound of my slamming heartbeat drowns out the rest of the message. I press one again. The message restarts.
"Mmm what a sexy voice mail. You know, my new friend Abram, you just may have the whole package. I suppose we'll find out tonight though, won't we? Ha. Anyway, the gallery address is 2301 Woodward in Royal Oak. Starts at seven. And my suite number here at the Omni is 312. Just come up. And wear something sexy. Hahaha."
Breathe. I must breathe. Remember that this is my phone, and hurling it against the floor won't make this voice mail not happen. Won't change the fact that some foreign pair of thighs just left an address and hotel room number for my man, using her 'sexy voice'.
Cant help but press one again.
"... I suppose we'll find out tonight though, won't we? Ha. Anyway..."
I suppose we'll find out tonight. I suppose we'll find out to-fucking-night. Okay Abram.
Those names I'd just asked heaven to forgive me for rush back with ferocity. And to think I was feeling guilty for thinking that way. To think I was worried about him.
Yes, we will find out tonight, I think to myself as I step into my low-heeled black boots and toss a black turtleneck on over the tank I've been pacing in. Yes. We will find out.
Again the annoying rational side of my brain kicks in briefly, questions why this--and all the other voice mails--were not listened to. Abram is anal; doesn't like "stupid little notifications crowding his screen." I reason for a moment. His phone must have died. This is the only solution that makes sense. His phone died, and he found her anyway. And where is he? He is at the Omni right now, in room, oh excuse me, suite 312, showing some woman that he is indeed a complete package. My package. When he is supposed to be here with me. Oh, but he is going to see me. Tonight.
I hastily grab my purse, throw my jacket on, and head out to my Honda. Luckily I live near downtown, not even ten minutes away from the site of Abram's probably still-in-progress transgression. I must breathe. Remember to breathe.
[Get bail money ready. I'm going to kill him.]
I send this text to Jasmine as I speed down Jefferson, angrily plotting a plausible way to get away with murder. Or at least a tire iron taken to a certain beloved Maxima and its owner. My phone vibrates two minutes later.
"Bail money." I say calmly when I answer.
"Girl didn't you learn anything from Kwame? Don't send incriminating ass text messages like that! Gosh! Now, what did he do?"
I recount almost in verbatim what I heard on his voice mail the five times I listened. I know I shouldn't. I know I should leave our issues between us. Very aware of the fact that well-intending friends can do more harm than help when it comes to your relationship. But after tonight, there won't be an us.
"Oh hell no. So where are we going to dispose of the body?" She says just as calmly as I'd answered.
"I don't know. But I'm here. I'll call you back." I say quietly as I walk in the hotel behind a laughing thirty-something couple.
We hang up and I walk unassumingly onto the elevator after them, raise my cheeks upward a little, offer the smiling couple a mirror of their happiness. I press three. They get off at two. Good.
By the time the elevator reaches the third floor, I've already convinced myself that there in suite 312 romping around, are Abram and Tisha, the label representative whose cleavage answered his door for me that day. And I've already resolved that although I'm not a fighter, I will simply have to beat her down for violating not once, but twice.
I walk down the plushly carpeted hallway until I reach 312, and stop. Breathe. Breathe again. Is this really happening? The heavy wood door boasts carved designs, elegant numbers, and a beautiful gold knocker. I try to listen over my rapidly beating heart, but the door is too heavy to let any noise escape anyhow.
"...I suppose we'll find out tonight though, won't we? Ha."
Her sex-kitten voice purrs through my head over and over. Breathe Ata, breathe. Have to remind myself again. I look at the door, will myself to do something.
The suspense this waiting is creating is killing me. I lift the knocker and slowly tap twice. Like ripping off a band-aid, you just have to go for it and get it over with. I knock again, my left hand covering the view of the peephole.
My phone's muted buzz in my jacket pocket breaks the silence, and I hurriedly use my right hand to quiet it without bothering to look. I'm sure it's Jasmine, wondering if I'm in handcuffs yet.
My fury battles my heartbeat in intensity as I hear the doorknob turn slowly. When it does, I am fully expecting to see Tisha and her cleavage, or a half-naked Abram wondering who would be disturbing their love fest at two in the morning.
When the the door opens the slightest crack, I push it and walk in forcefully, locked and loaded with a full on black woman attitude.
It isn't Tisha. Who is this chick?
"What the hell? Who are you? Do I need to call security?" The dark-brown woman with wavy hair and royal blue lingerie meets me with the same attitude.
"Where is he." I say quietly, doing a quick sweep throughout the two-room suite with my eyes as my body follows. She's right behind me, but I don't care.
"Um look honey, I think you have the wrong room. There's nobody here but me. But I suggest you leave before my forgiveness wears off and I call downstairs." She says, phone in hand, her eyebrow raising with annoyance.
"No, you look, honey. Abram. My man. I heard your skank ass tell him to come to room 312. Well, this is room 312 am I correct? So where. Is he."
An arrogant smile of recognition spreads through her face at the mention of his name, her body language relaxing. "I knew that negro had a woman. I knew it. Bringing drama to my room at two in the morning. Please."
My expectant stare remains. "Where is he."
"Well I wish I could help you, but Abram never came here. I haven't talked to him since I left that message. Might want to call the next chick on the list." She says, a heavy, satisfied sarcasm dripping from the last statement.
In that moment, my phone buzzes once more, interrupts my thoughts, and I temporarily suspend the reactionary slap I have waiting while I pull it out of my pocket.
"Ah, see. I bet that's your boo right there. Now, run along please. I have an early morning. Sorry for this mix up. Maybe you need a tighter leash or something." She says, not knowing how close she still is to having an Ata palm decorate her face.
She fades into the background as I stare at the number on my screen. Why is Abram's mother calling me at two am? This can't be good.
I answer hesitantly. "...Hello?"
"Ata. You need to come down to Sanai-Grace. Abram's been in an accident. It's bad." She says, choking back sobs.
My phone is suddenly too heavy for me to hold; drops to the ground involuntarily. My vision blurs. All I can hear is white noise.
Breathe Ata, breathe.