The spark is bright,
like lightning in here,
like lightning when you’re here
Oblivious to you,
now and then.
Scared to stay,
scared to go.
I can’t feel the shock,
just the heat.
A bolt of light then the heaviest darkness.
I could use the rush,
could get used to us.
I’ve been burned but now I’m electric,
We were a dream
manifested by both of us.
I’m always late but today feels…different. I grab my textbook and head out the door, taking to the sidewalk that runs along the front of my apartment complex before making a sharp turn onto another that leads me right to my college campus. Despite running a little behind schedule, I was actually making pretty good time. I readjusted the headphone on the verge of falling out of my right ear and kept up my pace. 7 minutes to get to class. As I crossed the street, the sun blocked my view, preventing me from seeing a man walking right in front of me. I bumped into him, apologizing and covering my eyes with my hands. 5 minutes to get to class.
“Oh my God, you are beautiful,” The man exclaimed, “Where are you headed this early?”
I blushed slightly, continuing my trek to class with him now changing his direction and walking alongside of me.
“Class,” I said, giggling a little bit, still walking.
3 minutes to get to class.
“It’s cool,” he said with a smirk, “Imma see you later.”
I kept trudging along, grinning with my back to him. I didn’t look back until I came to my last intersection. He was gone.
The next day came and I had almost totally forgotten about the encounter I had with the man on the way class. He wasn’t really my type but I did find him to be quite charming. He was way bigger than me, in height and mass. His beautiful brown complexion was covered in tattoos, even some small ones on his face. His most prominent tattoo had to have been his neck tattoo of a spider. The average person might have found him to be somewhat scary but there was something innocent in his eyes. Maybe it was the sun.
All day, I dedicated my time to doing homework and hanging out in my room. I was good and settled into the fall semester and the excitement of everyone returning had already worn off. Ofcourse, I was dedicated to my studies but I could always use a distraction here and there.
“We partying tonight or what?” My roommate exclaimed, as she busted into my room.
I chuckled, “Ofcourse.”
I slammed my textbook shut and immediately started getting ready. I didn’t know what my roommate had in mind for us but I was so strained from doing homework that I couldn’t care less. I needed a chance to just… release.
9 o’clock rolled around and I stepped into the living room wearing a black dress so form-fitting that my roommate decided to go change. I looked and felt amazing. I stepped into our bathroom area and applied some bright, red lipstick. I smiled and blew myself a kiss in the mirror before heading out the door.
“So girl, where are we going tonight?” I asked my roommate, as the warm night air enveloped me.
“Just across the street,” She replied.
“Girl, HUH?” I asked in confusion.
“Yeah, girl,” She said, “Tee is having a party at his place tonight.”
She started across the street and I followed behind, still slightly confused. Tee was a cool guy but he wasn’t known to party. At that point, I became very interested in seeing what he, of all people, had set up. We reached the top of a set of stairs where several men I didn’t recognize were perched along the railing. They looked us up and down, one of them licking his lips. My roommate and I gave shy “hello”s before stepping into Tee’s apartment.
The inside air was thick with weed and hookah smoke. My roommate and I nervously stood off to the side before Tee spotted us and brought us over to where he was sitting.
“Ya’ll want something to drink?” He inquired, as he inhaled the smoke of the backwood him and his friends were passing around.
“Sure,” we said in unison.
The backwood made its way to me and I puffed it a few times before passing it to my roommate. I exhaled and took a look around the apartment. It was pretty small but the open floor plan made it perfect for a kickback like this. Some were watching a football game on TV, some were out on the porch enjoying the fresh air and others danced to the hip-hop beats blaring from Tee’s bluetooth speaker. I was vibed out and happy that my roommate convinced me to come. Tee came back with our drinks but this time he wasn’t alone.
“There you are,” said a familiar voice with an unforgettable smile, “I knew I would see you again.”
I couldn’t do anything but blush. It was the man I had literally ran into on the the way to class the day before.
“Yeah, Zeke told me about ya’ll’s little run in yesterday,” Tee said, bouncing his eyebrows up and down.
“Yeah…. I was just trying to get to class forreal, forreal,” I said, laughing a little bit.
He watched my lips the entire time I spoke.
“You keep looking this good every time I run into you and Imma be walking you to class every day,” He said while scanning me from the top of my curly head of hair down to my sparkly pink toes.
Zeke really had a way with words. My weakness.
We spent the rest of the night chatting about everything from his upbringing in an inner city far from here to his dreams of starting his own magazine. Even though we were surrounded by endless people, it felt like it was just us.
“You tryna leave?”, I asked.
“Yeah, let’s go,” He responded.
And that was that. He came home with me and never left. That is… until I learned he had a dark side.
Within two week’s time, I could clearly see that Zeke was the kind of guy my mom begged me to avoid when she dropped me off for college. The first red flag was when I caught him leaving out to sell drugs at about the same time I would leave out for class. But I couldn’t leave him alone. I remember telling him stories and watching him get lost in my eyes, in my words. He would tell me, “I could listen to you talk forever.”
Time progressed and so did our relationship. We had good and bad days, like any couple, but the bad days were hellish. He once grabbed my face and told me “I better not do anything crazy like try to break up with him.” He was much bigger than me and there were times that I found myself scared of him, unable to find the original twinkle I saw in his eyes. He had also started storing his drugs in my closet and coming home later and later at night. I didn’t dare complain, even when I caught him trying to get with other girls when he thought I wasn’t around. I slept beside him every night, feeling helpless and confused of as to how I got myself in this position.
Things got to be too much. My grades were plummeting, I was losing weight and my friends were growing distant from me. I was spiraling, really. I knew I had to get away from Zeke. So I came up with a plan.
One thing about Zeke, his bread was up. Anything I asked him for, it was mine. Winter break was coming up so I asked him for money to take a train to see my mother in Baltimore. I told him I wouldn’t be gone longer than a week. He was adamant that I return in a week’s time and I assured him that I would, knowing that wouldn’t be the case.
I didn’t return in a week. In fact, I stayed until the next semester. During this time, divine intervention occurred and his place was raided by the feds while I was away. I came back to school and settled back into the life I didn’t know could be snatched from me so fast. I didn’t see Zeke for quite some time after that.
The next time Zeke and I crossed paths was that following summer. He pulled into a gas station just as I was walking out and he yelled, “You still look amazing me!” as I headed back to the very same apartment, where are story started. That would be the last time I ever saw Zeke.
The years passed and I managed to graduate college. I went on to move out of my college town, got a real job and pursed other long-term relationships, still thinking of him occasionally and feeling guilty for doing so. I often wondered what became of Zeke, but found myself too occupied by my new life and also very much traumatized by what transpired between us. He sent me friend requests on Facebook here and there and I accepted them but we never spoke. I thought it was interesting that he still thought of me.
More years passed and I had a day where I simply couldn’t get Zeke off of my mind. I was never on Facebook like that but I thought to go creep on his page just to see what he was up to. There was no way I could have prepared myself for what I found.
The first post I came across was his sister saying how much she missed him and how unfortunate it was that he was killed the year prior. I sat there stunned. I scrolled down, more condolences. I found myself replaying our memories together, good and bad, and I will probably do so for the rest of my life.