How To Lose A 100 Plus Pounds In One Day
by James W. Lewis
I canít stand it. I just can't stand it. Here she is parading around in this department store, trying on all these clothes, and she doesnít have a clue. What the fuck is wrong with her brain? Got me up in the female section waiting for her ass to come out the fitting room and shit, and itís the same old thing. I'm getting tired of this shit. I...
"Carl!" the shrieking sound of anger in Sharekaís voice roused Carl out of his trance. "What do you think about this dress?"
Carl unenthusiastically looked up at his woman from the chair he sat in. Shareka stood in front of him with her hands on her hips, waiting for his approval. He carefully examined his woman standing before him in a short, white summer dress she hand picked, and tried to find something remotely attractive about her in it. The only thing he noticed was how the protrusion of her large breasts made the dress look like a maternity dress. Other than that, he couldnít find anything good.
"Itís aíight," he lied.
Shareka rolled her eyes. "Ugh! You make me sick! Just say you donít like it!" she exclaimed, storming back into the fitting room.
Carl just shrugged his shoulders, unmoved by her sudden outburst. He just couldnít understand why she would even try to subject herself through these "embarrassing" situations. He even felt downright irritated by her oblivious attitude.
That woman is half-black, half-Puertorican and got the thick body to prove it. Damn, if she lost about 25 to 30 pounds, she'd be the shit, though. Donít that woman know she canít be wearing shit like that the way she looks now? Up here thinking she can come out looking like Tyra Banks or somebody. Fuck! She got some fuckin' nerve putting that shit on, knowin' her big ass ain't supposed to be wearing it!
Carl mumbled to himself, disgusted by his womanís incidence on wearing clothes that exposed her overweight frame. He enviously stared at other women rummaging through the clothes racks, pouting as he watched. He focused on one attractive black woman wearing a summer flower dress similar to what Shareka picked out. As she walked by him, he stared at her smooth brown legs and shook his head.
"Damn,í he muttered, "now thatís how sheís supposed to look." The woman ignored him, oblivious to his stares while focusing on the clothes on the racks. He stood up and stretched in an exaggerated fashion, trying hard to get a better glimpse of her cleavage. With his six-foot, two-inch frame, it was easy for his eyes to catch every detail.
He noticed other nicely shaped women poking through different clothes racks, trying to find those short summer dresses that all men love. Carl used his keen eyes to stare at their legs and butts from where he stood, conscious not to leave his spot. He knew Shareka would accuse him of following and gawking at other women.
Shareka came out a few minutes later, frowning at Carl. "Iím ready to go, " she said angrily.
Carl rolled his eyes and followed her through the aisles several steps behind her. He made sure not to catch up with her too quickly because he wanted to check out other females walking down the aisles --- behind Sharekaís back.
Shareka walked briskly towards the parking lot after trying to slam the swinging glass door in Carl's face. Carl calmly placed his hand on the glass to prevent it from hitting him. He put his sunglasses on to shield his eyes from the August sun ---- and to get a better view of the ladies wearing summer dresses and shorts. He didnít see a Volvo approaching when he caught glimpse of an attractive blond haired teenager walking towards the store. Damn, white girl got some thick legs. How come she can't look like that? Is it so hard?
Trying to be a true player, he grinned at her as she passed and slightly turned his head to get a look at her behind. When she walked by him with no hint of interest, he finally noticed the old Volvo coming his way. Oh shit. The car stopped with a screeching sound a few feet away from him, allowing Carl to pass. Carl could see an angry look on the old manís face behind the wheel. Fuck you, old punk.
Shareka had the car started and was in the middle of backing up when Carl stood back to block her. She hissed at his reflection in the rear view mirror. Carl tried to play it cool as he walked to the passenger side to open the door. He knew she was pissed, but he knew his best defense was a good offense.
"Why the hell you trying to leave me and shit? What did I do?" he shouted, playing dumb.
A loud screeching sound emanated from her Nova's back tires as the car went in reverse, barely missing a Ford Explorer parked on the other side.
"Slow down, woman!" Carl cried. "We're still in the parking lot! You want to hit somebody?"
She skidded pass the stop sign with reckless abandon, out into the busy streets of Sports Arena Blvd. Carl shook his head at her careless actions.
"You need to let me drive if youíre going to be doing this shit," he warned.
"Fuck you!" she screamed. "I don't know why I put up with this shit! Youíre always disrespecting me. I can't take this shit!"
Here we go again. She always does this stupid shit. I wouldn't be doing this if she lose some fuckin' weight. Time to play dumb again.
"Take what shit? I don't knowÖ.slow down, goddamn it!"
Shareka narrowly missed the rear bumper of a car in front of them as she switched lanes. She barely noticed the yellow light approaching and quickly pressed the brake when it turned red. The Nova came to a screeching halt. With the red light in front of her, it finally allowed her to take deep breaths before the light change. The steady grip of her hands on the steering wheel kept them from shaking. She knew if she let one hand go it would have been nearly impossible to keep her from slapping the shit out of his ass.
"I don't know why you always do that to me," she said, trying to stay calm. "You act like you hate the way I look or can't stand the sight of me. I saw you rollin' your eyes at me. I know you were looking at other bitches in the store."
Alright, damn, there she go. I'd better chill. She's gonna start poppin' that Ďif you don't like the way I look, fuck youí shit. Shit, what do I say now? I'm basically caught. Just be cool, Carl. Don't get her riled up, especially while she's driving. Need to start lyin' my ass off. Got to play this right or she'll wind up drivin' off an overpass or something.
To Sharekaís surprise, Carl started smiling, then chuckled at something obviously funny only to him.
"What the fuck you smilin' about?" she said.
Time to flip the script, Carl. "You want to know what I'm smilin' about?" he said calmly, with no hint of defensive anger in his voice any longer. "I was thinking about the time we were in this same situation a few months ago and you went off and slapped the shit out of my ass. You hit me so hard my lips stuck to the passenger window."
Shareka was surprised that he brought that up. She remembered that day where in the same situation as this moment, she had her left hand holding steady on the wheel while she drove and her right hand lashing across his face so hard it made a whipping sound. Carl had pissed her off over something she couldnít remember, but she did remember it warranted a face slap.
When the light turned green, she drove forward towards the 5 highway, a grin replacing the murderous frown that was there just moments before. For some reason, she now felt calmer and composed. She remembered how shocked she was once she realized what she had done to Carl, and she couldnít help but try to laugh it off and say Iím sorry. To her surprise, Carl laughed with her.
"What made you bring that up? What, should I smack your ass again?" she said, trying hard not to laugh as she entered the freeway.
Ah, I can hear the chuckles in her voice. "Hell, no! You obviously want to laugh, so you mustíve really liked that shit. Naw, Iím just saying ainít no way in the world should a man be dumb enough to get in argument with his woman while sheís driving. I almost made the same mistake again. I could see your hands trembling, so I was like Ďoh shit, shut the fuck up, Carlí. Baby, I am sorry."
Shareka remembered how good it felt to shut him up with the palm of her hand. "I did slap the shit out of your ass, didnít I?" she chuckled. "I surprised myself. Your ass deserved it, though. I donít remember what you said to piss me off, but you deserved it."
Carl chuckled with her. He was able to calm her down --- and possibly saved their lives. He knew if he kept on, Shareka wouldíve tried to wring his neck going 80 miles an hour on the freeway. Luckily, she was cool enough to drive the speed limit. Sheís laughing. Woo, that was close. Need to keep this up so more. Need to start lying a little bit.
"And, baby, I wasnít looking at other women, either. You know how I hate waiting for you while you try on new clothes. By the time you finish, security guard be like Ďexcuse me, maíam. Iím sorry, but weíre closed.í"
Shareka chuckled louder. "So what? Just donít do that shit again, all right? Just for that, youíre going to buy me some clothes, since I didnít buy any today."
Yea, whatever. If I can find some to fit your ass, Iíll do that. "Sure, babe. As long as I live to see home, Iíll buy you anything you want."
Once again, Carl was able to smooth things over with her, even before they got home. This was a new record for him. He knew his woman well. All he had to do was say some sweet things with a touch of humor and give her a half-hearted apology to calm her down. It always worked.
Shit, I'll be in that ass by 10:00 p.m. tonight. I'd better make sure it's real good so it'll get rid of any leftover hostile feelings.
When they arrived at their apartment, Carl quickly jumped in front of her before she could put her key in the door and instead put his key in to open it. She folded her arms and stared at him with a stone-faced look. Although she tried to keep from chuckling, she couldn't help but grin at him when he twisted his face with a goofy smile. She shook her head as she walked in. Yeah. I made her smile again. I got her back.
She threw her purse and bags on the couch and headed to the bathroom. "I'll start dinner when I get out," she said.
As soon as she closed the bathroom door, Carl ran towards their bedroom. He quickly pulled his shoes off his feet and stepped over a basket of clothes to get to his computer desk. He eagerly sat down with a loud plop and grabbed the mouse. I need to check out my shit while she's in there.
The shrill sound of the Internet connection made him smirk. Ever since they bought the computer two months before, he spent a lot of his time on it after work. He quickly typed the keywords in the search engine to find his favorite web page. The web page address displayed at the top of the screen and he immediately clicked on it with the mouse pointer. The familiar image of a naked, beautiful black woman with oversized breasts welcomed him in. He clicked the Enter button of the Ebony Ecstasy web page and a large display of X-rated thumbnail sized graphics covered the screen. He could feel the bulge in his pants harden as the graphic images of gorgeous naked women downloaded onto the computer screen.
Damn, that shit looks good. If only she looked like that. Fantasies ran rampant in his mind of every graphic picture he downloaded. He nervously looked out the bedroom door to see if Shareka somehow made it out the bathroom without his keen ears knowing. He anxiously knocked his knees together as he tried to download as many X-rated pictures he could. Shit, that's some tight shit. If I had that ass Iíd be waxing that shit every night
The sound of the flushing toilet startled Carl. He quickly closed the web page and disconnected from the Internet. He deleted all temporary Internet files on the hard drive to destroy the X-rated trail of evidence. The water from the bathroom faucet stopped running and the bathroom door came open. Shareka noticed Carl on the computer but paid no attention to him as she walked towards the kitchen. Seeing Carl on the computer right after getting in the house from anywhere was nothing new to her. Woo. That was close. Better walk in there where she is and play the goody-goody boyfriend.
He left the bedroom and walked into the kitchen, making a conscientious effort to ignore the television to focus more on his sensitive girlfriend. He stood behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist as she stirred green beans in a pot of boiling water. The feel of his body against hers made her feel warm and safe. However, for Carl, it was a half-hearted tactic used only when he messed up somehow. Showing affection was rare for him.
"I'm sorry, baby," he said softly.
"Uh hum," she replied.
Shareka chose to ignore the warning signals in her head that reminded her of all the times he disrespected her and tried to make up for it by paying extra attention to her. She again convinced herself that her boyfriend's rare embrace was genuine.
Carl, however, tried not to frown as his hands caressed her waist under her shirt. Damn, her stomach is flabby. Chill out, man. Just play along. He kissed her on her cheek and playfully slapped her buttocks.
"Ow, you freak," she smiled. She longed for this kind of warm and playful affection from her man. It was so rare, but when he did display some affection, she willingly accepted.
It didnít take long for her to whip up some baked chicken, green beans, and macaroni and cheese. They sat down at the dining room table and quietly ate their food. Because of their busy schedules, it had been nearly two weeks since they last sat together at the table together to eat. The exceptional taste of the macaroni and cheese quickly reminded Carl of her superior cooking skills.
After taking a few bites, Shareka stared at Carl with an uneasy look on her face as he ate. Carl noticed it, guessing there was a burning question she needed to ask.
"Whatís up? Looks like you want to say something," he said.
"You remember that girl Sheryl I was telling you about at work; you know, the one whoís husband used to beat on?
Carl looked up with suspicion. "Yea. What about her?" he said, wondering where she was going with that statement.
"She finally left her husband after seven years and moved into her own place."
"And...nothing," she sighed, returning to her food. She played around her food with the fork, showing little interest in eating.
Carl wondered why she made such a statement. "What was the point in telling me that? he asked, unwilling to drop the subject. "Are you trying to give me a hint?"
Shareka looked up at him. "I know my weight bothers you," she said. "Itís been bothering you for the past 2 Ĺ years, now. What if I never lose the weight you want?"
Oh shit. Carl continued chewing his food, careful not to respond too quickly. He pretended to chew food he'd already swallowed to buy enough time to think of a bogus response. What the fuck do I say to that?
He swallowed his "food" in an exaggerated gesture and pretended to cough.
"Uh hum! Excuse me," he replied, while clearing his throat.
"Baby," he said slowly, carefully choosing his words, "I know it's hard to lose weight. I'm trying to be supportive by doing things with you to help you lose the weight --- like walking. I enjoy our little walks together, don't you?"
"Yes, but sometimes you make me feel so ugly. I know I've gained more weight over the years, but I was a little overweight when you met me and I never had a problem getting a man before you. I still get hit on a lot, you know."
She's right about that. I've seen a few fellas tryin' to holla at her before, but she'd be the shit if she just lost 30 pounds! I'd better turn this one around.
"I know you still get hit on, witcha' pretty self. I only want it because you want it, right? You still want to lose weight, don't you?"
"Yes, but I'm thirty three years old now and my body is a little slower than it was ten years ago. Youíre thirty now, but youíve always been in shape. Again, what will you do if I don't lose the weight as quickly as you want?"
Carl put his fork down on the plate and wiped his hands on the paper towel. I know what to say to this. He calmly leaned his chair towards her and gently held her small hands in his. He smiled as he stared into her pretty hazel eyes.
"Baby," he said quietly, "we got a lifetime. I ain't goin' nowhere." He softly gave her a peck on the lips. Good one, Carl. That should shut her up.
She snickered a little and rolled her eyes, but she couldn't help but smile. The reassurance he confessed to her gave her a warm, cozy feeling inside. She somehow felt embarrassed for doubting his love. She knew deep down he loved her, and he confirmed it.
"Besides," he added, "the way I throw down in the bedroom, it be like a furnace up in that joint! You know I can make you sweat, baby! Shit, I'll turn you out right now and make you lose ten pounds in the next two hours!"
Shareka laughed. "Shut up, boy! Shoot, you mean two minutes! I can't lose ten pounds in one year with yo' sorry ass!
They both laughed loudly. Carl knew his ulterior motive to soften her up with humor and kindness would work.
Carl looked down at his watch. It was 6:47 p.m. He wanted to check out a preseason football game, but he didn't want to break the "goody-goody" mode because he wanted things to continue going smoothly with Shareka. Aw damn, I'm gonna miss this game. O well, better keep playing the role. Wanna make sure I get some ass tonight cuz, shoot, I'm kinda horny.
After finishing their food and putting the plates in the kitchen sink, they decided to check out the movie Next Friday on pay per view. As Carl lied on the couch and made the phone call to order the movie, Shareka retreated to the bedroom to put on shorts and a tank top shirt to make herself comfortable. Carl had already placed the call to rent the movie when she walked into the living room. Once he caught a glimpse of what she was wearing, he pretended to look down at the pay per guide view to avoid looking at her. He just didn't trust himself to not make any obvious gestures she would notice. More than once he sneered at her choice of clothes if he felt they showed off too much of her overweight frame. He especially did not like the loose skin she carried in her arms.
He reluctantly moved back enough so she could lie down with him in front. She rested her head on the big couch pillow Carl had his head on. She could not see the snickering look on his face as she adjusted herself on the couch. Carl rolled his eyes at the sight of cellulite on her arm. Lucky this couch is big enough to hold us or her big ass would be on the floor.
"Are you going to turn on the t.v?" she asked.
As always, he was so occupied with how she looked he forgot about what was he was about to do --- like turning on the television. Carl felt around the couch for the remote and found it under the couch pillow. He turned on the television and found the station he was looking for. The movie was not on yet, but the previews of the movie had Carl fantasizing about the beautiful Hispanic woman Ice Cube's character desired. Damn, damn, damn. If she lost weight, she'd look like that. He reluctantly put his arm around Shareka to pull her close, still trying to maintain the affectionate boyfriend role.
The many hilarious scenes made them bellow with laughter. Carl's favorite scene of Ice Cube's blunted hallucination of the beautiful Hispanic woman dancing provocatively on the living room table made him a little too excited. He could feel the bulge between his legs harden against Shareka's butt. He quickly placed his hands under Shareka's shirt to touch her bare breasts and started massaging them. Shareka felt the hardness growing against her butt and reached around to touch between his legs.
"Are you getting hard looking at that woman?" she snapped.
He knew she would say that. He knew her too well. "Naw, baby," he lied, "soon as I started playing around with these titties a brutha couldn't help but get hard."
"Uh huh," she smirked. Shareka smiled as he massaged her breasts. She loved the attention he was giving her and became more aroused with every touch.
As soon as the movie went off, they quickly retreated to the bedroom to take care of their business. They left a trail of clothes on the floor leading towards the bedroom. Shareka was struggling to kick off her pants while Carl was already completely naked behind her. He was playfully rubbing her nipples and her inner thighs when they approached the bedroom. He gently kicked the door open with the ball of his foot and playfully tackled her onto the bed. Normally, he would make some negative gesture about her protruding belly, but he was so horny he just ignored it. They made love for over an hour and immediately fell asleep in each other's arms.
The next day on Sunday, Carlís mood had changed for the worse again and he hardly tried to keep up with his "goody-goody" mode. Earlier in the morning he paid some attention to her and showed some affection, even taking a shower with her; however, his priorities quickly changed to football. By mid afternoon, his affectionate ways had slacked off totally and he was back to his old self. He had made a promise earlier in the week to help clean the house and laundry, but Sunday afternoon football and procrastination just wouldnít allow him to get up off that living room couch. He did nothing to hide the snickers and sneers towards her as she walked back and forth in front of the television --- wearing a thin tank top shirt and faded gray shorts. She was looking hardly attractive to him. The "goody-goody" mode had left the building.
"I thought you were going to help me clean up," she nagged, standing directly in front the television with a basket of his dirty clothes.
The Tennessee Titans were on the goal line with Steve McNair calling the play, looking to hand the ball off to Eddie George up the middle against the Cincinnati Bengalís defense. How dare she block his view? His team was about to score and cleaning up was the last thing on his mind. Bitch move!
Carl frowned. "I will, shit, " he replied, irritated. "Can you get out of my way, please? Just leave my clothes in the corner somewhere. Iíll wash Ďem later."
Shareka rolled her eyes and hissed, mumbling angrily to herself as she stormed into the laundry area near the bedroom. Carl mocked her outburst by mimicking her behind her back. He could hear her twisting the knob loudly on the washing machine. The splashing sound of water followed soon after.
Hell yea, touchdown! Hope her ass leaves me alone! She needs to go up in the room or something. Leave me the fuck alone. Fat ass.
After loading the clothes in the laundry, an irritated Shareka walked back towards the living room and stood directly in front the television again, stared at Carl for a second, then turned it off. Carlís jaw dropped. What the fuck is this bitch doing? O hell, naw!
"Turn the fuckiní t.v back on and get outta my way!" Carl exploded. "Iím watching the fuckiní game!"
Shocked, Shareka snapped back. "Who the fuck you screaminí at? We supposed to be cleaning this house. You promised weíd do that!"
Carl ignored her by clicking the remote control, trying in vain to somehow turn the television on --- with her still standing in front of it. This bitch is pissing me off.
"Carl!" she yelled. "Youíve been acting like shit since this morning! Just yesterday you were acting all nice and shit! Now you fuckiní up again! I guess since you got a shot of ass last night you can act like this, huh? Whatís youíre problem?"
He was disgusted by what he saw: Shareka wearing a holy tank top shirt with no bra exposing the cellulite of her arms and outline of her large breasts, screaming about "a shot of ass." She did not look remotely attractive to him at all at that moment. On top of that, the game was on! O hell no!
He felt himself wanting to release his fury on her, but instead he stood up and squinted his eyes at her. Shareka prepared to defend herself from a barrage of angry curse words, but instead watched Carl walk hurriedly towards the bedroom. He slammed the door behind him.
Carl heard her scream his name to come back, but he was so pissed he just ignored her. He paced back and forth in front of the bed to cool off, mumbling to himself. Sheís gettiní on my nerves, gettiní on my nerves, gettin on my nerves! Shit! Tired of her fat ass bugginí me!
After a few minutes of venting, Carlís urge to explode never waned. Lingering frustration had built up in him for too long and he decided not to ignore it anymore. Fuck this shit! Iím going off on her ass right now. He swung the bedroom open with enough force for the doorknob to indent a small hole in the wall.
He walked slowly towards the living room again and was surprised to see Shareka sitting on the couch flipping through the television channels just as heíd always done after an argument with her. She was lying lazily in the couch with one leg bouncing over the armrest. He calmly walked over to the television and stood in front of it, then turned it off.
Shareka sat stone-faced, matching Carlís evil stare with her own. She sniffled and wiped tears from her eyes with the back of her hand. After placing the remote on the couch, she grabbed one of the couch pillows and hugged it tightly in front of her, rocking her body back and forth.
Before Carl could say a word, Shareka spoke softly in a crackling voice. "I donít think you love me anymore, " she said, her voice trailing. "You only touch me or hold me when you want some. I catch you looking at me sometimes like I disgust you. I really donít know why you went all out to impress me yesterday when your heart wasnít in it. If you got a problem with me, just say it."
Carl rolled his eyes and shook his head. How could she not know what the problem was? That was exactly the reason why Carl was frustrated --- her blindness to the fact.
"You know what? Iím tired of this shit!" he screamed. "You always bitchin' about what I'm supposedly doing or not doing! I ain't cheatin' on your ass, so what's your fuckin' problem?" He still did not reveal the source of his displeasure. He decided to give her chance to figure it out on her own.
Shareka shook her head, annoyed by his ignorance and obvious need to argue. "You just don't fuckin' get it, do you?" she cried.
Tears streamed down her cheeks while she rocked back and forth. Holding the pillow was all that was keeping her from exploding on him --- again. Carl stood steadfast in front of her, staring down at his weeping girlfriend with disgust in his eyes. This bitch is getting on my nerves. Always cryin' over some bullshit. His moodiness sparked the quarrel, but he cunningly turned it around and berated her for daring to question him. How dare she question me? Bitch should already know!
"Well," he nagged, "what's the problem? I've been with your ass, what----3 years now? I've never cheated or beat you. All this shit I'm doing for you and your ass still ain't satisfied! How come you canít do shit for me?"
Shareka raised her head with a stunned look on her face, still hugging the couch pillow tightly in front of her. She struggled to control her emotions with each ignorant word coming out his mouth. "What the fuck are you talkin' about?" she yelled. "What 'shit' are you doing? I cook for your ass, clean after you, and do everything to show you I love you. Iím cleaning your fuckiní clothes right now! And so what Ďyou havenít beaten me? You think just because you haven't beaten me thatís supposed to make me happy? Most of the time you act like I make you sick!"
Carl lowered his head so she couldn't see his smirk. I know thatís right! Fat ass gets on my nerves. Carl was getting more irritated by the minute, but he still held back his desire to blurt out what was really bothering him. He just stared back at her as she screamed.
"Ain't that what it is?" she continued. "Don't I disgust you? If you don't like my weight, say it! Seems like thatís all youíre concerned with anyway, so be a muthafuckin' man and tell me the truth!"
She finally said the magic words, but Carl could not believe Shareka was testing his manhood. Be a man? That bitch! She done fucked up, now.
"Be a man, huh?" he replied quietly, then suddenly raised his voice. He didnít want to hold back any longer. "Fuck it! You damn right you make me sick! I'm tired of trying to get yo' ass to lose weight! All I want is for you to do this one thing and you canít do it! How the hell can you walk around like that, big as you are?"
He knew the moment he said those malicious words he had crossed the line. It did not take long for Shareka to transform from a woman frozen in shock to a clawing, screaming pugilist desperately trying to do as much harm to her boyfriend physically as he had done to her emotionally. Carl tried in vain to protect his face from the flood of vicious blows she threw. He maintained his cool as much as he could --- even though she succeeded in scratching his face a few times with her nails. He could barely understand the words in her incoherent screams. Damn, Ouch! Why I say that shit? This girl is trying to kill me. OUCH! I'd better just block this shit cuz I'll kill her ass if I get to swingin'.
"FUCK YOU! I'M LEAVING!" she screamed. Those were the only words he did understand fully. She shoved him with enough force to knock him against the front door. Carl stumbled, his back narrowly missed the doorknob. By the time he regained his balance, Shareka had already stormed into the bedroom and slammed the door.
Carl wiped his face with the back of his hand and felt a trickle of blood. He used his tee shirt to wipe his hands and his face of blood and torn skin. Convincing himself he didnít give a damn about what just happened, he rolled his eyes, shook his head, and sat back down on the couch with a plop. He lazily lied back into to the couch with one leg over the armrest and grabbed the remote. After he turned the television back on, he flipped through the channels without really paying attention to any of them. There was no interest in the football game that was more important to him earlier than cleaning the house.
"Fuck it," he said, still trying to convince himself her outburst was no big deal. Those mean words played around in his head repeatedly and his mood quickly changed.
"Damn, what the hell did I just do?" he mumbled. He could hear his bawling wife slamming the dresser drawers in the bedroom. He momentarily thought about apologizing, but he didnít know what to say. After rewinding the event over and over again in his head, he came to conclusion there was nothing he could do to fix this one. He eventually decided to just let it go.
"Fuck it," he said again, still trying to convince himself he didnít give a damn. Instead of apologizing to her, he calmly stood up from the couch and walked over to the kitchen to grab a cold Bud from the fridge, ignoring her ranting. The dirty dishes he promised to wash earlier in the week changed his mind to drinking from the beer can this time instead of pouring his beer in a cup. Oh well. Ainít nothiní I can do about this one now. Just gotta see what happens.
Carl sat at the dining room table and drank his beer, unmoved by the loud noises coming from the bedroom. He flipped through the television channels and finally settled on the Tennessee game again. Just seconds after sitting down, he stood back up and started walking impassively towards the couch.
After changing her clothes and gathering most her belongings, Shareka swung the bedroom door open. The door slammed hard against the wall and enlarged the hole Carl had made earlier. She nearly bowled him over with her large suitcase and purse around her shoulder. Carl regained his balance and put the palm of his hand over the beer can, more concerned with spilling his drink than preventing his bawling wife from leaving. He plopped back down on the couch and took a sip, carefully avoiding eye contact with her. She turned around and stopped in front of the door, dropped her bags on the floor, and glared at her apathetic boyfriend. Carl knew she was staring, but he paid no attention.
"Arenít you going to say anything?" she pleaded.
Carl took another sip and flipped to ESPN to view the half-time scores. He was not concerned with responding to Sharekaís pleas because he just did not care anymore.
Shareka stood at the door, waiting for his response. Carl took another sip, never looking at her.
Carl wiped his lips and finally looked into her eyes. With no hesitation and a cold stare, he finally said, "Bye." He said nothing else, but what he did say was callous enough.
Shareka was devastated, hardly able to believe he could be so heartless. She grabbed her bags without saying another word and slammed the front door when she left. He could hear the heels of her shoes pound against the steps as she descended the stairs.
Carl lazily sloped further into the couch, sipping his beer until the can was empty. He had convinced himself that all of this was a charade. It was a typical thing for them to get into a heated argument with her threatening to leave. Damn, she ainít never actually leave before, though. O well. Fuck it.
After getting another Bud from the fridge, Carl watched uninterrupted football for most of the day. He even managed to catch the late game--- rare for him because she normally changed the channel to the Lifetime network for women. Shareka was gone for hours and hadnít called. He tried to convince himself he wasnít bothered, but he couldnít rid himself of the nagging feelings he felt deep down. He then realized how peaceful things were around the house after she left: it was just football, a cold beer, and his lazy ass with the house all to himself. There was nobody there to nag him about how dirty the house was or the piles of laundry that needed cleaning. Damn, the only noise I hear is the washing machine. I donít hear no nagging about the clothes or bitching about the dishes, none of that shit. I can lay my lazy ass here and watch whatever I want and get my chill on. This is nice. It was little after 9:00 oíclock before he dozed off on the couch.
The hazy sight of the living room startled him at first when he woke. Smacking his lips and yawning, it took a few seconds for his mind to register the familiar surroundings of the living room. His neck was sore from lying awkwardly on the couch, but he still managed to sleep over seven hours. He was shocked to see 4:47 a.m. on the VCR.
"Damn," he said, wiping his lips, "itís damn near five? Shit!"
He slowly rose from the couch and walked towards the bathroom, yawning and scratching his belly. After relieving himself, he walked into the bedroom to get his clothes out the closet for work. At first, he did not notice the empty king-size bed with ruffled sheets and blankets. After turning on the closet light, he then realized Shareka was not in bed.
"That freak didnít come back?" he said with surprise. "Hmmm. This is new. Oh well." He figured she was probably at her friend Danielleís house, so he didnít sweat it too much. He took a shower, brushed his teeth, and dressed in his usual casual wear of Pele-Pele jeans and matching shirt, with a pair of Timberland boots. He brushed his fade and put lotion on his face. Remembering there were several software installations he had to make at work, he grabbed his software kit off of his dresser. He tried to keep his mind off his absent wife, but he couldnít. He was still surprised to know she had been gone all night. This was a first.
"Sheíll be back," he said to himself, feeling confident. "I ainít gonna sweat it."
It was five minutes after six and he decided he had enough time to eat a bowl of Corn Flakes. After grabbing the last clean bowl from the cabinet and a spoon from the drawer, he poured milk into the bowl and ate away at the dining room table. It felt a little odd to not hear the water running in the bathroom or to not see Shareka walking around naked. It was strangely quiet, something he wasnít used to.
After finishing the cereal and watching a little television, he left his apartment and locked the door. "Hope she took her house keys," he muttered sarcastically. He descended the flight of stairs and walked towards his designated parking spot. It was nearly 6:30 a.m, but the sun was already shining brightly in the sky. He had to be at work at seven, but it only took 15 minutes to get to there. The news forecaster said it would be a hot Monday morning and Carl was irritated that he had to be at work on such a beautiful day.
As he opened the door to his Mitsubishi Eclipse, he wondered if heíd find Sharekaís Honda Civic before leaving the parking lot. After starting the car, he opened up his CD case and inserted OutKastís Stankonia in the CD player. The song So Fresh, So Clean blasted from the car speakers.
He backed up the car and drove out into the driveway. He drove no more than 5 miles per hour, looking closely around the parking lot for Sharekaís car. I donít see her shit no where. Ainít this a...hey, who is this? A red Grand Cherokee was slowly approaching with an attractive Hispanic woman driving. Carl rolled down his window and slowed down enough to get a better look at her before she drove by. He could tell she was wearing a blue tank top and from what he could see, the cleavage action was on point. As she drove by, Carl didnít hesitate extending his head out the window a little to get a better view. He had a goofy smile on his face, trying his best to be in "Mac mode." To his surprise, she smiled back before driving on.
For a moment, the absurd thought of turning around and following her popped in his head, but he quickly brushed that thought away and continued forward. Before long, he was out of the parking lot and onto Turner Street on his way to 5 north for work. Minutes after leaving the parking lot, he remembered Sharekaís car. Oh shit, I forgot. Oh well. Fuck it.
As usual, he was 15 minutes early. After parking his car and saying "what up" to the security guard and receptionist at the front desk, he walked down the main hall towards the MIS department. He approached the MIS combination door and pushed his combination on the push buttons. The door opened and he walked in.
Instead of walking to his cubicle, he decided to rap a little with his supervisor, Mike. He walked up to his supervisorís office door and saw Mike though the windowpane of the door, sitting at his desk and reviewing some reports. Carl knocked on the windowpane to get Mikeís attention. Mike smiled at him and waved him in.
Mike, a boyish face, 34-year old white man with a receding hairline, was someone Carl considered a friend. Because of their common background in the military and years of working together, Carl always felt at ease speaking to him on a personal level, even though Mike was his boss. Carl still respected his position as supervisor.
"Whatís up, Carl. How was your weekend?" Mike asked as Carl closed the door behind him.
"Whatís up, Mike?" Carl replied.
As Carl walked closer to his desk, Mike noticed the scratches on his face. "Geez, man, what happened to your face? A cat scratch you up?"
Carl sighed and shrugged his shoulders. He stood in front of the desk and played around with the miniature motorcycle on it. "Close," he replied, avoiding eye contact. "Shareka did it. I pissed her off, so she left me." He had a matter-of-fact tone in his voice.
Mikeís eyes bulged. "What?" he said with his mouth wide open. "Why the fuck did you do that?"
Carl wasnít so quick to respond. "Well, uh," he stuttered, "we got in an argument about her weight. I told her I hated the way she looked."
Mike leaned forward in his seat and his jaws dropped open further. "Are you fuckiní shitting me? Tell me you didnít do that?"
"Yea, I did!"
Mike shook his head and took the reading glasses off his face. He sat back further in his reclining chair, took a deep breath and exhaled. He stared at Carl for a moment with shame in his eyes.
"Why you staring at me?"
Carl sat down in the chair directly in from of his Mikeís desk. Mike continued staring and tapped his fingers on the desk.
:"Look, man," he finally said, "youíve been working for me for four years now. I consider you one of my best network administrators here and my hardest worker. I also consider you a friend, and as your friend, I feel I must tell you this: you are one stupid mutherfucker!
Carl was taken off-guard by Mikeís remark. He did not know how to respond.
"You do realize she ainít coming back, right?" Mike continued.
Carl frowned. "Yea, she is! I know my girl."
"No, no, no, you idiot," Mike replied loudly. "How could you be so cruel to her? Thatís a sensitive subject, man."
Carl rolled his eyes and put his hands behind his head. "I just got tired of how big sheís gotten over the years. It irritates the hell outta me. Itís hard to explain; I mean, I love her and shit, but when I look at her, I just get turned off! Sometimes I try to overlook it, but itís always in my face. I canít help it! She would be tight as hell if she just lost about thirty pounds. Flabby ass stomach andÖ"
Mike put the palm of his hand in the air, stopping Carl mid sentence. "Whoa," he said, "this is your girlfriend youíre talking about, remember? This is the same woman who stayed by your side when you got that operation on your ankle; the same woman who fixes your dinner and packs your lunch for you; and the same woman who probably washes your nasty ass underwear. When I met her at last yearís Christmas party, I thought Ďman, this guy is lucky. He has a beautiful woman.í She does all this shit for you and you make her leave because sheís a little overweight?"
Carl looked away and thought for a second, then nodded his head slowly. "Well, yea. Iím not as attracted to her anymore. Thatís the main reason why I havenít married her yet."
"Well, donít expect her to come back. Iím willing to bet this ainít the first time you guys argued over this. Thatís like her leaving you because your dick is too small! Donít you think it would be idiotic if she left you because you refused to get your dick enlarged?"
Carl laughed. "Well, that wouldnít happen! I donít have that problem!"
Mike did not laugh with him. "You can laugh all you want, but I bet youíll regret this," he replied.
A knock on the windowpane of the office door interrupted the conversation. An attractive, dark skinned young woman with long braided hair and glasses stood at the door holding papers in her hand. Mike waved his hand to allow her in.
"Good morning, Carl," she said softly with a smile. Carl was always attracted to her smile and voice --- as well as her body.
"Good morning to you, Diane," Carl replied with a flirty smile, "how are you doing?"
"Good," she replied. "Mr. Davis, here are the Ad Hoc reports you wanted. They have the data you requested." She walked up to the desk and handed a set of papers to him. Carl took a quick peek at her behind as she leaned over to hand Mike the papers.
"Thank you, Diane."
As she walked out, he gave Carl a stern eye. "I saw you," he said. "Donít even try it. Sheís a married 22-year-old woman; youíre a 30-year-old asshole. I know youíve been checking her out."
Carl shrugged his shoulders. "Why I gotta be all that? It ainít even like that. I wouldnít mind Shareka looking like that, though."
Mike shook his head. "Whatever," he said, giving up on him.
Carl stood and stretched. "I gotta get to work. You got anything for me?"
"Nope," Mike replied, paying more attention to the reports than Carl. Carl left the office and closed the door behind him. Mike looked up at him as he left and shook his head.
Carl greeted his IT coworkers with "what ups" and "good mornings." He walked over to his cubicle and put on his jacket that was lying over his chair. Heíd been working there a few years and he still wasnít used to the 50-degree temperature required for cooling the computer systems.
He sat down at his desk and started up his computer, quickly logging into to his company email. He felt confident there would be an email from Shareka, but became miffed when he found nothing from her. After making little snide remarks about her, he started his day by going through all the papers he left in his in-basket on Friday.
Throughout the day, Carl was so busy checking computer network traffic, printer problems, end user complaints, and conducting server backups that he hadnít checked his email all day. It was nearly 4:00 p.m and he was about ready to go home, but he decided to check his email one last time before he left.
He logged into his email account and was surprised to see the subject line "About your wife" from an email address he wasn't familiar with. Ignoring the spam email, he immediately clicked on the message. I gotta see what the hell this shit is.
After clicking the message, he was shocked to see it was a message with an attachment entitled "My Itinerary." What the fuck is this shit?
He started reading the message and immediately his eyes became narrow. It took every ounce of self-control within him to prevent his growing fury from attacking the computer monitor. If anyone couldíve seen his face at that moment they wouldíve thought Carl was about to shoot up the place.
"That fuckiní bitch," he grunted. The message was only a short paragraph, but the point was clear. Carl reread the paragraph to verify the meaning of what was written. It was there in black in white:
By the time you read this email, I will already be on my way to Seattle. I intentionally saved this message earlier today for the purpose of having a friend send it to you later. I wanted to make sure you know and you wouldnít try to stop me at the airport. I can no longer be with a man who could not find it in himself to love me for me. You do not respect me and I truly believe you no longer love me. I am moving in with a friend until I decide what to do. While you were at work, I came in and cleaned out all the rest of my clothes and some other things. You can handle the rent and other expenses. I know you donít mind.
P.S. It felt it was very pitiful that you would try to flirt with someone as they drove by you this morning. That convinced me of how much you respect me, even after I left your ass.
Carl was stunned. How the fuck did she know about that? I didnít see her ass anywhere. Who the fuck lives in Seattle? With the email was an attached faxed copy of her flight itinerary from US airlines. There it was --- the undeniable proof: her flight number, the date and time, gate number, all of it. Departure date was August 5th, time 3:15p.m from San Diego Lindberg field; arrive Seattle at 5:30p.m. It was 4:07.
Carl squeezed the mouse to keep his hand from trembling. "Aíight, mutherfucker," he whispered, gritting his teeth. "Time to get fuckiní buck-wild. If thatís how itís going to be, fine. Iím going to put on the tightest clothes, go to the tightest clubs, and find the tightest hoes. Fuck her."
"Fuck who? You talking to the computer?" Carl turned to see Daryl, one of his coworkers, standing behind him with a curious look on his face.
"Nobody," Carl answered, slightly embarrassed. "Iím outta here." Carl shut down his computer and grabbed his keys, rudely bumping into Darylís shoulder as he passed. Need to start transforming like Optimus Prime up in this sumí bitch. I ainít playing that goody role bullshit any time soon. I should be able to handle all the bills, too. Oh, itís on.
The rest of the week Carl acted like a general in war plotting his next strategic move on the enemy. He immediately decided to accomplish his mission of "pimpilistic" transformation by going to the mall to get some new gear. While at home, he hid any evidence of his communion with Shareka by taking their pictures off all the walls and putting them in a box. He placed the box in the bedroom closet. Shit, if I bring a shorty home, I canít have her seeing this shit.
On Tuesday afternoon after work, he browsed around a few menís clothing stores at the downtown mall. He bought a light brown pair of Dockers slacks, a matching V-neck muscle shirt, some menís cologne, and a pair of black Stacy Adams. He felt cocky enough to show off his thin frame of lean body muscle to the ladies. Shareka loved his shape, so why not the other females? Before exiting the mall, he noticed a jewelry store and went inside to buy a silver rope chain. He freely charged everything to his credit card.
On Thursday afternoon, he decided to do some grocery shopping. Shopping more on impulse, he headed to VONs grocery store and bought a few hamburger helper dinners, packages of chicken, lunch meat, bread, milk, and more than a dozen tv dinners. He knew he wouldnít be trying to cook every day.
That night, he decided to try his hand at Hamburgerís Helperís tuna casserole, following the directions closely. He was determined to prove this breakup wouldnít mess up his flow. Aw shit, Iím starting to get my cooking groove on. I donít need her ass for shit when I can whip up some tuna casserole on my own now. Soon, Iíll be able to cook some fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans, all by myself! Ha! Not only that, with her gone, itís time to re-introduce myself to some new skins.
By Friday, Carl had a renewed excitement about being single again. All day at work he smiled and acted giddy with everyone. Mike still scolded him about his lack of compassion for Shareka, but Carl ignored him. There were no phone calls, no emails, or even a letter from Shareka all week, but Carl didnít give a damn. It was Friday and he decided to hit the club scene with his old boy Paul for the first time in years. Paul was one of Carl's old hanging buddies from their days in the Navy and the perfect candidate to help Carl re-introduce himself into a world he'd been out of for years. Being the "playa-playa" he was, Paul was more than happy to make his friend a "Big Willie" again.
After work, Carl whistled the tune Big Pimpiní by Jay Z as he opened the door to his car. He felt an anxiousness that made him tingle inside like never before. He would put his "freaky" revenge in effect at some club tonight.
The thirty minutes he spent in the five o'clock traffic jam did not deter Carl at all. Normally it irritated the hell out of him, but with the DJs bumping hip-hop mixes on 90.3 FM and Carl's renewed vigor, he was feeling good. Man, Iím gonna get some fly ass gear, pick up some ass fly ho, and get pimpified up in this sum'n bitch. Hell yeah!
By 9:30p.m, Carl was already GQíd out and ready to go. They decided to ride in Paulís Navigator, so Paul picked Carl up a little after 10:00p.m. They were acting like two little kids on their way to an amusement park. Paul was more excited for Carl because he finally had his boy back. They arrived at the club fifteen minutes later. There was no parking available in the clubís parking lot so Paul quickly parked his ride on the street not too far away.
After standing in a short line for about five minutes, they showed their IDs, paid the fare, and walked in. The welcome sound of bumping R&B bass filled their eardrums as they entered.
"Shit, dawg, I canít believe how much I missed being in the meat market!" Carl yelled, referring to a pun they used for the clubs. "Look at these tight ass women!"
"Told ya, fool. And you wonít to fuck around and be stayed whipped, like an old married couple. Fool, what was you thinkiní?" They strolled though the crowd of people, yelling into each otherís ear over blasting hip hop music.
It was a little after 11:00 p.m. and Carl was smiling from ear to ear. The thumping bass from the DJís speakers, the dance floor, and big booties walking around every where reminded him of his "freakier" times back in the day. He couldnít believe how much he missed strolling though the club on the prowl for his prey like a caveman on the hunt. Carl was feeling like a kid in a chocolate candy store.
Paul was trying to lay the mack down on nearly every female he passed, never hesitating to extend his hand out to a young lady before she walked by. Carl hadn't missed a beat with the ladies, even though it had been a long time. From the time he first entered the club, he was always on the dance floor. Carl's game was on. Eventually, they both hooked up with two fine dark females exotically named Francesca and Simora. Carl and Francesca had been peeping each other out all-night and slow danced once. Carl salivated over her short, but thick frame neatly embraced in a black mini-skirt. Carl joked to Paul about how her ample cheeks could start a fire as they rubbed together when she walked. He grew tired of eyeing her from afar, so he decided to stop beating around the bush and asked her to join her at the bar for a drink.
As they sat at the bar sipping on cognac and making small "talk" by yelling in each other ear over the thumping bass of Cash Moneyís Back that Azz up, she asked him if he was married or involved with anyone. Fine as hell, thick as hell, and riding my jock. Not an ounce of fat on her. Shit, Iím definitely not involved with anybody tonight. He stared at her a moment, smiled, and replied "no" in her ear. She smiled back at him and bobbed her head to the music. This sista is too fine to pass up. If I get lucky, Iíll see her tight ass leaving my apartment tomorrow morning.
Carl and Francesca got in another slow dance to the grooves of R Kellyís When a Womenís Fed Up a little after two. The DJ reminded the remaining people in the crowd that the club was about to close at 2:30, so Carl decided to cut the dance short and asked Francesca if she was ready to go. Paul and Simora were already near the front door, laughing and playfully flirting with each other.
Simora decided to go with Paul and Francesca invited Carl to ride with her. After giving each other homeboy hugs, Paul and Simora drove off in Paulís Navigator. Paul and Carl definitely knew what was up: these women wanted to get laid just as much as they did. Carl proudly left with Francesca in her red convertible Mustang.
After stopping at Dennys for a quick bite to eat and idle conversation, Carl invited her to his apartment. With the sexual tension growing between them, he knew she wouldnít mind. She willingly accepted his offer.
Carl didnít even bother turning on the living room lights as they entered the apartment. He already had his hands all over her behind and tongue kissing her before he had a chance to close the front door. They struggled to get each otherís clothes off as Carl led her towards the bedroom, walking backwards. Soon as the bedroom door was open, she pushed him onto the bed and immediately jumped on top of him. This girl is freaky as hell --- throwing me on the bed and shit. Hope she donít think she can start whipping me. Damn, she got some big ass titties. Calm down woman!
Carl never knew a woman could scream so loud and wail around so much like a fish out of water. As they switched to doggy style, he carefully reached for the sliding windowpane and opened it. He was getting hot as hell, but with a devilish grin on his face, he mainly wanted to show the unknowing world the merciless skills of his sexual prowess --- her screaming would make sure of that. He was definitely enjoying this Olympic event of one-night stand boot knocking.
Before he knew it, two hours had gone by and Francesca was on her way home. He was happy she was there to get what she wanted --- and got the hell out. He was sprawled out on the bed, drenched in sweat like a man who just finished a marathon, still breathing heavy. The loud screams of pleasure and squeaking bedspring sounds made earlier were soon replaced by the constant resonance of gurgling snores.
Rays of heat from the Saturday morning sun rested on Carlís face through the window screen. He slowly moved his head to the side while shielding his eyes with the palm of his hand from the glaring brightness. Soon as he stretched out, it didnít take long for him to remember his moment in the spotlight just a few hours before. Damn, that was some good shit last night. I canít believe I used all three rubbers! I was on point! Been a long time since I got some good ass pussy. Shit, been a long time since I got some good ass pussy that wasnít mine.
Carl felt like a new man when he awoke a little after ten. He didnít feel the least bit guilty about his one night stand. He felt lucky that Paul had an extra packet of rubbers because by the time he got home with Francesca, it had been so long since he used rubbers he forgot he actually needed them.
"Shit," he said to himself after picking up the three rubbers from his bedside on the floor. "I ainít used a rubber in so long. Iíve gotten so used to Shareka using the pill and shit."
After saying Sharekaís name, he started feeling a little irritated again about her email and lack of calling. He was alone again and he couldnít avoid the thoughts and emotions that Shareka stirred up when she left; emotions he tried to suppress. He walked into the bathroom and caught himself frowning in the mirror. He snickered at his reflection and threw the condoms down the toilet before relieving himself.
As he walked towards the kitchen, he imagined Shareka cooking up his favorite breakfast dish of buttermilk pancakes, scrambled eggs with cheese, and turkey bacon. One of the things he loved about her was how much enthusiasm and energy she had on weekend mornings when she cooked for the both of them. Carl didn't understand why she was always so giddy at first, but he later realized how much she enjoyed their quiet time together after putting in long hours at work. He knew how much she loved being with him.
Instead, he was alone with a bowl of Cheerios. Fuck, I gotta get these thoughts outta my head. Itís over between me and her. Shit, I need to get used to cooking, though. This cereal shit is old.
After calling Paul and bragging about his "rump session" with Francesca, Carl lazily wasted most of his Saturday on college football, X-rated websites, and catnaps. He felt no desire to even get a little fresh air outside, so he didnít bother taking a shower. He laid around for hours on the couch, falling in and out of sleep. While awake, it was hard not to think of Shareka and wonder about his future without her.
Man, that woman is definitely being stubborn. I havenít gotten any email or any kind of mail at all from her ass. Shit, come to think of it, I havenít seen any mail for her, either. All I got was the cable and light bill --- shit she used to pay for. The cable and light bill came in earlier in the week and he knew he had to pay for them now. Fortunately, he made enough money to pay for the utilities, rent, and all of his other bills.
For a long time he couldnít imagine staying with one woman forever, but during his happier times with Shareka, he couldnít imagine her not being in his life at all. He never fully believed she would leave for good, but it was a week and he still hadnít heard from her.
Paul was out with another female heíd met another time, so Carl was bored with nobody else to kick it with. He didnít want to look desperate and call Francesca so soon, but he couldnít help feeling lonely. Damn, I canít believe how lonely I feel. I got some tight ass last night and I still donít feel right. Maybe if Shareka..I mean, uh...what the fuck is that girlís name is again? I think it was Felicia or some shit. O yea, Francesca. Fuck this, I need to check the email real quick.
With half a bowl of Cheerios still left uneaten and anxiousness bugging him, he jumped up and ran towards the bedroom. He couldnít ignore the nagging thoughts of Shareka running around in his mind any longer. He didnít know if it was sudden guilt that compelled him to find her this time or just plain curiosity. He knew she was in Seattle but didnít know where; he didnít know of any friend or relative of hers up there. The feeling of not knowing where she was began to really irritate him.
There still was not an email message from her, so he decided to call her sister in Florida. Tamara, Sharekaís sister, answered the phone. She sounded so much like Shareka that Carl thought it was her.
"Shareka?" he said.
She immediately knew who it was. "No, this ainít Shareka," Tamara replied with a dry tone. "She donít want to talk to your ass any...I mean, she ainít here."
Carl was surprised. "What, sheís there? I thought she was in Seattle? When did she get there?"
She did not respond. Carl thought he heard her whispering to somebody away from the phone. He yelled into the receiver. "Is she there or what? Let me speak to her, Tamara!"
"No! And donít call back here, Carl," she replied loudly. "Sheíll call you back when sheís ready. Oh, and uh, I have caller ID so donít expect anybody to answer the phone. I already showed my kids your number so they know not to pick it up. Bye!" Click!
It took him a moment to hang up the phone. The dial tone finally clicked on and Carl slowly hung up the receiver. He was stunned. That psycho bitch showed her kids my number so they wouldnít pick up the phone? Crazy ass hoe. Least I know where she is. Where is she getting all this money to be flying around like this? I need to...
"Carl, get yourself together, man!" he screamed to himself, pounding his fists into his head to somehow purge the overwhelming thoughts of his absent wife. "Fuck this! Iím going to the gym, play some ball, catch a movie, whatever! She ainít gonna screw my head all up!"
To rid thoughts of Shareka and finally prove to himself he didnít need her, he put on some gym clothes and headed out the door with his basketball in hand. He didnít bother taking a shower because he figured he get funky anyway. He played ball until the gym closed at 10:00p.m. After ball, he was so tired he decided to head back home.
After getting home, he grabbed a paper cup and paper plate from the cabinet. He made a quick dinner of two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a cup of milk. He still hadnít washed the dishes completely; just as he did the rest of the week, he washed whatever he needed at the time. In this case, it was a cup and small plate.
Fuck it, Iím too tired. Iím layiní my smelly ass right here in front the television. He walked from the kitchen and put the cup and plate on the floor in front the couch. He sat down on the couch and took off his sweat-filled shirt. The pungent aroma of musk invaded his nostrils, but it still wasnít enough to convince him to get up and shower. Instead, he lied his sticky body on the couch and turned on the television. He took a few bites from his sandwich, but exhaustion settled in and in minutes he was fast asleep.
Carl awoke the next morning to find a half of cup of milk and two peanut butter jelly sandwiches with ants all over them. The television was blasting loudly, so Carl groggily reached for the remote and turned it off. Fucking ants everywhere! Ainít this a bitch! Ants made a trail from under the couch to the plate, nearly blanketing each sandwich. It was summer time and ants were in every part of the house, especially in the bathroom and areas where there was food.
As he raised up to stretch and yawn, he accidentally knocked over the cup of milk with his foot. Milk spilled all over the carpet and some on the ants. Carl snickered and smacked his hand to his head in disbelief of the mess he made. "Fuckiní shit!" he screamed.
He grabbed the plate and cup as he stood, and walked quickly to the kitchen trashcan before the ants crawled over his hands, throwing them both down with disgust. "Ugh, nasty ass," he grunted. After slapping his hands together a few times, he grabbed the RAID from under the kitchen sink and a paper towel from the cabinet to clean up his mess. He managed to get some milk on the bottom part of the couch and drown some ass at the same time. Carl could only shake his head at his carelessness.
As he cleaned up his mess, he realized how messy the whole house had become since Shareka left. His clothes were draped all the furniture; there were dirty dishes and laundry still left over from when Shareka left off; and scattered torn envelopes and pieces of mail all over the floor. Carl was disgusted at how things gotten since she left. He wanted to prove to himself he didnít need her, but while focusing more on getting back at Shareka, the house became a mess. Man, this place is fucked up. Need to get this shit straight. She wouldnít stand for this shit, so why should I? Come on, Carl, you can do better than this. Iíll show her ass.
Psyching himself up, he vacuumed the living room, cleaned the bathroom and kitchen, and tackled all his dirty clothes. Once again he tried looking at her absence as a blessing in disguise. It took him most of the day to fully clean the apartment. He surveyed his completed work and was proud of his accomplishment; especially at how he was able to motivate himself out of his lethargic attitude
Just before five, he decided to give Francesca a call. He fantasized about another rump shaking time with her while he cleaned, so he couldnít resist the urge to call her afterwards. Not surprisingly, she was down to see him again. Carl convinced her to come over by seven to "talk." Feeling giddy about her coming over again, he took a short drive to a nearby market and picked up a packet of rubbers.
Francesca came by the apartment a little after 7:00p.m. After some small conversation, a couple of drinks, and some television, Carl was between her legs on the couch by 8:00p.m. As if the whole scene was scripted, she was out of house a little after 9:00p.m. Ah, booty calls. Gotta love Ďem. After bragging to himself about his performance, it didnít take long for him to fall asleep on the couch a little after 10:00p.m.
Monday morning started off at work as usual, only Carl was still trying to keep his spirits up. He had an almost uncontrollable urge to call Tamaraís house again, but he kept his cool. He was determined not to give in this time. Shareka still sent no emails, but he resisted the urge to send her anything. Gotta maintain, gotta maintain. I need to call Francesca again, tonight.
By Wednesday, however, Carl started feeling drained. The charade of acting giddy and making excuses for not calling her was starting to wear him down. He tried as hard as he could to listen to what his brain was telling him, but his heart knew otherwise. No matter how much of a front he put on, he really did miss Shareka terribly. Not getting any emails or phone calls from her picked at him like imaginary misquito bites. Puzzled co-workers noticed his erratic mood swings and shied away from him. Mike also noticed the changes, but took delight in knowing what was happening.
On Thursday morning, Carlís appearance was less than satisfactory. He did not shave or brush his teeth. The house was once again a disaster with his clothes everywhere. There were scraps of torn envelopes and junkmail throughout the living room and a full trash of beer cans in the kitchen. There were bags under his eyes and his clothes were not pressed. On top of that, he was late 15 minutes for the first time in over a year.
New thoughts of Shareka with another man really ate at him. Unable to sleep, he called her sisterís house every hour on the hour Wednesday night, from 10:00p.m until 1:00a.m. Still, no one answered. He didnít care about the time difference; he wanted to wear them down with his phone calls until Shareka gave in. He left four messages on Tamaraís answering machine with each booze-induced message more incoherent than the other. On the last message, he threatened to fly down there before finally falling asleep a little before 2:00a.m. It was nearly two weeks and there was still no response from her.
Mike monitored Carlís downward turn, but still watched from a distance. Some of Carlís co-workers complained to Mike about his attitude, but Carl assured them he would take care of it his way. On Thursday afternoon, Carl left work looking frustrated, dazed, and confused.
It was Friday morning. Any inkling of independent strength he once prided himself on had evaporated. He knew now what he did was a serious mistake. He wanted his woman back, overweight figure and all. Francesca could not fill her void or despair. Iím leaving Francescaís ass alone. She was just a booty call, anyway. Gotta turn on this damn computer. I know she sent me something. Fuck! What if sheís fucking somebody else? I hate this shit! Iím buying a fuckiní plane ticket tod...címon, boot up, goddamnit!
"Carl, can I speak to you?" Mike startled Carl. He was so busy making grunting noises to the computer he had no idea Mike was standing behind him.
"Yea, uh, Iíll be with you in second."
"No, Carl. Right now."
His computer finally booted up. Carl slowly stood up, still trying to log into the computer to check his email. Mike stared at him outside of his cubicle.
"Leave the fuckiní computer alone and come on!"
Carl was stunned. Mike had never yelled at him before. He left the keyboard and walked slowly behind Mike. He noticed his co-workers trying their best to act like they werenít paying attention, but he could feel their stares and hear their chuckles.
Mike didnít say a word as Carl closed the office door behind him. He instructed Carl to sit down in front of his desk. Carl sat down and immediately began pleading his case.
"Look, Mike, I know what youíre going to...
"What, I told you so?" Mike interrupted.
Carl lowered his head and sighed. "Yea," he said softly. There was really nothing he could say to convince Mike otherwise.
"I watched you for the last two weeks acting all happy and proud of your accomplishment. Just this Monday, I heard you bragging about some girl named Francheeka or some shit."
"Francesca. You heard me talking about her?" he responded with surprise.
"Yea, I walked by you and you were talking about Ďlaying the pipe down to her the other night.í It was like you had to validate your newfound independence to everybody. Now, you fucked up and screwed around on your girl because she left your ass."
"Thatís right, she left me. This wouldnít have happened if...
"Hold on, smartass. You were the dumbass who initiated the argument about her weight. You were the one acting all high and mighty when she left your ass. Now look at yourself: youíre dressed like shit, your breath smells like shit, and youíre acting like shit! Youíre attitude went down hill like the NASDAQ market index. I fuckiní told you so."
Carl grinned and exhaled a breath of air. "You right," he conceded. "I know sheís at her sisterís house, but she still wonít answer the phone when I call. I admit it --- at first I loved it. I went to the club with my boy Paul and met this bad ass girl, but even after I messed around, I still didnít feel right. I would sit alone in the house and think about Shareka all the time. I wanted to prove to myself I could live without her, but I just kept fooling myself. I want her back today."
Mike nodded his head and sighed. "You got what you deserve, but Iím curious: how is she doing with money? Sheís been gone for nearly two weeks, so she must be returning back to her job, right? She mustíve taken a leave of absence or something. Did she quit?"
Carlís face lit up. "Holy shit!" he said. "Thatís right! I didnít even think of that! They would know when sheís coming back! Shit, I donít even know if she quit or not!"
Mike stared at Carl with a whimsical look. "You mean to tell me it never occurred to you to call her job?"
"No, " Carl replied. "She sent me an itinerary of her flight, and...and..shit, I donít know what I thought. I just got pissed off she actually left behind my back. I never thought about whether she quit her job or went on leave or what. I just wanted to prove to myself I didnít want or need her."
"I donít think you really thought of anything. You were plotting your revenge the moment you found out she left, right? Nothing else was important except getting back at her. Now you want to get her back. Pitiful."
Carl shrugged his shoulders and rolled his eyes. Each point Mike made hit home. "Youíre...you are...right again. Fuck, I need to go and get myself together. Iím going to call her job right now, find out when sheís coming back and...
"Hold up, hold up, not here. Take your smelly ass home and get your act together. Iím giving you the rest of the day off. You just better be ready by Monday --- fresh, clean, and no more attitudes. Understand?"
"You got it, Mike. I apologize."
"Yea, whatever. Just get out of here and handle your business. See you Monday."
Carl had already stood up and was already by the door before he said goodbye to Mike. He left Mikeís office with a grin on his face. As he walked to his cubicle, one of his co-workers asked if everything was all right.
"Yea, man," he replied with a smile, "Iím going home to take care of some business and get myself together. Iíll see you guys on Monday."
Everyone stared at him curiously as he left the department, smiling ear to ear. Carlís urge to stop at a pay phone to call her job was nearly unbearable, but he resisted the urge and decided it was best to go home and clean up first, regardless of what happened after the call. He needed to get himself together.
After he opened his car door and started up the engine, a lot of things started to dawn on him. How come she didnít get that much mail? Was someone picking her mail up for her? Who actually lives in Seattle? Why did she go to her sisterís place in Florida? Is she fucking somebody? Carl felt a little angry at himself that he didnít show enough concern to find answers to these questions before. Shit, I need to know what the hellís going on. I need my woman back. Fuck this shit. Iím cutting Francesca off real quick. Tell her Iíll be outta town or change my phone number or something. Hell, she wonít care. It was just booty calls anyway. Man, why did it come down to this? I fucked up.
Because there was hardly any traffic in the morning, it didnít take him long to get home. He was so consumed in his thoughts he was actually surprised at how fast it took to get home. After he parked his car, he breathed a sigh of relief and opened the car door. Soon as he stood up from the driverís side, someone called his name.
"Carl. Over here," the voice said.
The voice startled him, but he did not turn around. The initial shock froze him in his place, but he knew who it was. It took him seconds to relax and say "yes" under his breath. He turned around slowly to see someone walking towards the back of his car.
Upon seeing who it was, Carlís face froze once again. His jaws dropped and his eyeballs looked as if they would come out of their sockets. He was in total disbelief at what he was seeing. Shareka was wearing a tight fitting, short sleeved cotton shirt with an equally tight pair of Guess jeans, revealing curves Carl had never seen before. Her thick, dark curly hair was down to her shoulders now. Carl couldnít believe he was looking at his Shareka.
"What the...how the hell...when did..." He stuttered, unable to get the words out as he walked up to her. He held his arms out to embrace her but quickly stopped himself to study her new, sexy figure up close. Fuckiní shit, she looks good. How the hell did this happen?
"I lost twenty five pounds, mostly around my stomach and hips. Is that what you wanted to know?"
Carl stood in front her, measuring every inch of her body carefully with his eyes. She looked better than any women heíd ever encountered, including Francesca.
"You..you...lost twenty five pounds in less than two weeks? How the fuck did you do that?" he managed to say, still shocked.
"Actually, twenty two pounds," she said, shrugging her shoulders. "I did so much worrying that I got sick. I was a freakiní mess! I was throwing up and crying a lot. I probably lost more water weight cuz I cried so damn much. For the first week I didnít eat that much at all; all I really did was drink water and eat bits and pieces of food. I also did a lot of running around town, trying to handle some business. Luckily, Sheryl was there for me. When I got better, she and I walked every day at lunch, just talking and stuff. She really helped me out a lot. I stayed with her the..."
Carl held up his index finger up and Shareka stopped talking. "Hold up! What do mean, Ďevery day at lunch?í Your ass was here the whole time?"
Shareka looked down and grinned. "Yup. Well, I missed a couple of days at work cuz I was sick, but I was still here the whole time. You see Sheryl over there?" She pointed behind her to a Red Grand Cherokee with a pretty Hispanic woman sitting in the driverís seat. She waved at them with a smile. Carl felt like someone punched him in the stomach when he recognized her. It was the same woman he was trying to flirt with two weeks earlier. She was also the woman with the abusive ex-husband Shareka told him about. Carl rolled his eyes and looked away, embarrassed to show his face to her. He wondered what kind of junk she was pumping in Sharekaís head.
"She looks familiar, huh? I guess you couldnít see me on the passenger side while you were trying to get her attention. I was crouched down a little."
Carl only shook his head and said "damn" under his breath. He couldnít believe what he was hearing. "So, what about the itinerary with Seattle on it?" he quickly said, trying to change the subject. "Shit, what about your sister? Your sister made a mistake and said you were there."
Shareka chuckled. "I never left here. Sheryl books flights for all of the sales reps for when they go out of town. Itís not that hard to make a fake itinerary. I wanted you to think I was gone so I could handle my business here. I would come by in the morning before work and pick up any mail I got, too. And as far as my sister goes, I told her to act like I was down in Florida because I wanted to keep you confused. I also kinda wanted to see if you gave a damn and would try to call her when I left; ya know, to find out where I was and all. You obviously didnít give a shit cuz it took you a week to call. You know I tell my sister everything."
"Hold up, hold up, let me get this straight: you were here the whole fucking time?" he repeated louder, throwing his hands in the air. "You would pick up your mail in the morning? No wonder I didnít see your mail here! Oh, this is some wild bullshit! Iím here worrying my ass off, not knowing where you were, and you were here the whole time? My boss sent me home early cuz I was worried about yoí ass! I mean, look at me --- donít I look like shit?"
Shareka looked him up and down and shook her head. "Yea, I was about to say. I really donít think you were worried about me, though; I mean, with you getting your freak on at the club last week. Who was the girl you were with?"
Carlís jaws dropped again, an obvious sign of guilt he immediately wished he could take back. O shit, how the fuck did she know about that? "Uh...what...do you mean? I mean, yeah I went to the club, but I didnít leave with nobody!"
Shareka rolled her eyes, convinced her boyfriend was lying. "Youíre an idiot, you know that?" she said mercilessly. "How many times have I told you about my coworkers going to that club after work on Friday and Saturday nights? At least, two people from my department alone go there every week!"
Carl grunted. Muthafucka. Just my fuckiní luck. "Francesca is a coworker of yours? Ainít this a bitch."
"So, that was her name, huh? I donít know a Francesca; I just know one of my coworkers saw you hugginí up on some girl. Thanks for confirming it."
Carl winced and turned away. That was strike two. He had an urge to bang his head against the spoiler of his car for telling on himself, but he kept his cool. Shareka carefully watched every guilty gesture.
Carl couldnít come up with anything to say, so Shareka broke the silence. "So, you lied, huh?" she said with a stone-faced expression. "I knew you left with her --- I can see it in your face. Iím pretty convinced you fucked her, too. I mean, shit, you couldnít wait to get rid of me, so you couldnít wait to fuck somebody else, too, right?"
Carl quickly turned around back at her, trying his best to look innocent. "No, no, no! Yeah, I met a girl, but all I did was walk her to her car!"
"I heard she was really pretty," she replied, ignoring him. "I was too fat and sloppy for you, remember? She had what you needed and you went for it; I know you did. I bet you fucked her in our bed, too, didnít you?" Sharekaís sarcastic words and unbreakable spirit was something Carl had never seen from her before. He was caught, guilty as charged.
Carl knew the only thing he could do to diffuse the situation --- start begging.
"Baby," he pleaded, "Iíve been miserable as hell without you. That girl didnít mean shit to me! I didnít..."
"Whatever, Carl," she interrupted, "whatever. You can do whatever you want to do because Iím going to handle mine. As ignorant as you are you could never understand how you hurt me. Luckily, Sheryl was there for me. She knows a little about abuse."
"But I never abused you!"
"Yes, you did! You never hurt me with your hands, but your words did. I was on an emotional rollercoaster with you for years, struggling with your hatred of my weight. The funny thing is I guess I look the way youíve always wanted now, but my weight loss was for all the wrong reasons. I need to move on, Carl. Iím sorry."
Carl felt like his stomach was being twisted in knots. He could feel his heart racing upon sensing the urgency of this moment, finally realizing it might be too late to fix this one. It didnít look like humor was going to work. He felt too broken up to crack a joke, anyway. He wanted to come real.
"Baby," he pleaded again, "I know I fucked up. I see now how much I hurt you over the years with the comments I made. Iím in total disbelief of the length you went to keep me out of your life. I mean, shit, you hid in peopleís cars; made up a fake itinerary; sneaked in the house and picked up your mail while I was at work; and had your sister lying about your whereabouts. Damn, you were on some serious CIA shit, boy."
Carl unexpectedly made her laugh. "I also had money stashed away in a separate savings account, money Iíve been saving for awhile," she said, adding on to her list of secrets. "Also, the reason why I didnít want you getting my mail is because I didnít want you knowing about a 401K withdrawal I made --- or about my transfer to San Francisco."
Carl was speechless. He didnít think it could get any worse, but it just did. He wanted this surreal episode of mega bomb dropping to end. He felt like his whole body was going limp. "What...what do you mean by Ďtransfer?í"
"My company offered me a higher paying job at our sister company in San Francisco a few months ago," she continued, "and I decided to take it soon after I left you. Sheryl was offered a job to transfer, too. Weíre leaving tomorrow morning. They found an apartment for us and will ship our cars up there, too. I didnít tell you because I guess I knew in the back of my mind this would happen."
Carl could feel the emergence of tears in his eyes. How could he fix this one, especially with her knowing he messed around on her? He could only look down to the ground in shame as she spoke.
"Carl, Iím sorry. I just couldnít take it anymore. I really believe you donít want to be with me, so Iím just making it easier for you." She waved to Sheryl to drive up to her. Sheryl started her SUV and drove up beside her. Carl glared at Sheryl with his teary red eyes through the passenger window, resisting the urge to kick her SUV. She did not look so good to him anymore. That bitch fucked my life up.
"So, thatís it, huh," Carl said in a crackling voice. "You not even going to try to make it work?"
Shareka shook her head and sighed. "No, Carl. Iíve been trying to do that for 2 Ĺ years. I have to leave. Iíll call you when I get there, just to let you know I made it." She turned around and looked at Sheryl for a moment, then turned back to Carl. "Before I go, I have a question: was the issue with my weight really worth all of this?"
Carl pondered the question. This was definitely not ending the way he intended. He wanted to dig deep to find the magical words to change her mind. "No," was all he could muster.
Shareka nodded her head. "Yea, well, guess what? Today, Iím going to lose another 190-pounds of excess weight. I think you can figure out how Iíll do that. Goodbye, Carl."
Carl reached out to touch her, but Shareka quickly opened the door and closed it after sitting down.
"Hereís the apartment keys and a few hundred dollars to pay for some of the expenses until you find a cheaper place. Goodbye, Carl." She handed him the money and Sheryl then sped off. He didnít have the energy to run after her. He stared at the money for a second, then realized she was out of his life --- for good.
Sheryl held steady on the steering wheel, unsure whether to talk to Shareka about what just transpired with Carl. She glanced over at Sharekaís pensive face. Sheryl could see the moisture in her eyes, but the tears hadnít fallen yet.
"Are you alright?" she finally asked with genuine concern in her voice.
Shareka looked startled. She was so deep in her thoughts that the sound of Sherylís voice momentarily shook her. She took a deep breath and sighed.
"Iím fine," she replied, with a half-hearted smile. "I just had to do what I had to do." She turned to Sheryl, then reached for her hand. Sheryl gently removed her hand from the steering wheel as Shareka held it tenderly.
"Thank you, girl," Shareka said. "You were exactly what I needed. You didnít have to do what you did, but you opened your home to me and welcomed me in when I needed it the most. I canít thank you enough."
Sheryl smiled and held her hand with a firm grip. She felt a sense of strength and accomplishment in knowing she came to the aid of a friend who was in the same situation as her, just a few months before.
"You are very welcome, girl," she replied, a pool of tears growing in her eyes. "Letís just look at this move as a new beginning for both of us. Lord knows, we need it."
Shareka chuckled, as did Sheryl. Suddenly, Shareka felt more anxious for San Francisco like never before. She no longer felt anything tugging at her to hold her back. With Sheryl by her side, a soothing feeling of reassurance comforted her as she wondered about her unknown future in San Francisco. Somehow, she knew everything was going to be all right.
Man, I never wouldíve thought in a million years Iíd be planning a new life in San Francisco without Carl. I know Iím doing the right thing. He could never love me for me; my weight was always a concern for him. Seems like even when he tried to be nice, he was still an asshole. Now here I am, twenty-five pounds lighter and ... and looking sexy as hell, if I do say so myself! Maybe I should show this new body off in San Fran, wearing some cute little dress! Hmm! Yea, Iím ready to start my new life with my new friend Sheryl. Itís time to start taking care of me this time.