Illusions Of Love

by Jimmie Rich

The sound of smooth jazz music flowed through the air as the featured band of open-mic night shared chemistry with their instruments. The music caused the men to slightly bob their heads, while causing the women to move slowly and seductively. Everybody seemed to be in a great mood; except for Benny, who was sitting at the bar throwing back shots of cognac back to back. His facial expression showed extreme sadness as if somebody had just ate his pet fish. Nobody even wanted to sit by him as if they were in fear that his unhappiness would rub off on their ass.

All eyes became glued to the host as he hopped on the stage and approached the microphone.

"How all my beautiful people doing in here tonight?" he asked everyone in the audience. (The audience applauded.)

"I said how all my beautiful people doing in here tonight?" he asked again to get the crowd more involved and amp'd up. (The crowd applauded again even louder than before.)

"Wow! I see so many amazing looking women in here tonight!" he said.

"If I was a married man I would most definitely be trying to commit adultery." (The crowd began shouting out in laughter.)

"Shot out to all the married couples in the house," said the host as he raised his glass filled with cognac in the air.

"Woooooooooaah!" (The audience cheered as they clapped their hands and raised their glasses.)

Benny didn't even bother to raise his glass even though he fit directly into the category of the married. Only difference between him and all the other married people in the bar is that his wife wasn't by his side. And that was what had him feeling down and out.

"Okay y'all ready to get this show started?", the host asked the audience.

"Yeaaaaaaaaaah!" they all yelled back in response.

"I said is y'all ready to get this show started?", he asked again in a louder tone of voice.

"Yeaaaaaaaaaaah!" the crowd yelled, whistled, and clapped their hands together.

"Well before I bring out the first featured poet I want to try out this new piece of artwork that I just recently put together."

"I put a lot of thought into this.... A lot of mental energy," he said pointing his index finger at his head.

"It is something my life can relate to, and I believe many other people will be able to relate to it as well."

"Both men and women, married or single, straight or gay," he said, causing the crowd to let out a slight laughter.

"The title of this poem my people is," (he pauses for a couple seconds),...

"Illusions Of Love," he said very slowly and mysteriously.

He then took a deep breath, held it in for about 5 seconds; released; then he begin to speak.

	"Can somebody please define love?"
 	"It seems as if most of us spend our entire lives trying to find love,
	Not realizing we have really only been chasing what our minds love!"
	"And how many of us can truly say that we live to give-
	 that unconditional all the time/anytime love!"
	"When you have both women and men destroying each others lives behind love!"
	"Who in here can answer that question?"
	"This here is for my mans who looking for a second chance-
	cause his girl got him suffering from the hands of depression!"
	"Tired of constantly being lied to, so he feel like he should demand a confession."
	"Swore up and down that all she wanted to do was be in love-
	but somewhere along the line she ran from the blessing."
	"But for some reason thought that she would find love in that other man she was sexing."
	"But she was lost!"
	"And him, he was a fool to believe that she wanted him for anything other-
	than the way he flossed."
	"At first everything just seemed so perfect."
	"The feelings that they once shared made him believe that she was all worth it."
	"But somehow all of those blessings turned into curses,
	when her true emotions began to touch the surface."
	"Oh the confusion!,
	to believe you were winning when all the time you were really losing!"
	"And to find out that whatever that was that you thought was love,
	was all a muthafucking illusion!..."

"Thank You," he said as he lowered the microphone and bowed his head.

(The audience the stood and applauded and cheered as the host took a bow and walked off the stage.)

"Damn that nigga is deep!" said one fine black chick as she stood and clapped.

Benny was amazed to hear a poem that so much resembled what he was currently going through. He felt like that speech was intended for him as he began to feel a little better. It made him feel better just to know that he wasn't alone out there. And also to know that he wasn't the only one who has, or is going through and experiencing a relationship from hell. He took his last shot, tipped the bar tender, and exited the bar.

He wasn't too drunk so he hopped in his car and took a ride to clear his head a little bit. As he drove around he saw places and things that made him reminisce about the good times he once shared with his wife Tiffany. He had been with her going on eleven years, but had only been married for six of those years. And out of those eleven years only the first five of them were considered sweet. Benny often found himself staring at his wedding band wondering why he was even wearing it.

The reason for him feeling that way was because those first five years when the relationship between him and Tiffany was sweet was when he was doing real good financially. He wasn't a baller when they first met, but she could see he was getting some kind of money. Still at the time he didn't believe that was what she wanted him for. The feelings they shared for one another at the time they believed were the feelings of true love. They were only eighteen and nineteen years old at the time so they still pretty much had a lot to learn. And in time Benny ended up learning the hard way.

The dope game was paying him well at one point in his life. Because of it, he was able to splurge on nice cars, clothes, and jewelry. He was even able to buy a nice house at one point. His drug profits allowed him to take the love of his life Tiffany on countless shopping sprees. They ate at the finest restaurants. And from time to time they would even take a vacation somewhere exotic like the Virgin Islands, or the Bahamas, or Hawaii.

Yea everything was pretty peachy for those first few years. But similar to the drug game, long-term relationships can be very unpredictable. It's like buying a used car from a stranger or a used car lot. You just never know what to expect sometimes. Things can be going so good for a while, and all it takes is one thing to go wrong and the whole shit just starts falling apart.

The blocks Benny was hustling on were becoming extremely hot. Niggas was getting locked up left and right. Houses were getting raided. And besides it being a drought on good dope, the fact that somebody was snitching on everybody was causing the murder rate to rise in the inner-city. Times like these made most dealers want to lay low for a while and get things back in motion once the streets cooled off. But Benny, hearing that he now had a baby boy on the way, was thinking about giving the game up for good.

He was excited to be soon having a sequel of himself being born into the world. The thought of it made him just want to settle down and get a job. So that's what he ended up doing. In doing so, he was able to escape the consequences of the drug game, which usually led to either death, or an extensive jail sentence. He got rid of the last little bit of dope he had at a whole sale ticket, then he went and got a full-time job at a factory.

He didn't see it coming as his life slowly but surely went from being full of joy and happiness, to being full of sorrow and depression. Not only was his drug profits starting to dwindle down, but one day he ended up injuring his foot real bad on the job. So now because of his injury he could no longer work, and he damn sure wasn't in the position to go and post up on the block. But to put the icing on his now all out of place cake, his wife ended up having a miscarriage, which really left him sitting around depressed. It was like he had inherited a real fucked up case of bad luck.

He then found himself just sitting around the house taking pain killers for his injured foot. But what he really needed was some pain killers for the pain he now felt in his heart. Because not only was he hurt from his dreams of having a sequel being crushed, but he could now sense that his wife's attitude toward him had shifted. And instead of the love and support he should have been getting from her while he was down, he was getting nothing but negativity. Instead of getting massages and fresh cooked meals, all he was getting was a whole lot of nagging; most of the time about shit that wasn't even that important.

As he drove around trying to clear his mind he realized his mind couldn't be cleared as it constantly replayed disrespectful and dirty shit that she said to him at some point. He kept thinking about an argument him and his wife had about her miscarriage. And it was like he could hear her saying what she said all over again like he was reliving the moment. Those words struck his heart like a nail being hit with a sledge-hammer.

"So what! It wasn't yours anyway," is what she said about having the miscarriage.

"Fuck you mean it wasn't mine?" is the question that continuously replayed in his mind.

Those words coming out of his wife's mouth led to countless fights and arguments that sometimes ended with her calling the police; and with Benny being handcuffed and taken to the nearest precinct. And while sitting in his cell he was given nothing but a lot of time to think. And he began thinking to himself,

"This Can't Be Love!"

To Be Continued!,...

Illusions Of Love by Jimmie Rich

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