tanya’s new man
You came over last Saturday, with the first rain.
Hanger shoulders hidden under
a gray cashmere pashmina.
Later you told me you could barely remember drizzle
or that Tanya came by that night
with her new man Earl.
She came knocking not long after you did.
You spoke through the camouflage
of an iron screen door.
It was easier that way to hide your tousled hair and
shrunken body. I remember thinking that your
lithe frame seemed to hover over the cold wood floor.
I remember the night sky had a crimson
tint. I theorized it
was the chemicals and the city lights held in tight
by the canopy of rain clouds like our
own version of Northern lights.
I watched it all from the dark window. You
shuffling out with
Tanya to the two idling cars in the street,
stepping gingerly across the
damp sidewalk with wet sandals.
It was unlike you to meet a stranger
looking so disheveled. The cat purred at my
feet as i listened to Earl's heavy voice
echo off the shoulder
to shoulder apartments on the darkened street:
" I've heard so much about you from Tanya."
" Yes Tanya IS a wonderful woman."
" Uh-huh, we are going to the movies, then dinner."
Later after Tanya left, I remember asking the
obvious questions: Why did they drive separate cars?
What did he look like? Your reply surprised
me as much as
your dazed appearance had earlier.
" you can't trust no nigga on the first date! What if after
a few cheap drinks, he go and get all clingy and
she got no way home?! What then...huh?!"
I hid perplexity within my laughter
and let the television,
the rain with the cars skidding by fill
in the blanks. I wondered
quietly into the night. Way after your hunched shadow drifted
trough the drizzle. It wasn't until days later, as the girls ran through
the house and play echoed off evening walls did i ask about the Saturday past.
" I did what?!"
" Tanya came over here? What for?"
"I went out looking like what!?"
You told me of the concoction of
Effexor and Ambien that you took
that night. About chasing it down
with Vodka and orange juice before
heading out. How it felt as if you had
dreamed it all. I remember feeling as
if I was alone that rainy night. As if
i had dreamed it too. As if Tanya's
new man Earl was a figment of both
of our imagination. As if the
first rain of Fall had never come. As
if somehow I too was high through
it all. It was better that way. It closed
the door on any hard questions.
We never spoke of that night or of
Tanya's new man again.