I am wearing lingerie when he enters my place. It’s late, one, maybe two, in the morning. My booty-call is a co-worker who decided to visit on a whim after several explicit texts. The third guy I’d sleep with at my job, but luckily, the other two have left. We sit on my sofa. Lights low. Television on.
He says, “I’ve wanted this for a long time.”
I act surprised. I lean into him, realizing as we start to kiss, I am already tired.
I’m twenty-six, doing Big Things: $65,000 a year job, benefits, an Acura T-S-X. I own my own house.
Well, not a house. I have a condo.
Well, not a George-Jefferson-de-luxe-apartment-in-the-sky kind of condo. I own 500 square feet on the ground floor of an ancient mid-rise. The walls are seafoam green. The bathroom, fish pink. One night, I woke to loud chomping noises and saw a giant rat slim itself flat and slide through an opening beside the heating unit. Around the corner is a Popeyes and a liquor store with a giant statue of a golden bull on top of it, apparently named “The Golden Bull.” People live in the woods across from my building. A woman was found slain in the graveyard next door, murdered by MS-13 gang members, my neighbors.
Big Things, indeed.
Usually, I’m on Myspace when I’m alone at night. The search queue is my shopping list. Late night, I am sprawled across my financed couch watching Mary J. Blige sing on VH1-Soul about going down while I down a bottle of wine, the blue illumination of my laptop screen glowing across my shoulders and face. The screen shows several potential dates, some I will let take me out. And then maybe, if I feel like it, I’ll fuck them. Why not? I have my own house.
My dating life is as glamorous as owning this piece of shit condo. I go from one guy to the next, spending most of my night alone. No such thing as the male equivalent of a deluxe apartment in the sky. Just 500 square feet of ground level space and dudes who don’t call back the next day.
Afterward, my booty-call and I are talking. The sex was bad, but we laugh it off. We have to, we work together.
I rest my head on his shoulder and tell him I’m tired. Tired of big things. He rubs my arm and says he is too. We want a relationship, but not with one another. We agree silently that this is and will always be our only time together, so that ten years later, if and or when we see one another again, there will be no awkward silences or weird tension. We are not meant for one another.
When he leaves, I draft my plan for 2007: find God, save money, pay off my undergraduate debt, apply to law school, work on myself. I write in my journal, “None of the goals noted have underlying intentions related to men. No men, Tyrese! 2007 is all about me! Oh, and work on getting my place together…”
Tyrese L. Coleman is a writer, wife, mother, and attorney. She is also the fiction editor for District Lit, an online journal of writing and art, and an associate editor at SmokeLong Quarterly. A 2016 Kimbilio Fiction Fellow and a nonfiction scholar at Virginia Quarterly Review's 2016 Writer’s Conference, her prose has appeared in several publications, including PANK, Buzzfeed, Brevity, The Rumpus, Hobart, listed in Wigleaf's Top 50 (very) short fictions, and forthcoming at The Kenyon Review. She lives in the Washington D.C. metro area, and can be reached at tyresecoleman.com.
Tyrese urges you to learn more about Autism Speaks, an organization that aims to promote solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the lifespan, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of autism; and advancing research into causes and related conditions. Visit autismspeaks.org.