Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Long Hot Summer

That summer we both worked as residential assistants at the college we attended.  As it happened, we both moved into our rooms at the dorm that same night.  There were two other R.A.’s scheduled to work at the dorm with us, but they hadn’t arrived yet.  We knew each other from having worked at the same place for campus work-study during the fall and spring semesters.  I have to admit I did think she was mad cute when we first met, but I can’t say whether or not there was an instant attraction between us.  I was dating someone else at the time, and that someone else had me pretty much sprung. So back then she was little more than an acquaintance: just another pretty face passing by in the office where we worked.  The extent of our conversation was usually “hi” “how are your classes going,” the pointless banter in between that, and “bye”. All of that changed that night during that hot New Orleans summer.  Sometimes in spite of our best intentions, or rather, in spite of the fact that we may have no intentions one way or another, sometimes, the most unexpected things just…happen.
I was setting up shop in my little monk’s cell that evening.  The narrow dorm rooms came equipped with a bed, a desk, and a shelf that was attached to the wall.  It was up to the occupant to personalize it in any way they saw fit.  I was sitting on the floor doing just that, unpacking my clothes, my books and my boom box when she paid me a visit.  As she walked into my room, I had a chance to notice from my vantage point on the floor what beautifully long, slender, copper-brown legs she had. 
It occurs to me in retrospect that I had always admired those legs, somewhere in the back of my mind.  Even before I started living the single life, I can recall past work days during the spring semester where I would secretly hope she was wearing shorts when she came to work that day; just so I could admire her from afar you understand, nothing more or less.  I wasn’t a bad boy when I was in a relationship with someone…knock-on-wood.   Anyway, as I recall, she rarely disappointed.  New Orleans weather was just about always mild enough for that, and as far as New Orleans summers were concerned, showing some skin was a given.  I know, I know, I’m digressing.
I let my eyes drift slowly up her shapely legs, admiring every other part of her as I did.  She was bronzed-skinned and about 5’, 8”somewhat tall for a woman, and athletically built. Her waist was slender, and her round, non-prominent breasts were perfectly proportioned to her slim figure. She had a heart-shaped face, framed with short, auburn hair, and large expressive brown eyes that seemed to smile at you even before her full, beautiful lips did, and when she did smile, it was radiantly infectious. Even with all these attributes, she always seemed unaffected by her natural beauty. Every time I saw her she seemed to carry herself in a somewhat tomboyish manner, even now, standing there as she did in her tee shirt, cut-off blue jean shorts and tennis shoes.  I got the impression she had little or no idea of the effect she had on the opposite sex.  I played it cool as she walked in.  I gave her one of my patented cocky grins and tried not to exhale too audibly.
“Hey Tee.”
“Hey.  How’s it going?  You’re not set up yet?”  She smiled.
“Uh, it’s little bit harder for me than for someone who was already living on campus Ms. Thang.
“Excuses!  I still had to move from one dorm all the way over to another one.”
Omigod! I hope you didn’t strain yourself moving a duffle bag full of books and dirty clothes across the quadrangle!”
“Dirty clothes?”  She puffed up in feigned indignation and turned around like she was about to leave. 
“Now see, you didn’t even have to go there…!”
“C’mon Tee…I was just playing…Tee! Tee!  I luuh you!”
She had been halfway out of the door when I said that, and when she heard me she stopped at the threshold and burst out laughing.
“You crazy fool!”  She said once she had caught her breath.
“Oh, so now you’re “Mister Tee,” huh?”  I laughed.
“Please!” She scoffed.  “ I’ll see you later okay?”
“Okay.  I’ll come up to your room and check out your progress.”
“You do that.  I’ll show you how it’s done.”
There was so much I could have done with that last one, but I decided it would be so much more appropriate to let it slide.
“…Uh huh…Later Tee.”
I continued trying to get my room in order, but now I was distracted.  I hadn’t thought about being down with anybody in a minute, and now I could feel my mind starting to wander in the same direction that Tee had gone.  My ex-girl and I had parted under some severely painful and emotionally confusing circumstances months ago:  I had been in and out of at least two more “semi-so-called relationships” since then (I guess you could go ahead and call them rebounds) so I was pretty much over her, and those other two by now. I was emotionally numb; and I wasn’t really looking forward to starting up anything new.  All I wanted was to do my job, make my summer money, and clear my head.  As far as the opposite sex was concerned, my attitude was like ya’ boy Franklin Swift’s, in Terry McMillan’s Disappearing Acts:  “I’m tired of women.”
 At least, that’s how I thought I felt, and that’s all I though I wanted.  In an effort to get my mind back into work mode, I decided to go out and inspect the rooms on my wing.
 But my heart wasn’t really in it. It was about 6 in the evening when, halfway through inspecting the second room, my mind was wandering again. 
My wayward feet soon followed suite, and I found myself up on Tee’s floor. As I walked onto her wing and down the hall I could hear the faint sound of a music coming from an open door down at the other end.  As I walked down the hall towards her room, I decided it might be best if I announced my presence on the floor.
“I’m here! C’mon down.” 
I walked down to here room reassured, (and to be honest, somewhat disappointed) that I wouldn’t catch her in an embarrassing state of undress or disarray.  I peered into a room identical to mine on a basic level, but with the exception of a feminine touch and a somewhat lived-in look to it.  I’d seen Tee’s room in the other dorm during the past semester at the height of finals week, and let’s just say she could be a bit of a pack rat.  Her radio was playing upbeat R&B courtesy of one our local radio stations.
“FM 98?”  I asked.
“Cool.  So,” I said, looking around, “This is where you hide the bodies.”
“Shut up.”  She said, laughing. “Come on in.”  

Have you ever sat down and talked to a woman?  When I say “talk” I don’t mean “spit yo’ game” type of shit either, I mean really talk to her…. both of you on equal ground, no pressure, nobody trying to be anything other than themselves….

Neither of you making a conscious effort to talk your way into the other person’s pants? 

If you have, then you, like me, have probably discovered that the quickest way to talk your way into someone’s pants is by not trying to.   And talked was all we did for most of that evening.   We discussed our hopes for the upcoming summer semester, we laughed, we listened to music and we talked some more.  Every now and then as the radio played, one of us would exclaim, “Aww, sh…! That’s my song!” and we would momentarily stop talking and just sit and listen.

As the evening went on, FM 98 slowed their program format down to “The Quiet Storm” and after the smooth, mellow basso voice of the deejay, the next thing I heard was one of my favorite songs by a group named Troop….“All I Do Is Think Of You.”
Man! I swear whoever penned that song was a freakin’ lyrical genius! 

I can’t wait to get to school each day, and wait for you to pass my way, and bells start to ring, an angel starts to sing, “Hey that’s the girl for you… So what are you gonna’ do?”  Hey little girl, I love you (I love you so…) 
All I do is think of you (day and night) that’s all I do! I can’t get you off my mind, think about you all the time (all the time…)

“Now this,” I sighed, “Is THE song. If this had been out back when I was in high school, it would have been a part of the soundtrack of my so-called life back then.”  I closed my eyes, put my head back and softly harmonized my baritone with the lead vocalist’s tenor.
I was sitting on the floor with my back resting against Tee’s nightstand while we talked.  She was lying on her bed.  When I looked up at her I noticed her eyes were half-closed.  I figured she was falling asleep and was probably being too polite to say, “Get on your route.” Then I glanced at the clock on her nightstand and saw that it was almost 11p.m. by then, so I decided it was time to excuse myself.

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