Authors: Tiana Laveen
“I won’t feel overwhelmed.”
“Aaron.” The doctor grimaced and crossed his arms. “There is no time for that right now. Drop the act. You have to be open.”
Aaron ignored the man and looked towards the window. The white, partially sheer curtains blew back and forth from air that was pulsing through the place.
“What did I ask you to do Aaron if you feel out of control or upset to the point that you are unable to pull yourself together?”
“…to call you.”
“Right, to call me. My cell phone will be on 24-7 this weekend. I will stop whatever it is I am doing to answer it. I am here to walk you through this process, and help you get through it. There are no expectations, do you understand me?”
Aaron showed his agreement with a gaze, then shot a glance back towards the bedroom door to catch the fidgety shadow moving about, blocking part of the threshold.
“Okay, good.” Dr. Owens slowly got to his feet and made his way towards the front door. He opened it, and as he proceeded to close it behind him, he looked over his shoulder and whispered, “Sometimes the answers to our problems truly are black and white…”
ER FOREHEAD RESTED
against the bedroom door as she heard the front door close and lock. She barely understood what Dr. Owens had said; everything seemed jumbled and mumbled but when the voices stopped, she knew the tide had come in, the seasons had changed, and they were alone…
She’d assumed she’d be filled with excitement, chomping at the bit for the wonderful opportunity to perhaps make things right. Rather, trepidation crept within her like tiny fingers from some ghostly intruder. On the other side of that door existed a broken up world that she didn’t know. There stood an inmate… an inmate she’d look in the eye, one she’d tell herself she could go on with or without. A man stood out there, dripping in distorted philosophies that disgusted her to the point that she didn’t walk away; no, she made it her mission to try and reform and mold him, help him give birth to a new way of thought.
You wanted that man…
And then you fell in love with that man!
When are you going to stop lying to yourself and tell the truth? As soon as you saw what he wrote in those letters, the way you pulled each other in, you were hooked! You seduced one another! You don’t have the guts to open this door. You know what lies ahead for you…
On an abysmal breath, she prepared to enter the realm of the unknown. But, before she could make her grand entrance, a deep, husky yet terse voice broke the stifled silence like a bomb exploding in a world previously only filled with cottony clouds wrapped around quiet thoughts.
“Damn it, get out here!” his voice roared, seemingly shaking the walls. “We’re both here. I know you’re there; let’s get this shit over with!”
ARON WAS SICK
and tired of his mind and heart arguing about who would win the war. He stared at that bedroom door as the damn thing cracked open just a sliver or two. Slowly but surely, a figure slid out until she was fully revealed. She cupped her hands, one over the other, raised her chin high, then looked him dead in the eye.
“Mia…” His lips moved when he told those bastards to stay put. At the sight of the beauty, his heart burst with surprising elation.
She’s so fucking beautiful!
Then, truth came and tore him away from the moment. Antagonism soared in his tightening veins just as quickly as the blood flowing through them and the shit began to clot at the sight of her. The woman stood there, poised, firm—yet a touch of fear dwelled in her syrupy eyes. He scanned her, falling into repugnant lust as he took notice of the perfect curves framing her body—small waist and long legs that went on for prison days… and that was a long damn time. Her shiny, full lips called to his dick in a sexy whisper.
She stood there in a long red sundress… antagonizing him, teasing him, torturing him. A vent above her head caused the skirt to lightly billow around her, along with strands of her long, dark, wavy hair. Her light caramel skin had a healthy glow… skin he was supposed to hate, but instead, craved to caress, touch, kiss, and mark as his own.
He tried to hate her, everything about her, but he failed before she’d even been in his presence for thirty seconds.
His breathing accelerated as they took careful steps towards one another, drawn to each other, moving bit by bit. His feet kept going, when he told his body to be still!
He chastised himself as another rapid tumble and roll of anger moved inside him. He felt damn near schizophrenic. The fight within him was becoming too much.
“Why?!” he yelled at her, feeling pressure in his skull as his voice wrapped around the question and cracked like glass. He’d told himself what the hell he was going to do and say to the woman, but nothing was going as planned… so from now on, this shit was coming straight from the hip. “Why, Mia?! Why did you play these games with me!”
“And it better be the truth!” He jammed his finger accusingly in her direction, keeping his distance now as he feared his anger would escalate.
“Because I genuinely liked you, Aaron, and didn’t know what else to do!”
He looked away from her, turned his back, needing a break from looking into her damn eyes. But, she just kept on talking.
“Initially, when I first wrote to you, I didn’t tell you my real name or any of that because… because I figured we’d talk on and off for the year you were scheduled to be incarcerated and that would be the end of it, you know?” He looked back in her direction. “I didn’t know…” She paused, her voice choked up as she covered her mouth with trembling hands and her eyes watered. “I didn’t know I’d fall in love with you, but I did!”
He turned back around, away from the sight of her. How could he bear to hear her words? No, that didn’t make sense… how could it? How could she truly love him? Knowing who he was and what he was capable of?
Her footsteps echoed behind her as she raced towards him, closing off their gap, locking him in, and then… her felt her small, warm hand touch his shoulder. He shook her off like a damn tree branch that had grazed his body, then stepped away. A sense of violation encompassed him.
“Don’t touch me. Don’t you
touch me.” His hand shook as he pointed in her direction.
“How can I not? Never mind that… Aaron, everything but my name and physical description, as far as my race, were true. Everything! How I felt… No, how I
for you is real!”
“No, it’s not. It couldn’t be. You’re a liar, remember?! I can’t believe a word that comes out of your damn mouth!”
true, damn it!”
“What? True that you’re in love with me or true that you’re a liar?” he taunted.
For a split second, he almost burst out laughing… but he reeled it in.
“You can’t tell me how I feel!” she screamed. “You have no right to tell me how I feel, Aaron!”
right to do and say whatever I want to you!” He stormed up to her, got in her face. The woman’s chin tilted a bit higher as she put on a brave face, but her body quaked ever so slightly. This time, he didn’t enjoy the taste of fear…
Yet, she didn’t blink, but stood firm, unwavering.
“And that’s too bad, now isn’t it?” he sneered. “I don’t trust you, don’t want you, don’t need you.” He stormed away and slumped down onto the couch to stare at a blank television. Her reflection was cast upon it as she simply stood there, glaring at the back of his head. Several moments later, she joined him, sat on the other end of the thing.
“Aaron, you can be mad at me for not telling you my name and all of that, but I’ll be
if I will apologize to you for being black.”
“I never asked you to.” He refused to look into those eyes of hers as he steepled his fingers under his chin.
I might need to call Dr. Owens. I’m trying not to, but I think it’s time for me to go. I felt such rage for her just now… but I also felt… Never mind any of that… I just need to get the fuck out of here…
“I won’t apologize for trying to help you, for sharing my life with you, for lovin’ you,
the parts of you. I didn’t love the ugliness inside of you, but that ugliness was because you were hurting. I understood you, even when others told me I shouldn’t. I believed that you loved me… I believed that you were sincere.”
There’s the phone right there on that mantel. I could just stand up and make the call…
“I knew despite what you’d been doing, there was hope for you. I saw it in your letters… I saw the
you in your letters and they screamed at me; they spelled it out!” She lunged for him, grabbed his wrist. He looked down at her hand, the light brown flesh gripping his fair skin. “They told me that you didn’t hate me because I was black! You hated me because people that looked like me had caused you pain, and you came from a world that told you it was me against you… but it isn’t! It’s just you and me, Aaron. I wanted us to be a team, to work together!”
“That’s the thing.” He slowly lifted his gaze and dared himself to look at her once more.
How could God make somethin’ so damn beautiful and the Devil make me hate his creation? She’s a damn field of wild flowers…look at all that freedom and love and light in her eyes… they look like dollops of honey… She’s a walkin’ symphony, and I wanna hear her solo…Stay on track, Aaron…stay on track.
“Trust is a big thing with me, Mia. Once trust is violated, I can’t… I can’t go back.”
Why am I not calling Dr. Owens?! Why am I explaining myself to her?
“Aaron… Listen to me, please.” The muted tone of desperation limped across each syllable that spilled from open, slightly moist lips. He could see she was trying her damndest to make this right, to make it better…
…Yes, make it better, Mia…
But he wasn’t sure that she could. Not now, not ever.
“What I did was wrong. There is no other way to cut, dice, and slice that reality and turn it into something else, something good. I won’t pretend otherwise. But you have to understand that initially I knew I wasn’t supposed to participate in the pen pal program, but hardly anyone was signing up. I wanted to help, so I did it, and I figured there would be no harm in using a fake name and identity. I’d just be your friend, someone to talk to, and then it would be over.”
“But what about when you realized I was serious and wanted more than a pen pal, Mia? Why didn’t you stop and tell me the truth?”
She rubbed her hands together and averted her gaze as if she, too, couldn’t bear to face him a moment longer.
“You had plenty of opportunity. We’ve been correspondin’ for about six months. In that timeframe, I wrote forty-eight letters to you, Mia! Forty fucking eight! You wrote me forty-two, not including all the ones I sent back to you recently. You had almost fifty chances to tell me the truth and now you want another? Well, fuck that shit!”