by
Stacey Collins

(an open letter to the woman for whom I still carry a torch)

Dear Chaunie Baby,

Hey you. I hope you are well. I haven't spoken with you in so many years, but that's not to say that I haven't thought about you. I have, many times in fact. So many things about you haunt Me that I had to write this letter. It serves as all the things Iíve wanted to say to you. I wonder if you ever think about Me. And is it in a good way or a bad way? This letter is something I had to write to release My guilt and sorrow for the way things ended between U/us. Believe it or not, it eats at Me daily.
I often wonder if you thought your advances pushed Me away or maybe you thought I wasn't attracted to you. I was, desperately so. Who wouldn't be? It was like adolescence and dating the prettiest girl in the whole school while everyone envied Me. After all, you were intelligent and strikingly beautiful with a shape that made even the sissies cream. (And yes, even Lance drooled a bit.) Still to this day if I mention you to someone, without fail the common remark is in relation to your beauty.
I apologize for not being as open as I should have been. It's just that I was in love with Shelly and couldnít shake it. After all, you did know how I felt about her. It's not that I didn't want you. My presence in your home was evident of that as I loved being around you. You thought I wanted you to be more like her, but that wasn't it at all. It was that I wanted her to be like you. I often think back to lying on my stomach across your bed and how you would always straddle Me, massaging My back cuz you knew My UPS job was kickin' My ass. I loved all of your ways---the seductive glances in front of mixed company, the way you would lightly touch Me when you talked to Me and those pretty, pouty lips that would indicate your dislike for something I said or did. You never clowned Me in public. Well, maybe onceÖ
Do you remember when you and Stacy got into a yelling match because you wanted Me to go home with you and cut My time short with him? What a night that was. I was so embarrassed seeing My girlfriend and My boyfriend outside the club nose-to-nose yelling like an umpire and a baseball team manager. Boy, did Avery have jokes about that night. I remember him saying, ďDamn mama, you must have some good-ass pussy or give some mean head or somethiní. I ainít never seen no shit like this.Ē *chuckle*
I remember when Hope first introduced U/us at C.O.D.ís, I had no idea that you were bi. I recall thinking that you were kinda cute but that was about it. Itís funny cuz I didnít even think you paid much attention to Me after the initial introduction. I also remember how Shelly got so high off sherm that night, Avery and I had to take her around the corner to Dunkiní Donuts to get some milk to calm her stomach and bring her down a bit. Here I was in love with this cute chick that wanted nothing other than to be a drug-abusing party girl and unbeknownst to Me, the woman that would haunt Me for the rest of My life was right back around the corner.

It wasnít til a month or so later when Robert re-opened the Muzik Box on Lake Street, that I realized how pretty you really were. You sat upstairs with Avery and I while W/we worked the door checking IDís and searching party people for weapons and liquor. I remember catching you looking at Me but I thought absolutely nothing of it cuz after all, you were Cocoís girl.
It wasnít til the summer when W/we ran into each other again at The Box on 22nd Street. You were so happy to see Me and it was evident the way you stuck to Me that night. I didnít mind cuz I enjoyed your company. Who wouldnít mind having the most beautiful sista in the club hanginí out with them all night? It wasnít til I was leaving and you were so adamant about Me calling you the next day that I began to wonder, but I shrugged it off when Avery asked Me about it later. When I called you and you admitted that you liked Me, I was speechless. I didnít even think you were into women but nevertheless, I was so flattered by your bold admission. You probably had no idea, but I was smiling ear to ear that night on the phone. The whole next day I was beaming all over the placeÖbut still I couldnít shake this twisted thing I had for Shelly. So W/we tried to embark on this odd relationship, both of U/us balancing boyfriends, me with work, you with school and a strong feeling W/we couldnít deny.
Do you remember when Coco found your journal and called Me yelling, sure of the fact that I seduced you when it was really the other way around. I never told him how things really progressed between U/us because it wasnít his business. He swore up and down that I was trying to turn you out, but you already knew you liked women. It was Coco that didnít know the real you. (I think Brotus knew about U/us but just never said anything to him.) How stupid Coco must have felt when he read your journal and how you loved Me. I know his pride was crushed to pieces. Remember how he threatened Me if I came over to see you? But I came anyway cuz you needed Me and nothing would keep Me from being there for you. See baby, I really did care for you. My head was just in another place because I was still so stuck on Shelly that My heart couldnít seem to break free from the thought of her. She was a tease and you offered the real thing, but I kept hanging on to the possibilities that she would come around. After all, she was the first woman that I felt that way about.
Meanwhile, you were steadily growing tired of Me going out socializing and partying without even asking you to join Me. You were tired of Me making excuses about why W/we couldnít go out to dinner and date like normal people that cared about one another. Not making love to you was probably the most insulting of all and Iím sure, the icing on the cake. But it wasnít because I didnít want to. I wanted to more than you know. I remember that night how your sister was leaving as I was coming in. She had that stupid smirk on her face, telling Me to enjoy My evening and I had no idea what she was talking about. That is, til I heard your voice calling from the dark, inviting Me into your bedroom. I can still picture how you looked lying in bed waiting for Me that night after you turned on the bedside lamp. I wanted you so bad. I would have done anything to greedily consume every inch of your flawless, thick-in-all-the-right-places, chocolate frame, starting with playing in your soft, shiny hair and kissing you all the way to the tips of those perfectly-manicured toes. But I didnít. I just thought it would be in poor taste to have sex with you knowing that if Shelly called Me the next day, I would drop everything and follow her around like a mindless zombie. Well, she never called Me but at least I never made love to you and left you hanging. To this day, I still feel good about My decision not to do that to you. I know I missed out on one of the most loving and memorable experiences of My life, but I cared enough about you to not take you that far and drop you off that way.
So no matter how late My apology, I still want to send it out because it's something I live with everyday and fret over constantly. Chaunie, I am sorry and never meant to hurt you. I pray daily that you are happy with a blessed life and good health. You have set the bar for what I look for in a partner. If God blesses Me, Iíll meet another woman that is (at the very least) comparable to you or better yet, Iíll see ďyou in another life, when we are both cats.Ē

Love always,
Stacey

The End

Copyright © 2005. Used by permission of author. All Rights Reserved.

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