_____I should have known that something was up from the way Tayla looked when she came home from the weekend with her father. Bruce had dropped her off and we said our goodbyes but when Tayla and I were finally alone she just kept looking at me with this weird look. "What's wit you?" I asked as I went back into the kitchen to finish dinner.
_____"Daddy and Brittney broke up," my daughter smiled. I knew that she didn't much care for the woman that her father was dating but I had no idea that a break up would cause such enlighment in her life.
_____"And that's good why?" I asked as I chopped carrots for my potpie.
_____"Because it means that he's free now." She leaned on the counter and beamed at me.
_____"Tayla whatever is going on in that lovely head of yours right now get rid of it. You know your father and I are just friends. Have always been and always will be," I had to convince my sixteen year old for the umpteenth time.
_____"But Ma you guys haven't even tried to make a go at it." Man this girl was relentless.
_____"Tayla, your father and I both agreed a long, long time ago that a relationship would never work out. We are two totally different people." My daughter's smiled dropped. "Baby is it really that important to have your parents married?" She shook her had. Now I was confused. "Then why this overwhelming excitement in your father's unfortunate love loss?"
_____"It's not that I'm all that happy about Daddy and Brittney breaking up. I just thought that since the opportunity has presented itself this might be a good time to get you back in the game."
_____"Get me back in the…" I had to stop what I was doing and digest that. "Back in what game?"
_____"The dating game." She said.
_____"And what makes you think that I'm out of this so called game?"
_____"Comon Ma. When was the last time you were on a date? I mean you do nothing all the time. The only person you hang out with is Sharon and frankly I sometimes wonder about her intentions." I looked at Tayla to see if she was really serious. Was she really suspicious of Sharon? Did she know anything?
_____"Tayla I'm fine. I'm happy doing things by myself. And Sharon is my best friend so her intentions are nothing but genuine. Got it? Good." Now go on in your room and finish your homework because I know you didn't do it before you left for your father's on Friday." Man did I know how to stop a show.
_____"And what was your response?" I was on the phone with Sharon that night, and I was telling her about my conversation with Tayla. There were no worries of Tayla picking up the phone and hearing because she had her own extension and I had mine. When two women lived in the same house there were many things that couldn't be shared and the telephone was one of them.
_____ "I told her not to worry because we were just friends and that was your only mission." I said, knowing that it would cause a lengthy discussion again. I heard her sigh on the other end. "Sharon don't start. You know what's up." I warned.
_____"Yeah Leslie I know what's up. I've known what is up for the past two years. Where we need to be is letting everyone else know what's up."
_____"It's not that simple and you know that. I have a child." I said to her. It wasn't anything that I hadn't said before. It wasn't anything that she hadn't said before.
_____"Yeah you have a child. I had parents. I had a sister and a brother and grandparents. None of who are speaking to me because of who I am. But was I supposed to hide out all my life? I couldn't have done that. I would have been miserable." She said.
_____"Sharon I didn't bring you out. You were out before you met me."
_____"That's not the point Les. The point is that I love you and I thought you loved me."
_____"I do." I caught myself whispering and looking around my bedroom. My door was closed and Tayla always knocked before entering. There was a long silence. At first I thought she hung up but I heard her breathing.
_____"Do you?" She said softly. Oh this was bad. She was hurt bad this time. I had really done it.
_____"Sharon don't do this." I begged.
_____"Maybe this is exactly what I need to do." She said, confidently now.
_____"No it's not." I insisted.
_____"You need to make up your mind about what you want Leslie. You need to decide if you want to be with me or just be my friend." She was serious. I could hear it in her voice. She really wanted me to come out to everyone that I knew; especially my sixteen-year-old daughter. How in the world was I going to do that? Tayla was not ready for this. Hell I was not ready for this. I had managed to keep my sexuality a secret for two years. For five months I even managed to keep it a secret from myself. After meeting Sharon and sleeping with her for the first time, I tried all I could to convince myself that I was not gay. I told myself that I was just rebounding from my breakup with Damon. But Damon and I had broken up a year before. I told myself that I was drunk that night. But I hadn't even been drinking. I tried to convince myself that she seduced me and it was all her fault. But we were at my house in my bedroom. Nothing worked so I finally dealt with it. I finally give in to all the strange feelings I felt whenever I saw a women who carried herself like Sharon. She was confident. She was strong. She knew what she wanted and knew how to get it. She was thuggish but not in the drug dealing, gun toting way. The way she looked at me liquefied me. The way she flirted with me made me quiver. The way she smiled at me made my heart melt. The way she loved me made me explode. Her gentle touch mixed with her domineering demeanor turned me on like no one has ever done. No man I have ever been with made me cum and scream and cum and catch my breath and cum and love like she does. I have never been able to talk to anyone else the way I can talk to her. She is everything I ever wanted in a lover. Now I was blowing it. Because I couldn't tell my daughter that I was in love with a woman. I couldn't tell my daughter that the happiness that she wanted for me so badly I had already found in Sharon. Why? Why couldn't I tell her?
_____"Go, Go, Go, Go, Go shortie it's your birthday. We gon party like it's your birthday…" Tayla sat on the couch watching BET. I came into the house carring an armload of bags from the store.
_____"I could use a little help here," I said. She jumped from her seat and took two of the bags from me. She kissed me on the cheek and took the bags in the kitchen. I smiled. She was the sweetest. I had the sweetest daughter in the world. I followed her into the kitchen and we began putting the groceries away. I had pondered my situation all day at work. I tried calling Sharon to see if we could talk but she wouldn't take any of my calls. There was no one to help me through this. No one was supposed to. I had to bring myself out. I now knew that. "Tayla could you turn off the television. There's something I need to talk to you about." I said. She came up from the vegetable bin in the refrigerator and looked at me.
_____"What ever it is I didn't do it." She said.
_____"It's not something you've done. Just turn the television off okay?" She went into the living room and turned off the television and joined me back in the kitchen.
_____"What's up?" She asked. She detected the seriousness of my tone and the look on my face and I began to see worry on hers. I certainly didn't want to scare her.
_____"Don't worry it's nothing life threatening." That was my attempt at calming her.
_____"So what's up?" She said.
_____"There's something about me that you should know." I started.
_____"You're sick? I knew it. What is it? Cancer?" She panicked.
_____"Talya calm down. I'm not sick with Cancer. Im not sick."
_____"Then what Ma? Just tell me. You are scaring me."
_____"I don't mean to." I took a deep breath. I had to do this before I gave this girl a heart attack. "Remember the other night when you were telling me how you were concerned about me being lonely and not dating anyone?"
_____"Well I kind of have been dating someone. For like two years."
_____"Two year? Who is he?" She asked.
_____"It's not a he. It's a she." I said. She stared at me blankly. Her entire face was void of emotion and I had never seen that look on her face before. I imagine she would look that way if she just found her best friend with her boyfriend.
_____"A she? You mean a woman?" She finally asked. I nodded. "Sharon?" She asked. I nodded. "You guys in love?" She asked. I nodded. "Then she makes you happy?" She asked. I nodded. "Then I'm happy for you." She said. Now I stood in front of her in disbelief.
_____"You mean it?" I asked.
_____"Yes. I mean I don't really know much about the gay lifestyle and all but if she makes you happy and you love her then I guess that's all I need to know," my daughter said. My sweet, loving, understanding, mature daughter said. My eyes began watering. I was finally free. The only thing I was afraid of was disappointing my daughter and having her not love me anymore and here I was standing in the aftermath of the total opposite. She was accepting and loving me still. I opened my arms up to her and she walked into them. I closed her in my arms and held her close as I breathed my thank yous and let the tears pour.
_____I rang Sharon's doorbell and prayed to God that she wouldn't slam the door in my face once she knew it was me. I heard the peephole cover slide back and then the bolts unlock. She stood in front of me wearing a white tank and a pair of basketball shorts. Her hair was wrapped in a white do rag and she was holding a bottle of beer. Damn she was sexy. "Aren't you gonna invite me in or do I have to stand out here all night?" I said. She moved to the side and I entered the house. She closed the door behind me.
_____"To what do I owe this honor?" She asked as she sat down on the arm of the couch across from the chair I was sitting in. A basketball game played on the television and she made no attempts to turn it off. She was going to make this hard for me. But I could handle it.
_____"You mind?" I asked and pointed to the television. She reached over for the remote and turned it off. She finished the last of the beer in the bottle and got up for another.
_____"Want a beer?" She asked.
_____"No thank you. But there is something else I want." I said. She came back into the living room and sat down on the couch.
_____"Oh yeah? What's that?" She said. I stood from my chair and loosened the belt on my trench coat. I let the coat fall from my shoulders onto the floor. Clad in nothing but a black bra and panties set, I felt no shame. I was a woman on a mission and my mission was to get my woman back.
_____"You." I said. She looked up at me.
_____"So you thought that I was weak enough for you to just show up on my doorstep with nothing on and I would buckle?"
_____"No. I was hoping that I could just show up at your doorstep with nothing on, tell you that I'm sorry, have you accept my apology and be in your bed all within an hour." With every statement I moved closer to her until I stood in front of her.
_____"So you could be home before Tayla wakes up in the morning huh?" she said. I got down on my knees, spread her legs and moved in between them. I caressed her thighs up and down.
_____"No. So you could make love to me over and over and over again tonight and in the morning fix me breakfast and spend the rest of the day with me in bed."
_____"On a Tuesday night? What about Tayla?"
_____"She's at her father's house." My hands moved in and out from under her shorts.
_____"And where did you tell her you would be? Out of town on business?"
_____"No. Here." I said and looked up at her. She put her beer down on the floor and leaned over slowly and took my mouth in hers. Her tongue played inside my mouth with hungry fierceness. I responded by playing back with mine. She pulled me to my feet and stood too. She pulled back from the kiss.
_____"Let me hear you say it, Les." Her fingers softly caressed my face. I looked her deep in the eyes.
_____"I love you." I stated. She pulled me back into another hungry kiss and led me to her bedroom.
Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of author. All Rights Reserved.