Inspired by the hit television show Insecure created by Issa Rae.
Insecure thoughts can ruin something amazing. I wish I would’ve known this three months ago. My something amazing was Anya. Matter of fact, she was better than amazing; she was everything. Everything I had ever wanted in a woman and then some. We always said that God handcrafted us specially for one another. Have you ever had that feeling? The feeling that another person was put on this earth uniquely and exclusively for you? Anya and I knew from the moment we saw each other in Best Buy that we would forever be in each others lives.
Flawless chocolate brown skin, long amazonian legs, pearly white teeth, and naturally curly hair….Anya had me hooked. Browsing intently at the Nikons in the camera isle, she couldn’t see me gawking. But for some reason, she turned around and met my gaze. Astonished, I turned clumsily into a display of phone cases. To this day, Anya claims that she had felt me staring at her the entire time and was waiting for me to make a move. Embarrassed, I proceeded to walk away. Anya, in all of her boldness walked up to me and gently tugged my arm.
“Can you tell me which one is better for outdoor photos?” she asked.
With a huge lump in my throat, I didn’t mutter a word. Instead I flashed a million dollar smile. The same smile that made women swoon effortlessly, countless times. I was completely infatuated by the woman in front of me. Her beauty, style, and grace.
“You DO work here don’t you?” she asked.
I was working in Best Buy as a Geek Squad worker back then. I had graduated from Howard University with my Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering. Best Buy wasn’t my dream job, hell it wasn’t even a stepping stone toward the career that I did want at GeoSmart, a fortune five hundred tech company that has been featured in Forbes to be the next Apple. GeoSmart was the future and I wanted nothing more than to be apart of their technology developments.
“So tell me, which one should I get?” she asked.
“Well…umm…I think that this one would be the best for outdoor flicks.”
No, I wasn’t really sure but I didn’t want to miss out on the chance of conversing more with the woman before me.
She laughed and looked at my name tag.
“Dennis, why don’t you find me someone who knows a little bit more about cameras,” she said through laughter, “that camera is like a toy for kids…peep the low retail price”
I know ya’ll, I folded. Bad.
Nervously, I nodded for the hundredth time and walked away to find someone to better assist her. I didn’t even make my way back over to the camera. My feet and pride wouldn’t let me embarrass myself any further. I took my lunchbreak, came back to work, and she was still browsing! In that moment I knew that God was looking out for me…giving me a second chance. Still, I couldn’t move my fucking feet. Damn! What was wrong with me?
The mysterious beauty made her way over to where I was standing, “Thanks for getting someone who actually knew what they were talking about to come over to help me” she chuckled, nervously.
At that moment, I was hype. Was she nervous too? Were the feelings mutual? My confidence meter went from zero to a solid, strong ten.
“I’m not really good with camera’s. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a techie but when it comes to camera’s and photography…I’m not the best.”
“It’s okay. I recently decided to double major in Community Health and Photography…can you guess which one is my new major?”
“Probably the photography” I responded. Simultaneously, we both laughed. “What made you want a degree in Community Health and Photography? Those don’t traditionally go together.”
“Well my passion is to work for a non-Profit organization, working with at risk youth in urban neighborhoods. Photography has really become a hobby for me. I volunteer at this high school and really got into taking photos for the kids. And behold, the beginning of my photography career.”
I lost myself in her eyes. She spoke with such passion and determination. I had to get to know her more. I was determined to do just that. But before I could, she was checking out and heading out of the door. Once a fucking gain, I could not make my feet move. This woman was like no other. The nervousness that I felt when I was around her was nothing I had ever experienced before.
After a constant battle with myself, I put my hands over my face in defeat. How did I let her walk out of here without even getting her name. Her name would have at least given me something to search on Facebook. Sighing heavily, I shook off the feeling of regret. If it was meant to be , it would’ve been right?
“So, I don’t usually do things like this but I’m having a photography show at my university Thursday night. If you want to come and laugh at my failed attempts of putting this camera to use, just let me know,” she said, handing me a business card with her cell number on it. We smiled at each other and departed.
I was so busy beating myself up, that I didn’t even see her coming back into the store.
When Thursday night rolled around, I bet you’re thinking my feet had me stuck in place huh? Wrong. I got my ass up and took my ass to that photography show. There was no way that I was missing out on meeting her again. In my eyes, God had given me another chance and her coming back into the store was His funny way of saying ’Now nigga, don’t fuck this up’! From that moment forward, me and Anya became inseparable.
Fast-forward four years, I’m working at Celltonix, a cellphone tech company, which was a minor step toward my dream job in my career field. Anya, on the other hand, works for ‘Justice 4 Youth’ a non profit organization and we’ve been happily living together for three of the four years that we’ve been together.
According to our friends, our relationship was perfect and ideal. Unbeknownst to them, we both knew that we were not what social media would call ‘hashtag bae goals’. The audacity of humans thinking that relationships are easy is laughable. Every relationship has its flaws and issues, there isn’t a relationship that is one hundred percent perfect out here in the world.
Seeking refuge in my own pool of misery, I realized that the most important factor that can either make or break a relationship is communication…and lack there of.
One day, on a whim, I decided that I was no longer interested in working for Celltonix. GeoSmart was hosting a job fair for potential employees and offering them on-the-spot positions if they could pitch quality ideas to the company. Celltonix had a deadline around the same time as the interviews and asking for paid time off was out of the question. Growing immensely tired of the company, I took a huge leap of faith and quit without giving them a two week notice. The bravery that I had was the result of the confidence I had in my idea for a computer program that I was itching to create.
“Thank you so much Mr. Jackson for your time. We will contact you if we are ready to move forward with you,” the Vice President of GeoSmart said.
Absolutely certain that I nailed the pitch, I sat on the vintage couch in our living room waiting for my phone to ring. Unemployed. Anya was more than supportive. Beyond a doubt, she had more faith than me about getting a position with GeoSmart. Nonetheless, when one week sitting on the couch waiting on the phone to ring turned into one year….in combination with the bills continuing to pile up, Anya grew weary. Our relationship changed drastically, not because of Anya but because of me. Anya had held me down for, now two years, and as time passed the more insecure I became. I didn’t feel like a man and having a woman basically taking care of me didn’t feel right.
“If I would’ve known you were gonna be like this, I don’t know if I would’ve signed up for this relationship,” is what Anya said, mid-argument one night. At that moment, I knew that she didn’t feel right about taking care of a grown man either. After that, Anya stormed out of the apartment that night and went out with her girls. She didn’t come home for an entire week because she ‘needed some space’. Two years of our relationship had passed, I was unemployed, and Anya never communicated with me her concerns. If I would’ve known she felt a certain way, I would’ve worked harder and searched for other companies. But how can I blame her, I’m a man. It’s in my nature to work and to provide. Truth be told, I was in a deep stage of depression. The realization of career failure after college is not an easy thing to cope with. Without a doubt, I should’ve told Anya about my depression or maybe an actual professional. It’s comical how solutions come to you after a situation is complete.
A week after our fight, I went looking for Anya despite her clear instructions not to. I sat in my car watching her leave early from work. She had this look of pure joy and happiness. Watching as she sat in her car, laughing and joking on the phone made me realize that we hadn’t laughed and joked with one another in a long time. The realization was unusual for us because our relationship was built off of pure love and laughter. I couldn’t even remember the last time I made Anya smile…took her out on a date or made her feel special in anyway. As a man, I was lacking. I followed her as she pulled up to Gino’s her favorite restaurant. I was sure she was meeting up with her best friend Mya. Shockingly, a tall familiar man walked up to her car door and escorted her in the restaurant arm-in-arm.
Heart pounding, palms sweating, and pulse tensing…I couldn’t believe my eyes. The thought of Anya cheating on me was a constant thought in my head when I became unemployed, but to actually see it in front of my face caused anger to run through my entire body. Gripping my steering wheel tight, I remained seating and parked secluded across the street. Five minutes later, Anya walked out onto the patio of the restaurant with the man on her heels with his hand placed comfortably on her back.
“Fuck!”I yelled, hitting the steering wheel over and over. Tears forming, trying to fight their way down my face. Masculinely, I wiped the few away that had escaped. Brandon Herring was his name. Anya’s old ‘best friend’ from college. They hadn’t had contact with each other for years, so I thought. Constant concerns arose when Brandon was around Anya. Their friendship made me uncomfortable. I wasn’t quite sure what it was but I was sure that Brandon had feelings for Anya. According to her, Brandon was harmless but if it made me feel better she agreed to have better boundaries with Brandon. After our conversation, Brandon moved far for work and she barely brought him up to me.
Was this why? Was she fucking him the entire time behind my back?
Gasping for air, I felt like I was suffocating. I got out of the car and walked slowly toward the restaurant. They didn’t see me. Angrily, I watched as Brandon constantly touched Anya’s hair and caressed her hands. My blood was boiling and all of a sudden the pace of my legs and feet weren’t good enough anymore. Instead of going inside the restaurant, I ran and jumped over the patio rail like a police hopping over the fence during a foot chase. I didn’t care about the other customers nor did I care about looking like a fool, the only thing I cared about was Anya seeing how she made me feel.
“Dennis what the he—“ she exclaimed, but before she could finish I punched Brandon in the face.
The entire restaurant erupted with fear as I pushed over tables to get to him as he laid on the group holding his face.
“Dennis stop!! What are you doing?! Stop!”Anya yelled, rapidly.
Ignoring her was easy but taking the blows she sent to the back of my head was not. Brandon curled up as I sent blow after blow to his body until a bystander, stronger than Anya, was able to peel me off of him.
Anya was in tears. Brandon was in pain. Me, I was in shock.
“So you’re just gonna cheat on me with this dude?!” I yelled, pointing a firm finger in Anya’s face.
“Cheat on you?” she questioned, “I came to meet with Brandon for you!”
“Meet with him for me….for what?!”
Brandon stood, hand over his busted lip.
“You know, I never liked your ass Dennis. But…Anya loved you, so I kept my opinions of you to myself. I always knew that you were insecure and jealous asshole. But once again, out of love for Anya I decided to meet up with her to help your ass out! I can’t believe I even considered it!” He yelled, charging toward me as a male customer held him back.
“Help me what?!” I questioned, quizzically.
Anya looked at me with her eyes red from her tears, “Brandon works in the HR department at GeoSmart. I told him all about your computer program.”
I stood silent.
“Oh, and by the way Mr. Dennis…I’m happily married to a wonderful man,” Brandon said, flashing off his ring and smirking at me angrily.
To be continued…