“Wife. Wife. Hey wife!”
I’ve never walked down any aisle and said “I do” to anyone, so it took me quite a few moments to realize that the bald, midnight-hued man on the other side of the twelve-foot fence was calling out to me.
My glasses comfortably lounging on the coffee table in my living room, I struggled to inspect his features while trying to not give away my obvious lack of 20/20. A few seconds and squints later, it was clear that the man awaiting his turn on the court was not someone I knew playing a joke as I’d thought, but a nearly complete stranger.
Nearly, because I realized this was the same man who had murmured something as he walked behind me and to the court 10 minutes prior. I was more interested in the fierce game of handball going on between a girl and her father opposite the bball courts than clarifying what he’d said.
“Yeah, I’m talking to you.” He said, nodding his head, clearing all confusion. “This is my mom.”
A pretty older woman with a thick french braid circling her head stood next to him, looked at me Flo Johnston-style over the square-framed glasses hanging on the tip of her keen nose.
“You readin’ the bible on yer phone?”
Her Jamaican accent was strong, natural, and unexpected. So delightful it had pulled a smile from me before I noticed. She pointed an accusatory finger at the Blackberry in my left hand, opened to twitter and probably something far from scripture, knowing my timeline. The beliefs of the host of creatives I follow vary just as much as their minds.
“Um..” I was still trying to process the fact that I’d gotten married and met mom in less than one minute to a strange man in red basketball shorts. Vegas can’t even claim that.
“You have a bible at home?” Still peering over her glasses and now an expectant “mom” look in her eyes, I quickly scanned my memory to make sure I wasn’t lying to my new stranger mother in law.
“You read it?”
“Sometimes.” A tinge of conviction crept in for having not been reading the bible on my phone at that moment. I planned a visit to church Sunday in my head. Her stern mom look? PERFECTED.
“You need to be readin’ it. Make sure you read it.” She gave me a nod and walked off to talk to some of the other young men loitering on each side of the games being played.
I went back to the handball game.
“Wait where are you going? Why you leaving?” Bald man asked again, this time standing next to me as I headed for the station fifty feet away a few minutes later. I took note of him now, his smooth goatee, the nice teeth. My mind immediately whizzed through friends I could introduce him to. (I’m a matchmaker in my head. But that’s another post altogether).
“Home?” I used my slightly sarcastic is-that-okay-with-you? tone.
“You going home to someone?” He reached out to grab my arm but thought better of it, let his hand drop to his side.
I told him yes, and cut him off when he began to speak again to ask if that was really his mother.
It was. Crazy.
“You have a dog? You look like the type to have a puppy.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. I’ve been calling the #Him “Puppy” since I’ve known him. I smirked. “I do, actually.”
After going through the song and dance of him asking me to stay and hang out, and me saying I was going home in the next 20 seconds, he asked if I had a “man at home.”
I said yes, prepared to hear the customary “we can be friends then” shtick that men continue to use despite the less than .000010 success rate I imagine it has.
That, didn’t happen though. He pushed his large hands out away from me. “Okay, I’m not going to disrespect your relationship. I’m happy for you. I’m happy for him.”
Shocked and/or impressed is pretty accurate a description for the expression I’m sure I wore. I laughed. “Wow. Thank you.”
“See you were expecting me to holler anyway, right? Mmhmm. Nah. I respect relationships, despite what all the articles y’all read say about us.”
I knew the collective “us” he was referring to was men who happen to stop you while you’re walking along minding your business (or standing at the train station, or just trying to read a book at the park) and insist that you somehow need them in your life.
I laughed again. “Sometimes I write them too.”
“Oh, you’re a writer? See, not all of us are disrespectful. Go tell all your friends. Write about that.”
And with that, I parted ways with my five-minute husband, waved goodbye to his mom as I walked past.