One morning, he wasn’t there anymore.
I searched my phone for replies and missed calls, the proper social media channels for status updates, but to no avail there was no evidence of him. His fragrance had dissipated from the bed pillows. The couch cushion (on the side he normally sat) had sense returned to its regular shape. The body wash he left behind had begun to form a crust around the opening. His old behaviors, our straight-up conversations, and even the memory of how he physically looked were all beginning to fade. Contemplating completely making him black history, I retrieved old Hallmark cards I had collected from him that were nestled away in my nightstand drawer. I read one:
Happy Valentine’s Day
You make my life complete
You are the reason why
all things make sense in my life –
Your love keeps giving me breath,
hope, encouragement, and excitement.
You make my life complete and
there’s no me, without you.
“COMPLETE DEEZ NUTS NIGGA!!” I exclaimed, frantically tearing the card at the fold and pitching it across the room.
I was shocked by my behavior.
My breathing had accelerated and anger began to finagle its way to the forefront of my emotions.
Suddenly, one after the other, I tore up more cards, folded words of sentiment, paper applique and glitter dust…creating an unforgiving pile of words borrowed from the heart of some freelance writer who lives on a farm in Iowa. They were all words he couldn’t vouch for or even expound upon, just simply offer a two-word closing salutation in hurried handwriting.
I transformed into a Terry McMillan character and in a driven-wave of anger and an episode of Snapped, I gathered whatever he left behind. From his boxers to his white tees to pictures of us and set the shit on fire.
I lit up a half-smoked blunt he had left behind as a I marveled at the fire beginning to intensify, cooking the bullshit I had stacked on top of one another. And after pulling as many inhales as I could, flicked the roach inside the blaze and in true Bernadine fashion, recited it like she would have,