Archive for ex-files

Fiction Friday: Throw Back

This is a throwback post. Sorry.

Through her living room bay window, Tanya could see the sun beginning to rise. “Eight ‘o clock service is too freaking early!” She mumbled to herself running back in her room. She pointed her pink polished toes, and put her other size ten foot into one side of her sheer black stockings. As she wiggled to pull them up, she hopped over to jab a small gold hoop earring into each ear. “Mom, do you have a bible I can borrow or something?” she yelled.

“You’re really going all out for this one.” Her mom chuckled sarcastically from the other room.

“Mom.” Tanya answered rushing.

“I’m just saying.” Her mother, Marilyn, said walking into her room with a crisp black Holy Bible. “I have to drag your tail out the bed every Sunday to go to church with us.” She smiled at her daughter. “You look very pretty.” Tanya’s mom was always on her side. She never wanted to have a bad day with her daughter. A tall light skinned black woman with deep dimples and very kinky hair, Marilyn was a proud preacher’s wife. Even though she was quite antisocial, she wouldn’t miss a Sunday supporting her husband in his endeavors. “He must be really special.” Her mother said. “Have fun!” She shouted behind her daughter, who was already running out of the door.

Tanya had put her white Mercury Sable in the shop the day before to have the radiator examined for the third time that month. She didn’t mind walking down the suburban streets of Cheviot Hills to get to the Santa Monica Blue Bus, which would get her to John’s house. The number seven ran up and down Pico Boulevard every twelve minutes each day. As she approached the bus stop, she thought about dashing across the street for McDonald’s breakfast. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d had an Egg McMuffin. Unfortunately, the bus was pulling up and she wanted to make a good impression on John’s mother. She hopped on the bus heading east.

The ride couldn’t have felt longer to Tanya. She glared out of the large chrome trimmed window at all of the landmarks she knew so well. When she passed the McDonald’s on Pico and Pointview, she knew she was almost there. She figured she’d get off on Hauser like she did when she went to Winnie’s house. She wasn’t sure if there was a Burnside exit. The middle aged latina lady sitting in front of her had to have been wearing at least two bottles of perfume, and there was a fussy infant, who’d gotten on the bus one stop after Tanya. They arrived at Hauser before she knew it.

Now Tanya wished the ride had been longer. Nervous, she stepped off of the bus quickly, remembering why she’d always feared bus doors. When she was two years old, her baby sitter had accidentally let the back door of an RTD bus close on Tanya before she could get off. Tanya screamed and was forced to ride to the next stop before other adults on the bus notified the driver. He carried two-year-old Tanya off the bus at the next stop and handed her to the sweaty sitter, who’d run all the way from the last stop.

Wiping the perspiration off of her neck, Tanya proceeded toward Burnside. She almost never sweated. “Get it together.” She said to herself. “She’s either going to like you or she’s not.” She was extra nervous since John had told her that the night before his mom asked if he and Tanya were having sex. He assured Tanya that his mom was just straight forward, and that he’d told her they weren’t. Even though they really hadn’t, Tanya hoped his mother couldn’t detect her freakiness with her mama senses.

Tanya’s red lips were the first thing that entered John and Sandra’s appartment — at least to Sandra they were. She was John’s single pious mother, who was actually from around the way. She looked at Tanya’s neatly ironed white blouse and, without a facial expression, admired the way it was tucked into her black knee length pencil skirt. Sandra didn’t really want Tanya to know what she thought. Her face didn’t look pleasant, though. “Hi.” Tanya said stepping into the house to take a seat on the black leather loveseat near the door. She wondered why John and his mother were dressed in jeans and t-shirts. Upset that she’d missed the casual dress memo, Tanya tugged at her skirt to make sure it covered her knees when she sat.

“Hello.” Replied Sandra, whose voice had a little of the same rasp as her son’s. “I’m Sandra, John’s mother.”

“I’m Tanya, John’s … friend.” Tanya said wishing she’d just told the woman her name instead of stumbling for a title.

“Are you hungry, John’s friend?” His mother asked smiling. She knew the ball was in her court once she could detect Tanya’s nervousness.

“Yes, ma’am. I rushed out without eating.” Tanya answered relaxing a bit.

“Come on in the kitchen, and you can make some instant oatmeal.” Sandra said in a welcoming voice. Tanya quickly sauntered into the tiny kitchen and looked down at the yellow linoleum floor. She held her breath as she looked around the cluttered room for the oatmeal. Sandra had taken a seat at the table in the family’s cozy breakfast nook, leaving Tanya to fend for herself. “You’re not scared of roaches, are you?” his mother asked.

Tanya sucked in a breath. Her eyes suddenly darted all around the light blue kitchen. She noted two medium-sized cockroaches gliding over the sink full of dishes. “No.” Tanya lied. She was not used to anything but ants and spiders, and she wasn’t too fond of those either.

“Oh, good.” said Sandra. “My daughter, Tashawn, is in Ghana right now. She went with a group from our church. Tashawn is usually our dishwasher. John and I do our best.”

She grabbed a small blue saucepan from the old-fashioned stove, and rinsed it out in the empty side of the sink. Adding a little water in it, she placed it on the burner. While the water was heating to boil, Tanya found the oatmeal and opened the package. She was trying to move as quickly as possible, so nothing would crawl up her leg. Now in full roach panic, Tanya fanned herself, and wondered where John had disappeared to. She left the kitchen to peek into the living room, where she found him flipping through her bible on the couch.

Tanya pushed her fears into her diaphram and dragged herself back to the stove. Her water was boiling, so she selected the maple brown sugar packet of Quaker Oatmeal from the variety pack and poured it into the water. “Can you cook, Tanya?” John’s mother asked from her seat.

“Hell yeah!” Tanya responded with vigor, completely forgetting where she was. She stirred the oatmeal, and turned off the fire. John, hearing this, looked at his mother, who was clearly appauled. Her bottom jaw was on the floor. Tanya was totally oblivious about her offense. She would hear about it later from John, though. “I’m done.” She called from the kitchen.

“There are bowls in the cabinet above the spice rack.” Sandra offered. When Tanya opened the chipped cupboard, roaches scattered. She quickly shut the door. Instead, Tanya decided to hover over the pot and eat directly from it. She took a spoon from the sink and washed it vigorously. After two bites of oatmeal, she poured the rest down the garbage disposal, and announced that she was full. The three headed down to the blue Thunderbird that would take them to King Boulevard, where the church was. John’s mother let him drive, but Tanya insisted that she sit in the back.

They arrived at the church. It sat in the parking lot of the Santa Barbara Plaza near the Baldwin Crenshaw mall. There were a lot of cars in the lot, but John found a parking spot immediately. It seemed like it was waiting for him. He opened his mother’s door first and then Tanya’s. Sandra dashed off into the building. “See you after church!” She called out.

“She’s not going to sit with us?” Tanya looked up at John.

“Oh, no. All of the youth sit together.” he replied. This made Tanya completely uncomfortable. She and her sister, Harmony, were the only youth at her dad’s church. She wasn’t looking forward to awkard stares and strained conversation. She wanted to go home. From her frowned brow and the way the corners of her mouth turned down, John could sense something was wrong. “You’ll be fine.” he said. “I’m honored to be walking in with you.”

“They’ll all be wearing jeans.” Tanya said. “They’re all gonna laugh at me!” she quoted the horror movie, “Carrie.” Just then two girls walked by wearing pink and gray Nike tennis shoes. Both were shorter than Tanya in her heels. They looked at her and snickered.

“You *are* a little over dressed,” he said, “but you look fine.”
Tanya rolled her eyes at him. “That was my ex-girlfriend, Tiffany. Don’t pay her any mind.”

“Which one?” Tanya asked.

“The one with the braids and the big nostrils.” he responded, massaging her shoulders briefly. John and Tanya laughed and walked into church.

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Ex-Files: First Love Part 2

He took off her Tasmanian Devil slippers and began to massage her left foot. “Did you teach today?” he asked, sliding both thumbs up the center of her foot.

“No, I took two weeks off, because my birthday is next week, and I didn’t want to be too tired for you today.” she answered. He moved his thumb in slow circles around half of the ball of her foot, and then cupped his hand to grip her heel. Planting a small peck on Tanya’s toes, Mookie switched feet. “I really appreciate this. What did you do today?”

“I had a history exam. I went home and ate some spaghetti, and then came straight here on the blue bus.” he replied, shifting from his knees to sitting flat on his bottom.

“Does she make spaghetti everyday?” Tanya asked frowning.

“Who ‘Nita? Pretty much.” he chuckled. “Sometimes she makes boiled chicken, but you’ll never hear me talk about that, because she doesn’t very season it well. It’s nasty.” he smiled.

“How do you think you did on your exam?” she asked lying back on a large green pillow.

“I probably passed.” Mookie answered shrugging. He let go of Tanya’s foot and climbed onto the bed with her. His arm rested over her torso and his hand caressed the outside of her right breast. Tanya wondered what happened in the rest of his classes, but she didn’t ask. She thought things were progressing and she didn’t want to spoil the mood. Instead, she turned and kissed him on the forehead. Her breathing picked up and couple embraced each other.

“Are you sure you’re ready for this?” He asked gently placing her hair behind her ear with his middle finger. Tanya grabbed his face with both hands and kissed him passionately. As the kissing slowed down into gentle pecks, the two stared deeply into each others brown eyes. Mookie lips danced across the supple surface of Tanya’s neck. Her lips parted just enough to let out a soft moan as he climbed on top of her. While he traced around one nipple with his mouth, his cupped right hand groped the other. Each flick of his tongue across her erect nipple made her pull him closer. He kissed his way down past her belly button, slipping her panties off as he progressed.

Burying his face between her thighs, Mookie molded the perfect orgasm with his tongue. He looked up and smiled at Tanya. Her head was tilted slightly back with a pillow in her mouth. Her eyes were closed and her face was at peace. Removing a Lifestyles condom from the pocket of his pants, Mookie prepared himself to enter Tanya. This was no easy feat. He pushed gently against the opening of her vagina, but Tanya tensed up with each attempt. After several minutes of trying, she glanced over at the stool near the bed and said, “What about over there?”

“You want to try to lose your virginity doggy style?” Mookie asked with a confused look on his face. Tanya nodded.

“It seems easier. This hurts.” she replied getting up. She knelt on the floor and placed her elbows on the stool trying to relax. He rubbed her back and grabbed her hips. To Mookie’s surprise, Tanya was correct. He found the hole and was able to slide in much easier. Just as Tanya became happy that she was actually enjoying it a little, Mookie pushed deep inside of her and let out several grunts. He turned her around to hold her close and masturbate her to climax. That’s when the blood came. He smiled at her.

“My baby is not a virgin anymore.” he said as she rested her head on his chest.

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Ex-Files: First Love Part 1

Tanya ran to check the door and look out of the front window again. Her black sports bra clung to her still very pre-teen chest, and she sported Snickers pajama pants that she’d thrown on when she got home from school. She was only one month into her ninth grade year at Hamilton High, and it was already starting to get dark early. Even though her parents didn’t usually arrive until after 7pm, the sky’s hue only added to Tanya’s nervousness.

She ran to the back door to make sure it was unlocked for an easy escape. The stereo in her room was playing Boyz 2 Men loud enough to set the mood but low enough to be able to hear a parent’s arrival. Tanya went in her room and lit a couple of tea lights. She didn’t even look in the mirror. She felt so comfortable with what was about to happen but so nervous about being caught. All of her emotions swirled inside her until her nipples hardened. Finally, the doorbell rang.

“Oh, my God.” she thought to herself. “He’s here.” She felt surprised even though she was expecting him. She ran to the mirror. Her hair was cute, but she thought she could use a little lipstick. “He’ll just kiss it off.” she said to herself as the doorbell rang again. Calming down, she walked to open the front door.

Under her porch light stood the 5 foot 9 inch tall guy, whom she’d grown to affectionately call Mookie. The Dodger logo on the back of his thin gray pin striped jacket disappeared as he turned to reveal his vanilla wafer skin. Tanya opened the door. Mookie looked up at her from the third step, and began to walk up never losing eye contact. Lost in his smoky quartz eyes, Tanya barely heard him say, “Good evening, Ms. Lady.”

“Hi.” she answered as he wrapped his arms around her. Tanya’s wide smile revealed every braced tooth in her mouth. Letting go, she headed towards her room. Mookie’s jeans rubbed together as he followed. He took off his hat and jacket when he entered her room. Tanya sat on the edge of her white brass daybed, and Mookie fell to his knees in front of her.

TO BE CONTINUED

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Ex-Files Guy 1 Part 9

Tanya sprinkled scented oil into her hot bath that morning. She couldn’t stand most perfumes, because they would give her an ungodly headache for no fewer than three days. Somehow this fragrant blend of subtle lavender and Jasmine didn’t bother her. It opened her mind. She lifted her lilac loofah and let the water drip down her sternum.

Tanya closed her eyes and thought about her childhood. She remembered the time her sister stabbed her in the eye with a fork at the dinner table when she was four. Her body flinched in the water as though it were happening right then. She thought about the look on John’s face the last time they’d spoken. He was so hostile, so defensive — like an unfriendly startled dog. She tried to come up with an introduction for the 25 paged paper her history teacher, Ms. Washington, wanted her to write. Her brain wandered like this-like the hand of a child who can’t color within the lines, jerking across the page, making the trees blue and the sky brown.

She opened her eyes and stared up at the two burgundy thrift shop towels that hung above the foot of the bath tub. One hung so much higher than the other. Their unevenness bothered Tanya. She liked for things to be lined up, fair, and orderly. The water was too comfortable for her to care enough to do anything about it. She used to be an artist, painting in savage color with emotions that spilled unrestrained over the canvas, dripping off the sides, because her feelings could not be confined to a finite space. But somewhere along the way she had reined in those mad and glorious impulses, as if a thief had come in the night and stolen the dreams inside her and she hadn’t noticed they were gone until too late.

Tanya got out of the tub and plucked her eyebrows into a design of wry insolence. She applied Vaseline to her shorn legs and followed it up with lotion, carefully placing cocoa butter on any nicks she noticed. With each brush of her hair, she tried to be diplomatic in thinking about her relationship with John. She wasn’t demanding but sensitive and every now and then felt the need to tell him how much she loved him. He, on the other hand, did not make unprompted declarations; it was not his way. He was very affectionate, though. With him, she never had to wonder if he was just being affectionate, because he wanted some booty, because they weren’t having sex. He was, however, a hothead. His temper was about as cool as colon cancer, and his attitude reminded her of interacting with her cousins on the east side.

Tanya wanted someone who would explain the world to her and make her read books she wouldn’t otherwise have picked up. She wanted someone she knew would make a wonderful father, full of stories and games. And she knew John would never be these things — he never picked up any books. When Tanya examined a future with John, she saw struggle. She saw difficulty earning enough to raise a family that would be able to forget about money. She saw him sitting in an old black leather recliner in silk boxers snoozing under a Spiderman duvet cover. Tanya envisioned future John as a scruffy stay-at-home dad, who hardly tended to the kids and didn’t prepare a single meal. This wasn’t a team she wanted to be a part of.

Tanya smelled October when she stepped outside. The cold concrete was damp, and there was a distant scent of defrosted dog shit. The steel gray clouds that hung overhead like clay disturbed most people, but this was Tanya’s favorite month, because it meant her birthday was near. She hopped into her car and headed for Winnie’s house. The monotony of her drive caused an almost painful tectonic shift in her thoughts. She revisited the idea of that term paper. Tanya didn’t understand why the paper had to be so damn long. She wondered what teacher would want to read 50 twenty five paged papers. Tanya questioned things a lot — even things she was good at. In her algebra class, she would blurt out, “Who gives a damn what ‘x’ is? Is this going to matter when I’m 30?” Her teachers would just shake their heads. They couldn’t do much, because Tanya had straight ‘A’s. She was usually quiet in class, but these outbursts often caught everyone off guard. Her English teacher wondered how someone so young had become so disgruntled with life.

Tanya parked in front of Winnie’s yellow duplex, and got out of the car. Her younger brother and sister were outside riding their bikes, while her oldest little brother, Josh, sat on the chipped paint of the red steps reading a chapter book. He looked up only long enough to speak to Tanya as she stepped over him. He was the most obedient of the four. The stereo was blasting Jodeci as Tanya traipsed through the small living room. When she opened the door to Winnie’s room, she saw Winnie throw the cordless phone under her bed.

“Smooth.” Tanya said, laughing.

“Hey, I thought you were my mama. I’m on punishment.” Winnie said rolling her eyes.

“You’ve been on punishment since Eazy-E died.” Tanya laughed. She knew that Winnie’s

punishments never applied to her. Tanya could go and come as she pleased in that house. She always felt welcome.

“Shut up.” Winnie said, throwing a pillow at Tanya.

“Do you have anything to drink?” Tanya asked.

“Oh, the Christian girl is drinking again?” Winnie said smiling.

“Whatever. I’m going to have the talk with John today, and I need assistance.” she answered.

“There’s some Belvedere in the cupboard. My mom may have some VSOP, but I know you like those clear liquids.” Winnie said grabbing the remote to turn on music videos for ambiance. Tanya went into the kitchen to pour herself some Vodka, and returned to Winnie’s room. Tanya had done many things right up until this point. She was almost done with school, she ate healthy foods, she was a teacher, she had never been pregnant or contracted an STD, she was talented, and she had been extremely goal oriented. But lately this competence had been replaced by an overwhelming urge to lie down. By an exhaustion that lingered in her bones like a flu.

As Tanya downed the liquor, she flipped through her alpha-numeric pager. John had sent a text that she could come by anytime, because he’d just walked in. Reluctantly, Tanya grabbed her gigantic purse and keys.

“You leaving so soon?” Winnie asked.

“I’ll be right back.” Tanya said, trying to convince herself that this would be brief.

“Good luck.” Winnie said with her voice trailing off at the end.

**********

As Tanya walked to John’s house, odd little chills snaked up her spine. She hustled down the block with each fall breeze knocking the edge off of the warmth from the vodka. When she reached his cold black door, she didn’t even knock. He wasn’t in the living room, so she went into his room. It was one thirty, and she’d had nothing to eat. She felt hunger kick inside her like a quickening baby. When she saw John sitting on the edge of his bed, she felt kind of sorry for him. She knew he wasn’t going to take this easily.

“Hey.” she started out with.

“What’s up?” he asked. He didn’t change his posture or position at all. She figured he didn’t know how serious this was, but she was still confused by how calm he was.

“We need to talk.” Tanya said, walking in to sit on the bed next to him. John lifted his shoulders and let them fall back down.

When he shrugged, she felt her confusion melt into frustration, which oozed into annoyance. Finally she just let it loose.

“I don’t want to be with you anymore.”

“What?” he perked up. His brow frowned up as he grabbed her thigh. “What do you mean? I thought we were forever.”

“I just can’t see forever with you.” Tanya answered. Her narrowed eyes filled with indifference. With a vague, but hopefully respectful expression plastered on her face, Tanya stood up, still clutching her keys. John got up and begun to sing.

“Are you gonna be? Say you’re gonna be. Are you gonna be in love with me. Still in love…” he sang, pulling Tanya toward him. When she pushed him back, she noticed a tear fall from his right eye. This was nothing that was going to change Tanya’s mind. She’d seen him cry at least five times before. “Please, Tanya. We can work it out like we always do.”

“It doesn’t feel worth the work anymore, John.” she said. “Very little does. I’m sorry there isn’t more of an explanation. I haven’t gotten much of an explanation for most of the things I ask either. I know. It hurts.” Tanya grabbed her purse and ran out of John’s life forever. When the air hit her face, she couldn’t have felt freer. She was free of her obligation to be an enthusiastic girlfriend and free of trying to fit into a mold that wasn’t suited for her. Practically skipping, Tanya dashed off to Winnie’s house.

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Ex-Files: Guy 1 Part 8

The tall escalator near The Container Store at the Century City Mall was broken. Tanya climbed all 95 steps in her new tan wedge heels. She had chosen the cutest yellow sundress with large flowers on it to surprise John at his new job. She slowed down when passing the book store to glance at new releases. Normally, she would have gone in, but she was too excited. John had no idea she was coming. Tanya had neatly applied her Cork lip liner by MAC with Verve lipstick. Her eyes were smoky and her loose curls hung just past her shoulders. Men turned and stared as just short of seventeen summers strutted into the AMC theater.

Stepping over smashed popcorn and candy wrappers, Tanya headed for the concession stand. After a quick scan, she spotted John in his red vest and black pants tearing tickets. She changed her direction, and their smiles met before their eyes did.

“To what do I owe this pleasure?” John asked, while directing three theater-goers to the second door.

“You’re off in ten minutes, right?” Tanya asked. He nodded. “I want to watch Men in Black with you.” she continued, walking into his open arms. John was very huggy, so he’d often use non-verbal cues to gently guide emotionally detached Tanya into his tender trap.

“Oh, cool. I have a change of clothes in my locker. You came up here looking all done up. I feel like I have to clean up. You can wait for me right there.” he said pointing to a red bench near a Street Fighter game. “I don’t want my manager tripping. We can watch the movie for free, though.”

*****

98 minutes later, Tanya and John left the theatre and headed to her car. Even though it was July, it was a little chilly out that night. He offered to wrap her in his jacket, but she declined, because it didn’t match her outfit.

As they drove past the fountains on Avenue of the Stars, Tanya turned down 92.3 the Beat to talk to John. “So, how was your first week at work?” she asked, starting out soft.

“I swept a lot of popcorn, stood in the backs of theaters watching movies…” John said, nodding sarcastically. “…you know … sold candy, tore a few tickets — nothing terribly exciting.” Tanya put her hair behind her right ear and returned her hands to the ten and two position.

“Do you not like the job?” she asked.

“I like the pay check.” he responded. Tanya laughed. “You get to teach dance and make up routines. Those are things you’ve always liked to do. You did that in your living room as a kid. I’ve never dreamed of sweeping popcorn.” he frowned.

“Well, don’t you have talents that you can make a living off of? You can sing!” Tanya said, stopping at Doheny. She was getting frustrated with John’s attitude towards work, but she was trying not to soil the fun date they’d just had. John didn’t even want to be having this conversation. He rested his elbow on the car door, and put his head into his hand.

“I can’t teach singing, because I can’t read music. I can’t teach cartooning, because I don’t even know where to start. I’ll probably always be working for someone else.” he raised his voice. “Everyone’s mom can’t afford to put them in expensive lessons for everything they want to do.” Tanya was offended by this. Her parents weren’t rich. They made many sacrifices to keep her in tap dancing lessons all those years. She’d tried cello when she was five and piano briefly when she was eleven. Her mother also took advantage of many free programs, like the one at Otis, where she honed her painting and drawing skills for free or the acting program at Heart of Los Angeles Youth Theatre. Marilyn also didn’t believe in buying her kids a truck load of expensive clothing. She focused on the things that would develop character. Tanya and her sister did her back to school shopping at Montgomery Ward.

“You didn’t miss a pair of jeans during the Cross Colours trend.” Tanya lashed back, raising her voice. “Ya mama sure found the money to keep you in Karl Kani and Timberlands! We all make our choices.” she continued. The two sat in silence as Tanya made the left turn onto Burnside Avenue. There was absolutely no place to park.

“You can let me out right here.” John said, already opening the door.

“Well, goodbye to you, too.” Tanya said after the car door slammed. She watched John disappear behind his neighbor’s front steps, sighed, and pulled off. John was often a little temperamental and tended to overreact when others dished out what he had already served, and Tanya definitely had to have the last word.

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