Thursday, December 21, 2017

Ghost of Christmas Past

The best kiss I’ve ever had was in the empty parking lot of a Japanese restaurant. I was back home in Charlotte for Christmas and this was the third night in a row I had met up with JC, an old acquaintance from high school. You may remember JC from my post “Welcome to My African American Home.

The first night we met up I was nervous. Not because I had a crush on JC, but because I thought we wouldn’t have anything to talk about. Of course this fear was ridiculous because

1. Who is a social butterfly?

2. We had also been texting and occasionally talking on the phone for hours at a time over the past 2 years.

That night was unseasonably warm for December, even in North Carolina. It was so warm that I was able to wear a short black dress with knee high boots and no stockings. After dinner, I sat in my car with the driver’s side door open, bare legs facing JC in the parking lot. We talked a little more about nothing in particular, like people do when they don’t want the night to end. Suddenly the floodlight illuminating the parking lot went out and surrounded us in darkness.

I guess that’s our cue to go home,” JC said, opening his arms, inviting a hug.

I scooted to the edge of the leather seat, adjusting my dress so I didn’t show off my goodies. Goodies meaning granny panties, which I am not ashamed to say I wear. They are comfortable, affordable and last longer than the overpriced lace held together by post-it note glue that’s for sale at Victoria’s Secret.

JC moved towards me and enveloped me in a huge bear hug. I immediately thought to myself, When I back away from this hug, I’m going to kiss him on the cheek.

But he beat me to it.

Right before we pulled apart, JC turned his head toward mine and softly kissed me. He stopped and lingered at my lips for a moment, literally causing me to lose my breath.

I hope that wasn’t inappropriate,” he apologized. “I don’t know when I’ll see you again.”

My flight back to Chicago was in the morning.

It wasn’t inappropriate,” I said lowering my gaze to the asphalt beneath his wheelchair.

And sorry if it was bad, I’m also out of practice.” He laughed nervously.

His hand rested on the metal rim of his chair, and I noticed the moonlight shining off of it. Without making eye contact I said, “You could kiss me again. You know, for practice.

At this moment, JC slowly reached out his hand and cupped my chin. He brought my face up to his, leaned in and parted my lips with his own. I think this is what old people mean when they say, “I felt my love come down.

I promise ya’ll it was like I had bit into a York peppermint pattie and was instantly transported into a shampoo commercial.  As he kissed me, a light breeze wafted the scent of Herbal Essences in a cloud around us. In my head I started yelling “YES, YES YES!
It was soooooo nice to be kissed. And even more so by someone I actually liked. Who also happened to smell like reasonably priced hair conditioner!
Thanks Santa!

I was so excited that of course I told all my friends about it.

But 8 Months later, in a different parking lot from where we shared our first kiss, I sat alone in my car. My tears splashed onto my Texas toast, making it a soggy mess, while I chanted positive affirmations to myself.

“If he liked it, then he would of put a ring on it.
Don’t be mad. Hopefully, you can grow from it.
You’re a single lady. You’re a single lady." 

To this day, I can no longer eat at the Zaxby’s on Highway 74 because that’s where I went after my heart was broken. The memory is too much for me to even use the bathroom there. That night I held back my tears long enough to order a #5 with Zax sauce at the drive-thru window and then I parked in the back of the restaurant to eat my woes.

I’d like to say I ended up at Zaxby’s because chicken fingers give me clarity, but it was mostly because I was crying so hard that my eyes started stinging and I couldn’t see the road clearly. I also didn’t want to die in a fiery car crash on the same day our friendship forever changed. To add insult to injury, JC told me he would no longer be my plus one at my best friend’s wedding that same weekend.

That was the last night JC and I spoke to each other. He stopped answering my phone calls and he stopped replying to my text messages. After years of friendship and months of dating, typical of an Aquarius, he ghosted me.

Speaking of ghosts, earlier in the relationship, JC and I had planned a trip to México City to experience  Día de Muertos. The Mexican Day of the Dead celebration is when families and friends come together to remember their loved ones who have passed. There are elaborate parades and church services, tombs are decorated with colorful flowers and special foods. Ofrendas or alters are arranged with offerings and photos of ancestors.

I was so excited to see it first hand, but I was extremely anxious about the outbound flight to México too. I hadn’t heard anything from JC since the night I was left crying outside of his hockey practice, 3 months prior. When I got to the airport I didn’t see him. He wasn’t at the gate and he wasn’t on the plane.

I didn't know how to feel about him not being there. Should I be mad or should I be relieved? Part of me hoped for reconciliation. To sit next to each other on the plane and talk about any and everything like we used to do as friends. Maybe even get caught up in that Herbal Essences cloud again, heavily kissing under our jackets and banned from flying Delta Airlines after a viral Twitter scandal. 

But even with slight sadness about my travel partner/ex boyfriend abandoning me, my trip to México started off on a high note when I got bumped to first class.

After I settled into my seat, the flight attendant brought me a mimosa and asked if I thought the passenger sitting across the aisle from me was cute.

Good evening, I’m Vonda. I picked you two to come to first class to balance out the plane.” Then Vonda lowered her voice, leaned down and whispered to me, “I also thought you two would make beautiful babies.”

I almost choked on my mimosa
I didn’t see a wedding ring on his finger honey. You should talk to him.” She raised her eyebrows at me before walking away.

To a different person, Vonda’s words may have been seen as unprofessional or too forward, but to me, they were right up my alley. In fact, fowardness was one of the things that made me like JC. On our first date, he said I could have his children.

Sometimes you miss out on what’s in front of you because you’re too busy thinking about what’s behind you. So after Vonda went to service another passenger, I made a big show of taking off my jacket so that I could check out my first class neighbor without being too obvious. I peaked over and saw his face. I can not believe I didn’t notice this guy sooner.

Hot Passenger (as he will now be called) looked like what happens when God takes his time to expertly craft an individual instead of just throwing together a torso and random body parts like most of the men I normally see walking around. 

When Vonda came back with our meals, she stood in the middle of the aisle, between our seats and struck up a conversation with the both of us.

How old are you two and what do you both do for a living? Are you traveling for work or traveling for vacation?

I don’t know if she had a bet with the other flight attendants but she was trying really hard to make a love connection.

At one point she brought us complimentary shots of tequila, because Ayyyyyeee, Viva México! Not gonna lie, I’m kinda surprised she didn’t give me a lime and some salt to lick off of Hot Passenger’s expertly crafted torso.
I'm almost positive that if I had asked Vonda if Hot Passenger and I could join the mile high club, that she would have found a way to arrange it.

When we landed at Benito Juarez International Airport and deplaned, Hot Passenger grinned at me and helped me with my carry on luggage.

I’m going to visit family in Monterrey for a few days. How long are you in México City?” he asked,  handing me my bag.

 I couldn’t help but notice the visible veins on his muscular forearms. They were like a road map to mi corazón.

4 nights and 3 days,” I said while trying not to get lost like Nemo in his dark brown eyes.

He looked up at the flight connections board. “My connecting flight is boarding. Ay dios mío, I have to go.

Oh. Ok. It was nice meeting you.

Hot Passenger grabbed my hand and kissed it. Then he flipped it over and pressed his business card into my palm in one seamless move.

Damn they suave like that out here? Orale? I better be careful before I end up pregnant in some Mexican man’s kitchen, hand-pressing tortillas with his mom and sisters.  

Nos vemos, que te vaya bien morencita!” he yelled as he ran towards his gate.

I waved goodbye and stuffed his business card into my back pocket. Dragging my bags behind me, I stepped outside into the humid night air and ordered an uber to my Hostel.

This was going to be a fun trip.