History does not change, it only repeats itself.
So when he texted me, I shouldn’t have responded. When he expressed wanting to see me, I shouldn’t have agreed. I knew better. We had damn near eight years of history between us and it always ended the same exact way.
I was running late— 20 minutes to be exact, but it was worth it. I looked good. My chest bounced up and down as I made sure to strut down the street thinking he could be anywhere in the neighborhood. In the mini skirt that I only brought out for rare occasions, my legs glistened as the streetlights bounced off of them. My highlighted cheeks and slightly over glossed lips perfectly complimented my now two-week old hair cut. Before I walked in, I applied another coat of lip gloss and dabbed my dewy skin—strutting ain’t easy. Just like I thought, he was outside watching me from up the block. We knew each other too well.
For the second time in eight years, he made a plan— an ice cream date. He probably didn’t remember that this was how our first date went too, but that was fine. I had enough memories for the both of us. We walked from 14th to the L.E.S. and I yelled at him the entire way. People starred at us as we walked by probably wondering why he was putting up with me, not realizing it was the other way around. He laughed.
After venting for 12+ blocks, we finally arrived at one of my favorite spots. This scenario had played out so many times in my head with so many different men, but not him. And now, here we were in a candle lit hole in the wall eatery, awkwardly trying not to stare at each other as “Your Love Is King” plays in the background.
My favorite spot is playing “Your Love is King” and I just feel overwhelmed.
— Action Brownskin (@LifeWithJRDN) October 12, 2017
We were supposed to be celebrating the closing of our chapter— his upcoming move to L.A. He gave me reasons as to why he was moving, but none of them were the truth. After this long, you should know when someone is lying. He had always been on a constant search for something “more.” It was super cliché, but so was this entire night. He goes from city to city trying to find that “special thing” in someone or some career switch while still not realizing he doesn’t need to travel too far to find himself.
While we waited on our food, it became my turn to listen about myself. He asked why I never allowed myself “soft” or “vulnerable” with him. He noticed that over the years, I had grown tougher, my skin had become thicker, and I wasn’t the girl I used to be. He made my growth sound like a bad thing. I became tougher because I had to be, I concealed more parts of myself because not everyone deserved to see all of me. My skin had grown thicker because it was protecting the pieces of me that were the softest. I had to become this person.
As he glanced at his phone, I looked at him for a while. Though he had gone through hair phases over the years, he looked the exact same way he did when I first met him. His eyes had grown a little bit more tired and he had a few more of those “grown folks” moles on his face, but he was the same.
After 15 minutes of what felt like forever, our food finally arrived, but I wasn’t hungry anymore. “Hipster Girl” was playing in the background and I giggled over the memories we shared in 2012 about being different variations of hipsters. I looked up to him looking at me and I could already tell how this night was going to end. We stepped out of the restaurant and despite the amount of drinks I had that night, the now-chilly air had smacked me in the face. I was freezing and regretting my outfit choice. We hopped in our Uber and he placed his jacket over me like a blanket. For the entire 20 minute drive, we said nothing and it was beautiful. We had spent the entire night sharing all the things that had gone unsaid over the years that there was just nothing else to say. I laid my head on his shoulder and he automatically draped his arm over me as if he was shielding me from the driver’s eyes. I closed my eyes and secretly wished for a bit more traffic.
“Over here, good?” the driver asked as I woke up. We were here, 2088. I had been in this building so many times over the past year, the security guards would speak to me as if I lived here. When we finally got to his room, I stood next to his window with my arms folded across my chest. That was my way of letting him know I wasn’t going to sit until I got out of my “outside clothes.” He handed me a pair of sweats as he searched for something on Netflix. This was eight years our routine.
We sat down and he looked at me with a face that I had grown to know meant something bad was about to happen. The clock on the cable box read 10:53PM and he said needed to make a phone call. I looked up at him, confused for multiple reasons. 1. Why did I need to know about your phone call? And 2. Who do you need to call, right now?
I asked a few questions that I already knew the answer to and there it was— a girl. Isn’t it always about a girl? I spoke as loud as I could without disturbing the other people in his house as he got dressed to make this phone call. For some odd reason, this wasn’t a phone call he could simply make in the living room. He needed to go outside. He left his apartment and a few minutes later so did I.
We spent the rest of the night arguing on the phone about how irresponsible it was for me to “leave in his sweatpants.” Yes, sweatpants. The same sweatpants the I walked 40-some blocks to get home in. The same sweatpants, that though they were oversized and clearly looked as if the belonged to a man, still managed to fit me in a way that got me followed for two dimly lit blocks on the eastside of Harlem at 11PM. These magical fucking sweatpants and irresponsible Jourdan. We spent the rest of the week exchanging petty blows via text before we blocked each other. After deciding I wanted to end things on my own terms, I delivered a bag filled with eight years of memories, vinyls, t-shirts, pictures, and of course the magical fucking sweats to his door.
From being angry to having the now classic “You know better” convo with myself, I spent my weekend going through my motions. By Monday, I charged it to the game. But Tuesday morning, I woke up to screenshots from friends of him talking about me on the internet. This is how far eight years had gotten us, shit-talking and him asking the brujas of Twitter to put a hex on me. Fun. But this was our ending, the one we needed to have—nothing more, nothing less.
See, I thought I could change history. I thought this time we could finally end our chapter on a note that would make a good ending for not just me, but the both of us. But, history never changes, it only repeats itself.