I’m sick and tired of remarks like, “Your lips are too big” or “you have fat lips” or “your lips are ugly” or being asked “Did you get your lips injected that’s why they’re so thick?” What’s the use of telling them God made my lips just as He made everything else? Most of them don’t believe in Him.
When they’re not making remarks about my lips, they are making them about my dark skin. And the terrible thing is that people of color are making these hurtful and ignorant remarks. Most of my friends are of other races because I can’t deal with the black men making jokes about what it would be like to kiss me.
Once I overheard one of them say, “Man, if I were to kiss her, those lips would suck my face in like a vacuum cleaner.” That stung. I heard my friend, Rafael mutter something in Spanish before he tore into them, saying, “You’re a bunch of stupid jerks. Where do you get off making such asinine remarks about a beautiful woman like Mahalia?”
“Beautiful?” Reese replied, sounding shocked. “You think she’s beautiful?”
“Maybe you need to get your eyes checked, Man,” one of the guys say, laughing.
“I don’t think she’s beautiful at all,” Gloria said. “Not with those lips. Why doesn’t age a lip reduction or something? That’s what I would do if I were cursed with those things.”
“Unlike yours, her lips are perfect,” Rafael retorted angrily.
“There’s no need to be insulting,” Gloria replied, sounding hurt.
“What about your remarks? Don’t you think they are insulting?”
“What’s with you, Man?” Lamar asked.
“Mahalia is my friend and I refuse to sit here and listen to you make fun of her.”
“She’s our friend too,” Reese said defensively.
“With friends like you bunch, who needs enemies?” was his quick rejoinder.
“Friends are honest with each other.”
“What you’re doing is cruel and hurtful. And as of this moment, I want nothing more to do with any of you. And I hope that Mahalia drops you too.” He got up from the table.
I walked in just then and all eyes turned on me. “Did I miss something?” I asked.
None of them said a word. “I’m leaving,” Rafael said. “Would you like to stay or leave with me?”
I walked over to the table, took up my jacket and said, “I’m leaving with you. Goodnight, Friends.”
That was the last time I had anything to do with any of them, save Rafael. I unfriended all of them on my Facebook account and deleted their numbers from my cell. Rafael was right, they were not my friends. Friends don’t ridicule and humiliate you. It felt really good to be free of such toxic people. My current friends are so different. One of the guys told me that I have a sexy mouth. The women are always marveling at how flawless my skin is and ask me what I use to get it to look like that. I tell them that I eat well and drink lots of water.
It’s Saturday night and Rafael is getting ready for his date with Imelda. I’m at his place watching him get ready. He looks handsome. I didn’t know that he had a date or I wouldn’t have stopped by. He was pleased to see me and encouraged me to stay while he got dressed.
“So, who’s Imelda?” I asked. I was jealous. I have realized for sometime that I’m in love with him.
“She’s a woman I met a week ago through my co-worker, Dan.”
“So, is she stunning?”
“Yes. She looks like a model but she’s a real estate agent.”
“So, where are you taking her tonight?”
“Dinner first at Sevilla and then Nai Tapas for live guitar music and Flamenco dancing.”
“Sounds like a very interesting evening.”
He smiles. “It is. What about you? Do you have any plans for tonight?”
“No. I’m probably going to finish reading Twisted Telepathy. Very chilling novel set in the Victorian times of a psychiatrist who mentally seduces women and gets them to commit crimes.”
“Sounds like my kind of novel. Lend it to me when you’re done.”
“Sure.” I walk over to him. “Your tie needs a little straightening.” I reach up and adjust it slightly. He smells really good. We are standing really close and I can feel his eyes on me. When I’m done with his tie, I step back slightly. “That’s much better,” I remark, meaning the tie.
“Thank you,” he says quietly.
I look up and our eyes meet. Suddenly the air is charged and I painfully aware of him and the feelings his nearness is arousing in me. “I–I’d better leave now,” I stammer. By now my heart is beating like crazy and my breathing has quickened.
He caught me by my waist as I was about to move away and pulled me against him, making me gasp. His dark, sexy eyes dropped to my mouth and then his was devouring it. Unable to help myself, I put my arms around his waist and kissed him back. There we are in his cozy living-room, kissing wildly and hungrily.
The ringing of the telephone feels like someone throwing a bucket of water on us. We spring apart and while he answers it, I make a very hasty exit. All the way on my drive home, I keep reliving that moment–the kiss. When I get home, I wash my face which felt hot. I settle down to read my novel but I can’t concentrate. I keep seeing Rafael’s face and imagining his lips on mine, kissing me and driving me wild with desire. And I keep wondering how his date with Imelda is going and getting jealous. This is a miserable evening for me. I’m jealous and frustrated.
I get up the sofa and walk over to the window and look out. He’s out there having a romantic night with another woman when he should be here with me or at his place making love. A part of me wished we hadn’t kissed because it has only complicated things.
It’s around ten-thirty when the doorbell rings. Wondering who it can be, I get up from the sofa and go to answer the door. My heart leaps in my chest when I see that it’s Rafael. I open the door. “Hi.”
“Hi,” he replies. “May I come in?”
“Yes.” I step aside to let him and then close the door, locking it. “What are you doing here? I thought you would still be on your date.”
“We went to dinner and then to the Flamenco club but we left about a half-hour later. I couldn’t concentrate on the date. My mind was preoccupied. Imelda knew that something was up. I felt like a jerk but I couldn’t help it. All the time she and I were together, I couldn’t stop thinking about you–about the kiss. I took her home and I told her that I couldn’t see her anymore–that there’s someone else.”
“Yes. You, Mahalia. It has always been you.”
“I–I didn’t know you felt this way.”
“I have always felt this way but kept it to myself because I didn’t want to complicate our relationship.”
“Now that I know that you have feelings for me, I guess I should tell you that I have feelings for you too. I have had them for a long time.”
“Oh, Mahalia,” he moaned, pulling me in his arms. Then, his lips were on mine. We continued where we had left off when we were at his place and while we were making love, I thought how the love and happiness I had been searching for and which I thought were eluding me had been there right under my nose all of these years.