* Since I am on vacation this week, I am bringing you 3 posts in one! I’ll be back next week with more Confessions. But I figured this one will tie you over until then. This is a long one so enjoy it!!!
I think every woman dreams of the day when they can run into a guy that did them dirty and have a “Look at me now moment.” Let’s take a walk down memory lane.
2000 was one of the toughest years of my life. My brother had passed (not ready to go into details on that). I was 23 years old and in a very vulnerable state. Enter “Kyle,” “Kyle” was a 28 year old up and coming photographer I met at a gallery opening. He was experiencing a career high. His latest exhibition had opened to critical acclaimed. He was pegged “The Next Gordon Parks.” “Kyle” was originally from Indiana. He and his college friends had made the move from the mid west to Los Angeles to pursue their dreams. Nearly 3 years after moving to LA he was on the rise. When we met in the crowded Downtown LA Gallery I felt like I was in the scene from West Side Story where Maria and Tony laid eyes on each other and suddenly there was no one else in the room.
“Kyle” and I had the best conversation. His creative mind was so intense. He was brilliant and his photography made a statement about the world. It felt like I was tapping into his inner being as I looked at his photography. I have always connected with artist and photographers. As a matter of fact when I need to clear my head, I will go to an art museum and lose myself in the world of art. “Kyle” and I made plans to hang out the next day. At the time he and his college friends were sharing a car. Let me explain that in greater detail. 4 grown ass men were sharing 1 damn car in Southern California. Not New York City where you can get away without having a car because there is great public transportation system. Los Angeles was and still is a city where you absolutely MUST have a car. So “Kyle” gave me his address and I went to pick his grown ass up. Keep in mind; this is me as a young vulnerable (a.k.a stupid) 23 year old. Back in the day before I Had truly found my stride and wanted to make sure I “made” “Kyle” like me by being accommodating. LMAO! Growth is a beautiful thing. When I got to his home in the middle of the HOOD I was scared to get out of my car. This man lived in the for sure for sure HOOD (The Jungle) and that’s with a capital H. Yes I am from New Jersey and yes I have a smart ass mouth. But I grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, the beautiful suburbs. I used to apologize for being bourgeois. Now I embrace and own up to it. As I got out of my car I bee lined to his door and knocked. As I waited for him to answer the door, I prayed, “Lord Jesus please let this man hurry up and answer the door before gun shots are fired. I am too young to die. My obituary cannot say I died in The Jungle. That’s not the legacy I want to leave behind. I want to live!!!!” As usual the Lord is always on time! “Kyle” answered the door and invited me in. It was a small apartment. It had a lot of African Wooden sculptures of naked women with pointy breasts, lots of black and white photography (unframed hung on the wall by thumbnails), the typical bachelor pad black leather (or perhaps pleather) couches and glass coffee tables. His 3 college roommates were sitting on the couch watching a basketball game eating Cheetos and drinking Heinekens. “Kyle” gave me a hug and invited me in.
Kyle: You remember my roommates.
In my mind I heard the record screech to a halt. Did he say, “roommates, with an S?
Me: Which one is your roommate?
Kyle: Both of them. Did you want a beer?
Me: No. I’ll take a glass of wine. (even back then I loved my wine)
Kyle: We all live here together.
I looked around the apartment and I only saw one bedroom. How in the world did 3 big ass grown men live in a one bedroom apartment? As I pondered this question “Kyle” came back into the room and handed me a glass of… White Zinfandel. WTF? He had to be kidding me. White Zinfandel. I might have been a 23 year fool but even at that age I knew White Zinfindel was comparable to drinking Boone’s Farm. But I really really liked “Kyle” so I decided to be a good sport and chill out.
Me: So what did you want to do?
Kyle: I figured we could hang out here and watch the game.
Me: Ummmmm… okay.
So I sat there for 2 hours on his pleather couch watching a fucking basketball game. Did I mention how much I hated basketball? Did I mention the White Zinfandel was stale? Picture me on the couch in between 3 rowdy guys watching a Laker game. After the game ended “Kyle” walked me to my car.
Kyle: I had a great time with you. I like how you can just kick it and hang out. You’re so different from these bourgeois LA girls.
Kyle: Can we hang out again?
There goes that word. “Hang out.” I still liked him but I had a slight attitude. I didn’t want to cuss him out just yet. This was before the baggage. This is when I still had hope and looked at the silver lining.
Me: We can. But next time I would like for us to go out somewhere.
Kyle: That’s cool, kid.
“Kid.” WTF? Who was he calling kid? Did that mean he was looking at me as a friend? Talk about confused. “Kyle” and I made plans to go out to days later. Lucky for me it also happened to be a day when he had the car. He picked me up and before we reached the restaurant he stopped at the ATM machine. He was there for a few minutes. It was taking him unusually long. He started making his way back to the car. He had his hands in his pockets and his great posture he had when he walked to the ATM was replaced with slouched over shoulders. He got in the car. Took a deep breath and said.
Kyle: We have a problem.
Me: What’s wrong?
Kyle: I can’t access my account.
Me: That is a major problem.
Kyle: I was really looking forward to us going to hear the spoken poetry at my spot. (Back in 2000 spoke poetry was VERY popular)
Me: Don’t worry about it, let’s just go and I’ll get us a round of drinks.
My inner loving Diva that guides me through my love life now wasn’t awakened until I hit my 30’s. Back then I didn’t have her to shake me back into reality. What the hell was I thinking? I barely had two nickels to rub together at that time and here I was taking a grown ass man out for drinks?! So “Kyle” and I headed to the spoken word spot that was in Leimert Park (not one of my favorite spots in LA even to this day… don’t judge me, but I much prefer going to Beverly Hills or Manhattan Beach.. just sayin’). “Kyle” had no problem throwing back a few rounds of drinks that I bought! Back then, being a young fool, I saw so much “potential” in “Kyle.” I looked at him as the photographer that would change the world. We still had great conversation… so I thought. Looking back on it I don’t remember anything about the conversation. At that time, I think I needed a hole to be filled. Then I thought meeting the right man and falling in love would fill that hole. Of course now I am fully aware the only person that can fill the void in your life is you. In addition to paying for our dates I did every single stupid thing that a young girl would do to “make” a guy like me. Ultimately, “Kyle” stopped returning my phone calls (this was prior to the text messaging days). I even called from a friend’s house and he actually answered the phone because he didn’t recognize the number! I felt like a damn fool!
I ended up going out to Reign (THE hot spot back in the day in LA before Keyshawn Johnson sold it in order to have to pay less in alimony when he and his wife got divorced). My girlfriends were trying to cheer me up. I had never been dissed like that before. “Kyle” dissed my ass! Big time! I was hurt, devastated, and mad. After throwing back quite a few cocktails. I noticed my girlfriends face lose color.
Me: What’s wrong?
Girlfriend: Oh….. Nothing. Guuurl, we should get outta here….
She attempted to pick up my stuff and scurry out. That’s when I realized her eyes kept looking over my head. I turned around and there was “Kyle” sitting at a table holding hands and locking eyes with another woman. The waiter had come to the table to give him the bill and he quickly reached for it and put his credit card in the bill envelope. I was LIVID!!! I literally saw red.
Girlfriend: Monique, do not give him the power. Do not cause a scene. Let’s just go.
Me: Go, but I am having such a great time. We are going to stay here and order another drink.
With that I signaled to the bartender and ordered another cocktail. My girlfriend was nervous as shit. I think the sense of calm that came over me scared her because I was normally such a firecracker. I waited for my signal and it finally came two more drinks later. I saw “Kyle” go to the bathroom. I applied a fresh coat of lip gloss and I made my way to the restroom area when I realized his date was waiting for him at the table. Even back then, I had the theory of never approaching the other woman. First of all it makes you look crazy and it’s not the other woman’s fault that the man she is out with is a complete and total asshole. “Kyle” came out of the restroom and when he saw me he looked like a deer in headlights.
Me: Hello Kyle.
Kyle: Ummmm…. Monique… uh.. Hello… how are you, kid?
Me: If you picked up the phone to answer my calls you would know. (I didn’t realize how tipsy I was until I felt like my words weren’t coming out of my mouth as fast as they were rolling around in my brain. Not to mention when he called me “kid” again it certainly hit a nerve)
Kyle: I’ve been busy…
Me: I see. I also see you have gotten a bigger paycheck and can afford to pay for dates now. You cheap, broke ass fuck! (that certainly wasn’t the sophisticated line I had practiced in my head when I Was walking over to confront him)
Kyle: What do you want from me, kid?
Me: I don’t want shit from you! You could have been a man and been honest instead of avoiding my calls.
Kyle: I figured you’d get the hint.
Me: Oh I did.
Kyle: So why are you sweating me?
Me: Nobody is sweating your broke tired ass. I’m glad you had the car so you could actually pick up your date. (there was really no rhyme or reason to my 23 year old ass going off on this man. Looking back on it I looked a total jack ass myself. But in my mind I was going to get this man told!)
Kyle: Have a nice night kid.
Kyle started to walk off. And me needing to get the last and final parting blow and being tipsy and 23 yelled back at him.
Me: By the way your photography sucks!
Oh yeah! I showed him I was the shit. LOL! More like a big dumb shit. I always looked back on “Kyle” with absolute disdain and horror. I would have nightmares for months to follow after that outburst and wake up and re-run what I should have said and how I should have said it. There were times I would pray to run into him and say, “Look at me now.” I would play various scenarios in my mind of what I would say when I ran into him again and what I would do. When the run in did not happen it eventually faded off into my mind as a bad memory that I grew from.
Fast forward to present time. 13 years later. 13 years of growth. 13 years of bad dates, a bad marriage, a shitty divorce, and the rediscovery of ME. 13 years of finding out who I was and discovering an inner strength I had no idea existed. 13 years of the evolution of ME. 13 years of realizing and recognizing my growth. 13 years of loving myself more than anyone else possibly could. 13 years of knowing exactly what I wanted and not apologizing for it or reasoning with myself why I didn’t deserve to have it. 13 years… I had finally reached my stride and become a true, bonafide, unapologetic WOMAN.
A few months ago I was at a networking mixer for work. I had been none of the organizers of the event. It was one of the typical Hollywood executive power mixers. I was wearing my purple DVF power dress and some killer heels. I was working the room making introductions, hugging people I knew, and really having a good time. It was coming towards the end of the evening and the event was finally winding down. This meant I was finally ready to have my first glass of wine. I have a rule of thumb, at work events I do not have more than one glass of wine and I typically wait until the end of event. Anyway I digressed… As I walked over to the bar there was… “Kyle.” The long dreadlocks had been cut off and he was now sporting a neat fade. His bohemian chic attire was now replaced with a sports jacket, matching slacks and no tie. He turned around and spotted me. He did a triple take. You know those moments when someone sees you and is trying to place where they know you from. How funny, here was a bastard who had taught me one of the most profound and hurtful lessons (outside of my ex husband) only 13 years ago and this motherfucker couldn’t even remember me. I wanted to take my 6 inch Jimmy Choo and poke his eye out but I remembered I was at a work event. Not to mention my inner loving diva slowly relaxed me, “You’re no longer the “kid” he used to call you. You’re now a grown ass woman. You finally get the proper closure.” With that I took a deep breath and smiled at him. That’s when it clicked. He realized who I was. I walked up to “Kyle.”
Me: Well what a blast from the past. Hello “Kyle.”
Kyle: Wow. I can’t believe my yes. You’re all grown up.
Me: Yes I am.
Kyle: You look great.
Me: Thank you. (I didn’t feel the need to return the compliment. I hadn’t evolved that damn much.)
Kyle: How have you been?
Me: Wonderful. Yourself?
Kyle: I’ve been good. What are you doing these days?
I told him that I was now an executive at a studio and told him a little about my job. I kept it brief and very professional.
Me: Good seeing you Kyle.
I started to walk off. Kyle practically ran to me and handed me a card.
Kyle: Here’s my card. Please let me take you out to dinner so we can catch up.
Me: That’s not necessary. Like I said, it was great seeing you.
Kyle: Listen, I know I wasn’t right back in the day and I hope we can move past that.
ME: That’s water under the bridge. We were both young and I was wide open then. But I must thank you for the lesson you taught me. You truly changed my perspective on dating and how I approached things moving forward and for that I am so grateful.
Kyle: I was fucked up.
Me: Yeah you were. You were a true bonafide asshole. But again, that was so long ago and I have moved past that.
Kyle: I look forward to hearing from you. Do you have a card on you?
ME: No I ran out. I’ll call you.
With that, I gave “Kyle” a kiss on the cheek and strutted off. As I left the restaurant I looked at his card and threw that shit out. Of course I wasn’t going to call that bastard. Yes I had moved past it and I had evolved but I had no intention of reconnecting with a man who had already shown me who he was. I opened up my purse and looked for the valet ticket. It was in between a stack full of my business cards I had brought with me to pass out at the networking event. There was no way in hell I was about to waste a card on his ass either.
When I got in my car I suddenly started cracking up. Not just little giggles either. I had a case of uncontrollable laughter. I laughed at the woman I was and the silly mistakes I made and the dumb shit I did in the name of love. I laughed at how life is truly a series of full circle moments. And if you don’t truly allow yourself to live in the moment and be perceptive to life’s little and big lessons it will pass you by. Talk about Boomerang! There were so many times I wished I could run into “Kyle” and give him a piece of my mind and say “Ha-ha look at me now.” I even have those moments with my ex husband where I would love to run into his ass and scream on top of a mountain, “YOU DID NOT BREAK ME!!!” I realize in life things happen when they are supposed to happen. They do not happen on your on time, they happen at the right time. Who knows if I will ever have a run in with my ex or if I will have another run in with a dumb ass I have dated in the past. But I can say with full confidence whatever happens I am ready.