No Sense Crying Over Spilled Milk Here I am, 35, single-I'd be lying to myself if I said happily. That's a lie all women tell themselves when they don't want to deal with the reality of being non-committed. ****, truth be told, I let my dog sleep in my bed just to know I got something to wake up next to, except a memory of who was there last night. My momma keeps telling me, "Gurl, ain't nobody gonna buy the cow if they can get milk for free!" I know these must be my Louisiana-Mississippi-Arkansas ancestors speaking through her. She must only tune them in when it applies to her children. She show didn't hear them when my daddy was getting lactose tolerant from all the free milk he got. My step-daddy (by common law only. Neither one of them married momma) been getting his milk for 25 some opt years and that's just the milk I know he got in house-OUR house. Ain't no telling how much he was milking out my momma before then. Somebody should tell mothers to stop telling their daughters that, before they find their daughters asking them how they got to be heifers. Or telling them, I don't know about no cows, but what's good for the goose is good for the gander! But, back to me....that is who I'm talking about, right? I mean, I can talk about my momma tomorrow in therapy, in which I've been in since I was twenty-three and discovered no man was ever gonna be good enough for me according to my momma. Our recent discussions are pertaining to my man-friend James. We've been seeing each other for about eight months. Too long according to my mother, without a commitment. "But mother he's good FOR my social life." "Then why he always taking you to some club. Ain't nothing open but, motels and legs at this time of night (another ancestor's song she sings)." "But mother he's good TO me." "Then why he ain't asked you to marry him, then? If he so good TO you? And why that boy don't never come over here to meet me and your daddy?" "Probably, because I ain't asked him to come. Why would I put him through that?" I said on the inside. "Mother, I am a grown woman and I ain't dated a boy since I was in high school." "Well, as long as you my babygirl, they gone all be boys to me and your daddy." She always says 'me and your daddy'. Like she is the voice of truth for both of them. Like they been attached since birth and one can't be separated except when my step-daddy is on her 'He Ain't ****-list'. "Mom, I gotta go, James is here." "I know he ain't outside honking...is he outside your house honking? I know me and your daddy taught you better than that! You make that boy wait 'til he comes to the door." I always get the 'I know he ain't honking' speech, when I am telling my mother I'm about to go out with a man. It all started when I was eighteen and had come home from college. This guy named Terrance came to pick me up and it was raining outside. He called me before coming over and said he was just going to honk when he was in front of the house. Lord, Lord, Lord! What he do that for? You would of thought that he had committed a felony in front of my house. My parents instructed me that I was not moving 'til that boy come in and escort you to the car'. It got real quiet in that living room. You could of heard a digital clocks rhythm it was so quiet. My sister nodding her head like, 'Guuuuurl, I could of told you they wasn't going for the car honk thang'. My brother pantomining cracking up, scared himself to make a sound due to looks-well, glares my parents had on the door, waiting for the doorbell to ring. Another honk. My daddy gets up and pulls the curtains back and just stares out the window as a visual aid for Terrance to get out the car and come to the door. I was so embarrassed. Problem was, I was embarrassed at my parents and not at Terrance. They were trippin'! He was being practical! They were always ruining my life and never wanted me to be free from their parental slavery! Those were my eighteen-I'm grown-anthem cries, as I stormed out the house to meet my date. I had a horrible time. Terrance was so worried about his texturized hair getting wet. Worried about sweating out his new Ralph Lauren sweater dancing at the party we went to. "I would walk you to the door, but I ain't got my umbrella" He could of just said he couldn't because my parents was a trip. That might have won him a second date. My parents were right-again. Of course, I'd never tell them that. I told them Terrance was scared of them and said he didn't want to see me no more. I had to have some back up for that back talk about them ruining my life. "Humph, good riddins." My momma muttered with her arms crossed and waiting for me to walk through the door. My daddy nodded in agreement. "Never did like that Jones, boy. His parents didn't raise him right." My daddy act like he is the encyclopedia of how to raise children right. You could hear him, late into the evenings, talking about the young men he supervised at work. "Ms.Mylady," that's what he called my momma, "I just don't know where these young folx getting their silly made up minds from. Act like they don't wanna work. Act like they too good to work. Must be their parents ain't raise them right." "Ms.Mylady, I don't understand why any MAN wants to wear earrings in his ears and argue with me about why he need to take it off. Next, thing you know they wanna wear make up and skirts to work. Must be they parents ain't raised them right." Every one of my brother's friends, especially the girl's he would sneak in and always get caught with, and my sister's friends, do one thing wrong. Or let my brother and sister get caught doing something wrong. My parents never blamed themselves. God forbid. It was always 'must be they parents ain't raised them right'. Now, I ain't fronting on my step-daddy. He has been there since the time our real daddy wasn't. But we still wonder how he moved in OUR house and ain't nobody said nothing about no wedding. Or the phone calls from his daughter's mother calling about why the child support check hadn't come yet. "I told you don't call here with that stupid ****!" The only time I heard my step daddy curse was when he was on the phone with his daughter's mother. "Ain't your business about who's other children I'm raising! You made this like what it is! You wanna be the momma and the daddy,so be it! I'm not going through this again Charlene, now you already got them people messing with my checks. I have always given you money for my daughter. I ain't the ****, bank!" It use to make him so mad, we all had to tip toe around or stay in our rooms, because my momma had to do her Ms.Mylady therapy on him. You could hear my mothers voice as soft as wind whispers in between my step daddy hollaring. You would hear my momma's whispers and then my step daddy saying something like, "It ain't right." Or ,"Ain't I got a right to see my own daughter". Or ,"What right them people got taking my money that I work hard for, huh, what right they got." I remember thinking to myself, even back then, 'Must be his parents ain't raised him to know some things just ain't never gone be right, no matter how right you think you are.' Back to me though. I know I be fading in and out, bear with me.....were was I...Oh yeah, the honking thing. Ever since then, I get the honking speech. For a long time, I just paid my sister to take me out and meet my dates around the corner or some place else. I knew my parents loved for their children to spend "quality time" together. It helped them to stroke their egos about what a good family they raised. They didn't know, my brother was selling and smoking weed. That's why he was so popular. Or that my sister, who is three years older than I, was dating a man almost twice her age. Until this day, I have never lived down to the car honking incident. But again...family therapy is tomorrow. "No, mother, James is not honking he's standing right here." "I ain't here no door bell-that boy got keys to your house?" I hear her ancestors getting ready to talk about cows.... "No ,mother, James does not have keys to my house." "How is he right there then?" "Mother there is such a thing called cordless phone." I swear, I moved out of her house to do what I want to in my own! "Look mother, I'm about to go!" "Don't be rushing me 'cuz that boy right there. I ain't finished talking to you." "Mother that's rude, I have company, we're getting ready to go. I'll talk to you later-tomorrow. You aren't even trying to stay on the phone. You're just trying to hear if James is a for real person. Here James, pleaaassssse say something to my momma so she can hang up." I put the phone up for him to speak without giving it to him. "Hello, Ms.Williams." ****, his voice is sexy. Maybe we won't be going out<-------me thinking. "Now, can I go mother...?" I don't know why, but I always feel like asking my mother permission for hanging up first. "Yes, but call me when you get in." "Alright momma, I love you. Tell daddy I love him, too" " Me and your daddy loves you, too. Make sure you tell that to that boy, James. You got people that love you." Yeah right, I'm going to call her when I get in. She acts like I don't know that she keeps a journal of her children’s coming and going. I found it once. Even when we went to the Boys and Girls club as children or the library. She logged the time we said we was going and the time we got in the house. She'd be a good correctional officer. Or better a yet warden. She really didn't want to know that, what James was really good for was making me feel good in bed. Gooooood Lawd! You talking bout some sessions....Now, I ain't fronting. This man works it out! However, he never wants to make love in my house. He always takes me out to dinner or a movie or some other intense bonding outing and then takes me to a suite at a four star hotel. I use to think he was married. But he lives with his parents. That’s right, HE STILL LIVES WITH HIS PARENTS. It's not like that, though. He is an only child, never been married, no children, super paid (suites are on his corporate account) He is a business consultant for a business law office. He says he doesn't see a need to have his own house unless he has a family to live with and support. Until then, he is quite content in his parent’s house. Makes sense to me. Accept the fact that he also refuses to sleep in my house. I thought it was because he was allergic to my dog. Wrong. Now, the reason why he says he doesn't want to sleep in my house is because he doesn't want to sleep in a bed, I've possible slept in with another man. He says he wants our love making to be free of any other energy or memories of yesterday. That makes sense to me, too. Well, really it makes sense to a point. That point being, who knows who sleeps in those suites? Business men and their escort excursions? Cheating wives and their cheating lovers? All kinda freakiness that may not have included us, well me anyway. "Just be celibate until he asks you to marry him." My sister said when I told her about James and his suite ways. Easy for her to say, since she is married now, with children. "Yeah right, like that's gonna work. We've already been having relations and I'm just suppose to take a stance for celibacy." "Yeah, it's your perogative. You know what momma would say...." "Gurl, if you quote that cow ****, Ima come through that phone and slap you like you stole something!" "Well, I 'm just saying...?" "Saying what?" "Saying it's time for you to make me an auntie. You know we always talked about our children growing up together." "****, are we talking about you now? 'Cuz I swear I thought we were talking about me? I'm talking about the fact that this man won't even spend time with me in my home and you talking about me birthing children so that our ‘youth made promises’ will come to fruition. You know, the more and more we get older the more and more I can tell which one of us is going to be just like momma." "Well, Michael and I," Michael is her husband...see, she even sound like my momma, attached at the words of her and her husband. "Michael and I were saying how good it would be to have more of our family around." "What are you talking about, I'm always over there." "No, Michael and I, were discussing more family as creating more." Michael is my sister’s 20 year difference in age man turned husband. He married her when she was twenty-seven. I think it must have been shot gun wedding, 'cuz 6 months after their marriage, I was an auntie, my parents were grand and believe you me, that doesn’t mean my parents were happy. "Well, **** tell Michael's sisters to have some **** babies." "Don't think Michael and I aren't telling them the same thing." "Why you trippin' off me then?" "Well, you know how I feel about Michael's sisters. They all think they are better than. They act like their money is too good to even think about a man who isn't making more than their six figure salaries. Those bats don't know that they gonna be old and gray, sitting waiting on each other to die, so the other can see how she can get power of attorney and cash out the other ones mutual funds. Could you even imagine what type of men they would marry? Children they would raise?" Michael has three sisters. He is the oldest. All of them are around my sister and I's age. My sister and one of his ststers use to be close. Until, my sister start going out with their brother. Even though they survived everybody saying it was an infactuation, 17 years later,his sisters still be trippin' waiting for them to get over it instead of getting over it they **** selves. ****, if you ask me they act like they don't want my sister to have him, 'cuz they want him. Now, they compete over who can get their neices and nephews the most expensive gifts. They don't know, as far as I'm concerned, no matter how much they spend or give, Ima always be the favorite auntie. "So, what type of children do you think Ima raise?" "I'm just saying, that biological clock is yet ticking and the warranty is about to run out." "You don't know, I might just be like Sara in the Bible. That's me and God's business." Oh Lawd, now I am talking in ancestral parody. "Whatever. I'm just trying to help. I would hate to see the kind of children Antoine will have." Antoine is our brother. My sister is Antoinette. She would have been Antoine, but she turned out to be a girl. And you guessed it, our daddy’s name was Antoine Senior "He probably got a few 'How you know I'm your baby daddy? S/he don't even look like me' running around town. He’s always high. Who know what or who that boy got." " He ain't no boy...there you go Momma." "Shut up, you know what I'm saying. ****, he still live in his room at mom and dads. He don't work. He still have all them Jet:Beauty of the Week plastered over his wall since we lived there. That BOY is never leaving the womb." "Oh, so I guess now, we are talking about Antoine. That's a nice transition from talking about you." "You trippin' I'm about to go. Michael and I are making it a Blockbuster night, so I have to make sure my children won't be Block busting in. I might just get me some tonight." "That's why you got all them kids now." They were at five. Cameron is 11, Tiara is 9, Me'chell is 8. (pronounced Michelle, you know folx try to do too much sometimes) Victor is 4 and Shaylynn (Don't ask) is 18 months. All of them are really smart and beautiful looking children. But it's still five of them. "and unless you tell that man what I said you ain't never gonna have none." "Shut up, you know, sometimes I tell you things and then you make me swear to never again tell you ****.' "Whatever, I know who and what I am. Somebody's wife, somebody's mother, somebody's love of some thing called a life. Who and what are you again?" I hate my sister's sarcasm " Put the phone real close in your ears so you can hear who and what I am. You listening?" CLICK. I hung up in her face. It's the prerogative-no it's priority for the younger sister to keep her childish ways. My sister and I have always been close. She was my alliance during the mayhem of my parents trying to undo all the wrongs they thought they had done with her and my brother. It was different with my brother, Antoine, because he was a boy child. Now, he is a man child-lost and turned out. Antoine, my big brother, has learned the craft of 'let me hold on to a couple of dollars' as his work trade. He stays too high on weed to keep a job. He said he be feeling too good to go to work eight hours for somebody else. What kills me, is Antoine is almost 40 years old and he running around trying to get the new Jordans, pants sagging, Nike slashes on every piece of clothing he got or somebody’s emblems. His eyes stay tight from 'blazing with his partnas'. Could you imagine? He is 36 years old going on 16. To make it worse, my parents let him. I think my momma and daddy let him get away with things, because our real daddy didn't even bother to bother with anything different. In fact, it is family rumored that my daddy was the one who turned my brother on to his first joint. Although, ‘Toine, (that's what we call my brother) never wanted to live with our real daddy, he use to go over there all the time when he was in high school. When he finally did come home. He be over high eating up everything in the kitchen. "Boy, I raised you better than that. Wash them hands for you go through me and your daddy food." "You right, momma. Your food just be so good, I got to rush on in here. Can't nobody burn like my momma." ‘Toine would say, chicken in one hand, talking and chewing, and trying to kiss momma's as....I mean, kiss up to momma all at the same time. Momma never said nothing about where he had been. What he had been doing since after school. Who he had been doing it with. I think she was just glad he had some kinda relationship with our real daddy. She would never let my sister and I go visit him. When we question her about how come we can't go to daddy's? Momma would say 'Boys are different, they need their fathers-real fathers.' Real fathers don't sell and smoke weed with there children, though. Besides, our father never asked us to come visit. She knew, our real daddy wasn't right and now, ‘Toine ain't right. Must be his parents ain't raised him right! Right? Sorry, I just had to say it. So, every now and then ‘Toine comes over my house to sleep his high off before going to momma and daddy's. "Hey, baby sis...I need to lay down for a quick minute if that's cool?" Ain't never been a minute with my brother. A quick minute at that. Next, he gonna ask for some food. "What you got to eat. I KNOW you got some food in here. You eat!" That was his brotherly way of saying I was fat. My brother always made me feel uncomfortable in my body. Until I found out men like hips, and behind he could make me cry in two sentences.. Now, his comments just roll off my big behind. "Boy, you wish you had or even knew a woman as fine as me. Anyway, I think there is some chili in there or some chicken that I baked the other night. But then beggars and bums can't be choosey." Now, the money hold. "Speaking of such, not to beg or bum, but can you let your brother hold on to a few dollars." I was so familiar with my brothers script I could lead him right through our conversations. "Hold on to a few dollars for what, ‘Toine? You've been holding on to my few dollars so long that I got to have me enough interest for a down payment on something besides your future." He was looking at my pictures up on the mantle. There were pictures of us when we were children, a family photo of my sister and her tribe, and a picture of me and my Ex taken at a new year’s ball. “Hu-haaaaaaa look at you and my dawg, Big Merv.” Mervin, was one of those, ‘let me hook you up wit’one of my partna’ things my brother never lets me forget. Mervin and I dated for about four years, until it became obvious he had no interest in anything except the fact that he could say, we had been seeing each other for four years. So what! ‘Toine would look at that picture every time he came over and talked about how he just knew we were gonna be together, like he was missing out on brownie points because we had broken up. “You should of never let Merv, get away.” “Like he was the catch of the day. You date him.” “****, Merv having big thangs. He let my hold on to a couple of hundreds the other day.” “Then why you over here trying to hold on to what I got?” He put the framed photo back on the mantle, shaking his head. “You should of never let Merv, get away.” Always changing the subject when we talk about them couple of dollars, except when he knows he’s gonna get a few. “Well, I did and he’s gone. You know I am tired of your ‘I let the Big One get away’ stories about Merv. Get over it! I have.” In truth, I really had gotten over Mervin. We use to still hook up every now and then. Besides the fact that I really liked me in that photo, I kept it there so Merv, would think he still had a chance. NOT. He was the one who gave me my dog, Wizard. Funny how Wizard turned out to be more faithful than Mervin. Almost like he knew he couldn’t be, so he got me a dog that could fulfill his obligations. I never understood why women called men dogs. They come when you call, they eat what ever you feed them without complaining, and they are always happy to see you when you get home. I don’t see any similarities of that to a man. Well, you do have to clean up they ****, so one same characteristic stands. “No wonder why, you can’t keep no man. You still got Big Merv, all up in here. Hey, ain’t he get you that fat 45” TV and stereo system. You oughta let your big bro hang on to it, since y’all ain’t kickin’ it no more”. “Oh, since we ain’t together you think I don’t watch T.V. or listen to music? Now, how stupid does that sound? Anyway, you can’t even fit that T.V. in your room at momma’s. Where you gonna put it, in the closet?” “Ha, ha, ha…you and Anty”, That’s what we call our sister, “ just jealous of me because I’m momma’s baby.” “You got that right, still in her crib and breastfeeding off her and daddy’s milk and honey. Yeah, Anty and I are really jealous of that.” It amazes me, even though we are all in our mid-late 30’s, ‘Toine still plays those ‘Momma loves me more’ games. You would think he’d grow to understand, she didn’t love him more or Anty and I less. She just loved each of us different. I didn’t even have the energy to explain that to ‘Toine, who had by now, kicked his feet up in my lazy-girl chair, found the remote and begain his process of zoning me out. He was right, though. Every corner of my house still reminisced of Mervin. He helped pick out most of the furniture in my place. It was our honey-comb hide out, when I decided I was too old to still be living at my momma’s. I picked out the furniture and he paid. We didn’t live together, but you couldn’t tell the difference. We stayed in that house like newlywed, honeymoon, silver anniversary lovers. Then, I got tired of Mervin going in and out my door. Everybody else thought he was the greatest thing since microwaves. Even my momma liked him. She’d be smiling at Mervin, when we’d visit. “When you gonna marry are baby girl Mervin. You’d make her a good husband.” Like I was the booby prize. There might have been a time I wanted that from him, turned into too much time wasted on him, turned to don’t try to ask me to marry you, because ‘I’m tired of your tired two-timing ways’. Yeah, Mervin was definitely all in my house, but just like when we were together, never really around except in theory. “Ain’t you come down off your high, yet?” “Must of struck a nerve.” ‘Toine laughing at me, his favorite diversion. “Don’t be taking it out on me, because you can’t keep no man. I hooked you up with The Man. You the one playing high and mighty” “Mighty maybe, but you got high all taken up.” Sibling rivalry never ends. Thank God again for therapy. I can’t wait ‘til tomorrow! “I’m, about to have some company. You got to push it along.” “Who coming over,” ‘Toine yawning, by now he has kicked his shoes off. “Don’t tell me you still seeing that square, Jermaine?” “James, and yes and you in his seat, so bounce.” “Gurl, I’m your brother, you trippin’ this like my house. Do your thang. Y’all ain’t gonna bother me.” “That’s because you won’t be here.” “Ima tell momma you kicked me out.” “Tell her to follow my lead, too.” “Yeah, you trippin’ I’m about to go see my nieces and nephews.” “Boy, Michael and Anty, don’t want you coming over there, find your own way home!” ****, my brother is really a lost sheep! Problem is that it bothers everybody, BUT him. I gave him $20.00 to hold on for me, payable at the front door upon his exit stage right. Ten minutes later, James came over. I had strategically, removed Mervin and I from off the mantle. It was time. No lie, it was as if James had become instantly more content in the living room. Something as small as a picture prop removed and I could see a shift in James disposition. Just think if I got new furniture! “So, Mr.Man, what’s on the menu tonight?” “You.” ****, sexy as heaven! He pulled me onto his lap and kissed me with enough soul I had to say thank you for the dance. “Let me get my coat and then we can go.” “No rush, I’m where I’m suppose to be.” What! “We staying in?” I tried not to show all my teeth from smiling too wide. “Well, I figured we could make out like two teenagers waiting to get caught by our parents. I still can’t get over that bed thing, but you can’t blame a man for being jealous over this.” He stroked my face and I knew….The cows were coming home. Now, I don’t know if I am going to do that celibacy thing my sister suggested. I don’t see the benefit in that for me nor James. I’m certain I am not going backwards to somebody as backwards as Mervin. I don’t care if my momma and brother done picked out their wedding attire for that event. It will never happen. What I do know is this, James kisses me, like it is the first and last man I ever want to kiss. Now, true I get lonely at night. ****, I’m 35, unmarried, sleeping with a dog. But every time I look at James, I know I am not alone. I don’t know nothing about giving milk away for free, because I can’t be bought like a piece of cow meat. Besides, ain’t no sense crying over spilled milk and I know I done cried and spilled much. Not with James, though, with him, I can see giving him all the milk he wants-no charge! With him, I just be churning and churning and churning…until one day, it’s butter. Maybe, I won’t be going to therapy tomorrow after all.