The Double Text (Snippet)

First Encounter
She stood in the self-checkout lane with her favorite pair of sweats and a hoodie-nothing fancy. Her hair was in a messy bun with cute earrings to match the casual occasion. After all, it was just the grocery store. She was aware that men are visual. Old ladies often told her that a little "color" to her face would make a big difference but she wasn't interested. She would know that a man was into her for her, for sure, if she didn't do any of the bonus things but he approached her anyway.

There were a couple of people between them in line. He couldn't help but notice her physique. Not that he was some perv trying to catch glances, but it was a sight for the sore eye. He was reluctant to approach her. There had been too many instances that a woman's physique had gotten him into the "oh-my-bad-I-thought-you-were-someone-I-knew " kind of trouble. This was his way of politely excusing himself from a woman he chose to approach solely based on what he saw from behind; the kind that her face didn’t match her shape. He could tell by the way she matched her sweats that she cleaned up nice. The side profile revealed her beauty. Her skin was clear and glowing. "Unless that's makeup. You never know with women these days." He thought. She looked to be cute enough from a distance.

Plus, there wasn't much time before he would have to run her down to catch up with her if she got away. There were only two items left in her basket. The time he spent in his head delayed his return to reality. He noticed that her basket was now empty and she was completing her transaction. It was now or never. He wasn't chasing anyone down.

Another lane opened so, the person in front of him moved accordingly. The move provided the opportunity to stand next to her as she was collecting her bags. He was pleased by what he saw as he arrived at the checkout system beside her. He mumbled "thank you, Yahweh" before he hopped into the process of getting her number. There was no time for small talk. "Excuse me!" The exclamation came out a little squeaky. He cleared his throat. She stopped and turned around, bags doubled in each hand. They were heavy. She was not in the mood for games and it was interwoven in her facial expression. He proceeded with caution: “My name is Dallas. Can I talk to you for a minute?”

"Uggghhhhhh! I know he sees me with these bags in my hands,” she thought to herself. It had been a while since she swerved a guy so she would allow him to humor her. "Sure, what's up?" She responded. And so it began: he inquired her name, where she was from, and her number, making it obvious that he would like to get to know her. Maybe it was the one dimple in his left cheek or his manners; shucks, it could have been a little of everything about him; either way, shooting him down was not as easy it initially seemed it would be. In fact, it didn't feel like a good idea at all. She gave him her telephone number- the correct one and headed to her car, wondering what she'd gotten herself into.

Good Vibes
30 minutes later her phone rang from a number she didn’t recognize. She answered to learn it was Dallas from the grocery store. They spoke for 2 hours straight. No dead space or awkward moments. And get this: he was saved! "How saved" had yet to be determined but knowing that much was good enough for the time being. It was getting late and she still needed to complete her devotion. She concluded the conversation. She had a rule that she never ended her night with a man as the last thing on her mind. Plus, the flow of the conversation peaked her interest. Prayer was necessary. Two weeks of consistent conversation and the interest was mutual and growing. Long discussions, laughs from the belly, good morning texts, and pleasantly surprising “thinking-of-you” messages had become regular. He had his own ringtone. It was a little something to make her reach for the phone quicker.

Selfies were cool. So were the Facetime sessions, but they weren't sufficient. The more he spoke to her the more he wanted to see her. Women have it easy: all they have to do is answer “yes” or “no.” It's the man that has to muster the heart to invite a lady out; that was really all it was, an invitation. One that could be accepted or declined. On top of mustering the courage, he has to have tact with how he "accepts" her decline; like his ego isn't crushed or that he’s not angered by the response. All of the above was worth the risk. He didn't usually call during the work day but he was making the exception today. He had to know if she would see him again. He grabbed her number from his "favorites" tab in his phone and tapped her picture. The phone rang once and she answered the phone puzzled.

"Hey! Are you okay?" She was concerned. "Yeah, yeah. I'm cool. How are you?" He tried to sound smooth. He would have loved to continue with the small talk as usual. But the way his anticipation was set up, he couldn't wait: "hey, you want to link up soon? I mean, it doesn't have to be anything special; just to you know..." In that instant, the storm to the walls of her fortress had begun. He was coming for her heart. It wasn't that she didn't want to go. She was delighted and wondered if he would ever ask. There was no point in fronting. She let him and saved him the need to try to save face by her clear-cut reply: "I'd love to."

Good Company
She'd been in the mirror for hours; blending her foundation, comparing faux eyelashes between flirty and bold, and lining her eyes. Although she was the what-you-see-is-what-you-get type, the natural look wasn't what she was going for tonight. She wanted her eyes to pop as she sat across from him at the dinner table. This date would only be her second time seeing him in person. She struggled to find something to wear. She searched her closet for the perfect combination, aiming to send a message that she was stylish but far from fast. She was finally ready after several second-guesses. She grabbed her pudge as she felt a flutter in her belly that she'd not felt in a while. Now all she had to do was meet him at the restaurant and sashay in there like she did this type of stuff all the time. Truth is, her phone had been dry for months. It was the vibes through the phone that heightened her excitement about tonight. Here he was, someone that she could talk to for hours; conversations that went beyond the rigid rigmarole of getting to know someone.

His mom called him on the way to his date. She must've asked a hundred questions within their first 5 minutes of chatting. He was a mama's boy. He didn't mind it. Although it was a bit embarrassing that his mother caught onto the excitement in his voice. He was able to downplay tonight with his boys, but he couldn't fool his mom. A mama always knows. He was dressed in a button-down that flattered his complexion. It looked to be something from the Ralph Lauren line, but it was Izod. She didn't seem to be the gold-digger type and he liked that.

Dinner was everything they both hoped. She was happy to have a free meal that was worth the date and he was happy to pay for it. They sat sharing laughs and meaningful conversation until they were subliminally alerted that it was time for them to go. All the chairs had been straightened, the booths had been wiped out, and the waiter had returned his card over an hour ago. The restaurant manager and staff shut the lights down in the establishment like a nosy neighbor peering through vinyl blinds. That was their cue.

Never mind the sashay. There didn't seem to be any further need for facades. She walked slowly as he strolled behind her, both hating that the night had come to an end. They could've gone back to one another's places and chatted the night away but that would not have been wise. So, they reluctantly parted ways with a warm hug. He told her he would call her later. That was at 12:08 a.m.

Second Guesses
She arrived home safe but worried. She had already checked twice to make sure that her phone wasn't on vibrate. She even reset it to make sure that her calls would come through. No sign of him. She went to bed crushed and angry at herself for believing he was different. She didn't wake up feeling any differently. The second day passed and she found herself contemplating things that could have happened: was he faking that he enjoyed himself? Did he wreck on the way home? Was he seeing someone and no longer had free time or privacy to keep his word? Did men still play the "2-day wait game?" What was it? Maybe she said something wrong or talked too much at the dinner table. "Whatever it was, he could've just been honest," she concluded.

Best friend called to inquire how the date went and so began the "that's how guys do" convo. That was why she loved her best friend. She was always down to ride and she always matched her indignation during conversations. Best friend was a bit more forward: "well, did you call him? Did you text him? Well, maybe you should shoot him a text and see what's up. Maybe he went home and fell asleep or something. But real talk, he could have at least followed up with an apology." Old girl wasn't that type. Pursuing a man was un-lady like and she wasn't about to be chasing anyone. Forget him!

Three more days passed and she officially felt stupid. She should have known that this was how things would end. It was always risky business to assume that a guy was a good one. She did that many times to learn that her assumptions were wrong. Each lesson cost her heartache. The fight didn't seem worth it after a while. Especially, when all she had to do was dismiss him and his bad vibes, wait for the next one, and hope for the best. It was peculiar: she wanted a real chance at love but hated the work that came with it. She was willing to use a little elbow grease when necessary but how could she determine if it was worth the try? And then there were the times that she tried to make them a good guy. That only ended with frustration. Besides, differences were one of the many beautiful aspects of it all. There was a cool kind of groove to being with someone that could provide a different point-of-view, something new to try, or simply put a slight spin on how she always knew things to be. She thought that was where she was headed. Maybe not.

Her phone vibrated at work. It was him. Old girl was in her office silently screaming at the phone with her lips poked out and an attitude. "This dude is really texting me ‘hey sis’ like we cool!" She told herself to get it together as she calmed down and sent a blunt text in response: "hey."

"Hey!?" We vibed so well the other night and the only response she had was a ‘hey?’ Oh, she tripping. I guess the other night wasn't all that I thought it was. Chicks stay scavenging for a free meal." He shook his head and laid his phone down.

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Grace and peace,

Risha