Stories: “He Has A Girlfriend Too”
To this day, I don’t know if any girl with whom I was in a relationship, cheated on me. It’s never been revealed to me and I’ve never pressed the issue. But in my last relationship, I saw myself about to get cheated on with my own eyes, and it was everything I needed to know our relationship was forever broken. Something about my unwillingness to stop it from happening made me realize I just wasn’t in it for the long haul anymore.
The problem was we were too emotionally lazy to break up with each other on our own. We were counting on other people to do the work for us. So when an alert on her phone went of in the middle of the night to notify she received a new text message, I acted as though I was still asleep. All the while I listened to her movements; the opening of her phone, the subsequent pause after reading the message deciding whether or not she would answer, the gentle attempt she made to close the phone and lay it back down on the nightstand without waking me up. I knew something was going on, but I wanted to see how far it would go so when I found out the truth, I could easily say, we were finished.
The next morning, while she was in the shower, I took a look at her phone. By this point in our lives, we knew the names of our regulars, so when I saw a name I never saw before, and I saw it was a New York City number, I knew she was up to no good. But the text messages themselves were harmless…just another guy telling another man’s woman he was thinking about her. But then I saw some more texts, from the previous day, these ones were with plans to see each other that night…maybe get dinner. She was fine with that.
It was true, my boy was coming into town in just a couple of hours. I needed to get ready to meet him at the bus station, and she needed to go to the gym. I still remained quiet on the whole issue, acted like I knew nothing and went along with my business. She went off to do her workout thing, I went off to pick up my friend, and when we saw each other and he asked me what was the latest in my life, I told him everything but the latest development in my relationship with my girlfriend. I mean, it is kind of hard to say with a straight face, “Uh, yeah, my girlfriend is probably going to cheat on me any day now and I know it but I’m not doing anything about it.”
So instead we talked about other things, like the party we were going to hit up that night. He asked me, “Is your girl going out with us tonight too?” “No,” I said. “Guys night out, she said she was going to her girlfriend’s house to braid her hair.” That was true too. She told me earlier in the day she was going to her friend’s house to braid her hair. What a lame, pathetic cover-up. Didn’t she know I could run into her when I was out too? If she was going to cheat, she could at least have the decency to come up with a more creative excuse.
When we arrived at my apartment, my girlfriend was already home, showered and looking good. Seeing her at that moment made me feel different about the pending situation. She was in nothing but sweats, and a t-shirt, but man, she looked like the woman I fell in love with. Right in front of my guest, I wanted to ask her what she was doing and why was she doing it. I wanted to apologize for all that I did to get her to the point where she was at.
Back then, I believed men cheated because they wanted to, women cheated because they felt entitled to do it. I needed to take away her sense of entitlement by apologizing to her for the things I did, for what was probably the 100th time. But we had a guest, and I couldn’t let him witness me trying to clean up the mess I made.
Also, there was the fear thing.
I was too afraid to see what she would say if I did ask her to cancel her “hair braiding” plans; too afraid to tell her I knew what she was doing that night because I went through her phone, and too afraid to see her follow through with her plans in spite of me knowing. More than my desire to stop her, was my desire for her to stop herself.
We ordered some pizza that night, the three of us, but only two of us ate. She was going to leave soon, so she declined the pizza. “You’re not trying to eat some pizza,” my boy asked my girl. “Why not? Someone taking you out to eat?” That wasn’t a funny joke, but for someone who just got found out by accident, she kept it remarkably cool. As a matter of fact, she did one of those hiding in the open things and said, “That’s exactly what I’m going to do.” Then she let it hang in the air for effect. “My girl is making dinner,” she said, then laughed. So did my boy. I didn’t.
I just stared at the TV. My legs stretched across her lap, when she received a text message. She picked up the phone, opened it, and rested her arms on my legs to return the text. I wanted to kick my feet up and scream, “YOU HAVE SOME NERVE USING MY LEGS AS AN ARM REST SO YOU CAN RETURN A TEXT TO SOME GUY YOU’RE ABOUT TO GO TO DINNER WITH.”
But I didn’t. I stayed quiet.
Not five minutes had passed after she received the text did she say she had to go. My boy, in another attempt to be funny, suggested my girl skip her plans and go out with him and I instead. “I don’t want my man over here to be crying about how you’re not around.” Another that hit a too little close to home. I laughed it off anyway and said, “Naw, she doesn’t want to go out with us.” She laughed it off too, said she would if she could, then picked up her purse. She said bye to him, kissed me goodbye too, and I said, “I’ll call you later.”
When she walked out, I felt alone. I forgot my boy was there, and I walked right past him straight to the window of my apartment that looks out on the street. From there, I could see her walk out of the building and onto the street, headed in the direction of the subway station I knew she had to take to get downtown.
I forgot my friend was there, until I heard him say, “Are you really watching your girlfriend leave from the window?”
“What? No. You don’t hear that? Sounded like a fight broke out.”
He chuckled and said, “Uh huh.”
We went back to eating our pizza and watching the fourth quarter of some game. Then, we started pouring some drinks and getting ready to hit the town. About 45 minutes went by, when I heard the door unlock and saw my girlfriend walking in. “Daaaammmmnnn,” my boy said. “Is your girl tender headed? Couldn’t hang with the braid job?” My girlfriend laughed like she didn’t want to.
“What happened,” I asked.
“I forgot some stuff, and she was tired anyway, so we’re just going to do it another day,” she said. “But don’t let me stop you two. You all go out and have a good time.” Then she walked in the room.
I followed her in there and closed the door behind me. I was a little tipsy by this point, so some things I was holding back on earlier were easier for me to say now. “I saw your text messages with that guy,” I said. “I knew you were going to dinner tonight.”
My girlfriend didn’t seem phased. Shee had a look in her eyes that said she knew I knew and she just stared at me blankly. Her silence could have triggered a far different reaction from me, but instead of asking how could she, or why would she do such a thing, I asked why she didn’t follow through. “So, why aren’t you at dinner with him?”
“I did go over to my girl’s house, just so you know,” she said. “And I called him. I needed to be with my girl because I didn’t know what I was doing. Before I met up with him though, I wanted to tell him I had a boyfriend. So I called to tell him that all this would be was dinner. I told him about you and…” My girlfriend fell back on the bed, exhausted.
“And what?” I said.
“And, he has a girlfriend too.”
Maybe it was the liquor in me; I don’t know, but I didn’t get angry. I just laughed at her. “Why are you laughing,” she said. “Because,” I said. “This is ridiculous, the irony.”
She chuckled too.”I was going to tell you, you know, after the dinner,” she said.
“Why didn’t you,” I said.
“Well, I didn’t want you to stop me. I knew I was going to just do dinner, and I know it was wrong, but, I don’t know. I just didn’t want to care about your feelings for like two hours.”
For a couple whose one half was about to step out and do something inappropriate on the other, we were almost too cool. I had no response for her. For a moment we just laid on the bed together, staring at the ceiling. Then I heard her phone go off telling her she had another text message. But this time, she ignored it, and she kissed me. I kissed her back, then said to her, “I’m assuming your girl never made you dinner, there’s some pizza left, want some?”
She smiled and said, “Good because that pizza looked so good.”
I kissed her one more time and we both stood up from the bed. I found it odd how calm we both were with one another. Both of us knew we were going to break up with each other soon, but that night, we wanted to be together, it’s just we were too lazy to say it to one another. We counted on other people to do the work for us.
Then we walked out of the room together, and I turned to my boy. “She’s going out with us tonight,” I said. “Pour her a drink.”
Thanks everyone for the meditation tips, I’ll be applying some. Yesterday went grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s, got healthy snacks and stuff. My boy sent me a budget template, we’ll see when I use it.
Real Quick: Recording a new edition of the Poppin’ Questions Podcast tonight, but you can still listen to the SIXTH edition. Click here to listen