“Hey girlie! How was your day?” My roommate asked as I walked into the kitchen. I was tired and exhausted from a long school day of teaching and had intended to just grab something quick to eat and head straight to bed. But we ended up talking for an hour over a glass of wine. I enjoyed chatting with Ayana whenever I did catch up with her at home. She was always busy with work, Buddhist meetings, and graduate school that she rarely had any free time. That was ok because I was typically a loner during that time, anyway.
It had been a while since Julian and I had broken up and had gone our separate ways. Deep down inside, I wasn’t completely over him and had held on to hope that we would be getting back together someday. “Girl, it is time for you to really move on and consider giving Buddha a fair chance. He adores you, treats you well, and will do anything you ask. You’re crazy. You know how many girls out here looking for that?” She would say whenever I brought up Julian’s name. That day wasn’t any differently—she was giving the same advice. And honestly, Ayana was right. Buddha was all of those things but I wasn’t completely healed and ready to let go of Julian. A piece of me was Still. In. Love.
Around eight o’clock, I left Ayana in the kitchen to finish cooking her dinner and I headed upstairs to bed. As soon as I laid down, it wasn’t long before I was tucked in and off to sleep.
Buzz! Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!
My eyes opened wide to the sight of my clock. It was a little past eleven. “Ughhh!” I moaned as I was now staring at my caller ID. It was Akeem, one of our (Julian and me) close college friend. “No, Akeem. I can’t talk now. I am too tired and it’s late.” I said to myself and turned back around and dozed off to sleep.
Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!
“Oh my Goddd! Is he serious right now? What does he want?” I was really getting annoyed so I pressed the ignored button. Then, I noticed I had an instant message from my friend, Uncle Love, so I opened it and it read “I’m so sorry niece. RIP Julian.”
“Huh!” I blurted with my head cocked to the side, mouth slightly opened, and faced frowned. I reread the message and sat up in bed confused. I had no idea what he was talking about. Was it a joke? But I couldn’t understand why he would be joking or playing with something like this. Before I could respond my phone…. Buzz! Buzz! Buzz! …, yet again.
This time, I answered.
“Carissa! Carissa! Where are you?” It was Akeem but he didn’t sound like himself. His voice was steadily shaking and cracking and he was breathing extremely hard. I ignored his question and asked, “Akeem, I just got a text message from Godlove about Julian. What the hell is going on?”
“Carissa. Who is at the house with you?” My heart started to pound faster and faster and my breathing began to slow down. I slowly responded, “Akeem. What. Is. Going. On. With. Julian?” I was getting nervous and was very afraid of his response. But I needed to hear what he was going to say. So I pressed the phone closer to my ear and listened carefully. “Carissa, I’m at the hospital with Lavell and them. Julian died in a car accident……………………………………………………….”
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..Suddenly, everything just stopped and went silent. I wasn’t breathing…my eyes didn’t blink…and it felt like I was floating in the air.
“Carissa!” Akeem shouted. “No! No! Akeem! You’re lying. Tell me you’re lying.” I pleaded. My head shook from left to right and in disbelief as tears began to fill the creases of my eyes. Akeem was speechless. Unresponsive. At that point I knew he wasn’t lying. Everything was true—Uncle Love’s text and now this. My back began to shake as tears soaked my cheeks and overflowed my neck and chest. I was broken.
I managed to break through my tears and say, “I’m on my way. What hospital are y’all at?”
“Don’t come. Please don’t come, Carissa. I’ve been trying to call Val, your linesisters, and neos to come and get you but no one is answering. You can’t drive up here like that. Please stay put until I get someone to you…”
Before Akeem could finish, I dropped the phone and so did my body. I had collapsed onto my pillow where I buried my head sobbing and wailing with pain. I was pleading for someone to awaken me from my dream. But it wasn’t a dream. It was just the beginning to a black rose nightmare.
To Be Continued.