Just Another 4th of July

I woke up this morning thankful that I could sleep in and enjoy my well-deserved day off. I had absolutely no plans. No impromptu cook outs. No meeting up for drinks. No going to see those dreadful fireworks displays. My once favorite time to get out and enjoy this beautiful summer weather has been ruined by a series of sad events. I always claimed that I wouldn’t allow my past experiences to make me bitter, but apparently, I lied. I was single, well into my thirties, no kids and had to make myself happy about my situation.

I rolled over and looked at my phone. I’d turned my ringer down the night before, imagining my phone ringing constantly. People would be asking me to go out with them and I was not in a social mood. With the 4th being on a Friday this year, the clubs were promised to be packed after work. Downtown Indianapolis was known for their Rooftop Thursday social events and the times that I’d been, I had an epic time. Guaranteed strong drinks and a live band made even a bitter woman like myself have an enjoyable time. But to my surprise, I didn’t miss one phone call or text. My friends must be tired of my bitter ass too. I don’t blame them. This last break up did me in. Not so much because I didn’t see it coming, I was just tired of going through the relationship woes. I was tired of dating different men with different personalities to end up with the same results. I thought being my age with no baggage, independent and attractive would make me ripe for the picking. I didn’t get the memo that insecure women were back in style. Oh well, I’ll do what I do best and move on.

I decided not to bruise my ego anymore and laid my phone back down before I made the mistake of looking at my social media accounts. There was no need to see how much fun everybody had last night. To be honest, I did miss being in someone’s company. I loved getting cute in the latest fashion trend and have my man show me off to his friends. Or hang out with my friends and go to pool parties before my age allowed gravity and Popeye’s chicken to transform my body. I even remember when this time of year meant I got to be with my family. My dad would get all us kids together and take us to the park to do fireworks. Later, he would take us downtown to watch the fireworks display on the canal. That had been our tradition until the year I turned 13.

It was during the time of Luther Vandross, NWA and the lustrous curl. If you had a curl, you were the shit! My hair was straight and I didn’t fit in with the “soul glows” of my family. My aunts, uncles and cousins planned to come over to our house like they did every year but it seemed everybody had visited the beauty shop to get their curls extra curly. Even my mother came home after work looking particularly shiny for the occasion. I had my usual ponytail and was not looking forward to my cousins making fun of my bland hairstyle. I decided that year, I was going to take matters into my own hands. I waited until my mother went to bed and found her Care Free curl activator. Everybody knew this made curls look fresh and shiny. I also knew from watching our beautician, she used rods on my mother’s hair when it was time for her to reset my mother’s curls. I spent at least 2 hours spraying and rolling my hair in the bathroom mirror. I ran out of curl activator before I could finish and found some Windex to help wet the rest of my hair. I liked the way it smelled so I figured it wouldn’t be a bad idea.

The next day I kept my hair rolled up underneath my bonnet, ensuring my hair had a chance to dry. I could not wait for everyone to come over to see my new hairstyle. Everybody was going to be mesmerized but not for the reasons I’d imagined. Once our family members started to arrive, my mother scolded me for having my bonnet on and instructed I take it off immediately. I took this as the right time for my big reveal. Some of my cousins helped me take the rollers out and said they liked my hairstyle. My curls were not as shiny as theirs and some curls were out of place but it was better than my boring ponytail. One of my cousins found my mom’s Pink Lotion oil sheen and sprayed it all over my hair for the finishing touches.

We made our way outside to where the other kids were playing. My parents saw me but before they could ask what I’d done to my hair, I followed my cousins to the bag of fireworks resting near my eldest uncle. He told us to play with the sparklers first. We all took two sparklers a piece while my uncle retrieved his lighter. I was not ready for what happened next. When my uncle got to me, one of my cousins standing next to me, bumped into my uncle’s hand that held the lighter. The lighter was inches from my highly flammable hair. I soon became the new fireworks display that year. I was so embarrassed and mad. To this day I want to beat my cousin’s ass for being so clumsy. Not only did I look like Fire Marshall Bill off In Living Color, my mother snatched my soul from my body when she found out I used all her curl activator. I was so emotionally scarred, I only watched fireworks from a distance until I was in high school.

I chuckled to myself at that memory and continued to make my way to the bathroom. I handled my business, washed my hands and began to brush my teeth. I noticed the extra toothbrush that belonged to my ex was still on his side of the sink. I accidentally on purpose knocked it over onto the floor. I’ll dispose of it later. I made a mental note to walk around the house and look for other items that belonged to him. I won’t be petty and throw anything away. I’ll give it to the next homeless person I see. They’ll appreciate it more than he would.

I walked in the kitchen and put on some coffee. I really wasn’t hungry but I had a taste for some caffeine. As I waited on my coffee to brew, I went thru the stack of mail that I laid on the counter from yesterday. Bills, bills and…a save the date notice? I continued to look it over and couldn’t believe my eyes. My former partner in crime was getting married. It had been awhile since her and I had spoken but I was surprised she was throwing in the towel to the dating game. She used to have me running the streets at least 4 out of the 7 days of the week. Dana was the liveliest person I hung with for a long time. She was the life of the party everywhere she went. If I thought about hitting the streets, all I had to do was call her and she would find something for us to get into. But towards the end of our association, I started to feel that she was trying to sabotage me. Somebody once told me if your friends allow you to go out looking a mess, maybe they are not your friends. I soon realized that Dana was not my friend.

One time while we were getting ready to go out to a 4th of July social event, Dana wanted to style my hair. She was taking cosmetology courses and from the styles that she wore, I didn’t mind her doing my hair. My hair was in a bob style and it reached the nape of my neck. She said my style needed more length. Like a dummy, I allowed her to slick my hair up in this mini-bun at the crown of my head and pin this extra-long ponytail to my bun. Thinking about it now, I looked like I was auditioning for a role in The Matrix, but at the time I thought I was cute. We arrived at our destination for the night and began to receive attention from a couple of attractive men. As the night progressed, I found myself enjoying one of the guy’s conversation. While we were talking, I made the mistake of leaning my head back just a little too far. When my head came up, my ponytail didn’t. The guy looked at me in shock and Dana’s ass sat there like she was trying not to laugh. Picking up my ponytail off the floor and trying to wrap it around my mini-bun added to my humiliation. I’m probably on somebody’s World Star right now. It took me awhile before I spoke to Dana again and when I did, it was short lived. She had started on this health kick and convinced me to do a cleanse with her. It’ll only be for 7 days, she told me. Two weeks later, I'd gone a date and spent the whole evening leaving unpleasant aromas in my date’s bathroom. From that point forward, I wore box braids during the summer months to prevent any further hair issues and sought cleansing advice from a dietitian. I limited my interaction with Dana and decided to find some new people to hang with.

I took one more look at the cute correspondence and tossed it back on the pile of mail. I grabbed my favorite coffee mug from the cabinet and poured me a full cup of mocha heaven. I stood in my kitchen enjoying the quiet. I did miss having my ex-boyfriend around but he had an issue that I couldn't get over. Well, more like two issues. He had two beautiful kids but they stayed too active for me. His son was 8 and his baby girl was 3. I don't mind men with kids, but I think he was looking for a babysitter. Unfortunately, I was not up for the job. The little boy was a sweetheart and knew how to get his way with the ladies. I’d fallen victim to his young charm myself. The little girl may be toddler size but has been here before. To put it mildly, she was a handful and I thank God every day for the birth control I have in place.

The year long relationship started off smoothly. We spent a lot of time together and on his weekends with the kids, I never interfered with his family time. He loved his kids and I knew how important it was for him to spend his appointed time with them. After about six months of dating, I was introduced as his lady friend and was invited to participate in some of their weekend activities. I enjoyed our outings and I never crossed the line of being more to his kids. Soon, the day activities turned into overnight sleepovers. I tried to tell him that maybe we should slow things down but he was adamant that things were fine. Then, he started to have to work on the weekends he had his kids. He’d asked me to watch the kids until he got off work. Against my best judgement, I said yes. And then something very unfortunate happened.

I was getting over a nasty cold and what I thought was going to be a recuperating weekend turned out to be my ex taking advantage of me being home. He claimed he got called into work and needed me to watch the kids for a few hours. My home is not child proof, which was the reason I would normally spend time with the kids at his house. But on this particular weekend, there was no way I was getting dressed to go anywhere. So, his insensitive ass brought them to me. I couldn’t wait to cuss him out after he came back to get these little minions. I gave the kids the rules of the house and told them if they were good, we could Fire Stick and chill later. They seemed to be okay with the compromise. I went back into my bedroom and laid across the bed. I figured if I left the door open, I would be able to hear them down the hall if they called for anything.

What seemed like a brief nap must have been a long sleep, because I jumped up to all hell breaking loose. The little girl had come in and completely destroyed my room. My shoes were strewn about all over the floor and all my dresser drawers were open. Panties and bras were hanging out and when I found her, she had one of my red, lacy thongs laid over the top of her head. She had positioned herself behind me, propped on my pillow with a look of terror in her eyes. I couldn’t imagine what had spooked her but I had a more pressing question, “What have you done to my room?” She looked at me with tears in her eyes and pointed to the dresser. That’s when I heard a noise but I had no idea what it could be. Then the little girl lost her damn mind and started screaming about a monster being in my room and kept pointing at my dresser. I slowly got up and crept towards the dresser. Knowing the little girl physically unharmed eased my mind until I found the source of the noise. My eyes bugged out of my head when I picked up my purple vibrator that was on full speed. The little girl screamed again saying the monster was trying to get her. I turned to calm her down when I saw her brother standing in my bedroom door way, looking at me holding my pleasurable 8-inch friend. I immediately turned it off and threw it back down on my dresser. I told them both that it was time to get something to eat and escorted them out of my room.

Later that evening, after the kids had calmed down and fallen asleep, the conversation with my ex was a tense one. He almost flipped out when he found out that I fell asleep and left the kids unattended. His son confessed to having a scary movie marathon in my living room and was convinced that he saw ghosts while his sister discovered the purple monster living in my dresser. I stifled a laugh, which made him angrier. I finally had to tell him his kids belong at his house and if his work schedule can’t accommodate his weekends, then he needed to find other resources. Our communication became very limited shortly thereafter. I got demoted from being around the kids to only seeing my ex on week days. Then, I noticed he was starting to get too busy to see me and we started to date via our phone. Eventually, I got the hint that I was officially replaced when I saw him tagged in a recent picture on Facebook with his ex and their two kids vacationing. I politely text him the best of luck in rekindling his relationship with his children’s mother and I hope he gets genital warts soon. I have yet to receive a response.

Thinking about that made me mad all over again but I decided I would not spend my day off on negativity. I’m going to enjoy binge watching my ratchet TV shows and ordering food I did not need, but will certainly enjoy. I went back in my bedroom and noticed my phone was lit up on my nightstand. My best friend was calling me. I chose not to answer. She would try to talk me into going out but I was adamant on not doing anything. I scrolled through the rest of my notifications as I climbed back in the bed and noticed that she just sent me an iMessage. I didn’t care what she said, I was not getting dressed…I was not putting my braids up in a style…I was not deciding which purse to carry…but wait? Her sister decided to cook and invited me over? And her cousin who just recently moved back was asking about me? I did just buy this cute little romper from Macy’s. I pampered myself a few days ago and got a much-needed pedicure and manicure. I guess it wouldn’t hurt to get out and get some air. I got back out of the bed and walked towards my closet. Today may not be such a bad day after all. I dialed my best friend’s number and smiled mischievously to myself.

I can be social today, I thought to myself. But if this holiday turns out bad, I’m definitely staying in the house on Labor Day.

#July4th #relationships #memories #family #hairstyles #Indianapolis #friendships #kids #thirties #fireworks