April 4th I woke up uneasy. I had been scrapping the side of my tongue with my teeth all night long and it was sore. Layla and I woke up on Aundrea’s couch feeling like we had been beaten with a bag of rocks. Well, I did if she didn’t. I dreaded this day and I became not mean or nasty, just pissy. I wouldn’t dare talk to Layla about it. She was walking around here like the day was the best day of her life because it was. It marked the first day of the rest of her life. Today began a new chapter for her and was the ending of one for me. I couldn’t blame her though; I knew what that was like. I’d felt that feeling before. I just guessed that now it was my turn to feel the sting of someone I love leaving me behind.
Even though it was a beautiful day, I didn’t notice it. I felt like I was driving to my doom. My quietness filled the empty spaces of the car; today was the last day and our time was up. As I was driving down the 405 to the L.A. airport, I couldn’t help but think “Man, it’s over.” So many emotions began to well up inside of me and I felt like I couldn’t do this, but I had to be strong and put on my big girl boxers. I pulled into the short term parking lot, helped her with her bags, and walked her inside. I knew I couldn’t stay there and watch her leave so I said, “Goodbye” and walked away without so much as a kiss or a hug. I’d never told anyone goodbye before. Goodbye always felt like forever, that’s it, no more, adios; I’ll never see you again. I knew that I probably would see her again, but I knew it would never mean the same ever again.
As I walked back to the parking lot, I began to feel numb. I got into my truck and made it a point to not look back. I headed back on the 405 in the other direction toward North Hollyhood, affectionately called that because it is the hood of Hollywood. I pushed play and Mary J’s “No More Drama” began to play. My feelings began to spread all over me like hot butter on third degree burns. I found myself crumbling and the composure that I was trying to keep lost its battle as tears strolled down my face. My phone rang and it was my sister. My sister’s timing was always right. As I got older, it was always like she could feel when something wasn’t right. Of course when I answered the phone she would have to ask me how I was doing and that made me cry even harder as she listened like the mother in her always did.
I could feel the life seeping from my body. I laid out for my sister the feelings that I had been trying to keep inside for thirty days as they spilled over and I could no longer talk and had to get off of the phone. I tried to convince myself as well as my sister that I would be all right. I didn’t even know how long the ride took or even how I got home, but somehow when I pulled up to Aundrea’s apartment complex, I knew it was time to get out. I took the elevator up to the fourth floor, placed my key in the lock, and began to thank God when I noticed no one else was home. I sat myself down and the pain of hurt overtook me once again. I cried like a baby as I lay balled up on the floor holding my knees to my chest. I couldn’t believe that the woman I had loved so dearly for the past five years could leave me. The woman whom I thought the sun rose and set because of her left me. My heart ached so badly. I could physically feel it breaking into a million pieces, so I held my chest as I swallowed hard, trying to take in air. I had never felt like this before. It wasn’t like I hadn’t ever broken up with anyone before because I had. This was different.
I finally got myself off of the floor and took a shower thinking that would help soothe me but it didn’t. I kept thinking “How in the hell did I get here?” I had always thought Debra Cox’s song “How Did You Get Here” was stupid, but now I knew exactly what she meant. Thirty days ago I was living in a three-bedroom, two-bath, two-car garage home, with a pool in Orange County and thirty days later, I was sleeping on Aundrea’s couch. What the hell happened? The sad part was I knew what had happened. Thirty days ago, Layla told me she was leaving and even though I knew it, something in me still did nothing about it. I was given thirty days and still wasn’t prepared. I guess somewhere in the back of my mind I thought she wouldn’t really leave me.
©2011 Kai Mann