“Nia! Get up and get dressed. I want to take you to breakfast.” Those were the first words I said to her as soon as she answered the phone. It was 5 o’clock on a Saturday morning. I knew Nia was going to be pissed, but there was a method to my madness. 

“Huh? Jamel! How the hell do you expect me to …? Better yet, who the hell calls somebody at … 5 o’clock in the damn morning, talking ’bout breakfast? I’m still stuck on sleep! Bae-Boo you’re gonna have to catch me another time. I ain’t going.” 

What Nia didn’t understand was I had to do this today. It was now or never. I couldn’t wait anymore. She had to come.

“Ta’Nia, I would love it if you would have breakfast with me while we sat on the patio at Morning Glory and watched the sun rise.” I tried a different approach. 

You not even playing fair. You know watching the sun rise is on my bucket list.”

She was right. I did know that, which is why I knew this was almost a fool proof plan. Nia wasn’t a “morning person”, so getting to see the sunrise would definitely be a challenge for her on her own. The fact that she had a chance to mark something off that little list of hers was what I was banking on when I made the request.

“How come you didn’t mention this when I talked to you last night?” She continued, still complaining, but I could hear her getting out of her bed.

“I’ll be there in 30. Be ready.” I said as a hung up. 

On my way to her crib, I just kept telling myself, “I got this. It’s going work out. It’s going to be good. This is the beginning.”, when I wasn’t vibing to J. Cole.

Ta’Nia and I met when we were freshman in college at UTEP, The University of Texas in El Paso. I was there on a football scholarship. They gave me a full ride. Nia was there on an academic scholarship. I’m pretty sure neither of us would have been there, if not for that. Thank God for those scholarships.

There weren’t very many black students on campus. The few of us that were there were mostly athletic scholarship recipients, and there were a few nerds, like Nia, scattered in. 

The way we met was anything but typical. For her to be so damn smart she sucked at math. Somehow, someway I ended up being her tutor. When she came in for that first session, I swear my heart stopped beating. She was gorgeous, by far the best looking girl on campus. She was kind of shy, but that intrigued me even more. I had to have her.

Over the course of our first semester, we formed a bond. We just clicked. Nia was cool as hell. She became my best friend. I’m not going to lie, I put my bid in, but she ignored it. Played it off like I was just trying to be funny or something. I just wanted her in my life. I was willing to take her at any capacity that she would allow.

Those years UTEP flew by. After graduation we found ourselves living in different places. Nia living in Phoenix, while I lived in Arlington, Texas. Our communication never waned though. If anything it got stronger. She had no family in Arizona, and I had no family there in Texas. Even though we were miles away, we FaceTimed almost every day. We even visited each other every couple of months. It was during this time that I knew I fell in love with her. It was more than physical, I fell in love with her mind, her spirit.  Don’t get me wrong I still wanted to tap that ass, but the woman that she had grown into … I wanted her for myself. 

Two years after graduation I found myself picking up and moving to Phoenix. To the friends that I still talked to from college and my parents, I explained that it was because I had found a better job. For anyone who knew the real though, they knew I was going for Nia. 

Once I get there, and I was seeing her almost every day in the flesh, I punked out. I was scared she would brush me off like she did in college or that taking it to the next there (again) would ruin our friendship.  

For almost 2 years I had to suffer through listening to her experiences and sorrows about other men. I hated every second of it. But it was what I had to do because I couldn’t man up and tell her how I felt. I just prayed that she didn’t fall in love and get married. I was glad every time one of lame ass fools didn’t work out.

I didn’t get me wrong. I did my thing too. I’m a man … with a dick … that works, but nobody could hold a candle Ta’Nia Jacobs. She was it for me

Finally last night I just said fuck it. So here we were, sitting at Morning Glory when I grabbed her hand while the sun was rising and said, “Ta’Nia, I’ve been in love with you ever since we graduated from college. I know I can make you happy.  All I need is a chance.”

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