I needed Kevin to forgive me. Forgiveness is something that not many people actually master, especially in relationships. But forgiveness in relationships is necessary because otherwise you’ll hold on to negative feelings and those feelings could manifest in angry outbursts, passive-aggressive behavior, or worse, misery in your relationship. I needed Kevin to forgive me. If not for my sanity, then for us.
Awake with a headache and swollen eyes from crying over Kevin all night, crying over myself for lying to myself and him, iPhone kept alerting me to texts, but none were from him. They were all from Jack, one of my best friends who was in town for the weekend from Washington, D.C. and wanted to confirm our plans to picnic in the park. It was my job to bring the Popeye’s. Yes, those are the types of picnics me and mine have!
I peeked my head out from the comforter cocoon I created, reached for my phone, and reluctantly replied to Jack’s messages. “I’ll be there.” I deleted the words as soon as I typed them.
Searching for some type of pity so that I could at least have someone else at my self-induced pity party, I wrote, “Jack! I already messed up with BAE!” I put a screaming and crying face so he knew my agony was real.
Jack indulges my dramatics. It’s one of the reasons I love him. After making me feel justified in my tears, Jack told me that I could either cry over Kevin all day, or come out and enjoy some fried chicken and sunshine with him. I chose the chicken and sunshine.
After picking up the prized Popeye’s chicken, I found Jack in the middle of Central Park with a couple of his friends. I told Jack about how stupid I was for telling Kevin that I didn’t want him to stay with me the night we made our relationship official and he caught me leaving the house to get papers and I lied to him about it.
Jack didn’t judge me for something that was obviously stupid. Instead, he said, “Don’t beat yourself up with the role smoking plays in your life if it doesn’t negatively effect your life. If you’re going to keep smoking and you want to be with him, you guys should find a middle ground. Can’t you just smoke when you’re not with him?” Jack asked.
Sounded logical, but Kevin and I tried that the first time around. He didn’t like that he knew that when I wasn’t with him, I was smoking. Looking back, I see there was hardly any compromise from Kevin. It was all or nothing.
My whole day with Jack, I kept checking my phone, even when there was no sound nor vibration. I opened the texts about every 15 minutes to make sure I didn’t miss anything. By the time Jack, his friends and I left the picnic at the park, Kevin had texted me once. “We’ll talk later” it said. No emotion, no specifics, no nothing. Ugh! How frustrating!
“Can you believe him?” I slammed my phone down on the table at dinner. Jack and his friends looked at me. “We’ll talk later?! As if we’re not going through something right now?!”
“So that’s a good thing. It means you guys will talk later and things will be fine. Give him time to get over you lying to his face and rejecting him on the night you made it official Danielle.” You could tell Jack was over the Kevin conversation.
After dinner, I accepted their invitation to drinks. I hadn’t heard back from Kevin, so I figured the more distractions, the better. We made our way to a posh rooftop bar and after the first drink and three good dances, my phone buzzed in my hand.
It was Kevin! “Are you home?”
I messaged back, “No, but I can be home in an hour. I’m in the city,” I was way too eager, but I needed Kevin to know that I was ready to work this thing out.
No response. I tried to keep dancing, keep drinking, but I was way too focused on Kevin and my stupid mistake. I kept asking myself if I could actually change for this man? I wanted to, but then again, I held tight to my vices, thinking that I shouldn’t have to let them go.
The boys were ready to leave the rooftop lounge and so I was I. I decided to part ways with them as they headed off to the next party. I texted Kevin to let him know I was on my way home. No response, of course.
By the time I made it home to Brooklyn an hour later, still no message from Kevin. I laid in bed overthinking everything until my mind was finally exhausted enough to give up and let me sleep.
The next morning I tried to go about my day, but all I could do was think of Kevin. I wrote him a long text–the kind of text you should never write anyone. It was way too long and I felt like an idiot as soon as I hit send.
No response. My anxiety was through the roof. I convinced myself that I didn’t need Kevin and that I could be fine without him. I choose dramatics when I don’t want to face what’s actually going on in reality.
While my thoughts swirled around moving on from Kevin before we even got started this second time around, my phone rang. And thank you sweet baby Jesus, it was Kevin.
He told me to get dressed and meet him by the subway at noon. All those ideas that swirled in my head around leaving Kevin quickly disappeared and I got myself dressed and headed out to meet him. He was waiting at the stairs of the subways station when I walked across the street to him. I searched for the smile on his face that I normally saw when I got to walk towards him. No smile, not even a smirk.
I walked directly in front of him, still searching. I looked up at him, all 6’5″ of him, “Hi.”
“Hello,” he said in the baritone tone that turned my knees to Jell-o.
“I’m sorry,” I said, still searching for something different on his face, something other than indifference. Forgiving someone in a relationship isn’t an easy thing to do. I opened myself back up to Kevin, causing him to open back up to me. We weren’t even able to celebrate being back together again before I threw a monkey wrench into our situation, shaking, if not completely breaking Kevin’s trust.
“I know you are. If I didn’t forgive you, I wouldn’t be here,” Kevin grabbed my hand and we made our way up past Harlem to Fort Tryon park where we walked around, ignoring the elephant in the park (our conflict) and instead focusing on flirting with one another and moving forward. “Don’t do it again.”
I wasn’t sure if by, “it,” Kevin meant smoking or lying to him. I assumed both.
“I won’t,” I lied. I had every plan to continue to smoke, I was just going to do it less. I created new rules for myself. I wouldn’t purchase it anymore and I would ensure that he would be nowhere around if I was to partake. A fool-proof plan created by a fool.
On the way home from the park that evening, Kevin and I decided to get off the train early so that we could walk home and enjoy the summer breeze. Ten minutes into our walk, a woman who was walking towards us yelled out, “Kevin!” Kevin dropped my hand and she ran to him and hugged him.
She glanced in my direction as she chatted with Kevin, catching up since their last time seeing one another. I stood there diagonally behind Kevin as they talked. Not once did Kevin gesture in my direction, turn around or even acknowledge me. My blood boiled.
Once the girl told him to call her sometime, she bounced down the block and Kevin turned back to me and reached for my hand.
“Oh now I’m here?!” I said immediately.
He sighed. “What’s the matter?”
“Kevin, seriously? You didn’t introduce me to your little friend there?” I said, irritated. Everything is “little” when you’re mad.
“I would have Danielle, but I forgot her name and I was embarrassed,” Kevin explained.
“How do you know her?” Because his little excuse (see what I did there?) wasn’t enough for me.
“High school. Any more questions?” Kevin matched my irritation.
“Yes!” My pettiness kicked in, “Why didn’t you introduce me?” Knowing Kevin had already given me the answer to that, at that point, I knew I was being ridiculous because I wanted him to tell me what I wanted to hear. Maybe something like he used to date her and she still loves him. Or maybe they were high school sweethearts who tried to be adult sweethearts and they were still dealing with one another when he was caught red handed with me.
“I told you. I forgot her name,” Kevin said.
“That’s not good enough for me,” Everyone and their mamas knows the trick behind forgetting someone’s name. You introduce them to the person you’re with and the person you’re with knows that as a cue to find out the name of the one you forgot. I would have had Kevin’s back, if his excuse was true. But I didn’t believe him for one second and now I know that was because I couldn’t believe myself for one second inside of this brand spanking new re-relationship with Kevin. I finally did something Kevin had been wanting me to do for so long, I was honest with him: “I’m mad because you not introducing me makes me feel like I don’t matter to you.”
Kevin stopped walking, “Thank you.” He kissed my lips. “Honesty feels good, doesn’t it? You should try this more. It’s becoming of you.”
And just like that, Kevin and I both learned that forgiving one another sucks, especially because our relationship was brand new. We haven’t had the time to build trust and there the both of us were, stomping on that already shaky foundation.
Mine and Kevin’s relationship continued on and ended up crashing and burning in dramatic flames, but that’s another story, for another column, Stay tuned next week for that hot mess of a story.