Keith stood at the window, gazing out, cigarette smoke drifting up his arm, watching the street stories below. He was wearing his favorite piece of clothing, a Michelle Obama t-shirt given to him by this newspaper editor, Freezy J, one of the world’s coolest White men since Paul Newman.
I might want to quit smoking. She, too, probably need to stop. Were they serious about marrying, both should kick the habit. Anybody, he reasoned, insists on wrecking their own lungs, more power to them. But, when you talk marriage, what’s the point if you’re not talking family. And, accordingly, you take the steps to be around, be on-hand. At home. Live long enough to raise a child. That all rules out smoking cancer sticks..
Though now that he did think on it, he hadn’t asked Les whether she even wants kids. For that matter, did he really? After all, what kind of dad could he be gallivanting all over the map four and six weeks at a clip?
Ultimately, he was going to have to give some thought to what he thought about what he was thinking on. Can get confusing, he reflected, taking a gigantic step like this. Anyway, marriage, itself was down the line. They had to first get along under the same roof long enough to make it that far.
Hell with it, he mused, shaking himself, clearing his head. So, we don’t have the fine strokes mapped out. I’ll roll the dice and give it a go, put the smart money on us. Any day out the week, twice on Sunday. He stubbed the thing out in the ashtray.
Keith thought back over the past couple years. It felt like they’d known each other a lot longer — despite that the time had flown by on greased wings. He couldn’t remember for his life having met a more fascinating female who made him more wondrously alive.
Or one who drove him as crazy. Or who, at times, had scared the living crap out of him: storming off, walking away — he thought out of his life — had pitched him dizzily into a terrifying spin. From which he wasn’t altogether convinced he’d ever completely recover.
She dumps you again, kid, Keith realized, you’re well and truly done in. And done. He’d known that possibility existed when he took her back — took her back, that’s a good one. He’d planned to beg her back. She flipped the script, pleading for a second chance together.
Leave it to Lesli to surprise you. Like she had popping up on the spur of the moment at his hotel during The Lion King. Like she had showing up at the crib out of the clear blue after breaking up with him. Plopping down on the sofa, whipping off her top talkin’ ’bout did he want to get lucky.
Well, one thing. He wasn’t likely to ever get bored with this broad. Amazing personality. There was, beyond all that, a quality he’d never be able to describe or define. Not if he was a dictionary and had a gun held to his temple. The way she had of just being her.
Most amazing, this godsend was crazy about him. He wondered whether to pinch himself. And laughed.
“Keith?” he heard and jerked his head around. “Why are you out there in the living room laughing to yourself? I’ll bet you’re standing staring out that damned window again.” He didn’t answer, watching Bruno watch the kittens from Hell as they angelically slept, nestled. What, the beleaguered pussycat probably wondered, have this man and woman got me into?
Keith left the window, cutting the lights off. “Oh, nothing,” he answered when she asked again what he was doing. And went in to go make love with Lesli.
Next week: Black & Single Blues spawns a sequel, Keith and Lesli (Black & Single Blues II) following their romance into the next step in their relationship.
Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to P.O. Box 50357, Mpls., 55403.