Noni Jones in Harlem #26: Fifty Shades of Black



1.5 million people in New York, the chance of running into a doctor who probably pulls 24 hour shifts at Columbia Presbyterian are slim to zilch. Dr. Feel Good, you see, I never learned his real name, maybe he told me but I was high on pain meds at the time, certainly doesn’t hang with the Broadway gypsies.   I don’t paint him as the bohemian type.


I never thought I’d lay eyes on him again, but it didn’t matter because his image was indelibly etched in my memory. The way wrinkles formed beside his eyes when he smiled at me, his perfect white teeth, and his kind brown eyes,  as sweet and intense as salted caramel. We’d only met twice, the first time, the day I arrived at Columbia Presbyterian with bruises all over my back side. Well apparently, I gave him an eyeful. And then two days later, after they moved me from the ER and visited  just to say “hello”. There was something about the way he tucked a few loose curls behind my ear and smiled at me made me quiver. When I think about it, I can still feel his gentle fingers on my forehead.

Wait, I’m actually not convinced this man didn’t slip some root in my IV drip.

Summer was over and I had a taste for a cozy white mocha frappe. I made it a venti, handed the barista my card, and slipped through the crowd of corporate zombies.

On this fateful day I had lowered my literary standards enough to read Fifty Shades of Grey. No offense, but if I’m going to read erotica, I’d rather read Anais Nin. But Noni had to read it for a book club and I took it from her. Curiosity always kills the cat. 


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Firstly, I don’t make love. I fuck… hard.


Jumping over the edge of one’s pain threshold, for the sake of a man’s pleasure was sounding all too familiar when the barista called my name.


I couldn’t resist licking some of the whip that oozed from the lid right off, so my mouth was literally agape, tongue compromised, when I felt a soft tap on my shoulder. I jumped and hot, frothy cream slid down my fingers scorching them in the process. I winced, and turned around, clearing my upper lip of the cream I could feel was there. Then my stomach sank. There he was. Clearly on his day off, he was dressed casually in jeans and an Izod shirt. His hair, lush, jet black and curly like Persian lamb, was slightly longer than I remembered.

For a second I stood there not knowing what to say, my fingers on fire, still dripping with cream, and me feeling so unprepared to be face to face with a man more gorgeous than I remembered. Then again, I’d never seen him while standing upright. I wanted to run. To dash in the bathroom and at least make sure there was nothing in my teeth. Damn, I chose today not to spritz my curls or floss for that matter.

“I didn’t mean to startle you, it’s just you looked familiar. I think I was your attending a couple months ago. Columbia Presbyterian?”

“Oh yes, Dr….”  I swallowed my freaky nick name just in time.


“Doctor what?” I stumbled, my expression surely betraying me.

“Dr. Dick. Darius Dick.”

“Oh.” What the fuck? Did this man just tell me his name is Dr. Dick? Wait I can’t. Not right now. Not when I just finished licking whip cream off my cup and face. Not when I’m reading Fifty Shades of Grey for God’s sake.

“Here take this for …” he said gesturing his napkin towards my now sticky fingers.

“Oh thank you.”

“I can hold your cup and your book while you do it. They always fill the cups to the brim.”

“Um thank you,” I said embarrassed that of all times, I was being spotted in public reading a book that everyone knows is about bondage and S&M.

He handed me my drink and book. “And you are Geneva?”

“Yes,” I said surprised. “You must have a really good memory.”

“I do. Most doctors do. But I also hate to forget a pretty face.”

My eyebrows raised. I was standing their looking straight dumbfounded. All sorts of patrons bumping into as I hadn’t moved an inch since I turned around.

“I hope I’m not being too forward.”

“No.” Please, keep going.

“After you,” he gestured for me to lead the way out of the throng. The flow of people into Starbucks had picked up. I headed out of the door, still in shock that Dr. Feel Good was trailing me.

It was before 8 AM and the morning air was still chill, blowing my frizzy curls askew. I could sense he was stalling and so was I. There was more.

“So how are you?”

“Healthwise, good. Definitely better off than when we met,” I smiled.

“Something else wrong?” He suddenly looked very concerned.

“No, no. Just a lot of change.”

“Which way you headed?” 

“I’m going to work. That way, ” I said pointing.

“Well, ummm,” he was turning a crimson shade, “I don’t usually do this but if you ever have some time I’d love to grab coffee, maybe drinks. Maybe you can tell me about that change. Or just, a little more about you.”

“Ok,” I said, a silly grin sweeping my face.

“Okay?” Somehow he’d fetched his phone.

“Okay, I’d like that.”

After we exchanged numbers he surprised me, yet again, with a warm hug, filling my senses with that familiar Christmas scent. What was it, so clean, and spicy and warm? Chestnut roasting on an open fire?  I didn’t have enough time against his chest. Before I knew it we were off on our separate ways.

I heard his voice. “Geneva!” I turned back around.

“I just wanted to say most women the same reaction, you know, to my name.” And then he flashed a Denzel smile and I was done. I grinned but I was dying on the inside. Dr. Dick? Wait until Caroline hears this.

As I walked away, feeling about ten pounds lighter, I sipped my white mocha and silently scolded myself for having done the bare minimum that morning. Yes, I’d showered, but my hair was at its wildest, no lip gloss, no perfume, nothing remarkable. Yet I felt as if he couldn’t take his eyes off of me. I wondered if he’d follow through on his offer and honestly nervous about actually having to sit across from this fine man and not fidget.  He wasn’t the type of man that dated women like me. He was far too pristine, too commercial, and too perfect. Men like him didn’t have the patience or desire to deal with swings, or too peel back layer after layer.  But perhaps I could enjoy him until he learned how flawed I was.


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As I continued to walk toward the theater my elation shifted to paranoia. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being watched. I kept looking behind me. Everything appeared normal; throngs of people walking with purpose and looking straight ahead. I tried to remember when last I took my meds. Yesterday, but it takes more than 24 hours of withdrawal to make flip out. The hair on my neck was standing on end but I continued to walk, just a quicker pace.  Two blocks later I reached a light. As I waited to cross the street, I realized I was staring straight into his dark eyes.

Shit. It was Paul.

I turn on my heels, walking in the opposite direction immediately. As my pace quickens I soon realize I have broken into a full sprint. I look behind me, he’s no longer there. For a moment I question whether or not I’ve hallucinated. I even consider that this morning is all a dream but none of those second guesses stop me from hailing the first vacant cab I see.  I duck in, slam the door, and exhale.  Safe.

I spend the work day convincing myself that the Paul I saw was a figment of my overactive imagination. I don’t know, maybe running into Dr. Feel Good, excuse me, Dr. Dick triggered it. I haven’t seen Paul since my injury. Sure, he’s tried to call dozens of times, but I’ve not physically seen him for close to two months.


I was exhausted by the time I returned home, climbed three flights of stairs to reach my apartment. All I  needed was to close my blinds, switch on my Itunes, and throw myself across the bed. But I couldn’t. Paul was blocking my entry into the door and this time, I could not run.

“How long have you been here?”

“This is for you.” He gets up off the floor where he’s been resting against my door for God knows how long. He hands me a Susana Baca CD, Afrodiaspora, and I realize that this is his peace offering. He’s never been a flowers and champagne kind of man.

“Thank you.”

He still blocks my entry into my house.

“Yo, we need to talk.”

“About what?”

“About the dude I saw you with earlier.”

“What do you want to know?”

His eyes darken and his pupils contract. He is seething at the sight of me with another man and I instantly feel guilty. What is it about Paul that does this to me? But I don’t want to fight, so I open the door and he follows me in. He makes a beeline for my bedroom though I’d been hoping we could sit on the living room couch. Neutral territory. Too bad the dogs were barking because they probably need to be walked and my roommate hadn’t yet made it home. So I follow him into my bedroom and close the door to drown out the noise.

Bad idea.

Paul pushes me against the wall and locks me into position with the sheer force of his body. He smells so manly, like irish springs and salt. And when he kisses me, he draws the breadth from my diaphragm. He’s so forceful. I can feel his teeth touch mine and bite my lips.

Finally he stops, but he doesn’t let me escape the wall. “Who is he?”

“He’s a doctor. He was my doctor, when I went to the hospital. Remember?”

He let go and immediately the room felt as if it dropped ten degrees.

“Damn Geneva, why haven’t you returned my calls? How many times can I apologize for something I didn’t even do? When are you going to let me love you again, like you need to be loved, and stop playing with me? Huh?”

I feel if I can sneak a phone call to Caroline right now, she’ll save me, because right now I can’t think straight. I am so attracted to him and it’s been two months since he’s touched me, since anyone has touched me.

“She could have killed me, or really hurt me” I murmur, “and it’s over you”.

“No, she’s crazy.”

“But was what she said true?”

“Come here,” he says sternly.

I don’t move. I can feel what is about to happen and I know that once it does, he will once again raise his flag.

“Come here,” he demands again, pointing to the spot next to him on my bed.

I begin to cry, not loudly, but scorching rivulets are pouring from my face and I can’t find my voice  It feels as if someone has me by the throat.

“Geneva,” his voice softens “please sit next to me.”

I do as I’m told.

He wraps his arm around me and nuzzles his nose into my hair. “I love you. Stop playing these games. Don’t ever do that again.” And his hands creep so tenderly to the edge of my breasts and I can feel myself growing in excitement. His kisses fall from my ears to my neck, each one a soft pillow. And I can feel his stubble against my skin, making me all the more sensitive to his touch.

He slips his hand into my shirt and undoes my bra.

Answer me.

“What do you want me to say?” I say out of breath.

He picks me up and lays me across my bed and crawls on top of me. “Tell me you’ll stop playing games with me. Say it.”

He’s busy undoing my clothes.  Pulling up my shirt. Pulling down my pants and panties with one fell swoop and before I can get my thoughts together, I can feel his bare sex against my clit and he’s hovering, teasing, knowing that my body has a mind of its own. My hips are rising in spite of myself.

“I love you too.”

“And…” He pushes two fingers deep inside of me. I moan. “I won’t play games.”

“That’s better.”

And with that, things return to normal. We stop talking. The cage door swings open and two months of freedom come to an abrupt end. I didn’t mean for this to happen. He reaches over and turns off the lamp and enters me, hard, punishing me as I scream out in agony, for every day I didn’t return his call.



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