Noni Jones in Harlem #21: Kissing Kismet



Thursday began in an uptown apartment that also doubles as a hair salon. I needed to get out of the house, and listening to Johnny gossip about his other clients was a welcome distraction from my worries. He worked his magic, and created head full of luscious auburn ringlets. I left shaking my head, looking great– feeling so so. Carter was getting in that afternoon, and ever since my cab-ride revelation, I was dreading his arrival.

I didn’t know how I’d initiate it, but Carter and I had to have it out. I needed clarification on his romantic past and exactly where I fit in his future. As his live-in girlfriend I thought I deserved to know why he divorced his ex-wife and if he ever planned to remarry. Basically, I wanted to know if by following my heart, I was wasting my time. I had too much idle time on my hands and by that point my negative thoughts escalated, deepening my defiance toward him. I was convinced that the man I recognized as my soul mate would leave me. Suddenly. Single. Succesful. Jaded. Well, maybe. My heart needed resolution.

Perhaps he sensed this.

Mr. Jackson arrived on the back of a beautiful overture consisting of an unexpected delivery of four bouquets of white gardenias, my favorite flower. The note attached to each one read, “I love you madly”. No signature. I didn’t need one. My mood brightened, as I waltzed from vase to vase, inhaling their lush, opulent scent, each bud at the peak of its bloom.

I was watching Love Jones in leggings and a tee shirt, when I had the urge to switch outfits. I still didn’t know if I was going to confront him, but just in case, I needed to look the part. I paused the movie right before Darius recites “Blues for Nina”. I could watch that scene over and over again. I stepped into a slip dress and spritzed Creed’s ‘Love in White’ on my wrists and neck.

Darius and Nina were kissing in the rain, when Carter opened the door, a single leather bag slung over his shoulder. For some reason he had never looked so good. He was wearing a golf shirt, light wool slacks, and long, pointed leather shoes. His locks were gathered at his neck, and fell to the small of his back. He was smiling as if our three day separation had been three months. I can recall the tom-toms in my chest as I smiled back, a brief, pregnant silence.

He was home and when he wrapped his arms around me tight and found the sweet spot in my neck to kiss, I couldn’t barely recall ever having doubts. I just knew how wonderful it felt press my body against his, and to know this man was mine.

“Thanks for the flowers sweeie.”

“Did you like them?”

“I love them! It smells so wonderful in here.” I followed him into our bedroom.

“Yeah, it does smell good. And you look incredible. I like your hair like that.” It’s something about when a man acknowledges your efforts in looking good for him that just– hits the spot.

I sat down on the foot of our bed as I he dropped his bag in the closet.”I bought you something I thought you’d appreciate.”

“Really? What did I do to deserve this treatment.” The last time we spoke at length, I was having a tandrum.

He re-emerged. “Sometimes you have to remind those you love, just how much you love them.” He let my silence punctuate his sentence, and I’m sure he could tell by the way I looked up at him, that I was falling in love all over again. “This is yours. It’s actually two things.”

He lifted his pants and took a seat beside me. He rubbed my back as I lifted a Creed box out of the Saks bag. “Perfume!” I looked closely at the box and saw that it was the perfumers limited edition Fleurs de Gardenia. I’d never smelled it but I remembered that when it came out Saks had waiting list. “Fabulous!” I said, unwrapping the box and catching sight of the winter-white leather atomizer. “I can’t wait to wear it!” I kissed his cheek.

“There’s more in there.”

I retrieved a velvet box. I knew that he had a jeweler in LA but wasn’t expecting such a gift. I sighed before opening it. It was rectangular, a bracelet. “Carter…”

“I hope you like it. Open it up.” He rubbed his hands together and leaned forward, as if he wanted to catch my initial reaction.

It was sheer joy when I layed eyes on the emerald and diamond tennis bracelet inside. It was absolutely regal. He clasped it around my wrist.

He stood up and offered me his hand. I placed mine in his and we embraced all over again, the sunlight pouring into our master bedroom, hitting the gem stones on my wrist and splashing rainbows along the walls. It was a moment that would have ordinarily lead to intense love making, but not that time. We channeled our lust into our hands, which were busy grazing each others bodies, our lips, our eyes. We held on to each other for a good ten minutes. It was as if he wanted to our souls to reconnect. It was as if he felt he was loosing 


He was not.

Carter walked to the grocer to get ingredients for dinner, and I picked up desert, red velvet cupcakes from the Savoy bakery. Carter intent was to cater to me that evening. He made his best dish, Moroccan lamb chops,  and he wouldn’t let me lift a finger in the kitchen to help him (probably a good idea). I set the dining room table, lit candles, and pumped the Quiet Storms playlist from the stereo system. Sade’s ‘Your love is king” was playing when we sat down to eat. The air felt cleared, or maybe just light. We caught up. I asked him about the album he was in LA producing and he told me his was composing a new song, and he couldn’t wait to play it for me. I told him that I took a week long break from my fiction in progress to work on some poetry.

Dinner was done, and we were working on champagne and cupcakes for dessert.”You’ve never had these cupcakes before? You’ve been in this neighborhood longer than me.”

“Yeah, you know I’m not big on dessert.” 

“You’re not into sweets?” I sad, pouting. That was my weakness.

“Except you cutie.” he shot back, pinching my butt.

I dipped my finger in the icing and let him suck it off. It was unexpectedly erotic. He kissed the palm of my hand the parade of kisses didn’t stop.We post-poned desert until the morning…well depending on how you define dessert.

That night as he made old fashioned, missionary style love to me atop our bed and I pushed every single reservation to the back of my mind. I know the situation wasn’t perfect with his unknown ex-wife and his obscure romantic history, but I was content to let the mystery unravel. I feel like most women are walking around with untied laces, trying to trip– and fall in love. And by fall in love I mean find and snag the man they think will make them complete. I had done that before. I swore Ahmad, the surgical resident I dated in undergrad was the be all, end all, one. I was depressed for months when his actions revealed that he was far from it. Unlike with other men I dated, I didn’t fall in love with Carter. Love fell on me.

I think it’s the universe, not people, who create relationships. It’s the universe that controls the horizontal gravity we so lovingly refer to as kismet. And when we go, fussing with fate, we ruin magnificent, romantic possibility. 

I fell asleep on his chest, fascinated by how his heart beat seemed to mirror mine. It was the first peaceful nights sleep I had in several days. My beautiful curls were a mess, but life as far as I knew it at that very moment, was glorious.

- Noni

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