Everyone gathered at the park for a birthday celebration one unusually hot Saturday in May. There was BBQ and food and cake, and everyone she knew was there. Of course the One was there.
He had just gotten his hair done. From tight fade to finger waves. She teased him incessantly, calling him “Big Red” from The Five Heartbeats all afternoon. There were plenty of reasons why she couldn’t get him alone that day, but she wanted to, desperately. He was so handsome, and she was having fun just making him smile.
She wandered around visited with folks, pushed the birthday kid on the swings, played with his cousin’s dog (until she was scolded for making the dog soft), and when the heat became unbearable, she poured some water over her head.
He must have seen her do it, because he joked that this was a kid’s party and she should save that shit for the club.
“You know you want some,” she smiled devilishly at him.
She still swears he dared her with his eyes to do it. Not one to back down from a challenge, she sauntered up to him and threw a cup of water at his chest.
”Muthafucka!” He gasped at the cold, as a playful smile spread across his face.
She received a few disapproving glances from guests, and she was certain things were whispered about her, but she didn’t care. He made her feel silly and free and fun! Who cares what they thought? This was about their chemistry together, and for the first time, he didn’t seem to be hiding it.
He fought her for the cup in her hands, winning of course, and he walked slowly over to a cooler to scoop up some ice. She laughed heartily and jogged away, believing he wouldn’t actually chase after in front of all these people if she ran.
She was right, he didn’t chase her. But he did get her. He was a patient man, in no hurry to pay her back. He waited til she was most distracted, and least expected it, to exact his revenge.
They had just sung happy birthday and passed out cake when suddenly she felt the freezing cup of partially melted ice and water being poured down her back.
“Oh shit! That’s fucking freezing!” She yelled as she turned to face him.
She was not as patient as he was. She didn’t have water or anything to drink in her hands or nearby. But she did have cake. And before she knew what she was doing, she took it and smashed it into his head rubbing it into his brand new finger waves.
She was in big trouble now. He didn’t say a word. He didn’t hit her back with the cake in his own hands. He simply smiled a mysterious looking grin at her and walked away.
On the way home, she was chastised hard by her friends. People were really talking about her now. They said everything from how immature she was to how pissed he must be at her for ruining the party to how much money she probably cost him for that hairstyle.
For the first time all day she didn’t smile. She rode back in silence as she wondered if he was actually mad at her. She thought they were both having fun. She knew it might be a bit too childishly flirtatious in public, but she was having such a good time with him that she didn’t care.
Her head hung as she walked through door that evening. She slowly walked upstairs to the studio room where she stayed in the converted Tudor-style home down the road from the lake. By the time she unlocked her door, she had convinced herself she would never be seeing him again.
She sighed as she put her keys on the table, took off her shoes, and started gathering her things to head down the hall to the shower.
I really fucked up, she thought to herself, just before the blinking light on the answering machine caught her eye. Even though her arms were full of her towels and shower items, she decided to press play on the machine before heading down the hall.
Two long beeps of the same tone were the only message. (His code just in case anyone was over when she checked her messages.) He was coming over! The strange melancholy in her stomach immediately disappeared.
She smiled ear to ear and picked her head up, as she hurried down the hall to the bathroom to freshen up for the night in.