He walked into the studio feeling a little sluggish, definitely not the way he wanted to start the morning. Yet there he was with so much to do, to relax now would make the eight months leading up to this day a loss. “Finish strong", he told himself. He had to resolve a number of issues with his upcoming art event, and it varied from a final cut on a short film, the last brush strokes on art pieces, and the clothes. Oh my, the clothes. So he dug in. Sitting in front of his power Mac, He began to watch the current cut of the short on the 27-inch screen. The flow was impeccable and with a few minor changes to the intro, He felt it would grab the audience and bring them into his world.
At times like this, when he’d get into the zone, He’d think about the journey to the present moment. This time he thought about Summer. It wasn’t any specific thought of her that jumped into his mind. It was more like a mash up of everything from the island resort stay to their trip to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Amongst the backdrop of the good times there was all the hiccups that resulted in their taking the dreaded step of deciding to call it quits. They say all good things come to their appropriate end and just like that, it was over. A few short months after the breakup, He ran into her on the set of a video shoot and they were cordial and all, but there was this look she gave him biting her lip just a little that struck a cord with him. He called her the next day. That was relapse one.
There was a knock at the sliding glass door to his home studio that looked out onto the crystal blue waters of his pool. Sometimes when working, he would have to close the blinds to keep focus as, Kimberly and Okoye would be out there sunbathing. The knock was Ricardo. He came by to help with the logistics of the art installation and assist in making everything as magical as possible. Seeing him as he slid open the glass door reminded him of the link he had in common with Summer, and now she was back in his head like a catchy hook to a song that won’t go away.
The second relapse with Summer started at a coffee shop. He was getting that afternoon fix and there she was looking as amazing as ever, legs crossed sitting in a corner by herself. He debated whether or not to go over and say hi. It was one of those awkward moments. His resolve was to order his drink and go, leaving it up to her to approach him, real grown up right. He ordered my small iced coffee with room for cream because he enjoyed watching the milk mix with the coffee, as he would slowly pour it in. In that time, standing at the condiments station and not thinking it would be his undoing, Ricardo would walk into the joint recognizing him off the bat. At that point in time, they hadn’t seen each other in years, basically since college. To know Ricardo it was to know his boisterous laugh and his way of talking. He explained to him as they talked, that since college he’d traveled to Europe and Spain, got married, and ended up here working as a curator for another local gallery. They sipped their coffees and continued to talk as his wife, Dawn, had come over with their drinks. Before they left, Ricardo invited Malcolm over for dinner; he told him he’d love seeing his extensive library of art and design books. They agreed, as that sounded really cool. Energized by the chance encounter he saw Summer out of the corner of my eye, looking in his direction. Malcolm watched Ricardo and Dawn walk off and turned toward Summer. She smiled. He stood there as if he was naked, exposed to her alluring capabilities. She still sat off in the corner, slowly sipping her tea while people watching, which was something he never could understand; because he always felt people should be watching her.
Malcolm walked over, sat down, and talked with her for a bit. She had just signed on with a new modeling agency and was determined to get on a cover of a magazine, which for a model was an important step in creating longevity in the industry. He looked at his watch. It was 2:45pm. He needed to be back at the studio by 3pm that day. He looked to wrap the conversation up as they were getting along better than expected. The events of the first relapse played in the back of his mind, not yet manifesting itself in his speech or body language. Then she touched his hand that was casually placed on the table between them. He looked into her eyes and all the tender and intimate moments came rushing back like a tsunami. He questioned himself. Was her hold on him that strong? It couldn't be. She broke up with him. He tried to feel hurt. He was the jilted lover, but with the chance of sex with an ex on the table, He played it as if he couldn’t care less. She then informed him she could come over that night if he liked? He said nothing, but reached into his brown Louis Vutton bag and pulled out his extra set of keys, the same keys he once took back from her to hurt her. Now it was to use her. He got up telling her he’d be home at 9pm and not to keep me waiting and walked back to the studio with a confused heart.
Ricardo looked over the film footage, himself feeling the same way about the intro and a few other minor spots. It felt good to be working at this level doing what he undoubtly loved doing, creating. They then moved to look over the actual art pieces hanging from the wall opposite Malcolm’s Mac computers in his home studio. They just looked, for a good few minutes in silence at the work, mentally piecing together the artwork that felt coherent and looked as if it was meant to be together. Ricardo and Malcolm discussed their personal take on the pieces hanging on the wall when he got a call. Figuring it would be a good moment to pause, they took a break. The sunset was gorgeous at that moment so I walked out the sliding glass doors to the pool and patio to think. A cool breeze blew as he looked out at the landscape in front of me, which lead him to think of her again.
As he left his downtown studio a little after nine, he had to be honest. He wondered if she’d already be there waiting on him. He drove the usual route back to his house with that thought on his mind the entire way. He laughed to myself thinking that his move of giving her his keys was a real pimp move. He pulled up into his driveway. Her burgundy camero was parked where she usually would park it. He walked inside to find her looking at some of the changes he’d made to the place since the break. They talked a bit, real surface stuff nothing to deep. He made her a drink, and they continued to talk. He turned on some music while both of them were waiting for the buzz to kick in. They circled each other like a predator does its prey. He’d have to say in this day and time, hooking up with an ex seemed part of the adventure of human life. Much the same as the journey to finding love carried its own unexpected twists. He was sure he loved her when they were in it, but now it was just about revisiting the familiar one more time to get back that feeling so things didn’t seem so lonely. They walked back to his bedroom with the sounds of Coltrane playing over the Bose speakers. They undressed, as if in a doctor’s office feeling a hint of self-consciousness and took to it with a kiss. They, after what seemed like an eternity of fumbling around, fell into that familiar rhythm as she enjoyed herself gyrating on top of him, her opened hands pressed flat against my chest. She then leaned back, arching her back, taking me deeper breathlessly shouting out his name, and trembling. They held each other like before their perspiration co-mingling, her head on his chest, and his arm around her. It felt good, maybe a little too good. Because when she broke the embrace, it felt like the ripping of a bandage from a wound. She got dressed, and she told him that she had a good time. They kissed out of routine and, out of the corner of his eye, he saw her place his extra set of keys on the nightstand and she left.
The next morning was a blur, yet it was very significant not that Malcolm was leaving to New York to meet with some interested brokers in a developing script he was working on, but for the realization he was yet to have. Kimberly was going to drop him off at the airport. With everything packed, he reached for his iPhone and Ray Ban sunglasses from the kitchen counter, and it hit him. She had said his name when she came. She in their entire relationship had never said that. Maybe she talked a little dirty, and they even got really kinky, but never did she say his name. And the way she said it oh! he was perplexed as he tried to recount all the times, but this was the first. They got to the airport. Kimberly gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek. He walked through security trying to get his head around it all, while looking at all the lovely stewardesses wondering if they’d rekindled for a night with an ex to curb the feeling of loneliness. Ultimately, he came to the understanding that its certainly bound to happen in an age where everyone is so controlled by their devices, and that sometimes getting the best out of a person doesn’t come till it’s over.