By Delroy Nesta Williams
Caris had always liked Sanya, even from way back during his days at the Goodwill Secondary School. But she was never interested in him; she was too busy flirting with all the teachers to take notice of his childhood crush. He would have done anything for her back then and even now as they had maintained a close bond.
Caris always wanted to be in a relationship with her but was very careful not to get too emotionally attached even if deep down in his heart he had always loved Sanya and she was all that he had ever wanted from a lover. Even after all his past girlfriends, he always felt in his heart that she was the one for him but he had realized early that he wasn’t her type and was somewhat content to stay in the shadows and be the man that she needed, especially when she couldn’t have the man that she wanted.
She had just gotten out of a serious breakup and although Caris knew that the rebound situation wasn’t the ideal way to get her to fall in love with him, he would still try his luck, even if it screamed of desperation.
His friends had already teased him that he was putting Sanya’s “pussy on a pedestal” and for that reason, they felt he would never cross the friendship line with her. He was stuck in the friend zone of camaraderie and that was as far as he would ever get with her. Curtis and Bully tried on many occasions to knock some sense into Caris but he couldn’t let go. Letting go of your lover is hard enough, letting go off your first crush and love was proving to be damn near impossible for Caris. He wanted Sanya and that was all that mattered to him.
He needed to make his move, if not now then he would not get another chance like that in years. He was certain this was the appropriate time. He was just stepping out of the office to meet up with Curtis and Bully for their customary mid-week lime - a stop at the After 4 Lounge for beers and guy talk. Curtis would boast of his weekly female conquests while Bully would pick on Caris for his ineptitude with the female sex. It wasn’t that Caris couldn’t get a woman; the guys were more perturbed that he was obsessed with Sanya as The Woman. They didn’t see what he saw; in fact, they were probably blind to it. Kereem was the only sensible one in the crew, well that’s the way that Caris saw it. Kereem fed Caris’ dream as much as he could, he was the ultra-motivator that Caris needed when he thoughts of giving up on Sanya surfaced, which was often enough.
As he was about to start up his ride, his cell phone rang. He looked at the screen, it was Sanya. Caris breathed in hard, calming himself before he dragged his finger against the screen.
“Hi, who is this?” he answered, in the calmest voice he could muster, although he was nervously excited.
“Caris?” she questioned.
“Yes Caris!” he confirmed.
“You don’t have my number stored in your phone? I am not calling you from an unknown number,”
“Yes I do, I am just playing around.”
“Oh, I was wondering why you didn’t know it was me,”
“I know it’s you Sanya, I recognize that voice anywhere I hear it… So, what’s up?
“I am cool, just about to leave work, what you up to?”
“Gonna chill with my boys,”
“Oh okay, them!”
“You had something in mind?” Caris asked, almost too eagerly.
“No, not really, we just haven’t hung out in a while, Caris!”
“I know, we gotta make some time for that,” Caris said, anticipating a request as the phone almost slipped from his now sweaty palm.
“I guess we will hang out sometime soon,”
“Yes, I guess,”
“I wanted to go out this weekend, the Jah Cure concert but I am broke,”
“I am going. I wouldn’t miss Jah Cure,”
“Enjoy then,” she slowly uttered.
“Let me buy you a ticket then,” Caris offered.
“You would? Thank you Caris, I appreciate it! I know just what I want to wear,”
“No problem,” Caris pronounced.
“Well go and enjoy your lime,”
“Later,” Caris said as he ended the conversation.
“Yes, finally!” he cried out as he kissed the screen of the phone.
Caris was excited; he could hardly control his emotions as he sped across Roseau. He hopped out of his car and met Bully, Kereem and Curtis at the bar. They were already seated looking at the television screen as a Champions League encounter between Manchester United and Bayern Munich occupied their attention.
“Drinks on me!” Caris shouted across the floor.
“Seriously?” Bully inquired.
“Yes, I’ve got some great news. Carib beers for everybody!”
“You got a promotion? You won the lottery? You got some pussy? What is it?” Curtis demanded.
“Better than that?” Caris responded.
“Nothing can be better than pussy, unless it’s two pussies!” Bully affirmed.
“It’s Sanya!” Caris said as he motioned over to a stool next to Bully.
“I don’t want to hear it. Boy you know you’re never gonna get her, stop waste your time!”
“Shut up, we’re going out this weekend!”
“Really? Kereem asked, “Good for you and her!”
“Finally, I hope you don’t chicken out. Be aggressive, go after her!” Curtis advised.
“We all know he’s not going to do anything, he just going to sit and smile at her,” said Bully, “I feel like Caris has a vagina between his legs.”
“You’re not spoiling my mood, not today. We’re going to Jah Cure concert!”
“Jah Cure?” Kereem asked, almost spilling his drink.
“You know she just using you to go to see Jah Cure, right?” Bully shouted out, “I won’t be surprised if she ends up in his hotel room after the show.”
“Nah, she’s not like that, she said we needed to hang out! I think she figured out that I am the man for her, finally!”
“Boy, move on! Remember I tell you that. You’ve become obsessed over an average woman and that can never be a good thing.”
“How long has it been since you’re chasing her?” Curtis asked.
“Too long!” Bully responded before Caris could get a word in.
“I will do what I have to do. You all will see, this is a new, different and aggressive Caris,”
“Yea right. Boy, pass me my beer. Just disturbing the game for Sanya talk!”
And before Caris could say anything in his defense, they turned their attention back to the football match. Three rounds of drinks later and an earful of football banter meant that the conversation was in the back of the minds of everybody, everybody except Caris. He snuck out of the bar, which by now was overcrowded with Manchester United fans and had become hostile territory for him, especially as he supported their rivals, Manchester City. He didn’t leave because of that though, he needed to clear his thoughts, he was still thinking about Sanya.
The sun was just about to set as he sat down in front of the steering wheel. He glanced into the rearview mirror, winked at his image, until he forced a slight smile. The bar conversation left him uneasy and he needed some reassurance that he was doing the right thing with Sanya. He turned the key into the ignition and the radio started up. The DJ was playing Jah Cure’s promotional music for the weekend concert. The artist’s Unconditional Love single filled the car – that was all the sign Caris needed as he leaned back and took in the words. He would make his move on Sanya, it was time. He started singing too, screaming out the words as he got lost in the moment. He pictured himself sipping drinks with Sanya at Mero beach, watching the sunset, stretched out on a blanket as she lay against his chest. She was smiling as he whispered in her ear, biting the tip of her earlobe.
“Boy, what are you doing?” Bully cried out over the music as he tapped the glass.
“Shut up! I am trying to think,”
“Sounds like you’re trying to sing!”
“And your point is?”
“Nothing dude, just messing around. We’re heading to Icho, you’re coming?”
“Yea, I will meet all you there!”
“And please don’t quit your day job for a singing career, you will die broke,” Bully laughed as he walked away from the car.
They spent the next two hours at Icho eating, drinking and playfully chasing skirts. Caris appreciated those moments and although the guys always picked on him, he knew that they all had his best interest at heart.
The rest of the work week was a blur as Caris tried to concentrate at the office but he couldn’t shake thoughts of Sanya from his mind. He picked up the phone several times to call her only to end the call before it had gone through to her.
“Why am I so nervous?” he questioned. “I am acting like I’ve never spoken to Sanya before; like this is the first time I am going to say two words to her. Get a grip Caris!”
“Are you okay?” Michael, a coworker asked as he entered the workstation.
“Yes, why?” Caris replied
“Well, you’re talking to yourself and it sounded very aggressive. You need to take a break?”
“No, I am fine… I will be fine!”
“Yes I am sure… I will relax later!”
“Later?” Michael questioned.
“Yea, I am going to Krazy Coconuts for the Jah Cure concert with a friend,”
“How did you know?” Caris asked, a little startled.
“You called out her name!”
“Yes, you did! You sure you don’t want to leave work a little earlier today? It’s already Friday and almost everyone has left already,”
“Maybe I should. It would give me some time to run to Cocorico, pick up a bottle or red wine and a few other things!”
“Got big plans?”
“Yes, I do!” Caris affirmed. He also needed that affirmation as well. He doubted himself until the conversation with Michael.
“Well do your thing!”
Caris jumped from his seat as he shut down his computer and cleared his desk. He was out of the office. The vibe in Roseau was all about Jah Cure as Caris made his way around town. Reggae was in the air and Caris breathed in deeply as he envisioned his night with Sanya. He would drop by Sanya’s home with a rose and a bottle of wine. Have a glass or two before leaving for the show. He wanted to stop off at Old Stone Bar and Grill and treat Sanya to a nice meal. He had already arranged with the proprietor for a special table in a corner and had asked that it be adorned with ylang-ylang flowers. Caris had picked them himself at the Botanic Gardens on his lunch break. They would also place small chocolates all over the table in a heart shape along with two candles to compliment everything. Sanya was only expecting Jah Cure but Caris would deliver a lot more.
Splashing on some cologne after his bath, he breathed in deeply. It was a do or die moment for him and Caris knew it. He had fogged up the mirror during his shower and as he wiped the surface, he smiled and winked at himself. He felt good; he had stuck to his plans. It was all paying off finally.
As he dressed, he danced away to some Beres Hammond music in the background. He pulled out a brown dress pants from his closet and a plaid dress shirt. His brown Clarks complimented the pants well as they fell over it, just massaging his ankles. He spun around and did a Michael Jackson impression. Caris was in a state of heavenly bliss.
He slammed the door behind him as he exited his riverside apartment. Touching his pockets for the car keys, he remembered the tickets.
“Phew, I almost forgot them,” he thought, shaking his head in disbelief as he returned to the house to retrieve the tickets.
He pulled up a few houses away from Sanya’s in Canefield as he needed a moment to recollect his thoughts and go through his actions for the rest of the night. He had already planned it all out in his mind but needed a reminder. He opened the glove compartment and went through his notes. He needed to be meticulous and aggressive but still with a charming tone.
Caris stepped out of the vehicle and was greeted with a stiff breeze almost knocking his glasses from the bridge of his nose. He stopped for a second put his hands over his face and then proceeded to the house. A few young men were hanging out on the corner smoking weed and drinking, the usual Friday night activity for a lot of young men. As Caris busied past them, one of the young men stopped him in his tracks.
“You doh checking your boys den?” he asked.
Caris who was still hampered by the wind looked up at the figure who was now standing dead in front of him. The dread-locked young man had a spliff in his mouth and wore more tattoos than clothing. Caris squinted as the young man grinned at him, blowing smoke into the air. Caris knew that smile.
“Daniel? Daniel Gregoire? Bro is that you?” exclaimed.
“Yea man, is me dat!” he confirmed.
“When did you get back to Dominica?”
“I was always here, I was in Stockfarm!”
“ohhhh… okay,” Caris staggered, “but it’s good to see you man. I going on a little move there, but we go have to link up.”
“No problem, do your thing, we will link up,”
Caris shimmied out of the crowd after tagging Daniel. He had changed so much, from the nerdy little high school classmate to an ex-con. It had really been a long while. Caris couldn’t dwell too much on that situation though as thoughts of Sanya came rushing back to him. He opened the gate and stepped onto the walkway. The overgrown lawn, which was now crowding the walkway, was wet from an earlier shower. Caris bent down to touch the grass, moistening his palms and then wiping them on his pants. He was still very nervous.
He proceeded towards the door but stopped dead in his tracks as he got to the front step. He was about to reach for the doorknob when he saw two figures through the window. He wasn’t expecting anyone else to be there. He wanted to retract his steps and then return later. He had arrived earlier than Sanya would have expected. As he motioned to turn around, he glimpsed through the window, at the exact time that a gentle gust of wind pushed against the curtain.
Caris saw an image that left him open-mouthed. Sanya was in a deep embrace with another man. It wasn’t a friendly kiss; more like the deep, passionate, soulful kiss that Caris had thought would end his night. Instead it was about to ruin all his plans.
The shadowy figure of the guy reached for the back of Sanya’s head, tilting it slight and tightening the kiss as she let out a low, hissing moan. Caris dropped to his knees. He turned away completely from the silhouetted appearance but recoiled onto the front step. He put his hands over his face and breathed in deeply. It was over. Caris stood up, put his right hand into his pocket, pulled out the Jah Cure tickets and pushed them underneath the door. He wanted Sanya to find them there; he wanted her to know he was at her doorstep.
As he walked away from the scene, he turned and gave them one final look. The curtain flung up even higher this time to confirm the earlier scene.
“But, I know that haircut; I know those ears,” he thought, “that’s…” but his mouth didn’t allow him to finish his statement. It was too dry.
He turned to his ride, drove straight home, put off his cell phone and took a sip from the bottle of wine that he had wanted to share with Sanya. He threw the rest against the wall as he dived into his bed. He lay there with his face towards the ceiling as the fan circled. Tears filled his eyes. He stayed in that very spot until sadness forced him to fall asleep.