“Give all, Gain all”
I didn’t give a fuck. Maybe this diva should have, but I didn’t. Andreni never said it. I never asked. I knew he knew that I knew. But now the facts were out. Andreni was selling drugs. Do you recall the workweek from the top? Absolutely!
Monday—Ray-Bans. Andreni came and picked me up from work with a rosebush in the car, not a single classy rose with a ribbon and a note. A little bush in a flower pot that read in cursive on the lip: “You are as alive as me.” It was grotesquely romantic or frugal, I guess. I never seen that in Titanic or Love & Basketball. The bush is still alive on Lig’s property to this day.
Tuesday—Warby Parkers. Minutes into Tuesday, a little after midnight, Mali called. Andreni started getting dressed and said his bro wanted him at the club. I heard his bike howl under fifteen minutes from when he got the call. I rolled over for what felt brief.
At 5:46 a.m., Andreni came back home, without his bike, without his button-down linen. Fumbling in the fridge with a box of Tropicana. He looked so silly like the orange juice was putting up a fight and winning. From the bedroom door, I had wore a T-shirt of his by Cashout Couture and watched as he got frustrated and went in for the kill. He drank from the box arm extended from his mouth like the wrestler out of Austin, Texas. Pipless orange juice spilled on his black tank top, neckless, and boxers. Didn’t know what to expect when I hit the lights. He couldn’t be himself if he tried. Andreni’s ass was inebriated. I mean like Bourbon Street, can’t stand, can’t see, or can’t talk straight twisted.
I had to think fast. He was way out of line. I recalled the feeling, like all divas, I was born to aggress. I got hot, angry, but I clenched it, held it right in my palm like a fireball. Plus I didn’t wanna sweat my wrap out. “Dreni, honey, come with me.”
I stood him up. He plopped on the queen size, then I called Malichi.
He answered, breathing all heavy. “What’s up with my baby?” “ He’s home safe, right!?”
“So what you calling me for?” Click.
I wanted answers. That fireball had grown to a lawless flame. In all reality, I didn’t need answers. It was simple: you drink, you get drunk. I wasn’t angry. I was jealous. Jealous because there was someone in the world who had the power to take my baby away from our cuddling with out an emergency.
I woke him up till the slurs got louder. I wanted to ask him another question I knew the answer to. Then his anatomy forced an attempt at sobriety. Andreni threw up bile, orange juice, and Black Hennessy everywhere. It just kept coming out—on me, the wall, the nightstand, and the bed. All on the fluffy wiggle-your-toes carpet. Fucking ridiculous.
Wednesday—Oliver Peoples. I came out of school, and he was posted on my X6. The sight of him in good health and vibrant made me forget about the past night. Andreni could disarm his enemies with his charm and wit. He circled me, titillating me with whispers around my neck. He was such a good communicator. He wasn’t sorry for puking on me or for leaving me in bed alone. His apology was for not being able to make me breakfast like he always did. That turned me on. We spared the car and took it straight home.
My thighs around his neck, my sweaty palms staining the ceiling, I knocked the picture of the pyramids off the wall. It was on. Yes, it was Cinema. Till he turned it off, with the trail of bumps under his waistline, crawling to his charm arm.
It was like HOLD UP! WAIT! WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS?!?!
I went online and Googled STD breakouts. I compared photos but no match. I didn’t know what was happening to him, But I knew what wasn’t happening.
Thursday—Kissilyn Cold. At the clinic, they told us it was “abrasion”, usually caused from rough sex. Yeah, whatever, doc. No prescription. Said it will heal on its own. “A lil A&D ointment won’t hurt”, the doc said upon exit.
We ate hot wings and cold sweet cherries for lunch that afternoon. I had a pain in my stomach that entire morning. I couldn’t ID it. It wasn’t menstrual related.
I watched Andreni closely as always. We sat at the dinner table. The pain sharpened. He squinted at the glass filled with remnants of orange juice. He whipped his neck to the live movement that the reflection gave him. In slow motion, the police were everywhere. I was afraid. Didn’t know what the fuck was going on.
“Listen, Cinema. I’m all right. I’m going to be alright.” He already knew they were there for him, and not the landlord or his smelly wife with her belief system that doesn’t permit her to wear cosmetics. Like what the fuck, he knew his time was coming.
“Alright” began to pound in my head, then he said, “Make sure Mali—and Mali Only gets this.” Andreni pulled a big-ass gun out from I don’t know where. I thought about the cartoon clowns that pulled a scarf out that never ends but changes colors. That’s Andreni. There was always more and more with a surprise of bright or dark colors.
He dismantled the gun in seconds. It was in pieces, getting wrapped in the tablecloth. With my glasses in his hand, he looked deep into my face kissed me on my forehead then my lips. He went outside before they came in.
Friday—Cynthia Rowley. It was the day of my graduation, acknowledgment of the hard-earned four years. I missed it. Thats the decision I made. My baby was awaiting bail. I didn’t give a fuck. I really didn’t. If he wasn’t there, then who? Who?! He encouraged me semester after semester. Threatened me once or twice when I had said I need a break. I had always visioned me shaking the necessary hands, receiving my diploma, and him snapping shots of me with a very pricy Canon he purchased just for this moment. I vision Andreni hugging me as I jumped off the stage. This played in my head fluently the last couple of weeks. It had been ruined, and I didn’t give a fuck. Tuh!
His car had fled the scene of a shooting; they had his plates but couldn’t charge him for the shooting. He kept his mouth shut. So they had no case on that note. However the 7.7 ounces of MDMA in his car got him four years. What’s four years to love for eternity? On a visit, he told me everything. Maybe not everything but a lot.
A verbal snafu led to that big-ass gun being fired. Frantically he tucked it into his boxers, not in his pants but on his skin literary in his boxers. The so-called abrasion was really a heat rash.
You entered a whole new class after that, Cinema. Yes, I did. Let’s go over here to ‘City Skies’ section. Yes my collection is divided into section. The day I got these gunmetal frames from the postman, Mali stopped by. He always did check on me. I was grateful for his concern, even though apart of him hoped he caught me cheating so he can put blood in someones mouth. I still pitch sass 90 mph his way. He put a lil box in my hand, a phone in my other and walked off. And for his next trick. “My time is limited. Baby cakes open the box.” There was that fireball again this time in my heart. I enrolled into the class of being a fiancée. Yea, he did that.
My nights were lonely, longer, colder, and full of worry. I missed waking up to Alicia Keys’ playing. I missed the voicemail Andreni would leave, thanking me for a good time before the time even took place. I missed breakfast, the motivation, the studying we did. I missed sex, being pinned to the wall, bed, floor, stairs, sand, grass, trunk or hood of his BMW.
I stayed hopeful and optimistic. I didn’t see Andreni as being the biggest risk I ever took. That’s what Meka, my homegirl from high school described him as.
Lig gave me a two-month-old blue-nosed puppy. I named him after Andreni. “Get bizzy.” That’s what he called himself. Mr. Get Bizzy to be exact. Lig was the coolest of the Tachyons. He’d tell me stories of how Andreni was a maniac. He said he’d steal Mali’s car every day. Any chance he got. Poof. He was gone. Sick.
Addicted to driving, Lig had typed in bold letters. It only made sense. Andreni brought his M3 in the winter. I don’t remember the year. He took me on a course he invented. I wasn’t afraid; it was fun. That made him love me more. He did doughnuts, drove sideways in the snow, and forced the M3 into any hole on any asphalt.
One night after the club, him and Mali started racing. Well it was a bunch of cars at first, him and Mali just led the race with great distance. Andreni was pushing it. He swerved past a car doing well over 100mph. All I heard was a loud clack! He knock someone’s review clean off only to have to dip Mali’s bumper that feel off on the high way. Yea that was a crazy night. I don’t know how his bumper fell off.
“Never settle for being unhappy. Ever!”
This was how Andreni ended all his letters. I wasn’t unhappy. Yeah, I was pissed at his sentence, but was happy to be by his side. And for his next trick, the afternoon had been scorching hot. I enjoyed the AC in my truck with Dan, my coworker at the time. Dan’s boyfriend had car troubles, so his ride was delayed. I allowed him to sit in my car as opposed to getting skin cancer. Plus I had an appointment with my ob-gyn and didn’t want to drive to Nassau to drive back to Suffolk.
“Um, these doors are locked, right girl?”
I didn’t understand Dan’s scary ass at first. The instant beads of sweat made me take him seriously. There was a man walking–a steady, robotic pace—to the car. Demonically desolate in Dan’s eyes.
It was Andreni C. Tachyon. Home a year and change early. I stormed out the car and leaped onto him. I was so happy to be held again.
“And this guy is who?” he said, standing me on my feet.
“A friend. Dan works in research and development. OMG, how did you do it?”
“A friend.” He let me go completely then opened the X6 door.
I was dazed. Right there were two swift jabs. The first was shock, and the other was embarrassment. This diva’s mind was in a whirlwind—like, who was this guy?
The Andreni I recall, possessed more manner, control, class. Dan apologized fifteen times with his hand up, like a robbery. Dan got out and never looked back. This new Andreni got in the driver’s seat.
He definitely changed—more accurate, more muscular, more focused, more incomprehensible, more unpredictable, and more paranoid. That’s what a bid can do. He said he had a plan. It would only work if I went all-in with him, and I did. I was joyful with being close to him no mater how strange he had become. Give all. Gain all.
He who speaketh lies cannot demand truth
Andreni C. Tachyon
Haha! What you do like—196 mph? 202 mph? Huh? We don’t have the road, but let’s see what you got. Come on, GT! Come on!
That’s fifth gear. This was what Cinema wanted. What she but you for? Huh?Come on! You got more. Death is near. Death of the highway homes! It ain’t a thing! Haha! Okay, okay, what’s that on the? Easy, easy. Let’s go! I should’ve taken you out on day 1. This is what I do! This is what I love! This was who I am! Vroom.
The striking scenery. Broken white lines turning solid. Pumping the gas. The motor pumping my blood. The warning signs of an exit. The exit sign. Then passing the damn exit in a blink. Vroom!! This is what you’re made for. She brought you, then parked you, snuggled up on that FENDI sofa while forking individual pieces of Brookside chocolate out a bowl. How dare her?!
When I ask how she is, she says she was fine. Everything was fine. Fine today, fine tonight. Fine, fine, fine. That’s how strangers speak. Fine is rarely ever accurate. It is just a polite reply as opposed to ignoring the mother fucking question.
I’m just Andreni—one worthy to confide in, always been worthy. She’s just fine, so I’m just a stranger. I remember we were in IHOP years back. I put it on a napkin “Express yourself or die.”
SHE DIDN’T GET IT THOUGH!
No No No.
DOUBLE MOTHER FUCK,
THE PO PO PO PO!
Me—I talk to the road!
O Road Road
She talks to herself!
I double-check the road!
I pray she’s checking herself!
She probably thinks expressing herself makes her vulnerable, weak, not in control. You hear this shit. They should teach ‘Express Yourself 101’ in college. No, in elementary school. The free world would be more free.
Northern Blvd is our exit. You did good. I pull into the side lot entrance of 69. I roll to the front where Mali rush me in. We walk faster, then my pupils could adjust to the dark floor. It’s just glowing menu tablet with silhouettes of some regulars. The kitchen was brighter than heaven’s doorway. I scan to see the Latin head cook. Assistance assisting and cleaner cleaning.
Tye, Head of security, hands me a North Face hat, gloves, and coat. My restaurant is bugged. Lig gave us the heads up, and we hired a guy to prove it. When he did, we never bothered to debug the place. Let them pricks listen till they grow hair in their ears. We only spoke risky words in the freezer. The door close behind us.
“I checked the footage. Kimmy drove here alone at 8:37 p.m. She slammed her door and left on foot. Her belongings are in my office.”
This isn’t that serious. I take a glove off, leading the way, and he follows. In Mali’s office, I view Kimmy doing exactly what he describe. I’m thinking, So what? She probably doesn’t wanna park on the street. She is probably carpooling. I slide the screen to real time and see Cinema’s Benz. I am ready to go back to driving.
Mali signals with a head nod. I look over to the table with Kimmy’s belongings laid out like an evidence desk. I look past the feminine products. I see her phone and a pistol, which made no sense to me. Something is wrong; we could feel it. My phone rang. Mali’s facial expression predicts that it was Kimmy. He is wrong.
“Cinema, whats up?” I hear the chimes that hangs in her closet. She is still indecisive, her way of escaping reality with her own reality. “Mali couldn’t reach you. Give him a call.”
“He’s right here. Are you okay?”
“Okay,” and she clicks. I look at Mali.
“Why didn’t you tell her about your trip? And what the fuck was ‘all right’? I end my calls two ways with Clair: Love you, sweetie, or stop calling me.”
“Yeah, but I’m not you, and Cinema isn’t Clair.”
I pick up the pistol from Kimmy’s purse. One bullet in the chamber; the clip is empty. She either found this, or she only trust herself with one bullet. $2,200—fresh, neat bank bills. The screen saver on her phone is a selfie. I remember when she took it, right before she left for Brazil two and a half weeks ago. She had been laying with her forearms on my back, making a T-bone.
On a sheet of typing paper, Mali Uni-Balls a message. It reads, “Go by her house.”
“You’re worried?” I scribble even though it is obvious that he is. “I’m just feeling like I’m not feeling this Kimmy thing. You always get the crazy ladies. So yeah, I am worried.”
Mali is the complete opposite of naive. He put the 440 keys in my hand, close my two hands with her phone. He is establishing an alibi. I am hoping I won’t need it.