By Faith: A Short Story

by Tikeetha Thomas

I sit here with my glass of red wine listening to Marsha Ambrosius sing “Without You” and start to cry. Tears streaming down my face, I start to sing loudly and off-key with Marsha. It ends and I push repeat. I’m in hell. I’m all caught up over a man that is not my own. You see, I realize that I’m like all those needy women who cry over a man that gives them a good piece of meat. You know that kind of mind-blowing sex that will have you speaking languages you never studied? Yep, that’s what Teddy gave me.

Teddy is a handsome and smooth brother. He is like a thief in the night. He comes in, sneaking around and playing the friend role until you least expect it. I was fresh meat. A tease. A convenience. Nothing more. He had already told me that he wasn’t ready for a relationship and that he had more women pressing him for one than he knew what to do with. Upfront, direct, and straightforward were the words that came to mind when he spoke about his frustrations with women.

He loves women and he respects women, but a bad breakup had him questioning a woman’s motives. I listened intently. Gave my perspective and settled into the friend zone. It was safe. We were safe. We would get to know each other as friends. I didn’t need complications or distractions either and I definitely didn’t want drama.

I had just ended a 15-year marriage and had a 13-year-old son to think of. I wanted fun and laughter. I had just made a major career change and I wanted someone who knew how to let loose and enjoy life. Teddy fit the picture. We spent many months just hanging out; going to brunch, dinners, movies, museums, gallery openings, and doing road trips. We were buddies. No kissing, cuddling or holding hands. I had a friendship with a man that I wasn’t interested in sleeping with and vice versa.

Damn, I don’t know when it changed. I was good and happy with the way things were.

Last week, Teddy and I were returning from a baseball game and it started pouring down rain. We got soaked running from his car to his house. He laughed and said, “I’ll grab you a towel and put on some tea.”

“Okay” I replied.

While he put the kettle on the stove to boil the water, he grabbed me a t-shirt to wear so he could dry my clothes. He apologized that he didn’t have anything to fit my plus-sized figure and I just smiled in embarrassment and said, “Don’t worry about it. I’m used to it.”

He picked up my wet clothes and tossed them in the dryer and put the water and tea bag in a mug and we sat there drinking in silence watching, but not listening to the television.

“Faith, why do you do that?” he asked. I looked puzzled.

He said, “Why do you talk about your weight like that? You’re beautiful just the way you are. That’s why I enjoy hanging out with you.”

“So, my 26 dress size doesn’t bother or embarrass you when we go out?”

“No, it doesn’t,” he replied.

I laughed, “Teddy, please stop lying.”

Why did I say that?

Teddy said, “Come here, Faith.” I got up and walked over and stood next to him. We were in his bedroom in front of the full faced mirror. He put me directly in front of the mirror and said, “Look at yourself in this mirror. See what I see.”

I replied, “What do you see Teddy? My stomach roll that I try to hide under Spanx? How about the back fat that looks like two midgets fighting for freedom when I put my bra on? What about the cellulite that looks like cottage cheese all over my legs? Teddy, I’m happy with me and I’m happy we’re friends, but I don’t see what you see.”

Teddy smiled and lifted up my shirt. He pulled my shirt over my head and let it fall to the floor. We just stood there facing the mirror. Me naked. My breasts were exposed and I held my head in shame looking at the unevenness of them.

Teddy said, “Faith, look in the mirror.”

I looked at my reflection. He said, “Faith, I see the most beautiful uneven breasts that nursed your son for the first few years of his life. They are beautiful. I see stretch marks that remind me of the Yangtze River in Asia when I travelled abroad. Beautiful, long, and winding. They tell your story. I see you and I think you are perfect just the way you are.”

I smiled. Teddy kissed my neck slowly. He grabbed my hand and led me to the bed and made love to me like I was his greatest gift. It was slow, deep, and earth-shattering. Multiple orgasms and I knew that I had experienced nothing like this in my 44 years. Hours of endless passion were played out in his bedroom. Teddy feasted on me and treasured me in ways that I had only read about.

We fell asleep and awoke to a few more hours of lovemaking and laughter. This was good. Our connection was real and powerful. I was falling. Falling in love with a man who knew and appreciated me more than my ex-husband. I smiled as I kissed him goodbye the next morning and we made plans to see each other the next day.

That didn’t happen. Teddy didn’t answer his cell phone or home phone. He didn’t return my calls or text. I was humiliated. How could I be so stupid? I cried myself to sleep that night. Alone.

This pattern continued for the next couple of months with me not saying anything. I just accepted his in and out behavior. His missing in action, me being his “I’m your latest booty call” placeholder. I played my position well when I was with him, but cried and screamed when I was alone. I had to stop.

It was late November and we had being doing this dance for about six months now. This back and forth, “I will call you when I’m free and not a minute before” dance. The dance of a skilled player. I was tired of the ups and downs and knew that I had to say something. So, when Teddy called that Saturday to say “What’s up? How have you been?”

I knew it was time. Time to face the music. His nonchalant attitude and disregard for me or my time was getting on my last nerve.

Seething with anger, I decided to hold it in for now. Teddy asked if I was up for brunch the next day with a movie afterwards. “Sure. I’d love to,” was my reply.

I took extra care to get dressed for my date with Teddy. I pulled out my only pair of jeans that actually flattered my butt and squished in my stomach. I pulled a cute asymmetrical yellow top over my jeans and grabbed a cute pair of brown high heeled boots. I grabbed my yellow leather jacket as it was a little chilly out. I examined myself and I smiled. I was looking fierce. Teddy would be surprised. I had never looked so beautiful. I even took the time to actually contrast my eye shadow for the perfect smoky eye effect.

I walked into the tiny Italian restaurant in D.C. for brunch and Teddy was shocked. He said, “Faith, you look absolutely amazing!”

I smiled and said, “Thank you.”

We sat down and ordered our drinks and food. Teddy kept staring at me and smiling. I could tell he was appreciating the effort I took for our date. Teddy asked “Faith, how’ve you been? I’ve missed you.”

I sipped my champagne and smiled; “Really now? I couldn’t tell.”

He responded, “Didn’t I call you to invite you to brunch and a movie?”

“Yes, Teddy, you did. But, that’s not the point. I have something to say and I want you to listen to me and not interrupt. Can you do that?” I asked

“Yes, I can.”

I took a deep breath and said, “Teddy, these past six months have been incredible. I never knew how amazing being with you could be. I’ve experienced many firsts with you and for that I’m thankful. But, I want more. I need more and I deserve more. I don’t want to be a casual booty call or a convenient option when you’re lonely because I live close. I want sunsets and sunrises and all the in between. I want someone who wants to love me and my son. I want someone who wants to make me a priority and not an option. I want you. However, I realize that it is not what you want. I’m not blaming you. I’m just accepting that I knew the terms before I even gave you my body. But, I can’t change it. We can’t change it and I need to walk away. I know it will hurt, but I’ve been hurting more now and I can’t continue down this path. Thank you for everything. I am truly sorry that I’m not what you’re looking for right now and I hope that you know that I will be grateful for the experience to love after my marriage.”

He just looked at me. No words. Silence. I wasn’t expecting this.

I got up and kissed him on the lips. “Thank you,” I said.

With tears down my face, I walked out of the door.

This is when I had my breakdown. It was a Marsha Ambrosius night. Alcohol, slow jams, and a bad disposition about love and relationships don’t mix. I know better, but I was in pain. I needed him like I needed to breath. I fell in love. I don’t know how it happened or why, but damn, it hurt.

Thankfully, my son was with his dad that night. Lord forbid he should ever see me like this: eyes red with tears, wine, and slow music. I was going through it.

Then the doorbell rang. I got up and walked slowly to the door. I looked out the peephole and saw it was Teddy, and opened the door…

Photo credit: Deposit Photos

Tikeetha Thomas is a full-time working mom with a six year old son who is the apple of her eye. She resides in Maryland and when she is not working and catering to her little boy, she is busy working on her first novel. You can follow her on Twitter (@MsKeeinMd) or read more about her life at her blog: