Friday- I punch numbers into my phone’s calculator. $4,100. Good lord.
“Hey! Shahz!” I look in front of me. It’s “Mr. Photography dude” and Sahd.
“Sherry said we could find you here. Whatcha doing?” Mr. Photography dude asks pulling up a chair next to me. Saad also joins.
I write down some more quotes. “Numbers” I say.
“Oh that’s right. You have the hearing in an hour” Sahd says.
I don’t look up from my work. “Yep” I say.
“Well look at you being a little businesswoman” Mr. Photography dude says.
“Someone’s gotta do it” I say rolling my eyes to myself.
“Yea I heard Harris wasn’t coming. What the heck? He’s the President! He should be presenting!”
I shrug. “It’s fine. He doesn’t even know what events we’re doing this quarter anyway and what we need funding for in the first place.”
“But he should” Mr. Photography dude says.
I look at him and then my watch. 15 minutes. I have 15 minutes to prepare for my club’s hearing. I get back to work.
“So, how’s it going?” Mr. Photography dude asks.
I close my eyes and take a deep breath. “Fine” I say.
“Are you sure…?” he asks.
I nod slowly.
“Oh my god. Forget the hearing. Just spit it out what is it?”
I stop my calculating and look away. I wish Sahd wasn’t here witnessing this.
“Oh. You miss player don’t you?” he asks smiling.
I turn my head back. “What? No. No way don’t say that.”
“Are you sure. Cuz you have that look that you get when you’re really missing someone and that’s not really a missing ‘Heart’ face….” he says.
I close my binder. “Well of course I miss him. Christ. It’s okay to miss someone. He used to mean a lot to me”I say.
“I didn’t say it wasn’t! I was just trying to get you to say it. Why do you act like you feel ashamed of it?” he asks.
I sigh. “She’s in my Microbio class” I say.
“Wait what who? That girl he just told you about?” he asks.
“What? No…that other one. The one that was my friend” I say.
“Oh. Well. What does that have to do with you?” he asks.
My jaw drops. “HELLOOOOO. It has everything to do with me! He was with her at my worst! This really nice girl who I used to take the train back home with! And then when I was practically dying mentally and watching my parents split they decided to-”
“Alright alright. I get it” he says. We stay quiet for a minute.
“I spilled harmful bacteria on myself twice during lab. My professor had to throw out my notebook and all the other stuff I spilled on” I say. “Like what the fuck, this is my second time taking the class. And then I saw her. And then all these memories of me and him came back and- I got distracted”.
“So that’s why you’re good mood suddenly changed by Wednesday…” he says.
I think about it. “Yea. I had the best night of my life with you guys Saturday. And I don’t know I just…when lab came around and I saw her I just, I don’t know it’s stupid. It shouldn’t mean anything to me” I say.
He looks at me. “Well yea it shouldn’t! Priorities Shahz! You need to graduate this year and there’s no way in hell you can do that if you fail Microbio because you are distracted by her who reminds you of him!” he says.
I sigh. “I know I hate myself for this” I say.
“Hey. No that’s what I meant. I just know that you deserve better. And if you work hard without being distracted, you can go far away from here to a grad school without them” he says.
I open up my binder and continue calculating. He crosses his arms and continues to stare at me. Maybe 3 minutes go by. Sahd looks uncomfortable.
“Maybe you should text him” Mr. Photography dude says.
My eyebrows raise. What. Is he nuts. “Are you crazy? What would I say? That I’m sorry? I’m not. That it’s okay? It’s not. I will feel the way I want to feel and I will keep it to myself for as long as I want to. I owe my thoughts to no one. You know how I feel. And he knows how I feel (I gesture to Sahd). I make my emotions very clear. I’m not someone he can take his bad day out on. And news flash, if other women blamed him- I rest my freakin case. I am not the only one. Oh and hey, that’s the problem! I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE! For goodness sake. Don’t even bother telling me to text him. Just leave me be” I say.
They both stare at me in shock. Oh my goodness. These are all the things I should have said to “Prince Player”, not them. But it’s not like he would understand anyway 😦
I close my binder. “I’m sorry. I just have. The most hardest time letting go”
I say rubbing my temples because now I have a crazy migraine.
I place my head on the table. “It could be a house. It could be an animal. It could be a child I mentored at the YMCA. It could be a TV show. It could be a student. It could be you. It could be another friend. Seriously. It’s not just him. It’s everything” I say finally.
He nods. “And that’s what we all love about you. You’re there for us when no one else is. You care about everyone and everything” he says.
“Yea well. Now I need someone who will care for me” I say gathering up my things.
Thankfully, Sherry texts me saying it’s our turn to present.
“I gotta go” I say.
“Do yo thang habibti” Mr. Photography dude says. Sahd wishes me good luck.
“Don’t worry. I am not some psycho heartbroken bitch” I tell Sahd.
He laughs. “I know I have a little sister. She’s just like you. Her name means Princess too”.
I smile. I remember Rabiya. She is very beautiful, smart, and sweet like me.
“What would you tell her if she was in my spot?” I ask him.
“Don’t give up your throne for some guy that doesn’t see your worth” he says smiling.
My eyes well up. He’s right.
When I walk down the stairs, I remember “Prince Player”. A sweet person. I’m a sweet person too. But it’s like we constantly have to remind each other of how sweet we both are. Sigh. And it is time, to let myself go and relieve both of us from this competition.