2 – Hindsight is Always 20/20 (Ayanna)

Once I fall in love with a guy, I’m all in. Well, at least now I am. I’ve had a few good men in my life but I wasn’t mature enough, at the time, to appreciate what they were offering me. Now, for some reason, the Gods believe that I should suffer for the mistakes I’ve made in the past. Well, maybe suffer is too strong of a word, but I am learning what it’s like in the deeper end of the pool.

You always hear people talk about the one that got away. Caleb was mine. He was simply a good man to me. When I look back on it now, I really screwed that up. I shudder at the memories of what took place and how I managed to royally ruin the relationship.

I met the love of my life at a male revue in The Bronx. It was the dead of winter. Zyara wasn’t really into those types of events so I was surprised when she agreed to come along. Zyara thought it would be fun to take her friend Elizabeth, a tall beauty from St. Lucia, along with us. The joke was Elizabeth had never experienced anything like a male revue before so this was going to be a night full of laughs.

We rode the 4 train to 167th St. The New Savoy Nightclub wouldn’t be a long walk from the station so we all agreed to make the trek. We arrived at the venue, presented our tickets and were ushered inside. After securing our coats at the coat check, we made our way to the main room for the event. It was the typical nightclub scene except the majority of the men were naked and the women were in rare form. These women were wilding out! The music was blaring and you could see all the women crowding around the male dancers as they gyrated and humped their asses for dollar bills. It had to be the funniest thing to see. The big girls are usually always up front and center so of course the dancers would perform the standard dry hump sex routine on the largest woman they could find in the audience. This routine always included a towel and whipped cream.

Once the main strippers performed, the after party began. The after party was a more relaxed setting where the strippers would walk around and dance with the women or “dick whip” you for a few dollars. I’m cheap. I already knew I wasn’t spending more than twenty dollars on a stripper so that dude would really have to show me what’s good. The after party also allowed regular men to enter the club.

Zyara and I made our way to the bar to get drinks, leaving Elizabeth behind to hold our spot in the corner. On our way to the bar, I noticed Caleb. He was medium height, about 5’10’ – 5’11’ and all dark brown and handsome. He had a fresh baldie and a gap in his teeth. He was dressed in classic hood wear – fresh construction Timbs, dark blue jeans, and a black Polo sweater. Once I saw him, I knew I had to have him. We returned to our corner with the drinks and I told Zyara that I needed to know who that guy was. Zyara told me to simply walk over to him and ask him what’s up. Really? Who does that? Once she saw that I wouldn’t stop talking about him, Zyara hastily walked over to him on some high school bullshit and told him I wanted to talk to him. I was annoyed that she did that but I wasn’t mad. Caleb and I talked and danced the whole night. All I remember thinking was, I can be with this man forever.

Since the girls and I agreed that we came together and were leaving together, I couldn’t go home with Caleb. We exchanged phone numbers and agreed to meet up the following day, which we did. We had sex on the second night and ended up in a relationship that lasted five years. During that five years, Caleb, my daughter and I lived together in his Harlem apartment. Caleb loved my daughter Gabrielle as if she were his own. The problem was I was 22 and wanted to have my cake and eat it too. I mean, there were times when I was in relationship mode. And when the relationship got boring, I did my own thing.

There was one New Year’s Eve when Caleb and I got into it really bad. Over what, I can’t remember. When he left for work New Year’s Eve morning, I packed an overnight bag for Gabrielle and I, and stayed over my friend Derren’s house in New Jersey. Derren was a guy I met online but we hit it off so well that he became one of my best friends. I brought in the New Year with Derren and his friends. I came back home to find Caleb outside waiting for me.

He didn’t hit me but I knew he would get me back. Don’t ask me what the hell I was thinking then. I was just stupid. Caleb wanted to have a family and get married. That was all he wanted. I was worried about being locked down with marriage. I was too stubborn to see what he was trying to do. He wanted to show me he wasn’t like the other guys out there. He wanted more from life and wanted me to be a part of it. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that until about five years after we broke up.

After we broke up, we remained as friends. I’ve tried to reach out to him but he won’t bite. He confessed once that he was vulnerable when we were together and he learned an important lesson. Never again would he let another woman get him in that way. I want Caleb to understand and believe that I have matured. I’ve grown up. I’ve made some mistakes in the past but I know what I did wrong. The key is to learn from your mistakes and use that experience to make better decisions in the future right? If that is the case, why do I keep meeting losers? I haven’t had a real relationship since Caleb and I know that if the guy of my dreams gives me the chance, I can prove that I am matured. I am capable of making someone happy. All I need is that one real chance.

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