Loving Lola- Ch. 43

Broken.

“Timothy, can you at least hide next time you want to spy on me?” Lola says as she enters her office. Timothy peeks his head around the corner, “oh, so you saw me huh?” Lola stops and looks at him, “well then, next time I’ll be a little more sneaky, but I don’t know how when the whole front of the gallery is made of glass,” he says throwing himself into the chair. Lola quietly places her things ono the floor next to her desk. “You didn’t look too happy leaving that tall dark and lovely piece of dove chocolate, I hope there isn’t any trouble in paradise,” he says side eyeing her. “Timothy, can you go get Stephanie so we can start setting up this display for the showcase please?” She says ignoring him, “fine, but we will have this conversation miss thang,” he says leaving her office. Lola slumps down into her chair, why did I even get upset… I should just call him and apologize. Lola takes out her phone and scrolls through her contacts for Eric’s number. She finds his name but pauses before pressing the call button. She places her head on her desk and locks her phone then starts to groan. Ms. Allard walks by and peers in at Lola, she smirks and shakes her head going into her office closing the door behind her. Alright, pull yourself together girl, you have a bomb ass display to create, you can self loathe later! Stephanie comes and knocks on the door, “um, Lola?” “Yes?” she answers with her head still placed on the desk, “we need your assistance on placing the Dorothy Lewrant…” Stephanie says bashfully. Lola lifts her head and pulls herself together, “okay, I’ll be right there,” she says putting on a smile. She puts her phone in the drawer and goes to meet Stephanie and Timothy on the floor.


­­­On her way back from lunch, Jhené decides to give Giselle a surprise visit at her office. When she arrives, she knocks on the door and doesn’t receive an answer. She tries to go inside, but the door is locked. She peers in the window and notices all the lights are off; I know this is her lunch time. Somewhat perplexed, she pulls out her phone and decides to call Giselle and see where she is. When the phone begins to ring, she hears a sound coming from her office, oh wow, this girl locked her phone in her office. As she starts to walk away, Giselle answers the phone.

“Hello?” “What the hell? Did you not hear me out here knocking on your door?!” Giselle takes a deep sigh, “yeah…” “Yeah?! What’s going on with you? You’ve been MIA all day. I wanted to go to lunch together, but they said you weren’t on the premises, where did you go?” “I went to go see Sam.” Jhené looks up and places her hand on her head, “can you please open the door, I don’t think this conversation should be had out in the open, plus I feel crazy talking to your door like this.”

Giselle hangs up and unlocks the door. “Smh really,” she says opening the door, “you didn’t want to open it or at least say something?” “Sorry…” Giselle says laying on her couch. “I don’t like this… what the hell happened with Sam?” “… He said he wasn’t going to tell Lola anything.” “So, you went down there to see if he was going to tell her what happened all those years ago?” “… I also went to apologize.” “Did you?” “Yes. But he didn’t accept it. He said it was a bullshit apology and he felt sorry for me, then asked me to leave.” Jhené stands there quietly for a moment then goes to sit down next to her. “…well that was harsh. Although you messed up their relationship and convinced Lola to stay here when you knew she was unhappy…” Giselle looks at her, “although you did those things, I’m really proud of you for trying to fix your mistakes. He may not be too happy with you right now, but I’m sure it’s mostly because he thought you would never own up to your actions, but I think he will come around eventually.” “And if he doesn’t?” Giselle asks softly, “then, that’s okay. Even if he never forgives you, that’s not something for you to burden. You took the most important step and apologized, but now you have to deal with whatever comes from that and accept the consequences of your actions.” Giselle rolls over and hugs Jhené, “thank you for loving me Jhené.”

Loving Lola- Ch. 22

Self Love.

“Lola, forget the men. Forget the relationships. Forget trying to be enough for everyone else, you need to be enough for you, you need to love yourself. Do you love yourself?” “Of course I do.” “Are you sure? Because the woman I see here does not seem like she deems herself worthy of love from anyone, especially herself.” “I’m not some frail flower who wants to off herself because men suck, I love me okay? This is just how I cope.” “I don’t believe that this is just a coping mechanism, and I don’t think you do either.” “Giselle, no offense, but you have no jurisdiction to tell me how I feel about myself. You don’t have to go through what I go through because EVERYONE loves you. You can have any man you want. I mean come on, you’re smart, and beautiful, and dad’s favorite. You are a natural born leader, people look up to you, they have always looked up to you; you’re flawless. So, I’m sorry if me not wanting to get hurt anymore comes off as having no self-worth, if anything, I think that means I love myself more than enough to not accept that shit any further.” “Flawless? Are you serious? Where have you been? My life is far from perfect. I must tell myself I am beautiful every day because if I don’t, I won’t ever hear it. Men may flock to me, but it is only because of my position of power. They just want to sleep with the face of the company, hoping that fucking the President will ensure a higher standing with our father. Nonetheless, even as the CEO’s daughter, I had to work my ass off to get to where I am. Since I am woman, a black woman at that, Corporate America is not kind to me. Yes, I am smart, but do not think anything was given to me. I fight hard as fuck to prove to OUR father that I am good enough to stay where I am. The shit yall see on the outside is just the brand. So, when I ask if you love yourself, it is not an assumption, because I know exactly what not having self-worth looks like. I have dealt with it my entire life. They have groomed me into being someone I had no choice to be. It is so easy for people to look at you and feel like your life is perfect because of a position you hold, or the amount of comma’s in your bank account. I am lonely as fuck too. I will not lie and say I don’t get depressed and I don’t question if I am enough for me, because this life is double edged sword. It is so easy to not feel worthless when everything is going well, and you are happy, but can you love yourself right now when you feel like shit? I will never tell you how you should feel, because I am not you, but I am telling you that those times when you don’t feel your greatest, you, Lola, are not less worthy of love then, than when you are happy.” Lola begins to cry, she grabs her sister and hugs her tight, “Giselle I am so sorry, I know that your life hasn’t been easy, you have always looked out for us and put our needs before yours. I’m sorry I’ve been so selfish! I left you to carry this burden on your own with no thought of how you must feel. You deserve to be happy every day, because you are smart, and amazing, and beautiful. Yes, I feel worthless most days, but you guys make me feel invincible when I’ve beaten myself down. I don’t care that these guys don’t see me, because I know yall do. I know I am worth loving, because even when I can’t find the love for myself, you and Jhené give it to me. I am a work in progress, and I am slowly finding myself, but it was always because of the love you guys gave me.”

Self-Love

I want you to burn that shit inside your mind. Put it on repeat, and then rewind.

It’s appreciating every piece of the bad; going into the future, and from the past.

Acknowledging that you may have some flaws and loving that shit just because.

Knowing your perfections are built in those and understanding that none of you can be disposed.

It’s more than saying it to get through the day but believing it every step of the way.

Realizing that YOU ARE good enough, especially when the smooth turns to rough.

It’s more than having confidence because self-love doesn’t create narcissists.

You are both important and competent; worth loving and are proud of it.

But mostly, it’s about forgiveness, really, being able to bear witness.

While loving everything you have to offer; the ugly, and the beautiful with no falter.

Loving Lola- Ch. 20

No More Hurt.

Knock, knock, knock, Giselle and Jhené have been outside waiting for Lola to open the door. “I don’t think she can hear us, that music is too loud.” Jhené says, “yeah, I’m just going to call her.” Giselle calls Lola, interrupting her music. She runs to the phone and disconnects it from the loudspeaker. “Hello?” “Can you open the door please? We’ve been out here knocking for at least 7 minutes now.” “What? I didn’t even hear anything.” “WE KNOW!” “My bad, here I come.” Click. Lola rushes to the door to let them in. “I’m so sorry, I was cleaning the house, and yall know how I get when I’m in my zone.” “Well it definitely smells better in here,” Giselle comments. “Gee, thanks. So, what’s up?” “Well we came over because we wanted to hear all about your date last night,” “yeah, seeing how you haven’t answered any of our phone calls or responded to any of our texts” Jhené says rolling her eyes. “Oh, I’m sorry yall, I just really needed to clean my house.” Lola says picking up trash. Giselle and Jhené look at each other. “So instead of calling us back assuring your safety, you decided to clean up? What’s up, is everything okay?” “Yeah, everything is fine. Yall seen how this place was, a deep cleaning was well overdue.” “You know you can tell us anything right?” “There’s nothing to tell, I’m fine.”

There is a brief moment of silence. “So, the date? Did it go well?” asks Jhené. “Actually yes. He took me to possibly one of the most beautiful restaurants that I’ve ever seen. It sat on the side of the mountain, and had this amazing garden, which we walked through before dinner. Once we sat down to eat, we laughed and had very enticing conversation the whole time, and then we ended the night off with a walk along this trail that ran up the side of the mountain.” “Oh, that sounds really nice,” says Giselle “Yeah, it was. I’m still surprised he got me to walk on a trail at night.” Lola chuckles. “So, what’s the problem?” “Problem? There. Is. No. Problem.” Lola says scrubbing her bathtub profusely. “Lola stop, tell us what happened?” Giselle says. Lola doesn’t say anything and keeps scrubbing. “Did something happen?” Jhené asks concerned. She stops and puts her head down, “No, I’m just tired that’s all. He didn’t do anything so don’t worry, he’s a nice guy.” “So then what’s wrong?” Lola takes a deep sigh, “he said some things that I cannot escape from, and he’s right.” “What did he say?” “Nothing that I didn’t already know.” “Well can you help us understand?” “…The night he met us, he said that even through my smile he could see I wasn’t truly happy, and that’s fine because I wasn’t really trying to hide the fact that I wasn’t too happy about being out, but then he started saying things… saying the truth, and it killed me to know that someone outside of you guys saw through me that easily.

I am trying to forget the past. I am trying to forget the hurt. I am trying to accept the harsh reality that, I may never be enough for anyone; I will always be good, but never good enough. People don’t understand how hard that pill is to swallow, but I drink my water every day to get it down. You think I like pasting this smile on face? You think I enjoy feeling empty inside after believing that maybe, just maybe this guy, or the last guy actually meant what they said when they told me “I want you”, or that “you’re beautiful”, or my favorite, “I love you”? Because I don’t. I try to see the action behind the words, and when I don’t, I don’t hold on for some miraculous day where they’ll wake up and see how great I really am, I let go like how I’m supposed to. But to sit here and say that there isn’t a piece of me that is chipped away after every failed encounter, would be the biggest lie of them all. I wish all of these repressed feelings never existed, but even when I try and fix it, I realize it’s too late, because sadly, the damage is too great. Yet, when I tell myself, you’ve been here before, for some odd reason I can’t think straight, but then it all hits me, these men… they were only bodies of hard shells filled with nothing but empty space. So, Eric may be a great guy, who is a genuine person that truly believes I deserve to simply smile… but I refuse to get my hopes up and be let down once again.”

Loving Lola- Ch. 18

I’m Sorry…

Lola stands there quietly. “Look, Lola I didn’t mean to overstep any boundaries, I just really like you and I wanted you to know that you don’t have to hide anything from me.” She looks at him with a straight face, “you’re right, you don’t know me. Excuse me.” Lola starts to head back to the cars, “wait, where are you going?” He says grabbing her hand. “Home.” “What? But I thought we were having a good time?” Lola looks away, “maybe this all happened too quickly… Thank you for an amazing evening, good night Eric.” She turns and walks away. Eric stands there upset and confused as he watches Lola as she disappears from the trail. Lola makes it back to her car, unlocks the door and sits there for a moment. She looks up to ceiling and lets out a big sigh, then cranks up her car and drives away. Once she arrives home, she throws her purse on the bed and kicks off her shoes. She removes her dress and puts on a big t-shirt then makes her way to the bathroom. She begins washing the makeup off her face and then stops, she stares at herself in the mirror, “I could clearly see your sadness no matter how you tried to hide it.” She plays back the words Eric spoke to her in her head. She splashes her face with water and looks down into the sink, ding, ding, she hears her phone going off in the room then looks up at herself once more. She dries her face, cuts off the light, and the leaves the bathroom. Ding, ding, her phone goes off again, but she ignores it. She climbs into bed, turns off the light, and closes her eyes.

The next morning, Lola wakes up to 4 missed calls and 17 unread text messages, 15 of which from her sisters. However, sees two messages from Eric and clicks to open them, “Hey, I’m not sure what happened but I just want to apologize. I know sometimes I speak without thinking, but I never intended to make you feel like I knew anything about you, if anything, I’d hope you let me get to know you in time, and I hope I did not mess up my chances to do that.” “Anyway, I had an amazing time with you tonight, I hope this isn’t our last encounter, but if it is, I understand. You are truly a beautiful woman, inside and out and you deserve someone who will never let you go a day thinking otherwise. Have a good night Lola.” Her eyes begin to water but she quickly pulls herself together, WORDS, WORDS, ALL OF THESE FUCKING WORDS! I am so tired of the “you deserve” “you’re so perfect” “you’re so beautiful” because… Regardless of how amazingly beautiful, and perfect I am, I will still never be enough. Goodbye Eric. She drops her phone on the bed, goes into the bathroom, and shuts the door.

“Have you heard from Lola?” asks Giselle. “No, she hasn’t responded to any of my calls or texts.” “Yeah, she hasn’t responded to the group chat either. You think the date went well?” “Knowing her, anything could have happened; I just hope she’s okay.” “She’s alright, if anything she’s probably still asleep, you know she doesn’t get up till about one in the afternoon, and that’s on a good day. Don’t worry, she’s a big girl, she’ll tell us about it when she’s ready.”

Eric rolls over and checks his phone, no new messages. He puts his phone down and wipes his face then gets out of bed making his way to the bathroom. He turns on the shower then begins removing his clothes. He walks over by the sink and grabs his rag and towel then proceeds to get in the shower. Ring, ring, ring. Before he is fully submerged in the water, he hears his phone going off in the room. He quickly runs to the bedroom and checks the phone to see who is calling. Disappointed, he sees that it is Justin. “Hello?” “Yo E! What’s up? How was the date?” “Justin I can’t talk right now; I’ll call you back later.” “Huh? You ight man?” “Yeah, I’m gone hit you back later alright?” “Ight then, hit me back.” Click. Eric lets out a big sigh, tosses his phone on the bed then goes into the bathroom and shuts the door behind him.

Loving Lola- Ch. 17

The Night is Still Young.

Lola eagerly looks at Eric while he assesses his plate. “Stop acting like it doesn’t look good and just taste it!” “Alright, alright.” Eric scoops a fork full of the medley and takes a bite. Lola, still watching him, cannot contain her excitement. “So, what do you think?” Eric still chewing, does not say a word. “Do you hate it?” He takes a sip of his wine and looks at Lola with a straight face, “that’s amazing.” Lola sighs and starts to laugh, “You are so dramatic!” “I had to make sure you were all in, I just couldn’t give it to you.” “Hahaha, well I’m glad you like it.” “What about you? Have you tasted your dish yet?” “After I saw that it was pasta, I was sold.” They finish their meals with endearing conversation and laughs. The waitress offers a dessert, but they both decline. She collects the check from the table, then returns with their receipt and Eric’s card. The two get up from the table and see their way out.

“That was amazing! The food, the atmosphere, the garden, everything was lovely. Thank you so much for inviting me out tonight.” “No, thank you accepting my invitation.” “Of course.” She says looking at him. “Well, it’s only 9 and I’m not quite ready to say goodnight yet, would you care to take a walk on the trail with me?” “Yes, I’d like that. But, let me do something really quick.” Lola walks to her car and grabs a pair of shoes from the back. She takes off her heels, places them on the floor in the backseat, puts on a pair of sandals then meets Eric back at his car. “So, do you normally keep an extra pair of shoes in your car?” both looking down at her shoes, “Yes actually, I do,” she says laughing. “Mhm, okay. Are you ready?” They leave their cars in the parking lot and proceed to walk the trail running up the mountain alongside the restaurant.

“This was a great idea. Its crazy how this restaurant is not only built on a mountain, but also has a trail connected to it. Thank goodness its well-lit, because otherwise this would have been a hard hell no for me.” “Hahaha, why a hard hell no?” “I already don’t do outside, let alone outside at night, but a non-lit walk outside at night on a trail up a mountain? Yeah no, I will be the only black survivor in this film because your girl is not setting herself up like that.” “Hahaha, wow, you really believe I’d do you like that?” “I don’t know, I was taught to not put anything past anyone.” “Wow, that hurts.” “Hahaha, I’m just saying. Some people have ill intentions, so you have to stay on your toes.” She says looking around at the trees. Eric stops, and slightly grabs her arm, “do you believe I have ill intentions?” “Honestly, I don’t know. I want to say no, because you seem like a nice guy, but I’ve met my share of nice guys who turned out to be not so nice.” “I understand.” “Yeah, but that’s all in the past, things happen, wounds heal, and we keep it pushing.” She says with a smile. “You don’t have to do that you know,” “Hm, do what?” “Act like everything is okay. You have a beautiful smile, but it looks even more beautiful when you’re not trying to hide your pain. We all experience things that causes us pain, whether it be from a person or a situation either in or out of our control, but the more you try and keep that inside and act like it doesn’t matter, the more it will consume the real you. The first time I saw you, I was captivated by you, but when I saw you up close, I could clearly see your sadness no matter how you tried to hide it. I don’t know what you went through, but I could tell that it was still weighing heavy on your mind. I know words probably don’t mean that much to you, and you’ve probably heard a lot of different things in the past, but my intentions will never be to cause you pain. You don’t know me, and I don’t know you, but I hope that you see that I mean everything I say. I was taught in order to give your words some meaning, you must back them up with action, and that is something I live by every day.”

Loving Lola- Ch. 16

The Date: Dinner.

“Ah hello, reservation for two, your table is ready; would you like a table inside or outside?” the host asks. Lola and Eric look at each other and agrees to sit outside. “Fabulous choice, right this way.” The host leads them to a table in the back-left corner of the patio. “This is beautiful!” Lola exclaims. The patio is covered in dangling white lights, strum around the rooftop and all the tables. The tabletops are glass, designed with a dried liquid covering filled with all the different types of petals from the flowers in the garden. The host places the menus on the table and tells them their waiter will be with them shortly. “I tried to find a restaurant that wasn’t too flashy, I hope this is okay.” “Are you kidding? This place is beautiful. Not as casual as I was thinking, but not completely upscale either, its perfect.” She says with a big smile. “So, because this is both of our first times here, I have an idea,” “okay, what’s your idea?” Eric asks. “I think it’ll be fun if we chose each other’s dinners.” Eric laughs, “um, I don’t know about that one.” “Come on, haha, I have great taste.” “I’m not doubting that at all,” “oh, you’re a picky eater huh?” “I’m not going to say that… I just don’t eat everything.” “Haha, okay how about this, we briefly tell one another what we like and choose something that best fits that criteria.” Eric looks at her hesitantly. Lola pokes out her lips and bats her eyes, “I won’t steer you wrong, I promise.” Eric lets out a big sigh, “fine, I’ll give it a try.” “Aw yay! You won’t be sorry.” Before looking at the menu, they tell each other in little detail some of their favorite dishes and foods. “Can I pick out my own drink at least?” Eric asks. “Haha, yes you can.”

The waiter arrives at the table with a bread, cheese, and meat platter. “Good evening, my name is Ronka and I’ll be taking care of you tonight. May I start you off with one of our specialty wines to drink?” “I love wine, would you happen to have Dazzling Moonlight? It’s a sweet red wine,” “I can check and see, one moment.” “I didn’t peg you as a wine drinker.” Eric says eating a piece of cheese. “What? I love wine. I’d drink that before anything else.” “I don’t know, by the way you were throwing back those shots last night you could have fooled me,” “Haha ugh stop! I usually don’t drink like that, especially shots. My sisters are terrible influences, but they were just trying to make me feel better.” “Oh yeah, because alcohol poisoning is a great picker upper.” “Haha oh wow, I’m feeling a lot of judgment right now, Mr. double shot of Hennessey.” “Oh, okay, but that’s nothing compared to the five rounds of tequila yall had.” “Hmm, how did you know we had five rounds of shots? Were you watching us the whole night Eric?” Lola says teasing him. “What? No, I just-” He is interrupted by the waitress, “so, we do have the Dazzling Moonlight sweet red, would you like a 2oz, 4oz, or 6oz glass?” “I’ll take the 6oz please.” “And for you sir? The 2oz, 4oz or 6oz?” “I’ll try the 4oz.” “Okay, I’ll bring those out right away.”

“Okay, I am officially starving” Lola says. “Good, I think the meal I picked for you should fill you up nicely.” “Oh lord, now I’m scared.” “Haha, oh wow, you don’t trust me?” He says with a chuckle. Lola looks at Eric silently, “I’m starting to.” They both smile looking at each other. The waitress returns with their drinks and proceeds to take their orders. To keep their dinners a secret, they each whisper the meal choices to the waitress. She abides by the rules of their dinner selections and puts their orders in right away. “You picked a good wine. I’m not really one to drink wine, especially sweet ones, but this is actually pretty good.” “I told you I had good taste; its literally my job to pick out things I believe people will like, and I’m pretty kick ass if you ask me.” “Oh, pick things like what?” “Art pieces. Paintings, sculptures, etc. I’m actually a curator for the gallery downtown.” “Really? That’s amazing. Do you hand pick all of the pieces there?” “No, not all, but many of them there were chosen by me.” “Wow, you must have a great eye, people are always going to that gallery. Was this something you’ve always wanted to do?” Lola looks down at her glass and doesn’t say anything. Before she begins to speak, the waitress returns with their meals.

Loving Lola – Ch. 1

Lola.

Lola sucked at love. She sucked at just about anything emotional. Smart? Hell yea. Beautiful? You better know it. Bout her shit? Always. But her heart…? That thing has broken in so many ways it’s hard to believe it’s still pumping blood to that powerhouse she calls a body. Like every woman, she’s been through her fair share of shit, but she took it all like a champ. Of course, there were those days where black eyeliner flowed like the dead sea and cookies and cream ice cream were her only companions for the weekend; but she always managed to put her big girl panties on and continue being her greatest self. You know why? Because heartbreak was her second language. She was fluent in disappoint, eloquent in betrayal, and she mastered the art of fuckery. She spoke that shit with such proficiency, it was a shame she couldn’t put it on her resume. That was Lola for you, cornbread fed, with a humble spirit. The best type of woman for any guy to have on his arm… for the night. Always the homie, never the wife. That, “oh you’re so perfect, but the time isn’t right”. Yea, Lola was that type. It was hard to break her spirit though; she had a childlike wonder to her. She wasn’t the most outgoing, but she knew when to assert herself. Never wanted the attention, but somehow always got it, and she never abused it. People just enjoyed being around her simply because she was genuine. Friends were never hard to come by, well acquaintances really. Her mantra was, “we don’t trust these people”, but for good reason; that title had to be earned. Nonetheless, she never let the fakers and the flaw change her. She held onto hope like it was her last breath. Even with the constant disappointment’s, she believed in her heart of hearts that she was destined for a fairytale kind of love. Little did she know, her story was about to begin.

Self Love

I want you to burn that shit inside your mind.

Put it on repeat, and then rewind.

It’s appreciating every piece of the bad;

Going into the future, and from the past.

Acknowledging that you may have some flaws,

And loving that shit just because.

Knowing your perfections are built in those,

And understanding that none of you can be disposed.

It’s more than saying it to get through the day,

But believing it every step of the way.

Realizing that YOU ARE good enough,

Especially when the smooth turns to rough.

It’s more than having confidence,

Because self love doesn’t create narcissists.

You are both important and competent,

Worth loving, and is proud of it.

But mostly, it’s about forgiveness.

Really, being able to bear witness.

And loving everything you have to offer;

The ugly, and the beautiful with no falter.

– S.T.

Reflection

Who is there when all you hear, “time” is what you need? Or the one to just fill up the void when time isn’t up to speed?

When sadness is the only feeling that you’ve ever known, since feelings of entrapment happens when you are alone.

Who sees the real you when there is no one else? Or can see the hurt inside your eyes from all the pain that’s left?

When feelings of self doubt, of self pity, or self hate, arises and you try to change then feel its just too late.

The only person who truly knows exactly what to do, is the person you’d seek last for help, and sadly it is you.

No one else can lift the sadness trapped inside your heart, YOU must look deep down inside and find out where to start.

Look yourself straight in the eyes and be freed from this defeat, and then you will forever be, whole, happy, and complete.

S.T.