In ‘Da Man Dem‘ Troy, Justin and Martin came together for dinner and a catch up. . .
Justin was sitting on the floor of my flat in his usual crossed legged yoga pose.
He was wearing his Lauryn Hill t-shirt, and listening to some old skool Ms Dynamite through his head phones. I knew it was Ms Dynamite because when he arrived (forty minutes late) and we hugged, I could hear ‘Dy-Na-Mi-Te-E’, up loud.
Martin arrived on the dot, and was helping himself to another plate of joloff rice. He’d brought some ribs from the Chinese downstairs, and said we could have them later.
While I was pouring coffee (there would be no alcohol tonight) I remembered how at school we used to call ourselves ‘Charlie’s Angels’. Whenever we were out clubbing, we’d hit the dance floor doing the Angels’ pose. We’d all fallen in love with the Drew Barrymore film, and the Destiny’s Child anthem.
Then Martin, being Martin, did his research, and bought the original 70’s boxset on DVD. “Everything is recycled” he would say.
We were transfixed by the tacky glamour of the show, and Martin became Farrah Fawcett, because he was light skinned. I was Jacklyn Smith, because I was dark skinned. And Justin would be vex at having to be Kate Jackson, the lesbo one.
“A toast to my two oldest friends”
“With coffee? And we’re not old, bitch!” said Justin
“We’re still in our prime, and don’t you forget” said Martin
“A toast to my dear friends” I continued “I want to thank you both for the years of friendship, and to let you know that I love you”
“Group hug, bring it in” said Martin.
They both kissed me, and Justin grabbed my arse, which was just like him to spoil a moment.
“So what’s the script” he said, “What’s this meeting about?”
“Do I need a reason to see my sisters?”
“I thought you said you had stuff you wanted to discuss?”
“Is this about Alex?” asked Martin casually.
Typical Martin, and his laser beam precision! He could cut to the heart of any situation without anaesthetic.
“Who mentioned Alex?” I tried to keep my voice steady when I said it. Because Martin was looking at me with that look I’d seen him use when he was eyeing a computer that wasn’t working properly.
“I haven’t seen Alex in years” I stuttered. It was a lie. To make sure they didn’t detect it, I turned away and grabbed a cassava pattie.
Anyway, Justin’s got news, has he told you about Pietro? I smirked at my nifty move; switching the attention from me, to Justin.
“New man?” said Martin “Why am I the last to know?”
“Because there’s nothing to tell…. yet!” said Justin. He was doing the splits, and using his arms to stretch from side to side.
“Pietro is still in my pending file” Suddenly he stopped stretching, his eyes lit up, and he launched into the Pietro story. I had already heard it, chapter and verse, so I turned my thoughts to Alex.
My heart knew that this would be the time to tell them that I wasn’t over Alex. But how could I confess such a thing when it had been so long since we ended? If I started, I would have to tell them everything; that was our rule when it came to da men dem.
But something in me couldn’t! I couldn’t take the shame of telling them that I checked Alex’s Facebook every day. Or that I would call him from a phone box, just to hear his voice, then hang up. Or that I stayed in touch with his sister Ebony, just to stay in touch with his life. Or that I would often hang around his work at lunch times to glimpse him, from a distance.
No, I couldn’t tell them, they’d think I was mad or sick or both.
“So what do you make of this Pietro business?”
It took me a while to realise that Martin was asking me a question.
“If I had a pound for every guy Justin lusted over I’d be a millionaire, and living in…….” I stopped myself. I was going to say Barbados because that’s where Alex and I said we’d emigrate to; and open a bar on the beach.
“Living in hate and jealousy?” said Justin “I can’t help it if I’ve got my drives and juices!”
“Is Pietro the type you could settle down with?” It came out harsher than I meant it. Justin pulled a face “Exactly! Isn’t it time we started to settle down?” I demanded
Justin looked at Martin, and Martin looked at Justin. I felt I’d said too much, and almost blown my cover. “What’s going on with you? Said Martin “I started to feel hot, and flustered. The words raced out of my mouth. “Let’s go to ‘Da Klub’ in Vauxhall, this Saturday? We’ll never meet people if we don’t go out?”
For once, I wasn’t thinking about them. I knew that if I didn’t make a genuine effort to get over Alex, I’d go bat shit crazy.