True Story© Sweet Beautiful Silence

     Silence is golden.
Duct tape is silver, and therefore the only known way to turn silver into gold, but that is another story for another time.

     I don’t argue, I don’t yell or get hostile or my ass all on my shoulders in needless stupid confrontation.  Not that I lack either the words or necessary hand skills to handle such things, they’re just not my thing.  I will act in defense of self or anyone I have tasked myself with defending, but I am otherwise quiet and as unassuming as anyone with my sneakers, wristwatch and tattoos can expect to be seen as.  That said, people expect more noise out of me than they ever actually get.  Well to be honest, more than they ever actually really want.

Unrelated to the above is a little story that I have never even told anyone I have dated since it happened.
Pack a lunch, this one is going long.
The year is 2005 (2006 maybe?).  I met this girl who will not be named on this page.  She approached me, later telling me that it was because she thought I was funny and articulate with the added bonus that I smelled good.  I was receptive because she was pretty and had tig ol bitties (stop judging me, I like what I like).
Anyway, we exchanged numbers and frequent text messages and the occasional phonecall and that eventually led to us beginning to hang out, like in person.  Usually in public spaces or at her place because at the time my mother and I were splitting a house (which, by the way is not the same thing as “living with your mother”) and she was wary about actually meeting my mother.
[Phlip note: red flags, sometimes I still need to learn to read them]

We hung out, we went out on dates when our work/family schedules allowed it, we generally enjoyed each other’s companies.

Or so I thought…
A few years older than me (26-27ish at the time), her biological clock was a ticking timebomb and she was not only entertaining me, but damn near anyone who showed or returned interest in her at the time.  Despite being a mid-sized city by US standards, this town ain’t but so big and accounts began to get compared.

Person A:  “I hear Phlip been hanging out with […]”
Person B: “yeah, I heard that too, seen them together at [location]”
Person C: “Sheeit, she told [friend] that he been to her place before!”
A: “uh oh”
C: “what?”
B: “that means he probably cooked”
C: “what?  SO?!”
Person D: “Phlip ain’t waiting around for long”
B: “Huh--…  oooooooooohhhhhh…”

Man, I swear these grown ass men gossip like women in a fucking sewing circle.
The conversation above and whatever the circumstances of the interaction between she and I at the time were as similar as they were VASTLY different…

Yes, we had been out a few times after dark.
Yes, I had been to her place.
Yes, at least two of those times I cooked.
Yes, those two times and a couple others, I wound up not leaving until LONG after hours where the only things open are legs and hospitals (and maybe Waffle House).

… but NONE of that shit was any of their business!

     Back to the task at hand.  She was entertaining other male suitors and behaving like a bachelorette and for that I couldn’t judge her, since I had made no moves to stake a personal claim on exclusivity at the time.
Her other suitors, on the other hand, were not so mature about being pawns in her little game and I'll discuss that soon enough.
OH, HER GAME!!!  Basically, she would hang out with and date a few guys, some from her past trying to make right with her present and make it to future, some from her present trying to make it to her future and ALL making their best play to get into her bed ASAPpedly.  The plan was basically, I guess, an interview process of sorts to decide which of her suitors would be the one most worth marrying and then let the others fall aside.

One time while in her place, I saw a couple of bills on the kitchen table in a man’s – one of her exes that had been mentioned before, but had never lived in this apartment.
None of my business, maybe they lived together before and he was sucker enough to just transfer it here in his name so she wouldn’t have to pay a deposit to move the service.  As the sewing circle above continued to yap their lips about EVERYTHING and I continued to say nothing to anyone but my brother and my best friend, word comes back me that dude is not only paying those bills, but also carrying a car payment or two from time to time as well.
I don’t exactly TRUST the grapevine, but I believe evidence ahead of me and this seems to make sense, knowing that she mentions speaking with him and him still being cool with her family or some such shit.

Oh, back to the other suitors.  One of them decides that I am the threat due to reputation in common circles and is throwing my name around to HER and various other places.  I tell her I ain’t worried, she tells me I shouldn’t worry because she is growing weary with his aggressive courting nature and “homies over hoes” approach to dating (he literally insisted one of his homeboys be third wheel one time, apparently).
Whatever, I know enough about her ways that I would NEVER marry her and that I should make sure not to leave any mistakes that might tie me to her longer than I might need to be.  I chilled on conversation more than casual and left her to her other dudes to eventually get herself a ring and a kid.
He wasn’t giving up so easily though.
Weeks, probably MONTHS after I had even seen her in person, my name is still in his mouth.  So much so that she basically told him that she’d had enough of his shit and cut him off.

I get blamed.
Now he wants to fight.
FIGHT, y’all!
Over a woman whose time I had since decided to stop wasting.

Fuck that, I don’t have time for this shit…
He takes to hanging out at her apartment to confront me, following her to see if she is meeting with me, querying people who know me for where I hang.
Basically running around in the streets like Omar Little throwing shit on my name to anyone who might bring it back to me for me to respond.
But I know my truths, and will let the world think what they will.

Then one day an uninvolved (and erstwhile unknowingly) mutual friend closes on her house and has a housewarming.
I pull up, he’s on the porch.  I speak to everyone cordially including him.

No, he wants to talk about it.  I was eleven different kinds each of motherfuckers, faggots and n-words all out in this woman’s yard this afternoon right in front of her new white neighbors.
“If you don’t wanna start fighting, don’t stop talking,” but umm…  I didn’t have shit to say!  He stopped yelling, I walked off.  He’s to leave and gets MORE mad, to the point a couple of her family members got involved.  He pushes past them and gets right up on me.

I still won’t respond.
I notice the less I respond, the madder he gets.  Apparently not giving someone in this position what they want is akin to throwing kerosene on a fire.  I am letting this idiot melt down and I don't need to speak a word.  I don't need to, I have no reason to be mad at him and my silence actually turns his misplaced anger into his own worst enemy.
But I ain’t stupid, I am watching his hands.  He balls up his left and telegraphs what would have been a first punch.
… would have been.

I slapped him in his unprotected face with my left, buying me just the time needed to punch with my right, just the way my granddaddy taught me.  Right on the forehead, he went right down.  In a proper fight, I might have stomped him out to finish it, but I was not about to be the one to ruin this woman’s shindig.

Neighbors had already called the cops, who arrived just as he was being dragged to his car to GTFO.  Partygoers gave statements, I answered a couple questions and was allowed to go about my business.
Asked later on what had even CAUSED the situation, I explained and finished with “the shit he was talking, I could have shot him.”
[Note: adding insult to injury, she wound up moving in with and marrying the bills dude from up there]

     Never spoke another word of it.  My support network would have been looking for it, but what for?  I handled it.


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