“What if we lived here together” is what I wanted to ask kinda loudly over the Roberta Flack playing at the end of Waiting To Exhale. I sat quietly, facing David Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day, wondering if now was a good time to read it. I want to speak to her about coming into this space. She’s already occupying so much of my time. So much of everything that pulses hard. Starting a book now isn’t the smartest idea. Asking her to bring her books to my bookshelf is important. It’s worth throwing away that extra copy of Shel Silverstein’s Where The Sidewalk Ends, making Post-Blackness, The Browder Files, and the magazines Niema gave me vertical. There’s space here. There’s a man here who believes children could run through the house dirtying up everything as long as they know how to clean. And she’s smiling, believing the four women she’s watching ended on a happy note. I don’t have the guts to tell her about what Johnny said was going to happen in part two.
“I,” I start, and she turns to look at my lips moving, rehearsing for some grand proposal. “I think it’d be good idea if you brought a few books over and left them on my shelf.” I’m a writer, and this is as good as it gets. She didn’t need a ring, just the ability to borrow a bookmark whenever she needed, or unwritten or unspoken permission to take my copy of Cecil Brown’s The Life and Loves of Mr. Jiveass Nigger with the original cover. “You gonna clear off space for me? What about the bedroom,” asked liked a woman who learned from a mother who probably loved men who spoke in circles. “There’s space there too,” I said, being a man who hates squares.