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Runaway Love Part III

Part III

I made it into Americus and instinctually I almost turned off highway 49 to go to my sister’s house. But I couldn’t, not when we weren’t on speaking terms. She was so dry with me that I just avoided talking to her altogether. I think she’d be proud of how long I stayed in Tennessee and that I had no intention of leaving until Tay decided to flip out on me. The fact that I was on the run yet again frustrated me. I drove past her house and went to the Hampton Inn. This would give me a chance to come up with a plan of action.

I got checked in, showered, and after the events of the day and the long drive, I was drained. Before going to sleep, I made sure to block Tay’s number.

I woke up the next morning with inbox messages and messenger calls from Tay. I completely forgot to block him on social media. I refused to call him back and I didn’t read all of his messages. The last one was enough to freak me out all over again.

Tay’Yon Stevens: Yo! I ain’t gonna keep playing with you. You played with me for months and you think that shit is gonna fly? Nah…bitches get fucked up for much less. Unblock me and answer the got damn phone!

I have never been scared of anyone’s words before. I have never been threatened by keyboard warriors.

Until right now.

I wanted to block him. That’s what I should have done. But instead, I tapped on the phone icon to call him.

If I kept blocking him, I could just make him more irate. I needed to try to reason with him to calm him down.

“Why the fuck are you playing with me, Saige?” Tay answered the call foregoing a greeting.

“Tay,” I exhaled, “can you please calm down? We can’t have a conversation like this.”

“The only conversation we need to have is why you were fucking with me.”

“This doesn’t have to be an argument,” I explained. “We want different things. And if I led you on, I apologize. I am truly sorry. I thought we were on the same page about what we wanted.”

I hope I spoke with enough sincerity to calm him down so we could end on better terms. He could still be upset with me; he just didn’t have to threaten me or call me names. He didn’t have to agree or understand, but he did have to respect what I wanted.

“I just don’t get why you’d prefer a life of moving every few months instead of letting me take care of you,” Tay sulked. He didn’t buy my reasoning, but at least he was calm.

“I don’t need to be taken care of. And I’m not the relationship type. I just want to be free, to come and go as I please.” I was being brutally honest and that could tip him off, but I wasn’t going to lie to him to appease him. I was 250 miles away from him, so being this honest didn’t invoke the fear it did yesterday when he could get his hands on me.

“It’s because you are scared. I can show you why those other niggas couldn’t keep you around.”

“Tay…it’s not-“

“Nah, hear me out,” he interrupted. His voice dropped to a level of sincerity that I was not expecting. “You don’t have to be stuck in that bullshit with your mom. Let me take care of you and you will forget all about that.”

He was so confident, I think he believed him. I, on the other hand, did not. And I regretted opening up to him about that part of my life. I wasn’t sure why he thought paying bills and having children of my own would make me forget about my mama and Carlene. His logic made no sense.

“Tay for the millionth time, I do not need you to take care of me!”

“That’s what’s wrong with women today. Ya’ll are too damn independent. Learn how to humble yourselves and be submissive and the right man will-“

“You’re not listening to me,” I interjected shaking my head. “I don’t need to be saved. I am not looking for a man to take care of me. I am not looking for a relationship. I’ve been holding me down for years and I’ve been doing just fine. I think the problem with too many men is that they want to come in with these archaic stereotypes that the man is the head of the house and what he says goes. If I wanted a relationship, I’d never be with anyone like that. I need a partner, not someone who believes his gender grants him authority.”

Just because I didn’t do relationships didn’t mean I didn’t envision what a happy, healthy relationship would look like for me. The problem is, I didn’t think the man of my thoughts existed outside of my brain. Tay came pretty close, but now he was ruining it for me.

“I was raised to be a provider and that’s exactly what I would do for you. I would provide everything you needed; you wouldn’t want for a damn thing.”

I exhaled loudly. “I am not lacking anything now. I am content with my life and the decisions I make.”

Tay was quiet on the phone and I thought I was finally getting through to him.

“I don’t know how I missed all the signs of you being a selfish bitch,” he spat angrily.

So much for him understanding…

“Name-calling is not necessary,” I sighed. “And yes, I am selfish, because I can be. And if you want to call me selfish for choosing me over you, then I’ll be that. But it’s unfair for you to try to force what you want on me. It’s almost like you don’t believe I am worthy or even capable of making a decision that makes me happy. Like the only acceptable choice is giving in to you.”

“It’s not the only option, but you’re out here living reckless, and for what? You got a man right here that can take care of you, give you an easier life and you’re choosing this? To move every few months? I can give you a stable life, Saige.”

This conversation was going nowhere. I sat down on the bed, resting my head in my hands. He sounded like my sister, preaching stability. “If you want stability and someone to share it with, please go find her. Because it’s not me. The only constant in my life is change and that’s what I prefer.”

“But…” Tay let his voice trail off and I prayed again what I was saying was registering with him. “Where you at?”

“Doesn’t matter. But I have to go. It was nice getting to know you, but I am going to have to ask you not to contact me anymore. I’m-“

“Nah. You don’t get to call the shots like that. It’s over when I say it’s over. And it’s not over. Not until you stop being immature.”

“Uggghhh!” I groaned in frustration. “There are plenty of women who want someone like you. Go find her. Please don’t message me again.”

I disconnected the call and before I had a chance to navigate to the settings to block him, he called me back. It took me 10 minutes to be able to block him because he wouldn’t stop calling me.

I threw my phone on the bed and took a few deep breaths. This had never happened to me before.

I moved a lot. Ended friendships and situationships before, sometimes before I left, sometimes after. Sometimes I ghosted people. I got some snarky messages, but I never had anyone work so hard to keep me around. It wasn’t as flattering as I think he thought it was. As much as he irritated me, he did make me think.

I was a runner. It’s what I did. I liked the freedom to make my own choices about where I lived. I didn’t let anyone force me to live a life that I didn’t want to live. I marched to the beat of my own drum, but I was not healing like I thought I was. I was choosing not to think about it which was not the same thing as healing from it. Chronologically, I was getting older, but sometimes I felt like I was still 15, stuck in that moment my life got flipped upside down.

I laid down on the bed, curling up with the pillows. For the past six months, I thought I was healing, growing, putting all that behind me. But I really wasn’t. I hadn’t apologized. I didn’t talk to my sister or my daddy regularly. I wasn’t open to reconciliation with my daddy’s wife. There was no situation I could envision where I would talk to my mama again. After Tay’s reaction to me not wanting to submit to him, being with him was out of the question. I’d live in fear that his outbursts could turn violent. But…I avoided relationships like they were some kind of incurable disease. I trusted no one, not even my family.