“We did it!”she screamed in my ear.

“Did what, dammit?”

“Cordell and I did the nasty! The wild thing! The hoochie-coochie!”

“Uh-uh, you’re lying!” I yelled out, no longer caring about waking my mother up. “Tell me you’re lying! Confess!”

“Sheit, I’m not lying,” she giggled. “We did it, and it wasgoooooooood!”

“You and Cordell had sex?” I was finding this shit hard to comprehend. Jason and I had been together for months and had never even gotten naked. Here this chica was calling me up braggin’ on dick, and they had only been dating a couple of weeks.

“Boy, did we!”

“I have to go, Brina!” I can’t describe my feelings, but I was hurt and didn’t feel like talking anymore.

“Zoe, wait! I want to tell you all the details! Blow by blow, or should I say lick by lick!”

That did it! “Brina, I’ll call you tomorrow! Later!”

With that, I hung up the phone. I knew I was wrong for that. There she was excited, wanting to share her first sexual experience with me, and I totally dissed her. I couldn’t help myself. I cried myself to sleep, light on and all, wondering why in the world Brina could get some loving and I couldn’t.

The next day I went outside and sat on the stoop sporting a pair of dark sunglasses, a black turtleneck, and black jeans like I was in mourning. I even had on black socks.Jason came out his front door a few minutes later and headed across the street to join me. He was eating a Hostess Chocolate Cupcake and offered me half of it before he sat down.

“No, thanks,” I mumbled under my breath, not even wanting to acknowledge him.

He sat down on the stoop beside me, inquiring, “What’s wrong with you? You love chocolate cupcakes.”

“I’m not hungry right now, is all,” I replied, looking down at his feet and noticing he had a new pair of white Pumas.

“Aww, I get it now. It’s that time of the month, huh?”

I pulled my sunglasses down slightly so I could snarl at him and roll my eyes. “What do you care if it’s that time of the month? It’s not like we do anything!”

Jason cleared his throat and starting fidgeting. He polished off the rest of the cupcake and pretended to be enthralled in a squirrel climbing the oak tree in my front yard.

“You know about Cordell and Brina having sex last night, don’t you?” he asked, finally breaking the silence.

Damn, Brina was telling the truth! “Cordell told you?”

“Yeah, he called me early this morning to brag about it.”

“How dare him spread Brina’s business around like that?” I barked, automatically going into my protective mode. “Damn, he’s almost as bad as you.”

“Hold up now! Didn’t Brina call and tell you? You don’t seem too surprised about it.”

I tried to hold back a smile, realizing I was in essence calling the kettle black. “Maybe she did. What of it?”

“How can you be mad at Cordell for telling me when Brina told you? Hell, she probably called you the second he left her place to spill the beans. At least he waited until this morning to call me.”

Wow, Jason read Brina’s ass like a book! I looped my arm around his. “Baby, when are we going to do it?”

He pulled his arm away from mine. “Zoe, I told you I’m not ready to go all the way. I want us to wait.”

“Wait how long? Till we’re fifty years old?”

I could tell he was pissed. He started huffing and biting his fingernails. “Don’t be ridiculous! Are you such a freak that you can’t wait until the time is right?”

“Freak?” I started to slap him but caught myself. I was trying to make a sincere effort to lay off the violence. “How can I be a freak if I don’t do anything freaky?”

“Well, maybe you should call Mohammed’s ass up!”

Oh no, he didn’t even go there! “Well, maybe I should. He’s areal man. He wants my body, unlike you,” I said, telling a bold-faced lie. Mohammed wouldn’t even give me the tongue, rather less the dick.

Jason stood up, probably just so he could look down his nose at me. “You don’t know what the hell I want, Zoe! You don’t know a damn thing about me!”

“And Chandler does, huh?”

“Chandler didn’t ever ride my back like you’re doing! That’s for sure!”

I was hyperventilating, trembling, and on the verge of an explosion. “Just get the hell out of my face, Jason!” He stood

there and stood there and . . . stood there. “I thought I told you to get out of my face. Did I stutter?”

“So what are you saying, Zoe?” Hell, I had no clue what I was saying! How dare he ask me that? “Are you breaking up with me?”

That was when I made the stupidest move I’ve ever made in my entire life. I said, “Yes, I am.”

He walked away from me and left me sitting there, feeling dumb. The next day he got back with Chandler; the following week I got back with Mohammed out of retaliation, and the farce continued for two years.

I made feeble attempts to get Jason back, but he wasn’t even going for it. I even broke down, gave him a heartfelt apology and asked if we could at least be friends. He told me to go be friendly with Mohammed. I never didanythingsexual with Mohammed. He was still frontin’ on the dick. I wasn’t too upset because I was in love with Jason Reynard, and there were no two bones about it. I just dated Mohammed to try to make Jason jealous.Brina and some of the other girls discovered a hole in the wall of the locker room, and they used to peek through it to get dang-a-lang sightings. I couldn’t have cared less until one day Brina yelled out that she could see Jason’s ass. I knocked her on the floor like I was a linebacker for the Atlanta Falcons. I peeked through the hole and started salivating, praying he would turn aroundso I could see hisother part. Our gym teacher, Ms. Price, interrupted me though and delivered a serious tongue-lashing when she discovered what I was up to. Now, fifty-eleven girls had been looking through that hole for weeks, and no one got caught. As soon as I take a glance, I get cold busted. Ain’t that a bitch?


Springtime rolled around, and it was time for the annual School Fair at Central. I was reluctant to go because Mohammed had been showing out and seemed more worried about talking my ears off about the Nation of Islam than taking my pants off. Like I said before, that was cool with me. It had gotten to the point where even being around him irritated the hell out of me. The Friday night before the fair, I called him up and succinctly told him all bets were off.

“Why don’t you want me to take you?” He sounded so pitiful when he realized I was on the brink of kicking his ass to the curb. “You asked me months ago to go with you to the fair at your school, and now you’re backing out at the last minute? I was supposed to be filling in for Brother Jabrail at the rally tomorrow afternoon, but I changed my schedule around andeverythingjust so I could go hang out with you.”

The guilt trip was not even working. It became disturbinglyclear to me that Mohammed had been nothing more than a big waste of time. I listened to him drone on and on and finally resorted to holding the phone away from my ear while I became pleasantly immersed in another thought. I was sitting on the living room sofa when some headlights suddenly blinded me through the curtains. I moved one of the sheer curtain panels to the side slightly and peeked outside to see if it was Momma getting off work early; I was anxious to tell her about the A I received on my calculus exam. It wasn’t Momma but I caught the taillights of Jason’s Camaro just as they turned off. When he got out of the car, he looked like an Adonis, a god even. He was sporting this Negro League baseball jacket and some Levis’ that were so tight, I wanted to reach out and spank that tight ass of his. It brought on a delightful set of ambiguous memories, including the glimpse I got of his butterball naked ass through the hole in the girls’ locker room. Things could’ve been so different if I hadn’t gone too far and dumped him that day. It had been almost two years, and he still gave me nothing but cynical remarks, dispassionate glares, and malevolent treatment.

“Zoe, are you there?” Damn, why couldn’t he just shut up and stop whining? I was busy daydreaming about a real man. “Zoe? Oh, so now you just gonna igg me and thangs? That’s cool!”

I watched Jason use his foot to nudge the car door shut because his arms were full of some Kroger bags he retrieved from the backseat. I knew I had about thirty seconds to hit the pavement, or he would be inside and out of my reach. My mother had mentioned that Jason’s parents were going out of town for the weekend and asked her to keep an eye on him, so I knew he was alone. It was time to make my move.

“Umm, Mohammed, I have to go.” I shifted through the repertoire of excuses I frequently used to get off the phone with him, trying to make sure the one I was about to blurt out hadn’t been abused. “My mother will be home in a few, and I need to clean up the kitchen before she gets here. Call me next week. Peace.”

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