Stages: A Handbook on Men and Relationships – Chapter 15

Chapter 15
Sometimes the Lord puts people into your life for a reason. Why question everything? Then again why not? I’m not saying doubt, or that I don’t believe, but you have to wonder. I still was bothered by what Flip told me and I just couldn’t make sense of it all in my head. Why would she choose him to, “come out of the closet,” so to speak?
We spoke about it again that night on the phone. I was about to meet Janice at her place to talk. But I was somewhat intimidated by what a conversation would hold after hearing about Tina and her problem. I’m sure Janice had gone through it all with her, and held the same feelings that Tina may have had about men. Maybe that’s why she wanted to really get close to me. She probably assumed that Flip and I were at the same Stage. What’s kind of buggin me right now is how Flip stepped up and accepted what had been put in his face. He thought about the whole situation and decided to stick it out. I know I would’ve ran away. I’m just not at that point in my life where I can handle that kind of situation.
I said when I started that I would remain honest throughout and I will. I would’ve ran away because to stay with her after that kind of info would’ve placed me into serious commitment territory. A place I’d been avoiding for a long time, but it was a place that was slowly beginning to seem like the right thing to do. But how am I to know when I’m supposed to settle down? For Flip, everything kind of lined itself up in a nice package and dropped into his lap. He was frustrated and tired of being by himself. I don’t mean physically by himself. He explained it like this a few weeks before we met Tina and Janice.

“Tee, do you wake up in the morning and look at the person you wake up next to?”
“Yeah I look at them, and?”
“I woke up this morning and rolled over to look at Evelyn and,”
“What happened? You rolled over and what?”
“Let me put it like this Tee. I don’t wanna wake up anymore and look to my side and ask this question, ‘Who the fuck is this in my bed and what is she doing here?’ You dig what I’m saying?”
“Yeah I feel you, but I’m trying to understand where all of this is coming from?”
“It’s coming from looking at these women that we’re with and realizing that, if it was my moms, I’d kill somebody for doing that.”
“But it’s not your mom and you can’t compare it to that.”
“Why not? It’s the same thing. This isn’t an argument Tee, it’s a self resolution.”
“And that self resolution is what?”
“I will never lay up with another woman and wake up in the morning and have to question what I’ve done. I don’t like it.”
“That’s all you have to say?” he asked.
“I can’t say anything because I don’t feel the same as you. I haven’t woke up in the morning and asked those questions.”
“But did you always feel like that? Like you were never gonna find the right woman?”
“I haven’t considered that in a long time.”
“I bet when you first started treating women like toilet paper, you regretted it.”
“Flip, don’t preach at me man. You ain’t in a position to preach at me.”
“I ain’t preaching man, I’m trying to talk. We talk about everything else why not this?”
“Cause I don’t want to talk about this.” Flip and I sat in my living room for two hours that day and rapped. I reached a boiling point because the same thing he was saying, felt, for lack of a better word, right. I just didn’t see myself at that point.
What does make a brother get to that point? There is always that decision to be made at every corner. What makes some brothers turn right, and what causes other brothers to make a left right out of the picture?
I always thought detailing these things in my journal would make me feel better. The truth was the journal was started for the exact reason that Flip had stated. I started it because I did wake up and question myself. But when I was Flip’s age, I didn’t have anyone to talk to. I had just got to San Diego from the South and I only had associates. You never want to look like a punk in front of brothers you’re trying to impress, you know what I’m saying? I began putting everything in my journal and before long it turned into a bragging book instead of something therapeutic. I began denying myself any negative thoughts about what I was doing until I began formulating this Stages theory. Other than something I would use as a handbook, I knew I wanted this to be my redemption. But everytime I sit and think about saying yes to Stage Three or Four, I punk out. I know once I call it quits that I will have to make an earnest effort at being there every moment for the woman I’m with. I just can’t see it. I couldn’t see it then and I still can’t see it. I just can’t.
Flip knew that his words had a profound affect on me though. He had never seen me shout about anything. Until I shouted out that I didn’t want to talk. He knew then that I had felt the same way. I think for him, just knowing that I’d gone through the same thing let him know that it was the right thing for him to do.
“You know I’m right don’t you?” he asked me.
“Look man, I know that you feel bad about some things, but at least you aren’t lying or using the women for money. And you’re not doing two at one time.”
“And that makes it better? Just because you break things off every two months and move on that makes it okay?”
“I didn’t say that Flip. All I’m saying is you make the right decision for you. That’s all you can do is make sure your heart is right, you feel me.”
“I feel you.”
We turned on the TV and ordered a pizza. The Knicks were playing the Pacers, but even Miller in the Garden taunting Spike Lee as he stroked the three ball from damn near half court, wasn’t enough tension to make Flip and I comfortable for the rest of the night. He knew what he had to do and I knew also. I just didn’t think on it as hard as he had.
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