We used to sit on the large sectional in his living room- him playing Onimusha, me smoking my Marlboro Reds and flicking my ashes into one of his low balls filled with water. He almost always had a refrigerator full of strawberry Cisco. I hated the way Cisco tasted. He used to tell me that in the hood, Cisco was considered “liquid crack.” I believed it after I drank a few sips one night and woke up to the worst hangover of my life. On the weekends he drank so much of the stuff that it seemed like his lips were permanently stained red.
I would drink unil I passed out and later would awaken to find him gone. He would be next door with his Latina neighbor- a woman whom he often told me tried to sleep with him by walking into his apartment and stripping down naked. He had told me that once, she had walked into his apartment while he was in the shower, barged into the bathroom and pulled back the curtain. He swore he never slept with her but reminded me often that he could if he wanted to.
I think she was a stripper for a short period of time and most times when I would see her around she would be wearing half- halter tops, extremely short shorts, platform heels and bubblegum pink lipgloss. He had a thing for Hispanic girls. I’ve never been the type to dress scantily, not even back then at the end of my teenage years. Once, he tried to get me to go with him to the mall dressed in a tank top and some swimming bottoms- the boy-cut type for women. I didn’t hesitate to tell him that wasn’t the kind of person I was. That was probably one of the only times in all the years I spent with him that I spoke my mind.
Once, we went to a nightclub together along with one of my girlfriends I had known for many years and he spent most of the night chatting up a half-naked girl that was dancing on the bar. Later on he told me that once when I had gone out of town, this girl tried to sleep with him but that he had turned her down, which I should’ve been thankful for because there was this mindblowing thing she did with a small flashflight that he almost couldn’t resist. I’m sure he lied about turning her down because she was a stripper too and that’s the kind of woman he loved. It’s funny how I would forget all of this while I was pregnant and faithfully sending him letters and money in prison.