HYPNOTIZE, a short story
Normally, I hate house parties—too much drama and I always feel out of place. Then, there’s always the possibility of the night ending in gunshots. So, how the hell did I end up in Rakeem’s living room standing against a wall feeling like an overdressed tomboy in a sea of vixens wearing my Aggie’s tee shirt and baggy jeans you ask? Simple. I wanted to see Rakeem—needed to see him. It was his best friend’s birthday and he’d been planning this party for the past two weeks. At least that’d been the word around the student union. Maybe that’s why he’d been too busy to return my texts and calls.
Do I feel like a complete ass standing here like a drab, brown wall flower holding a mandatory red cup of some warm, amber liquid? Yeah I do. I wonder how awkward I must look slumped like a lump on a log while 200 of my sweaty classmates scream at the top of their lungs.
“BIGGIE BIGGIE BIGGIE // CAN’T YOU SEE? // SOMETIMES YOUR WORDS JUST HYPNOTIZE ME // AND I JUST LOVE YOUR FLASHY WAYS // GUESS THAT’S WHY THEY’RE BROKE AND YOU’RE SO PAID.”
I just knew I was sticking out a like a sore thumb, and yet after two hours of trying to look like I belonged, Ra hadn’t come over to speak to me once. I’d called backup—my girl Shanti was always down for whatever. But when she showed up wearing a slinky Black dress that all but revealed her perfectly round ass, some tall jock promptly asked her to dance. And, I was left alone again, back at square one.
I tried to keep my stalker-ish gaze to myself, but I couldn’t seem to help searching the room for Ra with my eyes. He never so much as looked in my direction. What odd behavior.
I mean, this guy and I, we are amazing together. The conversations were all flow and the sex was all fire! So how could it be that after a blissful month of fucking every chance we got and having some of the deepest, most vulnerable sessions of my life was this guy ignoring me? Had I done something wrong? Was he kicking it with somebody new?—The girl with the perfectly perky tits, rocking the Ariel-red lace front who was currently sitting in his lap, perhaps?
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Here’s another dumb girl with her nose open over a guy who clearly isn’t into her. But I’m not dumb. I can see all the signs, I can feel the rejection. I can feel the embarrassment and sadness too. But there’s something else I feel—furious determination. He owes me an explanation.
I mean, who the fuck does this guy think he is? Does he think he can just fuck with my emotions and get away with it? Does he think I’ll stand around vying for his attention forever? Does he think I’ll just go away quietly? Is this his M.O.?—just fuck with a girl, get her open, and then when he’s done with her, drop her like a hot potato? I can’t stand this shit!!
So, right there, in the midst of all the bumping and grinding—I think. Normal girls would approach him, attempt to make him jealous by pushing up on another guy in his face (his best friend perhaps). Most girls would wallow in their pain and become drunken fools to get his attention or to become a burden at the end of the night. “I’m sooooo drunk. I just need to lay down. Can I lay in your bed? Can you drive me hooooome?”
All poor options. All loser behavior.
NO! Hell no. I’m not going out like that. I’m already losing by even showing up at this party, in the first place. I have to get out of here.
I squeeze past loud, sweaty, hype twenty-somethings to the kitchen and pour my drink down the sink. Then toss my cup in a plastic bag hanging off the stove.
Now, see this shit? Here is the perfect place to begin smashing the pedestal I’ve put this guy on. I mean what kind of neanderthal, broke college kid do you have to be to not be able to afford a trash can? You can literally buy one at walmart for $9. So, he can buy all these booze, and entertain all these guests, but he can’t prioritize buying a garbage can or calling me back? What an ass. I turn to leave and that’s when Ariel (that’s what I’m forced to call this chick, since I don’t know her) leads Rakeem into the kitchen. His eyes are glued on her ass and I’m apparently invisible so he doesn’t see me, at first. She pushes him against a wall and proceeds to plant the nastiest, sloppiest kiss I’ve ever seen on his mouth.
And, there I am, standing and staring like the loser of the century. His hands are on her ass now and she’s really getting into it. Me? Still staring. I’m shook. I’m stuck. I don’t know what to do…so I do nothing. And as she moves her hands up his broad chest, clasping them behind his neck, pressing her perfect little body into his, then. THEN is when he decides to notice me. He jerks his head back, surprised maybe?
Ariel is trying to pull him back into the kiss, but he whispers something to her. She glances back slowly and smirks. Then she saunters away like a black cat. Just great. In less than 5 minutes all of this girl’s friends will know there’s some desperate, jealous girl cock-blocking and wrecking her flow.
I look to him and he’s staring at me intensely. I can tell he’s waiting to see what I will do. Will I spaz out and make a scene? Will I burst into tears? I stare back, straight into those luscious brown eyes that turn me on. He pushes off the wall and comes closer to me. His cologne envelopes me. Scent…is most connected to memory. A memory flashes into my mind of the first time he came to my dorm room. He stood over me the way he’s standing over me now and stared into me. He asked me if I believed the creator could’ve brought us together.
Of course. I’d said. And I wondered, that night if he was my fabled twin flame. Now I think twin flames are bullshit, but that’s beside the point. He breaks my reverie with a question: “How long have you been here, Constance?”
And I wonder if he’s fucking with my mind or if I’m really invisible. How is it that he hasn’t seen me this whole time? I venture a guess that he’s just fucking with my mind, and I decide to play the game. “Oh not long.”
He nods, straight-faced and says: “What are you doing here?”
Ouch. Now I could further bruise my already permanently damaged ego and say the truth, which is I’ve missed him, his attention, the sex…but fuck that. Instead I lie, saying: “My girl, Shanti invited me.”
He does that somber-nod thing again then leans down, I think he’s going to kiss me, but he presses his mouth against my ear instead and says, “Go home, Constance.”
I am shocked. And hurt. “What?”
He repeats himself. “Go home.” And, then adds, “I’ll stop by after the party. But I don’t want you in this type of environment. So go grab your girl and head out.”
I guess it’s a good time to mention he’s a libra—he’s super masculine (and very likely a hoe), and when he’s made a decision it’s final. So, I don’t fight it. I brush past him and go immediately to find Shanti. She’s posted up against some dread-head now grinding to some mumble rap. I go to her and say, “We have to go.”
“All right, bet.” She drops the guy, mid-wind just like a good friend is supposed to and we split.
By the time, I find parking on campus and get back to my single dorm room it’s already well after 1 in the morning. As I’ve already stated, I’m not a big partaker of house parties, but I assume it should wrap up round about 2 or 3. So that gives me a good amount of time to…prepare for Ra’s visit.
I do all the normal things: bathe, shave, change my sheets, and…wait.
Waiting is awful. Every fleeting minute reduces a woman’s sense of dignity and self-esteem. And this guy, you know, he’s probably never waited a day in his life. It’s almost 4 o’clock now and I haven’t gotten a text, a call—a DM, a damn tweet. NADA!
There’s a deafening, hollowness — almost a moment of striking clarity that comes over a woman when she’s disappointed by someone she cares for. And in that moment, she can either find sadness…or she can find herself. I’ve never been a fan of sadness and despite the fact that I’ve just had my face played…I actually like myself. I turn off my phone, sit down at my altar and breathe. That’s it—I just breathe, because if I don’t concentrate on my breathing I might fly into a fit of rage.
So, I remain seated at the altar, breathing, until it’s no longer a struggle not to cry. Then, I turn my phone back on and pause to see if any texts or notifications with Ra’s name will pop up on the screen. And…nothing. So, I block his number, block him on every social media account…and I take my black ass to bed.
Of course, I’m wired and wide the fuck awake, so I figure, like, what better time to plot? I know exactly how to handle this guy. Perhaps I should mention…I have a lot of Aries in my chart. I love love, but I also love war.
I wake up late Sunday afternoon and call Shanti. I ask her to give me a mini-makeover. And she agrees, because she’s a great friend. 1 large pizza and box of hot wings + Love Jones and endless episodes of She’s Gotta Have It + Tweezed brows + Waxed stache + 5 bags of braiding hair + Homemade turmeric face masque = Constance got a new attitude. I mean, there really isn’t much that can keep a sista down when her eyebrows are arched to kill, her skin is all dewey and bright and her braids are swinging down past her ass. Feel me?
We wrap up our girl’s day/makeover session around 1 in the morning. I thank my friend, promptly deposit $200 to her via cash app and plan to meet her in the student union for lunch later that day. But before she goes, she asks me if I’d like to try one of her little witchy oils.
I’m interested. She got me to use some little black magic potion she calls Magnetism and that same week I received a grant I needed to pay this semester of school. And I don’t believe in coincidences. So, I'm open.
Now, she says this new oil is for turning the tables in a relationship. She said it’s to be used when a man needs to remember who the fuck he’s dealing with…to support him and you in remembering your worth.
She hands me a bottle, “What’s this one called?”
“HYPNOTISM,” she says.
“You and your -isms,” I joke, smelling it. It smells like cherries, with something else…something spiked. “Hmmmm,” I smile at her. “Do I just wear this one?”
”Not exactly,” she says, “This one’s better to anoint things with—like if you have anything you need to return to Ra or a gift you want to give him…charm the item before giving it to him. Add a bit of oil to it and tell the item to draw him back to you. Something like that…or you could use it on a candle.”
“I have a book of his,” I say.
I’ve used my girl’s oils before, so I know the drill. It’s always important to speak my desires directly into the bottle. So I whisper into the bottle. I tell it to make Rakeem drawn and attracted to me, to want him seek me out and speak with me again, to crave my presence and to desire me way more than I desire him. I grab the book, dab a small amount of oil on a cotton swab and run it over the cover, back and spine of the textbook. Then I hold the book in my hands, close my eyes and mentally instruct the book to draw Ra to me.
When I walk into the student union the next afternoon, I see Ra sitting at his usual table with his raucous line brothers. I’m dressed to slay in form-fitting Black attire from head-to-toe. Classy, simple, sexy—looking magical and good enough to eat. My hair is in a high-bun, my head is up high, my make-up is light and natural but my wings are sharp enough to cut. I am carrying nothing but the book. I walk straight up to the table, without saying anything I lay Ra’s book beside him. I catch him do a double take, but before he can say anything to me, I walk off quickly to go sit with Shanti who’s already ordered me a salad and Voss.
I swear, you witches need a friend like her!
She immediately cracks a joke, “Smelling like black girl majik and schmoney,” referring to the Magnetism I bathed in earlier. I feel positively radiant.
We get to talking shit and cutting up—having a good time like us girls do. I’m feeling carefree and confident, because Magnetism just has that effect and I’m certain the Hypnotism will do it’s thing, too.
And just as we’re discarding our trash and walking towards the door, after an hour or so of laughing and chatting with my best girl…Rakeem walks up, trying to make conversation, “Yo, Connie, wait up.”
Ha! Connie…he only calls me that when we’re…never mind. It’s a good sign. Trust me. I glance casually at him, not exactly halting my stride—forcing him to keep up. He follows, “Hey, did you get my text? I sent you a few messages a few minutes ago.”
“Texts? No. What did they say?” I ask—unimpressed, unbothered.
“Just that you look beautiful and I wondered if you’d like to go out with me tonight, maybe catch a movie? I’d like to make up for the other night, if you’re not busy.” And just then…JUUUUUUUST then, because Spirit got me, a fine ass man walks by and says, loud enough for anyone to hear, “Damn girl.” I look at him…he looks at me. We smile flirtatiously at one another.
I look back to Ra, “Huh? What? Oh…tonight’s no good. I have plans. But you have a good one.”
Then, Shanti hooks my arm and we walk off laughing and whispering—we glance back again at Ra who’s staring after us walking away, like he’s hypnotized or something…Shanti and I burst out laughing.