Waiting for her to come outside, I stand between two sets of three-story apartment buildings scrolling through my phone, just one of the many nervous habits of mine. A peanut butter and chocolate colored chihuahua on the second floor patio above me has been barking the entire time I’ve been here and I can understand why. Here I am, a 6 ft black woman with dreadlocks just hanging out on the sidewalk of this apartment complex no doubt looking suspect as fuck.
The building’s exterior is gleaming against the sun.The recently planted saplings that line the perfectly manicured grass along the unblemished sidewalks all point to this being a new development. There’s a quiet about this place that gives me the sense that people respect each other’s right to quiet enjoyment. There’s few signs of life on the patios; A chair here, a bistro set or barbecue grill there. In the short time I have been waiting out here I have seen two interracial couples which kind of put my heart at ease a little. This place feels very white. Nervous, I put my hands in my pocket as I pace the sidewalk next to her building careful not to step in the freshly cut grass. My cellphone began to vibrate in my pocket as I made my third lap. I check it to find a message from Sarai.
Sarai and I met online through one of those paid dating sites that guarantee you find your perfect match. My profile said that I was looking for something casual but when I saw her profile picture come through along with her email I felt that she might change my mind about that. We’ve been talking back and forth through facetime and text messages and today we are going to finally meet face to face. I agreed to go with her to her favorite place although she wouldn’t tell me where that place was. Truth be told, I would have agreed to go with her anywhere just to get the chance to be able to touch her smooth almond colored skin.
Her text said she was on her way downstairs. My heart beat quickened, my palms began to sweat, and my stomach began to flutter. Refusing to let the nerves take over me, I take a deep breath to steady myself as I hear the rattling of the stairwell next to me. Her foot landed on the last stair at the same time as I turned to face her with a big shit eating grin on my face. Why am I like this? She immediately returned the gesture revealing the most perfect smile I’ve ever seen. The same one I’ve been lusting over for the last three weeks. “Hi!” she said as she leaned into me for one of those awkward side hugs. I thought we knew each other well enough that I’d at least be able to get a hug where I could feel the softness of her breasts against my body but, I guess not. “So where are you taking me woman?” I asked. Trying to play it cool in front of her while the butterflies did their dance in my stomach. “To my favorite place, I told you. Gah! Where’s your sense of adventure?” she asked in a playful tone. I shrugged my shoulders in response and we began to walk towards the parking lot.
It’s a picturesque day in the city. The sun is shining brightly down on us and Sarai’s skin seems to be glowing. I can’t help but stare at the contour of her back as she walks in front of me excitedly carrying on a conversation that I’m sure I’m supposed to be dialed in to. I can’t focus on what she is saying because I’m watching her muscles glide beneath her skin as moves. The black woman is a beautiful work of art. She hasn’t stopped talking since she came down the stairs and I don’t mind it at all. She’s the talkative and inquisitive type. It’s one of the reasons that I’m so attracted to her. Well that, and her big brown eyes, long athletic legs, full lips, and incredible smile. She was so busy telling me about her plan for the day that she hadn’t noticed that I’d stopped walking behind her.
“Whoa, where you going? My car is right here, and I assume you’re gonna be giving me play by play directions since you won’t tell me where we are going.”
“We don’t need a car.We’re walking.” she replied. Now this was a first for me. I’ve never been around a woman who would rather walk around in Houston heat than ride in the a/c in the middle of the summer but if she was up for it, so was I. I reactivated the alarm on my car as I rejoined her on the sidewalk. It was a short walk from her building to the front of the complex. We made a quick detour through the pool area and past the mailboxes before we exited. The front of the clubhouse sits about 50 feet off the four lane road with no sidewalk between. The traffic along the street is pretty consistent and I’m a little nervous walking so closely to the edge of the road. Sarai must have sensed my hesitation because she reached back and grabbed my hand to pull me along with her. I’m thankful for the opportunity to hold her hand.
The strangest combination of businesses lined her block. Across the street was a laser tag arena and a auto body paint shop that stood awkwardly side by side. There are a few people in the parking lot with tables set up like some type of showing was about to take place. There’s banner above them welcoming people to Old Town Spring. As we got into a stride sweat began to bead across my forehead. While there are plenty of trees around, none of them are close enough to us walking along the side of the road to offer us any respite from the 90 degree temperature. My brown goddess lead the way happily bumbling down the road as if the heat charged her up. We talked for a while about nothing in particular. Further up the block we came across a gas station barbershop combo and a used car dealership that looks suspiciously like a front for drug activity.
My legs have started to hurt from all the up and down terrain. Twice now on our journey I have found myself climbing into and out of ditches. “Sarai, can we stop walking for a minute?” I ask. I’m out of breath and out of shape and here she is carrying on with the energy of a child. Good lord what have I gotten myself into with this woman? “Oh, is this a demonstration of that stamina you’ve been telling me about?” She had me there. During our texts we have gotten into some heavy flirting and light sexting. The both of us had been talking up our sex game in preparation for the day that it may happen.
“Nah girl! I just wasn’t ready for this kind of hike. How do you live out here around all these white people and there’s no sidewalks. Don’t white people like to jog? I can’t see nobody doing that through these ditches and gravel.” I complained only half jokingly. “Oh come on you big baby we’re almost there.” There’s a twinkle in her honey colored eye that’s made my breath catch. I reach out and put a hand on the side of her face. She closed her eyes at the touch of my hand. When she opened them back, I leaned down to kiss her lips. She stood on her toes to meet me half way. The moment our lips connected I felt a spark between us. While fleeting, that kiss seemed to energize me and I was ready to make the rest of the trek.
When we finally reached a stop light about two miles from her house the flow of traffic had drastically increased and so had the number of businesses present. One one corner stood a small strip mall with the smell of fresh pizza wafting out of one of the open doors. The pizza place is between another nail shop and a Tex-Mex restaurant. When the light turned green we ran hand in hand across the street to a larger strip mall that held a grocery store and other small eateries. We crossed the parking lot of an H.E.B. and rounded the corner to Menchie’s, a frozen yogurt shoppe.
“You have reached your destination.” Sarai said impersonating the voice of a navigation system.” Her million watt smile on full beam as we walked hand in hand inside the cool restaurant and away from the heat.