(A little music video at the end of this post…)
He was staring at me as I unzipped my jacket. But not in a dirty old man type of way.
I finished signing the electronic registry and looked at Kenneth, one of the regular desk security guards for Tyler’s building, a tiny Black man in his late 60s. From what Tyler had told me, Kenneth had been working in the building long before its conversion into a fancy, high-rise condo complex.
He was always polite with me but it was a slightly different story whenever he would see Tyler and me together. The smile would disappear, the polite “hello, how are you” would have an edge to it and there would be disapproval in his eyes.
I knew what Kenneth’s problem was but it was just that – his problem, not mine.
But this early in the morning, the look on Kenneth’s face was very different. He almost looked angry.
“Uh, Ms. Delaney? Is Mr. Tyler expecting you?” He was looking at me intently and shaking his head ever so slightly.
I placed the electronic pen down and frowned.
“No. I wanted to drop off something to him before he leaves for the airport.”
I motioned to the small bag in my hand. As a peace-offering for being a bitch and then ignoring him for the past week, I had bought some warm delicious cheese croissants and a few pastries from the popular bakery for us to share. If I didn’t apologize before Tyler left for his business trip, it would weigh on my mind for the entire time he would be in Paris.
“Well…” Kenneth hesitated and lowered his voice even though we were the only ones in the lobby, “Are you sure that you want to drop in this early?”
When he raised his eyebrows at me, looked away and then started fidgeting with his hands, I knew that he was trying to tell me something.
“Isn’t Tyler in?”
Kenneth muttered under his breath and continued to shake his head.
“Oh, he’s in alright. Just who he is into is more the question.”
Kenneth had lost me. I watched as he quickly glanced around, hit a few keys on his keyboard and glanced around a second time.
“Look, I could get into major trouble for this but I’m retiring at the end of the week so I’m going to show you anyways.”
Kenneth swiveled the monitor so that I could see it. Kenneth looked at me as I watched Tyler and a woman draped all over each other in the hallway outside of his condo door. The time stamp on the footage was from late last night. The woman’s long blond hair flowed over the collar of her over-sized coat, her back was turned to the surveillance camera. I couldn’t figure out who she was. Tall, leggy and long hair was Tyler’s preference. It could have been any one of his former girlfriends or hook-ups.
I felt nauseous watching them kiss and grope while Tyler perfectly maneuvered the key into his lock. He did it all without missing a beat, showing the level of his player expertise of how he would soon get his key into her lock. After the two of them stumbled into his condo and the door slammed, Kenneth quickly swiveled the monitor back into its proper position.
I took a deep breath and said nothing. Tyler had not thrown out his player’s card as he had so adamantly claimed.
I was a fool to ever have believed him.
Kenneth looked like he was regretting what he had done. We said nothing for the longest minute and then he cleared his throat.
“I guess that you won’t be dropping that off right now?” Kenneth stood up and pointed to the bag.
“No, I guess not.”
Kenneth shook his head and gave me a pitiful look.
“Well, if that’s your boyfriend, he wasn’t last night. A pretty girl like you can do much better than him.”
I swallowed hard, slowly re-zipped my coat and adjusted my purse over my shoulder. I tossed the bag from the bakery onto his desk. It slid and landed on his keyboard.
“Enjoy those Mr. Kenneth and have yourself a good morning. Happy retirement.”
I had to get out of there before my brave face cracked. I was almost through the main glass doors when I heard him call behind me.
“I wish I could say the same to you Ms. Delaney.”
©2015 Marquessa Matthews. All Rights Reserved.
Originally posted on December 15, 2015.
“If That’s Your Boyfriend (He Wasn’t Last Night)” – Me’Shell Ndegeocello