In a place where there are plenty of fish, Terrence and I found each other. We met on pof.com in September of 2014. I remember us messaging each other about books, movies, and music; and me wishing him a belated birthday.
His photos intrigued me. Here was a handsome chocolate man with a smile that birthed a smile in me. He had photos in hats and without (you know folks can look different once the cap comes off). I learned how much music meant to him because his profile featured images of him on a keyboard or in front of a microphone. From what I could see through social media, he was a guy that could be for me.
It wasn’t until later I realized he was the guy.
We tried to meet in person a view times, but had failed attempts because of my traveling with track — our team always seemed to return later than I would anticipate. Finally, we met face to face at my school, Alabama State University. It was in the evening time near the football stadium. Campus police pulled up saying we weren’t allowed to be on campus because Terrence did not attend the school. We thought that was dumb since I attended, but we left and went to the Chevron gas station right outside of campus. I will never forget the bright lights of the gas station as I sat in the passenger seat of Terrence’s grey Solara. He took out his mac book and played some tunes for me — I am right where I need to be was evident in my emotions and mind. Terrence was real cool. He put me on different vibes, each track telling me the story of this soulful brother who understood the power of vibrations and words.
Time progressed and we kept in contact. Once in a conversation, he told me how much he enjoyed Checkers; so the first time he came over to my apartment I made sure we had a Checker board, and he taught me how to play. I am a Chess chick, so it was confusing but fun to learn. He met my cat Zion, and surprising to me, she liked him (she straight up scratched the last guy I was dealing with).
Terrence and I continued to spend more and more time together.
When we weren’t physically together, we were on FaceTime almost all the time. I still remember us talking great talk until we fell asleep on our devices. It was cute. And Terrence was refreshing.
I decided to give him “the test.” He accepted Janelle, and I wanted to see if he would be open to Poetic Puff. I invited Terrence to one of my poetry shows and I sat in the crowd waiting for him to come through the door. . . the host called me up, and still no Terrence. As I got on the mic and started to S.P.I.T., the door opened and there he was; he entered with a smile and head nod. My heart flew! He made it. I will never forget that night because no one I had EVER dealt with supported my craft and accepted me simultaneously. After the show, he helped me carry my box of poetry books to the car. I realized his attention to detail, “umm Janelle Graham,” he read from the delivery address on the box. I looked back at him like he was crazy for saying my government aloud (as if I was undercover — lol — ’cause everyone in Alabama knows me as Puff). I smirked and told him thank you for helping me with the box and for coming out. He told me about his journey, he saw what time it was and did 80 on the freeway to get to my show in time. I honestly was and still am flattered.
Slowly but surely we spent more and more time together. Terrence would come over and we’d watch The Matrix or Love Jones (these two movies stayed on rotation in my DVD player). I’d meet him at his school, Virginia College, to say hey or bring him lunch while he was at work. He would come feed Zion and her kittens while I was out of town for a track meet. I gave him some change to get his keyboard fixed, so he could start creating again. My lights got turned off and he came and brought me a heater and stayed with me ’til the lights came back on. He would take me and pick me up when I went out of town for a track meet or from the Greyhound when I would visit my mom in South Florida. He would come with me to poetry events. We would walk together in downtown Montgomery. We. Did. So. Much. Together. And for each other.
Yet, there was no kissing, holding hands, sex, baby names, NOTHING.
Now. . . three going on four months and nada? You know your girl was starting to wonder. . . maybe he didn’t like me “like that”? Are we just going to stay friends? Because mind you, old flings started to pop up here and there, but I didn’t want nothing to do with them. Regardless of the uncertainty of Terrence and I being more than friends, he was such a joy to be around I honestly didn’t want or need any unnecessary or conflicting energies around me.
Now I have to admit, there was one night we went to a party and I tried to get him drunk (shame on me). When we got back to my apartment, I tried to get on him and he was not having it at all. I felt so stupid. But he was good about not making me feel terrible. We ended up just going to sleep. He still gives me a hard time about it to this day, saying I tried to rape him. Smh.
My girlfriends and I would chat as we tried to figure out what Terrence and I “were”, but after awhile I stopped caring for the labels because questioning was getting in the way of just being. Terrence and I enjoyed each other’s presence and I wasn’t stunting no one else, but him, regardless of what we “were” or “weren’t”.
January 22, 2015 we went to a house party and we were lit. One of my teammates came to give me a hug and next thing I know Terrence fell out behind me. I tried to get him up, “Baby. . . Baby. . . c’mon, get up.” I was scared out of my mind! But I had to keep it cool to see if he was being responsive. Mind you, we are in a dark house packed with turnt up college students. He finally got up and said he had to go outside, so I lead him through the back of the house, so we could get out to some fresh air. Outside I helped him stay up by supporting his back with my arm while asking if he was okay. He held on to me and the look in his eyes had so much love and gratitude. His face, the midnight trees reflecting from the night sky and the bright moon will forever be a clear image etched in me. He stood in front of me and kissed me. I was in shock. We left the party and went back to my apartment and I let him lay on my bed. He must have felt my energy because he asked me what was up, and I told him he kissed me but the kiss didn’t count because he was drunk. He reassured me that it did count because he has wanted to kiss me for a while now.
And now, it’s been a while now. Thank The Most High Yahuah we are still here. I can go on for the length of a novel (idea!) about our love story.
Where we have been, where we are, and where we are going is truly an honor. . . a blessing.
In the words of my dear husband, “Let us continue to grow as the world continues to turn.”