Wednesday, June 10, 2009


We were on the phone until 2AM again, it had been happening a lot lately. He was a guy I had known for years, he was one of my partners back in the day at the ad agency, but lately it seemed that we were riding the line between friendship, romance, endearment, sexual innuendo, the gambit. Recently, in all these ways he was burrowing deeper in to my life. Texting me sometimes during the day just to see how my day was going, or on a Saturday, updates on what he was up to, asking me the same. And then the midnight phone calls came in, and his tenor would deepen. I started to pick up the phone more often lately – it was nice to have the sense that someone thought about you throughout the day, and wanted to hold you close to them at the very end of it.

These late night calls would be different in tenor, I didn’t always know who I would get.
Cliff was a superstar in the world. He was a huge gorgeous black man, with an always at the ready movie star smile. He had VIP Room status, partied with Yankies, people in the music business, and the fashion world. I had recently gone to his birthday party at an elegant club, the birthday boy maximus, a black man in a sea of blonds. I could tell that most of them had their hearts set on finding a slot in Cliff’s world, and I would look at him across the sea of peroxide heads, and he would see me, and in a glance let me know that I was floating somehow above them. About six months before we had run into each other again after not seeing each other for years, and we had begun to hang out a little, going to bars downtown with a couple of other people, until the nights would cull down to just the two of us, sitting alone side by side at the back of the bar, whispering in a simpatico lite beer trance.

And now months later, my phone would ring just past midnight. It would be Cliff sounding like a late night DJ, “hey, baby”… it would be Cliff The Enticer, or Cliff The Player, when he would tell me some recent exploit that read like a Penthouse Forum letter. Or there would be Cliff, the human being, the one I hoped it would be - heart in his hands, his PR agent gone from the building, the 6’5” man, now vulnerable and cupped in my hands. He would talk openly and simply about how he was feeling, and then open his ear to me, his give and take skills rivaling any of my closest female friends. He took my emotional well-being seriously, and would get his back up when he thought that I was being treated less than respectfully. “I have yet to hear anything in the plus column here,” he would firmly say in the space after my exhausting run on sentence justifying my involvement with some ne'er do well. His words, cutting through my mental crap with a cool thug-like delivery, like Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction.

His protective instinct towards ran deep, he had come from a family of all women – a patriarchal mom and what seemed to be like 16 sisters, I could never keep track. His fate of being surrounded by females continued when he fathered two girls by his now ex-wife. He knew women well, how to listen, how to care about what he heard, how to nurture and protect them, and I was now one of them, gathered up in his strong arms with the few he held dear.

These days he was opening up to me without artifice, as part of our unspoken contract of care. It was uncanny to me, this man who encountered women on airplanes, hotels, bars, and public transportation who would ask for his email, his phone number, his shirt size, and his hotel room key. This mecca to beautiful women, handing me his soul through the receiver. Coming home after an award show or a night at one of the city’s hot new clubs, he would take off his custom tailored Ralph Lauren suit, his tone on tone silk tie, his 400 dollar shoes, and dial my number.

I wasn’t sure what my relationship with Cliff was headed, I wanted it to stay just so. I didn’t want it to become physical, and cause harm to what we had. I liked how he needed me now, how we needed each other, as friends, souls, kindred spirits, as children finding each other on the chaotic playground. He was my protector, the nightwatchman of my heart, and I felt tiny, yet strong under his watch.


  1. Mmm, this doesn't sound like you at all, like you are trying to prove something (to us?)?

    Grant you I haven't been hanging around often, would like to think I have somewhat a handle on things, somewhat a sensitive pick-up I say, doesn't sound like the you I am trying to know and sure as hell enjoying as we go along!~...Even when it doesn't sound like you....LOLOL.....:) J.

  2. Hey, Jeff... this blog tends to show the all-out sexy fireworks side of me, and you can't keep it dialed up to "11" all of the time. I can't be a slave to serving up sex to y'all, I have another organ called a "heart"... it likes to be massaged like all the other parts... thanks for your continued patronage ;)

  3. This is the kind of guy you should surround yourself with. Chaos is overrated, my dear.

    Be smart about who you allow into your life.
    You are too spectacular to settle for anything less than par.

  4. Cliff is an amazing friend... and I'm not sure that you know me well enough to warn me against chaos, or do you? We'll never know, I guess...Anyway, thanks for the kind words, I'm always on the lookout for other spectacular kindred spirits... thanks for your comment!

  5. If you read between the lines here I read "chaos" - no, wait! It's not in between them, it's in plain black and white. If you thrive on this, by all means enjoy, but I suspect you're way to smart for that. (That, too comes through plain and clear in your posts.)

  6. Claudia, you're obviously right that some of us don't know you well enough to warn you against chaos or anything else. What you're missing, however, is that people who get caught up in your blog because the writing is so interesting form an opinion about you and O. and everyone else in your life. That comes with the blogging territory. You can't write about such personal things and then be offended if someone makes a personal comment. Your writing portrays you as a very complex and interesting person. If your readers have emotional reactions to your posts and offer unsolicited advice, I think you should celebrate that as an indication that your writing is so effective. Isn't it nice to have strangers hoping that you're ok and making the "right" choices?

  7. You are absolutely correct, and I didn't mean to sound upset, I was taken aback - sometimes it's hard to hear the truth, or that your 'stuff' is showing. I do ultimately feel that it is a compliment, and I also feel the love in a big way, (and now an extra heaping portion added on by you!) I'm doing OK, and instead of moving away from chaos, I'm working on seeing clearly what I'm moving towards.... thanks so very much for adding your comment. :)
    it helped more today than you'll ever know...

  8. happy to hear it. :)

  9. Mmm, I was unlcear...seemed to me you were sort of name dropping - look where I am, and of all I am special...this is great, but also seems you are being taken advantage of...don't mean at all to knock on you, or to suggest I want anything but a 110% sexually charged story, I want it all, so far have enjoyed all that you have written.

  10. Well, Jeff.. interesting... I think the whole blog is look where I am, look at how special I am...hehehe, and it's not so much about how special I am, but how special my friend Cliff is, ya know... but all too often people can see me better from the outside than I see myself, and for that, and all your lively comments I thank you!