When It All Falls Down(2)

By: Tamicka Higgins

“Stay positive,” Tramar said, in a very encouraging voice. “I know you, and you’ll keep pushing until you find something. Just keep on pushing. You know a nigga is here for you if you need anything. Swear, put that on everything, don’t hesitate to ask a nigga if you need any fuckin’ thing.”

“I know,” Ayana said, glancing out into the living room. “And thank you. I love you.”

“I love you more,” Tramar said.

Ayana smiled, knowing that she really did have a dude who had her best interest at heart. The two of them had met just a couple of weeks after graduating from high school. The funny thing about their romance was the fact that they’d gone to the same high school and had never noticed one another. Funny enough, on the odd occasion that Ayana went to the club with her cousin, Sharli, she had met Tramar. He’d been standing off to the side with a couple of his friends. The two locked eyes and the rest was history.

“What you doin’ today?” Ayana asked Tramar. “I ain’t see you text me, so I’m sorry. I just been a little frustrated.”

“No, it’s okay,” Tramar said. “Don’t you worry about me. You do you and a nigga will be right here, waiting by your side. And I ain’t really did shit today. I went and hung out with a couple of cousins I got over in Indiana. You know, my family in Michigan City?”

“The ones I met at the cookout on the Fourth of July or something?” Ayana asked, wanting clarification.

“Yeah,” Tramar said. “Them niggas. You know how they is.”

Ayana giggled, as she could hear the bit of anguish in Tramar’s voice. He and his family had never really gotten along. Tramar had learned how to make money out in the streets, hustling in one way or another. His family, on the other hand, seemed to have a habit of having their hands out and wanting to ask for something rather than getting up off of their asses and actually going and working for it like he did. For this reason, Tramar tried to distance himself from certain parts of his family. The more they had their hands out, the less he made an effort to actually see them.

“Stop it,” Ayana said, playfully. “That’s your family, Tramar. Don’t be that way.”

“Naw,” Tramar said. “Fuck them niggas. Like I said, you know how they is. I only went because my mama wanted me to go. I swear, if she didn’t want a nigga to go, I woulda been anywhere else in the fuckin’ world but over there and hangin’ out with them niggas.”

Ayana giggled. “I know,” she said, thinking of how Tramar said that every time he went to see his family in Michigan City, a small town in Northern Indiana that sat right on Lake Michigan, about sixty miles east of Chicago.

“What you ‘bout to do right now?” Tramar asked. “You know what a nigga want.”

“Do I know what a nigga want?” Ayana asked, sarcastically. “Nigga, this ain’t the nineteen fifties, and I ain’t your damn housewife. How I’m supposed to know what you want?”

“You know,” Tramar said, suggestively. “Stop playin’, girl. You know I wanna see you today. I know you tired and stuff from try’na find a job. That’s why I ain’t bother you earlier in the day because I remembered you tellin’ me that you was frustrated and was really try’na find a job. Let a nigga come swoop you up and make your day better.”

“Where you try’na go?” Ayana asked.

“Damn,” Tramar said. He then snickered. “Every time a nigga try’na do somethin’ good for his lady, she got to come with the twenty questions like he ain’t try’na do something for her. Let me come swoop you up and surprise you. Not unless you wanna sit at home with your mama. I know how you love her. She like your best friend.”

Ayana glanced out into the living room, knowing that her mother was somewhere in the apartment still. She’d been kind of quiet for the last couple of hours, and Ayana was not complaining the least bit. “Boy, don’t start that shit,” she said, shaking her head. “You know she ain’t my best friend. We ain’t even really coo like that.”

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