“Mami, mami!” Evan cooed as he ran into my arms. I planted a dozen or more kisses all over his face and he giggled loudly as my smooches grew closer to his ticklish neck.
“Come on, Mami!” he exclaimed while pulling my hand. I hesitated like I always do when entering my ex-fiance/Evan’s father’s grandiose home. A home he purchased for himself only a year after our relationship ended. To think he refused to move us from that shitty 1-bedroom basement apartment even after having Evan.
We didn’t have an actual lease in The Dungeon. We lived in The Dungeon for 4 years. We were in The Dungeon till the bitter end.
I forged ahead and ran after Evan, who teased me by hiding in various rooms. He bolted into his dad’s bedroom. I hesitated. This is his space. A bedroom is sacred. A bedroom is private. It’s where the dirt is hidden and where the truth is revealed. I didn’t want to intrude, but another part of me wanted to say “fuck it.” Ransack his drawers, like I’m the Popo looking for evidence of wrongdoing. Or planting it. #BlackLivesMatter
I stepped in and scanned his bedroom. Evan ran into the bathroom where his dad washed his hands at the moment. The same, black Ikea furniture served as décor – if you can call the Lack table furniture. A flat screen TV hung on the wall. His bed sat in the corner, covered in black and white sheets. No headboard. No footboard. Same old same.
Then I saw it. The silk pillow. White and shiny. Nestled next to the wall. Next to the two pillows he sleeps on when he can actually sleep.
Her silk pillow. To maintain her curly hair. To keep it shiny. To remain au naturel.
It lies there because she lies there. It lies there in its permanency because she is not going anywhere.
She sleeps on The Silk Pillow often. He lies with her and fucks her often while her curls dance on The Silk Pillow. She is with my son often. And I wonder if Evan climbs in bed with them in the early morning. Does she play with her curly locks like he does mine? Does he say “buenos dias” and snuggle with her just like when he’s with me?
My chest tightens and I can feel myself crumbling all over again. I walk away from The Silk Pillow. I try to leave it behind me in his bedroom, in their bedroom. I have the urge to storm back in, grab it and spit on it. Tear it up. Pee on it like a dog marking its territory even though I don’t want him anymore. Smear gum on it like a kid rubs gum on a seat at school to play a prank. Scream my hate for her into it. But I don’t. I am a woman of dignity that was raised to have pride just like Mami has pride. Another woman scorned.
I walk away. I call on Evan and he rushes into my arms. I play Pancake Manor’s “Gingerbread Man” in the car and he sings along. I turn around at a red light and smile at him.
“I love you, bub.”
“I love you too, Mami.”
I keep my eyes on the road and try not to cry.
The Silk Pillow is a cruel reminder that he chose her. That she has a place in his home. A home that he never wanted to provide me with, even after we were engaged and I had his son.
What he gave me was The Dungeon – a dark space where unconditional love couldn’t grow because it was just too cold.
We also made a beautiful son together. A happy boy that giggles when I smooch his ticklish neck.
He left me with a shattered heart from his betrayal. And as much as I want to forget, he doesn’t let me. The Silk Pillow won’t let me.
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