When does it stop?  Why do some of us take and take and give and give the worse of ourselves and pretend to others that all is well?  When we stay in situations that are not benefitting to our lives and cause us more angst and pain than pleasure and joy.  We kill ourselves and esteem daily.  And at times making it harder for others to deal with us because we have grown into a grotesque habit of dysfunction....

Once again I sat on the couch at my best friend’s house listening to the rhetoric that was going on.  This wasn’t the first nor was it the last time I am sure that I would hear it.  I loathed coming over here because there was not a day nor a time that I didn’t come over here that my best friend didn’t put his woman down.  How she put up with it I have no idea.  I loved them both and they had been together for such a long time. They had managed to stay together for some years.  Wasted years in my opinion.  Two children together and they each had a child from other relationships so all together it was four.  My boy Sal had a twenty year old by his high school sweetheart and they got along swell!  I mean no issues at all once their relationship was over they co-parented together seeing their only child and Dorian’s only child together through college and she is a very well rounded and cultured young lady.  I smile as I think about Samantha.  I am her god dad and we are very close!  There is nothing in the world that I would not do for her and she knows it.  You would think I was an uncle or something.  She can call in the middle of the night and I will come running!  It is that simple!

Sal met Dorian when he and I worked at the same company some years back.  I would lie to you and not tell you the truth when I say that Dorian was way out of Sal’s league. She was sexy and had her act trump tight and Sal is a huge nerd of sorts but a very wordly guy at the same time.  But they ended up together.  Not once getting married, oh trust he asked more than a few times but her answer was always no because she always had an excuse.  Legitimate excuses of course I didn’t blame her.  They were together for three years before they had their first child together Mariah.  And five years later came Morris.  Dorian has cheated on Sal too many times for me to recall.  And Sal, well Sal I cannot say if he cheated or not to be totally honest.  I know he has flirted with a few women here and there and may have even exchanged numbers with other women. But Sal was in love with Dorian so deeply that he ran up behind her like a sick puppy dog!  And Dorian could get any and everything from him.  He went broke at times giving her the things she asked for. 

Now where the dysfunction in their relationship stems and stands is that Sal always has something negative to say to Dorian all the time.  She can’t cook, walk into a room, leave the house, come home, talk on the phone, clean up or walk in a room without him saying something crass or rude.  Even a hello after she goes or comes from a trip or work is salty.  And Dorian takes it!  Why I have no idea. He constantly complains of how she dresses and what she watches and how he wants her to change.  Dorian never replies she just takes it.  They are far from good terms and as far as I can see their relationship has been on the down spiral the past four to five years.  As Sal tells it they have not have sex in way over two years.  And I know Dorian she is not going without sex or dating a man.  She comes and goes and mostly she is gone.   Sal like a lumpkins takes care of the children.  Feeding; taking to school and all of their extracurricular activities. If not having someone else do it if he can. And When Samantha comes over she lends a hand and so does Dorian’s son Michael.  This is indeed a house of dysfunction. Sal has now hired a maid to come in and keep the house clean and Dorian does not cook nor clean as she once did for Sal or the kids.  This relationship has brought the worse out of them both, but yet they stay.  Sal has told me that he plans on moving.  Yet the move date has been pushed up so many times I have lost track! Sal is very capable of paying rent on his own and so is Dorian.  If anything I thought it was the sake of the kids, but that really isn’t so because their two children are now old enough to understand.  Or at least I think so.  Ten and fourteen. 

While Sal is throwing salt all over Dorian and she is ignoring it as usual.  She is cooking in the kitchen which I am wholly surprised ! From What Sal says she barely cooks.  The kids have left for the summer and are away at camp.  I was happy that they were out of the house and away from the madness.

“Smells good Dorian. She smiled up at me.

“Thanks doll!  I am having a get together later on this evening.

“Are you?”  I was surprised.  I cannot recall the last party that Dorian nor Sal had given in their home. They use to throw gatherings a lot.  But Sal was also a very insecure and jealous man when it came to Dorian.  A few of his not so close buddies had hit on Dorian and that had put a stop to some of those parties and bar-b-ques. 
“Yeap.  She smiled hard.  Sal is going to the store to get all the liquor.  I am surprised he didn’t tell you about it.  I mean really surprised.  He tells you everything I know.”

“Well I guess not everything.”I was confused.  Just then Sal resurfaced from the back with keys in his hand. Hey man why you didn’t tell me about today?”

“Man it has been so much going on.  I have been so tied up with so much.  I just came in this morning I was gonna call you today but you popped up.  You wanna roll to the store with me?”

“Naw I will just kick back here and wait for you to come back.  I know you need some help setting up I can do that.”

“Sounds good.  I will be back soon.  You want anything from the store?”

“Nope I’m good.” And he walked out the front door. I then walked in the kitchen.

“Did I miss something here?”  Dorian looked up at me.

“Yes and no.  I came to a brief truce with Sal.”
“A truce?”  I was confused.

“Yeah, you can tell Sal or you can let me tell Sal.  I know that you and I are close but I also know that your allegiance is to Sal.  I’m leaving and Sal doesn’t know it. Well not yet anyways.  You know we have been on the outs for years and I am simply tired of the lies, the angst and the constant negativity in the house.  I have let so many things go.  The way I care for me and my children.  The kids know, and I have given them a choice.  They can stay with me or they can stay with Sal.  Actually they will do camp and they will spend some time with my parents up in Seattle and then Come and spend some time with Sal’s parents.  I am leaving this crazy house Ches.”  I stood there dumbfounded and shocked.

“What?....When?  When did you decide this?”  Dorian stopped what she was doing and looked at me…tears forming in her eyes.

“Ches I have been unhappy for a long loooong time with Sal.  And you know this and he knows this.  I use to be the one that had all the smart quirks and threw icy words on Sal.  I stopped a long time ago and let him have it.  I have had too many affairs to recall over our relationship.  Some Sal knows about and some he doesn’t.  Sal has had many affairs as well.”

“Sal?  Sal would have told me if he cheated on you.”

“Well apparently Sal hasn’t told you everything because he has fathered a child. Her name is Bethany and she is a month old.” Again I was shocked!  My mouth hung open and I felt betrayed.  I had been best friends with Sal since we were in elementary school.  He didn’t tell me about the party, his many affairs and never not once did he mention he had a baby!  A baby!  Get the hell out of here!

“Sal?  A baby?  With who?  Wha…. I cannot believe he would not….damn….When?  Oh my….I guess we are not as close as I thought we were. This…this has literally blown me back…how did you find out?”

“Well he didn’t just come out and tell me off the bat. I found out by mistake.   You recall Sheena Boston?”I had a confused look and then a knowing look and then a look of surprise.  I knew exactly who she was. Sheena was a side piece I had hooked up with a couple of years ago.  We had a sexual tryst that lasted about six months until she left for Canada.  Sal was quite aware of this.  Matter of fact there were a few times he had come by the house to find Sheena there.  Now I didn’t have feelings for Sheena but I did have a deep infatuation for her and liked her a lot.  She was a rare something something and was a mother in bed!  Oh my how that girl had skills in bed! I guess my mistake was telling Sal how great she was and how deep my attraction was for her.  The reason why Sheena and I did not work out was simply because we had no idea at the time of how long she would be gone.  Sheena was a model and she also was a photographer!  Wild I thought but her careers took her just about all over the world!  She was gaining popularity.  When was not hired to do a shoot for a magazine or walk a runway she was taking pics all over the place and she had a keen eye and took breathtaking photos.  I was now wondering when had she gotten back because not once had she reached out and told me that she was living here let alone had a baby!  But why would she if she was screwing my best friend!

“So how did you find out?  And you know me and Sheena use to…”  She nodded yes.

“I know, of course I knew. I mean Sheena and I were not close friends are best friends.  But she and I traveled and hung out in the same circles.  And we even hung out a few times.  I mean if she hadn’t come over here to the party that Sal and I threw back a few years ago you and her would have not met.”

“I am just perplexed and honestly quite behooved that I am finding out all this maddening drama about my boy.  Or at least I thought he was my boy!  I don’t know what to feel to be quite honest with you.  I am really numb right now.”  Dorian was prepping, slicing and dicing and placing food in bowls and dishes in the oven.

“See I didn’t come and tell you any of the things that I knew and had found out about Sal your BOY because I knew.  Or so I thought you would take his side.  I wanted to stay out of it as much as I could.  And I didn’t want to come in between you two. Sal is a piece of work!  A liar and I am sure he was quick to tell you all the dirt on me and not himself because Sal wanted to paint a perfect picture of what he was not. Yes he is a good father, buuuuuuut……oh and he is also messing around with his ex too!”  This was too much info to retain. 

“Who?  What ex?”

“Samantha’s mom Morgan.  They have been messing around off and on for the past three years.  This came out of Samantha’s mouth from her to me.  You know Sam and I are close.  I was wondering why Morgan had stopped coming around the past few years.  I knew she was traveling and doing her.  Started her business and was all over the place.  She would call me here and there and I would call her here and there.  But Samantha loves me just as I love her. She didn’t want me to find out the hard way.  I gave her my word that I would say nothing to Sal about it.  But Sam came home from school and caught them in bed together.  She forwarded me emails they have sent back and forth to one another I still have them.”

“Damn Dorian!  I am starting to get mad at this mother…”  Dorian stopped what she was doing and looked me right in the eye.

“I need you to remain cool and keep your composure Chester.  I got this!  I really do!  I am tired so tired.  The past three years I saved my coins and bought me a townhouse on the other side of town. I have furnished it and everything.  I have been slowly but surely moving my clothes out the house the past month.  Mariah knows about the house and I am so proud that my girl has kept it a secret.  And yes she knows about the baby as well.”

“How did you find out?”
“I walked in on a conversation that he was having on the phone with Sheena.  They were having a small tiff and he was telling her that he loved her and that he loved his baby and not to get all bent out of shape.  I stayed standing in the doorway of the office we shared. When he hung up the phone I was still standing there and there was no way that he could deny it.  He said nothing, and I told him that he needed to tell the children they had a baby sister and I walked out.  Later, much later on he told me the whole story of him and Sheena.  Sheena had asked about you and said she was coming to see you but he had persuaded her not to.  And so their affair had begun!”
“So the kids know?”

“Yes they do. So this party as far as Sal is concerned is us moving forward to a new beginning. But the new beginning is me moving out and moving on with my life.  Sal and I have not been in good spirits with one another for a long time.”

“Sal always tells me how much he loves you.”

“Yeah whatever, Sal may love me but Sal is a jealous selfish insecure lying son of a bytch! And why are we still together and we are doing our own thing?”

“Are you in love with someone else?”

“I am.  And no he is not moving in with me.  I think I am over living with a man until I get married for a long time.  I deserve better than Sal.  And he needs to be with Sheena.  So I have come to the conclusion that we need to be apart.  I stay away because I am mostly at my townhouse and Sal is telling you that I have not been a good mom.  Not true they have been there with me spending time.  I don’t cook and clean this house like I should because I am over this whole situation.  This house and being here.  This is my farewell to Sal. I will not be telling him where I am moving because I know he will give me hell.”

“Damn I am still in shock, my boy.  My best friend.  I guess this will be the last of us as well.  How can I remain and be friends with a man that …” Just then we heard Sal in the driveway.  He was on the phone telling someone to come on through this evening. 

“Here take this stuff outside to the back.  I will be out there soon and you can help me set up.”

My boy, my best friend.  I had to keep it all together.  I had too!

The party was really great I must admit.  There was a DJ, lots of great food and music.  A lot of the people we hung out with and partied with were there.  Dorian had to have been cooking and prepping food all day for this event.  She kept a straight face and smiled, laughed and played the perfect hostess!  She looked absolutely beautiful!  And once some of the guys got a little liquor in them, they of course hit on her.  When Sal saw this he immediately got angry but I was sure to detour him and calm him down.  The one thing I will say was Dorian never had an affair with any of his friends or anyone that he knew or socialized with. 

The party had begun to wind down about eleven pm.  It had been going on since four that evening.  And as people were leaving I was helping Dorian clean up.  When we had finished about midnight Sal had come into the kitchen.  He was still buzzing from all the liquor he had induced.  He came in and had slapped me on the back, not hard but more like a buddy slap.

“That was a great party man!  I am glad that you came by.  I gotta apologize that I didn’t call you but I was.”  I smirked.

“Yeah, it was a great gathering.  Hadn’t had one of those in a loooong time man.”

“No we haven’t” Dorian had taken a deep breath.  And then she turned around from the sink.  Wiping her hand with a dishtowel.

“I am glad that you had a great time Sal.  Now comes the time to tell you that I am moving on and forward with my life.  I have given the children the choice of what they would like to do as far as where they would like to live.  We are no longer good for one another and we have known this for a long time now.  You have your life with Sheena and your daughter.  And I am in love with Jeremy.  But you already know this.  I wanted us to have a good time today and tonight.  I am not telling you where I have bought my home.  But I do hope that we can co-parent as well as you have with Samantha’s mom. Not that you have noticed, but all of my things are gone.  I will keep in touch.  I do not want anything from you or from this house that we have purchased or I have purchased.  I want the children to enjoy all of the many things we purchased in the house.”  I know that Sal really wanted to go off on Dorian.  I seen it in his body language. But I was there and he was containing himself.  And I am sure that Dorian did this with me there as her safety net. She walked out of the kitchen and walked into the living room and went into the guest closet and got her suitcase out.  I assume it was the last of her belongings. 

“Hold up Dorian I am leaving, I will walk you to your car.”

“Thanks Ches.”

“Hold up a damn minute!  You knew about this Chester?” 
“Well I found out today.  Just like I found out about the party. You have a baby with Sheena?  Really? Wooooooow man!  I thought we were boys?  How long has this been going on?  You and Sheena?  You knew I had feelings for her man….. I had no idea that she was back in Arizona.  But apparently you did.  Humph…. I guess our friendship really meant a lot to you.  All this time you were throwing salt on Dorian, and you have been the main character in all of this sorted mess.  I know Dorian and you have had problems but I had no idea it was to this extent.  Thanks man for being the best friend I could only dream of.  Here Dorian let me get that for you.”  I picked up Dorian’s suitcase and she in turn had a key ring with some keys on it.  She dropped them on the coffee table.

Dorian walked out of the front door and I was right behind her.  And here I thought that Dorian and Sal would be together forever and one not let the other go.  And here I was wrong.  All this time Dorian was preparing for this day. 

“You sorry son of a bytch!  Sheena didn’t want your azz anyways she wanted a real man!”  I said nothing and kept walking.  It really would have not mattered anyway, our relationship was done.  It was over!  I said all that I was going to say I didn’t feel I needed to say anything else. 


“Just Toy”

Written Expressions

Emilie M

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