1: Coming Home
The sound of my doorbell rang and I was excited. My best friend and his family were finally moving back to Virginia, six years after being in Tokyo. We didn’t have much time to catch up on the phone because of those international charges. All I know is he needed a place to stay until he finds a new house to buy, so I got him.
I got up and opened my front door.
Immediately my two godchildren came running towards me. “Uncle Ron!” They said in unison.
I laughed, giving them both hugs.
“Can I play your Nintendo 64?” DJ looked up at me.
I chuckled, “Yea. You get into the living room and I’ll set it up for you.”
Both of the kids run past.
Dwayne welcomes me with a big hug, which we rarely ever do, but I can’t help but to hug him back.
“Finally, man,” I smiled.
He smiled back, “Yeah, we back out here, man.”
I noticed Whitley from the corner of my eye. She looked a little distraught.
“Whit?” I smiled with open arms.
She immediately changed her expression into a big smile, “Ronaldus!” She made her way to hug me, “I hope the basement is already set up for us because I’m a little exhausted from that plane ride.”
“Everything’s set up perfectly. Come on in.”
They walked in with their suitcases. Dwayne looked around, as if he was reminiscing.
“What you thinking about there, Dwayne?”
“How simple things were when I lived here,” he sighed.
That’s right. I took over the house after Dwayne and Whitley moved. Ironically, now that they’re temporarily staying here, they have the basement.
“What does that mean?”
“I’ll catch you up to speed a little later. I see you got all of our boxes,” he chuckled.
They started sending me boxes full of the things that they wanted to keep from their apartment in Tokyo before officially moving out.
“Uncle Ron, you don’t have the new Nintendo 64, yet?!” DJ exclaimed.
“The new one? There’s a new one?” I looked at Dwayne, confused and shocked.
“Oh yea, Japan’s a little more advanced, my brother,” Dwayne smirked, “But don’t worry. America will release the new one in a few weeks, though, you good.”
I sucked my teeth, “Whatever. Are you sure all four of you can sleep in that queen sized bed?”
“We can’t,” Whitley forced a smile, “So, I’ll be taking the bed in the basement with the kids, and Dwayne will be on the couch, if you don’t mind.”
“Whitley…” Dwayne looked at her.
She glared at him, warning him to keep his mouth shut.
Dwayne let out a frustrated sigh, letting it go. Something’s definitely going on between them.
Whitley grabbed as many bags as she could before making her way to the basement.
Little Aiko ran after her, “Wait, Mama!”
I smiled at Aiko’s need to follow her mother around. I turned to Dwayne, “You in the doghouse, huh? What for?”
Dwayne sighs, “I messed up, man,” he looked down at DJ, then looked back up at me.
“Let’s catch up in the kitchen,” I made the way as I walked to the kitchen, Dwayne behind me.
He sat in a chair, “Got anything to drink?”
“I got you,” I went in the fridge to get a pitcher of iced tea, “So what’d you do?”
Dwayne looked to floor and sighed.
I dropped my bags to the floor and ran for the phone. I could feel myself ready to explode. I quickly dialed Kimberly’s number.
After only a few rings, someone answered. It was Spencer.
“Hi, It’s Whitley. Is Kim there?”
“Yes, she is. Kim!” He called for her.
Seconds later she was at the phone, “Hello?”
“Oh my god, Whitley! You’re back?!”
“For good,” I frowned, looking around Ron’s basement.
“It’s such a long story, Kimmy, I-” my voice began to crack. I felt myself ready to cry but I shook my head, trying to stop the feeling.
“Whitley, is everything okay? Where are you?”
“I’m at Ron’s. We’re staying here till we find a place.”
My daughter sat on the bed next to me and cuddled up to me. I put my arm around her.
“Do you want me to come?”
“Um, no, I’ll come to you.”
“Are you sure?”
“I’m positive. I need to talk. So much has happened, Kim, I don’t know what to do.”
Kim sighed, “Okay, well, get your butt over here. I’ll be waiting.”
“Okay, I’ll see you,” I hung up. I looked down at Aiko, “You wanna come with me to Auntie Kimmy’s house?”
Aiko gasps, “Yes!” She smiles, excitedly.
I giggled at her, picking her up. She reminds me so much of myself when I was younger, so happy and energetic. I made my way up the stairs back to the main floor. I walked into the living room, to see DJ stuck to that dang video game.
“I’m going to Auntie Kimmy’s house and I’m bringing Aiko, do you wanna come?”
DJ kept his eyes on the TV, moving his fingers on the game’s controller, “I’ll stay with Uncle Ron. His games are fun.”
“Okay. Where’s your daddy?”
“In the kitchen.”
I nodded. I walked to the kitchen, knocking on the door. I seemed to have interrupted a conversation because it all got quiet.
I opened the kitchen door, “I’m leaving to go to Kim’s. Aiko wants to go with me,” I looked blankly at Dwayne.
“Are you.. are you coming back tonight?”
“Do you see any bags in my hand? Yes, I’ll be back tonight, not that you deserve it,” I rolled my eyes before walking out.
By the time I got to Kim’s, Aiko was knocked out. I paid the cab driver, before coming out the car, holding my baby. We’re still waiting on our car to get transported from Tokyo.
I rang the doorbell and Kim excitedly opened the door. She was about to give me a hug until she realized an asleep Aiko on my arm.
“Oops. She’s sleeping already?” Kim opened the door wider for me to walk in.
“Yes, it was a long, long plane ride. An exhausting one too,” I walked inside.
She smiled, “Well, at least your here. Here you can lay her in the guest room,” she walked me to another room in her apartment. She owned a two bedroom.
“This room is adorable. I’d change the drapes, though,” I walk in, laying Aiko down.
Kim shook her head with a smile, “You’re always ready to renovate a house that’s not yours.”
I giggled, covering my daughter with the blanket, “I can’t help it.”
“Yea, I know. I learned that years ago.”
I turned to her and excitedly ran to hug her, finally, “I haven’t seen you since your wedding!”
She hugged back tightly, “I know, I know! And look at you,” she let go of the hug to observe me, “Your body’s still tight as ever. There’s no way in hell Dwayne could look elsewhere, huh?”
That struck a nerve. I inhaled sharply, and looked down.
She shook her head no, “Oh, no. That can’t be what you needed to talk about. Dwayne didn’t–”
“He did, Kim,” I felt a lump in my throat. My eyes filled with tears.
“Oh, no, come on,” Kim lead me out of the room, “How about I pour you a cup of coffee and you can tell me all about it,” she gestured for me to sit in the couch.
I sat down, trying my hardest not to let any tears fall and ruin my make up. I hated that Dwayne did this to me. I hated that he made me feel this way. This was my biggest fear as a married woman and he made it come true.
Kim disappeared into the kitchen.
I looked around Kim’s living room before looking down at my fingers. I was so happy. A successful black woman working in one of the most famous art galleries in Tokyo, married to a man who works for an engineering company. A man who made it his job to marry me. A man who fought for me for years, even when I wasn’t convinced that he was he man for me. A man who gave me two beautiful children and now all of that is broken. What has become of me?
I felt a tear roll down my face, but I quickly wiped it away.
Kim came back in with two cups of coffee. She handed me one. She sat next to me, with the most concerned and sympathetic face.
I cleared my throat, “So where’s Spencer?”
“The hospital actually needed him and called right after you did. He’ll be out for the night. But enough of that. What happened?”
I woke up from my nap. It was my day off and earlier this morning I had made a big breakfast for my Pookie and my babies, before kissing my husband goodbye and dropping the kids off to school. I came back home and went straight to my bed.
I looked at the clock. 12:42. Dwayne’s lunch break was in 45 minutes, and if I hurry up, I could make it.
I brushed my teeth again, to freshen up. I let my curly, dark locks loose, to frame my face.
Dwayne and I have been so busy between working and the kids that sometimes making time for each other is hard. But after an argument, I realized it was time to try a little harder to give my Pookie some attention. And I know just how to spice up his lunch break.
I called his favorite take out Japanese food spot in Tokyo, and asked if I could make an order for pick up. Then I put on Dwayne’s favorite lingerie of mine. A red bustier corset, a red thong, garters, and tights. And of course, my red pumps.
I went back into the bathroom, and powdered my face a little so my face doesn’t shine. I put on a little mascara, lined my waterline with a black pencil liner, and a bold, red lip.
I made sure to drench myself in Dwayne’s favorite perfume on me, Chanel No. 9, before putting on my black mink coat, wrapping it around, and making sure that it doesn’t show a thing. I grabbed my purse and made my way for the door.
After picking up Dwayne’s food, I was right where I needed to be. Kinishewa Enterprises. I got stares, but I didn’t sweat it. When you’re anything but Japanese, living in Japan? You’re gonna get crazy looks no matter what.
The receptionist smiled, “Mrs. Wayne.”
“Yes, ma’am. I’m just dropping off a little something for my husband for him to eat.”
“No problem, go on ahead,” the receptionist kept her grin.
My heels clicked against the floor as my body got to the elevator. Just in time, it dinged and the elevator doors opened. I let the two business-men walk out, and I stepped right in. I pressed the number 4, as Dwayne works on the fourth floor.
I smiled to myself just thinking what I’m gonna do to that man in his office. It’ll be short and sweet but it’ll leave him wanting more once he gets home. And I’ll be waiting.
The elevator got to the fourth floor and I stepped out. As I made my way to his office, people waved and greeted me. Dwayne being the only African American who works in Kinishewa’s Japan headquarters, everyone noticed and knew us.
As I got in front of my baby’s office, I wanted to make a slow entrance and catch him off guard. I twisted the knob gently and opened the door just a peek, just so I can see how adorable my man looks while concentrated on work…. but that’s not what I saw at all.
Some… woman. On my Dwayne. His hands groping her behind while she tongues him down. Immediately, my face turned to a frown. My eyes swelled with tears but I couldn’t cry. I couldn’t be embarrassed.
I didn’t know to react so I just… I closed the door gently. As if I was never there. I’ve never rushed out of a place so quickly in my life.
Tears poured down my face as I drove home. All that was going through my head was I hated him. I hated him so much.
I’m an angry eater, so when I got home all the food that I got for Dwayne was mine. I stuffed my face with food one second, was crying my eyes out the next. What did I do wrong?
End of Flashback
“Oh, my god, Whitley, I’m so sorry,” Kim comforted me as I cried into her chest, “Dwayne is such an asshole.”
I sniffled before looking at her, “And when he got home, he knew. He knew that I knew. And he wanted to talk but I was just so uninterested at the time.”
“So you two haven’t talked about it since it happened?”
I shook my head, “No. I’ve only asked if he’s been having sex with her. He said yes, and I was over it. I didn’t wanna talk to him. The only other thing I’ve said regarding this was I’m going back to Virginia. I didn’t come to Tokyo for what he decided to put me through, and I’m taking Aiko and DJ. And he said fine. But he’s not letting me go alone. So we made the decision to move.”
“And leave Kinishewa?”
“Well, to be honest Dwayne’s been missing teaching for a while now. And DJ comes home crying at least once a week from Kindergarten about something that some little brat wanted to say about his skin. You know I gave Aiko her name to try to help her fit in, but the second I brought her into a daycare to try and register her, they were giving Aiko such funny looks that I just changed my mind. There’s so much that contributed to this move but Dwayne’s infidelity is just the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
“I’m so sorry, Whitley. Do you know how long… it… was going on?”
“I don’t wanna know,” I stared blankly at the floor, “at least not yet. I’m not ready to know. It’s too much, Kim.”
“I understand. And I didn’t know those things were happening to DJ and Aiko.”
“Yea,” I sniffled, “And you know Dwayne can help DJ. Black man to black boy. DJ has somebody who understands him. Aiko doesn’t have that. I can’t relate to my baby,” tears start to fall again. I couldn’t help it.
“You know, one day, Dwayne and the kids came to visit me at the art gallery. I was so happy to introduce my boss to my family. My bosses five year old daughter was there. She took one look at Aiko and said, ‘Ew. Her skin looks like dirt,’” I sniffled, “and my boss, she… she tried to pull her daughter away from us. But Aiko understood her. And Aiko started to cry. And I tried to comfort her and she looked at me and said ‘Your skin and hair is pretty, mama. Mine is not,’” I scoffed, “My heart broke, Kimberly.”
Kim eyes looked watery. She shook her head, “Whenever you need me to, I’ll talk to her, okay?”
“Will you?” I wiped my eyes, “She looks up to you so much.”
Kim nodded, “I know what it’s like to be that dark little girl that everyone makes fun of. I’ll always be able to talk to her. Come,” Kim opened her arms for another hug.
Ron looked at me furiously, “You can’t be serious.”
I sighed, “I know. I fucked up, man,” I clenched my jaw, “I’m such an idiot.”
“Na, you’re more than that. Whitley’s grown to be like my sister, she didn’t deserve that, Dwayne,” he turned his head to the side, observing me. It was almost like he didn’t know who I was anymore. I don’t know who I am anymore, either.
“I know, I know. She’s been so distant since, man. I don’t even know if I can get her back.”
“I mean, is it a surprise that she’s distant? What woman you know is gonna drop everything she knows and loves to follow a man to Tokyo?”
I looked down. I didn’t know what to say. I had no way to defend myself.
“You fucked up with the most loyal and understanding woman I know, Dwayne. You know how many brothers wanted that? And still want that? Are you out of your damn mind? What were you thinking?”
“When it started, I was lonely. She was busy all the time and didn’t even have time to talk so I could tell her how I was feeling,” I still kept my eyes on the floor.
“So you go and cheat?”
“Fuck,” I made a fist out of anger, “I know it was stupid, alright? And it’s not even like I did the shit one time, this went on for months, Ron. She was all I had when I first moved out there, man. How could I do this to her?” My eyes didn’t leave the ground.
I was searching within myself for answers, angry with myself. I felt selfish. I felt stupid. I felt so many things at once. She’s my wife. Why didn’t I just find a way to talk to her?
Ron sighed, “What lead up to the first time?”
“Dwayne, not tonight,” Whitley fanned me away with her hand as she closed her eyes.
It’s been a long week, I’ve barely seen my wife. Between both our jobs and the kids, it’s like we barely have time to say five words to each other.
“Come on, baby,” I kissed her hand, “I miss you.”
“I miss you, too, but I’m tired,” she looked at me.
“Too tired for your Pookie?” I tucked her hair behind her ear.
She sighed, “Dwayne. Please?”
I sucked my teeth, “We haven’t been intimate in over a month. That’s not an issue to you?”
“Not when I have a job.”
“Oh, look at you. Finally getting a job and now it’s all you worry about. Just forget your husband’s needs, right?”
“Excuse me? Don’t be ridiculous. We have things to pay for.”
“No, I have things to pay for. I pay the rent and bills, all you do is go shopping with that money of yours.”
“Oh, so you buy all the kids clothes?”
“I would if you weren’t so adamant on spending money on designer clothes for our children.”
“Why can’t they have nice things, Dwayne?” She sat up, slightly raising her voice.
“They do have nice things. A roof over their head, food, clothes, and two loving parents. I don’t need them turning out bourgie and spoiled like you.”
“Ohhh, okay. So is this about sex or is this about ragging on me? Cause you have a lot of mean things to say, tonight.”
“I’m just frustrated, Whitley! I haven’t made love to you in a month. I miss you. I miss my Bunny, and it feels like you’re not concerned at all, baby.”
“Because I feel like this is a childish conversation, that’s why. You’re upset because I don’t want to have sex.”
“Not just sex. When’s the last time we laid down together and just talked? When’s the last time we went out to dinner? When’s the last time we went to the movies? When’s the last time we sat down as a family and ate dinner? It’s been a minute, Whitley.”
“Well, what do you want me to do about that, Dwayne?”
I sighed. She wasn’t listening to me. She wasn’t listening to my needs or my wants. She wasn’t listening to the fact that I missed her. She wasn’t listening to anything.
“Nothing, Whitley. Do nothing. It’s not like you do anything for me, anyways,” I sighed and got up.
She gasped and threw a pillow at me, “You’re sleeping on the couch, tonight!”
“Trust me,” I made my way towards the door, “That’s where I was headed, anyway.”
End of Flashback
“Oh, wow,” Ron looked at me, “I’m not saying what you did was right but-”
“You understand how I was feeling at the time, right? You know me. I can never just wake up one morning and decide to hurt my woman. I fought for her too hard to do that. It just… happened.”
“I understand. You felt ignored.”
“I did. And then the next morning, her eyes looked red and puffy. Like she had been crying. I tried to talk to her then, too, but she wasn’t hearing it. So I went off to work and…”
“That’s when it happened the first time?”
“Yea. And you know what the worst part was? After it happened, I came home. Whitley had dinner cooked up and had put the kids to bed early. And I wanted to talk to her about it. I did. But she just started apologizing to me. Apologizing and saying how right I was, and how she wasn’t making time for me. So, she had dinner ready and wanted to spend all night with me. I couldn’t tell her, anymore. I felt so guilty.”
Ron shook his head, “This is crazy.”
“It is. We had sex that night. It was the greatest I felt in months. And she was smiling at me, after. I miss that smile, man,” I looked down at my hands, “She hasn’t smiled at me since she found out.”