Kori Maitland, on a journey to find herself; gets distracted when she meets Layla Bradford. After a tumultuous 5-year relationship with Layla, Kori is given a 30 day notice that compels her to move back to the Midwest. This move forces Kori to deal with an eviction, a cheating lover, betrayal from friends, a near-death traffic accident and childhood demons. Although it would seem that chaos surrounds Kori, her journey is a spiritual one. With the help of a therapist, Kori faces most of her demons and realizes how dysfunctional her life has been, but it doesn’t have to be. After reflecting upon her life, she sees all the notices she has received and ignored. For the first time in life, Kori does not allow her past to distract her and she moves forward as planned.
The Beginning of the End
April 4th I woke up uneasy. I had been scrapping the side of my tongue with my teeth all night long and it was sore. Layla and I woke up on Aundrea’s couch feeling like we had been beaten with a bag of rocks. Well, I did if she didn’t. I dreaded this day and I became not mean or nasty, just pissy. I wouldn’t dare talk to Layla about it. She was walking around here like the day was the best day of her life because it was. It marked the first day of the rest of her life. Today began a new chapter for her and was the ending of one for me. I couldn’t blame her though; I knew what that was like. I’d felt that feeling before. I just guessed that now it was my turn to feel the sting of someone I love leaving me behind.
Even though it was a beautiful day, I didn’t notice it. I felt like I was driving to my doom. My quietness filled the empty spaces of the car; today was the last day and our time was up. As I was driving down the 405 to the L.A. airport, I couldn’t help but think “Man, it’s over.” So many emotions began to well up inside of me and I felt like I couldn’t do this, but I had to be strong and put on my big girl boxers. I pulled into the short term parking lot, helped her with her bags, and walked her inside. I knew I couldn’t stay there and watch her leave so I said, “Goodbye” and walked away without so much as a kiss or a hug. I’d never told anyone goodbye before. Goodbye always felt like forever, that’s it, no more, adios; I’ll never see you again. I knew that I probably would see her again, but I knew it would never mean the same ever again.
As I walked back to the parking lot, I began to feel numb. I got into my truck and made it a point to not look back. I headed back on the 405 in the other direction toward North Hollyhood, affectionately called that because it is the hood of Hollywood. I pushed play and Mary J’s “No More Drama” began to play. My feelings began to spread all over me like hot butter on third degree burns. I found myself crumbling and the composure that I was trying to keep lost its battle as tears strolled down my face. My phone rang and it was my sister. My sister’s timing was always right. As I got older, it was always like she could feel when something wasn’t right. Of course when I answered the phone she would have to ask me how I was doing and that made me cry even harder as she listened like the mother in her always did.
I could feel the life seeping from my body. I laid out for my sister the feelings that I had been trying to keep inside for thirty days as they spilled over and I could no longer talk and had to get off of the phone. I tried to convince myself as well as my sister that I would be all right. I didn’t even know how long the ride took or even how I got home, but somehow when I pulled up to Aundrea’s apartment complex, I knew it was time to get out. I took the elevator up to the fourth floor, placed my key in the lock, and began to thank God when I noticed no one else was home. I sat myself down and the pain of hurt overtook me once again. I cried like a baby as I lay balled up on the floor holding my knees to my chest. I couldn’t believe that the woman I had loved so dearly for the past five years could leave me. The woman whom I thought the sun rose and set because of her left me. My heart ached so badly. I could physically feel it breaking into a million pieces, so I held my chest as I swallowed hard, trying to take in air. I had never felt like this before. It wasn’t like I hadn’t ever broken up with anyone before because I had. This was different.
I finally got myself off of the floor and took a shower thinking that would help soothe me but it didn’t. I kept thinking “How in the hell did I get here?” I had always thought Debra Cox’s song “How Did You Get Here” was stupid, but now I knew exactly what she meant. Thirty days ago I was living in a three-bedroom, two-bath, two-car garage home, with a pool in Orange County and thirty days later, I was sleeping on Aundrea’s couch. What the hell happened? The sad part was I knew what had happened. Thirty days ago, Layla told me she was leaving and even though I knew it, something in me still did nothing about it. I was given thirty days and still wasn’t prepared. I guess somewhere in the back of my mind I thought she wouldn’t really leave me.
While I was still contemplating, Aundrea walked in and said, “Hey! How did everything go?” When I turned turn to look at her, I guess she could see how everything went. “Oh, not so good, huh?”
I pulled the covers up over my head and tried to act like I was going to sleep. All night long I could feel myself tossing and turning. After five years of sleeping with someone and they were no longer there to nuzzle up under and spoon with, how the heck were you supposed to sleep? What was I supposed to do now with this left hand that always seemed to creep under her right breast as we lay asleep like two spoons in the silverware drawer? I could feel my tongue being scraped so hard that I thought my mouth was bleeding. The stress of what to do next even in my sleep haunted me. I woke up the next morning to go to a temp job I had lined up making half the money I was making after leaving my cushy job in Orange County because this time in my life had been carefully thought out by Layla for me. After returning from a trip back home to Detroit, she stated that she could no longer live on the West Coast anymore. She said that her children were unhappy and she felt like she wa s on the other side of the world. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing because this was the place that she chose to live over three years ago when she said she no longer cared to live in Detroit and wanted a new start. Me being me, I would’ve moved to Timbuktu if she had wanted to and would’ve been happy doing it. I wouldn’t have even cared if I had to wear a bone in my nose and put leaves on all of my private parts.
Trying to get myself ready for work, I ironed my clothes and I got into the shower. I tried to use the noise from the shower to drown my sobs and the water to rinse away my tears. I didn’t want Aundrea to hear me. The bathroom was literally in her room. I stood there lifeless for about twenty minutes before soaping up.
I couldn’t help but feel like this was the worst time to start a new temp job, but I still tried to seem pleasantly happy. The manager of the title agency came over and greeted me and gave me a quick tour of the office. I remember her giving me instructions on what I needed to do but for the life of me I couldn’t remember exactly what they were. Even though my mind drifted in and out on Layla, somehow I seemed to go through the motions exactly as I was told. I was on auto-pilot. At the copier, I thought of Layla. While entering in all of the loan documentation, I thought of Layla. I went over in my head every single day and every single moment that I could remember which all seemed good. When it was time to go to lunch, I walked over to Mickey D’s and grabbed a fish filet combo without cheese like normal but when I sat down to eat I took one bite and stared out the window. Forty-five minutes had passed and I had not taken another bite. I got up, threw away everythin g except the drink and headed back to the office. On my way I thought of the same things all over again until it was time to go home. When I pulled up to Aundrea’s, I realized once again that I had no idea of how I had gotten there. I was just glad the day was over and that I hadn’t killed myself or anyone else for that matter. I had an urge to write. Like always when things in my life weren’t going right, I needed to put my feelings on paper. This whole situation felt like it was burning a hole on the inside of me and if I didn’t get it out soon, I was going to go down in flames. I grabbed a journal from the back seat and began to write.
Right now I feel broken, like a person who was stripped down to nothing. The one person who I probably loved more than life itself is gone. Where do I go from here? How do I go on from here? My heart aches so badly. It’s all because I didn’t listen. I heard but I didn’t want to listen. Those subtle hints that people tell you without really saying the words . . . I heard them long time ago in my spirit but didn’t want to believe them. I didn’t want to hear the words even when they were spoken to me. I felt like all I needed to do was show more love, be more patient, let things just go, and now look how far it took me. I’m down to nothing once again. At least the first time I stripped myself bare to find myself, I had a bed, a room, something to retreat to. Listening to R. Kelley’s “I Believe I Can Fly” got me into this mess. Now I sit alone, lonely in my despair. Using Aundrea’s couch for a bed. How could I love someone else more than I love myself? How could I give up myself to fit into another’s world? Was I just being needy? Of all the people that I made myself available to, watching out for, doing for, making sure that they were okay, and now I’m not. I treated them better than my own family, but I guess that’s what I get. The people I have looked out for are not looking out for me. It’s my turn and when I turn around no one is here. No one could possibly understand the place that I am in. Why would they? I don’t even understand. God, help me to get out of this funk. This place is no good for me. I can’t feel any life around me. I feel like I am in the valley and the shadow of death is all around me. Lift me up, Lord, hold me to your bosom. Keep me close. Show me my errors and help me to get past all of the hurt and pain.
God, please restore my soul.
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