That International L Story.

The night I met him, I wasn’t at my best.  I was sending out my thirst traps to any and everyone I wanted to render a message back.

“You know better than to send that to my IG. Unsend it, and text it to me.”

“Delete me then.”

“Ok.”

D’Angelo loved an image.

I rolled my eyes at the screen.  “Knew you couldn’t resist me,” I typed. “She must not be fucking you right.”

“You playing. But really, when are you coming back in town?”

“Sometime in July.”

“Well, give me some advance notice,” he replied. 

“What you mean?”

“I mean, you can’t be rolling into town like, “Hey, I want ur dick now!”

“Who me?!”

“Who me?! Yeah you, lol.”

He’s not lying. I am guilty of having done that a few times. D’Angelo has never had a problem meeting up with me. In fact, whenever I’m in town, even on short notice, he always takes time to see my face – even if it’s just for a little bit. 

“I’ll even supply us a place to fuck so get your excuses ready.”

“Ok, I will.”

I really didn’t want the man, nor did I have any intent on following through with this plan. D’Angelo is a college ex, but the attention he gives feeds an ego when I’m feeling insecure and undesirable amongst goddesses.

“I’m heading to the bathroom,” I told my girls.  “I’ll be back.”

“Ok, girl.”

Out here in Mexico looking like a snack, and taking scraps from a man who was never able to give me a full meal, even when we were together.  That relationship ended almost 9 years ago. 

And then.

A handsome stranger extended his hand towards me, and I took it. He twirled me around so that my ass met his dick.

You already know what to do, sis.

I did.

I gyrated my ass against his ever throbbing member.  He grabbed my waist and pulled me closer to him so that I could feel all that he was working with.  He rotated his hips as we grinded to each and every song that played.  We continued to give each other the passion that we were feeling. 

And then I turned around.

And he kissed me.

You know how it goes.  We stared into each other’s eyes so intensely, and with such little room in between our faces that you can feel the softened breathing gently reaching your lips.

I’m gonna fuck this man.

“Say, what’s your name?”

There’s no way this man is actually talking to me. Is that an accent I detect? Oh my goodness. I stood there, mesmerised, taking him all in. His soft, brown eyes that I could make out through his oversized square character glasses. I bet he doesn’t even need them.  His smooth chocolate skin. That full beard cut low to his face. The chest hair that gripped his sweaty chest and spiraled around his Kente print shirt. I bit my lip as I took in his khaki shorts – he sure does wear them short, and those grey Yeezys. What’s up with the socks though? He wore a pair of plain white crew socks. Who does that?!

I opened my mouth to let out a low sigh, and bit the corner of my lip.

“It’s Jam.”

“Jam. Well, I’m going to call you Queen Jam Jam,” the stranger replied.

“Why Queen Jam Jam?”

“It’s your balloon crown, of course!”

I forgot about the clown walking through the club. Yes, an actual costumed clown. We danced together, and he made me a balloon crown. It had definitely been a long night. The handsome stranger – now, I most certainly think was most certainly a Londoner, took my hand, and led me outside the club. He leaned on the back of the banister and held my waist, while I rested my hands in his lap.

“What’s your name?”

“It’s Harold.”

Harold? “Harold, where are you from?”

“London. And you, Queen Jam Jam?”

“New York.”

Harold, at this moment, suggested that we go end the night back at his place. 

“Friends, can I take your friend with me for the evening?”

My friend, always looking out for my well-being (but knowing I always embrace the vibes of the moment) replied, “You better make sure she’s safe, because I’ll kill a mothafucker.”

“I’ll be a perfect gentleman.”

Maybe only for that night.

FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2019

It’s the last day in paradise, and I owe myself a few entries before it’s time to go. On Wednesday, June 19, 2019 – sometime around 2am, maybe 3am – 9:30am, I spent a glorious 6 hours getting to know a complete stranger that I can only hope will be mine for the rest of our lives. On his last night in Cancun! Am I trying to have this man’s baby? I think I know what I want, but sex so early also makes me doubt if a man feels the same and makes me check my insecurities. It shouldn’t matter, but doesn’t it always?

Having faith is the exact opposite of anxiety. I met a wonderful, God fearing man who is super single, has no kids (WHEW!), a job, loves to travel, and doesn’t mind having sex on the first night. It was like I manifested him, and then my anxiety was like…chill the fuck out, this was just a vacation. But I refuse to believe he is a testament to me repeating patterns. I did feel a passion, but I don’t know if it’s real. Harold Junior, are you my man?


WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 21, 2019

Journal. Where in the hell have I been? 


I’ll tell you. I never wrote about this moment until now. I was in London for two weeks.

Week one commenced, and I found myself in London on the hottest day of the year. I recorded 101 degrees Fahrenheit, a temperature my counterpart wouldn’t understand – “It’s celsius over here, babes.” 

Much like he wouldn’t understand the extent of my exhaustion after a flight from NYC to Dusseldorf, and from Dusseldorf to London. I knew this would be the case, because shortly after I landed, he asked me to meet up with him in Central London to pick out his new glasses (apparently, the character glasses were only preparing him for the real deal).

We were staying in Wembley. 

And I just spent an hour and a half commuting from Heathrow to Wembley on the hot ass tube – since London doesn’t believe in air conditioning.

I noticed that the glasses Harold asked me to pick out were all the same style, and all some varying shade of brown. “It’s not my face,” I’d say. “Pick the color that you think works best based on the outfits you wear.”

I’d say this was sound advice. After wearing glasses since the year 2000, I figured my opinion would be taken as credible. Harold hit me with a, “In Mexico, you seemed like a more confident woman in your decisions.” While the comment landed, searing my skin in the process, I let it roll. I could be irritable right now, and that would definitely be throwing off the dynamic.

Sure. 


Harold and I, despite the electrical physical connection, really connected around our relationship with God, and the role that our church communities played in our lives. Prior to my arrival, Harold purchased tickets for us to go to Hillsong’s conference at the O2 that Friday, July 26th. I was excited. Although I had been a believer all my life, living in Birmingham was opening me up to the prospect of being a believer without a denomination affiliation – something that definitely appealed to me growing up with Penecostal and Catholic influences. I was excited to experience worship with Harold.

Too bad I never got to share the moment with him.

Harold was still at the office handling work, and I was to meet up with his friend, Light. In many ways, I am thankful for Light, and the other men that Harold would essentially leave me with during the span of those two weeks. Light would help Harold understand what an HBCU was (a conversation Harold and I had often; one I could not continue to have patience for because I likened his comments to that of a misinformed white person – who just so happened to look like me), and even reconnected me to my fraternity brother from college who happened to be living in London. Small world.

Harold met up with us after the conference for dinner.

“Jam, it was madness at the office today. So many things to handle,” he said.

“Man, how is it being a lawyer out here?”

“Lawyer? Who told you that he’s a lawyer?” Light would say.

“Harold did,” I replied confidently.

Light laughed – and not just any laugh, but the full belly, slap your leg, make you cry and wheeze kind of laugh. “I see you’re still doing the same thing from University, Harold,” Light started. “Jam, Harold was the student body president at University, and would win so many of the arguments, we would joke and say, he’s a lawyer, you know.”

Harold began to chuckle. He must have caught my face looking confused, and stopped. Was he grinning?

Lying ass Scorpios.

Much like the character glasses he wore the night I met him, Harold presented me a character, and never his authentic self. There was one other thing I noticed when I went to London – I met none of the friends I had met in Mexico.

“Harold, it’s great and all that you want me to go meet up with all these people, but I am really just trying to get to know you,” I stated. Harold had just asked if we could switch around our plans to meet up with his friend Kelly, who he described as a ‘Woke American girl.’

“Jam, you and Kelly would have so many things to talk about. She’s from America!”

“And so are 327 million other people, Harold. I did not travel here to meet your ‘woke,’ white American homegirl from Wisconsin. Plus, where are your friends from the stag party?”

Harold grinned again.

“Ahh, those are my niggas,” he said.

The accent threw me off. ‘Niggas’ should never sound like that. What I did pick up, though, was the fact that despite meeting a crew of people that week, I’d yet to meet any of the people closest to him. What the fuck is this man hiding, and what did I get myself into?

“Listen, I’m getting tired of your lies, and the crazy comment that you made to me, also, you’re never present, and since I’ve been here, you’ve left me alone in the middle of London. Like, we’re not even staying over at your house! Are you lying about living with your sister too?”

“My sister moved out actually. Now it’s just me and the parental unit.”

Was there anything pure that came out of this man’s mouth?


Harold, outside of the sex and sometimes companionship he would offer, would be the worst part of my stay in London. Had I known what a snake Harold was shaping out to be, I would have set my sights on a few of the handsome Black Brits whose attention I’d managed to capture. I would have allowed myself to get caught up in another London fantasy, and would have definitely abandoned the book I thought we were writing. Somehow, the grace and compassion I hold for humans in my heart, allows even the most ruthless of people to be spared.

But. Harold was motivating.


“Babes, have you applied for any jobs?”

The answer was no. I quit my job two weeks before I traveled to Mexico, and spent my summer traveling, living off my savings. I was nearing the point where employment would be more of a requirement. My bank account dictated at least that much to me.

“No.”

“Whatcha doin, babes? You need to work. I can’t marry a lazy woman, you know.”

Did he say he wanted to marry me? No, he said he can’t marry a lazy woman. That’s different. He must have seen my face turn up in surprise, because I saw that grin return back to his face.

“You know I want to marry you, right, babes?”

My self esteem must have been at the bottom of the Thames River in order for me to believe that one. I fed into it, though.

“I don’t know, Harold. My husband doesn’t lie to me.”

“Babes, I’ve been a terrible husband, haven’t I?”

The worst, but I said nothing to hold out for the dramatic effect.

“Let me make it up to you, yeah?”

“How?”

Harold eased me backwards on the bed, and lifted up my nightgown, pushed my legs apart, and dropped to his knees. 

Tongue strokes are definitely an apology.


I spent the following day at the British Public Library working on my resume and sending out cover letters. In a matter of hours, I was confirmed for a job interview in New York. My interview fell between the hours of my connecting flight from New York back to Birmingham. Perfect timing.

Harold and I decided to have one last romp before I headed out. It was my last day, and after spending two weeks in London, I was convinced that Harold and I were setting up our future lives together. We had already balanced living dynamics staying in a small studio I likened to a dorm room in Slowe Hall at Howard University. Harold made breakfast and I made dinner. We watched the news every morning, and vibed out to a good show or music at night.

“So, I’ll see you October 2020?” Harold asked.

There’s no way he was serious. “October 2020? It’s August 2019!”

“Yeah. Is that a problem?” Is that a problem?

“Yeah. I want to see you sooner.” How could he not think this was a problem?

“Oh, babes. I haven’t any more holidays.”

“I’m not waiting until October to see you.”


After months of fighting, Harold would finally book a flight – for the last week of March – at the end of February. Needless to say, much like humans moving around during COVID – this relationship was going nowhere fast, no time soon. I would finally free myself from his manipulative energy at the beginning of April.

I constantly ask myself, “Why did I hold on so long knowing that the relationship wasn’t going anywhere?” My answer is simple. I always have hope that somehow, people will be impeccable with their word, and follow through on the things they said they’ll do. And Harold was saying all of the right words: You’re my future wife. I love you. You’re so beautiful.

And this is why I had to fetch my self-esteem out of the Thames.

I usually extend compassion and understanding to everyone, but for the life of me, I will never understand how anyone could lead a woman on like this – especially when I was actively trying to leave. There would be months when I would block him simply because I couldn’t take the stress of his lies and teaching at the same damn time. If I blocked him on social media, he sent an email. If I blocked him on WhatsApp, he called my actual phone. When I blocked him from everything but the Bible App, he would use our shared Bible plan notes to God to write messages to me.

Harold essentially taught me how many different ways a human can contact another human just shy of ringing their doorbell.

Harold would also teach me to see past words, and look deeper into actions. If the two are out of alignment, then so is the relationship. Harold would represent my need to go back home – and not just to New York, but the home inside of self that I had been building on false beliefs manifested from a lack of trust in my own decisions. Had I trusted myself more, I would have been better able to discern when I was being duped.


Dear Harold,

I thank you for the night we shared in Mexico, for sharing your energy with me in London, and for reconnecting me with my fraternity brother. I also thank you for encouraging me to apply for the job that day, and for getting me started on reading the Bible. That’s about it. 

I don’t have many positive things to say about you, because if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s a liar. Thank you for teaching me that I was lying to myself ever thinking we’d amount to anything but the shit rubble you were offering. I wonder what gives you the gall to think these actions are even okay. Why the fuck did I accept so little from a nigga that still sleeps with Sesame Street curtains and stuffed animals?

I know when I met you I was struggling, but I can do bad all by myself without having you around to prey on my emotional well-being. Men like you are sick fucks. Who lies like that?

If I ever saw you again, I would strongly want to punch you in the face, so I don’t think I actually ever want to do that again.

Whatever you meant to do for my harm, God meant for my good. He needed me to be grounded and centered in the place that nurtured me, and in His word. But definitely not in you and your slimy self.

I wish you well, and pray that you do right by the next woman that enters into your life, but with your con-artist energy, who the fuck knows? 

Be blessed.

Jamila

Published by Jam

I'm on a journey towards a better understanding of self through written reflections on my romantic relationships, situationships, entanglements, and complicated friendships.

One thought on “That International L Story.

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