That Layover L Story

Osiris. I can write novels about him. How we were children kissing in the back of the coat racks. The awkward teen years where we were too cool for each other. The reunion in 2018. The separation in 2019. The time in between. The moments after. 

But for now, I’ll talk about my layover in New York – you know, right before I met up with Harold in London?

I was on my worst behavior.

I was trying to do the right thing. At first. I swear I was.

I arrived at LaGuardia around 2:00pm, with enough time to enjoy an evening in Brooklyn, before my red-eye the next morning. 

I was ready to love on my brothers.

Unfortunately, my brothers were preoccupied with their own matters to be concerned with their sister, so I had to settle for the next best thing – men who are like brothers. 

I reached out to Osiris, and my good friend Khalil – who would only happen to become better friends with my brother. Somehow, after introducing Khalil to my brother, I now get introduced as my brother’s sister. How quickly they forget who brought them together.

I digress.

Osiris, answered first.

“Peanut Butter and Jam,” he greeted me when he answered the phone. “What’s going on with you?”

“I’m back in the city for the night.”

“For real, cuz I’m in Brooklyn right now with the car.”

“What? Say less.”

“Say more, cuz I’m at happy hour at the Applebees in the Plaza. Come through.”


Once Osiris told me he had the car, I probably could have guessed how the night was going to end. Osiris and I had made a habit of driving along the Long Island Expressway, finding an abandoned parking lot, and spending the entire night talking, smoking, and sleeping – legitimately sleeping – until about 6 or 7am, when we’d finally decide that a bed is a much better place to sleep. That’s usually where the fun ends. He lived with his parents, and I was staying with my mother while visiting.

So happy hour and the car? It was bound to be a troublesome night.

The phone rang again, this time Khalil.

“Milla, what’s goodie? You back in town?”

“You know it!”

“Your brother told me you were going to London, and you ain’t tell a nigga?!”

“You already knew!”

“You gonna come through? I have some things I need you to get for me while in the UK.”

“About to go meet my homeboy at the Applebees at Restoration.”

“Down the street? Bet.”

“Can I bring him too?” (Listen, hanging out with the men in my life means that sometimes, I’m subjected to also spend time with the men in their lives. So whenever I run into similar conflicts, I always ask. Not that the same grace of asking is extended to me – they know a ‘no’ might be heard, so they barely bother asking.)

“Absolutely. Let me know when you’re gonna be here.”

“Call you later.”

Khalil hung up the phone. He’s not one for goodbyes, and I’ve learned how to respect that over the years.

As far as I was concerned, this was shaping out to be a good day, and I didn’t even need my biological brothers.

I met Osiris at the restaurant, and took his face in for the first time since I left for Birmingham. He was supposed to move with me, but God had other plans. 

I missed his face. His baby butter skin, clean shaven that day, and the way those deep brown eyes took me in before I was within his reach. He was already walking over towards me, his smile growing wider and his arms extending out as he quickened his pace. I could already smell that cologne he loves so much.

“Jammin on the one, Jammin on the one!” He rhythmically repeated as he went in for the embrace. I fell into it, and let him hold me, as I lazilly reached my arms up to hug his waist. “Hey, I hope it’s okay that my boys are here with me – it’s been such a dope day! You gotta let me tell you all about it – say, what are you doing in town anyways?”

“I’m heading out to London tomorrow,” I said.

“What’s happening in London?”

“Just a vacation – listen, weren’t you telling me today’s a good day?” I diverted the conversation. I was not yet ready to admit to Osirus yet that I was going to be meeting another man – Harold – the man I met in Mexico. I was not ready for the judgment, nor was I ready to sour this joy.

He told me about a gig that he’d recently done out of town, and how that led to another opportunity as a member of a band at a Lower East Side bar. Osiris’ talent is undeniable. He sings, he writes, he composes, he plays keys, he’s a drummer –  and I remember when he started doing all those things. I spent countless nights in recent months past driving around listening to his songs, and talking about his hopes and dreams. Man, was I falling right back to where we once were.

His friends crashed our party.

“Hey, y’all cute and all, but we’re all here too!” His friend shouted over the music at the bar. Osiris pulled my stool closer towards him, and rested his arm around my waist, and his hand on my thigh. We spent the rest of the time discussing all things New York – worst train line, worst neighborhoods, best rapper, best Deli sandwich – truly, all things New York.

My phone rang. It was Khalil.

“When you coming over, Milla?”

“Hold on -”

“Hey O,” I whispered in his ear. I wanted to make sure my lips touched his ear ever so slightly, “I need you to take me somewhere – can you be my driver tonight?”

“I got you, Jam.”

“K, listen, I’ll be over in like – 30 minutes.”

“Aight.” He hung up the phone. 

Khalil only lived 5 minutes down the street, but it would take Osiris about 15 minutes to say goodbye to everyone, and another 8 minutes making sure he said goodbye again. This is exactly why I budgeted extra time – I’d come to learn that he has a hard time leaving places. 

Whenever Black men meet each other for the first time, it’s something special. I don’t understand it completely, but it’s like they already have the ability to draw a quick connection to one another. Like they’ve known each other for years.

And Khalil was ready to begin running his mouth as if they were best friends all of a sudden. The topic of discussion? My business.

“Your brother told me all about why you’re out here going to London – you heard about it, O?”

“No,” Osiris replied. “I don’t think we got to that part of the conversation.” Elephant memory.

“I’m going to go visit a man I met in Mexico.” I said. No sense in hiding it now, I thought.

“And who is this man that you’re going to go meet?”

I hashed out the story. How we met on the dance floor. How he created an itinerary for our visit. How he was a lawyer, and we’d essentially be playing house for the next two weeks.

“Y’all are going to get married.” Khalil stated definitely.

“I wouldn’t go that far,” I said aloud, but my mind already went on several trips there. How we’d move into a home together right outside of London, and start our lives together – a story we’d be proud to tell our kids. How one night of passion led to a moment of forever. 

Guilt immediately set in. Here I was, thinking about my future husband Harold, yet very much so accepting O’s touches. Openly flirting.

“Well, congratulations to you and your future husband!” Osiris joked. I felt so uncomfortable. He must have sensed it. “I’m only kidding, you know.” he followed up. 

Because we were just joking about this being your spot a few months ago. But were we really joking? Literally, just a few months ago, we were entertaining the idea of moving in together, and what it would be like for both of us to start over – together. Things came to a halt when the reality of O’s life set in – that our circumstances were vastly too  different for us to consider a life together in this reality.

I don’t remember us staying over at Khalil’s for long – and I can’t remember when we left, but I do remember our car ride that night. We were parked down the block from where I was staying for the night – a block more desolated – that would allow us to enjoy one more spliff together before we called it a night.

Osiris was reminding me that we always existed in an open space where we could talk about anything, and even though I did not tell him about my trip or Harold, he was happy for me. While these were the words coming out of his mouth, I did not believe him.

“I don’t believe you.”

He looked at me, and I stared back at him. He caressed the side of my cheek, and stared at me, as he began to trace my cheekbone with the broad of his thumb, stopping to pull at my bottom lip.

I already knew I wanted it. I knew we were going to get it in, right here in this car, and I wanted to fight that feeling. I didn’t want to give in because I knew the shame. Am I cheating? I wrestled with myself as Osiris waited for a sign that it was okay to proceed. I mean, I did just meet Harold in Mexico. Even if he does want me as his future wife, there’s no ring on my finger. He’s probably out doing the same thing now if he gets down on the first night. 

Was I really judging myself like that? In any regard, it was all the approval I needed to justify whatever was about to happen that night in O’s car.

I stared at him. “Why now?” I don’t remember if I received a verbal answer. Osiris really didn’t have to give one, either. The tension was mounting between us, and damned if I wasn’t going to lean into this moment – to allow myself to be seduced.

He stared back at me. “Can I kiss you?”

I bit my lower lip, and I nodded.

He kissed me. Gently, at first, and while maintaining eye contact. He left his lips firmly placed on mine as he unbuckled his seatbelt in order to reposition himself in the car. He closed his eyes, and placed his hand on the back of my neck, and proceeded to rub behind my ears while he inserted his tongue in my mouth, and proceeded to kiss back with more force.

It should be stated, that even with a 29-year old connection, I only slept with this man once before, and even that encounter was a rare moment. We enjoyed tempting fate – but seldom did we ever give in.

That would not be the case, here.

By now, O’s fingers were gently strumming the guitar notes from the Bossa Nova background music on my nipples under my shirt. I had already done the liberties of undoing my bra to give him easy access.

But I really wanted him to take that action…in my pants!

“O, let’s move to the backseat.”

“Sweet Jam. Let’s stay upfront. You already know what’s likely to happen if we go back there.”

“Isn’t that what you want?” 

I looked in the back of his car where the car seat was strapped up. A reminder to the both of us that the time we spend together always exists in a space outside of his obligations. He quickly unstrapped the seatbelt binding the chair, and crawled into the back, switching the car seat to the  driver’s side.

“Come here,” he cooed. And I did. 

I slid my shorts off as I changed my seat, and waited for O’s directions. We slid the front seats up to allow for more space in the back.

“Aren’t you worried about people seeing us?” O was always watching out for the surroundings. I, on the other hand, was trying to embrace the moment.

“Let them see. And stop with the questions you can answer for yourself. You know you want this.”

“Oh, Jam. You don’t even know.”

I leaned back in the seat, angled my pelvis, and parted the entryway for ease of access. He leaned over me, and grabbed the back of the seat with one hand, while the other squeezed my neck. I was fiddling with the belt to his shorts so that I could free the D I was feigning for desperately. I guided his path. My eyes rolled back as he pushed into me, letting me know, he found the way.

We both knew, however, that he did not find the spot quite yet.

Like a math problem, we began to talk about the steps we could use to solve this equation, all while trying to make our current solution work. We settled on a different angle – I tilted my hips into a small bridge.

“Just like that.” We both said. I laughed. And he pressed in harder to shut me up – or was it to make me yell? Either way, we were in the back of that car, in the midst of a lewd act, somewhere in the middle of Williamsburg. A couple paused outside the car to enjoy their own moment alongside us. 

I wasn’t worried about any of it. I could feel the rush of the weight of this decision coming to a close, and Osiris could feel it too. 

“It’s too good…I can’t do this to you.”

“Do what?”

“I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I…AHHH-”

O pulled away quickly, and directed his unburdening towards the car floor.

There wasn’t much to be said after the moment was done. I already knew what he couldn’t do. The good Lord knew too. We gathered up our clothes, placed them back on, and relit the spliff while we sat in the back of the car, vibing to the tunes of Astrud Gilberto, as she crooned to us in Portuguese.

Dear O,

You already know that the love I have for you is unconditional. It exists in a different space, because you are a brother to me. Though that might sound incestuous to some, I know that makes sense to you. We experienced childhood together, the competition – I, the smart one, and you, the talented one – the both of us gifted. Though we eventually grew apart, I will always be thankful for the moment you came back into my life after a 14-year hiatus. Had it not been for you, I don’t think I would have ever made it through the personal hell of Massachusetts.

As I reflect back to that night in the car, I get a sense that you might not have wanted things to work out for Harold and I. Why did you have to kiss me in the car? Why did I have to agree? Why didn’t I stay my ass at home and accept the fact that my biological brothers didn’t have the time for me?

With reflection and distance, I truly think how caught up I was on Harold, a man that really wasted my time. I think about how I wasted my own time praying I wasn’t going to fuck up whatever I thought Harold and I had going on, for one night with you. If I knew then what I know now, I would have saved myself the guilt trip in the car.

I’m glad this isn’t the typical nature of our connection, and that we’ve grown past this part.

Love you Always, 

P. Butta and Jam

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.

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