I was exhausted, but it was time to go home.
I had been up for far too many hours, making sure I didn’t leave anything in my hotel. I crammed a hoodie into my big (and bright) ass suitcase and zipped it closed, then called my Uber. I didn’t have the energy for this; add in that my arriving flight was really rough and I already kind of don’t like planes, flying home bothered me a lot more than I’d ever admit.
I hurried downstairs when the Lyft arrived; I went to the front, but he was in the back. Once we got that straight, he hopped out of the car and ran up to me, taking my bag. Dude was tall as hell, like 6’6-6’7, lanky and West African, as evidenced by his accent. I get in the car and he’s pretty cool, even though I really don’t want to talk to anyone at 5 am; all I wanted to was somehow go to sleep and wake up back in NYC.
Once we realized we were both from New York, he started treating me like we had been friends forever, which is kind of a custom amongst black people from the city. New Yorkers are mean as shit, but when two cross paths far from home, it’s usually all love.
We’re riding and the first thing he wants to talk to me about is girls; this happens to me A LOT and I don’t know why. He’s telling me all this wild graphic shit about his female passengers having sex with him after his shifts, meeting women back in NYC, all this other shit. Im kind of evasive because I don’t know son, I have no desire to impress him with filth recaps and I spent pretty much the entire weekend with one woman, who showed me around the city (which I’ve never been to before) and was really sweet to me in a genuine way.
Here I was, riding to the airport, coming to terms with the emotions I was going through, this surging feeling of “I’m into this girl, this is one of the best weekends I’ve ever had,” and what that means for me, who hasn’t REALLY felt anything close to this since 2015. I was uncomfortable, but in a good way, like a different version of myself was blooming, like these simultaneous feelings of caring, appreciation and endless yearning were changing me. All of this is in my mind while he’s playing me explicit videos of some girl back in NYC; he’s fucking my vibe up while showing me shit he absolutely shouldn’t, on some weird macho bonding shit.
I get out of the car, tell him peace, get my bag and leave. I rated him way too high on the app, mostly because I was just bewildered by that whole ride and was very out of sorts. He was talking my damn ear off, as I tried to piece together what was up with this medium crush that had certainly evolved into much more over the course of three days. I head into the airport and theres this pretty black girl behind me, kind of short, sort of caramel-ish. I nod and hold the door for her and feel her holding my gaze a little. I let her go on her merry way and we laughed at some random thing that I don’t remember. I remember how strange I felt, how the only thing that I was thinking was “we absolutely have to treat women better and think about how we engage with and think of them.” The driver talking about women as if they were just notches in a belt, just sexual conquests and little else was really getting to me.
I got on the plane and couldn’t shake this feeling of finality, like something was going to end, like I’d never see this newfound object of my affection ever again, or something far less drastic but nonetheless important, the version of myself that overthought my own happiness. The former was pretty terrifying; the latter, way overdue.
Perhaps I’ve become afraid of things going my way.