At 4:45 a.m., the alarm goes off.
As I roll over and look at the clock, I wish I’d never agreed to this class. I’ve done this every Sunday for the past month. Once a week I attend a hot yoga class at my besties new yoga studio. Soul Yoga has been open for just about six months, and Maya couldn’t be happier. Being the great friend that I am, I agreed to be a part of her sunrise yoga class she’s trying out. It’s located at the beach, which is awesome but I’m not a morning person.
I get up to shower and put on my yoga clothes. At 5 a.m., it’s already a balmy 80 degrees outside. It’s still kind of dark, but I need to get going, so I don’t miss the actual sunrise. I get dressed and head to the kitchen for water and some protein. I run into my brother Dallas. Dallas is staying with me for a few weeks until he moves into his own place. He’s back in town after a failed relationship, which happens often and will be working for me and my brother Xavier, Xo for short, at our counseling center. Dallas is highly educated but can barely keep a job. He has always been gifted, academically and musically. He could never just settle down with one thing. There’s always some female stringing him along, and he just follows. He can’t focus on anything, except being a great yoga instructor. When Maya asked him to be a part time instructor, I was kind of worried. She’s been a great friend of mine for some time, and Dallas’s track record isn’t great. It’s been a month, and the class size is growing. He’s been at each one, partly because of the women attending.
“Morning, sis,” says Dallas in a ridiculously cheery voice.
“Morning,” I say back with less enthusiasm. I follow with “when is your apartment going to be ready?”
“Next Saturday,” he says with a smirk. “Are you sure you’re ready to get rid of me?”
I look at him incredulously. There’s no need to speak.
“Damn, that’s cold sis,” he says.
I laugh and say, “What would have been cold is me making you go and stay with Xo. Be lucky you’re here. Anyway, it’s too early for conversation, you ready?”
“Oh, I didn’t tell you. Melanie is taking me this morning. She wants to know more about yoga, so I invited her to come with me this morning,” he says.
“Who is Melanie?” I asked. “And she better not be in my house!” I snapped.
“Come one now, sis, really? Do you seriously think I would have a chick in your house?”
I just look at him blankly.
“Why does she have to pick you up here? I don’t like random people knowing where I live. Don’t bring her in my house.”
“Aight, Aight,” he says, hands up, backing away. “I got it.”
“You better,” I say.
Just then the doorbell rings. I huff with my hands on my hips. This chick doesn’t know me and is ringing my doorbell at 5 a.m.? I say to myself. I go an answer the door.
“Hi, I am Melanie. I am here to pick up Dallas,” she says.
She holds out her hand. I don’t know where it has been. I don’t shake her hand.
“Hi, I’m Nicole. Dallas’s sister,” I say, “He will be right out.”
I really didn’t want to let her in, but that would’ve been rude.
“Come on in,” I say.
I’m not leaving until they do. I know better when it comes to Dallas.
“Dallas!” I yell, “Melanie is here!”
Dallas comes out of the back of the house. He greets Melanie with a kiss on the cheek. Melanie is cute and very young. I can tell just by looking at her she’s never dated anyone of my brother’s caliber before. She’s dressed in a very cute ensemble that I bet she got from one of those places with cute work out wear. I’m sure she bought it just for this occasion. She has natural hair, which is a plus because Dallas is “earthy”. She seems well spoken, but she reeks of desperation. She clearly wants to impress him. His first wrong step with this one was to have her pick him up here. She has now met someone in the family. That is a check on her list. Melanie begins to compliment me on my home and asks me what I do. We will not bond. I just met her, and It’s way too early to be sisters my dear I say to myself.
“Thank you. I am a psychologist”, I respond.
“Oh wow, I am majoring in psych. Did Dallas tell you?” she says.
“No, he failed to mention that,” I say.
I wasn’t going to tell her I’d just heard of her ten minutes ago.
“Well, maybe we can talk sometime? I’d really like to pick your brain. I’m trying to decide on an internship for next semester,” she says.
She’s so young. She’s so sprung. I don’t know why.
Dallas has always been a good kid but a little aloof. He’s had so many careers I’ve lost count. He holds a bachelor’s in business administration, as well as an MBA. He’s just never used it. The caliber of women he dates could be better. They either have baby daddies all over the place or they have no drive to do anything. Also, they know he has money and want to live off of him, which he allows. At least this one has goals, although she’s young. I’ll be surprised if she’s around long.
Dallas leaves with Melanie, and I decide to leave as well. He’s always been a lady’s man. Both of my brothers are ladies’ men. The difference in them is that Xo is career driven, much like me and focused. Dallas is younger and never has been career driven or focused. I’m the middle child, and the only girl in the Masterson clan. I consider myself smart and ambitious. I graduated in the top of my class at Spelman College and went on to get my PsyD from Howard. I love my academic achievements. I love the credentials behind my name. I could care less what others think about it either. That’s where I come alive. That’s where my personal self-esteem comes from. While others were looking in the mirror, admiring themselves, I was looking directly into a book. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good party, but it can’t get in my way. My looks, while they’re stunning, didn’t get me a PsyD Degree and a whole private practice. Our parents made sure that we all pursued higher education. There was no discussion; it was expected. Both our parents are tenured professors. So those are big shoes to fill.
I decide to call Xo to see if he plans to attend yoga with us this morning. I call and don’t get an answer. I’m not surprised. It’s Sunday morning, so he’s probably recovering from a night out. I disconnect and don’t leave a message. He will call later. Nina calls, half asleep, and says she can’t come this morning. Considering how things went down yesterday with D at his barbecue, I’m not surprised. I tell her to get some rest and ask if she can still attend brunch today.
“Yes, I will be there,” she says.
We hang up and I continue driving.
Sunrise yoga is a success. The class has a waiting list, and Maya couldn’t be happier. I love to see my friends succeed. I stay behind to help Maya clean up mats and blocks. We plan to meet up in a few hours for brunch with the other ladies. No one has heard from Sanja, so we’re unsure if she would be coming. Maya says she would call her, and with that I leave to head home. On the way home, Xo returns my call.
“Hello,” I answer.
“Hey, sis, I’m sorry I missed your call this morning. I went out last night, and I am just getting up,” she says.
“It’s okay,” I respond, “I know yoga isn’t your thing.”
“So, what did you do last night? Or do I want to know?” I ask.
“I went out with the guys to a sports bar,” he says.
“Oh cool,” I say.
He then says, “Guess who is in town?”
My heart starts beating fast. I don’t want to guess because I can tell who the person is by the tone of my brother’s voice. I know this conversation all too well.
“How long is he here for”? I ask.
“Long enough to get you back” my brother replies.
“So, what are you going to do Nicole? Are you going to talk to him? You guys have been playing this game for too long. It’s time you settle things,” he says.
I am silent.
Xo continues “He is here indefinitely, and he says he’s been calling and texting you with little to no response.”
He’s right; Luis has been calling me for several weeks now. I always blow him off and hardly respond to his texts. I’m just unsure about what to do about it.
“Okay, Xo, I’ll talk to him,” I say.
Xo responds, “You need to. I don’t want you to end up alone. You hardly date and put all of your effort into your practice. You need a life, too.”
I desperately want to get off the phone. I don’t need to hear this all again. Luis and I have a long history. We met in high school and he was my first love. We even continued our relationship long distance throughout undergrad. Me attending grad school away from home was the reason we broke up. I had goals that didn’t include me stating in my hometown. We took a long break. Speaking here and there. Every time we have a conversation it turns into an argument. As adults, we can never make it work. We’re just never on the right page. I avoid him as much as possible, just hoping that my feelings for him will go away. They never have. I hang up with Xo and head home.
As I turn into my driveway, I notice there’s another car parked there. This isn’t that Melanie girl’s car because she had a sedan. This is an SUV. I’m pissed because this is my property. If it were parked on the street, I wouldn’t care, but this truck is literally in mt driveway idling. I park and get out of my car, ready to cuss someone out. I march over to the driver’s side ready to give the driver an earful. Just as I am about to knock on the tinted window. the driver rolls down the window.
“Good morning, sweetheart,” he says.
Shocked, I say “Luis!”