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This photo was taken in kamakura but it reminded me of my teenage years.KWhen I was in high school, I belonged to a soul singing group called Total Vision. It was a kind of Boys II Men style project I did for about a year with this dude in my neighborhood whose name I can’t remember. I think I will call him Johnny. He and I used to rehearse every chance we got with two other members. I think we did one or two performances live at some neighborhood events before we drifted apart. There wasn’t a reason for it. I was starting college, I may have been the one who drifted away first.

Johnny and I used to hang out from time to time. He was a few years older than me. Whenever he came to my house, he brought beer or wine coolers. Once we went out to a bar. I think we got in with fake IDs. I have always had a baby face, so the bartender must not have cared about my age. While we were there, Johnny spotted some women who were having a birthday party. He was charming and smooth. I was shy and awkward. He did the talking for the both of us. Somehow, I ended up dancing with the birthday girl. It was her 30th birthday I was about 18 years. I don’t remember her name either, so I’ll call her Keisha.

Keisha and I did regular dancing at for a while. I think it was the first time I had ever danced in public like that. The alcohol had kicked in and I was having a blast. There were only black people in the bar and it was loud and festive the way black folks like to party. The DJ playedall the R&B songs that were big in the hood at the time. Each song was met with shouts of “that’s my jam!” After a while, he put on a slow tune. I think the song was I Like It by Debarge. I held Keisha in my arms. Her warm breasts were pressed against my chest. I could feel her breathing becoming shallow and quick. We swayed back and forth to the music. Our faces moved closer until we kissed. She had beautiful deep brown skin and a gentle way about her. Her lips were soft and passionate. Long after the song had finished, we continued making out. Johnny left me at the bar with her. I stayed until sun was just about to rise then got on the bus with her and rode home.

When we finally parted ways, she asked me for my phone number. The only number I had was the number at the supermarket where I worked. There were no cell phones. I lived at home with my mother so I couldn’t tell her my home number. Giving her the number to Dave’s supermarket was the only choice I had. She didn’t hesitate to use it. She called almost every day. I’d be packing a customer’s bag, being careful not to smoosh the bread, when the storewide announcement blasted over the speakers, “Marcellus please come to the office.” I would only stay on the line for 5 mins or so. I have always taken my jobs seriously. It didn’t feel right having a private conversation on the supermarket phone.

The other thing that didn’t feel right was being with a woman who was almost twice my age. It was thrilling in the moment, but it quickly began to feel weird after the alcohol had worn off. From my teenaged viewpoint, 30 seemed ancient. Back then I was also naïve and still very much a virgin. Come to think of it, I lost my virginity at 18 so I must have been 17 at the time. That means our relationship would have been illegal if I had gone back to her place the night we met at the bar. Each time she called the supermarket I grew more evasive and the sound of her voice grew more disappointed, until she eventually stopped calling.

Wherever Keisha is now, I hope she eventually met someone nice who treated her than I could have.


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