The History Of The Human Heart (Part Three) by Danesha Little
I inhaled and exhaled several deep breaths before I opened the door. In the bluish-black darkness a sliver of light cascaded across where Preme was leaning on the door frame, illuminating half of his face.
A face that by beauty standards was considered model-like in structure but held every bit of his uniquely rugged features.
I had never been blind to how attractive he was, I was immune to it as his friend.
“Was out of line,” I finished the sentence for him. “I don’t know what’s going on with you, but you need to take that energy somewhere else.”
Turning my back to him I plopped down on my bed and rolled over onto my back to force my attention on the ceiling. I felt the mattress move as Preme joined me. He was the only man I ever felt comfortable with in this way and many of our deepest conversations took place as we laid side by side, fully clothed.
“I don’t want him coming back over here,” he said in an even tone.
“Who, Lou?” I glanced briefly at him.
“I don’t think you should be bringing him or any other guy over here when I’m not here.” He paused.
“Lou is the first guy I’ve ever invited to our apartment and I think I’m a pretty good judge of character, so I don’t see the problem.”
“As your roommate, I’m asking you to do all that at the library or a coffee shop. Don’t bring that shit back here anymore.”
I was surprised by his suggestion because we had never discussed the approval of guests before.
“I pay half the bills which means I have just as much say as to who can be in this apartment. I’ve never questioned you about any of your guests.”
“I respect you enough not to bring anyone over here,” he returned with an edge to his voice.
“What?” I asked confused by his statement and tone.
“In those sombre forests of his striving his own soul rose before him, and he saw himself, – darkly as through a veil; and yet he saw in himself some faint revelation of his power, of his mission,” Preme recited.
The words that I recognized from The Souls of Black Folk, bounced off the walls of my room and filled our quieted apartment. We hadn’t discussed that book since we met my freshman year. He recited a quote that we had never debated before.
“Meaning?” I asked. I was trying to understand what that W.E.B DuBois quote had to do with guests being in our apartment.
“You’re smarter than that Storm, you know exactly what it means,” he reasoned.
I turned my head to find his eyes piercing into mine.
I opened my mouth to speak but my words became stuck at the sound of his ringtone. His eyes remained on me as he reached for his pocket and retrieved the phone. On the screen, we recognized a FaceTime request from Claudia.
“I’ll let you answer that,” I offered sitting up.
I didn’t like Claudia for him, but I respected her place as his girlfriend. The last thing she would want to see when her boyfriend answered his phone after two in the morning is me lying next to him. I wasn’t messy and didn’t want that type of reputation either.
His hand stilled me, “Do you want me to answer it?”
“She already doesn’t like the fact that we’re roommates. You better answer that damn call,” I joked.
“That’s not what I asked you,” he stated in a serious tone.
By now, the phone had stopped ringing. A second later it started ringing all over again. Claudia wasn’t going to stop calling until she knew of his whereabouts.
“Storm,” he called my name.
We both glanced down at the phone. Claudia’s face was scrolling across the screen for the third time.
“Answer it,” I prompted him before leaving the room.
Trailing Brianna, I entered that night’s emergency B.S.U. meeting to find Preme speaking in front of the group. He was addressing the University’s racially tense events, including the “Go back to Africa” notes that had been left on the doors of several black students and a noose that was found hanging from a tree outside one of the undergraduate dorms.
After sliding into two open seats towards the middle of the room, we watched on as Preme passionately addressed the crowd about taking action. He wanted to lead a demonstration in front of the President’s home. It was a side of him I hadn’t seen before and I was excited to see him taking his activism beyond our debates.
A few weeks had passed since our argument and I hadn’t really seen much of Preme since our argument. Throughout the meeting, our eyes met, but there was no other interaction between us beyond that.
When the meeting was adjourned, after saying goodbye to Brianna, I started making my way to the library when Claudia joined in step beside me.
“Are you sleeping with my boyfriend?” she asked matter-of-factly.
My steps slowed to a stop while I tried to fully digest her question.
“Just be honest,” she said. “You’ve been throwing yourself at him since we got together, and it looks like it’s finally worked out for you.”
“I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about but like I keep telling you, Preme and I are just friends,” I enunciated each word in hopes that she would stop asking.
“You’ve been trying to get with Supreme since you stepped foot on this campus,” she huffed in an accusatory tone. “Walking around here trying to act all woke and quoting James Baldwin. I knew it was only a matter of time before you threw yourself at him at that apartment. You may have everyone else fooled, but I see right through you.”
“Whatever is going on with the two of you has nothing to do with me,” I clarified.
“Preme is my roommate and I’ve barely seen him lately.”
“What do you mean you barely see him?” she asked. Her face contorted with immediate disgust, “Then where has he been if he’s not at the apartment?”
“I think that’s a question you need to go ask him,” I advised.
She scanned my eyes as if she was trying to decide whether to believe me or not.
“Something is off with him. He told me that it’s stress from all the racial stuff happening on campus, but I feel like whatever is going on with him has something to do with you.”
“Well, you’re wrong,” I countered.
“I’m not too far off or the entire campus wouldn’t already think that you two were fuckin,” Claudia hissed.
“People on campus need to mind their own business,” I countered. I wasn’t sure how much more I could listen to before I snapped.
“As a woman, put yourself in my shoes. How would you feel if your man moved in with his best friend who just so happens to also be an attractive woman?” she asked. “You would feel some type of way just like I do, and you know it.”
I didn’t get the chance to respond to her statement because she stormed off after spewing her words.
That night, I struggled with studying the entire time I was at the library. I was too distracted by that day’s events. While walking towards my car, I replayed my conversation with Claudia not paying any attention to my surroundings. It wasn’t until I heard my name being called that I looked up to find Preme walking with two other guys from B.S.U.
“You already know how I feel about you walking at night by yourself,” Preme said, nodding at the dark sky. “Let me walk her to the car. I’ll catch up with y’all later.”
After saying goodbye to his boys, we walked to my car.
“Why are you out here by yourself? It’s not safe, especially right now,” he chastised.
“Last I checked, you also had a problem with me studying at the apartment,” I reminded him. “Where exactly do you expect me to study?”
“That’s not what I had a problem with.”
“Oh, that’s right, you only have a problem with me studying alone with Lou.”
A smile spread across his face at my comment and we spent the next few minutes strolling, to the parking lot.
“You good?” I asked. “I haven’t seen much of you lately…”
“I’ve been working on my music…dealing with all of this shit going down on campus,” he answered vaguely.
“You need to tell your girlfriend that,” I directed as we rounded my car. “That girl is gonna mess around and get her ass beat.”
“By who? You?” A smirk touched his lips and a light chuckle followed as he opened my door.
“I need to make sure that she isn’t following us right now.” I made a scene of scanning the mostly empty parking lot. “She’s probably about to pop out of one of these bushes at any moment.”
“What am I going to do with you freshman?” He laughed.
“I’m not a freshman anymore,” I corrected him.
“You’ll always be a freshman to me,” he said in a low voice.
Then he moved a strand of hair away from my forehead. The gesture surprised me, so I gazed into his eyes to try my best to understand what he was thinking.
“You betta take your ass straight home,” he instructed.
I wanted to say something but for some reason, I didn’t know what to say. Instead, I tossed my bag in the passenger seat and slid into the driver’s seat.
“You be careful out here,” I said.
Being outside with the current tensions on campus was just as dangerous for him as it was for me, if not more.
“I’ll be aight,” he assured me. “I’ll see you later,” he added right before closing the door.
I wasn’t sure if seeing me later meant that I would see him at the apartment because I hadn’t seen much of him and on many nights, he wasn’t coming home at all. I assumed he was with Claudia, but she made it clear that wasn’t the case.
The rest of the week flew by and I hadn’t seen or heard from Preme. I tried not to let it bother me, but it did. I didn’t understand what I had done wrong that made him go out of his way to avoid me and I was now feeling as if I was losing my friend. If it wasn’t for the fact that he was leading the march to the President’s home, I would’ve filed a missing person’s report.
Along with Brianna and adorning my B.S.U. shirt, I marched with the rest black students. There were about a hundred of us making our way to the lawn of the University President to express our frustrations. The administration was downplaying the racial violations on campus and we had to make them care.
With Preme on the bullhorn making demands, we reacted to every phrase he recited. I felt my chest beaming with pride at the way my best friend was taking his activism as serious, as his music.
It didn’t take long before the campus police blocked our path and we got as far as the street a hundred feet from our destination. We were warned to turn around, but Preme pressed forward, taunting law enforcement with knowledge of our rights. We were protesting outside of the allowable hours and on property that was forbidden. Technically, it wasn’t a normal protest, we were breaking the law. More authoritative threats were shouted.
When things became out of hand, it was the leadership of B.S.U. that made the decision for us to retreat. I could see that Preme wasn’t happy with the decision and he made it known to the entire group.
I was all for the cause but getting kicked out of school for it was not an option. My parents believed strongly in the importance of education and would have killed me for this, so I quickly disbursed. After dropping off Briana, I walked towards my apartment as quickly as I could. My adrenaline was still pumping on overdrive while trying to process the night’s events. I wasn’t going to relax until I was safely inside.
While trying to open the door to my apartment, I suddenly felt my body being turned around. It was Preme and I couldn’t decipher the look that I now found in his eyes.
“Are you ok?” I asked. I didn’t care about the past few weeks or any offenses that I felt because of him. I wanted my friend to be alright.
Never saying a word, he leaned in towards my face.
“We can’t…you have Claudia,” I reminded him breathlessly. I didn’t know where I found the strength to protest what I now wanted so badly.
“I’m not with her anymore,” he informed me right before closing the gap between us.
It was at that moment we shared our first kiss.
by Danesha Little
Danielle Allen picks up the pen for the final installment, read the conclusion HERE
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