My lady, Yancey, changed my life. Sometimes I think she saved my life. My name is John Basil Henderson and I guess Im what you call a former bad boy. I was the kind of dude who was getting so much play, I needed to buy condoms by the barrel. About two years ago, all that changed when I met Yancey Harrington Braxton the day before Christmas at Rockefeller Center while skating with my five-year-old nephew, Cade. Yancey walked right up and started a conversation while flirting with both Cade and myself. I loved her confidence. We were both smitten at her first hello. Yancey is, as the young dudes would say, a dime piece
a perfect ten.
When I met Yancey I was in the midst of a pre-midlife crisis. I had just turned thirty-three and my childhood dream of playing pro football was already over. Wasnt shit going right for me. I was actually seeing a shrink, trying to figure out why I had such disdain for both men and women while, at times, being sexually attracted to both. I was spending too much time trying to get even with this mofo, Raymond Tyler who didnt even know how strongly I felt about him. For me, Raymond stood on that thin line between love and hate. There were so many things I likedno, lovedabout him, but I also hated feeling that way toward any man. It just wasnt right.
I had gone to the doctor to face my pasta past that included my sexual molestation by a much beloved uncle. I wrote that no good mofo a letter telling him how he had screwed up my life with his sick ass, but the mofo died before I could mail it. I was surprised at how writing shit down and talking out loud about how I was feeling helped me. But the good doctor wasnt excited about my relationship with Yancey, and when I disagreed, we parted ways. It wasnt as if he said, If you continue in the relationship I can no longer see you, Mr. Henderson. I just stopped going and he never called to see if I was okay. I guess he didnt need the money.
There have been times in my life that were so painful that I didnt think I could share them with another living soul, but then that person walks into your life, and you dont know whether to be afraid or feel relief. You dont know whether to be afraid or feel relief. You dont know whether to run or stand still, That was the way I felt about meeting Yancey. When I told her how my father had raised me to believe that my mother was dead, which I later found out was a total lie, Yancey held me tight and I felt her tears on my naked shoulder. At times I feel as though I could tell her anything, and then I remember she is a woman and wouldnt understand some of the things I have been through and done. So, despite my bone-deep love for Yancey, Ive kept some secrets about myself she just wouldnt understand.
My love for Yancey hit me hard. I guess thats the way real love works. I love the way she makes me feel like Im the only man in a roomful of thousands. I love the way other men and women look at us when we walk hand in hand into some of New Yorks finest restaurants and nightclubs, or during our simple walks through Central Park. I love watching her perform on the Broadway stage and in cabarets, where Yancey charms both owners and patrons. I love the sound of her singing, not only on the stage but in the bathroom, while she sits at her vanity and brushes her hair.
But one of the things I love the most about Yancey is that she reminds me of myself. I guess both of us have taken so much shit from our families that we dont too kindly to outsiders. We are each others best friend. To the outside world were the diva and the dawg, but not with each other. Once I took her to Athens, Georgia, for a college football game. After the game we went to a sports bar for beer and chicken wings. The redheaded waitress with colossal breasts was diggin me. When she served us, ole girl bent down so low I could smell her deodorant. Yancey definitely took note. So when the waitress did one more dip and looked me directly in the eyes and asked, Can I git anything else for yall? Yancey stood up and said, Yes, you can git them fake titties out of my mans face. Thats my Yancey. Another time, shortly after we first started dating and I was still keeping a few freaks on the side, Yancey came over to spend the night. I came out of the shower expecting to see her lying in my bed wearing something sexy but she was fully dressed. When I asked her what was up, she told me, I dont sleep in no bed where I can smell another womans perfume or pussy. I got the message.
Excerpted from Not A Day Goes by by E. Lynn Harris. Copyright© 2000 by E. Lynn Harris. Excerpted by permission of Doubleday Books, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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