The Never Ending Story

Chapter 7: Good Grief

“So in today’s session, we are going to discuss your grief. No more sweeping things under the rug, remember? This next step is going to allow us to grieve things; things that once held some form of importance to us. We can grieve more than death you know. We can grieve unwanted events that have changed our paths in life or vice versa, events that we wished occurred, and we can grieve the loss of something, including relationships, jobs or an award that we felt that we deserved. There are 5 steps to grief; 1. Denial 2. Anger 3. Bargaining 4. Depression 5. Acceptance. Don’t be afraid, Grieving is good! So, let’s explore this topic; what do you still need to grieve? Let’s begin…”

I love being a therapist! Remember how I told y’all I was moving here to LA for work? Well, after working as a secretary for 2 years and going to school full-time to get my master’s,  I can legally say that I am officially a therapist! I am so pressed! These last couple of years have been rough, especially as a single mother, but I made it! (Insert praise break here). I’m loving my income increase too. Because the majority of my clients are celebrities, I get dope gifts, random gift cards and personal invitations to classy events and parties. Baby Darren and I have been living our best lives. Another bonus is, we have been enjoying a lot more meals together on our new dining table now that I have office hours. 9-5pm! Life is good.

Today’s session that I held with my patient made me think; even though I am in a better place in my life,  I still have some grief of my own to let out; starting with my relationship with Semaj. He texted me the other day demanding that we finally see each other and I have honestly run out of excuses of why we can’t meet up. I am scheduled to see him later this evening. I am on my way to drop Darren off to his sitter, but I can feel myself drifting off into a grief that I need to address, one that impacted my relationship with Semaj; A grief that I feel took him away from me forever… the loss of my virginity.

Virginity (***Trigger Warning***)

Losing your virginity is a huge deal, especially when everyone knows that you’ve been holding out for “the one.” I mean, I didn’t walk around the school wearing a “100% Virgin” t-shirt, but everyone knew I was a virgin because I wrote about it in the school newspaper one time–it was no big deal! I just wrote, “It’s time for junior prom everyone! Fellas, remember, who you decide to take to prom matters. She will meet your mom and kiss your grandmother’s cheek. So All those girls out there that don’t have a good record (aka are non-virgins) are not a good look. I’m personally waiting for the right one.-Shameless plug.” All the girls in my class hated me after that article. Let’s just say,  I sure did  have a lot of invitations to prom that year.

Anyways, back to me needing to give my V-card to Semaj.  He was so hype when I told him that I was ready. We planned out the perfect setting and scheduled the perfect day and time to have sex! He was so excited and he wanted me so bad. I felt the same. I had to make sure that I gave him something to remember, so the night before the big day, I stayed the night over Ty’s house to talk over the details of what I needed to do to please my boo. She gave me a long ass list of things to do and not-to-do and it made me feel overwhelmed. I was so nervous! I never had sex before and unlike most of the high school kids,  I hadn’t even seen porn.

“Girl, just relax and let him do all the work ‘cuz you gonna mess around and break suntin,” Tynika yelled at me. “I can break it? It breaks?” I yelled back. “Okay, what size meat are you working with? Is he big, medium, small?” I felt like we were ordering a freaking burger meal. “Ty, I have never seen it before! I don’t know!” I responded a bit frustrarted. “What the hell are y’all talking about in here?” Ty’s 46 year old-still living with his big sister-alcoholic-uncle asked us as he busted his way into her room. “Ewww, Uncle Ralphie, get out! We are talking about sex.” Ty said. “Oh my gosh, did you really just tell him that? Why would you say that?” I whispered angrily. “What y’all know about sex? Huh? What y’all know about ittttttttttt?” Uncle Ralphie asked, while gyrating and thrusting his drunken hips. Ty jumped up off of her bed, grabbed my hand and we ran pass her uncle, snatching his bottle of whiskey smooth out of his hands. She took me to the backyard.

“Girl Here, smoke this is and take a few shots. You need to relax so that you don’t mess this up!”

I took the shots that Ty handed me and smoked the blunt. I got real relaxed real quick…and then the next thing I knew, it was the next day. “What time is it Ty?” I asked my bestie, while yawning the biggest yawn in life. Ty jumped up onto her bed and started singing a made up song, “Girl, it’s 9:00am and it’s a special day! It’s ya Sha-Boing-Boing Day! Sha Boing-Boing Dayyyyyyyy!” Ty was too hype, too early in the morning. I am not going to lie though, I was so excited to lose my virginity, I had to sing along. We went outside for a wake-and-bake and then it was time for me to get ready. Right before I got into the shower, Ty handed me some more liquor and a razor. “Girl, I gotta go to work! Drink the rest of this so I can throw this bottle out. Here, Shave ya mane in that  jungle because I know you probably never have and then leave and get ya freak on. Have fun and call me right after and tell me all about it.” I was too high to respond to her. I just drank the liquor and took thee longest shower of my life! It was also the worst shower of my life.

I was in that shower messed up–drunk, high and horny. I felt relaxed, focused and ready…until I heard a familiar, unwanted male voice in the bathroom with me. “I can answer all your questions for you girl,” he said. I yanked back the shower curtains just enough to see the man’s face. It was Uncle Raphie! ” What the hell are you doing in here? Get out!” I screamed. “Little Girl, I heard you asking all those freaky questions last night and I can show you the answers right now.” Uncle Ralphie grabbed me out of the shower and pulled my wet, naked body against his. He smelled like alcohol and stale saltines and his hands felt so abrasive. I started screaming as loud as I could and tried my hardest to fight him off of me.

“Stop, please stop! get off of me!!” I screamed. “Don’t act like you don’t want this. Calm down so I can give you what you want,” Uncle Ralphie whispered into my ears, after he managed to pin me down on the ground.” He was so strong and drunk, I couldn’t get him off of me. He slipped himself inside of me for 6.5 seconds. The longest seconds of my life.

“Oh my goodness, I can not lose my virginity to this worthless, old ass man!” I thought to myself. I suddenly snapped out of my own drunken state and bit the mess out of his ear. I mean, I actually Mike Tyson’ed him! I bit off a juicy chunk of his ear!

I ran out of the bathroom and grabbed my things from Ty’s room. I didn’t care how naked I was, I ran out into her backyard where I put my clothes on and called Ty, but she didn’t answer. I called my grandmother, but she didn’t answer.

I canceled my “appointment” with Semaj, but I didn’t tell him why because of course, I was too embarrassed and ashamed. The next day, he broke up with me; not because we couldn’t have sex, but because he claimed he had a lot going on at home and the relationship would suffer from his personal issues. I promised him that when the time was right, I would have a whole lot of sex with him. Then he moved away randomly 2 weeks later.

As for Ty’s Uncle Ralphie, he died a month later from Severe Aplastic Anemia. A month after he stole my virginity from me.

Let me go get ready for this date.

The Never Ending Story

Chapter 6: Bitter Nasty


It is 6:00 AM in the freakin’ morning. Who could possibly be at my door this early?  “Who is it?” I snap at the door. “Greg from Apple Rose Express, I am delivering your dining room table that you ordered.” A man replies. “This early in the damn morning? You gotta be kidding me! Hold on a second, I have to put some clothes on.” I rush back to my room, stumbling over Darren’s toys due to the crust still perched in the cracks of my eyes. I put on whatever I can find, which ends up being a pair of leggings and a white wife beater with no bra. I can’t find a bra.

I hurry back to open the door and I am shocked at this handsome ass man standing at my door. “Good morning, I’m so sorry to wake you Ms…,” the sexy specimen says. “Ms?” he speaks again. “Ummm, Mrs?” oh my gosh he is so gorgeous, I think to myself. Wait, is he asking me a question? “I am so sorry! I am still half asleep, you can just call me Tiffany. I actually forgot that I requested an early delivery, but I didn’t know that y’all deliver at the ass crack of dawn!” I reply, once I stop drooling over him. 

“Yeah, we try to get a head start to make sure that we fulfill everyone’s morning requests. Did you just move here?” he asks. “No, I’ve been here for 2 years now, but I am just now getting around to decorating. I just got my master’s so I am a full-time therapist now. I also need to go check on my son, so we should probably speed this up.” I just told him way too much information and now I am rushing him! What is up with me? Maybe it’s because I forgot that I don’t have a bra on and I’m getting cold, I don’t know. Did I mention that he’s fine?  “Of course. Where and how do you want it,” he responds. “Excuse me? Put what? I’m not sure what you are expecting, but I’m a Christian woman and I’m packing so don’t try…” I start to pop off. “Ms.Tiffany I’m talking about your dining room set! You requested that we deliver it and put it together for you! Sorry for the misunderstanding.”

Y’all, I am so embarrassed! Am I that hot and bothered that I am losing my mind? Why did my mind get so freaky and why am I still being mean?  I have to go cool down, so I tell him where I want everything setup and leave him in the dining room alone. I decided to tend to the baby to refocus my thought process. “Get it together bitter-nasty, I whisper to myself. He winds up letting himself out because I decided to hide away in Darren’s room. I am so ashamed. 

When I finally come back to check out my new dining set, I see a bouquet of red & white roses in a crystal vase and a note that reads:

Sorry for the confusion this morning. I will be sure to report all of your complaints to management. Your next delivery will be on me. Just to be clear, that means you won’t have to pay.

P.S The roses are our company’s signature ‘thank you’ to our valued customers. Have a blessed day Ms. Tiffany Henson.

That was so sweet, but I will not be requesting anymore deliveries from that company; not because of my uncalled for complaints, but because I am too embarrassed to face that man again. I have to be honest though, it was nice to wake up to a generous man for once. Oh well, let me go take a cold shower and get me and my 3 year old baby ready for our Friday.

2 years later and I still don’t quite have it together.

The Never Ending Story

Chapter 5: Sweeping It Under The Rug

9 Months later…

Being a single mom is harder than I thought! I mean, of course I knew that it wouldn’t be easy, but it’s a lot harder when you live over 3000 miles away from your family and friends. Granted, Darren has thee best day care in the world so I do have help, but when he’s home, he is a piece of work. My baby is 1 now and he literally gets into everything! The other day I caught him playing in my personal drawer…you know, the drawer with all of the naughty things that you have to keep stashed away as a single woman. I gotta tell y’all about this story. Okay, so I have ONE friend out here in LA and I invited her over last week to have wine and dinner. So I cooked a nice meal then comfort-nursed Darren until he fell asleep and laid him snug in his crib. This was my first time having company since my move so I was excited to finally  have some grownup time.

So there we were, chit chatting in my living room when all of a sudden, we see my little bow-legged baby running out my room with my jumbo size jack rabbit (if you don’t know what that is, you shouldn’t be reading this. Skip to the next paragraph.) I was so embarrassed! When we noticed what he had in his hand, I screamed, “Give me that nasty thing Darren, it’s old and dusty. Then I looked at her and said, “don’t worry girl, that thing doesn’t even work anymore.” Then he pushed the power button and it started vibrating at full speed–it showed absolutely no sign of being broken. Luckily, they haven’t started making those things with a Siri or Alexa type feature yet. He would have pushed that button and we would have heard, “Welcome back Tiff! Wow, you have reached a streak of 7 days in a row. The usual setting of high-speed & deep penetration?” I haven’t heard from my friend since.

The hardest part about being a single mom, besides potty training, is wanting to be everything for your child. You want to know how to solve all of your child’s problems. You want to be their protector, their nutritionist, their doctor, their personal comedian, their comforter, their other parent and their role model. I am learning so much about myself just from trying to be a good mother. Like, did you know that black folk are known for sweeping things under the rug? I knew that we were, but I didn’t know the extent of how much sweeping we do. It all starts with, “What happens in this house stays in this house.” A lot of shit happens in black houses y’all. For people who are wondering, it’s more than just “in this house;” it’s also whatever happens in your family, to your family, because of your family and don’t even get me started with what happens in your church. We  just sweep everything under the rug and act like everything is all good. We sweep big situations and little-minuscule things; essentially, those things shape who we become in the future.

When I was younger, my parents used to host holidays at our house. They could throw down in the kitchen and they were super fun, so all of my family and friends used to love coming over. Because my parents had to do all of the cooking, I would do all of the cleaning. We weren’t the neatest people so it was only but so much that I could clean on my own. So every holiday, I would go cry to my mom that I was running out of time before the guests arrived and I couldn’t finish cleaning everything. “Just put the rest of the stuff in the guest room and close the door. We just gotta make sure nobody goes in there, but make sure your grandmother doesn’t go snooping around.” Seems small right? Just throw everything in the room and let the rest of the house sparkle like we were the cleanest people in the world. “And the lie detector says, That’s a lie!”We were fronting! Everyone thought, “Wow, this house is beautiful and spotless! My family sure is perfect.” Little did they know, we had a whole room full of imperfection. As a child, I thought that mask was normal, but now, as an adult, I know it’s not. That just taught me to hide my mess and portray to the world that I have it all together.  

Now that I live in Cali, I am finding out just how much crap I have hidden up under my rug! I have to learn how to face all of it  ASAP because I have a future man looking up to me. I just don’t know where to start. My goal for raising my son is to raise a God-fearing, honest man who is who he is all the time; but I wish that I had help… his father’s help. God I miss that man. How can I teach my boy how to be a man when I am clearly not one? When he gets old enough, I have to explain to him why his daddy isn’t here, I definitely can’t sweep that away. I don’t even know how to start that conversation. Who will help me tell him that his daddy is dead and never coming back? I don’t speak to my own dad, so I can’t even have him step in. Who will teach my son how to shave, or how to stand up and pee? God said he wouldn’t put more on me than I could bear…so I must have faith that I can do this, right?

I try not to post too much on social media now because 1, I don’t want people to know that I’m borderline depressed and 2, I don’t want to post acting like I have such a perfect life out here with my son. Work is going well, my new church is awesome and my financial situation is great, but I am extremely overwhelmed right now. I barely speak to Tynika or my other friends. I’m over the graduation day arguments, but I just need to focus on me and Darren for now. That’s also why I haven’t met up with Semaj yet. He’ll text every now and then to see how I’m doing, but I just keep the conversation short before he gets the chance to invite me out. I’m not ready yet!

I cry myself to sleep sometimes and most days, I just want to be left alone. There are lots of people around me, some with kids too, which is great of course, but I still don’t want to socialize for some reason. I just want to be with Darren. I know who I want to become right now as a person, but it’s hard to be her when I am still getting rid of that masked, clean up woman I used to be. It’s time for me to break that generational cycle! So metaphorically, my house is actually clean and I don’t have to hide my mess…but for some reason I don’t even recognize my own place anymore. Who am I? I have to figure things out. 


The Never Ending Story

Chapter 4: Cali Dreams & Gummy Smiles

“Relax baby, mi promise to take mi time with you,” Semaj softly whispers in my ear, pulling my body closer to his. I cannot believe that I am in his arms again. He looks exactly how I remember, he feels exactly how I remember and I want him just as badly as I remember. The only thing that has changed is his smell. I have to admit, I am not too fond of his new smell, but whatever, I’ll just buy him a new cologne after I give him some of this here cookie. It’s been so long since I’ve had sex and I am more than ready! I need to release some of this tension that I’ve been holding inside.

Semaj begins to gently kiss my lips…biting and licking my bottom lip when necessary.  He then kisses my neck and immediately finds out where my spot is. “You like that?”
He says while sucking on my neck. I don’t just like it, I love it, but I won’t tell him that just yet.  I begin to move my pelvis closer to his so that  I can affirm that his body is craving mine just as much as I his, but he pushes me away. “You’re teasing me Daddy, I like that,” I moan. Semaj then works his way down to my breast, sucking on my nipples like he is a hungry new-born baby. He slowly kisses his way to my belly, then my…”Wait! Did I shave my kitty?” I ask myself. “What did you just say?” Semaj asks, popping his head up. He dropped his accent and everything! I cannot believe I said that out loud! I thought I said it in my head. Think Tiffany! Think, think, THINK. “I said, wait, did I say kitty? That’s my safe word…kitty!” Y’all, he bought it.

He didn’t waste any time picking back up exactly where he left off. I’m screaming and moaning uncontrollably as he tastes every bit of me like I am his favorite flavor of candy. I’m holding onto his dreads as he’s taking me to ecstasy. I can’t take it anymore, I must feel him! “I’m ready, I want you,” I scream out. Even though the room is dark,  I can still see Semaj’s sexy, excited body coming towards me. Just as he is about to slide into me, the bedroom door slams open and the lights flicker on!

“Tiffany, you don’t know him like you think you do!” Tynika screams at me. Semaj jumps up and covers his awaiting erection with a pillow. “What the hell are you doing here? Get out!” I scream at Ty. She is really trying me right now! This is not the time for a  moment nor a deep convo, I need Semaj to finish what we’ve started. “Girl, why do you think I’ve kept him away from you after all these years? It wasn’t an accident that I didn’t tell you I’d heard from him!” Ty yells.”You’re just mad that someone actually wants more than just sex from me. Jealousy is real ugly on you,” I replied.

All of a sudden she charges towards me to pull me out of the bed! I start swinging on her, hoping to rack up enough hits to get her to back off. I land like 2 slaps before she forcefully punches me in my face. Remember, I can’t fight so this 1 punch did me in! “Baby, your teeth! Tynika, what have you done?” Semaj exclaims. I look down and see all of my teeth laying on the floor. I begin to cry the gummiest cry ever. Then I hear a familiar, angry voice say, “So you sleeping with another nigga now? You givin’ my shit away?” Oh my gosh, y’all will not believe who it is! “Craig? How did you get in here?” I can barely get the words out because I’m missing all my teeth, I’m crying really hard and I am confused! “I’m not giving it away baby, I’m still yours. He didn’t feel me babe, I love you!” I say as I offer Craig a hug, a stream of tears and a gummy smile.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is your pilot speaking. As we start our descent, please make sure the backs of your seats and tray tables are in their full upright position. Make sure your seat belt is securely fastened and all carry-on luggage is stowed underneath the seat in front of you or in the overhead bins. Thank you.”

I jump up, only to realize that I was dreaming. My neighbor is now staring at me, looking relieved that I am no longer laying on his arm. That would explain the weird odor I smelled on Semaj.  “Well, hello there! You must have had a pretty interesting dream there little lady,” he proclaims with a deep country accent. “I did! I am so sorry for whatever I did or said while I was asleep sir,” I say with much embarrassment. “Oh no worries, I didn’t mind at all. I didn’t want to move and risk waking you and that little feller of yours. Although, I am curious to know, did you figure out whether or not you shaved.” We burst out into  hysterical laughter. I am so ashamed.

I look out the window enjoying the fact that I am actually beginning to see the gorgeous Cali mountains and the infamous palm trees. I am in awe right now. “Oh my goodness! Mommy cannot believe that this is really happening! Darren baby this is really happening,” I whisper to my grinning baby boy.

They say that if you dream about losing your teeth, you may be insecure about some part of your life. says that “Dreaming that [my] teeth are falling out  may refer to [my] fears of being embarrassed or making a fool of [myself] in some situation. Perhaps [I] feel unprepared for the task at hand and am afraid of getting ridiculed.” They also say that, “These dreams are often an over-exaggeration of worries and anxieties.” Am I over-exaggerating? I mean, I am full of anxiety because I want my life to make sense. I am not so sure that I’ll raise my son correctly, I am nervous about my new job and I am worried about my personal life.

My phone begins to vibrate intensely because I am a savage and I refuse to put my phone onto airplane mode. Now that we are getting closer to the ground, I am beginning to get all of the notifications that I’ve missed while in the air.” Hey girl, I cannot believe that you left without saying goodbye! Don’t stay mad at me, we’ll get through this. I’ll be there next week to help you settle in,” Tynika texted me, along with about 5 other messages asking for forgiveness. “You neva responded mi Tiffy. We gon link or wat? Mi Miss you and wan to explain everyting,” Semaj messaged. I start to feel more of my anxiety kick in, but something tells me to look down.  I glance down and I see my baby boy staring up at me. He is locking eyes with me and smiling his cute gummy smile, as if he knows that we are officially leveling up in life. Then it hit me, what if  I flip my dream, and pretend that  I just didn’t have teeth to begin with and they will grow in later? Without words, Darren is reminding me how blessed we are. While the loss of teeth may symbolize insecurities, fear and anxiety , it can also symbolize a new beginning or a fresh start. Yes, things are scary right now, but I am just minutes away from stepping foot into my new life that only God can control. There is reassurance in my baby’s gummy smile that everything will be alright.

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to LAX Airport. Local time is 6:00pm and the temperature is 73ºF. We hope that your flight was life changing, eye-opening, relaxing and refreshing! Safe journeys!

Audio Version

The Never Ending Story

Chapter 3: Semaj

“Semaj? Jamaican Semaj? He just texted you?” Tynika asks me, knowing good and darn well that we only know one Semaj. ” Ty, what the hell? Don’t play dumb wit me. He mentioned your name and your Snap Chat! You’ve spoken to him. Wait, did you give him my number? You’ve been speaking to him and didn’t tell me?” I yell. “You know I would have told you! I mean, I spoke to him for a few seconds a couple of years ago, but it wasn’t about anything so I didn’t even bring it up to you. I didn’t give him your number. He must be one of my ghost followers on Snap or something because I didn’t know that he’s been following my stories. ” Tynika responds, but for some reason I feel like there is something that she is not telling me, I know her. “What are y’all so hyped up about?” my friend Tina asks while trying to catch her breath from twerking. Quick sidebar:  My other 3 friends’ names are Portia, Lucy (aka Lu Lu) and Krystal.  “I’ll tell y’all later. Let’s just go, I need to feed Darren and finish packing for Cali, ” I advise them with a true attitude. I know I just totally messed up their vibe, but I can’t hide my rage nor utter another word right now. I can’t even look at Tynika at this moment. She knows it too because she decided not to come with us to my place to help me pack. Good!

Y’all don’t understand, I haven’t spoken to Semaj since my last semester in high school. He moved away abruptly, two weeks before our graduation and forgot all about me. He never tried to call me, text me or e-mail me; Shit, he didn’t even try to hit me up on Myspace! I used to be number 1 on his top 5 friends list too, but he completely deleted me off his page when he left. Being removed from someone’s top friend section of their profile was the ultimate diss on Myspace in case you didn’t know. That’s how I knew he was really gone from my life.

Apparently, his dad finally decided to up and leave his cheating ass wife and moved away to Arizona–taking my Semaj away from me.  That was it, he was gone forever! I mean, I understand that he didn’t really have a say in the move because he wasn’t 18 yet,  but why wouldn’t he even try to contact me to say goodbye? Word on the street is, he went to UCLA on scholarship, landed a good job and stayed in Cali after graduating. I also heard that he has a 5 year old son! If I am doing my math correctly, that means that he moved out to Arizona and knocked someone up real quick. That news still pisses me off, but even knowing that, I still never got over him! He was the sweetest gentleman I’ve ever known, that’s why I placed his name in my baby boy Darren’s name. I know that sounds stupid, but I never thought I’d hear from him again and he meant so much to me. That’s why I can’t understand why Ty would be in contact with him and follow him on Snap Chat and not tell me. Ty of all people knows how I felt, how I feel about Semaj. What the hell? What kind of bull sh….”Girl calm down before you wake up Darren! We still have jah boxes to pack!” Portia whispers loudly, interrupting my story with her DC accent.

I don’t think y’all get it though, Semaj was my heart!

High School

Most of the girls hated me in high school when they found out that I was the one Semaj chose to be his girlfriend. His name is really James, but he randomly decided to flip his name around one day and realized his name is sexier backwards. Semaj was a dark-chocolate Jamaican dude with dread locks down to the middle of his back. His features were perfect. His nose was just the right size, he had eyes to die for and his lips were full with just the right curve. He played football all up until our junior year, so his body was still in an athletic-build and he had facial hair like a man. He looked so good and what made him even more sexy was when he would use that accent of his. He knew how to turn it on and off, but he knew to always use it when he was with me–I loved it!

Most of the time, you would catch me with both Tynika and Semaj. They are actually the people responsible for my introduction to my homegirl, Mary Jane (marijuana.) We used to get high every day of the week. Everyone knows that your last marking period of your senior year in high school is pointless because by that time, you have all your credits and you’re pretty much wasting time until your life-sentence in that puberty infested prison is over. That’s why we didn’t even bother taking it serious.We already had our acceptance letters for colleges and everything. Everyday, after sixth period, the three of us fled out of the back of the school and jumped into Semaj’s 2006 Honda Accord to smoke some purple haze. We only smoked the good stuff because we had class and swag.

I always sat in the driver’s seat because it made me feel like I was in control; Oh, and so I could always get that first hit of the blunt–you know, “Pass the dutch to the left hand side.” We would get so smacked in that 2-door car! On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, after we took that last puff of the joint, we would  drive to McDonald’s and order 3 Large fries, 3-20 piece McNuggets and 3 Large Sweet Teas, “NO ICE!” That was our thing! On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we went to Gaetano’s and bought steak sandwiches with a side of white-cheddar cheese fries. Listen, Gaetano’s is THEE SPOT! We could only afford to go twice a week though because Semaj only got paid $65 a week in allowance. We bought the haze and he got us the munchie food. I could throw down on some food, but I didn’t get fat, just thicker. That’s why he called me his Tiffy Phat.

When Semaj and I were alone, we were so adorable! We went out everywhere imaginable, did ‘romantic movie’ type things– like get high on the hill in the local park while watching the sunset, talked on the phone for hours until we fell asleep and he even gave me a promise ring. He was so polite and chivalrous too. He always opened doors for me, carried my books, walked me to class, rolled the weed up and respected my grandmother. Sounds like we were perfect together doesn’t it? We were! There is no twist in my story there..but there is a twist. I was still a virgin.

Yes, I was a virgin my senior year in high school. Tynika wasn’t though. Actually, she was far from a virgin–I love my best friend, but she was a hoe to be honest. I remember her sleeping with at least half the football team by the end of our freshman year! I told her that I wasn’t judging her because she used to be real sensitive about her “sleeping-around habits,” but Come on son!  How could I not judge her while knowing for a fact that she was a loose jawn?  Anyways, I was a virgin and Tynika used to warn me that if I didn’t let Semaj pop my cherry soon, he would leave me. I believed her because I did begin to notice how he started to have wandering eyes when we would go out places. I had to give my man a piece of my cookie quick or he would leave me for another girl. I mean, he did deserve it right? To make a long story short, 2 weeks later we broke up and he disappeared, but…

“So hold up girl, you named your child after this boy? Your corny ass first love that took your little virginity?” LuLu asks, once again, my story has been interrupted. “First of all, he was not corny and second of all, don’t judge my baby’s name. Semaj meant something to me and for the record, he did not take my virginity so chill with coming at me sideways.” I hate to have to correct LuLu as if she is just another girl, but I am sensitive when it comes to this part of my life. Actually, I am sensitive about every part of my life, but this one in particular can strike a nerve. “LuLu is right though Tiff, you’re bugging off this eff boy for real, just like you tripped over Craig. You’re smart, but it seems like you make these dudes God in your life and I think you’re going to make him God again when you go to Cali based on this little back story you’re trying to sell us,” Krystal says as she tapes up the last box of my things. “Yo, get the fu…Get out! You’re going to bring up Craig right now? Really? Y’all don’t know shit about my past! I tell y’all basic shit and you think you know me now? Y’all don’t know what I’ve been through! The way that Semaj and I broke up is priceless and I will love him forever for his reasoning and the way that he broke up with me. Get out! I’m glad I’m moving away from y’all bitter bitches.”

“Tiff, calm down! We all just want you to focus on Darren and your career when you leave!” Portia screams out to me as I am pushing them towards the door. “So y’all having interventions about me? Y’all on some nut shit! Get out of my life, don’t worry about me and my son! Just know that we’ll be fine and we out tomorrow,” I scream at them. I slam the door in their faces, waking the neighbors I am sure because it is late. Darren is wide awake and crying at this point and so am I. I’m so confused right now. How could my so-called girls judge me without knowing my full story about Semaj?Why would they bring up Craig? How could my best friend hold back important information from me? If Ty didn’t give Semaj my number, who did? After 6 years, why is Semaj just now hitting me up? Why is my life the way that it is?

“Enough with the questions Tiffany,” I snapped at myself while wiping away my tears, “forget all about this and leave it behind! Because tomorrow, you’re moving to Cali!”

Audio Version

The Never Ending Story

Chapter 2: My Best Friend

I know y’all probably have mad questions about me. Like, what’s my story, who is Craig, who are my 5 friends, why weren’t my parents in the audience… don’t worry, as needed, I will do my best to fill y’all in. Just don’t start asking me too many questions though because remember, I am trying to figure out the rest of my life or whatever.

Okay, so I am a beautiful, intelligent, SEXY, African-American woman from Willingboro, New Jersey–and before you ask, yes, that is an actual place on the map! I am 24 years young, and as I already mentioned, I am a proud mommy of my 135 day old sweet-baby boy, Darren Craig-Semaj Peterson. SIKE NA, SIKE NA, I am just playing; I mean, I am really 24 and a mom, but I hate when people say their kid’s age in days or months after a certain point. Like, why do y’all do that? For instance, I’ll see a fellow mom in the store and I be like, “Awwwww, ma’am, how old is your pretty little daughter?” Then here she go, “Oh, she’s 76 months old.” I hate that with a passion! Like, lady, you were supposed to stop telling people ya child’s age in months after she turned 12 full months, which equals 1 year old! I mean, the little girl is cute and all, but I am not about to stand there doing all that math just to figure out how old she is! My bad, I had to go off real quick because people drive me crazy with that.

Anyway, Darren is 4 months old and he is my new reason for being alive! I really, really love my son-shine. It has truly been by the grace of God that my son and I are still here on Earth because these last few months have been rough! If you’ve ever been to college, you definitely  know the struggle is real! Here’s a quick math problem for y’all: think about your collegiate struggle, then add an at risk pregnancy (losing one of two), plus a dead Craig, drama to the tenth power, school work, sorority duties, plus 2 jobs. What does that equal? That equals suicide, but let’s just say that I had an extra credit that I could use on the equation that made it right—God! God balanced it all out.

“Girl, I knew you could do it! Come on Baby D, say yesssss Mommy you did that!” I heard hollered out through a crowd full of strangers. I knew it had to be my number 1 friend (out of my measely 5), Tynika Houston. She has been my best friend since we were riding seesaws & kicking sand together during recess in kindergarten. This girl is my true role-dog, my sister, my homegirl and my most loyal Period Booty Checker. I know that last one just went over a lot of heads. A ‘Period Booty Checker’ is a friend that every girl must have. Let me educate y’all real quick, when a girl is on her period and she doesn’t know whether her pad is doing its’ job or not, she asks her Period Booty Checker friend to look at her butt to make sure she isn’t messing up her pants. Don’t believe me? Watch a girl during her cycle and see if she gives her bestie a special look after she has done the following:  gotten up after sitting for a while, walked too fast, ran, just finished dancing, worked out in the gym or the ultimate, decided to wear beige or white pants.

Anyway,  I absolutely know for a fact that Tynika will do anything for me. She is a bit over the top and too much to handle 95% of the time, but I don’t know where I would be without that girl. Like me, Tynika is smart, beautiful and bad! I mean, on the low, she is way more bad than I am. You know how guys are always describing a “bad jawn” as a female with a nice shaped body, nice breast, decent size booty and a pretty face? Well, Tynika is the epitome of bad. She also has a tell-it-like-it-is, dope personality, just like me.

Back in the day we called ourselves The Oh So Classy TifTys—pronounced like Tif-Tee’s, but our classmates used to intentionally call us The Oh So Classy Titties because they were low-key immature and jealous.  Moving on, everyone in high school knew not to mess with me because of Tynika’s crazy self. She was raised in Willingboro like me, but she was originally from Camden and that’s where she spent most of her time when she wasn’t in school or hanging with me. Anybody who knows Camden, knows not to mess with its natives or their squad. You see, I can’t fight, but my mouth always seems to get me into trouble; so I needed someone like her in my corner so that I wouldn’t get killed. #RealSquadGoals, #MyLifeMatters , #GetYouAFriendLikeMine.

“Hey Mommy’s handsome baby! Come here little daddy!” I said to my baby, while grabbing him out of my friend’s arms. “Go best friend, that’s my best friend! Twerk it, twerk it, ayyyyyyyyy!!” Tynika exclaimed as she broke out into every popular dance move that she could possibly think of. “Girl, how does it feel to finally be on the other side with me? You are like officially a real life adult now!”

 “I just can’t believe that I did it! I don’t even know how to describe how I am feeling right now. Did you scream for me when they called out my name?” Y’all know I had to ask. “You’re kidding me right? You think I sat on those hot ass metal bleachers, while bottle feeding your cranky ass breastfed son, just to sit quietly while you got your 6 year-earned degree? How Sway?” Ty responded. I knew I was going to piss her off with that question.  I hugged her with my one free arm and laughed.

“Did you peep how they lined me up behind the Video Vixen Queen though? She stole my shine for real.” Tynika’s response may shock y’all a little, so beware **PARENTAL ADVISORY ALERT**. “Girl bye! Ain’t nobody scream for that hoe! No shade, but she was whack in that sex video so we were all booing her—even her parents! Her dad was like, Booo, you ain’t even my real daughter cuz you suck at doin it! Then I started screamin’, bring up my best friend ’cause she can throw it back and blow way better than her dry ass!” Tynika has no filter, whatsoever.

I wanted to respond to her so badly, but my other 4 friends ran up to us and started twerking and causing a scene. I couldn’t even join in with them because I got distracted by a text message that I received from the one person I least expected to hear from.  The message read, “Wah Gwaan, everyting irie? Mi sexi girl done got herself a degree! Mi saw u on Tynika’s Snap Chat stori. Mi can’t wait to link up when you come here to stay. U owe mi infinite years of tha good luvin’ when you get to Cali mi Iyanla Vandant…so get tha Pum-Pum tight. One luv mi classy Tiffy Phat.”

My hands began to sweat and my jaw completely dropped. “Tiff, close ya damn mouth before you drool on my godson. Who was that?” Tynika asked me while taking Darren away from me. “Ty…it’s Semaj!”

Audio Version

The Never Ending Story

Chapter 1: Grauduation

“Tiffany Henson!!” my dean screams out to the stadium full of people.I hear a loud and roaring cheer, but I don’t know many of these people, only my 5 friends and some of the prestigious professors sitting out there somewhere. I’m sure those people that I heard cheering were not cheering for me. They were probably cheering for the chick in front of me because she USED  to be the university’s queen before she got caught up in a sex tape scandal. You know how it is at an HBCU…you are a great student, but end up dealing with a no good dude and BOOM, ya sex is all over the internet. Of course, she didn’t  consent to the video’s release and I am sure if she knew that her body parts would end up in the cyber world, she would have given her best effort…you know, her best foot forward! She was REAL BASIC in that video if you ask me. But enough about her! I am not even going to give you her name because this story is about me.

Yup, I am Tiffany Henson, and today, I got my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. I was in college for a good 6 years, but who’s counting? I got the degree and now I am destined for greatness! Watch out world, watch out people who thought I couldn’t make it and watch out Craig–R.I.P you dumb ass! I know y’all are probably wondering who Craig is…he’s the father of my son. He may need his very own chapter because that piece of work, that piece of my history, THAT PIECE OF SH….let me calm down. I’ll tell y’all about Craig another time because today is my graduation and I am not letting that no good boy take up my chapter–God rest his stupid ass soul. Plus, I am a Christian now.

I gave my life to the Lord last year, right after I was at the highest point of my life. Please don’t think I mean that it was the best or most successful point of my life. I literally meant the “highest” point of my life. I was in the car hot boxing with my sorority sister, Chante , and I think that the weed that we were smoking was laced because I started seeing stuff in the stars and I swear that the music playing in the car was in extreme slow motion. All I remember from that night was Chante crying about her lesbian lover leaving her for a guy– while she was humping the steering wheel, and my 97 year old ‘dead’ uncle talking to me about why drinking a possum’s blood was good for me. I ended the night vomiting in my Loui V shoes and wound up screwing Craig’s mediocre butt and creating my darling son, Darren. Do you understand why I had to get saved? I love my son and I am glad he is here, but his conception evening was satanic!

Anyway, I am glad to be sitting here at my graduation because I deserve this! My parents are NOT in this crowd of nicely dressed, loud– people, but I feel so good about myself today. I came a long way since high school and I am going to be even better in the next stage of my life. Right before my sorority chapter got suspended for pre-pledge hazing, my pledgee hooked me up with an internship and I networked very well! I networked so good…(I know the correct way of saying that was “I networked so well”…BUT THIS IS MY STORY AND IMMA SPEAK HOW I WANT,) ANYWAY,  they offered me a job! They even offered to pay for my Master’s Degree! Oh, y’all thought that this was about to be one of those disastrous, ghetto girl stories, huh? Nah, student loans and diaper prices are too real to be wasting life away! I did well for myself in these last 6 years, but it’s happiness and my future that I am worried about. My internship was here in Baltimore, Maryland, but my job offer is in Los Angeles, California! I don’t know shit about Cali. (Excuse my Lord in Savior-Saved French). I am moving to a new city, I have a son, a dead baby father, 5 so-called friends ( I don’t even know if they cheered for me today), no parents and a mysterious “future.” Will it be bright? I am out here in this stadium sweating profusely in this hot-ass sun, underneath this dumb black robe and super long Malaysian ( I wear the real stuff) weave…thinking about my life; what exactly is next?

Audio Version