Seth lay on the sofa in his apartment with his eyes glued to the television that he hadn’t bothered to turn on. He put his webbed feet on the coffee table and reached for the Pepsi that he had been nursing for the past hour. He stared at the watermark the icy glass had left on the table and thought to himself that a wife would have insisted he use a coaster. But Seth was a bachelor and he had no use for silly things like coasters.
The knock at the door brought Seth to reality. He wasn’t dressed for company and hastily tucked in his white dress shirt that he had worn to work that day. As he opened the door he saw it was Divita, the brassy, full figured African-American woman that lived in the apartment upstairs. He should have known it would be her – it always was. Seth had originally met Divita at Church, although she didn’t seem like the “church-going” type to him. When she discovered that Seth lived in her building – she had become a semi-permanent fixture on his doorstep.
“Sup white boy”, Divita said as she walked right into his apartment without even being asked in.
“Uh – not much”, Seth stammered and walked back to the couch and settled back down with his Pepsi.
“I need ta borrow uh movie, ya have that ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ one?” Divita asked in a demanding sort of way going right to his video cabinet. Seth was definitely not in the mood for Divita tonight. “Wus’ all this crap?” she asked as she started reading off his video collections. “Matrix, Terminator, Terminator 2, Fletch Lives
. . . “ Seth cleared his throat hoping she wouldn’t see “The Sound of Music” that he had in the very back of the cabinet.
“I’m a guy Divita”, Seth said with an edge in his voice, “you won’t find no ‘Thelma & Louise Getting Up Close and Personal Looking for Sense and Sensibility in Seattle Cry Until Your Head Hurts” movies here.”
Divita slammed his video cabinet shut and said sarcastically as she walked to the door “I wuz only asking, ya don’ need ta git upset”. Seth noticed as she got closer to the door how her stretch capri jeans showed off her supple ankles. He mumbled an apology hoping that she didn’t notice that his eyes wandered. Before she left she walked back to him, patted him on the chest letting her fingers linger and said, “Ya gots uh great chest white boy”.
Seth was glad she was gone but he could feel the sweat dripping off the back of his neck. He wiped his neck with his hand and then dried his hand on his dress pants. “Why do I let her get to me like this?” Seth thought, “she is so not my type”. He pushed all thoughts of Divita out of his mind and wandered into the kitchen to prepare his meal that was previously boxed and frozen.
A week later as Seth was getting ready to go Home Teaching he heard a knock at the door. He assumed it would be his Home Teaching companion, but when he opened the door he saw Divita. She looked like she was dressed to go out, wearing jeans, boots, and a form-fitting short sleeved sweater. He noticed her red glossed lips and then realized she was crying. She tried to wipe the tears away without messing up her makeup, but it was too late. Divita’s voice cracked as she said barely above a whisper
“Can I come in?”
Seth led her to the Sofa and then went to find her a tissue. He realized he didn’t actually keep Kleenex around like his mother did, so he settled on bringing her a roll of toilet paper.
Seth handed her the roll of toilet paper and sat down next to her on the sofa. “What’s wrong?” Seth said feeling compassion well up inside him. He realized that a sturdy, yet fragile, woman replaced the brassy and saucy girl that usually was “Divita”.
Divita blew her nose and dried her eyes and told Seth how she had been stood up by her blind date. “He probably found out I was fat” she said.
“What does that have to do with anything?” Seth said.
“See – you think I’m fat too” Divita said, and the tears started pouring out again.
It was too late to retract his words so he tried to explain: “What I mean, is that I don’t see you that way. I only see before me a daughter of God.”
A smile crept across her deep cherry lips and she said “so what you are saying is that you would ask someone like me out on a date?”
“Of course I would” Seth said and patted her knee. Seth could see her long red freshly painted fingernails as she slowly put her hand on his chest and said, “Ya gots uh great chest white boy”. She got up quickly and ran from his apartment leaving a trail of toilet paper smeared with mascara.
The next day as Seth unlocked the door to his apartment after work, he wondered if he’d see Divita again. He hadn’t been able to stop thinking about her since she left his apartment the night before. He had a difficult time sleeping and ended up spending most of the night praying about these new found feelings. Before he could even untuck his shirt and get comfortable the familiar knock came at the door. Before he answered,
he knew it would be her. The tears were gone and had been replaced by a
radiant soft smile.
“Seth, I spent da night prayin”, Divita started, “I wants ya ta know I would be uh good wife ta ya. I’d cook fo’ ya, I’d clean fo’ ya and I’d perform all muh ma wifely duties fo’ ya”.
Seth’s head started to spin and images of her supple ankles, and red lips swirled
through his mind. Is this what he’d been waiting 30 years for? Had he been looking for his celestial mate in all the wrong places and in all the wrong packages? Seth’s heart beat faster as he realized that this day might be the day his mother had prayed for. Suddenly, as if descending from heaven, calmness came over his body and mind. He knew the one way to know for sure if Divita was the one that would spend eternity with him by his side.
He took both her hands in his and led her to the coffee table. He motioned to the several water rings that had left an indelible impression on the table from his many Pepsis.
“What about those?” he asked.
“Ya mean du wata rings?” she answered crinkling up her forehead in bewilderment. “Yes, those rings. What would you do about those?”
Divita smiled and said “Fo you, I’d refinish da table – sand it too if I need ta”.
Seth let go of both her hands. He had his answer. “Divita,” he said, “it just won’t work, because I don’t need someone to refinish the table for me—I need someone who will make me use coasters”.
Divita turned her head hoping that Seth wouldn’t see her tears slowly creep down her cheeks. He walked her to the door and before she left she turned around, slowly
put her hand on his chest and whispered, “Ya gots uh great chest white boy”.
Divita moved out the next day. He allowed himself to think about Divita every once in awhile, but he never wished her back.
Two years later Seth stretches out on the sofa in his new home. He watches a football game as his 3-month-old son sleeps in the next room. He sips an ice cold Pepsi and puts it down on the coffee table. He can’t help but smile when his beautiful wife comes into the living room, playfully slaps his hand and says “I’ve told you a thousand times . . . use the coaster.”