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"Why give up before we try/ Feeling the lows before the highs/clip our wings before we FLY AWAY??!!/I can't say I came prepared/I'm suspended in the air...."

Un-Thinkable -Alicia Keys

Standing at my window, letter still in hand, I peered out at the Batmobile.  Here I was, physically holding everything I wanted Landon.  All I EVER needed from him, was to embrace US, and what that really meant to him.  He was definitely on point in saying he knew the way to my heart.  His choice to write a letter was masterful too.  Landon wanted it to be tangible; something I could physically hold; making it REAL.  Diabolical; but I can appreciate the genius.  Gazing out my window, I was now processing every word that was written, in real time, fighting the urge to run straight to him and say fuck ANY and EVERYTHING else.  The only thing I knew for certain was that I was going outside, one way or the other.  I wasn't going to run from this ever again; I was ready to deal with IT.  Whatever was going to happen, I was ready to face it.  I was WAAAYYY passed tired of whatever this was; I just wanted it to be done...

I took a few minutes to gather my thoughts-or whatever that was rattling around in my head.  There was so much chatter going on in there: like 5 different cliques, all having their an opinion about how to proceed.  They were having their own individual conversations about the same subject-Landon.  Each one had their own separate take about how to proceed; all with different grievances to address.  I heard everything they had to say.  Every last one of them spoke to some hurt I had experienced throughout the Landon/Avri Saga.  I can hear you; I was there...I lived through EACH one; even what just happened.  The question that now remained was, how did I feel now?  Why did hesitation linger?  Had I finally had enough?  There was only one way to find out; it was time to step outside...

I quietly slipped into the passenger side of the Batmobile, my eyes stoically facing forward.  I couldn't look at him just yet, I wanted to keep my composure.  After a casual greeting, there was a brief silence, then, Landon spoke first; much to my relief.  I relaxed a little.  Maybe this wouldn't be as painful as I thought.  I let my guard down...just a tiny bit.  "Can we just, talk about Us?!"  He said.  I remained silent, awaiting further context.  "Did you hear what I said?!"  "I did."  I replied.  "I'm just waiting on some more elaboration, I'm saying, what does that mean?!  What US?!  You treat me like I'm replaceable, and of no consequence from one day to the next, until some shit happens.  Then, suddenly, out of nowhere, you magically know I exist."  He let out a long sigh that ended in a grumble.  "WTF do you want me to do Avri?!  I'm here, right?!  I showed up."  Now, I was looking dead at him.  Composure be damned; I could literally feel the flames inside me ignite one by one.  "What I want is for you to fully own your shit, stop frontin' on me and what you feel.  I want you to grow the fuck up, stop running from US, and face whatever life is gonna do; together.  I want you to stop having tantrums and disappearing out of spite because you're rotten and upset.  I want you to learn how to STAY; and get to the bottom of what's really going on.  Stop threatening me with your absence; because TRUST, no one can get ghost like I can.  When I'm done, I'm done.  Stop showing up at the final hour out of fear of losing me-admit to yourself that THAT'S the ONLY reason why you show up; just stop pretending!  Stop being ashamed of how Truly, Madly, Deeply WE love one another.  It's Amazingly Scary, yet Indescribably Beautiful; simultaneously.  It's what every relationship pretends to have and what the rest of the world covets.  We HAVE IT; effortlessly; like breathing.  You would have me, ALL of me, the way you have always imagined it would be (free from text rants and all!) if could just do that.   I am not ashamed of how I love you, what I feel for you, or the magnitude of potential that has for us...But what is potential realized, if its never REALLY acted upon?  There was never anything but a few half-assed if neither of us was ever all in..."

He sat for a long moment in silence; I could tell by the look on his face that he had taken it all in, and was now attempting to digest what I said.  I couldn't tell what he was thinking by the look on his face, which was refreshing.  I didn't want to anticipate his response.  I wanted it to be organic, and truly come from him.  He finally began.  At this point, my eyes had been diverted forward; staring out at an isolated Richmond.  "Avri, can you look at me, please?"  My gaze slowly transitioned; meeting Landon's; his eyes locked on mine.  "I want that too.  I want to stop disappointing you.  I don't want you to keep seeing me as the boy you met, making a bunch of promises that circumstances didn't allow me to keep...Nah, it wasn't just circumstances.  Fuck it, it was just easier for me and what was going on in my life to just let you go; Praying you find your way back to me.  I hate not knowing where we are right now, and how you feel about me.  There was a time when I didn't need you to say a word.  What you felt for me, was written all over your face.  You were mine, without question.  I don't like how I feel inside, its panicked and homeless.  I don't know anything anymore when it comes to you; there isn't any peace.  This isn't right.  I need us to exist in OUR space.  Waking up, one day to the next, wondering if today will be that day when you've finally had enough, and walk away forever.  I know it's because of me, and I'm man enough to say it.  I'm also man enough to admit that I don't want to live like this anymore.  I run out of fear.  I'm afraid to fuck it up beyond recognition, and you not ever wanting to speak to me again.  I run because I'm childish; afraid of hurting you because I wasn't strong enough to live my truth and love ONE woman; THE woman, made specifically for me.  This is me, attempting to own my shit; ALL of my shit.  With no leg to stand on, I am asking for your forgiveness.  I want you to know that I hear you; I feel you.  I will do any and everything it takes to show you THIS time, will be the very last time you ever have to worry about me walking away.  That's over and done with.  Please tell me that you believe what I'm saying; tell me that you trust me..."

I sat for a few minutes in thought.  Landon was right; yet again; I didn't trust him.  I had been purposefully holding back from him for the past several years for this specific reason.  There had been way too many deep conversations that took place while her was under the influence, only to disappear once the sober new day arrived.  I had been set up by this nigga before, and I wasn't about to let it happen again.  However, there was something very different about his approach.  Landon was indeed owning his shit; taking unprecedented accountability for the part he played in our current state of being.  He doesn't address his shortcomings.  Landon prefers to make his case based off YOUR wrongdoings; only able to see where he was victimized.  This, was new-and I had to respect it.  As ready as I was ever going to be, my response flowed from my lips as easily as water, no hesitation present...

"Look Landon, I DO hear you, and I feel you.  I wish I could express how true that is in this moment.  But this, whatever this is, I'm OVER it.  Yo, everything you said hit; especially your admission that weakness and immaturity were the real reasons keeping you from loving just one woman the way that you should.  I appreciate your candid honesty, but what now?! Are you done?!  Have you finally put away childish things...because I'm gonna address another piece of truth in your statement that's actually mine; I'm already gone.  Your waking up, each day wondering if this one may be the day I disappear from your life forever-that's the reality we currently exist in.  This is where we are.  We have a very definitive place in one another's lives, are you ready to accept that, and stop trying to manipulate it to suit your own BS?  If you're not declaring to me, right here, right now, that THIS, is what it IS.  I want to hear you say that THIS is real, and where we belong; where we have always belonged.  Then, I can put your mind at rest.  This is THAT day.  If that's not what this is, I'm out-for the rest of my life.  No friendship, no grudges.  It's not an ultimatum, it's a FACT.  I'm tired of words.  DO Something.  NOW..."

Landon sat; slowly and silently shaking his head in agreeance.  "You got it; it's only right.  I'm here because I'm ready for shit to change.  I'm ready to evolve WITH you, and grow US.  We do have a very definitive place in each other's lives, and I'm ready to accept it in the pure form in which the Divine gifted it.  I won't try to manipulate it to my advantage, or you for that matter, to suit my own BS.  I don't want to downplay us in any way, anymore.  When the world see you, I want them to see Me, and vice versa.   You want action; I get it.  You want to feel how I claim to Love you, and you want to see that reflected in everyday actions.  You do not want to feel like an afterthought.  I know this, because I want it too.  I know you don't believe me yet, because you haven't seen it, but I have changed.  I may not have all my words together, or have my shit right yet, but one thing I know for certain, and have always known, is that you belong with me.  There is no version of reality where you exist, right here on Richmond, and you're not mine.  NONE.  Since I know you feel the same, or at least you used to, I need you to fully understand what I say next.  There is no version of this conversation that ends with you walking out of my life forever.  I told you, this time, somebody has to die in order for me to part ways with you.  So I want you to reframe your thought process; so that you fully comprehend what I am saying to you.  I'm not leaving without you; you're coming with me, and you're getting in MY bed..."

Landon stopped abruptly, grabbed my left wrist, and pulled it towards him, while digging in his pocket with his free hand.  His fist emerged tightly closed.  When he opened it, a beautifully familiar, ornate white gold band was was my ring!  I hadn't seen it in almost 3 years when I threw it at him.  Landon told me later how much that had hurt; like I was telling him his love didn't mean shit.  It's why he had never given it back.  Surprise must have been all over my face, because Landon began to explain with a smile on his face.  "I shouldn't even begiving this back to you, but I need a placeholder..."  My shock was immediately replaced with confusion.  Landon's smile widened.  "You, Avri James, are my wife.  That's the way I have always felt, that is what I have always known.  The problems all started when I led you to believe that that was no longer my truth.  That was a lie.  I don't know what I thought I was doing by behaving that way.  So, naturally, your feelings and behavior towards me drastically changed, reflecting what my words and actions were telling you.  I lost your trust, and became a whole not shit nigga in your eyes.  You would act out, and I just kept taking more and more of myself from you.  I just didn't get it; I wasn't making the connection.  If I can only be with one woman for the rest of my life, You, are it for meBut you know what, that is an absolutely amazing prospect, and I'm VERY proud to say so, to anybody who asks, but especially and first to you, Avri."  Landon slipped the ring on my finger.  "In my mind, we have always been One, but I now recognize the importance of making that declaration to the world; erasing any doubt.  I want you to stand comfortably and firmly on this truth, never doubting it again.  I put this ring on your finger, promising to never remove it again(although technically, it wasn't me who took it off in the first place!) until it's replaced with the one that will Stay here, forever.  I never thought about this, shit, I just always assumed that since we both already knew what it was, I was never going to get the chance to ask the question.  I thought it would just happen.  I know we not where we wanna be right now, but I need to ask you NOW, to ease my own mind, and know this is real.  Avri James, will you marry me?"

Why was I staring at the ring like I had never seen it?  Why were Landon's words so seemingly incomprehensible to me?  What had I expected him to say?  Why did I feel like I was completely unprepared for this outcome?  Again I asked, "Universe, am I being Punk'd right now?!  I was overstimulated, and overthinking.  Was Landon waiting for a response?  In my mind, I thought that this would be our final conversation; that we had finished our story.  Little did I know, Landon was prepared to write an entirely new book.  Immense shock poured over my body, and I just sat; thinking of everything, and nothing at all.  There was nowhere to run; no leaving the question unanswered.  Landon had spoken his truth; pouring out his heart to me in a way he hadn't done since we were kids.  He had addressed every grievance, taken accountability, and was now taking real action to show me how serious he was to moving us forward.  And so, with that being said, I now owed him MINE.  I thought about me, up in my window, looking down at the Batmobile.  What did I feel in that moment?  How did I feel seeing him there, waiting for me?  It was relief.  Relief that he was  there; proof that what He and I had was More Than Love; it was Inevitable.  I smiled from the inside out at this thought...

At long last, I turned to look at Landon, smiling and said, "OK."  His eyebrows raised, "No nigga, I need a YES, a resounding YES, and you better say it with your chest; use your young man voice!"  I burst into laughter.  "Well, how about this, 'They'll never be another for me, You'll always be my one and Only."  I paused, looking at him through my side eye, waiting to see if he would catch the reference.  The instant smile that appeared on his face answered my question.  He grabbed my face, kissing my forehead three times before finding his way to my mouth.  "That'll work!"  He recalled the line from the very 1st letter I had ever written him.  "You better mean it Avri, you know I tase females too!"  He said, with false base in his voice.  I rolled my eyes while smiling and replied, "You know I do, but that's the least of your concerns at the moment.  Right now, you should be worried about where that coupon book I made because ALOT of those tickets will be expiring in the next 48 hours!"  His eyes widened, then a sly smile appeared on his face.  "That's cool, because I'm working on a book of my own just for you, with ALL the wild shit that's in my head that I still haven't gotten to do to you.  I told you I would turn you out and be all you need; I meant it."  I sucked my teeth, "Do NOT threaten me with a good time, I BEEN waitin!"  Suddenly, the booklet appeared from his middle console.  "Avri, you must be CRAZY if you think Ima let any of these coupons expire.  Let's go, Ima need these four right NOW..." 



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