My next favorite memory is the night that Kesner asked me to be in an exclusive relationship that was heading towards marriage…
It was the Tuesday after our amazing Good Friday and Easter Sunday dates. He invited me over for dinner, promising not to boil the meat. I had to go to a Sorority meeting that night but I left early and met him at his house at 8PM. I had on a grey pencil skirt, a white blouse and black pumps.
I loved his house.
It was my first time there and it was classic. He had dark leather furniture, hardwood floors, and African artifacts around. There were also many oil paintings on the walls; different landscapes, scenes in nature.
“Did you paint these?” I noticed the artist signature said KD, with the ‘ufresene’ running together in a small squiggly line after the D.
“Yes. Oil painting is a hobby. I paint in my basement.”
He looked so handsome that night. He had on blue jeans and an un-tucked white button down shirt that fit him perfectly. And he had this really great dog, “her name is Ce-Ce, she followed me home one night while I was on the campaign trail.”
We spent time in his dimly lit kitchen while he finished his culinary masterpiece: Trenton pork roll, corn and spinach. I sat on a stool and talked to him while he cooked. We talked about Haiti. He told me about this time he’d gone there when he was eight and played with a cousin his age. They’d climbed trees and made kites out of leaves and these had been some of his fondest childhood memories. Then that cousin died and it was unclear how. Kesner had been very sad about that.
….I imagined this child climbing trees and flying child-made kites in heaven. Happy.
“Would you like to try some peanut butter from Haiti?”
Some had just been shipped to him from a man he met when he’d been there during the earthquake. I said “sure.” He spread some on a celery stick and gave it to me. It was spicy. It tasted like someone had taken regular peanut butter and mixed it with hot sauce. I finished my celery stick, I wouldn’t be going back for seconds.
Dinner was better. We enjoyed his simple meal with a glass of wine by candle light. Anthony Hamilton played in the background. It was there that he told me he wanted to be in an exclusive, committed relationship that was heading towards marriage.
Wow I thought. Nobody had ever been that direct. In so many relationships before I’d played guessing games, trying to decipher mixed signals, wondering: “where is this going?”
Kesner made his intentions clear.
He was just that into me.
In a radio interview that I did with my friend, Andrea, she encouraged women to know where they’re headed in a relationship. She said “when you get in a cab you don’t just ride around aimlessly, you have a destination. Why not treat a relationship the same way?”
My friend Jocelyn’s husband Courtney calls this being emotionally responsible; an emotionally responsible man makes a decision and has a clear direction in a relationship.
Kesner was clear. He told me that he had been observing me for months and that he’d made a decision about me.
I did think his pursuit was impressive. We’d gone on dinner dates, and he’d purchased tickets to plays and fundraisers that I was involved with. He ignored the fact that I’d told him I just wanted to be friends, and he just kept at it. He’d even done an official site visit at my job; we’d scheduled it after I learned that he was Vice Commissioner of the Trenton Housing Authority. He came and I gave him an official tour of the facility. The following month he arranged for us to have Thanksgiving baskets of food to give away to our clients. These were very large laundry baskets, each with everything one needs to make Thanksgiving dinner, including turkeys. Giving them away felt like Christmas.
Yes Kesner’s pursuit had been tight. He later told me: “it takes a while to climb to the highest apple on the tree.”
He was always saying the right things.
He told me that he’d made a list of the top ten qualities he wanted in a woman, this was the list that Drew/Angel told him to make. He said: “you blew my top ten out of the water…”
That night I entered into a committed exclusive relationship that was headed towards marriage with Kesner.
After dinner we sat on his couch and called my dad on speaker phone. I’d arranged the call because my father used to be a city councilman in Cleveland and I thought he might have some advice for Kesner. Sitting there next to my man and listening to him talk to my father felt surreal. This was happening. My time had come.
I’m going to marry him.
I began to look around the house and visualize where my things would go...
© Copyright Thank You Very Sweet, 2011