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I need a break from you and I. I need time to

myself, time alone to really find myself. Lailas words were
beginning to grow old to Leon who still felt the sting of
them after all that time. Laila was unhappy with the way
their relationship had been going, and today she was ready
to bring about a change. The wrinkles formulating on her
forehead showed just that. Their relationship was
everything and nothing, worth fighting for but equally
worth sacrificing. It was an all-encompassing, blind love,
one that allowed the other to hide, to shrink from
themselves and from growth. It had suffocated Laila for
years but it would not any longer.
I dont want to hold on you to Laila if theres
somewhere else you really want to be. I just cant
understand why you wont fix whatevers wrong with you.
Frustration swelled up in Leons body, his neck swelling
momentarily before subsiding altogether. Leon was angry
at her, angry that in spite of his patience and sacrifice she
still was unhappy. However the break that she was now
asking for was not the first of its kind: rather a succession
of pleas for space, clear signs that she was no longer able to
fight the good fight.

Leon reflected pensively on the last year and a half

of their relationship: How could he have been so blind? He
had fooled himself, lulled himself into a sense of security,
hinging all of his faith on the notion he was maturing as a
man and ready for marriage. He was baffled at what he had
The gravity of it all crashed down on him gradually
as he stood there in silence. Flashes of anger arose in him
before he could quell those thoughts. He had to hide his
emotions from Laila and ensure that she never know them.
He was angry, but a part of him agreed. There was no way
he was going to let Laila know that she was right, that he
too felt that there was a change needed. He placed his hand
over his face instinctively and wiped his face, masking any
of the emotions he felt. There would be time to process his
feelings, but now was not the time. Instead Leon resorted
his earlier line of questioning.
Weve tried the breaks before and every time you
come back just like you left before. Whats the point of it if
youre not trying to work on yourself? Laila shifted
uncomfortably, moving from the foot of the bed to standing
up. His line of questioning was beginning to bother her. He
was missing the point of it all.
Leon if I knew how to figure out what was wrong
with me dont you think I would?! I dont like feeling like
this, not knowing what to do or what to think. All I know

for sure is that I need time, and I need you to be ok with

Ok but how much time Laila? I told you that
whatever the problem is we can solve it together. I know a
good counselor we can talk with, a neutral party who willLeon, listen to me! I dont want you to try and
solve the problem. For once I need you to leave me alone
and let me solve it. You gotta let go and let me do some
things myself babe. The certainty in her tone offended
Leon, so much so that he could not control his facial
reactions. She was ungrateful and nave. He had sacrificed
it all, cadres of girls in college, all to settle down with her
and this is how she acted? Numerous opportunities had
passed him by all because of his choice to stay and here
Laila was telling him he did not know how to let go. It was
painful and upsetting.
Look Laila Im a man. If you come to me with a
problem, my job is to solve it. So if youre looking for the
type of man who will just stand by and let you wander
around aimlessly thats not me! If you love someone you
should help them, which is what I thought I was doing for
you. Now youre telling me that Im stopping you from
growing. Wow!
Look Leon dont get mad- Too late! But you know
what youre right. You just said what both of us know to be
true, but only one of us has the courage to say. We need

time apart. Ive been fighting myself and changing who I

am to be the man people want me to be.
So have I Leon. All my friends are married or have
kids and so I thought that that was what I wanted for a
while. I see now. Im not ready to be your wife or anyone
elses babe.
Unable to keep his voice down, Leon jumped off the
bed angrily responding, I wasnt saying we had to get
married this year, next year, or any time soon. But I was
trying to let you know that I was getting ready for that life.
I thought that was our goal.
That was our goal Leon at one point, but that
changed when you threw it in my face like that. I told you I
needed space and then you tell me the same week that we
need to speak with a marriage counselor! Its like you
missed everything I just told you!
That wasnt my intention babe. I invited her to
speak to us because I know that one day we will be married
and there are things we both should know. But more
importantly I asked to speak to us because there are
conversations we just cant have without me hurting your
I want you to be honest Leon- No you dont
because when I do you get defensive. Thats why Im so
passive aggressive all the time around you, because I cant
be myself like how I want to!

So you cant be yourself around me?! Then why are

you with me then?
Im with you because I love you Laila and that
wont change. Because I love you, Im going to let you have
your space. If you arent happy with yourself, you arent
going to be happy with me so theres no need for me to stop
Tears swelled in her eyes as she stood and listened
to Leon speak. She loved him so much in spite of it all. He
had been her all for so long, to the point that she wondered
briefly how she would fare without his help. The thought of
being without her source of comfort was scary, but her
instincts told her to remain firm.
Leon I love you. You are the man I want and I hate
to do this to you. But I just know that theres something
wrong with us, something that you cant solve. For most of
my adult life, Ive been in a relationship with someone. Ive
always been known as the girl who dated this guy and so on
and so on. Its time for me to spread my own wings and fly
babe. She finished her speech emotionally as her lips
pursed rapidly. She was genuinely sad, but Leon felt no
Her emotional plea angered him instead and in that
instant he felt a cold streak flare through his body. He
needed to be angry at her and here she was dictating his
emotional response. Inside his mind told him to console

her, but it was overruled by that cold anger inside. If space

was what she wanted from him he would give her just that.
Laila I get it and respect it. Take the time you need
for yourself and this time dont try and put a timetable on
growth. Its going to take some time and effort. I just want
you to know that there is a risk that we could never be back
to where we were.
I know Leon. But we are not breaking up. We are
just separated. Im not looking for anyone else. Bitch I







Accompanied with that idea was the realization that he had

a second chance- a chance to be single this time as a young,
successful professional. This was just what he needed. The
possibilities were endless.
I get that. Just to let you know I want us to remain
intimate with each other. I only want you to share that
bond with you and vice versa. Cool? Anxious to end this
talk, Laila quickly agreed. Leon shook his head in
compliance, but not before a look of doubt flashed across
his face. Their sexual chemistry was just one of the many
things that had been malfunctioning in their relationship
lately, starting right after Leons encounter with Tia almost
a year back. The result: Leon begged for sex and Laila
complied with the same obligatory zeal as a married
housewife of fifteen years. It was one of the many things
that they had never fully got to discuss and one of the first

things Leon hoped shed address personally during the

Last thing Leon. I think we should live separately.
Think about it, if we are going to really give this a shot we
need to be apart from each other. Leon analyzed Laila
closely as she spoke, searching for any hint or clue that
would betray her intentions. Laila had settled down
considerably by now, no longer crying and instead
speaking quite matter of factly. Leon sensed her eagerness.
She was practically bursting at the seams at the thought of
getting space. It upset him slightly, but he would not show
No, that makes sense. I agree. Ill move out and get
my own place by the end of the month. Ill holla at Jason
and see if he knows of any one bedroom lofts or
apartments that have vacancies.
Cool beans. Ill start looking for a roommate or
someone to help me with rent. I think Farrah might be able
to move too. She was looking for another place to stay now
that her lease expired. I just thought about that.
Leon looked on as Laila began formulating plans,
the gears in her head running feverishly. If I didnt know
better, Id think that this was her plan the whole time he
thought to himself. Regardless there was no time to dwell
on what had just happened. It was beginning to be late and
Leon had to get ready for work the next day.

Nadine sat on the edge of her bed, in shock at the

news she had just received from her doctor. She held her
stomach cautiously as if it made a difference. The stress
from everything that had taken place the last couple of
weeks had caused her to pay the ultimate price. Almost
instantly she began shedding tears unable to stop the flow
of water as she broke down. The image of the ultrasound
sat perfectly on the dresser as if it had been put right in
front of her on purpose. Life had betrayed her trust: It
knew all of her hopes and wishes and in the span of two
weeks had managed to cause them to crumble down. It was
a pain she had never felt before.
Unaware of what to do she lied back on her pillows,
wiping her eyes and attempting to think. She had not yet
broken the news to anyone yet. The image of Wayne
popped up in her head almost instantly: What would he
say?! It had been his dream to have a son, someone to
carry on his legacy. Waynes hopes of being in the NFL had
evaporated almost overnight when in the middle of the
season he tore his MCL in the 3rd quarter of the preseason
game. It had been almost a month since the accident
occurred and things were rockier than ever. The dynamics
of the relationship had changed for the worse. Waynes
sulking and bad tempered attitude only stressed Nadine,
who at the time was three and a half months pregnant. She
had tried to soothe the pain for Wayne, giving him his

space at times. Nadine decision to leave school behind to

follow Wayne was just one of the many things she regretted
in their relationship. Now childless and without a degree
she wondered if it had all been for nothing.
Nadine looked at the phone carefully, debating her
next move. She knew that she would have to tell someone
what had happened soon. Unwilling to share the news with
Wayne so soon, she dialed up her mother hoping she would
answer. The phone had barely rung two times before
Nadines mother Samone answered.
What Nadine? Im getting dressed for work. I
havent even drank my coffee yet.
Mom I lost the baby. The doctors told me that I
had a miscarriage.
Uncharacteristically quiet, Samones mother sat on
the other side on the phone in silence, quietly reflecting on
Copyright 2016 Samuel Wright Jr
Cover Design Abdus-Saleem
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be
reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical
means except without the permission from the author.

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