“Hey, man what’s going on?”
“Nothing much just trying to teach these jokas how to not kill people with these big rigs, you know!” Andrew nodded at Bernard.
“Man, tell me about it – best thing ever happened to me was when I met you!”
“‘Pre-ci-ate that buddy.”
“It’s a real blessing to have you in my life!” Bernard looks at Andrew and felt as if he had begun an out of body experience. Bernard has known Andrew for almost ten years, and Andrew really is the only person Bernard has ever known that can not only call him on reality but know Bernard’s truths. As Bernard sat quickly watching Andrew devour his sandwich and fries, Andrew says, “Hey, what happened to Meredith, I ain’t heard you talk about her in a minute.”
“Umm…we had a misunderstanding,” Bernard answered and didn’t want to say anything else. “She and I disagree about how I should be in my sons life.” Andrew nodded wondering what Meredith could have said to make Bernard stop talking or wanting to be with her. Andrew knew from the first day Bernard saw Meredith profile and exclaimed, “She can’t be real.” So he knew that right now Bernard was full of shit!
“What did she say?”
“I really don’t want to rehash it.”
“Yes, you do. I know you man it’s been twelve years since Shawna and you ain’t been serious about no one else and then Meredith comes along; so as ya boy, I need you to talk to me.”
Bernard stared at his food no longer hungry; he slowly said, “She said I would have to cheer Rodrick on from afar and that it was ok to feel guilty about not being at home,” Andrew started to choke on his food thinking that that cannot be the reason he stopped talking to Meredith – not the way he wouldn’t shut up about her. “I didn’t like that, I moved to Charlotte to be with my son not to cheer from freaking afar.”
“Ok and what else?”
“What the hell you mean what else?”
“That can’t be the reason you stopped talking her. That cannot be it,” Andrew said and started laughing. “Sorry, man, I really don’t understand why that upset you to the point where you stopped talking to Meredith.”
“She’s not a parent, she cannot be in my world and say crazy things like that.”
“Wait a minute, B, she’s an educator, a PhD at that. She’s crazy smart, and didn’t you tell me that her dad was gone a lot some kind of salesman?” Bernard nodded. “One question, did she scare you?” Bernard gave him a blank stare. “Ok, let me say this…Meredith figured you out day one. You want to be loved, you want to share your world with someone, but how dare she tell you what you cannot do with and for your son.” Bernard’s face turn beet red; he didn’t say another word, he knew that Andrew was right. “I know you miss her. I knew something had happened, I thought you guys had a falling out or she said she meet someone else. But you stopped because you didn’t want to hear the truth, I’m sorry but I cannot buy that bull.”
“I had no idea what came over me. I…I feel so stupid. How could I, damn it…”
“Hey, it’s ok. I didn’t think after everything you’ve been through you’d just through this lady away like that.”
“I…I don’t know what I’m doing. I thought she couldn’t understand and that if we got together, she’d not allow me to spend time with Rod.” Andrew stared at Bernard knowing that that BS he just said was his version of she scared me. He knew that Bernard needed to be checked on what he just said, but then Bernard added, “I know it’s too late; she’s probably already moved on, but…” he said and picked up his cell phone.
“Meredith, but I’m sure she’s not going to respond.”
“It’s never too late, but you’re right she could be like the hell with this guy, but there’s only one way to find out. What are you going to say?” Andrew said looking at Bernard while eating his waffle fries.
“I really don’t know, I mean it’s been a few months what if she changed her number?”
“Well there’s that…before you do that though how about going back out on the site you met to see if she’s out there.” Bernard looked at Andrew and disdain grew in his spirit. “Look, I’m trying to help you think about it if she’s out there then don’t waste your time, but if she’s not then go for it.”
“But she could be involved,” Bernard said looking at Meredith’s picture on his phone; something he’s done often since he went dark a few months ago.
“True, but let’s see if she’s out there first,” Andrew said wiping his mouth and hands and getting online. “Ok, what’s her screen name?”
“DrMere…m – e – r – e.”
“Ok, let’s see here. So, Tampa right?” Bernard nods. “And anything else?”
“She had music playing on her page.”
“Ok,” Andrew said and found nothing. No Meredith no matter how many different ways he looked for her. “Well, if she’s out there she’s changed her name.” Bernard nodded and began to type a message to Meredith. “The only other thing is that she could have changed her number.”
“True, but I know the other one that she uses for school, her students, and that’ll not change only because too many people have it.”
“Oh, ok; well, it’ll be interesting. I’m going to leave you alone and finish my meal at the bar.”
“No, you mean eat Tashie,” Bernard smiled and thought about how attracted to Tashie Andrew is, but knowing that he’s all talk and that Nancy is all on his mind. “You need to leave that girl alone.”
“I know, but I gotta keep my skills sharp so when I get home Nancy is well rewarded.”
“You’re full of shit with that man, get out of here!” Bernard said and typed a little note to Meredith. Meredith, I hope you’ve been doing well; if you have a moment I’d like to speak with you. I owe you, above anything, an apology; your words they were correct, you were correct – I just wasn’t prepared to hear it. Please know, I’ve thought about you everyday since our last conversation, and I do hope that your memory is of the good and not the bad. I’ll like to tell you about things and hear about your work. I hope to hear from you soon. Bernard
Bernard waited and waited several days as a matter of fact, and he knew it was too late. Meredith either moved on or she was so angry whatever she felt for him no longer mattered. He deserved it he knew, but Bernard still held on to hope.
He knew Meredith was only trying to help him, but, truth be told, he didn’t think Meredith would go cold turkey on him either. Bernard had a rough couple of months without the person he had come to rely on these past months. Meredith had made his life more interesting; he was starting to think of her more seriously, and once found himself looking at engagement rings.
Of course, he never went there because he didn’t think Meredith was ready for what he was ready for. Again, he knew that was a bunch of crap. Like him, Meredith is careful with her heart; she’s not one to jump from one ship to another, but he also knew how stubborn she is and that alone will tell her to be single, to stay single, and to not be with someone too stupid to see when she’s only trying to help.
“Good morning, Bernard,” Amelia said to him. Bernard nodded. “So, let’s begin…” she said and Bernard went blank. He decided that it was time to take one of these positions at the company’s new headquarters in Atlanta. Although Bernard knew it would take him away from Rodrick, he knew this was for the best. Having a more stable schedule meant regular time-off, real vacations, and he knew the four hour drive to Charlotte was no big deal to him. “Ok, here’s the breakdown of your new salary and benefits; it’s very exciting having you join the rest of us around here as a regular,” Amelia said trying way too hard to get Bernard’s attention; she was quite taken with him. “So, we’ll go around after lunch to meet your staff. Do you have any questions?” Bernard nodded no, he hadn’t spoken since he entered Amelia’s office. “Ok, so in a few Ms. Stuart will come to take you to get your id, clearance and then you’ll meet with Mr. Hammond,” again Bernard nodded.
“Hey, Amelia, Bernard,” Bernard nodded at Torie. “Are you all set?” Bernard stood, took his copy of the signed paperwork from Amelia and thanked God for Torie. It was difficult for him to be near Amelia since she made his skin crawl.
“Thank you very rescuing me.”
Giggling Torie said, “Anytime, I’m glad you’re finally here in ATL with us.”
“Yeah, it was time.” Later that afternoon Bernard was in his office waiting for IT to finish linking his laptop, company cell phone, and desktop together. He had meet with his staff of six and his assistant, Michael, and was trying to relax; until his phone chimed and he saw her face.
…to be continued
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