Ray-ray always took extra care when preparing to meet Danny. She used to primp and preen, addressing each curl with precision and care. The dark dreads would stand straight out if she let them. But Danny was worth it. She would apply the hair cream to each strand meticulously. Afterwards, she slicked her full lips using a dark lipstick which she hoped would entice him just so.
She would check her teeth for stray particles before popping a stick of gum in her mouth, because she wanted her breath smelling minty or fruity or cinnamony, not like last night’s tacos. She would smudge dark stain on each eyelid and a thin layer of mascara, each lash carefully attended to.
Danny was worth it. Danny was the light in Ray-ray’s eyes. He didn’t care if her skin was the color of dark mocha. He didn’t care if she was poor. He didn’t care about the size of her house or if she had gas in her car. Danny said he liked her husky voice and the way her lips moved when she talked. They would talk for hours.
He would tell her about work and life at his house. About love past and the future he saw for himself, the future he would make happen. And Ray-ray hung on his every word. Believed every syllable and exclamation point. She danced on his infectious laughter and wrapped her arms around his engaging whispers.
Ray-ray loved Danny more than she ever loved anyone ever. He was the epitome of perfection in her dark brown eyes. Oh, she knew he wasn’t perfect, per se, no, but he was perfect for Her. He made mistakes. He could sometimes be distant. But she overlooked the little flaws because they were unimportant to who he really was, inside. Every day, she ached to hold him in her arms. Every day, she ached to know he felt the same way about her.
Danny cared deeply for Ray-ray, she knew. She was his friend. Probably his best friend. The one who understood him more than any other person on this spinning globe. Danny cared about her, but he did not love her. She knew that he never would. Secretly, when she was alone in the dark, Ray-ray let herself cry quietly. She let herself dream about a day when Danny would tell her, I love you Ray-ray. You’re the only woman I desire, the only one I need, the only one I want. Of course, she knew, in her heart, Danny would never say that. She knew it because she knew Him.
Still, she wanted to look her best for him, so that he would see how much he mattered to her, without always saying it verbally. She showed him every way she knew how, that he was important and amazing and talented and intelligent and wonderful and she believed in him and and and…
It wasn’t an act, for her. It wasn’t fake. It was all honest truth. Her truth. Danny was… the best thing that had ever happened in her life. And she wanted to show him how much he meant to her every chance she got.
One day, Ray-ray sat and waited for Danny. She waited all morning. She waited all through lunch. She waited into evening. Danny never came. She worried because Danny had never done anything like this before. In fact, she never heard from him ever again. She still gets ready, at the appropriate time, their time, the time they had always spent together. But he never comes.
Ray-ray doesn’t cry only in the dark anymore.
tara caribou | ©2019