My run in with Ebony Campbell...
I was walking around the zoo the other day with my kids, who’d begged me to get out of the house. It had been a while since we’d gone to visit the various animal habitats. We’d reached the orangutan exhibit when I saw a sign that caught my eye. It read:
‘Please help us welcome a new edition to the Los Angeles Zoo, Baby Nala. The orangutan was born last night and is in good health. Look for her to join the exhibit in the months to come.’
“Cool,” my son said.
I joined my kids in gazing at the orangutans who were in the outdoor portion of the exhibit. Lost in thought, I nearly jumped out of my skin when a hand tapped my shoulder. To my surprise, it was an old friend of mine, Ebony Campbell.
After hugging, I left my two kids to watch the animals while Ebony and I retreated to a bench across from the exhibit.
MJ: Ebony, it’s great to see you! How long has it been?
Ebony: Too long! What’s kept you away?
MJ: Life, family, writing.
MJ: So I see you still work here. Guess your dream job finally came through.
Ebony: Not just yet. I’m still working as an intern. My final year of college starts at the end of summer and then…we’ll see. Hopefully I’ll get that permanent position once I have my degree.
MJ: Wow, Ebony, you’ve been in school for years. I have to admire you because I didn’t have the patience to stay that long. I graduated and got out.
Ebony: Well, dreams are worth working for. *she shakes her head* Though I’m not ashamed to admit I’m ready to move past this stage of my life. I’ve got other things I want to do. *she looks over at my kids*
MJ: Like getting married, raise a family?
Ebony: *shakes head emphatically* Oh no, I didn’t say all of that. I’ve still got a lot of work ahead of me before I even think of settling down. As it is, I barely have time to date. Did you see that sign over there? *she indicates the welcome Baby Nala sign*
Ebony: That is the only baby I have time for. *she smiles* I’ve been here long enough that I can now assist the vets with her care. In fact, this is the exhibit I work in. I’m so excited!
MJ: *eyeing her warily* You are that excited about a baby orangutan? Girl, you need help, quick!
Ebony: *laughter* You sound like my roommates, Kaitlyn and Yasmine.
MJ: Kaitlyn and Yasmine? You guys are still hanging together?
Ebony: Yeah, we are. We’ve always had each other’s back. You should have moved in with us.
MJ: It wouldn’t have worked. Nothing against you guys, but you were more goal oriented than I was. I found my dream man and got settled, quick. You know, I thought you were right behind me. I remember you dating what was his name? *I snap my fingers* Patrick, right? Tall, brown-skinned …delicious. And didn’t he become a doctor?
Ebony: *looking away* Yeah, Patrick, that was him. Yes, he became a doctor, but we were on two different playing fields. He wanted me to drop out of college, get married, and start popping out kids. I don’t think so. I was not about to be his baby making machine.
MJ: You’re kidding! He didn’t want you to become a vet?
Ebony: No. In the end it all became what he wanted. That, I don’t miss. But, I do miss the sex. He was a god in bed. *we laugh and slap high fives* But that wasn’t enough. Besides, it seemed like the only time we got together was for sex. I was in school and balancing out two jobs while he was always on call with the hospital.
MJ: Sounds like he wasn’t the right one for you.
Ebony: I’m beginning to wonder if there is a man for me. My ideal man would be able to work around my schedule. He’d be supportive and let me be me, not want me to give up my dreams to please him. Would I mind being in a relationship? *shoulder shrug* I honestly don’t know. So instead of wasting my time, I’m going to spend the next few months burying my head in books so I can graduate with honors. And get this permanent position at the zoo.
My daughter: *yelling* “Mommy, can we go see the giraffes?”
My son: “Giraffes are lame; I want to see the snakes!”
I shake my head and shutter.
Ebony: *laughing* I may be a vet, but I can’t stand snakes either. *she glances at her watch* Well, break time is over. I better get back to work. It was great seeing you again, MJ.
MJ: I wish you the best, Ebony. Let’s stay in touch, okay?
*we exchange contact information*
Ebony waves at the kids as she walks off.
I have to admire a woman who is determined to see her dreams fulfilled. Though, being alone like that has to be hard in some way. I couldn’t help but wonder if she were truly happy?
Just as I was about to get up, I looked down at the bench. A little brown book rested where she’d sat. I guess it must have fallen out of her pocket and been left behind. Closer inspection shown it was a diary.
There was no lock, so I took a moment to peer inside. It was Ebony’s! I got up to give it to her, but she’d disappeared in the crowd. I grabbed my cell out of my pocket and dialed the number she’d just given me. No reply. I left a voicemail. I would give it to her later. I stuck the book in my purse, but my fingers were itching.
What was it like to be her? Single, unattached, and living her dream? I reached in and pulled the little book out. Nosiness has always been in my nature. My fingers stroked the leather cover.
I think I’m about to find out.