The first time I met her was on the campus of Howard University, 3rd floor of the Administration Building aka A-Building where all student financial affairs where regulated. As a new student, I was feeling distraught because I was recently informed that my government loan and grant would only cover 15% of my tuition. The oh so kind lady in the financial aid office told me that if the other 85% of my balance was not paid off within the next few weeks then I would be snatched out of school quicker than a wig on a reality show reunion. I sat in the chair; head down while massaging my temples thinking of a solution, there was a slight voice that said, “You’re stressing for nothing luv, and you’ll be fine.” She stood there, standing next the brochure section wearing a mint colored skirt and white shirt with a smile that curved to the right. In a confused state because I wasn’t sure if she was talking to me and I also I wondered where she came from considering seconds ago I was by myself? She stared right back and gave a wink as she stepped closer. Without hesitation her green eyes pierced into my soul as she began to fearlessly asked questions while also providing the answers about my financial state. “Are you short on tuition?” “If the government don’t got you, no worries luv, I got you.” A world-class sucker for those green eyes it was like her words were being read off a love notebook. Any form of hesitation was calmed by the way she took my hand and guided me with a smile as we walked across the Yard toward the Undergraduate Library (UGL) so we could “talk deeper,” I manage to come out of my gaze for a second to ask this beauty her name and she smiled slightly and replied “My name is Sallie Mae Jade, and luv, you’re gonna be fine…”

     Sallie Mae Jade became the miracle that I’d been looking for since arriving at Howard University. The gamble I took to attend a college with no idea how I was going to pay for it was a problem of the past. Whenever my tuition was due, Sallie Mae Jade would always place her fingertips on my lips and whisper in my highly sensitive ears “No worries luv, I got it.” Sallie Mae Jade also strongly supported my career goals. We would talk on the phone about my plans to succeed after college and Sallie Mae Jade would always say comforting statements like “With your major, you’re gonna be a star luv” or “You have so much potential I can see one day you’ll be running your own Fortune 500 business.” Sallie Mae Jade words were sweeter than a plate of yams with syrup and I was touched on how much she believed in me. Whenever I’d ask how and when to pay her back the reply was always “No worries luv.” Sallie Mae Jade did more than pay my school financial balance; early Saturday morning shopping was the way she showed her love for me also. Up Against The Wall had perfect attire if ever I wanted to look like an extra in a Dipset video and Pentagon Mall because Dept stores like Macy’s often had Polo shirts and shoes that Sallie Mae Jade often thought looked sexy on me. The newfound financial security Sallie Mae Jade provided me was taken to new heights whenever I would visit back home to Detroit. It brought me joy to see the smile on my mother’s face when the once headache given son bought her an entire new furniture set. Sallie Me Jade was also there to see my super charged ego treat my friends to a restaurant downtown known as Fishbone while yelling out “We eating steaks niggas!!!” and holding bottle of Moet with a straw.

     The closing months of my senior year I had begun to make my transition from college kid to the real adult world. I had an apartment off campus that rent was always paid thanks to Sallie Mae Jade and an internship along with a part-time job. Life was looking up until one-day Sallie Mae Jade said we should meet for coffee one afternoon at the A-Building. I was early; Sallie Mae Jade was earlier, wearing an all black dress, with emerald shades and mint colored stilettos. Sallie Mae Jade wanted to let me know that although she was proud of me that our relationship would end as soon as I crossed the stage at graduation. I asked her why she would consider leaving since I was somewhat thinking of graduate school and she informed me that the thrill was gone so it was nothing personal. Sallie Mae Jade also informed me that I had 3 months after graduation to start my payment plan back to her and would be wanting everything she bought in the past back, clothes, shoes, furniture, EVERYTHING back. I told her 3 months were not enough time to pay back nor could I give any of the material things she asks for. Sallie Mae Jade smile, took a sip of her green tea and then kissed me on my left cheek and whispered “Oh, you gonna pay me back me back luv, no worries.“ I sat there long enough to watch Sallie Mae Jade walk toward a young freshman student, smile and grab them by the hand to lead them to across the Yard to UGL.

     Post college, Salie Mae Jade and I’s relationship turned into sour grapes. Countless times she would call me at home, on my cell and even work, asking relentlessly about paying her back. Sallie Mae Jade once smooth selective encouraging words transformed into screaming threats like “Nigga you were nothing when I found you” and “I’ve have been so patience with your bulshit!”  One time I had a job that had hired me and on the way to fill out the paper work that same job called to let me know that the employment opportunity was no longer available because they had talked to Sallie Me Jade and she told them that I hadn’t paid her back for services in the past so I would not be a good employee for their company. I explain to the lady on the phone that it was all for the greater good, and Sallie Mae Jade is how I was able to obtain my degree that this job said I qualified for. The lady on the phone said she understood and said “Hey whenever you clear things up with Sallie Mae Jade, you can come work here!!!” My response to this same lady was “How the hell do I pay Sallie Mae Jade back with no job?” It was at that same moment I pictured Sallie Mae Jade smoking a green leaf cigar laughing at my struggle.

In present time Sallie Mae Jade and I don’t even talk directly to each other. Some dude named “Navient” handles our arrangements. Sallie Mae Jade pitches a number and depending on the way my checking account is set up, I either pay or don’t. Sallie Mae Jade doesn’t have as much weight as she once did, through time I was able to make arrangements to prevent her from blocking my life progress.  A time will come when I’ll be done with Sallie Mae jade completely, until then I’ll continue to ignore unrecognized numbers and make a payment whenever I have something extra. I’ve figured out ways to maneuver the system however I am never too comfortable because I know Sallie Mae Jade at any given time will pop up and try to shutdown my greatness, until then she’ll remain that EX that I’ll praise whenever I see her in a new relationship.

j hall