It’s late in the afternoon, and the tiny apartment is quiet. She sits in the living room with very little lighting listening to “In the mood” by Kashif and reminisces about days when it was complicated and simple at the same time if that is at all possible. Times when waiting for that hour between day and night came so she could catch fireflies and put them in a mason jar taken from her mother’s kitchen and poked wholes in the top and laced the bottom with grass from the back yard. That was her world then. Getting up on saturday and watching cartoons with daddy until “soul train” came on so she could see the latest hot artist sing. That would mark the real beginning of her day, clean your room and the parts of the house her mother designated to be cleaned. (mostly every part that she didn’t like to clean), so she could go outside and meet up with the few children that lived around the block and play until the street lights come on, and check in every hour or so.
Her eyes glaze over as she further sinks into the times when everything seemed possible and probable and wondered “did kids everywhere do the same thing?” She remembers the triumphs and the disappointments, when she wanted to play basket ball so bad but was kinda short and lacked any athleticism. Big brother taking her to the basketball court and shoveling snow to help her make that team…Yeah she was gonna be the first girl in the NBA, laughing out loud. She didn’t make that team but Bubba wasn’t gonna let her quit, there’s always next year when she finally made the team. Yes, she had a lot of splinters in her ass but he was there every time. The joy she felt when she finally made a basket in a real game, the way he reacted your would have thought that she had pulled a shaquille and dunk the ball breaking the backboard. That along with Dance school, Charm school, Vocal lessons, violin, clarinet, flag line, Track and field, piano lessons etc. Was she good at any of it. Yes she was good at dreaming big even if she didn’t have the talent for the previous mentioned.
Girlfriends, sitting around with fantasies in their heads of what having a boyfriend would be like although they are still a little icky at that point. He would look like one of the boys from New Edition and he would put his arm around her or hold hands when they walk down the street, that’s what we would talk about for hours…She smiles and chuckles a little to herself. Thinking about a couple of years ahead, when the threat of a boyfriend was actually a tangible thing. The romantic images of what this journey would be was all-consuming. He’s gonna love her, love being around her and the countless kisses, long walks, laughter and long talks. That’s what’s supposed to happen cause they said so on the movie or TV show she watched. All the crushes on the boys who never knew she existed, All the rejection from the guys she liked and adulation from the ones she hadn’t defined yet. Will he look like that guy in dance class that all the girls had a thing for? What if he really liked me and not them? There’s a voice in your head that brings you back down to reality, telling you “girl, stop fooling yourself do you see those other girls?” Sobering, hurtful thoughts.
She sighs remembering exactly what that felt like. Mommy said “boys are the worst thing for you they are too young to mean what they say or think beyond today”. Daddy said “Boys only want on thing” What she silently wanted to know is how come when they have the talk they only talk about the technical parts of that situation.” Make sure you’re ready”, “be sure he’s the right one”, “always use a condom”. No one said guard your heart, they will take your soul, understand these hormones that are telling you yes. Just a bunch of technical mambo jumbo, where it goes, how it works, you’re going to hell for having sex before marriage. Wow, that laugh was loud enough for the neighbors to hear, like she’d be in hell with no company.
Skip forward a couple of heartaches, failing marriage, bills pouring in faster than money can be made. Just as blessing come in many disguises so does temptation. Sinking back in that chair remembering that day. THE DAY!
“Noraa, this is my friend” and it all began I was drawn into the light and the darkness, Good and Evil, sweet and sour, lust and pain and damn if all those feelings didn’t feel so right, even the wrong ones.
to be continued….