Monthly Archives: September 2011

Story Soundtrack IV – All I Want Is You

Here is another installment of story soundtracks featuring Miguel – “All I Want is You”

Wrote a story about it, like to hear it?  Here it goes………………………

Reggie stood in the VIP suite of Club Rain and wondered for the fifth time tonight why he even bothered coming.  The air was thick with cigar smoke and the scent of alcohol mixed with various cologne and perfumes was making him sick.  The bass from the music blared from the speakers, some song with Lil’ Wayne, and the pounding echoes in his brain giving him a headache.  He knew he should be happy.  After all, they were here to celebrate his promotion.  But Reggie was miserable.

He rubbed the beer bottle against his temple and untangled himself from the mass of people.  The couches in the VIP lounge were crammed with bodies.  Was the entire company crammed into this space?  Reggie almost tripped over an errant high heel shoe that someone left in the middle of the floor.  He found a somewhat quiet spot in the corner and surveyed the dance floor below.

“Let’s toast to my man.  Bottles up people.”

Reggie turned at the sound of his friend’s voice and  had to laugh.  The usually impeccably dressed Lewis Carter could barely stand.  His tie was twisted and his shirt hung half out of his pants.  This was not Lewis’ first toast of the evening.

“To the new VP.  Ladies show my man some love.”  Lewis collapsed on the couch between two women.  Their ample cleavage seemed to smother Lewis as he poured champagne on one and tried to lap it off.

Reggie shook his head.  Lewis would always be a dog.  He waved off a waitress that offered a tray of drinks and took a pull from his beer.  He really had to shake off this funk.  Today he was named Vice President of Marketing for the Southwest Region at the McNair Corporation.  Reginald T. Hamilton had finally seen all the hard work pay off.  He got the promotion and the office with a window.  A window that afforded him a view of the parking lot.  But that wasn’t important.  Reggie had arrived.  All the late nights and sacrifices were worth it.  He had everything he thought he wanted.  Why did he feel like something was missing?

He should just leave.  Reggie looked at his watch.  How much longer did he have to stay at his own party?  None of his boys would probably notice if he left.  More women for them they would say.  He looked around the room.  The women outnumbered the men three to one.  They were in all shapes and shades; a smorgasbord of female flesh ripe for the taking.  He had rebuffed enough of them to be labeled an asshole.  He wasn’t usually a jerk but none of these women appealed to him.  Not tonight.

He pulled his cell phone from his pocket and thumbed through the numbers in his contact list.  His finger hovered over the send button.  He had thought about calling this number every day for the past month but couldn’t work up the nerve to push the button.  Tonight wasn’t any different.  He stuffed the phone back in his jean pocket and drained the last of his beer.

The strobe lights were playing tricks on his eyes but he could have sworn a lady on the dance floor in yellow was Kelly.  His Kelly.  He blinked and looked again.  It was her.  Kelly Robinson.  The woman he thought about every day.  The woman he let walk out of his life under some illusion that he could do better.  He stood frozen watching her dance.  Her sensual movements reminded him of their passionate affair.  For a  year she moved like that for him.  Underneath him and on top of him.  Damn, he missed her.

Kelly was fine.  Reggie knew she looked good on his arm but she was much more than that.  She was smart and she had a quirky sense of humor.  And the woman  made the best macaroni and cheese he ever ate.  They met at the gym and from the moment they shared a smoothie at the cafe, they were inseparable.  The chemistry was instant.  They were good together.  Things were good between them until she started hinting that she wanted more.  He avoided her subtle hints and ignored her efforts to talk about their relationship.  That is until the night Kelly demanded an answer or she threatened to walk.  He let her walk.

The problem was that he bought into the hype.  Reggie was a single, heterosexual, professional Black man.  His six feet tall athletic frame and clean-cut good looks were a hot commodity.  Why should he limit his options to just one?  In short, he was a fool that let the one woman he needed get way.  That woman was now on the dance floor smiling at some other brother.

That was it.  He had to go talk to her.

Lewis blocked his path.  He moved quickly for a drunk guy.  “Where you going?  The party is just starting my man.”

Reggie pointed and tried to push past but Lewis grabbed his arm.  “Is that Kelly?  You still hung up on that.  Look at all the fineness we got right here.”  He spread his arms wide to include the whole room.

Reggie slipped past Lewis and avoided getting liquor on his shoes.  “How long is a brother supposed to play?  Do you really want to be the old man in the club?”

“You been trying to ruin my high all night.”  Lewis slurred.  He mumbled something else but Reggie was already out the door and down the stairs.

The music was even louder down on the floor but Reggie was focused on finding Kelly.  He scanned the room and finally found her walking to a table near the veranda doors.  Her date whispered something in her ear that caused her to smile and nod yes.  The man walked toward the bar and Reggie pushed his way to the table.

“What’s up, Kelly?”

When she looked up, Reggie thought his heart would beat through his chest.  She was beautiful.  Even when she raised her eyebrows in shock and her smiled turned into a smirk.

“Reggie.”

“It’s good to see you,”  he began.  Reggie felt sweat bead on his forehead.  Kelly just stared at him so he kept talking.  “I’m glad I saw you tonight.  I really need to talk to you.”

“What else is there to say?”

“A lot actually.  I know things didn’t end well between us.”  That was an understatement.  Their last conversation was a heated exchange after Kelly gathered her things and left his condo.   He had called to talk some sense into her.  It ended with Kelly hanging up on him after he accused her of being overly dramatic.

Kelly leaned back in the booth and crossed her arms.  “As you can see, I’m on a date.”

“How long you been seeing this guy?”

She ignored the question.  “What do you want?”

“I want to talk to  you.”

“Talk.”

Reggie looked around the crowded club.  “Can we go somewhere quieter?  Somewhere we don’t have to shout.”

Kelly shook her head.  “I’m on a date.”

He was about to slide into the booth beside her when he felt someone behind him.

“Excuse me bruh.”  Kelly’s date had returned to the table.  Reggie stepped aside and the man took his place beside Kelly.  He handed her a martini and set his drink on the table.

Reggie continued to stand there so Kelly made introductions.  “Brian, this is Reggie.  Reggie, this is my date.”

Brian put his arm around Kelly.  “What’s up?”

Reggie recognized the power play but he tamped down his ego.  It wouldn’t benefit him to get in a dick swinging contest with this dude.

“No disrespect to you, man but I need to holler at Kelly for a quick minute.  Then I’ll leave you to enjoy the rest of your evening.”

Brian turned to look at Kelly but she was studying Reggie.  She knew that determined look on Reggie’s face and figured it was best to hear him out.  She leaned over and whispered in Brian’s ear.  He wasn’t happy about what she said but he leaned back in the booth and picked up his drink.

Kelly slithered out of the booth and grabbed Reggie by his sleeve.  She led him outside on the veranda and put her hands on her hips.  “Now, what is it?”

The crisp night air felt good after the stifling smells in the club.  Reggie took in a deep breath and ran his hands over his head.  He thought he had his case laid out but looking at the angry woman in front of him he was at a lost to recall the words.

“I was a fool to let you go,” he blurted.

Kelly rolled her eyes.  “Is that all you have to say?”  She could have told him he was a fool months ago when he so callously pretended not to care if she left.  She turned to go back inside.

Reggie talked fast.  “A good thing happened to me today and you were the first person I wanted to call.  Regret kept me from dialing your number.  I was wrong then and I know that now.   I just hope you’ll give me a chance to make it up to you.”

Kelly turned around.  She had never seen Reggie look so unsure of anything.  His handsome face looked broken.  Her first instinct was to hug him but she resisted.  She hated that she still had feelings for this man who had caused her so much pain.  “A chance?  We were together for over a year, Reggie.  You had your chance every day.  Now it’s the next man’s chance.”

She knew she had landed a blow when Reggie stepped back.  “What’s up with you and that guy anyway?  You didn’t waste any time getting back out there.  It’s been what?  Two months?”

“It’s been four months and I know you aren’t trying to check me.  What was I suppose to do?  Sit around and pine over your ass.  You’re trying to tell me  you haven’t been seeing other people.”  Kelly hoped her words were strong enough to convince him that she had moved on.  In fact, she had sat around longing for Reggie.  For two months she was moped and wondered what happened.  She replayed every conversation.  Every moment of their time together until she almost drove herself batty with the “what ifs”.  Her girlfriends convinced her to start dating again.  This was only her second date with Brian.

Reggie looked down at the tile.  There had a been a couple of women but they didn’t compare to Kelly.  He tried to get over Kelly by celebrating his freedom with new women but it got old real quick.  He didn’t consider that Kelly might be doing the same thing.  “I went out a couple of times but it wasn’t anything serious.”

“I bet.”

“Are you jealous?”  Reggie suppressed a smile.

“Are you?”

“Hell yeah.  That dude is all wrong for you.”

“How would you know?”

“Because he’s not me.”

“You’re right.  He’s my date and I’ve kept him waiting long enough.”

“Wait,”  Reggie reached for her hand and spun her around.  He felt that familiar sizzle between them and pulled her close.  Her curvaceous frame fit against him like the last piece of a puzzle.  Reggie inhaled the scent of her hair and ran a hand down her back.  “I don’t want to lose you, Kelly.  I know I messed up but I love you.  Now if you’re ready to move on then I guess I’ll have to understand that.  But I don’t think that’ll make either one of us happy.”

Kelly struggled to get away but the more Reggie whispered in her ear she began to relax.  These were the words she wanted to hear.  Why couldn’t he have said all of this when they were still together?

“I don’t know,” Kelly said.  “I think we both want different things.  I’m ready for something more.”

“Baby, I’m ready for that too.”

Kelly pushed Reggie away.  “Then why did you let me leave?  How could you just sit there and let me walk out the door?”

“You were the one that decided to reduce our relationship to an all or nothing proposition.  Why would you play that game?  You backed me into a corner.  A man has to have some pride.  What was I suppose to do?”

Kelly fought back tears of frustration.  He still didn’t get it.  “You were suppose to choose me.”

“But I do.  Look at me.  I can’t live without you.  I tried to deny it but you are the one.  I got that promotion today and you were the only one I wanted to tell.  You make me feel like I can do anything but only if you are there beside me.  I don’t want to  waste another moment without you.”  Reggie stood there and let her study him.  He wanted her to see how every pore in his body was yearning for her.

She didn’t say anything so he took her in his arms and kissed her.  Their shared past danced on their tongues.  The heat between them spoke of a promise.  Reggie used his lips to convey everything he was feeling.  All of his love and all of his regret.  When they finally broke, Reggie was panting.  “Baby, just tell me what you want.”

Kelly felt unsteady.  This was happening too fast.  She couldn’t just leave with Reggie.  She was on a date.  “What about Brian?”

“I don’t care about Brian.  All I want is  you.”

The words hung between them for a beat.  Reggie knew the next move was up to Kelly.  Either she would give them another chance or she would leave him standing there drowning in regret.

“Call me later,” she said and slid through the veranda doors.

Now Reggie felt like celebrating.  But he didn’t go back into the club.  He looked at his watch as we walked toward his car.   He would Kelly an hour to get rid of that dude.  Then he planned to call and go over to her place.  He was going to show her just how much he wanted her.

The Answer is Yes!

I love this song by Musiq and then I saw the video. The message is positive and the video is beautiful. Enjoy!

Sample Cover

I was playing around with some photo software and came up with the concept for my book cover. So, what do you think?

 

Can a Woman Raise a Boy to Be a Man?

My good friend, ME, and I had a debut last week about single mothers raising sons.  Needless to say, our opinions are different.

First, some background.  ME has an adult son that she raised without any help from his father.  I am married and the mother of two girls.  Our conversation started when I told her the advice I gave my sister about her son.  My nephew’s father has been asking for his son to come and live with him in another state.  He wants his son with him as he starts middle school and begins to navigate those murky teenage years.  She is against it.  I told her she should consider it for the good of her son.

ME shook her head in disbelief.  “But that’s her child,” she said.  “It’s his child too,” I countered.  She asked if I could do it.  If I would let my child go live with his father.  I said I would.  And here is the reason why.

Raising children is hard.  As a mother, I can appreciate how hard it is and the frustrations that are multiplied when you have to supply everything your child needs on your own.  I think it is especially hard when that child is a male.  Women of course are built different.  We think different.  We show love different.  We discipline different.  How can a woman show a boy how to be a man?  We can’t.  We find a strong male influence be it a grandfather, uncle, trusted coach, or friend.  Don’t get me wrong.  Women have and continue to raise boys that grow to be fine upstanding men.  But I assure you that she had help along the way.  What if that help can come in the form of the boy’s father?  A good father that wants his son and wants only the best for him.  The only catch is that due to circumstances, that father lives in another state.  Would you let your son go?  A better question is, how could you not?

Story Soundtrack III – Tired

Time for another installment of story soundtrack.  This is the feature where I take a song and write the story or scene that would go along with it.  Up next, Kelly Price “Tired”.

THE PRICE OF FREEDOM

The sunlight felt like an invasion as it chased away the last peaceful remnants of sleep. I braced for the reprimand, the admonishment that I couldn’t do anything right.   A forceful reminder that I couldn’t even remember to close the blinds to keep the light from shining in your face. When one doesn’t come, I released the breath I was holding. Then I remembered.  You are not here.

Yesterday began as an ordinary day. I made your breakfast and ironed your clothes. You left without saying good bye. I went about doing my chores; making the house spotless to avoid a rebuke. I was making your dinner when the call came. It was your sister, Margaret, sounding hysterical. I could barely understand her; only catching the words “accident” and “hospital”.

I had begun to dislike hospitals. As a nurse, I spent too much time in them.  One accident after another had me there whether I was working or not. So, when you insisted that I quit, I didn’t argue. Even though I had worked for fourteen years and was promoted to Head Nurse of Pediatrics. I quit because you told me too. I always did what you told me too.

At the hospital that day I was greeted by a new receptionist. She didn’t inquiry about my health the way the old one did every time our shifts coincided. This new one just took my name and escorted me to a room in the emergency area. I stepped inside and saw Margaret. Her eyes were red and she was shredding tissue, the pieces falling to the floor like snow.

“He’s gone,” she repeated the phrase over and over.

I saw you then. You were lying on the gurney with your favorite golf shirt ripped down the center. A tube was down your throat and the electrodes were still taped to your body. I felt as if a boulder landed on my chest. My feet were cemented to the floor but I somehow find myself standing over you.

You were such a good looking man. It was the uniform that got my attention. You looked so strong and brave. An everyday hero. You became my hero. Until you became something else.

“What are we going to do?” Margaret was wailing. As her older brother, she looked up to you while she looked down on me. She thought I wasn’t good enough for you.

“Why?” Margaret continued. She collapsed in the chair beside the bed. “He was a good man, Lord. Why a heart attack now? Why?”

I ignored Margaret hysterics and peered down at your walnut colored face. Saw the scar over your left eye and the stubble on your chin. And even though your eyes were closed, I still saw the coldness that resided there.

“Where was he?” I asked.

Margaret talks to the floor. She didn’t have the courage to lie to my face. “They say he was with some friends and collapsed. Some buddies from work. They don’t know what happened.”

Buddies from work, I thought. That must have been the woman I noticed crying in the waiting room. A woman half my age and body weight. The woman that I knew you were seeing for the past three months. The latest fling in a history that kept repeating.

I turned back to you expecting to see your lips turned up into a sneer. But they were still. They had become the lips that used to kiss me and thrill me. In death, your body reverted back into the one I fell in love with. The chest that swelled in anger became the chest that I used to lie against and feel safe. The large, calloused hands were no longer fists but were the ones that used to stroke me tenderly. It was then that I cried. My tears were not shed in regret and lost like Margaret’s. My tears were a mixture of relief and anxiety. Without you to tell me who I am, who would I be? I stood there weeping. Tears dropped on your face. A baptism of forgiveness.

The door slid open and Connie entered. A friend from my nursing days. In her hands were papers that needed my signature and questions that needed answers. I did my best. Signed the forms where she pointed and accepted her condolences. Told her I would call if I needed anything. Connie was always dependable.

I left you there and went home. The first thing I did was open all the blinds. Let light into a house that was kept in the dark. But I could still smell you. Your presence was everywhere. So, I stripped the bed and put on fresh sheets. I got the cleaning supplies and wiped and scrubbed every surface. I threw away your newspapers and magazines. I boxed up your awards and plagues. I removed your pictures. And when I was sweaty and weary, I took a shower and climbed into the middle of the bed. I had the first peaceful sleep in twelve years of our marriage.

So, on the first day without you, I lounged in bed awhile. I painted my toenails a shade of red you wouldn’t approve of and I styled my hair like the girls in the movies. I found the makeup I had hidden away and brushed my face with the mocha colored hue that accents my cheekbones. I put on the skirt that showed off my legs and the blouse that hugged my breasts but covered up the last and final bruise. I modeled in the mirror and I smiled at what I saw.

The phone doesn’t ring all day and this time I don’t mind. Mother has been gone for four years and I never knew my father. We don’t have any friends. Well, I don’t have any friends. You made sure of that. I made a mental note to start making friends and went into the kitchen to make coffee and find something for lunch. I spent the rest of the day stretching out the new me. Freedom is a dizzying sensation that requires an adjustment period.

On the second day without you, I am up and dressed early. I planned to venture out and test my new sense of self. See how the world responds to the uninhibited and unafraid me. The doorbell rang. I am expecting the funeral home people; I still have to plan your service. But I am not surprised to see the guys from your precinct. The boys in blue stick together.

I invited them in. They expressed their sorrow for my lost. Told me what a good guy you were. A decorated officer. They couldn’t believe that a guy in relative good health could have a heart attack. One officer told me how he talked to the coroner personally and the toxic screen didn’t show anything abnormal. They agreed that your death was a tragedy. They talked and talked and I listened quietly and nodded at the proper times. You taught me not to interrupt when the brothers in blue were gathered. When they finally got up to leave, they promised to look out for me. Told me you would want it that way. I wondered why they never helped me before. Why did they turn a blind eye to my suffering? Since they pretended not to see what was going on then, I continued the charade. I didn’t tell them that potassium chloride causes heart attacks. I didn’t share that I got it from the hospital the last time I visited Connie. That secret will remain between you and me, my husband. A small price to pay for freedom.

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