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Thursday, July 10, 2008

EXCERPT: Me, Myself and Him

Me, Myself and Him

E.N. Joy

“How was Locksie supposed to tell her boyfriend that she had gone off to church and fallen in love with another man…”

Locksie grew up in the church, but now she’s all grown-up and church is the last thing on her mind; her boyfriend is the first. When Locksie finally does go back and visit church, she ends up finding more than she ever expected. In Me, Myself & Him, the characters are torn between holding on to the person they believe is the love of their life, or having to let go for something that’s missing from their

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Chapter 3

The next day, Locksie was at work trying to focus on her client’s hair, but instead, thoughts of her and Dawson lingered on her mind.

“You sure you okay today?” asked Hannah, one of Locksie’s regular clients at Fiesta.

Locksie had been doing Hannah’s hair for close to a year. Outside of the salon, they never talked to each other on the phone or went out together or anything, but in the salon, there was just this bond between them as if they’d been friends for years. It was funny how women had that certain relationship with their beauticians. They tell their hairstylist things they’d never tell their best friends, knowing that everything is going to stay right inside the shop; which is usually where their friendships stays as well.

Hannah was one of several clients who had followed Locksie from the beauty school to the hair salon. And she was also one of Locksie’s few white clients. Hannah wasn’t 100% white though. Born to a black mother and a white father, her father’s jeans seemed to have dominated, especially the fire red hair and red freckles that were sprinkled across Hannah’s face over her sugar cookie colored skin tone.

"Yeah, I’m good,” Locksie replied, removing one of the bobby pins she had nestled between her lips. She was using them to keep Hannah’s pin curls in place.
A white girl Hannah may have looked to be, but her hairstyles, that were typically more so worn by black women, let the brothas know she had some chocolate drizzled over her sundae, which is how Elkan, her husband, knew he had a chance with her. As the fine honey-dipped brotha he was, when Elkan saw Hannah up at Alumn Creek Beach with all those hips and bootie hanging out of her swim suit and her hair corn-rolled down her back, he was convinced that she was the one white girl he was willing to throw his “never play in the snow” motto out the window for.

With a five feet and eleven inch, one-hundred eighty pound frame and looks that could land him any woman he wanted, Elkan definitely had been blessed with his share of women, but he vowed to himself that he would never disrespect the black woman by dating outside of his race; especially a white woman. He had contemplated a Latino, Jennifer Lopez look-a-like that worked as a clerk at the law firm where he practiced Civil law, but he came to the conclusion that no matter how dark her skin was, she still wasn’t no sista. Besides, what would his mama think? Him bringing someone other than a black queen home? So whenever Elkan got attention from a white woman, his subconscious would have to remind his conscious that he didn’t play in the snow. But the moment he laid eyes on Hannah, he silenced that little voice in his head and made a move.

There was something about Hannah that just stood out of all the women at the beach, especially since half of them were blatantly trying to get Elkan’s attention, which was a complete turn off for him. He liked being the cat that chased the mouse and not the other way around. Hannah, on the other hand, had paid Elkan no mind at all. He comforted his ego by coming to the conclusion that Hannah just hadn’t noticed him yet. As Elkan lay on his stomach with his chin rested on top of his hands, he was watching Hannah rub sun block all over her body. He was certain she had noticed him when she got up and came strutting his way. He prepared a huge smile aimed just at her. But Hannah just walked right on by Elkan as if the slab of handsome wasn’t even in her path. She didn’t even turned back to apologize when she accidentally kicked sand in his face as she was dashing by him headed for the water.
Not about to go unnoticed by Hannah, Elkan made his way to the waters and managed to strike up a conversation with the bathing beauty. They hit it off instantly, even sharing a soda on Elkan’s bath mat after exiting the water. Laying there talking on the beach for hours, Hannah and Elkan ignored the friends they had each come with. But what they couldn’t ignore was the evil eye the sistahs were giving Elkan for being with a white chick and the looks of disgust the white men were giving Hannah for being with a black dude.

The conversation was engaging and flowed easily. But it was as if Elkan had been holding his breath the entire time, and the moment Hannah told him that her mother was black, he could breath again. He wanted to shout it out to all the sisters on the beach who had been giving him the evil eye for choosing the pale girl over them, “She’s black too! Her mother is black.” Instead, he just smiled and thought,

Thank you, Jesus. This one can go home to mama!

Elkan compared Hannah to that chocolate dipped ice cream cone from the Dairy Queen. Only someone had just eaten all the chocolate covering off of her so she just appeared to look like nothing more than a vanilla ice cream cone. But he knew she was black, and that was enough. At least that’s what he tried to convince himself of, but Hannah could sense differently.

“You sure everything is good?” Hannah asked Locksie.

Locksie looked up at the picture of her and Dawson that was on her station. It had been taken two years ago, before he had shaved off all of his hair. In the picture he had a goat-tee, but he had since shaved off all of his facial hair too.

“Yeah, positive…I guess.”
“That means no,” Hannah said as she spun around in the chair after Locksie had placed the last bobby pin in her hair.

Locksie relaxed her shoulders and sighed. “Seriously, Hannah, I guess everything is okay. I mean I think it is. I don’t know. It’s just that lately with Dawson and me…” Locksie looked around the salon to make sure no one else was listening. She then lowered her voice. “The sex-”

“Don’t tell me,” Hannah said, cutting Locksie off, “You ain’t as into it anymore?
That happened with Elkan and me, you know, after the incident where he cheated on me with that winch named Peni. It just took a long time for my body to start craving him again, you know. And then there are those times when you just get sick of the same old-”

“It’s not that.” Locksie was quick to come to Dawson’s defense in the love making department. “It’s good.” Locksie smiled. “It’s real good when we’re getting down. It’s afterwards that I have a problem with.”

Hannah had a puzzled look on her face. “What is it?” She pondered for a second and then said, “Ahh. I get it; he throws in the towel afterwards?”
Now Locksie had a puzzled look on her face. “Huh?”

“You know, throws in the towel; after sex; for you to wipe yourself off with.” Hannah shook her head. “There is nothing more degrading than that. You give a man a special part of you and what does he do when y’all finished? Get’s up, go pisses and then throws a towel at you to wipe yourself off with and then says, ‘Yo babe, how ‘bout making me something to eat?’”

Locksie laughed at Hannah’s imitation of a man by using a deep voice. She could tell she was speaking from experience.

“I’m serious, girl,” Hannah said. “That’s why I loved Elkan so much from the start. He wasn’t anything like that. He was so considerate and passionate. From the first time we ever made love to the last. It’s been nothing but like a scene
from a classic romance movie. That’s why I don’t understand why…”

Hannah’s voice began to fade and Locksie knew where her thoughts had gone; back to five years ago when she found out that Elkan had not only cheated on her with a client of his, Peni Lampkin, but that a child was the result of the affair. It was the child Elkan and Hannah had been trying to conceive since their wedding night seven years ago, only Hannah hadn’t been able to get pregnant.

Devastated, Hannah had moved in with her mother the night that Elkan sat her down with a tearful confession that she’ll never forget. He begged her not to leave him. He unpacked her things from the suitcase just as quickly as she was packing them.

“Baby, I’m sorry,” Elkan had cried to her. “Peni meant nothing to me. It was one time. I swear to God. It was that night after I had won her lawsuit for her; I had to take her the paperwork to sign so that she could get her settlement. When I showed up, she had a nice little thank you/celebration set-up waiting. After one too many glasses of wine…”

“Let me guess,” Hannah had interrupted him, “she thanked you for a job well done with a well done blow job?” Elkan put his head down in shame. “Oh, and then one thing led to another. Isn’t that how the story always goes?”

“Sorry, Hannah. I wish I could take it back, but I can’t. And now there is a child involved. A child she insists on giving birth to.”

Tears Hannah had been able to hold throughout Elkan’s miserable confession suddenly just poured out accompanied by wails so loud that it took her a minute to realize that the horrendous sounds were coming from deep within her own soul. Elkan tried to hold her and console her, but she fought him off, seeping down to the ground like a melted candy bar on the cement on the hottest day of the summer.

“What color was she?” Hannah was finally able to ask once she stood up and got herself together.

“Huh?” Elkan had clearly heard her inquiry.

“Was she black?” Hannah yelled. “I mean all the way black? Black Mama and black Daddy kind of black?”

“Yes, she’s black, but look, Hannah, that doesn’t matter. What matters is that I cheated and I shouldn’t have, no matter what color she is,” Elkan reasoned.

“And she’s going to have your baby. I’m your wife, but yet another woman is carrying your child.” Hannah pointed at herself for clarification that she was his wife. That she should be the woman giving him his first born. Just hearing those words come out of her own mouth, reaffirming the situation at hand, sent Hannah back to the ground in a tearful fit. “God, why? Why are you doing this to me? To my life? This is a mean-mean, cruel joke, God. You are a mean, cruel God?”

Even though Hannah had been saved as a teenager at the church where her uncle was a Deacon, in her adult life she hadn’t been to church very much with the exception of an Easter Sunday here and there. The last time she had attempted to go to church was a couple years ago when Christmas had fallen on a Sunday. She had woken up that morning, and for the first time, felt the true meaning of Christmas brewing in her belly. She felt what pastors had been preaching about for centuries; that it wasn’t about shopping in over crowded malls for over priced gifts, but that it was to remember the birth of Jesus.

Hannah had gotten dressed and hopped in her car heading to church. Had even adjusted her radio dial to 106 Joy, the gospel station in Columbus, Ohio. When she arrived at the church doorsteps, she was disappointed to find that it was closed. Some pastors across the country had decided to make the executive call that with Christmas falling on a Sunday, the attendance would be too low to have service since everyone would be at home opening up gifts. The church Locksie had decided to go to that morning was one of them. If they won’t even open up the church doors on the birthday of God’s son, Hannah had thought, then why should I even bother? Disappointed, she turned away, never to return to church again. She couldn’t help but think how God had closed the doors on her that Sunday, and now, as she sat weeping on her bedroom floor, He had closed the door on her marriage too.

At the time, Elkan didn’t know what to do for his wife. He wanted to help her by just taking her into his arms. But how ironic would it have been for her to want to rest in the arms of the person who had hurt her? For the first time ever, Elkan now knew what Prince meant by the one line in his song titled Girlfriend; “Would you run to me if somebody hurt you even if the somebody was me?” Instead of running to Elkan, Hannah ran to her mother and father.

It only took two weeks for Hannah’s parents to convince her that she shouldn’t just walk away from her marriage without at least trying to work things out. “God wouldn’t have you marry a man just to be hurt, wounded and left for dead,” her mother told her.

“God ain’t gonna bring you this far just to leave you,” her father had added. “This is just a test. He wants to see if you trust in Him to see you through all of this.”

Although God was the last person Hannah wanted to put her trust in to fix the situation she felt He had let happen to her, she did feel as though Elkan was worth fighting for. And the last thing she wanted was for that hussy, Peni Lampkin, to live happily ever after with her man. So to this day, as far as Hannah was concerned, she had made the right decision by forgiving Elkan and giving their marriage another chance.

“Look, Hannah,” Locksie interrupted her thoughts as she removed the cape from around her. “You know I love Dawson to death, and he loves me. My mind is just playing tricks on me is all. It’s nothing, really. I’m just letting my Aunt Mary get to me.”

“Ohhhh,” Hannah said, nodding her head. “I get it. Has your sanctified aunti been making you feel guilty about spreadin’ without weddin’?” Hannah chuckled. “Trust me; I know what it’s like. My mom and dad did the same thing with Elkan and me when we were only dating and not yet married. It got so weird that I started hearing my parents’ voices during sex. ‘Your body is your temple…blah…blah…blah.’ Pretty soon the aftermath of sex with Elkan was like the aftermath of eating an entire chocolate cake or pizza all by yourself. It was sho’ nuff good while you were eating it, but then with all the guilt and weight you had to carry around as a result, you felt miserable and it just didn’t seem worth it.”

“Hmm, not even my aunt Mary has used that analogy; fornication and gluttony.”

“Hey, they’re both sins. I’m not a huge Bible reader, but I don’t think anywhere in the Bible God puts any greater weight on one sin than He does the other. That’s society’s doing. You know how it is; we like to pick and choose our own sins. Some pick murder, some pick fornication, some pick gluttony. A sin is a sin. Anyway, I better get out of here. It’s Elkan’s son’s weekend with us. His mother will be dropping him off at the house in a little bit and I need to be there.”

“Alright then, chick. Have a good weekend…oh, wait, I need to ring you up.”
The two women headed over to the register. Locksie had gotten so wrapped up into Hannah’s words that she almost forgot to charge Hannah for her hair service. She thought about if it was possible, because of the life she was living with Dawson, that right now God was looking down on her with the same disgrace and disappointment as he would a murderer. Locksie hated the mere idea that God might feel like that about her. But, if He did, He’d have every right to. After all, Hannah couldn’t have put it any better…a sin is a sin


Vanessa A. Johnson said...

Hi Joy,
This is definitely something I'd love to read. Much success to you.

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