A Novel By
Disclaimer: Characters in this book and situations are fictional. Any resemblances to real life or people were not intentional in the writing of this book.
© November 2011 Quiana ·Philadelphia, PA
A little Note:
I first started writing at the age of 17, and always held it close to my heart. With many failed attempts to finish my stories, the words of encouragement from Anya Magee always rang in my ear to “write a book”. After becoming a mother it became harder and harder to reach my goal, a goal that seemed like it could never be accomplished. At last, I have finished writing by first novel at the age of twenty five just as I had set to do. That feeling of accomplishment could never be replaced, nor understood by anyone but myself. I want to say thank you to everyone who has listened to my storyline and gave input over the last year, and always reminded me to go for my goal, thanks. Special thanks go to Tarik Ferguson, who was the first to read over my novel and critique it with a fine toothed comb. Neil Thornton and Matt Woods, I appreciate your ears and the positive remarks that kept me motivated. Sabrina Matthews, who didn’t know about the book but was a faithful friend throughout the entire process. Barbara Thompson, thank you for understanding the situation, enough said. And to my mother and father, Darlene and Carl Harris, who were always there to give any support that they could.
Acknowledgement goes to Nicole and Ka’Ron Johnson, Juanita Henderson, Edna Harris and Marjorie Davis you are my family and I love you. To al of my friends, family, and supporters: Dear Lord you know I praise you until the day we meet! My cousin and brother Scott Harmon I love you I love you I love you, keep your head up! To my children Jayla and Jamir: If there were words to describe how much I love you, I stil couldn’t describe how much I love you. Always strive to be your best regardless of what anyone tels you you can and cannot do. Always remember the story of The Little Red Hen.
“Hey Ramae,” Tori stepped into my cubicle, “your stil on that diet?”
“Yup, so far I’ve lost ten pounds, no need to stop now.” I said to my coworker.
Tori looked around my tiny work area and folded her arms. “Why do you take your lunch so late? You need to come out with me.”
“And where are you coming from? Shopping?” I said. She laughed at our inside joke.
“Yup, Joe just took me shopping. Keep shedding those pounds and you might get a shopping trip too.”
“Whatever,” I said, “I’l be just fine with my chicken Ceasar salad.”
“Wel keep up the good work.” She smiled. “The exercise is realy paying off.”
“You think so?” I said, “I don’t see a difference.”
“I can.” Tori smiled and went back to her desk.
I’ve been exercising every day and I’m stil the same old Ramae. I swear those kids took the best part of me. I haven’t seen the body I wanted since I was 23. Now I’m 38 years old, and I don’t see it ever coming back. Jay, my husband, tels me I’m beautiful and that I don’t need to lose weight, but I know he doesn’t mean it. I see the way he looks at twenty year old girls who didn’t gain stretch marks and fat to push out his three kids. Jay’s a good man though. I know he would never cheat with another woman, even if she tempted him with a naked ass, in his face. But then again, you can never trust anyone too much.
Sometimes I think he doesn’t want me to lose weight so that the next man won’t want me. Unlike me, Jay’s looks haven’t changed much. He was stil a good looking man, 6’1, light skin, clean cut and thick. He has become a little bit heavier than he was when we were teens but through manual labor he was al solid. I love my teddy bear he was my Monday night footbal star. We’ve been together for 21
years now, and he realy has never given me a reason to believe he wants to be anywhere else, but stil I wonder.
Very predictable with his actions, Jay gave up fun and friends before he got a chance to start, so did I. We had Jason our oldest son when we were 18. From then on it’s been making the best of our family for the both of us. By 21 I had Jalal, and two years later lost my mind and had Jamir. Three boys, I guess you can figure who never got a break. Jay and I married when Jason turned two in order to give him the family neither of us ever had.
Jay had a mom and a dad but they were never married. For years they stayed together, back and forth whenever they grew tired of each other. The house hold was so unstable for Jay; he never knew when his dad or some other man would come walking through the door. When they were together Jay was happy, life felt right and meals were always cooked. But when they weren’t, things were bad, phones breaking, tires slashed, locks changed. Jay remembered a time when he was locked out for three hours until his mom came home, because she changed the locks and forgot to bring a key to his 7th grade class room. His mom always acted out of anger and spite. Without thinking of who was around, or who her actions were going to effect, she reacted without a care; and she’d deal with the consequences when they’d come.
Realy his dad was no good. A cheater and a woman beater, Jay knew his mom deserved better. Yet, he wanted his dad with his mom because it seemed like every man treated his mom the same. If it was going to be any man, he figured it should have been his dad.
I was a little different. I was raised by my dad and taught to be a straight user. Al I was ever taught was to use a nigga before he used you. My daddy wasn’t having no love sick girl making bad choices with bad men. The fact that I had a dad in my home and no mother gave me no excuse to act like I didn’t. My mom, wel let’s just say she wasn’t much of a mom, ever. She had me for the first five years of my life, but looking back I think I was just a tool to have my dad around. My dad did his music thing in Phily for a while and introduced a lot of rappers to recording. He said my mom just liked the lifestyle. Her relationship was a bragging right and having a baby gave her benefits from it. Parties, shopping, drinking, living it up with some of the most paid people in the city made her feel alive. It never stopped even when she had me. Daddy thinks it got worst actualy. She knew how much he loved me and would drop anything to be with me.
Passing me off onto him in order to represent the business at a party or event was no problem. He would always let her get away with it because she was indeed good at socializing, making connects, and bringing back info.
With him being a few years older he was tired of the partying anyway. But after four years of faling back, he left her and filed for custody. It wasn’t much of a fight. She eagerly signed the papers and waved al rights, and I haven’t seen her since. A few birthdays she had caled and Christmas’s sent gifts, but Daddy explained that not every mother can be a mom, just like men.
The salad just didn’t fit the bil. It was fresh and everything that I needed but not what I wanted. I guess that’s how everything in my life was right now. I think the salad reminded me of Jay. Everything I needed and al the right ingredients, but not everything I wanted.
Yes we had a good life together, hel we’ve had a great life together, but for some time now I’ve felt like I’ve just been playing the part. I know, it’s real immature of me and lots of women would love what I have with my husband, but what I have needs to change.
After we married Jay took a loan from my father and bought us a duplex. He rented out the top of that shabby building and kept his money working as a mechanic in his pockets. Quickly he paid the loan back, and made enough money to open himself a garage around the corner from our place; by that time we were only 23, and we had our third child. Money was always great coming in so I couldn’t complain about those troubles. We bought a house in Mt. Airy and stil had the rental property with two available apartments for rent. The shop was busy and al of our friends and family showed support by only coming to us. I agreed to go back to school since the money was great, and Daddy would watch the boys to make sure I had enough free time to focus on my studies. By 28 I finished my bachelors in business administration and I’ve been working as a secretary for the school district of Philadelphia ever since. That’s 50,000 dolars of debt to be a secretary!
Stil overal I try not to complain. It just seems as if with the years I dedicated to hard work I held my youth back with babies and studying. Back then Jay and I were great, even by thirty we were on the same page. Although both of us had pretty much given up on friends, we stil enjoyed each other. Local trips to Atlantic City or Virginia Beach would get us away from the city. Or we’d make time for movies, dinner, the usual. Sometimes we’d slip out to an occasional party in the city; we found ways to have our fun.
While we were busy planning our future and handling our family, our friends weren’t. That’s what pushed us closer, the feeling that no one else understood our position. I lost contact with most of my girlfriends except Porscha. Porscha had been around the whole 21
years that Jay and I were together, she always wished she would one day have same thing. Only I wished for her life. My bestie had everything a woman should have; fly clothes, a nice ride, tons of men who treated her great and no babysitters. I was always jealous of the shape she kept since high school while I had to watch everything I ate. Even when she cut her hair into a Hale Berry style she didn’t lose any appeal. While I chopped my hair into a bob and it never grew back. I thought it made me look plain. She never finished school but landed a great Job working at the Family Court so she made out almost the same as I did without the midterms or the loans.
Porscha had her baby Jayla when she was 35 but never married. Jayla’s dad, Ty, is a 40 year old man that screams “Forty’s the new Thirty” like it’s realy true. He was stil chasing women and clubbing like he lost his mind. He’s a good dad, but I just shake my head at his immaturity. Ty and Jay have become good friends over the years; which scares me because he may have an influence on my husband. He is always coming over with some crazy story about him and a random chick. Ty had the nerve to bring some 19 year old girl over to my house that graduated high school with Jason! I told him and that fake Louis Vuitton wearing little girl that they had to go. Jason and Jalal thought the whole situation was funny but I was embarrassed for him and for my girl Porscha. I couldn’t believe that he would be the man to represent her for the next 18 years. After I told her about the girl she went off! My girl carved “pervert” into the side of his 2010 Lexus Truck big as ever! We stil tease him to this day about it. He hasn’t brought a woman over my house since, at least not a young one.
I finished off my salad and my water and prepared myself for work. A text popped up on the screen of my phone that put a smile on my face. It said
Mom can you please make meat loaf? Please
that was my fifteen year son Jamir who was stil my baby. So loving and so affectionate I was his favorite thing in the world. Handsome and mature I had no doubts that my son was God’s gift to women. He took after Jay in his younger days, tal slim and light skin with a smile that made you melt and eyes that lit up his smile like lights lit up Christmas trees. Just as rough as the other boys, but he had a soft side that made you feel good. He knew from the day he was born how to persuade a woman. It was sickening. I never had a hard time disciplining him compared to the other boys. We always teased the lover boy about al his Valentine Day cards at school and how the girls always picked him for their team when playing tag. I never understood his taste in females though. They were never the best looking girls but they were always realy nice. Unlike my other two, he knew a good woman but never settled down just kept a few on hand. He was stil young I would tel him he didn’t need to rush having a girlfriend.
Now Jason and Jalal were totaly different. They both smoked weed, partied and had crazy taste in women. Jalal was a senior at Central High school and was barely making it out the door. Somehow he managed to squeeze his way in the door at Milersvile University and would be leaving in three months. His graduation was a few weeks away and I had to give the Lord thanks for getting
through his high school career. A couple suspensions, fights, and nothing but a C average, I thought he wasn’t going to make it. Brown skin and handsome with a gap in his front teeth my boy got more attention than he could handle. He was built like a man but had a boy’s mentality.