By 5 p.m., Malaykah welcomed the heavy gridlock traffic on her commute home. It gave her some time to reflect on everything going on in her life. Unfortunately, her train of thought was interrupted by an obnoxiously loud ringtone of her cell phone. Her best friend J’aime left a dozen texts, which up until then had not been opened. Malaykah rubbed her temples and sighed. She knew there was no real way to avoid J’aime’s inquisition. Nevertheless, she mustered as much enthusiasm as possible and pressed accept to answer the phone on speaker.
“Hey girl, what’s happening,” she said.
“Hey girl, I heard the news about Miracelle from nosey Eddie. I don’t know why he got promoted to account over me. His gossip game is off the chain, and he runs his mouth far more efficiently than he can run the budget reports. Anyway, I’m just checking in on you. How are you feeling?” J’aime replied.
Malaykah paused for a moment to summarize her feelings before sharing them with her friend. Then, suddenly, an eruption of emotions came over her.
“I’m as well as can be expected. I mean, you know me; I’m certainly no hater. I am truly happy for Mir and Danny,” she sniffled as she had to make a quick lane change to the right. “I’m just saying; five years after my husband’s death, it’s shocking to me that I haven’t met a guy willing to be a stand-up kind of man. As a single mom with three teenagers, I hoped we’d have a better life.”
J’aime chimed in with a concerned tone, “Mally, you can’t let any of this Miracelle and Danny stuff get to you. First of all, they’ve known each other for less than five minutes. There’s no reason I can think of for them to be engaged so soon unless she’s knocked up. You know how religious her family is. Second of all, your cheater deadbeat husband certainly was not a stand-up man. Karma took care of him real good when that tramp he messed around with drove them off a cliff to prove her brand of crazy love to him. Finally, you’re an excellent mom. I can vouch for that.”
Malaykah slammed on her brakes as the car in front of her abruptly stopped. No one was hurt, luckily. She yelled a few choice obscenities out the window at the driver, then continued on her way.
“Mally, is everything ok? Are you good?” J’aime asked.
“Yes, everything is peachy,” she answered in a dead tone that drifted into a brief silence. “It boggles my mind how my life just seems to be going nowhere. I’m grateful for the good stuff; my kids are healthy, and I received two promotions earlier than expected. I’m proud to be head of the accounting department. It’s just at forty-two years old; I thought I’d be living my success with my life mate by now.”
“Girl, please. We live in a small suburban city. Good men are harder to find than a needle in a haystack. But, regardless of the overgrown man-babies who haven’t turned in their player cards, there are still a few diamonds in the rough left,” J’aime said.
“Do you really think so?” Malaykah gasped with hope.
“I don’t know, probably,” J’aime cackled. “Listen, girl, all this pent-up anger is no good for you. The Afro-Caribbean Fair is tonight. You should come with me. I bet you’d feel right at home since your parents were from that neck of the woods.”
Malaykah sighed, “Sorry, friend, I’m just not up to it. However, the twins have been harassing me about it for a week. Can you take them instead? Since Shannon will be out with her raggedy boyfriend, I’d have the house to myself and finally have a quiet moment to think.”
J’aime blew a long, loud raspberry before she answered, “FINE! I’m only doing this to protect the mental health of my best friend since college. Though I may lose my mind in the process, having to manage two fifteen-year-old kids with raging hormones and mood swings.”
Malaykah thanked her J’aime for being such a trooper, then drove home in silence the rest of the commute.
~Ch. 1, The Realm Beyond the Stars and Sea~