“You shouldn’t say things like that,” my mother warned me a few days ago.
“Mom, I’m just telling the truth. To quote Prince, I hate him like a day without sunshine,” I replied. The “him” I was referring to was my insensitive, egotistical boss. Fortunately, tax season would be over soon and I’d be able to return to my regularly scheduled programming called life. This should have been the year I found my own clients and worked from home, but I opted for what I thought would be the safer route; working in this office just one more season to guarantee my income. However, that’s become an issue. Every season is the last season. The business cards have been designed and collecting digital dust for the past two years. The only thing left to do to them is print them. Word had spread about my skills as a tax preparer. I’m not just a basic tax preparer, no sir. I surpassed the basic income tax course and decided to pick up IRS publications for casual reading. I do have more interesting things to do with my time, such as volunteering and tutor students in foreign languages, but nothing keeps the mind stimulated quite like tax code.
“Kerri, I have always told you that the power of life and death is in the tongue. Watch what you say.”Read More »
In and out. Inhale. Exhale. She stopped and opened her eyes. She had pushed herself to her physical limits by running as fast and for as long as she could until her body would no longer allow her to move. It started as a simple power walk around the neighborhood and progressed into a jog. Before she knew it, she was lying in grass in a park on the other side of town. There was something liberating about her daily walks. Some days she felt the urge to take off running. On this day she did. Her feet hurt. Her thighs tingled. Her heart pounded so hard in her chest she thought it would burst. It felt like her breath would never be restored. So she lay there. Staring up at the sky. Appearing to passersby as someone simply admiring the clouds on a partly sunny day. In reality, she knew she had done exactly what she should not have: moved too fast. As her senses calmed, she learned that if she knew nothing else, she knew her limits. Always being one to rush into things, she jumped headfirst into jobs, relationships and broken promises. Still, lessons went unlearned. Patience is a virtue, or so she had heard. Stop and smell the roses. Enjoy the view. She had ran so fast and so hard beyond what she was capable of doing. Not only testing the waters, but drowning in them. Now she had no choice but to enjoy the view.
Piece by piece an article of clothing came off of her body. The water was ice cold. She wasn’t accustomed to taking cold showers, but it had been placed on her spirit that day to forego the heat and immerse herself in cold. She braced herself as she stepped in front of the cold stream. No need to ease in, just do it. The low temperature shocked her senses. Her mouth opened to let out a cry, but her voice was frozen. As spontaneously as she had decided to take a cold shower that morning, she had thrown all caution to the wind and quit her comfortable, yet boring job and her pursuit of her college degree for the sole purpose of traveling. She was neither a mother nor a wife, so she was obligated to no one. She lived through her parents existing paycheck to paycheck during her childhood and had only recently ended her own cycle of debt. How reckless was it that she stopped working now when she had just claimed a hard-fought victory over steady bills? There was an island somewhere calling her name. Perhaps she could find her living as a photographer capturing the most precious sights in the natural world. Or perhaps she could pick up skills and learn a trade, create a new identity. Whatever happened, it wouldn’t matter. Neither poverty, nor the rat race would keep her in routine. Now, she just had to fund it.
She didn’t want to do too much and go off the deep end. There was always the possibility of there being no reciprocity, as her personal history had taught her. When she liked, she liked and when she loved, she loved. And as she sealed the envelope of both her fate and her last payment on her credit card which she would shortly max out again to invest in a stranger’s business she thought about how foolishly she was probably behaving for a stranger. A stranger who probably barely knew she existed. But, she knew the stranger. She saw into the stranger and in the stranger she saw herself. She knew herself and her capabilities. She saw herself living vicariously through the stranger’s success and in order for her to live it, she had to invest in it. She knew her strengths. She knew her weaknesses. She pursued her own path, but there’s always that part of her that wonders “What if?” and the stranger answered. So, while pursuing what she believes is her path, she keeps tabs on another in hopes for success in both. In doing so, her dreams are not left as dreams, but are dreams realized.
“Don’t call me. Don’t text me. Don’t email me. Don’t come by my house. Delete me from all of your social media and forget you ever met me,” I said as I looked him in the eye.
“So, it’s like that,” He responded trying not to sound defeated.
I couldn’t do it anymore. I just could not take it. A year of my life has passed and I can never get that back. I told myself I wouldn’t struggle like this for anyone else ever again. Even my son wouldn’t get a pass because I had given away what I felt was the best part of me. Now my bags were packed, my son was in the backseat and there was only one thing standing in the way of me driving off into the sunset and starting our lives over wherever we stopped, which hopefully would be at least two states away.Read More »
Urban book oasis. Stephen Browder. 5-star author. One of the most downloaded on Amazon. Specializing in African American Contemporary Fiction, urban psych thrillers, and mysteries with a predominantly black cast of characters.