Friday, November 14, 2008

Love And Kwanzaa - Patricia Woodside

A Writers Vineyard Holiday Treat

I had positioned my body so I could see in front of me yet hold a polite conversation. Another service register opened and my body went onto autopilot. Like lightning, I hoisted the box off the floor and vaulted to the front of the new line. Sheepishly, I turned back to wave but the gentleman’s attention had turned elsewhere.

The air in my sails slipped away. Disappointed, I conducted my business and left. No need for both Lawson sisters to pick up men in the mall. I’d never considered it a great meeting ground before. Seemed it still wasn’t.

Halfway down the concourse, I heard someone rushing up behind me. We lived in New York so I always had my senses on high alert when in public, especially in the mall during the holiday season. The stories folks heard or saw on television were more atypical than not, but one couldn’t be too careful. I had no intention of being mugged or carjacked. I glanced over my shoulder. Mr. Black-on-Black caught up to me using very long strides.

“Hey, I enjoyed talking with you. Do you have more shopping to do? Maybe we could team up.”

My first instinct was to scream “S-T-A-L-K-E-R” but he didn’t strike me that way. No criminal vibes. He had friendly eyes and a high wattage smile that could stop traffic. Of course, since the old adage, “you can’t tell a book by its cover” rang true, sadly, our “friendship” had to end there.

“I only came to exchange this one item. So, I’m out of here. Same time, next year.” I waved, bidding both he and the mall a friendly adieu.

“Then I’ll walk you to your car.” He took my bag with a minimum of protest on my part—chivalry is not dead—and together we waded through the sea of luxury vehicles, family minivans, and a fair number of hoopdies. My late model, candy apple-red Mercedes convertible—top up, of course, as I had no desire to freeze my behind off—was a teenage dream come true. When I landed my most recent contract, my largest ever, I splurged. I could afford it. Aside from the car and lavish spending on gifts, I lived pretty modestly.

From the nearly imperceptible nod of his head, I could tell he was impressed. He placed the bags in the trunk and then opened the door for me. I slid into the cream leather seat and started the engine. As he closed the door, I rolled down the window.

“Would you be interested in attending a Kwanzaa gathering on the 26th? You could learn a bit more about the holiday in a friendly environment. Your sister is welcome, too,” he added with a wink.

Whatever environment he was in would be decidedly more than “friendly”. When he’d removed the shopping bag from my grasp, his fingers had brushed mine. A slow burn snaked along my insides. I’d shaken it off because I was neither in the habit of picking up men nor allowing them to pick me up. Without an introduction or referral from a trusted friend or business partner, I passed. Let Althea be the relationship risk taker. I’d let him down easy.

“Um, I didn’t catch your name...” This was no match made in heaven. We hadn’t even exchanged names. Warm socks, some Edy’s Grand Sundae Cone ice cream, and a good romantic DVD, like Love and Basketball or Mahogany—a retro nod to a the retro brother—would satisfy my sensory cravings for the time being.

“Silas. Silas Monroe. You can call me “Sly”. And what sweet name do you go by?”

Sly? Wasn’t that the guy who fronted that ‘70s band with the weird silver getups and who recently had been honored by the Grammy Awards or BET? I didn’t think so. And his syrupy attempt to extract my name came off as more cloying than appealing. “Silas, it’s been nice meeting you. I don’t think we should take this any further. I do, however, appreciate your help with my bag and the invitation.” I rolled up the window.

He stepped back from the car, mild surprise stealing across his face.

I drove away with a wave and a final glance in the rearview mirror.

This has been an excerpt from Love And Kwanzaa
Patricia Woodside is an avid reader, short story author, and aspiring novelist. Her sweet romances have been published in nationally distributed magazines. “Love Begets Love” was included in the true love story anthology, How I Met My Sweetheart, released by Amani Publishing. “Love and Kwanzaa”, a holiday sweet romance, was published by The Wild Rose Press.

In addition to reading and writing, Patricia reviews an assortment of fiction for Fresh Fiction and SORMAG, two online fiction magazines. Patricia is currently at work on writing the multicultural inspirational romances she loves to read. She captures her writing journey, and shares the tidbits she picks up along the way, at her writing blog,

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