Homebody Blues

Evie hates it when I call her to complain about my loneliness. If you don’t want to be a homebody anymore, stop being a homebody, she always tells me. Easy for the extrovert to say…

I call her anyway.

“Today I stayed in bed until well past noon.”

“Wow, that’s a new record for you.”

If one could hear an eye roll…

“Is it possible to live on the top floor and still have to deal with leadfoot neighbors?”

“Sweetie, it’s probably just somebody walking up the stairs. Your apartment is right next to the staircase.”

“Yeah, that’s the problem. The sound travels. And it feels like they’re stomping on my brain.”

Like a caravan of people walking up and down the stairs in steel toe boots. My head could explode, splatter these walls, and I swear you’d find the tread marks on the scattered pieces of my brain.

“Isn’t that an Emily Dickinson poem?”

“That’s ‘I felt a funeral in my brain.'”

“Same difference. You should be careful, you know. You’re starting to become like her.”

“Is it so bad to relish in the comfort of your own home?”

“But you don’t relish.”

She’s right. I despise it. But it’s not the fact that I spend most of my days at home or that my interactions with other human beings usually involve a screen or me avoiding eye contact with the neighbor kids and dog moms during my weekly treks across the parking lot to the mailbox.

I work remotely, so I really have no reason to ever leave the house. I like not having to pay for gas every week. Granted I make up for that by ordering in most days, and if I don’t watch my weight, my wardrobe of sweatpants and t-shirts will soon dwindle.

But what I truly dislike about my life is the stigma. Everyone just assumes that I’m not happy, and therefore it makes me unhappy. Even my own sister thinks I’d be better off if I had a man in my life. But Mr. Right’s not just gonna break into your house, she’d say. Maybe he will. What does she know? It’s not like she was any luckier going out and finding one herself, with her three roughhousing boys and absentee husband who only seems to come around to get her pregnant. The only reason I don’t ask her to come over now is that she’s supposed to be on bedrest. God only knows what those destructive little monsters are doing to her house right now.

I will never have children. So unless this man who’s supposed to make me happier comes with condoms or a vasectomy, I’ll pass.

“You should probably take something for that headache.”

“I’m all out. I would cook something, but my fridge is as empty as my stomach, and I don’t really look presentable enough to go anywhere.”

“Of course you don’t.” Evie sighs. I hate it when she sighs. It’s as if she’s exhaling all those years of disappointment in her own life choices onto me. I don’t need them. Hold your breath, Evie. You’re my sister, not my mom. I don’t want your judgment.

“I don’t know what to tell you, hon.”

“Nevermind. Sorry I called.” I hang up before she can turn the conversation into a lecture about how a lot of people have problems. You have the power to fix yours. As if to diminish or discredit the things I think and feel. I know a lot of people have problems. I’m one of those people, and my main problem is with other people.

But I wouldn’t expect the problem to understand.

The neighbor starts up again. The rumbling and the marching reverberating against the walls and penetrating my skull. I can’t take it anymore. Without thinking, and with bedhead, no bra, and a t-shirt barely covering my pantieless ass, I swing the front door open.

“Do you mind!”

Of course it’s a man.

He’s wide-eyed at first. Then his lips curl into a grin that’s either mocking me or amused.

“Sorry about all the noise. I’m your new neighbor.” He points to the open door behind him across the breezeway from my apartment. There’s a stack of boxes just past the threshold, and behind them, a couch and a rolled up rug propped against it are all I can see as far as furniture. He holds what looks like a broken down lap under one armpit and an ironing board under the other.

“Thirty more minutes. I promise.”

“Just keep it down.”

He stares, and in the awkward air between us, I realize how much of a wild woman I must look to him right now. When he sniffs (probably because of allergies—from where I stand, I can see the yellow film on the tops steps of the staircase—it is still spring; the pollen still high), I instinctively pull down my t-shirt (I haven’t showered today either. Sue me), which makes my bra-less breasts more pronounced, and I’m sure he’s mistaking my nipple rings for arousal.

But he is kind of cute.

Kind of.

“I can make it up to you.” He washes me over with his eyes, as if I’m on display and he’s picking fruit. “Let me take you out to dinner. Or I can invite you over if you don’t mind the mess. And maybe you’ll let me put a smile on that—”

I slam the door in his face and twist the deadbolt.

I feel the urge to go masturbate.

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Happy Anniversary

“It’s okay that you forgot.”

It’s not like this year’s been anything worth remembering. Forgotten birthdays. Forgotten dates. Nights spent alone while he worked late in the office. And last week at counseling, he admitted that he never wanted kids and likely never will.

It would’ve been nice to know that before getting married.

It would’ve been nice to know that before I was seven months pregnant.

“If you wanna go out to eat or something, we can. But I don’t have much money.”

Another one of our marital problems—finances. His startup will take off soon. But right now, we spend more money than we have, and it’s taxing, draining.

“So that means I have to pay?” Again.

He shrugs. “If you want.”

I haven’t gotten what I wanted for a long time. Today, of all days, I just want to be happy. I want us to be happy. I want us to remember why we took those vows, that we loved each other once. I pray that one day I won’t worry about what additional troubles this baby will bring, like the fact that my job doesn’t currently offer paid maternity leave. I’d have to work until this baby drops just to ensure we’ll have food on the table in the days after I’m forced to leave.

“So what are we doing?” he presses.

“I guess I’ll order a pizza,” I say with a sigh as my stomach growls louder.

“For both of us?” he asks, staring at the source of my current hunger pains. I’d be foolish to call the look endearing, but a hormonal wife can only hope, right?

“I guess I’ll order two.” If I’m lucky, he’ll probably eat a slice and maybe half of another and go back to his computer, which currently gets more attention than me, leaving the rest for me to find some semblance of happiness feeding my face and fattening myself up until I pop.


Today we’re celebrating five years of blogging! Let’s make this anniversary happier than the one in today’s story. 😉

Chronicles of a Single, Black Christian Female: Episode 1

Photo by @caminho_do_despertar from nappy.co

It’s probably the wrong thing to say, but I say it anyway.

“You remind me of my pastor.”

He stops, right as I’m about to reach my peak.

Definitely the wrong thing to say. Especially to a man whose face is currently buried between my thighs. Especially when I’m supposed to be at Bible study—I’ve already missed two straight weeks.

And I don’t think he’s saved. But I am. Or, at least, I’m supposed to be.

“Do you think of your pastor doing this to you?”

“No,” I say a little too quickly for it to be believable. His laugh offends me, because I know there are plenty of women in my church who do think of Pastor that way. And how could they not? He’s young, handsome— smooth skin, thick curly hair, full pink lips, eyes that haunt and the adorning long lashes to envy. If not a pastor, he’d be the kind to break hearts.

But he is a pastor. A good one. And a Christian. A good one. Or, at least, he presents himself to be. At this moment, who am I to judge?

I pull my dress up from my ankles and slip my arms through the sleeves. “I think I should go to church.” I’d be there already had I not taken this detour in response to his “Wyd” text.

“Feeling sinny?”

“No.” He disgusts me how he makes a joke of an obvious problem that I have—giving in to temptation. Maybe it’s because, in fact, I do feel a little . . . sinny.

I give him a quick kiss as I leave, which I immediately regret, not only because it gives him the impression that he can easily lure me back— perhaps after service—but also because now I’ll have the smell of my secret shame fresh on my lips, a smell that Mother Thompson—forever casting stones with her eyes on us “slippery skinny young thangs”—is sure to notice when I’m sitting on the very back pew, begging my Father in Heaven for forgiveness.

What to Write for NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo is coming soon, and I’m considering taking the dive once again.

I don’t know why I continue to torture myself like this…

But I haven’t done any kind of planning or brainstorming, and although I have I plenty of works in progress (including a novella I’m considering giving a total revamp) half-baked ideas, and a current novel I haven’t yet started on, I want this potential NaNoWriMo novel to be 100% new.

Nothing I’ve started and stopped and started again…and stopped again.

Nothing that was once a passion but, after a year, has now become an afterthought.

Something my editor brain won’t overthink to the point that it’s debilitating.

Something I can approach as an adventure rather than potentially the next great American novel (that will only disappoint me when I read it again).

Something absolutely brand spanking new.

But what?

Maybe it’s because it’s almost Halloween, but I’m thinking of doing a ghost story. Nothing too scary, but something definitely spooky.

What do you think?

Tell me, what story should I write? I want to step out of my comfort zone a little. I’m sick of writing sad romance. Maybe a different genre will give me the boost I need to get to 50,000 words in one month for the first time ever!

Don’t Hold Back on #MarquessaChallenge This November!

Can’t get enough fiction on a Friday? …

Yes, yes, I know it’s Monday, but there’s a purpose here, I’m getting to it, I promise.

No, no, I’m not being cruel for looking ahead to Friday when it’s only just Monday. I don’t mean to disappoint you.

Ok, ok, in honor of Mondays, and #1MinFiction, I’ll make this short— one minute in fact—because I cherish your delicate feelings so much.

Time for my one-minute advertisement. And . . .

Ready . . .

Set . . .

Write!

This Friday, and next, and every Friday in November, and December, and forever, if you enjoy it that much, join #MarquessaChallenge, a Fiction Friday writing challenge that uses song lyrics as prompts. Yes, that means you can listen to the tunes in the background as you type away. How’s that for inspiration!

Ok, minute’s up. Did I miss anything? Ah, yes. Marquessa, host of #MarquessaChallenge (did the name give it away? 😉 ), and I are teaming up this November to bring you Monday’s #1MinFiction and Friday’s #MarquessaChallenge.

Starting this Thursday, Marquessa will give you a new song lyric prompt for the Friday challenge, and I’ll be reblogging it right here on Lovely Curses (I’ve gotten a little reblog-happy lately). Your job is to write a story using that lyric, or a part of it, or if you’re just not feeling it, any part of the song that inspires you. Be sure to drop a link to your story on Marquessa’s prompt post so she can find you, because comments on my reblogs will be disabled.

And don’t forget to come back next Monday, when I’ll be continuing with my holiday-inspired #1MinFiction prompts. November is all about . . . you guessed it, THANKSGIVING! *Gobble, gobble*

If you miss my prompt posts, no worries, Marquessa’s gotcha covered. She’ll be reblogging all of my #1MinFiction prompt posts on her blog, Simply Marquessa. So go ahead and follow her, and not because I told, but because she has great content, including beautifully crafted fiction, #TribeTuesday ideas to fix your life, #WriterWednesday tips, and the occasional opportunity to shamelessly promote your own blog. So why not follow? You’ll never be dissatisfied!

And to get you ready for this Friday, let’s scream with Shawn Mendes, “There’s nothing holdin’ me back!”

Forecast

“Careful. Hurricane’s out there churning.” Steve says. “Rip currents are strong.”

Always the meteorologist. Even on vacation. I hate it. I don’t need his job reminding me of how sad I am.

I step closer to the water’s edge, seashells making crescent moon imprints on the soles of my feet, spume from the crest of the waves kissing my toes.

It’s forecast veer north, fizzle out in the ocean, but how I wish it would stay the course. Make landfall. Pull me under and drag me out to sea. How I pray he would dive in after me, swim through the crashing waves, the salt in his eyes, the entangling seaweed and obstructing driftwood, to bring me back to him. Hell or high water. My life guard to press his lips against mine, breath the air back into my lungs, the beat into my heart.

Two days ago, he proposed, and when I told him no, he said work was moving him to Texas. There he’ll be an anchor, he tried to justify, more than just a weekend weatherman. People will see him.

How far is Texas? I Googled—nearly 1,500 miles. And away from me. He makes a living predicting the future in weather patterns, but he can’t see what’s right in front of him—the storm clouds gathering above my head, that I’m caught in a whirlwind, being pulled and tossed in different directions, falling apart.

Though he hasn’t explicitly said it, this trip feels like goodbye. Why continue in a relationship that will never end in marriage?

But the truth is I love him. More than the air in my lungs, more than the salt in the sea. More than I want to see the sun rise over the ocean in the morning, or his back shrinking behind the radar green screen.

Water splashes my hips. I’m deeper than I want to be, and when I turn around, he’s a retreating blur in my periphery. I’ve been drawn so far out already. Maybe it’s easier this way. He can climb back over the sand dunes and leave me here to prune. At least then he won’t see me cry, and I won’t have to explain again why it hurts too much to marry him.

Nortina

Moving In

“Did you pack enough boxes?” he asks as he folds the cardboard box he just emptied of all my china under his arm and tosses it toward the trashcan, missing it completely.

I don’t tell him about the two bins still in my trunk stuffed with decorations for almost every holiday—Christmas, New Year’s Thanksgiving, Halloween, Easter, Fourth of July, even President’s Day. I’ll wait to unpack those tomorrow, while he’s at work.

I admit I’m a bit of a hoarder, but just as he would’ve inherited a single mother’s snot-nosed kids, all my stuff instantaneously became his the day he married me.

At least we can both agree children will never be in the picture. I have no intentions of sharing him . . . ever. And in this big house, there are so many places we have yet to christen. Including the kitchen counter.

It takes me a few hops to pull myself on top of it, and once I’m up, I spin around to face him, shimmy my shoulders and let the spaghetti straps of my top fall to my elbows like melting ice cream.

“Are we ever going to eat off these?” he asks, oblivious to my advances. He taps his knuckles against the stack of gilded porcelain plates.

“Of course,” I lie, waving off the flying dust. We haven’t used them since Grandma died and left them for me in her will. Only for show, Mama always said. It’s good to have nice things.

“But not tonight.” Tonight, I have other plans. I pull him to my lips by his shirt collar and he stumbles over the box still containing all of my kitchen gadgets next to his feet—the handheld and electronic mixers (because I couldn’t have just one), the blender, food processor, and Spiralizer (how many ways can one chop up veggies?), the juicer that I’ve only used once since buying it five years ago.

Photo by @_WILLPOWER_ from nappy.co

“We’ve wasted enough time already,” he breathes into my mouth, reminding me of the housewarming we’ve pushed back twice now.

“But we have the rest of our lives,” I say. What are ten more boxes left—or twenty. I’ve lost count. My head spins when his bare chest is pressed against mine. His body heat melts my candle wax like fire.

“This is all I need,” I tell him, and he mounts the counter top to join me.

—Nortina 

Rumbling Thunder

Love Haiku #9

Thunderclap wakes me
in bed, void of your body
heat. I remember

a time when your eyes
lit my room as lightning, your
love gushed like driving

rain. In the distant
shower outside my window,
I think of you. How

you smashed into me
like hurricane winds and kissed
me with tempest force.

You are my storm, Dear
Lust. When darkness descends, I
burn for your fire.

—Nortina

Lovely Curses’ Next Serial Story: You Decide

Earlier this month in my Agenda post, I told you that I was eager to get started on my next serial story, but I that needed your help in deciding. Which one of my favorite Short Story a Day May stories should I expand into a series?

Well, the votes came in, and there weren’t many, so I’m reopening the poll, because I really want to engage my readers, especially those of you who stuck around while I was dealing with my chronic writer’s block. You’ve truly been loyal and I want to reward you!

So yes, YOU have to decide! While I do have my preferences, I won’t be making the decision this time. I’m leaving it up to you. The future of my blog is in your hands. No pressure…

To refresh your memory, here are your options.

  • Widow — A story about a woman who sets her house on fire, killing her husband and infant child. If chosen, this series will begin before the events of “Widow” take place to explain what led her to such horrendous act of violence.
  • For the Sake of Humanity — In this dystopian, post-apocalyptic tale, a young woman takes her adopted ward on a quest to find the last remaining humans on earth. If their search is successful, she’ll avoid having to go through with the promise she made to the young boy’s dying mother to not let the human race die with them.
  • Dreams are Real — Does true love every really die? Lovers grow apart, they embark on separate paths that lead to different careers, pursuits, marriages, kids, etc. But one day, someday, they eventually find their way back to each other, right? If it was meant to be. This story is all about the possibilities of a nostalgic lover’s dreams of reunion coming true.
  • One Night Stand — This story is a continuation of the “White Jesus” storyline. I haven’t quite developed a plot for this series, but it would have a very urban, Living Single vibe to it. This series would follow the shenanigans of three friends: Lyndra, the main protagonist, her ex-boyfriend, Levon, and his buddy, the philosophical pothead, Philip, aka White Jesus.
  • Dry Spell — In this fun, witty tale, a 34-year-old, sexually inexperienced divorcee, tries to get laid with the help of her promiscuous, sexually liberated friend.

You have your five choices, now it’s time for you to vote! Let me know your favorite story in the comments. Eventually, I’ll probably serialize all these stories, but your selection will take top priority. You have until next Thursday to cast your vote. I’m really counting on you, so don’t let me down!

 

Above the Ocean Breeze

Lately, I’ve become obsessed with the Japanese poetry form. My favorite are the tanka and haiku, though I’ve been exploring other forms to try too.

Recently, I hooked up with new blogging buddy and Nigerian sister based in the UK, Amina (Check her out at Ameena’s Musings) to collaborate on a renga.

Renga (meaning linked poem) is meant to be written by two or more poets. It consists of alternating three-line and two-line stanzas. The three-line stanza should have a total of 17 syllables (similar to a haiku), while the couplet has seven syllables per line.

I think the collaborative poem is definitely our thing. This one reads as if it were written by one person. Enjoy! 🙂

beautiful-sexy-blonde-girl-walking-on-the-beach-sea

Above the Ocean Breeze

Walking down the beach
Foot impressions in the sand
Music in my ears

Waves rush ashore ferrying
Seashells across vast oceans

Pondering on my life
How? When ..did it all go wrong
Why did it all change

I touch a dead hermit’s home
To my ear, listen for you

You…I loved you so
But you left when the tide changed
Now here I am – sad!

Standing on edge of earth as
Sun sets where water meets sky

Feeling overwhelmed
As the colours seem to fade
Memories distant

Three thousand breaststrokes away
Reunion makes me seasick

I try to jolt back
To a time I was stronger
I, my own person

When love neither made me nor
Broke me; bearer of my own

A time where my strength
Brought some hope to the hopeless
Where I could stand tall

With my unwavering voice
Part seas; sand feels like concrete

I need to reclaim
All the bits of me I’ve lost
Patching piece by piece

Like sediments of rock build
New structures out of the old

The new and old merge
Creating a stronger bond
Redefining me

No longer bound to life with
You beyond the horizon

Finally I can
Look forward to a new start
Where I love myself

I wrap my arms around my
Body, tight like rip currents

At last, I can breathe
And have freedom like the birds
This is my new start

—Amina & Nortina ❤