About Burnt Orange...
A coming-of-age story of Erin and Erika, Texas twins in an abusive home in a town segregated by white and black color lines, who are wounded by the revealing of a shocking family secret and long to escape their circumstances and erase what they have been labeled. Follow their journey in this compelling novel filled with inspiration and triumph.
I enjoy viewing maps and the globes at school as it makes me dream. I live in the largest state of Texas, along the muggy and swampy Gulf coast. The summers are really hot and humid here. Folks call this area of southeast Texas the Golden Triangle, where there’s a large Cajun Texan population. In our Lapland, we have gumbo cook-offs, Cajun festivals, crawfish boils, and zydeco radio. The part of the Golden Triangle that my family lives in is Orange, Texas.
The year is 1991, and majority of our small town is segregated. We have pecan and moss trees canopying the paved streets. But somehow, the town was named Orange, like the fruit. You’ll hear some black folks call our town the Fruit.
Occasionally, I see prints of burnt orange and yellow tints in the late-evening hazy skyline far above me. Black birds fly high above, embracing the sunset, while crickets chirped throughout the night. Traffic parades through our neighborhood street every evening, with homeboys blasting the latest rap music rumbling in their dashboards and trunks. Some of our neighbors are to blame for most of the congested traffic. Our neighbors keep a lot of company over at their house, but their folks never block our driveway. I think that’s ’cause most people around here think my momma is the police ’cause she works at the county jailhouse.
Around here, blacks and white folks work and go to school together, but they hardly play together outside of that. There’s racial tension, and the railroad tracks divide our town along class status and color lines. We live on the east side of the tracks.
I’ve heard black folks complaining about how mean the white people are here in Orange especially in nearby Vidor, which has a history of the Klan. My folks believe some whites are mean too. They talk about how whites work hard to keep black folks down. Daddy complains about not finding a good job ’cause of the white man.
To me, if it’s that bad, then we all need to move away from here! There are a million places on this earth where we can live. It’s just that simple to me. I see myself living a new life away from here. I dream of living in a big city with crowded streets packed with all walks of life, tall skyscrapers, and the everyday hustle and bustle. But it’s just a dream I see every day in my head.
“Erin and Erika, get up and do yo’ chores! Da dishes are dirty, and fold up my clothes!” Daddy yells at the top of his lungs.
“In a minute, I wanna finish watching my show.”
Daddy stumbles over me and then steps over Erika, who is sitting Indian style on the living room floor. He turns the television off during the last five minutes of our program. It’s our Saturday off, and we love to watch Teen Summit on
BET. He never wants us to enjoy ourselves at anything.
Erika jumps up and runs to the TV. As I’m standing up to my feet, Daddy pushes Erika, and she falls into my chest.
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Inspirational women's fiction author, writing the script to my beautifully inspired life!
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