March Madness gears up with the concept most of us are familiar with. Not quite grown enough to be indulging in "grown-folks stuff", but too old to be completely innocent of all we've seen, heard, or thought about. It's called "Womanish!"
Angelia Vernon Menchan is delving into that concept today, and you have the chance to win a signed copy of Young...But Grown...Womanish, journal and #JustLove book bag. Simply reply to be entered to win! Read on...
Sara was raised by her mom and aunt. Her mom Sally was never married and her aunt was much older and didn't have children. They all worked cleaning homes of white people but Sara didn't want for anything. She was their princess.
Sara was tall with ebony skin, long thick hair and lean, pretty features with huge white teeth. She was also known for being book smart but not knowing much else. She was my best friend and two years older. I was considered the bold one, because I dressed more hip, was outspoken, played sports and really liked boys though that was the extent of it. However, Sara was convinced I was sexual. I couldn't convince her otherwise because boys really liked me as well. In her mind that meant I had to be screwing.
I recall an incident when I was fourteen and she was sixteen. She decided we were going to walk in our bare feet to the store. It was 1970 and I guess to Sara that felt provocative since it was her idea.
"Where you pretty ladies going?" A deep growly voice asked.
Alonzo Billings stepped in front of us. Alonzo was twenty one or two and had spent a couple years in Vietnam. He was as handsome as could be with velvety dark skin, an Afro and short cut beard. He was also tall and muscular but slim. Rumor was he was on heroin. Many brothers who came back from Vietnam were. Sara ducked her head. Reaching under her chin, he lifted it. "Sara, I asked you a question." He said. I looked on in fascination. Sara wasn't really allowed to date but there was something very familiar going on.
"We going to the store..." she answered.
"Why you not wearing shoes?" Alonzo asked.
"We're expressing our blackness." Sara responded and Alonzo snorted with laughter. That was funny to me too. I mean, we weren't slaves.
"Girl, you're too cute. This your little sister?" He asked.
"Not by blood." Sara said and his eyes raked over me. I stared back. Blinking, he grinned and looked back at Sara.
"She's an innocent but her soul is old. You Sara are a beautiful fake." He said and bopped down the sidewalk.
"Why did he say that?" I asked and Sara shrugged her pointed chin jutted forth.
"He likes bothering me. He thinks I act white and stuff." She said.
It dawned on me the walking barefoot and coming this way was about him. She liked Alonzo. Wow. I bet her mama and aunts didn't know that. They watched her like a hawk but somehow she managed to know him.
A few nights later there was a block party near our homes and Sara asked mom if I could go. I mean I was fourteen but in tenth grade with a job. I had never been out. Mom agreed and I loved it. Streets filled with music and dancing. I loved dancing and danced with everyone who asked. About ten thirty, a fight broke out and people started scattering. A guy actually hit another guy with a mailbox he yanked from the ground. He was another one of those vets. Too old to be hanging with teenagers. I looked around for Sara and she was nowhere to be found. M, our neighbor who was a year older than me offered to walk me home.
I was concerned about Sara but I had to be home by eleven. She was on her own. However, we turned the corner and Alonzo stepped out of the darkness.
"Keep my little sister safe." He said to M.
"Do you know him?" M asked.
"No..." I answered and at that moment Sara raced up behind us, her hair messy and flying. She also looked giddy.
"Where were you? There was a fight." I said.
"I had to pee." She said, smoothing her hair. I glanced at M and he grinned at me. She was lying through her big teeth.
"You might want to get that grass out your hair." M observed and I giggled. Her hand flew to her head.
After M turned into his yard, she walked with me to mine.
"Did you have fun?" She asked.
"Yes. It was fun."
"Good, I think M likes you."
"I think you like Alonzo." Color literally drained from her dark face.
"A, don't say that. He's a grown man. He's not thinking about me and mom and them would kill me."
"Okay." I said and went inside. She was not fooling me. At all. Alonzo was right, she was a fake.
Angelia Vernon Menchan is wife, mother, nana and mentor. Since January 2006, she has published 17 books and an additional 33 ebooks through her small publishing company, MAMM Productions. She is also the Co-founder of Honorable MENCHAN Media, through which she has published books for other authors. Her personal motto is, ‘There is abundance through God for all of us; we simply have to be open for our blessings.' She resides in Jacksonville, Florida with her husband and cover designer, Maurice Menchan.
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