The Spice of Life

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Here's my contribution to the Spice Anthology ...

Nyoka’s thoughts wandered to Anif as she chatted with the celebrity chef who had the next guest slot on the morning show. Days later, she was still thinking about that handsome Jamaican author who had swept in and captured her with one simple look and intriguing conversations. 

As the filming progressed, she leaned against a wall watching, but her mind drifted to Anif. She breathed in hard, remembering the hint of cinnamon on his breath and the shape of his juicy lips surrounded by the stubble on his face.

The segment ended and she roused herself. The last time she’d been interested in someone, she’d gone overboard. Given her current situation, who had time for that?

He’d be a nice diversion though, as long as he doesn’t get too close.

When she got to the lobby, Judith, the other makeup artist, brushed shoulders with her on the way into the building. She smiled wide, but the gleam in her eyes put Nyoka on alert. “Haven’t seen you since you came back from the coffee shop the other day.”

“I’ve been around,” Nyoka said, but a boulder dropped in her stomach. 

The woman had seen her with Anif.

As her mother would say, Judith was dangerous, like a snake in the grass.

In the open air, Nyoka inhaled the summer. This was part of what she liked about Miami, the weather was similar to home. Minutes later, she skipped up the steps to her ground-level townhouse and instead of going next door to Aunt Gem’s house, she went home. Her heart ached knowing Gabrielle was a few feet away, but it was better to visit the clinic before collecting the baby. If she stopped in, Gabrielle would fuss when she left again. The thought made her teary, but Nyoka threw her bag on the bed, then stepped in the shower. She had a thing about getting clean before going in for treatment.

While Nyoka was bathing, Sierra, her bestie, came into the apartment using her key. Her job as a flight attendant meant she kept odd hours, but she was dependable and supportive. 

After her shower, Nyoka found Sierra sitting on the bed. She had slicked her naturally wavy hair away from her face and her deep-brown complexion and bright eyes glowed with health. Pointing to the clothes on the bed, Sierra said, “You’re going out for treatment?”

Nyoka nodded. “Yep, today’s the day. Remember I’m doing it at home soon.”

“Don’t worry, I’ve blocked it on my calendar,” Sierra confirmed.

“Great.” In the mirror, Nyoka threw her a smile. “What if I told you I met a cool Jamaican guy today?”

Sierra’s jaw dropped open, then she squealed. “For real?”

“Uh-huh. He’s a writer who did a segment on the show this morning.”

“Are you seeing more of him?”

Smiling wide, Nyoka teased Sierra. “Maybe.”

“Come on, spill it.”

“There’s nothing to tell yet. But, if I go and mess about with him I could lose my job. The station frowns on staff and clients fraternizing. Anyway, you know how I feel about men and relationships.”

Sierra sucked her teeth. “Pschaw. Don’t let your experience with that bum make you miss out on a good thing.”

“Honestly, after the way he used me for a leg-up with his career, it’s not easy to trust anybody.”

“I know, but it’s been almost two years,” Sierra said, “and you got a beautiful daughter out of it.”

The thought of Gaby softened Nyoka’s heart. “True that.”

“Enjoy the ride and forget that wanna-be photographer,” Sierra said, “He isn’t worth your time.”

“Good advice. I think I’ll take it.”

At the clinic, Nyoka had time to think but she hated letting DeWayne occupy space in her head and hoped he wouldn’t turn out to be a problem. He’d followed her Instagram account and liked pictures of Gabrielle. The message he sent yesterday jarred her.

Can I see my daughter?

She hadn’t responded and didn’t plan to acknowledge him.

The door of the treatment room opened and the technician entered to check the machine and her vitals.

Nyoka rested against the back of the chair, swiped the screen on the Kindle, and checked her social media accounts. Two additional messages from DeWayne awaited her on Instagram.

I need to talk to you.

If you haven’t changed your number, I’ll call you later today.

Her heart thumped in a slow, painful rhythm.

Nothing good could come of him contacting her. After ending their relationship without a word, what reason did he have to talk to her now?

In the anthology, SPICE, readers get a taste of the most anticipated fiction offerings of the year. Readers will enjoy this eclectic blend that will stay with you long after the pages have been turned.  


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