All posts filed under: Fiction

Terminal

The moment she sees the blue-and-orange checked dress shirt, she knows she must follow him. He pulls an upright roller bag and weaves around slower foot traffic while talking into a cell phone. The cell phone is the second sign. Follow that man. She tries to appear casual, watching everyone they pass to see if they notice her following him. She does not want to be observed like this, so reckless, so impulsive. He pauses by a kiosk stocked with travelers’ toiletries. She stops a short distance behind, still unable to see his face. She reaches for her own cell phone as she waits, opens the photo album titled Dad. She’d created it two months ago, the day after her father’s burial at the Islamic cemetery in Houston.  She scrolls down until she finds it: the photo of her with her dad and brother in a sari shop on Hillcroft ten years ago. She is smiling broadly in the foreground, shiny black hair not yet tinged with gray. Her brother stands to the right at …

We Call Them Destiny: A Birth Story

The day Destiny was born a mist covered the mountains and the air was crisp. The green of the trees and the grass shown against the gray of the morning. . I was out with the other expectant pregnant folks for our daily exercise and I felt like I could finally feel them coming closer.  “I think the baby is coming today!” I said excitedly to Maria.  “Oh really? Why Shaquan? You’ve been pregnant so long, maybe your baby decided to stay inside!” Maria laughed. She was trying unsuccessfully to do the calisthenics that the teacher was demonstrating and collapsed into giggles.  “I am not really feeling this. My belly is so big!” I said, adjusting my loose-fitting blue crop top over my breasts to do the next stretch.   “Don’t squat so deep and maybe it won’t be so hard to get back up!” Maria laughed even louder.  Maria was my closest friend in the group of baby carriers this season. All of us exercised and had breakfast together before beginning our day. She was …

The Test of Womanhood

Dr. Isaac’s words shatter me. More than half the syllables that leave his mouth have been shattering me, disintegrating the perfect mold of my life since the day I learned I couldn’t carry a child to term. Today, he says to my husband and I, “Mr. and Mrs. Akingbade, I think it’s time you both start considering surrogacy.” It was a resigned statement, spoken with slight reluctance but punctuated by a bluntness that only physicians can produce. The words smother me as I mull over them, processing their meaning and assessing their implication. A typical response of mine each time Dr. Isaac metes out words that confirm the limitations and failures of my body. I’m sorry, but it seems you are unable to carry a child to term. I hate to say this, but we might have to try IVF. Desola, the IVF didn’t work. We can try again during the next cycle. When can you come in for another round? My fourteenth IVF attempt has just failed and now, I’m being told to relinquish …

PERISHABLE

Tonee slipped in her mouth the last piece of fried chicken she had swaddled in a napkin for safekeeping. Just like she slipped from the event hall before they could load up her car with leftovers. She didn’t need the store-bought chicken that spent hours at the repast sweating in an aluminum pan to spend days in her fridge, until she ate it all.  She could see the package on her doorstep from the car. Though stamped across its face, “PERISHABLE” failed to invoke any sense of urgency in her. Folks had been sending her things left and right once word got out that her mom passed. Why should today be any different? She unlatched the glove compartment looking for the restaurant napkins she always grabbed in generous bundles. Empty. She rubbed her fingertips together, hoping to make them less greasy. She wasn’t wiping her hands on her good black sheath dress—she was sad, not stupid. The sheen on her seatbelt buckle confirmed that her bright idea had not been her best idea. She stretched …

Photo by Jenna Norman on Unsplash

Taken: Three Stories

1 “What’s on your mind today, Carletta?” I don’t tell her my children. Their faces, the first thing I used to see each morning, whining about being hungry. The sound of their voices calling my name, Mama, over and over again. And their laughter filling up what used to be our home. I miss that. Them and having a home. “Nothing really.” I say, instead. It’s hard to keep a straight face with this lady. It’s like I’m being interrogated. The same old thing, every week. Her sitting across from me in that wooden chair, the seat padded with floral. And me on this ugly brown couch, with my arms crossed, ready for the session to be over. I shift in my seat, trying not to look or seem as annoyed as I actually am. “How was your visit with your family yesterday?” She says, kind of glancing at me over her glasses. Here she go trying to play this little game again. She knows good and damn well those people, whoever they are, ain’t …