Musical Selection: Mac Ayers|Waiting
Flash Fiction: Narrated by Kay Bolden
I didn’t wait on anyone — I saw my chance and took it — wasn’t sittin’ ‘round here lookin’ for no man to come with me or make up his mind. Dro had plenty of time to figure out what he wanted to do. All that time he wasted tryin’ to figure out what he wanted to do lifted me up and placed me in this position. I’ve been a cosmetologist and nail technician for twelve years here in Gainesville, Florida. You know what’s up — home of the University of Florida, and while I love home, it’s time to move on.
So, when I got the call from my girl Terri down in Lafayette, Louisiana, tellin’ me to come through, I jumped all over it. She’s got an extra booth since one of her girls quit a week ago. My only concern is gaining a profitable clientele, but she assures me her spot is conveniently located, and I shouldn’t have any trouble. She’s going to hype me up and pass out my business cards before I even get there. I had a small box of 25 sent to her. I’m no stranger to makin’ moves here in Florida . . . I’m sure I can do what needs to be done in Louisiana, too.
The moment I knew I would move — my knees shook. It wasn’t the same kinda nervousness I had back when I opened my own shop, no . . . it was a different kinda nervousness. The kind you get when you know something bad is about to happen, but you just can’t place your finger on it. The day after I accepted the job offer from Terri, the area near my shop up to a half-mile radius flooded. My knees started shaking three days before it. I had a lump in my throat when I saw the damage to the shop — to the stores nearby.
I couldn’t swallow — couldn’t breathe — twelve years of my own hard work, blood, sweat, and tears met its end this way. The bad things that happen seem to always make a path for good things in my life, and I took that job offer as a new lease on life. Shiiiitttt, I had great insurance on the shop, flooding included, but there’s nothing like watchin’ your baby deteriorate right before your eyes.
I had a small place. Four booths. Three nail tech stations. One receptionist’s desk. A break room in the back. We were a family. The day I had to tell the girls I would not be rebuilding crushed me. I kid you not — saw my soul raise up outta me and take a solemn bow. They all understood. We cried for what seemed like hours, cleaned up what we could in the shop, and moved on into the thick, black night of Gainesville.
Of course, I opted not to rebuild. I made the arrangements with the insurance agent to have the place cleaned up, and I hired an inspector to clear the space for resale. The money I pocketed after everything was complete, is my nest egg for Louisiana. Who bops his ass over here as soon as things are final and my new life is underway? Dro . . . with his fine ass, but I can’t have him in my life anymore — weighin’ me down. I need this move in the worst way. I have my bags packed . . . my belongings in my home boxed up, and my donations pile neatly stacked by the door.
My place in Lafayette is much smaller than my house here. It’s a two-bedroom, one and one-half bathroom shotgun home, complete with that Lafayette charm and New Orleans flair. I’ve toured it online hundreds of times, and in-person once. The moment I laid eyes on it, my whole body sun-beamed. I was filled with such light and positivity. I can see myself living in it for many years to come.
We had the conversation . . . you know, the “this ain’t workin’ and we know it” conversation. And as much as I felt myself breakin’ right before him, it had to be done. I’d spent four years with him — preparing a life for us, and even now . . . EVEN NOW . . . he is still up in the air about things. Well, he can go on and keep bein’ right on up in the air — he can get stuck there for all I care. I sure as shit don’t have any extra parachutes. I’m flyin’, baby, and I know where I’m gonna land.
The moment my flight touched down at Lafayette Regional Airport, a breath of fresh air swept through me. Terri travels often, as she has clients who come from all over to get their hair and makeup done at her shop. She is well-known in many cities. My girl is doing — has done big things. Before I boarded, I could enjoy the airport’s business center and the restaurant & lounge. Usually, when I am visiting Louisiana, I fly into Baton Rouge, but since Terri has thousands upon thousands of miles and clients with big names — Lafayette, it is.
I’m here . . . I can’t believe it! I’m here. Everything I’ve worked for, all I’ve done — the loss I’ve experienced, has prepared me for this new adventure. I am finally here!
Louisiana, get ready baby, Sassy is in the building, and I ain’t waiting anymore!
“Tell me why have I been waiting all of my life?” — Mac Ayers