Book Excerpt – Dana Dances on Paper
Copyright © 2003 Dances On Paper Press/Darcel Turner No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission from the publisher or author. The format of this excerpt has been modified for presentation here.
"Dana," Uncle Jerry commanded, "I don’t know where your mother is, but you betta get upstairs. It’s too late for you to be out here anyway. Birthday or not, you still have a curfew."
"But my mother said I could stay out until t.."
"Look, you go upstairs girl!" Uncle Jerry barked, "It’s too late for you to be out here."
It was hard to hold in my tears but I did. And I kept a calm face. Everybody sang Frankie Beverly’s, "Before I Let Go!" I was too embarrassed to look at Sherman who stood near by the entrance with his boys. I walked out the courts toward my fucking building! I can’t wait until I grow up and have my damn freedom! Freedom to come and go as I please! Where’s Mommy? Damn it!
"Where you stepping off to?" Someone asked me from behind.
I turned around and it was (Scream!) Sherman! No, he can’t be talking to me. Me? Out of all those fly home girls in the park?
"Home." I tried to be
nonchalant. I pretended as if guys chase
after me all the time.
"Why? It’s still early.
Shouldn’t you be enjoying your birthday?"
His lips looked so juicy and mouth so clean.
"Yeah, but my uncle doesn’t
like to see me talking to any guys.
He’s very protective of me."
"Oh. He saw us hookin’ up?"
"Where he at? I’ma talk Money into letting you stay."
"I don’t think you’d want to.
He’s the tall one over there." I
pointed. He looked over at Uncle Jerry and I saw his eyes shutter at his great height and confident aura. Uncle Jerry’s chest and back were stronger than gravity. His body stood upright while he was spinning the turntables. The Johnson & Johnson’s baby oil brought out the cherry brown in his complexion. The shine brought out the definition in his arms. I know one thing for sure, Uncle Jerry should be called DJ Sheppard. ’Cause he kept colorful herds of women flocking around him. They may say that they’re in love with my uncle but I believe it’s just lust. That’s my family’s trademark. We, the Strongs are a symbol of power, popularity, sensuality and respect. The curse of the Strongs is our trademark can sometimes work for us and other times work against us.
"Oh he got that," Sherman said, "but he can’t walk you home now can he?" I blushed. We talked and flirted up 13 flights of stairs until we reached 10:30. We made our time quality. In our conversation we came to know the truth about Sahidah. She befriended him and twisted stories around, telling him falsehoods about me, to keep us from getting acquainted. But see we were destined to meet.
"Thank you Sherman for walking me home."
"Nah, don’t sweat."
Somebody in apartment E turned their radio up. "Beautiful Ones" played on the radio. We slow danced against the brick wall. Intimacy with Sherman frightens me because I hardly know him, but damn! This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Home girls would love to kiss a guy like him. They would dream all day and fantasize in the staircase about a guy like Sherman. It curls me up inside to think of all the girls who’re sweating and looking for him right now in this very moment. Wondering where did that fine guy go? Humph, he is spending his time with me y’all!
He made me feel so special! The Force MD’s "Tender Love" played behind apartment E’s door. He tried to kiss me but I weaved my way out of it.
"So we gonna keep in touch, right?" He asked.
"Yeah, I guess."
"What chu’ mean you guess?" He went to steal another kiss from me. I turned my face around and he missed my lips. He laughed right in my face.
"What chu’ doin’?" I felt embarrassed.
"I’m not ready to kiss you, yet."
"Come here." Sherman gently touched my chin and exhaled through his nose. His nose touched my nose. His determination turned me on. He tried again and this time he succeeded because I surrendered to the warmest and softest peck. He disconnected and smiled,
"Happy Birthday, Dana." He
wrote his math on a small piece of
paper and placed it in my palm.
"Thank you, Sherman." I watched him fly down the stairs by two’s reciting Big Daddy Kane’s lyrics while I held my hand over my heart so that cupid wouldn’t shoot it.