Story Time in Coffee's House
Welcome to my house. It's late. I get inspired. I feel like sharing. All stories are property of Coffeedreamz Ink, LLC. They are here for your reading pleasure and sharing. Just remember to send folks to my house...Coffee's House.
Untitled (c) 2020
Chapter 1: The Page. The Play.
Jodeci’s “Diary of a Mad Band” is the coldest sophomore release in 90s music history. Fight me. It is R&B, gospel, and hip hop all in one. I was the only dude on campus with a new ride every school year; Ma owned a car dealership. My arrival was never a secret because I bumped Jodeci whenever I came off the ramp of I-64. Despite Ma’s cautionary advice to keep my music low, I knew it was the soundtrack that kept the ladies turning their heads. It was also the way my future wife knew how to find me--kind of a secret code we shared.
When my father died, Ma instantly stepped into gear without blinking. She mourned and moved forward at the same damn time. Superman may have been the Man of Steel, but Ma was made of Vibranium long before Black Panther became mainstream. In fact, as much as she knew about relationships, she stayed clear of them until I went to Hampton. Play-by-play, Ma set me up for every success path I endeavored. The biggest score was selecting a partner-in-crime who would have my back the same way Ma did.
May 27, 1994 was the day our mother and son relationship shifted to a partnership. The day was perfect; I had a fresh cut, cash in my pocket, Ma let me borrow the convertible to drive to the prom. I was leaving to pick up my tux before I got a 911 page.
“Don’t play your music too loud when you’re riding ‘round town. It draws attention. Streets still ain’t safe!” Ma kept cutting onions and talking without lifting her head from the kitchen island.
“I gotchu!” I waved her off as I rushed to the cordless phone hanging on the wall next to the fridge. The 911 came from my boy, Maven, the super star academic athlete marvel at my rival high school uptown. Sports broke up our school streak. We were classmates from daycare through middle school. We were more like brothers than friends since our parents were so close.
“MOE!” Maven shouted and I blanked out after the first five words--Jason broke up with Tina.
Tina was the girl next door who lived so far away. The moment I heard the silent power in her voice above the noise on the playground at Jefferson Junior High School in 1988 was the day I knew she was going to be my girl. I was in the middle of a crossover when I quickly looked over David Kelly’s shoulder. It was the only time I let someone take the ball from me in a game.
Tina wore a burgundy and gold sweatsuit and white Princess Reebok tennis shoes. Her hair was in two puff balls. She was “team natural” without apologies in a city where perms and braids were in style. I left the court so I could get her number. By the time I reached her, Jason swooshed in like the Nike logo. It was a good thing Maven was nearby. I acted like I was going to chop it up with him to save face. He gave me the head nod like, “Don’t eee--an worry ‘bout that! She’s gonna be yours one day.” That day had come.
Ma zeroed in on my silence. The background of the water running from the faucet was my soundtrack to wipe the slate clean on my plans for the night.
PLAN A: ...roll into prom solo and be the designated driver for Maven and his date for the rest of the night. I was too busy helping Ma run the dealership and marketing myself for a full scholarship to worry about chasing second best ass options for prom. I wanted Tina or no one. Faking the funk was not my style. It’s all or nothing.
“MC, hang up the phone.” Ma was gentle in her touch to get my attention.
The smell of shrimp scampi stirred up an idea inside my head.
Plan B: Call Tina and create a personalized prom night for her--one she would never forget.
“Can I bring someone over for dinner tonight?” I asked mom with way too much excitement.
“MC, I’m cooking for my girls tonight!” Ma planned a night with her sorority sisters since I was going to be out late.
“I know, but Tina…” She didn’t even let me finish. She already knew if I started with Tina’s name I really needed her.
Ma turned off all the burners and made a quick call.
“Lacy, change of plans. I’mma pick y’all up . We’re going out. My bad. My treat.”
“Thanks, Ma!” I whispered in her ear and kissed her on the cheek.
“What’s the plan, baby?”