Read STRINGS of COLOR Online

Authors: Marian L. Thomas

STRINGS of COLOR (5 page)

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She stared at her toes.

Then she stared at the wall.

She allowed her guitar case to capture her attention
for a second or two. It had been sitting in the corner, unopened for a few weeks.

She thought about screaming.

Knew soon she would be crying.

Tried hard to catch her breath.

She slowly pulled the tape recorder out of her purse and stared at it for another hour or so before reaching to turn it on.

Her voice was shaky, unsure of what to say but she knew that she had so much in her that needed to be spoken.

"My name is Naya Simone. But everyone just calls me Simone. I am the daughter of two women."

"One of which is Naya Monà whom the world has passionately embraced as Jazzmyne, the Jazz singer, and the other of course is Monà Naya Simone, who I have known for over thirty years as my mother."

"I was born in what some might call the suburbs of New York. Mother and I lived in a small two-bedroom apartment, which boasted as being large but always felt more like two closets connected together with a tiny kitchen in the center."

"Mother put bread on the table and kept the cabinets fully stocked by working two jobs she hated. During the day, she took orders as a customer service rep for a power company. At night, two to three days a week, she took orders as a waitress at a diner that was just a few blocks from our apartment."

"Everything in our apartment was old but carefully chosen."

"I can even remember this old Mercedes that we had. We were so proud of it, although it was worth less than one month's rent on our apartment. It ran as smooth as butter and when mother would sit behind the wheel of that car, I swear I could see her hair blowing softly in the wind. Her smile was wider and even her laughter was cheerful and filled with sincere happiness. Mother always said that we didn't have much but what we had was paid for and was quality. Truth be told, most days we struggled to find a dime or make a penny turn into something more than the copper it was worth."

"It's funny, but just a week or so ago I was listening to Jonathan talk about life in that mansion he grew up in and about the high-priced schools that he attended; I remember how I felt when I finally hung up. I felt like I was the rich one. I was the one that had something beyond what money could buy—love."

"I never thought about how priceless that word is, until now. You listen to someone who has spent his whole life without it and suddenly you come to understand it's real value. People work their entire lives to give their families money or leave them with valuable possessions, and yet one of the most precious gifts each one of us can offer to another human being—is love. It doesn't cost a thing but when it's not there, you know it. You can feel it. We tend to never see love for all the lasting possibilities it represents."

"Jonathan no doubt, has his stories of how rough his childhood had been and I have my own. You see; I was often referred to as the 'green-eyed' girl growing up. Black people didn't like the lightness of my skin, the properness in my voice, and the hazel color of my hair. White people didn't like the fact that my skin had a tan better than theirs."

"Mother had it the worst, I imagine. People were always staring at her. Wondering what she was doing with a white baby. Before I could barely say my ABC's, I could tell you that I was a person, a person to be judged by the color of her conduct and actions. I was proud of my complexion, my hair, and even my voice."

"Of course, none of my stories include trust funds from super-rich grandparents, fancy luxury cars, or free apartments for that matter. In fact, I had only possessed one new thing in my life until now."

Simone looked down at her ring.

"That one thing, I would never trade for any of the loveless things Jonathan had received. You see; my one thing came from the heart of a woman who loved me with all of hers."

"I received it when I was nine years old after Mother and I had decided to take a stroll down what she called the 'streets filled with bright lights and fancy clothes' that neither of us could afford. We had come past this one music store. There in the middle of their huge window display, my eyes lingered on a bright and shiny red guitar. The strings, I was convinced, were made out of gold. Man that thing was beautiful. It was at that moment that I realized what I wanted to do with my life."

"Boy, I must have talked about that guitar for what seemed like months. Downright drove my dear mother crazy I'm sure, but I just couldn't get it out of my mind. It was like a burning in my heart. I would sneak by there after school and beg the sales clerk to let me hold it."

"I wanted to sing like the lady I often heard Mother listening to. Mother would sit in her room with the lights out listening to Jazzmyne as she blew smooth as silk lyrics through the speakers. Even in the dark, I could see her tears but I never said a word."

"I use to try to envision myself as Jazzmyne. I would picture myself up on the stage with thousands of people below and there they would be, her and Mother. Who knew that crazy dream, as I called it back then, would be part of my reality today. True, there is no stage, no thousands of people sitting below listening to me sing—but they are here."

"I can't even get my mind wrapped around that fact right now."

"But I do remember the day my mother came home with that guitar. We shared tears of joy together and tears of a dream becoming a reality."

"I remember telling her that day that I would put it to good use. I would become something special. You know what she told me? She said that I didn't need a guitar to become something special. No, she said, that was already in my voice."

"That was the day that I, at nine years old, came to know what the love of a mother was."

So now, how am I supposed to call someone else—Mother?

Simone felt the tears flow down her cheeks. She reached into her guitar case and pulled out a CD with Jazzmyne's picture on the cover.

She ran her fingers across it and let out a long and deep sigh.

"I met her once. Only back then, of course, I didn't know who she really was."

"Mother had to have surgery in Chicago and so she dropped me off at this man's house, a man who I had never seen before. I was thirteen years old. His name was JK."

"Mother told me he was an old friend of the family. It seems, that too was nothing more than a lie."

"I remember her coming to the door with her husband standing at her side. Her smile was warm. Her hands were trembling."

"She wore a purple velvet scarf wrapped around her head, which allowed just a hint of her hazel brown hair to show through in the front. On her shoulder, sat a large pin filled with tiny feathers. Her clothes were exquisite. She had dark black sunglasses on, so I couldn't see into her eyes but I remember her expressions, her voice and even her kindness."

"I even remember the purple eye shadow that peaked out from behind her sunglasses and her red painted lips."

"One day, I imagine that I will call her mother. One day, I imagine that I will look into her eyes and smile. My heart will not be afraid and my hands will not tremble."

"I keep telling myself that tomorrow will be the day, but while tomorrow always seems to be just around the corner, nothing inside of me seems to change."

"There is an anger brewing inside of me, which scares me."

"There is a curiosity, which drives me to want to find the strength to look past that anger, but the tears that fall from within me keep holding me back. They keep reminding me of the nightmare that I am in."

"The constant pain that I feel."

"Feelings of betrayal."

"A past filled with lies."

"You asked me about my brother—what shall I say; except that….he's in trouble, mentally, and emotionally."

"There is too much pain— even for him."

"I could see it in his eyes when he walked up to me, that night at The Clue."

"That was the night when I thought my life was just beginning."

"There I was asking a man that sat in front of me for his hand in eternity, when life in turn, seemed to place something very different in mine, something that lyrics have no words for and hearts are not made for."

"In some ways, Jonathan is the only one who understands what I'm feeling inside, but it's hard for me to talk to him. There is too much want in his heart. Too much fear inside."

"I feel like maybe I'm fighting this battle on my own and calling out for courage. Trying hard to get it to answer me, to take me in and grab hold of me. I feel like I'm chasing after it. Hunting it down like a hidden treasure and coming up empty handed."

"Maybe I'm the one in trouble, mentally, and emotionally."

"I've tried pinching myself, thought about slapping myself, but every time I open my eyes, all I see is her."

"Naya Mona, Jazzmyne—real mother."

"I see her staring back at me, waiting for me. Waiting for me to call out something my heart doesn't yet understand. My mind can't grasp, and my emotions can't handle."

"Where is my rainbow?"

"Where is my sunshine?"

"I feel like I'm drowning in a sea and the waves are passing me by."

"There I am, floating underneath the crispness of the blue sea. There is no air in my lungs. No life in my breath, no movement in my heart. Yet, I can see the fish laughing at me and even the big whale refuses to lift me up and carry me to a moment of peace."

"I, Simone, am reaching out the for a life boat that keeps passing me by."

"Courage finds me for a moment. It throws me a rope. It wraps me up and carries me on the love, the hope, and the trust that I have in one man. He is the only one that keeps me sane and yet, at this moment, I can't find the strength to speak to him. I can't find the desire to say hello or the nerve to tell him that I need some time."

"You wanted to know about me Jake…well, now you do."

Simone clicked the tape recorder off and kicked it down the hallway. In reality, she wanted to throw it. She imagined the sound it would make as it hit the wall. She could see all the tiny pieces scattered upon the floor in her head.

Each one was a reflection of her broken life and torn apart heart.

A few seconds later, all she could hear from herself were screams.

Bring it down Simone.
She inhaled.

You've got to keep yourself sane.
She released

What is sanity, really? It is nothing more than being a split-second away from pulling your hair out and running butt-naked down the street.

As she walked down her hallway she picked up the tape recorder, placed it in her pocket and then stopped to stare at the rows of photos that hung on the wall—years of memories.

There in the center, is a picture of her when she was ten. Monà is standing behind her, resting a hand on her shoulder. Simone closed her eyes and remembered the day it was taken.

She pulled the picture down and carefully outlined the depth of their smiles.

They were real, weren't they mother?

She stared into their eyes.

Some people say that words can hurt you, cut you to the core. However, I am finding that lies can kill you. Reach deep within you and pull your heart out. Smear your memories and leave you crushed and unsure about everything and everyone you thought ever mattered.

One month ago, I was nothing more than a woman who sang for the love of it, played a guitar, and loved a man who didn't know it.

That was my life.

Now I find that I cry some nights, laugh hysterically at others, and still remember the days when I would find you staring at a picture of a young girl who's eyes looked like mine.

I can't get myself out of this place mother. I find myself simply trying to forgive.

But I still love you mommy. I still love you.

She placed the photo back on the wall with a gentle easinessand walked over toward her sofa.

She thought about Carl.

She felt as if the phone were staring at her, waiting patiently for her to pick it up.

I don't even know what to say to him

Wiping the tears from her eyes, she reached over and picked up the receiver.

Courage, it's me again. I need you. Just for a second. Maybe more, s
he whispered to herself as she began to dial.

The line was busy.

Thank you
, she said to herself as she spread out over the sofa and watched the moon try to brighten her life.

ake walked into his apartment and found himself rushing to grab the phone.

"Hey man, it's Carl. How did it go?"

"It started out somewhat shaky but ended on a good note."

"Is she okay?"

"When I left her at the park, she was smiling."

"I thought you two were meeting at a coffee shop, not a park."

"We did met at the coffee shop, but the atmosphere wasn't very conducive for talking freely so I suggested that we try the park not far from there."

"Are you sure she was okay? I've been trying to call her all day and she isn't picking up."

"Positive. She probably just needs some time to herself. So when is the big day?"

"In six months. I can't wait."

"It must be nice to be her fiancé and her manager."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Nothing really, but you have to admit that it's a win-win for you no matter how anyone looks at it."

"Whatever man, you know I love that girl."

"Yeah, that's what I had to keep telling myself."


"Just joking, you and I both know that you have nothing to worry about."

"Don't even joke around like that Jake, it's not funny."

Jake laughed. Carl was so easy to ruffle.

"Do you really think that was a good idea?"

"Dude, you said it yourself that it would will help her deal with the situation. She needed to find a way to talk about it and I needed to find a way to get her to talk about it."

"Look Jake, I don't really care about your book. That's between you and Jazzmyne. I just want what is best for Simone. She's not talking much and I only agreed to this because I honestly think it might help her."

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