Authors: Bernice McFadden
Table of Contents
Published by New American Library, a division of
Penguin Putnam Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A. Penguin Books Ltd, 27 Wrights Lane, London W8 5TZ, England
Penguin Books Australia Ltd, Ringwood, Victoria, Australia
Penguin Books Canada Ltd, 10 Alcorn Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4V 3B2
Penguin Books (N.Z.) Ltd, 182-190 Wairau Road, Auckland 10, New Zealand
Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England
First published by Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Putnam Inc.
First Printing, February, 2000
Copyright © Bernice L. McFadden, 2000
All rights reserved
REGISTERED TRADEMARK—MARCA REGISTRADA
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA:
McFadden, Bernice L.
Sugar : a novel / Bernice L. McFadden.
eISBN : 978-1-101-14397-1
1. Afro-Americans—Arkansas—Fiction. I. Title.
Set in Galliard
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
This book is printed on acid-free paper.
For Mommy & Daddy
I ask God for so many things on a daily basis, I must acknowledge him first and foremost, because if not for him where would I be?
Thank you, God, for supplying me with the strength, wisdom and creativity to begin, continue and complete this book.
My mother and father, Robert and Vivian McFadden, for coming together and giving me life and love. My daughter, R’yane Azsa Waterton, my greatest, most beautiful work of art. My grandparents, those living and those who watch over me from the great beyond: Thelma and Wilfred Nettles, Gwendolyn and Harold McFadden. My siblings, Reggie, Misty and Kris. My niece, Shania Simon, nephew, Myles McFadden, and sister-in-law, Maritza Barzey-McFadden.
My Sister-Friends & Soul Brothers, for their consistent encouragement, love and support, Robyn Roundtree, Quovardis Banks-Lawrence, Pascale Villate-Jacques, Cicely Peace-Edouard, Wanda Toney, Charlette CeCe Jimbes, Elizabeth Warren, Sonia Rillera, Lionel Crichlow, Dean Henry and J. R. McNeil.
My creative writing teacher, Professor Margaret Lamb of Fordham University, for teaching me the art of storytelling and encouraging me to push forward.
My agent, James Vines, for recognizing my talent and sharing my vision. My editor, Laurie Chittenden, who also shared my vision and worked tirelessly on this project to make it a dream come true. Anita Diggs of Warner Books, for recognizing the possibilities and guiding me to the rainbow.
To family and friends, who are special to me and let me know that they care and are concerned about my well being, Dolly Green, Diana Crichlow, Anita Miles, Kathleen and Laura Taylor, James Griffin, Cheryl Bernard, Margaret Bernard, Fay Nurse, Bentley “Rooney” Green, Carlo Lawrence, Laura Smiley, Anthony Lloyd, Stephanie Pearson, Lisa Ford, Sheridan Abraham, Estela Olivier, Eustace Thomas, Errol Ellis, Ian Chandler, Piercson Fenty, Wayne Alleyne, Richard Small—where are u now?—and Tonya Bodison.
To the women writers who paved the way, Nella Larson, Zora Neale Hurston, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison and Alice Walker. A special Thanks to J. California Cooper, who took the time to verbally respond!
Aretha Franklin and Nina Simone, thank you for providing my background music.
The ones who made my life extraordinary and remain with me in spirit, Rebecca Hopkins, Ruby Nelson, Virginia Cummings, Richard May, Rose Tyler, Peggy Ann Williams, Menyon “Minnie” Nettles.
And finally a special thanks to the new people in my life who added additional support and encouragement through the final part of this particular journey, Dawn Nedd, Sophia Black, Donna Trotman, Jackie Quidort, Marsha Cox, Marie Rosemond and Elton Andrews.
God Bless Us All.
“There’s a little bit of hooker in every woman. A little bit of hooker and a little bit of God.”
On a day when the air held a promise of summer and peole laughed aloud, putting aside for a brief moment their condition, color and where they ranked among humanity, Jude, dangling on the end of childhood and reaching out toward womanhood, should have been giggling with others her age among the sassafras or dipping her bare feet in Hodges Lake and shivering against the winter chill it still clutched. Instead she was dead.
She’d been taken down by the sharp blade of jealousy, and her womanhood—so soft, pink and virginal—was sliced from her and laid to rest on the side of the road near her body. Her pig-tails, thick dark ropes of hair, lay splayed out above her head, mixed in with the pine needles and road dust. Her dress, white and yellow, her favorite colors, was pulled up to her neck, revealing the small bosom that had developed over the winter.