Sunday, March 05, 2006

Bittersweet Interruptions - Ch. 1

August - 20 years later
“It’s been three months now, sis. It’s time to move on,” Onesha Duncan said as she went over to the window and pulled back the heavy maroon drapes to let the rays of a new day stream into the dark room.

The woman in the queen-sized bed squinted against the bright sunlight of a beautiful summer morning. Nyla hadn’t been outside in a week and the light was hurting her eyes.

It’s worse than I thought, Onesha mused, frowning at her sister’s miserable appearance.

Nyla was only her half-sister, but thanks to their parents’ cooperative actions, they’d been raised to be very close. So close that it literally pained Onesha to see her younger sister this way. In fact, every time she looked at Nyla, her stomach did a little flip-flop with compassion. At the same time anger boiled in Onesha’s veins towards the man who was largely responsible for this drastic change in her sister’s appearance.

Nyla’s previously healthy, long sandy locks were now covered with split ends. Her chestnut eyes lacked the excited spark they used to have and her caramel skin looked dry and ashen from neglect and lack of sunlight. Even her gray flannel pajamas looked dingy. All were outer signs of Nyla’s inner depression. All meant that she needed rescuing from her current despair. Fast!

“Onesha’s right, sugar. If Antwon hasn’t come back by now, he ain’t coming back,” Asia Mercer said to her best friend, telling her the truth in a blunt manner. They’d tried the softer, let-me-cry-with-you-girl approach months ago and it hadn’t been very successful. It seemed that the more they cried with Nyla, the more she wanted to cry with them. At some point the tears had to stop.

Asia went to the foot of the bed and threw the gold and maroon covers back. “Get up out of that bed right now! We’re going out.”

This intervention was a long time coming. Both Onesha and Asia had unwillingly watched Nyla slowly slip further into depression over the last few weeks as she continued to grieve over a man who didn’t deserve it. A man who, when his big cushiony job ended in Dapper City, Georgia, decided that he needed some ‘space’ to go ‘find’ himself in California.

That was three months ago. Nyla hadn’t heard from Antwon since. No calls, no letters, no nothing. And all of her attempts to contact him had been fruitless. Antwon simply would not respond to Nyla’s letters or phone messages. Fortunately, she’d had enough dignity left to keep herself from traveling across the country to find him.

“I don’t wanna go nowhere,” Nyla whined, grabbing a part of her covers back and throwing them across her head. She wanted to lie in her bed and continue to wait for Antwon to come back, call, or do something to save the relationship.

Asia smiled with hands on hips. “We know, sugar, but you’re going with us today anyway. Now!” she said, snatching all the covers off the bed with one forceful tug.

As Asia quickly balled the bedding up and threw it into the open closet nearby, Onesha took that time to pull Nyla up from the bed and push her towards the adjoining bathroom on the right side of the room.

“Get in there!” Onesha ordered, giving her younger sister an extra shove through the open doorway. “We have a full day ahead of us, so you only got ten minutes to do your business,” she continued, grabbing Nyla’s black shower cap from off the back of the bathroom door and plopping it firmly down upon her sister’s head.

With the shower cap half-on, half-off, Nyla turned around and glared at her sister and best friend respectively. “I hate you two.” Her mouth was in a full-fledged pout.

To that, Asia and Onesha laughed and blew her a pair of kisses in return. “And we love you, too, sugar,” Asia said super sweetly, grinning from ear to ear.

***

By 1pm, Nyla looked and felt like a new woman. They’d been to the spa where she’d been pampered to her heart’s delight, courtesy of her older sister and best friend. Nyla had been given a full body massage and facial. Her nails were done and so was her hair. Her sandy locks looked much healthier now. They also now sported a new, short elegant hairstyle that included tiny ethnic twists with honey-blonde highlights to complement her caramel complexion.

After a bountiful lunch, Asia and Onesha took Nyla for another surprise. A surprise that they believed would surely strip depression from her life and restore that jovial aggression she was so known for. The surprise - Nyla had been signed up for a Florida-based game show that was recruiting participants in their area. The show was called Three-To-One.

Three-To-One was one of those lively dating game shows where contestants tried to make a love match in the midst of an unusual group date. Their format was unique in the aspect that three of its contestants were to each try to make a romantic connection with a specific fourth individual of the opposite sex. The winner was picked by that fourth individual who, at the end of the night, made his/her choice known by issuing out color coded roses.

Two of the contestants were given yellow roses. The third was given a red one. The contestant with the red rose got an all-expense-paid second date with the chooser at a nearby tropical island location and a chance to explore a new romantic relationship with that person alone.

Appealing to Nyla’s fun-loving nature and also sensing her need to break out of her current routine, Asia and Onesha thought this would be a great way for her to get back out into the dating arena. It would also be a good way for Nyla to make proper use of the rest of her summer vacation.

As a licensed and bonded, professional fundraiser, Nyla got two months off each summer during her company’s slow season. Since she wasn’t due to return to work for another month, this would be the ideal time for her to travel. And according to the Three-To-One game show rules, her travel costs, meals and lodging would be paid for by them, so Nyla wouldn’t have to incur any major expenses.

Sitting in the crowded hotel lobby with her sister on one side of her, her best friend on the other, Nyla hesitated to sign the contract in her lap. “I don’t know about this,” she said, her hand pausing over the signature line. Getting back into the dating scene was already going to be hard enough. But to start with a public date was probably pushing it a bit. “Maybe I should ease back into the dating pool. You know, stick one toe in at a time.”

Onesha shook her head emphatically. “No! You need to jump back in like you did when Daddy was teaching you how to swim. You didn’t let a little belly bust stop you then, the same way you shouldn’t let a sour love affair stop you now.” She smiled and added, “By the way, I always admired how you got back up and tried again after that bad dive. Of course, after the nausea left you.”

Onesha smiled wider. She knew that her sister was a real trooper if there ever was one. Even now she remembered how Nyla had lolled on the side of the pool in a fetal position all those summers ago, determined not to throw up despite her queasy stomach.

Nyla also smiled in remembrance of that summer, yet she remained silent as she studied the blue marble floor beneath her as if the answer to her dilemma would somehow be found written upon it. Should I? Shouldn’t I? Indecision rang in her mind, scattering all other thoughts to the far ends of her consciousness. Nyla had done PSA announcements and various work related PR activities on television before, but never anything quite as personal as this.

Asia patted her friend on the hand in comfort and inserted her two cents worth to the conversation. “Besides, you won’t be alone, Nyla. There’ll be two other women in the same boat as you. And I’m sure with your public relations experience, you’ll be the least camera shy diva there. And as your lawyer and friend, I must say that I’ve read over this contract with a fine tooth comb and there’s nothing illegal in it. This company is on the up and up and for all intents and purposes, they seem to only want to boost their network ratings by providing quality reality TV, using beautiful and interesting people.”

Asia paused and nudged Nyla with her elbow. “And, girl, you know you are bootieful…I mean beautiful and interesting,” she added with a laugh.

Onesha laughed, too, lightening the mood even more. “Yeah, you know you got it like that, Ms. Coke-Cola bottle,” she encouraged, referring to her sister’s voluptuous figure. This helped to extract another smile from Nyla’s lips.

Actually, both sisters had similar physiques and skin complexions, courtesy of their father’s side of the family. Their most distinct physical difference was their hair color. Onesha’s was jet-black like her mother’s, while Nyla took her sandy locks after her own mother.

“Besides, the registration fee is the only thing you’ll ever have to pay for, and Asia and I have already taken care of that. If you recall, Three-To-One pays for everything else. Round trip airfare, two nights in your own suite, and the actual group date is chaperoned by a producer and two cameramen who record everything. And if you’re the winner, they’ll even pay for that tropical second date,” Onesha continued, reminding her sister of the game show rules.

Feeling that familiar sense of adventure rise up within her, Nyla smiled wider. “If I win? That guy won’t know what hit him,” she said, lowering her black fine point pen to the blue document in her lap and signing ‘Nyla Duncan’ with gusto.

I hope they broadcast this date in California. Let Antwon see what he’s missing, Nyla mused, determined to be the sexiest, most desirable woman on that game show now.

© 2006 Suprina Frazier

1 comment:

Suprina said...

Just wanted to insert here that Bittersweet Interruptions is threaded throughout with several original business ideas that just came to me while I was writing it.

Though I don't feel called to follow through on all the ideas, I would appreciate at least an acknowledgment if someone else takes any of them and runs with it.
That's only fair, right?

Anyway....Enjoy!