While Bonz drove Aisha home around , she confessed that she had heard those offensive remarks by him and his friends. That she pretended not to hear in order to keep the peace between them and to protect his reputation.
“I wondered about that,” Bonz replied. “Are you mad? Has this ruined our chances of being together?” he asked, taking his eyes briefly from the road.
“I was mad,” Aisha admitted from the passenger seat. “But I decided to give you a chance to redeem yourself because you were there for me in my time of need.”
“Thank God.” Bonz sighed in relief and returned his gaze to the road ahead. His body visibly relaxed in his seat.
“You can thank whoever you want,” Aisha replied, abruptly turning in her seat to face him. The snug seatbelt strained across her torso. “But know this, Gregory Forsyth, if you ever discuss the intimate details of our relationship with anyone, I will kick rocks so fast you’ll think you’re at a dirt bike show. Have I made myself clear?” she said with flashing chestnut eyes.
Bonz met her gaze again, looking as if he didn’t know whether to laugh or take Aisha in his arms and kiss her senseless. Her unexpected use of slang amused him. The fire in her eyes turned him on. Immensely.
“You’ve made yourself loud and clear, baby,” Bonz finally replied, deciding to take the neutral route. “Our business is our business.”
“Exactly.” Aisha face forward again. “Now that we got that straight, tell me what’s up with your boy E-Blade. Why was he hating on my hair like that this morning?” Even now she stroked her long tresses, which she’d left loose at Bonz’s request.
Bonz did laugh this time. “First, tell me what’s up with all the slang today. I’ve haven’t heard you sprout this much Ebonics since I met you,” he replied, facing the road again.
Aisha laughed, too. “Blame it on the company that I kept this morning. The fact that I’m up for this urban role in a new independent film may have something to do with it, too.”
“Oh, really? What part are you trying out for?”
Aisha swallowed hard before answering. “Ghetto fabulous main squeeze of a
Bonz frowned. “Am I practice for this role? Some kind of research experiment?” Now at a stop light, he was able to look at her for a longer period of time. His gaze was hard and searching.
Aisha knew that line of questioning was coming when she opened her mouth about the role. She was ready for it. “No. First of all, I am far from ghetto fabulous, though I was raised in the projects for ten years of my life. Secondly, you’re not a drug lord to my knowledge, despite the fact that you seem to live very comfortably.”
“No, I have yet to ascend to that status. Not sure if I even want to because with more money and power comes more problems. I have enough of those already,” Bonz replied, seemingly satisfied with her answer. “Now back to this E-Blade thing,” he said, smoothly changing the subject. “Although he is a blunt-talker like me, he lacks the same sense of tact. So while I secretly wondered about your hair, he came right out and asked about it.”
Aisha chuckled. “How long have you secretly wondered about my hair?”
“Since I first met you,” Bonz confessed, returning his gaze to the road. “I mean, most black women with hair as long as yours purchased it from some shop somewhere. And even if their hair is naturally long, they’re probably mixed with something. Usually white, Indian, Hispanic, or Asian.”
Rolling her eyes, Aisha shook her head. “Greg, we’re all mixed with something. There’s no pure race on this planet. No, the reason my hair is this long is because I’ve deliberately cultivated it since I was in high school.”
“You cultivated it? Like a gardener does soil?”
“Yes. Actually it was my brother’s idea,” Aisha replied, failing to disclose that brother’s name. It wasn’t time yet. “When my hair started breaking off really bad in tenth grade, he used the knowledge he’d gained in our mother’s florist to tweak Madame C.J. Walker’s hair grower formula. Desperate to keep some hair on my head and to prevent any further hair loss, I tried it. It worked better than we thought, making my hair stronger, longer, and thicker. I’ve been using it ever since.” Again, she threaded her fingers through her thick locks.
“Your brother? I didn’t know you had any siblings.”
“I don’t. At least not anymore. He died a long time ago,” Aisha replied, mixing the truth in with a lie. She turned to face the window to hide the bitterness in her glossy eyes. Yet it was impossible to remove every trace of it from her voice. “Come to think of it, I’m an orphan of sorts. Both of my parents are dead and there aren’t any grandparents alive on either side. Only distant cousins and a stepsister that I’m not on real good terms with,” Aisha added, continuing to mix truth with lies.
“Sorry to hear that, Aisha,” Bonz said with sincerity, briefly looking her way again.
Oh, you will be ‘very’ sorry. Real soon, Aisha mused bitterly, keeping her eyes turned to the window.
Convinced that she needed a moment of silence, Bonz respectfully fell silent, too. Yet he did reach over and stroke the back of her head in comfort as they drew nearer to her apartment complex.
© 2005 by Suprina Frazier