“I think it’s time for you to go, big mama,” a burly security guard suddenly said from behind Delia and the woman in yellow. A cashier had called him the instant the two women started arguing. That prudent act was a major part of company training due to the store’s location in the city’s only urban district.
“But I haven’t paid for my groceries yet,” the woman in yellow whined, knowing instantly that the security guard was talking to her. Her would-be rival was far from overweight.
“You should have thought of that before you threatened to do bodily harm to an innocent woman,” the bronze-skinned security guard said, indicating that he knew exactly who had crossed over into the violent zone first.
“I’m not leaving here without my groceries,” the woman in yellow stubbornly insisted, clenching the handles of her full cart tightly. Possessively, as if she needed to protect all the junk food in her basket.
“Let her stay. I’ll leave,” Delia conceded, reaching down to pick her frightened little girl up. Tess had been holding onto her legs rather tightly in fear of what was about to happen next.
“Yes, Mommy, let’s go,” Tess said eagerly, clinging to Delia’s neck. Her eyes shot angry daggers to the woman who’d threatened her mother and made them leave the store without her sprinkles.
Black-owned or not, this is the last time I’m coming here, Delia mused, patting her daughter’s back in a comforting manner as she headed for the nearest exit. She just hoped Tess wasn’t too traumatized by all this.
“I’ll walk you out, ma’am,” the security guard volunteered, quickly following her.
On the way to her car, the security guard formally introduced himself to Delia. “My name is Jimmie Deane Calhoun.” He chuckled and added in a huskier voice, “But all the ladies like to call me Jimmy Dean ‘Sausage Biscuit’ because I know how to fill them up.”
What?! Delia instantly frowned.
Did this man not see her daughter here? And what in the world would make him think he could step to a complete stranger so disrespectfully?
Looking down at herself, Delia suddenly understood the security guard’s behavior. For one thing, she was dressed in typical hoodrat gear, starting from her tight hoodie, low-cut formfitting jeans, and platform boots. Then there were the cornrows in her hair. Thirdly, Delia’s lack of a man’s presence in a part of town that was inundated with single mothers on public assistance. Sadly, when a woman had those three ingredients active in her life, some men thought that it was okay to treat them a certain way.
I think it’s time for a few more major changes, starting with the ‘rest’ of my wardrobe, Delia decided, ready to give all her casual clothes away after this incident. Her business clothes were fine since they reflected the new Delia - the sophisticated businesswoman that she was striving to be.
“Did you hear me, shawty? A brotha is hung low,” Jimmie Deane persisted, breaking into Delia’s thoughts.
“Do you not see my child here?” Delia retorted, covering up Tess’s ears. “Furthermore, do you actually think that a big…stick is all you need to get with me? That just because I’m dressed a certain way, got cornrows in my hair, and in public without a man that that somehow means that I’m willing to lower myself to your standards?”
Jimmie Deane stopped short in his tracks. “Look, I was just trying to hook you up,” he replied, not handling this rejection well at all.
“Well, I don’t want to be hooked up,” Delia said, not even bothering to look back as she continued towards her car.
“Your loss. And don’t even think about coming back here to shop again,” Jimmie Deane said, ostracizing her from the store out of revenge.
“I wasn’t going to, Mr. Sausage Biscuit.” Delia chuckled, laughing at him and the whole ridiculous situation now.
Scowling, Jimmie Deane quickly looked around to make sure no one had witnessed his rejection. When he was sure that no one had, he squared his shoulders, turned around and strutted back to the store like he was still the man.
“You still want ice cream and sprinkles for dessert tonight?” Delia asked, upon removing her hands from her daughter’s ears.
Tess’s eyes lit up. “Yeah!” she exclaimed excitedly, revealing that she was not traumatized by today’s grocery store experience at all.
“I know the perfect store to get everything we need,” Delia replied, recalling the sight of a well stocked grocery store a few miles from Royal’s house. She just hoped they didn’t run into him there.
© 2008 by Suprina Frazier