Here's another sample from my forthcoming novel, SEPTEMBER (The Christina Dandridge Story - a Been So Long companion novel). Enjoy!!
We went to live with our father’s mother, Grandma Orene Greene. Grandma Orene was tall and big and dark and downright scary to look at. She looked like she enjoyed whooping kids and those big hands didn’t look like they’d show us any mercy if we got out of line. I was so scared when Mama pulled us out of the car and stood us in the yard in front of her, I almost peed on myself.
But then she opened her wide mouth and gave us a smile so warm that I couldn’t help but smile right back at her. Then she started laughing—a big, belly laugh. And I laughed, too.
“Lord, I ain’t seent these two babies in so long, I almost forgot how they looked! Beautiful chirrin’, they are. Just look at ‘em. Just like two little peaches with that orange skin. And those green eyes! Y’all come on over here and give your granny a hug.”
I was the first to move. I walked over to her and let her wrap her big, heavy, warm arms around me. I will never forget how she smelled—like talcum powder and fried chicken. From the moment I met Grandma Orene and felt what it was like to be in her arms, I fell in love with her.
My brother was always shy and I think our grandmother’s imposing appearance frightened him, too. After she let me go and waited for Kenny to walk over to her, he just stood there with his head hung low. I could tell he was about to cry. My first thought was to call him a cry-baby, and then I realized he was just four and all he knew was our Mama. He wanted to be with her and so did I. But if she had to leave, I had a feeling we were going to be in good hands with Grandma Orene.
I walked over to him and wrapped my arm around his shoulder. “Come on, Kenny Ray,” I whispered. “It’s all right.”
Kenny Ray shook me off of him and ran to our mother. He gripped her skinny legs and cried and shouted, “Mommy, don’t go!”
Mama looked down at him with tears in her eyes. She rubbed her hand over his hair and then squatted down to face him. She pulled him into her arms and whispered, “Be a big boy, Kenny Ray. I’m just going to bring Daddy home. I’ll be back before you know it.”
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