Here's another excerpt from Breathe Again. Enjoy!!
I turned my attention to the plate, which held a pig’s foot drenched in hot sauce, pinto beans virtually swimming in grease, mustard greens intermingled with ham hock meat, and a thick slice of cornbread. I’d never seen anything that looked so appetizing and unhealthy before in all my life! Okay, that’s a lie. My mother, Rhonda, used to throw down like that nearly every Saturday. Saturdays were for my mama’s soul food. Sundays were for Brown Boy’s.
A faint smile appeared on my face at the memory. It was one of the few good memories of my mother that remained. “Wow, this looks good!” I said, as I forked up a heap of greens.
Malachi nodded, chewed for a few seconds, and said, “It tastes even better.”
I dug in, and by the time we were both finished, I was so stuffed I felt a little uncomfortable.
Malachi chuckled. “You look like I feel.”
I sighed and readjusted my butt on the seat. “Then you must feel like you’re about to pop.”
He nodded. “Yep.” Hopping up, he reached for my hand. “Come on. Let’s dance this food off. I think I just gained twenty pounds.”
I took his hand, stood with a soft grunt. “I gained forty.”
The dancefloor was a scuffed-up piece of black and white, checkered linoleum no more than ten feet by ten feet. We barely fit with the other three or four couples already on the floor moving to a mid-tempo song.
I was poised and ready to do my signature dainty two-step when the song ended and a slow jam I slightly recognized began to play. Like all of the other music that had been playing in the background the entire time we’d been there, it was old and bluesy, made many years before my time. I knew the melody, but the lyrics and title escaped me. Malachi, the old soul, hummed along with the song as he pulled my body close to his and began rocking both of us back and forth, rubbing his hands up and down my back. I leaned into him a bit, but didn’t totally relax in his arms. Yes, he was handsome and kind and had basically shared his life story with me, but I still found it hard to totally let my guard down. I still didn’t know him. Not really. And he definitely didn’t know me. I wasn’t sure if I wanted him to know me.
So I placed my hands on his shoulders and backed away a little, gazing up at his face. If I looked into his eyes, maybe he’d see what I couldn’t tell him—that I was petrified of what he represented and what he could offer me, even more afraid of him disappointing me.