by Ebony White
"Suddenly, they both realized who they were and pulled back awkwardly"
|Word count: 3,798
She sat on the porch and chewed the end of the sugar cane thoughtfully. The sounds of the morning flowed with her thoughts as she dreamed about what the day would bring. Quincy Bronson was coming home from college today. She remembered playing with him as a small child. Her momma had been the Bronson “help” and she would spend most of her days in the Bronson house. Her watchful hazel eyes squinted as several women stumbled out of their shacks and greeted her with head nods. She didn’t return them but watched as they filed out of the small community toward their jobs. You strong black women she thought, the world will be yours someday. She tossed the chewed ends of the cane aside and stood. Her proud shoulders were arched back and her head held high facing the coming sun.
“What in heaven’s name are you doin’, child?” She was snapped out of her dreaming by Ms. Carlisle’s voice. She turned toward her neighbor’s window. Ms. Carlisle had a pipe hanging on the side of her mouth and blowing puffs of cancer into the air. The smoke traveled upward and mingled with her salt and pepper hair.
“Just stretchin’,” she replied and extended her hand above her head. The plump black woman shook her head.
“I bet my derriere you are,” she clucked. “Best be on your way if you’re to make it on time.” Evolette Jones nodded and strung up the battered brown satchel on her shoulders. “Have a good day now.”
“You know I will,” Evolette smiled and straight white teeth contrasted against her dark skin. “You do the same, hear me?” The woman shook her head and ducked into the house. She stepped off the rickety wooden steps and took off down the dirt road toward the Bronson house. The light green dress she wore was old and worn down, but she wore it as if it were a ball gown. Her footsteps were sure and her heart steady as the morning sun kissed the fields. Life was good for Miss Evolette Jones.
Quincy Bronson grinned as the car pulled up in front of the old blue house. Servants still milled about the old farmstead and they greeted him with smiles and how you beens. A tall woman with a protruding belly stepped out into the porch and smiled down at him.
“Well, look what the cat dragged in.” Quincy grinned and pulled his trunk out of the car. He walked steady to the steps and stood before the blonde woman. Her eyes shone with past youthness, but her smile spoke of coming wonders. “Are you too old to hug your mama?” Quincy placed down the bags and wrapped the woman into his arms.
“How you been, Mama?”
“I’m forty-two and pregnant. How do you think I’m doing?” He pulled back and squinted at her.
“I dunno, Ma, but I think you’re glowin’.” She laughed and patted his cheeks warmly.
“You been using that charm up in Charleston?” she demanded. “You got a girl I dunno about?”
“I just got home Ma.”
“Quincy!” The cry broke through the morning and went straight to the depths of his heart. He turned from his mama’s arm to look on the girl who had called him.
“Good heavens! Is that you, Evolette?” He grinned. He bounded down the stairs and enveloped the small brown woman into his arms. He squeezed her, and memories danced within his head. Suddenly, they both realized who they were and pulled back awkwardly.
“I’m sorry,” she said shyly. His eyes traveled over the woman that stood before him. Her warm hazel eyes looked away from his baby blues.
“No, no,” he laughed. “The fault is mine. I’m the one that scooped you up like a rag doll. My goodness, are they feedin’ you anything?”
“Quincy Bronson,” Mrs. Bronson laughed. “You stop torturing the girl and get in here.” Quincy grabbed Evolette’s hand and pulled her with him into the house. He sighed as the sweet scent of apple pie hit his nose. He could feel Evolette’s slim fingers trying to slip out of his, but he only clung tighter. He waited until his mother disappeared before he pulled her to him.
“You tryin’ to escape me, Ev?”
“I’m here for your momma,” she warned. He laughed and squeezed her hand. “We ain’t children anymore, Quincy.”
“I can see that,” he laughed. “You have grown in the last year.” The front door opened and the smell of sweat and dirt hit his nose. Immediately, he dropped Evolette’s hand. He could feel the muscles in his neck and back stiffen and his chest puff out a little further. “Hello, father.” His hand automatically extended forward.
“Quinten.” His father nodded. “And you’re here.” Quincy cringed inwardly at the way his father spoke to Evolette.
“Yes, sir. Mrs. Bronson asked for me. She was having some discomfort.”
“And why aren’t you with her?”
“It was my fault, Pa.”
“You don’t need to make excuses for the help son.”