For Ms. Darrell
Eight years after she had forbid her daughter Elon from talking to the boy, Darrell saw him. While in the city building, waiting for the elevator, unbeknownst to her, there he was, standing right beside her. He was the same kid that had stolen her daughter’s first kiss right from her innocent lips ten years ago. Boy was she upset when she heard about that! Although the kiss was child’s play–at best–she had told Elon that she didn’t like the boy, period! Her daughter was only thirteen, and everything just seemed so free to them at the time—even a little peck on the lips.
It wasn’t long after the kiss that Elon and the boy decided to be close friends throughout their teen years. Continuing to grow together into young adults, they continued to talk all the more. It was through their continued communication that the young man found out about Darrell’s animosity towards him. Though they had never seen each other, he had learned that her dislike for him was about the kiss that he and Elon had shared when they were mere children. He didn’t like the first impression that he had bestowed upon Darrell’s mind. He knew that he was no longer the thirteen year old boy that she had pegged him to be; and now that he was attending an all boys private high school, he had a newfound respect and appreciation for women–one that he had never had before. That was the only reason why Elon still tolerated him, and to her, the young man was a character worth keeping in her circle of friends. He was quite comical at times when he wasn’t being an asshole too, and his charm and charisma were both appealing to the senses.
A shame it was that he wasn’t able to show this side of himself to Darrell eight or maybe even three years ago. The young man had always hit himself for getting on her bad side because he had never known what it must have felt like to be on her good side–until that day in the elevator.
“Excuse me,” the young man tapped the older woman next to him on the shoulder. “Is that your scarf on the ground?”
“Oh, yes!” She started to reach for the lavender scarf, but the young man quickly swooped in to grab it for her. He handed the scarf to her and they both smiled.
“Thank you, young man.”
The young man appeared studious. He wore blue denims, a nice jacket over his polo, and a messenger bag that was slung over his shoulder. He had his chin up and looked to be very in control of his life. Darrell saw this in the young man and it caught her attention.
“I wish all of these young men were nice like that,” Darrell said to the woman with the scarf. “Nowadays, you can barely get em’ to open the door for a lady.”
The woman with the scarf nodded and pressed her lips together. “Mmhm, that’s right.”
The boy turned around to Darrell and smiled wide. “Well, thank you very much,” he said. “I just try to be as nice as I can.”
“You are certainly very welcome,” Darrell started. “I am sure that your mother taught you well. Keep up the great work–setting an example for other young men like yourself.”
“Oh, of course. Always.” They both smiled to each other.
Darrell appreciated the boy’s mannerisms, and the boy was just happy to be appreciated.
The bell from the elevator rang.
The elevator had arrived, and everyone started moving in slowly. Darrell was the last to step in. She was using a pink cane with little red roses spread all around it. Over her left shoulder, she had a bag full of neatly folded and newly sewn African clothing. The elevator door almost closed on her, but the young man held it open until she was safely inside.
“Thank you; you are such a gentleman!”
“No problem, madam.”
They both laughed a little at their politeness and the elevator ascended.
“Such a handsome young man. You have a girlfriend I hope?” Darrell asked.
The young man looked to Darrell and smiled. “Yes, actually. We’ve been dating for some time now.”
“I am certainly not surprised.” Darrell nodded her head. “A nicely groomed and well-mannered young gentleman such as yourself should. Do you work for The Star?”
“Oh no.” The young man looked down to his feet nervously. The elevator rang, and then stopped to let the woman with the lavender scarf off and then kept going up. “Not yet, at least. I just received my Bachelors degree in English, but I’m hoping that I’ll do well in my interview today.”
Darrell began to feel some bit of compassion for the young man. She wanted him to succeed, not just because he was a gentleman, but because she felt that he deserved it. That’s why she asked for the young man’s name.
“Aundray Walker,” he boldly replied.
The elevator rang once more. Darrell shook the boy’s hand. The elevator stopped yet again, and more than one person got off this time. Darrell and Aundray were the only two left in the elevator as it continued its path to the heavens.
“Well, it has certainly been my pleasure meeting you here today, Aundray. You seem like a fine young man. I’ll be sure to mention you in my meeting.”
“Oh, do you work here?” Aundray was interested in meeting a writer that worked for The Kansas City Star.
Darrell chuckled at his excitement and then bent over slightly to cough uncontrollably. Aundray placed his hand on her back.
“Are you okay, Ma’am?”
Darrell stood up straight and stepped away from his reach.
“No, I don’t work here.” Darrell cleared her throat and smiled to Aundray, but he was unconvinced that she was alright. Actually, the entire time that he had been with her on the elevator, she looked to be in immense pain. “I have a meeting with one of the writers as well as a photographer. They want to do a segment on my clothing for this upcoming issue.”
Darrell held up her bag and smiled.
“Hey, that’s awesome!” Aundray’s eyes lit up. “What type of clothing do you make?”
“Oh, that’s cool!” Aundray tried to sound interested, but Darrell could tell that he probably wasn’t as intrigued about African clothing as he would be about Urban Outfitters, but she was fine with that. She just smiled back.
The elevator rang again.
“Well, this is my stop.” Aundray stepped out of the elevator and turned back to Darrell.
“It was very nice meeting you, Mr. Aundray Walker. Hopefully, you’ll be the boy that my daughter brings home to meet me tonight. In fact, anyone offering anything less than what you’ve shown me in this short time we’ve convened, will be unacceptable.”
“Thank you very much; it was such a pleasure chatting with you,” Aundray managed to say with a slight grin on his face. “My girlfriend and I actually don’t have any plans for the evening, though,”
“Awh man!” Darrell whined and then smiled to Aundray as the elevator doors closed slowly. “Goodbye!” She waved.
“Bye,” Aundray waved back. “Nice meeting you!”
The doors closed and Darrell found herself in the elevator rising closer to the top floor and the skies above. She wore a short afro and had on an all black get-up that consisted of a skirt and a blazer. The only thing that wasn’t black was her pink cane. On the top of the cane, a pink and white ribbon was embedded. Darrell pressed her hands together just before the elevator rang, and looked up to where God is said to be. She said a quick prayer to herself, putting her life in God’s hands.
Darrell stood tall as the elevator doors opened.