STEVEN JERAL HARRIS
EMERALD BLUE OKIKI
The Blaire’s Story.
There’s a slight break as the subject changed.
“So, do you write?” he asks.
“Not in a long time. And you?”
"Not really. People keep telling me I should but I just like the teaching part of literature," he stops to think for a moment, "well, there’s one story I've written but I never published it."
"What’s it about?"
"It’s about me and my fiancée. The story is based on our first date together. About half of the book is narrated by me. The plot is me describing every small aspect of her."
Suddenly I see him slip into some kind of love daze.
"Her crimson hair flows like fire in the wind, her eyes, brighter than the sky on the sunniest day, her smooth skin breaking the limits of perfection, beyond human comprehension..." he snaps out of his daydream. "It’s something like that but, you know, a lot longer," he chuckles.
I laugh with him.
"Wouldn’t be much of a book, would it?" I reply.
A student walks into the class. Professor Grant shifts down at his watch.
"Wow, time flies sometimes, huh?" he says while standing. "Hey, before you leave, I have the story in my desk, you can take it home and read it if you want to."
"I'd love to."
I follow him over to his desk. He sits down, scramble around for a moment, pulls out a stack of stapled papers, and hands them to me.
"I accept constructive criticism." he informs me.
"I definitely will read it. So, um, what’s up with you and that boy? I believe his name is Kendrick. What did he do, toilet paper your car or something?"
He pauses for a second and clears his throat.
"No. Why would you say that?"
"I’ve seen you give him the evil eye earlier.”
He pauses for a brief moment and let out a chuckle, which seems slightly dishonest.
"I don't have a problem with any of my students, never have."
He looks down at his desk and clears his throat again.
I like Grant because he’s an honest guy. The thing about honest people is that you can easily catch them when they’re lying to you. It’s so foreign to them that they’re horrible at it.
"But make sure you read the book. And take it easy on me, it’s only my first draft," he smiles and sits down at his desk. "And I will see you Wednesday, Miss Hill."
"Um, okay, Wednesday it is, see you then," I turn around and walk out the room, feeling rushed out all of a sudden.
Why lie about a simple question? I totally noticed the hostility between them two, yet he denies all of it. Maybe he doesn’t want to come off as unprofessional, which is definitely understandable. The thought slips my mind as I see the van pulling into the school lot.
I jump in and close the door.
"So, how was school?" I can tell she’s been dying to ask me that all day.
"It was great." I respond brightly.
The entire ride home I talk her ears off about my new favorite teacher, Professor Grant…
When we return home, I get really comfortable on the sofa and begin reviewing my notes from Precalculus.
Still, after all of the studying, none of it makes any sense to me. All I see is an assortment of numbers, lines, and letters. Meanwhile, as I’m studying, my mom is in the kitchen cooking dinner. By the hint of garlic in the air I know it’s an Italian dish.
As I continue my review, I hear someone knocking at the door.
"I got it," my mom says as she marches towards the front.
Uncle Frank appears in the doorway as the door swings open.
“Hi Frankie, come in.”
He comes in with his trademark smile. A notion immediately hits me. There’s something different about him but I can’t point it out. Maybe it’s his smile.
I can see the effort behind it. And now he’s carrying a five o’clock shadow on his face.
“Hey Uncle Frank, no time no see.” I reply.
“Hungry?” my mom asks him.
“Starving actually,” he replies.
An half an hour later, we’re finishing a plate of spaghetti and meatballs. Uncle Frank helps himself to a second serving as the subject changes from my mother’s job to Frank’s recent disappearance.
“You haven’t been returning my phone calls,” my mom interrogates.
“I took some time off to clear my head, that’s all.”
“Is everything fine?” she presses on.
Anyone can easily see Uncle Frank would rather drop the subject, but my mom is not very good at spotting these kinds of things. He finish chewing before speaking.
“It’s just work, you know, sometimes it takes a toll on you.”
He then focuses his attention onto me.
“What about you kiddo, how’s school?” he changes the subject.
“So far so good I guess. Hey, Uncle Frank, do you know a lot of people in Glenworth?”
He chuckles at my statement.
“I work there. I pretty much know everyone. Why? What’s up?”
“Do you know about the Blaire family?”
I’m not an hundred percent sure, but I think his eyes rolled at the mere mention of that name.
“Well, of course. Everyone in town does. Why do you want to know about them?”
“I’m just wondering why no one likes them.”
He shrugs his shoulders.
“People have their own opinions of them. But me, personally, I think they’re a bunch of assholes. All of them.”
“Frankie?” My mom questions his choice of words.
“It’s true,” he defends himself. “Their father has embezzled millions, so has his wife, Rebecca. His kids, Kendrick and Arlene, can’t stay out of trouble, and I can’t do a damn thing about it.”
“Why not?” I ask.
“They have money, I don’t. Hell, our courts can’t afford the lawyers they have.”
“That’s crazy.” I reply.
He closes his eyes and shakes his head slowly.
“Iva, I have barely skimmed the surface,” he forces the word ‘barely’ down my ears, “I remember when Kendrick was in high school, he decided to beat up on another boy. The boy was just boney, 120, 130 maybe. Kendrick is around 190 pounds. And he beat that boy so bad…” Uncle Frank breaks to shake the regret from his head. The irritation in his voice is dominating.
“…he had to get plastic surgery to fix his face. I didn’t recognize him after that. The boy and his family felt so humiliated that they left town.”
“Oh my goodness,” my mom says shockingly. She’s so absorbed in the conversation that she can’t even eat anymore. Me too, I wrapped spaghetti around my fork when he started the story. Now I’m so stunned I can’t even lift the fork into my mouth.
“He didn’t go to jail for that?” I ask, just as shocked as my mother.
To him it comes to no shock, he’s obviously been dealing with these people for years. Who knows how long?
“Freedom is not earned in this country, it’s purchased. The Blaire’s knows a lot about that. But what made me more heated, was when I questioned him. Do you know what Kendrick told me?”
“What?” I ask on the edge of my seat.
“Nothing happened. He said he just didn’t like him. There was absolutely no reason.” He shakes his head yet another time.
...to be continued
Watch out for the next episode... New episode reads on Tuesdays
For other episodes on this series, click on WEEKLY SERIES
For other episodes on this series, click on WEEKLY SERIES