Updated: Feb 28
Until The Next Time We Meat
I’ve created a little one-acre oasis here, my own tiny part of this world… Again.
It’s been such a long time since I’ve allowed myself to settle down. And look, in a blink of an eye, 30 years has passed. Not that any of the neighbors know how long I’ve been here, they seem to not think too much when it concerns me. If someone was to ask about the modern farmhouse at the end of the cul-de-sac, numbered #369, you’d get fuzzy details and vague memories. Mostly about how nice the people living there are and how good they made you feel when you spoke to them. “They’re good people that keep to themselves” is what you’d probably hear. Maybe a little gossip about the actual property and of what, or who, was buried there in the back yard but nothing about the actual people. It’s like they can’t seem to be bothered by the details for too long. Even Mrs. Oliver, who I allow to know me more than others, probably only half remembers our conversation from last night by now.
It may seem strange that I’d allow the neighborhood nosey body to know me, but she was my next-door neighbor, and someone needed to know just a little, might as well be her. Also, it was sort of a punishment… imagine how stressful it must be to want to gossip about someone who no one seems to ever really remember? She probably thinks she’s going insane sometimes. For no one else remembers me… unless I wanted them too of course. And I didn’t want them to.
While gazing out the large floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the front yard, I sipped mint chocolate flavored coffee out my large Black Chicks Dig Soil mug. A kind gift from one of our regular clients.
Sunrise. My favorite time of day. Much better than my sister’s times of the day, I smirked to myself… with that thought, I turned towards the stairs. 7 A.M… time to get dressed and start this day. It was Saturday, which meant it was Farmer’s Market Day and I had to get our fruits and vegetables to our expectant customers.
Two hours later we had successfully gotten our stall ready before everyone else at the market even showed up, and before the onslaught of shoppers that was usual for this time of year. “Maaan, is it just me or is there more produce than normal?? I mean, it took like 45mins just to unpack today! By the gods, I swear you don’t pay me enough.”
“I don’t pay you at all Nikki, and you know you don’t have to help me… besides, you barely broke a sweat. Seriously.” I shook my head at the smaller woman next to me.
Sighing heavily, she leaned on the wooden produce table in front of us, “Whateeever…” She drawled.
At 5’2” she was such a small thing to my 5’7”, but she could be a mountainous handful. Nikki had been with me since the dawn of time it seemed, but it couldn’t have been that long, has it? Her long wavy brown hair was left to hang down her back and shoulders, hiding her slightly pointy ears. The seventies hippie facade she favored clashed with her youthful but serious look. She could maybe pass for twenty-five years old, at the most, so what did she know about the seventies? But no one knew Nikki’s age… not even me.
“Get over it Nik, I think the other stalls are getting ready now and the gates are about to open.” I checked my makeup with my glittery compact mirror. Cat eyes still sharp? Yes… Lip gloss still shining? Check. I patted my sleek dark-brown hair; today it was in an updo from the 1960s with a cotton scarf weaved intricately in. I guess I’m not one to talk about wearing styles from decades past. The scarf matched my colorfully patterned sleeveless shirt… both perfectly paired with the solid green pencil skirt and wedged shoes. I was the freshest thing at the Loganville Market. Well, next to Nikki anyways… but her looks could stop traffic, if she decided to smile. Mine changed depending on who was looking at me. I could say I was the brightest colored thing here at least.
“Leave the mirror alone… you know what happened to Narcissus.” Crossing her arms over her chest, she raised one eyebrow at me, “You are as gorgeous as springtime Nona. And you know it.”
“Phhh,” I sounded and waved her off. But I snapped the mirror shut anyways.
After the gates opened, the next few hours went by in a rush of fruits and vegetables. Rows of stalls made a temporary street in the library parking lot. Pedestrians were able to walk down each row to check out all the goods being offered. The weather was warm and sunny, and it smelled like summer was just about fully here. The beautiful temperatures encouraging a successful turnout this weekend… everything seemed to fly off the table faster than we could replenish. The line in front of us never letting up once things got flowing.
I put my hands on my lower back and stretched backwards, expanding my chest out, giving the person in front of me an eyeful, and then bending forward to get the other angle equally. I could really use a massage, I thought. It was bent like this when I overheard two shoppers who were hanging out between the stalls chatting pretty loudly, like they meant for everyone to hear. Gesturing with their hands towards our stall, and the one next to us.
The conversation made me realize; I hadn’t even peeked out of our hole to see what other stalls showed up today. The rotation of vendors changed with the season… so I didn’t even know who was selling next to us.
The two women, now moving closer to the stall next to me, seemed coked up on the caffeine from the Coffee and Things bakery food truck at the end of the row, because they were certainly lively as they took sips out of their paper cups. It wasn’t a wonder why they were so animated, Tasha is known to have a strong brew… if I didn’t know better, I’d swear she spelled her coffee machine because I’ve never tasted anything like it. But she doesn’t practice magic, I know because I checked… just to make sure.
“I hear what you’re saying but I still believe meat is as important… historically speaking.” The one blonde woman stated confidently, cutting the air in front of her with a hand, to show it was non-negotiable. “It’s what the human body was meant to eat. Regardless of what the article said!”
“But the science is sound, and I sent you all those videos… it’s just facts. Veggies are the most important in a diet and are more humane. Anyways Renee’, you’re here with me so it’s too late now.” Her friend, who looked like she could be one of the local college students, frustratedly replied. She wore a thin blue beanie covering her multicolored hair and looked like a gap model. Sweats and all. She also looked certain of her ideals as she took a big bite of a sugared donut.
“Are these local?”
I snapped out of my eavesdropping by an older man holding some radishes. “Why, yes… this whole table is local. I grow everything myself. Organically.” I informed him. Never mind that the sign clearly said they were local & organic… people tended not to read, you just got use to it.
“You do all this yourself!?!? That’s amazing young lady… what are you, twenty-one!?!?” He looked truly amazed, so I had to smile to myself. I always got this response from people, so it wasn’t anything new. “You don’t have helpers at all?” Doubt filled his tone.
I did have help, but I couldn’t tell him about it… he wouldn’t believe me if I did anyways. I should test him out and tell him the truth, but then he’d think I was a liar, and bonkers, and wouldn’t buy the radishes. And by the looks of it, he needed some extra vitamins. My Sister would say everyone could use some extra vitamins… I did miss her. Maybe I should call her tonight.
“I get it all done by the power of the gods, it’s the new thing these days.” I decided to play with him a little.
He waved me off with his hands, “Fine don’t tell me, I’ll still take a bunch of these and some of those tomatoes…” he winked at me. “I can’t believe you have tomatoes so early in the season! Do you grow them in a green house, or are they grown with magic as well?” The doubt in his voice morphing into a playful awe.
“No greenhouse, it’s just a gift. I’ll get these packed for-” tense arguing cut off the rest of my sentence.
I couldn’t see where the voices were coming from, so I glanced towards Nikki… already knowing what I was thinking, she had a sour look now gracing her face. Ignoring her bitch face, I signaled for her to finish the order, and stepped around the tarp that divided me from the neighbor’s stall that was about fifteen feet away. Finding the source of the commotion, I saw the same two women who were having the meat & veggies debate arguing with three men. Apparently, that convo escalated quickly.
I couldn’t see two of the men’s faces, but one of them looked to be older and of Asian descent, Korean to be exact. The one in the middle was hard to peg because he had a cotton skull cap on, I couldn’t even see skin, let alone read him. But the third one, the one I could see his face, was also Korean but mixed with black. His skin was darker than the other one, but his eyes gave away the Korean flavor. Mid-twenties and daaamn… Hello Neighbor!
Sexy would be an understatement, and I usually don’t throw that term around lightly. I’ve seen a lot of faces during my years, they all seem to blend together. It takes a lot to turn my head… but he absolutely deserved a second and/or third look.
After the initial ogling wore off, I chilled a bit inside… he looked to be too boyish for my own personal tastes. I may look young, like my customer noticed, but I really wasn’t young at all. The exact opposite actually. And I liked my men more mature these days. The kind that knew what was important in life and didn’t play games. But wow, Jeans have never been so kind to a man. Sigh… maybe in another life?
Seriously. I needed to be mature right now… duty calls.
From my angle it looked like the men were intimidating the women… I mean, they literally towered over them. From their tones, they were not being nice, and the women looked to be losing the battle. One even pulled her phone out to record the conversation, the gap model. I couldn’t stand a bully… hot or not. Almost as much as I couldn’t stand a Harpy. Time for me to be the bad ass that I am and intervene.
I stalked over to the group who were now causing a scene, and a crowd… People sure do like drama, I thought with a sigh. As I walked up behind the men, I heard the woman say, “I bet you aren’t so tough when I put you on the news.”
“Try it and I will end you…” the mystery man said, who I hadn’t seen yet. His voice was… interesting. If I wasn’t on a mission, I would have thought more on that, but I had some people to put in place first.
“You guys’ better back off these ladies before things get out of hand. You’re causing a scene!” I announced as I pushed through the two guys on the left. I wasn’t a short woman, by any means, especially with my wedges on, but these two men were taller than me by a few inches still. I made sure to touch them both on the arm as I burrowed by.
Immediately the darker skinned male took a step back and started to apologize… like it was me who he offended. He graced me with the most panty dropping boyish side smile, the kind that should be outlawed, “I’m… I’m sorry Miss, I didn’t see you there. We didn’t mean any trouble.” He said in a smooth deep voice. Lovely on the ears too, huh… too bad he’s a jerk. “We are just leaving…” He finished off as he quickly backed away and walked toward the stall next to mine.
I glanced at the second guy I touched. He had just taken his hat off, so I got a clear look at him finally. Asian like the other two but mixed with a different ancestry… this one Italian. Late twenties, his skin was a lighter shade of tan. He had a narrow diamond shape face that showed his Korean mixed features well. Bow-shaped lips were framed with a very short goatee, and straight black hair that was cut short around the sides but longer on top. A few strains standing up and some hung over his forehead, ruffled from wearing his hat and running his hand through it. I’m glad he was looking at the other guy walking away because I was surely staring. He was not what I was expecting. This guy, like his voice… was different to me.
It took me a minute to get my thoughts moving again and to notice the strange look on his face. He was staring at his friend… no, I sensed from the other guy that they were brothers. He was staring at his brother walking away. He looked dumbstruck.
Then he looked toward me with a, “Who are you and What did you do?” expression.
“What just happened??”
“Your brot… friend” I corrected myself quickly, “decided to do what was right and walk away. Same thing you should be doing.” Oops, almost gave my insight away there… they don’t even look related really. The parent that they shared must not have had strong genes. I definitely didn’t want them thinking I was stalking them by knowing random details I shouldn’t.
Putting his hands on his hips, he leaned on one leg and tilted his head… he gave me a look. “Is that what I should be doing, yeah? Says who?”
“Says me… and common sense. Don’t make this bigger than it needs to be.” Why wasn’t he leaving??
The girls in front of us started to snicker… still recording the whole thing. I wasn’t too worried because I knew the video with me in it wouldn’t come out correctly, it will just be a corrupted file when they went to watch it. Sorry girls, this show will not be making it to social media after all.
Wait, why weren’t the women leaving either… you’d think they would want to get away from here asap.
“I don’t think so… this is my stall; I’m not going anywhere.” Mr. Meanie caught my attention again as he pointed toward the stall that was next to mine. I was able to see that his table was heavy with an assortment of goods while on the ground there were lots of coolers… the sign above read, ‘CherryLee Farms: Organic Pastured Meats & Cheeses’
“I think you should listen to her, Cherry Drop!” One of the women happily chipped in…
The man’s facial expression morphed from confused, to pissed off right quick…
Ok, he’s not responding normally so maybe I can get these women to just leave instead… “Hey… I guess these meat guys didn’t like your vegan jokes huh? Whatever, F'-em. How about I buy you another round of that crack coffee you seem to like, on me?” I said as I walked over to them… touching both their shoulder’s as I guided them around to face the bakery truck. “Just go right on over and tell them Nikki said she’ll cover it. And how about another donut?” The people at the stand will remember Nikki before they remember me… off you go girls.
As expected, the girls did as I suggested and walked immediately in that direction. Nice… at least they knew how to act. Smiling to myself I turned toward my last problem… apparently the older fellow decided to follow Mr. Sexy Jeans while my back was turned.
Mr. Last Problem, he was really staring at me now. I had his full attention… “What are you doing to them? I’ve tried to get them to leave multiple times. It’s never that easy.” He squinted his eyes at me… “Are you with them?”
“With them? No… I don’t even know them.” I glanced back to make sure they made it to the baker’s truck. Yup… all clear.
“You did something… my brother Will wouldn’t have just walked away like that either.”
“Well Will probably has better sense than you, I guess it doesn’t run in the family… you should go to him and get some pointers.” I motioned for him to shoo…
He didn’t shoo.
He crossed his arms and planted his feet while eyeing me closely. “Like I said, I’m not going anywhere. You came over here, you leave.”
“I came over to stop you boys from bullying those poor women.” I took a step closer to him, sticking my pointer finger into his chest.
Bad move… he took a step even closer to me and grabbed my hand gently but firmly. I felt the warmth from him spread up my arm. “Us Boys, huh… those poor Women, yeah?” he repeated more to himself than to me.
“Yes. Only boys behave like you...” I said faintly as I tried to pull my hand from his. No luck… seriously, why wasn’t he listening. I tried to make him run in fear, just for a test… but he wasn’t responding to that either. I was getting nowhere with him. I’ll have to ask my sisters if they were having similar problems with their coercion.
He ignored my attempts to get free and just looked down at me.
“How about you let me go?” I asked. Wait, why was my voice so weak??
A small smile slowly grew on his lips… such a nice smile. Dang I was being a horn dog today, two hot guys back-to-back, I must be lucky! But if I wasn’t careful, there would be a giant surge in pregnancies in the area.
I knew the moment he noticed me checking out his lips… embarrassment wasn’t something I usually felt, but I think I might be feeling it now. I tried pulling away again.
He stepped even closer… leaning into my personal space like he was about to tell me a secret. He was so close; I could smell his cologne. Very light like rain and vanilla, but definitely male. Dear goddess… unlike the other one, this one was my type. And I couldn’t even read him or his essence. He was a mystery to me.
His breath was warm against my ear as he softly murmured, “How about you learn to mind your business, and you wouldn’t get caught in these situations...” He seemed to add some huskiness to his voice… or was that my imagination? “Little Girl.” He added slowly at the end, then released my hand and walked back to his stall. Leaving me open-mouthed and speechless.
“IF YOU DON’T GET BACK OVER HERE, RIGHT NOW…” Mother Nikki shouted from behind our produce table. A table that had people patiently waiting to be served in front of it. She apparently was done running the show in my absence.
I shook my head free from whatever spell this situation had cast on me and walked toward my annoyed friend… the scene’s crowd that had gathered, now dissipating since the show was so obviously over.
“What was that about??” She pounced the moment I made it back and started weighing some carrots for the current customer. “Why was he touching you?”
“I don’t know...”
“You don’t know…” Shock hit her hard. “What does that even mean?”
“I don’t know…”
She tossed some Oranges in a mesh bag another customer provided, but still was looking at me crazy like. “Why didn’t he leave with the others?”
“I don’t know…”
“What the- well, what do you know then?” She put the fruit down and raised both her hands in frustration. You’d think the world was ending with how she was acting. Ok, honestly anyone would think that too if they knew that someone like me didn’t know something. It was scary, I get it.
I took a deep breath and squared my shoulders, handing the guy in front of me his bagged goods while taking his money.
“I know, for a fact, that that boy just tempted Fate, and he doesn’t know just how sorry he’s going to be!” I glanced at Nikki and the horror on her face was priceless…
by, Kanaya J. Simmons.