Sometimes, when I write, I need visuals. I stopped while writing this scene back in mid-October to create this…
~As I gazed into my father’s eyes, willing the right words, Lidia stepped out onto the balcony, handing me an iPad where Renata was FaceTime’ing. “Treesha said Elle rerouted a floral delivery from L.I.A. to the apartment.”
“Who’s it from?”
I watched as, I assumed, Renata stood on something to give me a view of the massive amount of bouquets in the foyer. They were black roses surrounding brown ones. The brown roses were arranged in various letters. “They spell out something.” I could hear her, but not see her.
Treesha was arranging them. She had the word CHAMP together. My eyes raced over the letters Treesha had separated from that group. I saw the M, A, and N. After a few seconds of concentration, my brain subconsciously searched for an H and U.
“Human,” I murmured, feeling my father’s curious gaze on me.
“Oh,” Renata chirped.
“Really?” Treesha began gathering the bouquets to spell human.
Faintly, I whispered my revelation, “Champion. Champion human.”
My pulse began to race and I felt myself slipping into a trance of wooziness I hadn’t experienced in years. What the… Why would he do this? He showed to my fight. Yes, I invited him, but he actually came when it wasn’t necessary for his article. If it was, the publication would have requested tickets for him. Who did he bring? What was up with the internal explosion of adrenaline as my ankles bounced from the balls of my feet? Why did my tummy flip over and over and over?
“This sounds like you,” Renata accurately noted. “That’s somebody tryna be funny, Tor?”
I shook my head, trying not to reveal the hike in my breathing. “Open the card that came with the delivery and screenshot it to me in a text.”
“Okay. Give me a minute,” Renata replied before I disconnected the call.
My attention went beyond my father’s family, out into the water.
“Wow! Your cousins are on top of things back home,” my father remarked. “I was surprised they didn’t come down here.”
I could have explained they understood I liked to be alone after fights, but since he asked if we could celebrate his grandson’s birthday while I was here, that shattered my plans of solidarity. I could have said a lot of things, but didn’t.
“They’ve always been there for me.” I took a deep breath, my attention going to his family below. “I’ll try to find something for Vanessa. Something that makes sense for both of us.” Then I turned to him. “Sound fair?”
He stood and sauntered over to me for a gentle kiss on the forehead. Just as he left the balcony, my phone vibrated on the table next to my latte. Renata sent two screenshots with a scrawl I recognized.
The second image was his telephone number. Impulsively, I recorded it and tapped out of the text app to call him. My pulse wouldn’t slow as the phone rang.
“Hello?” A woman answered. My first thought was to hang up. Then I remembered Keyonna. “Hello?”
I licked my lips. “Hi, I’m looking for Ashton Spencer.”~
The conclusion to the Muted Hopelessness series is now available here.