Art and Poetry
At first she was a little intimidated by him, actually. He sauntered into the room donning a scowl, and her insides immediately tensed up. She noticed he was so tall he appeared to loom; his afro seemed as if it brushed the ceiling. And he was lanky, skinny actually.
The exact opposite of his brother David.
Calling David stout would have been polite. Thick would have been a compliment. But to her, he was just round. But she was David’s buddy, so did it matter what she thought?
Apparently her opinion mattered a lot, because when David called her, he almost sounded excited. In the two years she knew David, the only time she saw or heard him show any type of emotion was when he was dancing or playing music.
David played piano, which impressed her for more than one reason.
She loved music.
David had little, chubby fingers.
Or maybe she was just mean?
But when she hung up from David’s phone call to come over and meet his brother, she didn’t even bother getting changed. She kept her sweats on, ran her hand through her hair, and put on some Chapstick.
David must have saw her from the window because as she reached the small stoop, his front door swung open and he was standing there just grinnin.
She came in and gave him a hug and in an unexpected turn of events, David kissed her on the cheek. With a confused frown on her face, she looked over at David’s brother whose scowl now encompassed his whole face and seemed to be directed at her.
She tilted her head towards him but whispered to David, “Is he okay?”
David blew a disgusted puff of air from his lips, “Yeah, Arthur is always cranky when he first gets up. Don’t pay him no never mind.”
She was confused, “Gets up? It’s like three in the afternoon.” She said to no one in particular.
But it seemed her words changed the energy of the room as Arthur took two lanky strides with his hand extended out towards her. His whole disposition changed and a smile larger than any grin the Cheshire cat ever made consumed his thin face causing his cheeks to transform into two chocolate “Munchkins”. Art’s eyes were so dark, P swore they weren’t brown, but black. Yet so black they had flecks of navy blue within them. When she went to shake his hand, he shocked her causing a whitish blue spark as they both jumped back.
“Ow,” he said wiggling his fingers, “I’m so sorry. You okay?”
She giggled, “Yes, I’m fine Arthur. I’m P. Pleased to meet you. David mentioned you a few times.”
“P, please call me Art. David over there is so formal, but ironically, he has never mentioned you at all.”
Art’s lips twisted into a coy smirk, and P didn’t know quite how to take his last statement, so she glanced at David who shrugged and said he was going to take a shower to head on out for the rest of the night. He bounded up the steps leaving P looking confused.
“You don’t have to leave, P!!” David yelled. When I get done, I got somethin to ask you anyway.”
“Aiight,” she yelled back. Then her and Art walked over to the love seat and sat down.
It was the most effortless and entertaining conversation P had in a long while. She found out that in fact David and Art weren’t really brothers but friends who grew up together. Art was in a transitional stage in his life so he decided to come visit David since the job market was better there than back home where he lived with his grandmother, whom he affectionately called “Grammie” Art told P all about Grammie, her insights and advice. He also explained that her passion was growing roses in a tiny greenhouse that she had in a small backyard. She took meticulous care of those roses and not only did she talk to them while she cared for them, but she sung to them as well. Art said ever since he was small, when he was exceptionally good Grammie would let him come into the greenhouse and help her tend to the roses. But if he wasn’t good, the roses would sense his “devious vibes” and wilt.
This is what instilled in Art his belief that human energies can affect nature, which led to him spewing and even more interesting diatribe about Light in Spirituality. Then as if he caught himself about to let a huge secret escape, Art bit his bottom lip.
“I’m sorry, I’m an asshole. I have been rambling on forever and I haven’t asked you a thing about yourself. Talk to me. What do you do?”
“Well, I work at the…”
Art cut her off, “No P, not what you do to make a living, what you do? What brings the passion out of you?”
P swore Art’s eyes twinkled and it sent a warm sensation through her chest that made her gasp a little bit. She took a breath that she hoped only appeared labored to her and replied calmly, “I write a little bit.”
Art popped straight up with excitement causing P to laugh loudly because he looked like a jack-in-the-box. “You do?!! So do I!! What do you write?!!”
She told him that she was studying screenwriting, but she thought she sucked at it and Art explained his idea of artic wolves who were also vampires in such graphic detail, P was actually kind of thankful when her cell phone rang. Art got up and went into the kitchen to give her some privacy, but that was thwarted by David bounding down the steps. He saw that P was still there and frowned at her slightly.
“Oh ok good, tell her, I’ll call her tomorrow. Love you too, bye.” With that, P clicked her phone closed.
“You’re still here?” David asked as Art was preparing to cook in the kitchen.
“Yeah my bad Dave, you need me to go?”
“Dave c’mere a minute,” Art said while grabbing a frying pan out of the cabinet. Dave looked confused and walked the three steps into the kitchen as Art bent down to whisper somethin in his ear.
“Ask her yourself, man,” Dave said with disgust.
“Why you actin like…” Art began to complain but was immediately cut off by his “brother” who was not acting too brotherly at that moment. “I ain’t actin like shit,” David said as he ran his hand over his clean shaven head. Does it fuckin look like I know. Ask her.”
P got up from the love seat really confused, and she walked towards the kitchen to see what the problem was, “Yo, yo what’s goin on?”
Art took an onion out of the refrigerator and a large knife out of the block and hacked the onion in half in an angry motion while looking at David, but speaking to P.
“Can you braid hair!?” He asked while pointing at her with the knife. P took a step back before she answered,
“I’m actually concerned about what answer you want me to give as you’re pointing a knife at me.”
With that Art leaned on the counter and erupted in laughter which caused P to laugh as well. David sucked his teeth and said a half-hearted goodbye and left.
P pointed to the door, “What is his problem?”
Art shrugged as he took more food out of the refrigerator to prepare, “I dunno maybe he’s mad because he wanted me to go to the club with him tonight, maybe he’s mad because he knows I’m making smothered pork chops for you as payment for braiding my hair, maybe he’s mad because he’s bald and doesn’t get a chance to sit between your thighs for hours.” When P looked up, Art was looking down at her seductively smiling. P felt her whole body blush.
“I never said I could braid,” she said knowing she was lying but she had to repay him for that thigh comment.
“No, don’t tell me that!!!” Art said as he playfully stomped around the kitchen, “No see if you can’t braid then I’ma have to sit between Big Amiah’s thighs for SIX hours cuz she refuses to put her blunt down long enough to braid my hair. The back of my neck smelled like catfish for a week!!!”
With a straight face, P asked, “You didn’t wash your neck for a week?”
Art chuckled again, “P does your ass want white or brown gravy?”
P smiled, “If you’re breading the chops…”
“White, I got chu,” Art said as he began preparing the food. P pulled out a stool from under the island and watched him. He looked up from slicing mushrooms and smiled at her. It was such a genuinely warm, yet playful, smile, P couldn’t help but smile back at him.
“Can I ask you a personal question P?”
“You already came to the conclusion that you are gonna have your head in between my thighs for hours so I guess one question can’t hurt.”
“Aiight then two.”
“You’re pushing it Arthur,” she said in a sing songy way.
“Ugh don’t say my name like that.” He chuckled before he abruptly stopped chopping and asked, “What is the deal with you and my brother?”
“Chu mean?” P looked really confused, “We are friends. He’s got a girlfriend back home doesn’t he?”
“I suppose,” he answered matter of fact. The next question is, who was that on the phone?”
Cute. She thought to herself. He musta heard her say “I love you” and he is checkin to see if I have a man. She tried to hide the delight on her face and in her voice when she replied.
“Oh you mean Q? He’s my brother.”
Art was seasoning his breading in a plastic bag when his eyes popped out of his head, “Your name is P and you have a brother named Q? Do you have other siblings named O and R?”
“Ha-ha smart ass, my brother’s name is Quentin.”
Art kept the cooking and the conversation going. He talked more about him being a cook in the Navy, how he hated it because it wasn’t what he thought it was going to be. He wanted to be a chef that specialized in down home southern cooking but with an eclectic flair. When P said he should go to culinary school, he shook his head vehemently.
“Why?” She asked as he was meticulously whipping and adding the cream to the mushroom gravy.
“Because I like cooking.”
“Exactly why you should do it.”
“No,” he said as he tilted the pot and nodded signaling that he was satisfied with the consistency of the gravy, “it’s why I shouldn’t do it. What if I go to school all of those years and become a chef and I wind up hating it?”
He got two plates out and covered them with smothered pork chops, roasted new potatoes and green beans with almonds, placed them on the island, before pouring two glasses of wine and sitting on the stool next to P.
P looked him dead in his eyes and asked, “But what if you love it? People will run from their passion, their joy, even their purpose because of the fear that it won’t work out. I never understood that. Isn’t what you truly want in life worth the effort?”
Art just stared at her as he cut a piece of her pork chop and fed it to her. P’s whole body sank in the stool as she chewed and savored the taste, “Oh youse a damn fool,” She blurted, “You need to do something with this immediately or Imma call Grammie my damn self and tell her how ridiculous you are!” Art then put down his fork, tilted her chin up and kissed her softly on her lips, once. Then he chuckled and smiled. “Can I ask you another question?”
“Shit you can ask me anything you want to after this meal.”
“Where did you come from?”
P frowned quizzically, “Camden, New Jersey?”
Art laughed and said, “No that’s not what I meant. I’m wonderin why they don’t have women like you back home.”
“I’m sure they do but…”
Art halted her reply with another kiss. This time longer, more passionate. They had a difficult time talking and cleaning the kitchen in between all the kissing. But after the kitchen was cleaned while they finished bottle of wine, they went back into the living room. This time, however, Art brought downstairs some down comforters and pillows and spread them out on the floor. P raised her eyebrow at him.
“I am too damn tall to be sittin on that little ass love seat with you all night.”
“Well shit, tell me how you really feel,” P laughed.
Art responded, “Only if you tell me what P stands for.”
His hair didn’t get braided that night, because that night,
Art made Love to Poetry.
Peace and ShineOn!!!
© michele mitchell, 2013