6 comments

African American Romance Urban Fantasy

The kettle whistles pulling me out of my almost meditative reading. I rise out of my oversized chair left to me by my father and walk to my kitchen to make my grandma’s recipe for “nerve soothing” tea. Between you and me it’s just green tea with a splash of honey Jack Daniels. In any case, no matter what the materials magic happens in your heart, I believe that my grandma’s unique recipe is in fact, nerve soothing. I settle back in my oversized chair and begin to think about how I’ve been feeling off for weeks now. I thought that maybe taking a few days away from the office would help me to get back in the right headspace but no, that didn’t work either. My best friend Lynn, who knows where all the bodies are buried, meant well in describing all the various life situations that could be affecting my mood and overall vibe but hell none of that is new or out of the ordinary. Those things haven’t just fallen into my lap, and they may still sit there for a while yet. I need a charge and it’s been a while since I’ve practiced. I think that’s my issue. I haven’t practiced in months. My alter looks at me with judgment each time I walk past it. I haven’t even lit a white candle, dusted the pictures of my ancestors, or even placed flowers or rainwater on it. The silent judgment of my ancestors sits with me daily. My phone chimes with the reminder that the full moon reaches its apex tonight. I can’t believe I need a damn reminder now; I remember when I just knew when it was time for a change in the moon phase. I’ve been so detached that I can’t even read people’s intentions anymore. Maybe it is time for me to release some shit. Or maybe just a person.

           Jake takes up residence in my memories and thoughts when I think I’m not actually thinking. Like a kidnapper who stakes out your house to see when you are unaware or just to comfortable and then slips in and snatches your loved one, Jake sneaks into my deepest memories and snatches me from the safety of the here and now and into memories of him. Always presenting me with the early memories that made my heart race, made me feel giddy, beautiful and like a teenager. He is very careful to avoid those memories that remind me of just how selfish and cold he can be. I’ve been finding myself trapped in these memories more often in the past few months. The issue in the dissolution of the relationship was my focus on work and painting, or at least that is his version of events. In any case I’m surprised my grandmother hasn’t reached across the astral plan to slap some sense into me. I’ve gone months allowing the most minor of my life’s unpleasantries to take over and I’ve been standing in the same place trying figure out what I should do next. Lynn presses me that I am missing so many opportunities because I am grieving a death of a relationship that should have had the plug pulled on years ago. She’s adamant that if I just pull myself out of my own head, I will look up one day and see opportunities too, but I swear I have no idea who she’s even talking about. That’s Lynn though. She sees opportunities everywhere, while I am so hyper focused on what I am in, that I still find it hard to let go.

           I guess this is why my mind went to the ritual for tonight. A simple act that anyone can do. It’s as simple as having a white candle, Florida water, slip of paper, match, and a flame-retardant container (preferably glass or iron). My grandmother made sure I had a cast iron bowl to practice. I rise slowly from my chair and begin to gather my items. Before I can carry out my ritual, I know I need to give my ancestors respect and apologize for my neglect. I prepare my offering to them and place the offering on the altar with a lit incense. I take a moment to speak to them. “Dearest ones, I have been so selfish these past few months. I give you my sincerest apologies for ignoring your presence and not acknowledging you as I should. The amazing thing is that though I have forgotten you for a period, I have noticed that you have not forgotten me. For this I find a well of gratitude that I will continuously pour out to you. I am your daughter and I know nothing but your love and guidance. Be with me tonight as I work to let go of people and thought processes that have held me back for far too long. As I release fear and hold to the unending gratitude and love you have always given me. I am completely committed to service in love. May it be as the universe wills.” I wait for a moment and just allow the moment to resonate, and I sit with my feeling of knowing that I am not alone. I am noticing that I am loved and cared for even when it seems as though I am alone.

           I sit at the foot of my altar and scribble on my slip of paper the words that I will speak aloud to let go of my fear of opportunity and of Jake. I fold the paper three times and walk outside into the soft glow of the full moon. I set my iron bowl on a small table I have off to the side of my home as safe distance away from my porch but also still securely in my yard and slightly out of the way of prying eyes from the sidewalk and street. I sit my iron bowl on the table. I place my effigy of what I need to release in the iron bowl and douse it slightly with Florida water. I look to the moon and gently smile, feeling the weight lift from me even as I light the match to set the paper alite. I murmur the incantation to myself three times and whisper “may it be as the universe wills”.  As I level my gaze from the moon that looks almost magical, I notice that I have a visitor. It’s a white dog, he looks a little like a wolf. My heart skips a beat with the feeling of fight or flight but then I hear a gentle whistling and someone calling for someone named Winston. The dog looks in the direction of the street and then looks at me with a sad strange look in his eyes. I assume at this point that my unwelcome visitor’s name is Winston.

           I hear Winston’s owner moves round the tree that usually blocks a view of me from the sidewalk. “Oh, I am so sorry. Winston isn’t usually so intrusive. I’m not sure what has gotten into him tonight.” I slowly stand realizing how what I am doing looks and I just want to get in my house as quickly as possible, but I feel a nudge. Hmmm, I guess that must be grandma or maybe my great aunt. I’ m not quite sure they’re both endless busy bodies. “It’s quite alright, Winston?” I questioned to make sure I was correct in hearing his name as Winston owner nods in the affirmative, “Winston was no trouble. I was just out enjoying the moonlight and….” I trail off uncertain on how to even continue. Winston’s owner smiles, “It looks like we have interrupted a possible letting go ceremony?” I look a little confused but pleasantly surprised. “Um, yeah. I was just finishing up when Winston joined me. I don’t make it a habit of knowing a pet’s name before their owner, but it seems that this situation has left me lacking in knowing yours.” Winston’s owner smiles and looks at me with his head slightly cocked to the side, “Well, Sabrina I am the one who lacks manners as I know your name, I’m Brandon. I learned your name in somewhat the same way you learned Winston’s. While walking my dog one day, a young woman was leaving your home and yelled your name out as she was giving you, her goodbyes. I thought to myself at the time what a fortunate opportunity to learn your name and maybe soon I would be allowed an opportunity to make your acquaintance.” I looked down at the fire in the bowl just as it snuffed itself out. I smiled slowly and whispered, “Open my eyes to opportunities that I have missed, may it be as the universe wills”. 

May 21, 2023 16:29

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

6 comments

Sylph Fox
07:33 Jun 24, 2023

Hi Kendriea, this story resonated deeply within me, instilling a sense of hope and illuminating the possibility of triumph :) I hast an audio book podcast and looking for stories like yours for my next season. I'd really love to feature your work. If you’re interested in having your story read by me I'd really appreciate it if you'd contact me at SylphFoxSubmission@gmail.com. I invite you to listen to my podcast and see what you think. Apple Podcast : https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/codename-sylph-fox/id1667146729 Spotify : https:...

Reply

Kendreia Collins
12:10 Sep 04, 2023

Thank you for your comment and the opportunity to read my story. I appreciate your prompt response to our email exchange. I look forward to hearing life brought to this work.

Reply

Sylph Fox
10:02 Feb 18, 2024

Hey there, I have published your story. Here are the links: Apple Podcast : https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/codename-sylph-fox/id1667146729?i=1000645745472 Spotify : https://open.spotify.com/episode/2YkgFBhiMTcKAgvWyjaSez?si=3b47f161ac9b437c Thank you for the lovely story. Keep writing! :) Thanks, Sylph

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Beverly Romige
12:05 Jun 02, 2023

I love the evolution of this story and the great description of the rituals! The way you walk us through something that everyone has experienced, heartbreak, and then show us the light at the end of the sad tunnel of heartbreak. Great job!

Reply

Show 0 replies
John Siddham
03:29 May 30, 2023

Lovely story Kendreia! Inner dialogues and self reflections is outstanding. Well done!

Reply

Show 0 replies
R W Mack
19:54 May 29, 2023

The bones aren't bad at all. Bringing a story full circle through the classic 3 act structure isn't always easy with such a small word count, but I like that you got it within what felt like a short time. I respect concise and well-distilled stories. Shorter ends of the spectrum are almost always better than longer ones that tend to feel dragged out and bloated versus tight and faster pace. Speaking of, since I swore I'd comment on any story I judge, I'll give the one that stood out to me: pacing. It's one of the hardest parts some people I...

Reply

Show 0 replies
RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in Reedsy Studio. 100% free.