Excerpts

Short Story Excerpt from Selma’s Song Wrapped in Blue

Damn if it wasn’t happening again. All Selma could feel were tiny, wavy motions behind her lids that set her feet off balance. She was able to catch her weight from falling to the ground by making her way to the railing that led up the stairs of her five-story apartment building. Little could she do but let the grocery bags she was carrying, slide to the ground at her side. Her legs finally gave out on holding her up, settling her on the hot concrete stairs where she watched folk pass her by without a ‘You alright, mam?’ or ‘I can help carry up your grocery, Ms. Selma.’ Not shit came from a body passing her way. The good Lord planted her on that stair, so she was relieved she had made it that far from the bus stop. No matter that she wanted to lift herself to get inside the coolness of her apartment, sitting there and letting the sun beat down on her ‘til the spell passed felt like a small blessing. The matter fretting her so was that pressing from inside her head that was pushing to get out. The thud that started when her feet hit the pavement after descending the bus, now banging, beating the shit out of her brain to the point of bringing tears to her eyes. She closed them and felt the hot stain of moisture rolling down her cheeks.

If only she could reach to unsnap her bra. If only she could get her shoes off for her feet to stop burning inside the leather. If only she could shift her weight to an upright position and breathe at an even pace. If only God turned the sun from her direction, rather than holding it on her like a glaring flashlight.  All she wondered outside if onlys was why God was pissed at her now. She’d cut back on cooking with salt pork and eating shit that kept her pressure up. Her daughter, Kiya, had even come over to make her three days of those meatless dishes she fed to her grandbabies.

Selma held her eyes closed, got hold of her breath that halted  skipping and felt some of the pressure ease from her head, thinking about her little ones smiling up at her with crusted eyes from not giving their face a good washing and those dreds locked into their hair Kiya thought were so cute. Since she was starting to feel like her fifty-something years wouldn’t end with the stench of city trash drifting past her nose, her thoughts turned to whether her butter was melting and if her yogurt was holding up in the heat better than she was.­ All she needed was for this new breakfast she was downing each morning to be ruined and her mouth to go watering for some fried bacon, cheese grits, eggs and buttered biscuits.­ Lordy, mercy.

“How you doing, Ms Selma?”

Selma was still trying to raise herself to her feet when she looked up to see Lauren, one of the million neighborhood kids on the block. Pretty thing, she was. Everybody told her so, so the child didn’t have to do much in the way of thinking it for herself but she did. Selma could see that in her twelve year old body that was rounded out every which way more than she remembered her Kiya being at that age. Carried herself older too, like one of those video girls, with a piece of fabric patched here and there to her little body. Poor thing though, her mama was down at the county jail over lifting some cabbage and shit from the Winn Dixie.

“You need some help, Ms. Selma?”

“I do indeed.” Selma held a loose grip on both bags but managed to hand them over to the girl, still checking her out real good and wishing the weariness of her body looked half as shapely and felt a little something like forty.  Shit. Just hadn’t managed to keep any parts of her in a way that made her feel like she’d once been a young thing herself. All her imaginings of making herself over to look anything like Tina Turner, whose pictures were stuck on her refrigerator with magnets, cruised through her head with only a flicker when she packed her mouth with potato salads and every other fatty food that held her at a steady two-hundred pounds.

Copyright © 2011 Tosh Fomby. All Rights Reserved.

11 comments

  1. Hey, Tosh. This is a good start to a story. I’m assuming the piece is much longer. Your prose can be lyrical at times. I love that. Are you going to post more of the story on here? It is scary to do so, I know. But you should. Do you have a critique partner? You should get one. Once I started working with a CP my writing improved so much. It’s not perfect but it’s getting there. You have a start to a wonderful story and the voice is beautiful. Keep writing and post more.

    Like this

    1. Thanks, Dawn. As of now, I don’t have e critique partner. i used to be in a critique group and that helped immensely. I just have to find someone who will be diligent and have the experience needed to affect my writing in the way necessary for publishing. I do, however, have an editor I’m starting to work with for my novel. The short stories really started as an exercise to shape my voice, that began when I was in the critique group. So, it’s sort of what I do to keep writing (when I am writing) :-)

      Thanks so much for your input.

      Like this

  2. Hi Totsymae,

    I’m loving the story already! I love the language, imagery, and Ms. Selma. The interior voice is so important, and you’ve captured it splendidly. Just by your blogging, I knew you were a gifted writer. Fantastic! Just keeping working hard; making eachday count.

    Like this

    1. I have to make some small corrections: am I going blind, or did I say ‘keeping working hard’? And ‘eachday’? Or are there bugs in the system? Sorry, Totsymae, but my reputation’s on the line here! Haha!

      Like this

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