When It All Falls Down(4)

By: Tamicka Higgins

Ayana chose a sexy shirt that had a low top. It was white and see-through in certain areas. Once she’d put her bra on and fastened it, she slid the shirt over her head and looked in the mirror. She turned around and looked at her butt, smiling. “He gon’ like what I got on today,” Ayana said, knowing that Tramar liked when she wore more simplistic clothing. Interestingly enough, he was the kind of dude that didn’t like when women would try so hard to look good. He often found trying too hard to be a complete turn off.

Ayana pulled her shower cap off of her head and stepped over to her dresser where she had her hair supplies. She did a quick touch up, making sure that her kitchen and edges were not raggedy looking before doing a little teasing. She hated when women had short hair cuts that looked flat – that looked as if they’d just taken a rag off of their head and walked out of the door.

Once Ayana had finished getting ready, she grabbed her black jacket, keys, and lip gloss and walked out into the living room. No sooner had she stepped into the large, open space that connected with a dining area and kitchenette, she could feel her mother’s eyes burning a hole in her back. Her mother, Neeci, had been washing dishes in the kitchen, having just finished the glasses.

“You look cute,” Neeci said, snapping her neck as she looked her daughter up and down. “Where is Miss Thang goin’ tonight, huh?”

Ayana turned around, smiling at her mother. “Tramar is comin’ back from Indiana, and he gon’ pick me up,” she answered. “And Mama, don’t be that way. You know you wish you still had it like me.” She then giggled.

Neeci, who was conceited in every way possible, stepped out of the kitchen. She placed her hands on her hips. “Girl, I know you not talkin’,” she said, twirling around so her daughter could get a good look at everything she could hope to become one day. “Girl, you know you ain’t got it like your mama. One day you will, don’t you worry.”

At a few inches taller than Ayana, Neeci had managed to stay in shape even though she was coming up on turning forty years old. Her streaked blonde hair came down and touched her shoulders, as straight as it could possibly be. Dressed in gray sweat pants and an old sweater, her figure still couldn’t be contained. Ayana knew that men loved her mother’s body, especially since for most of her life her mother had run through men as if they were bad habits. This part of her demeanor had not changed as she’d gotten older.

“Whatever, Mama,” Ayana said.

“Whatever nothing,” Neeci said. “So, Mister Tramar is coming over to pick you up, huh? Will he be coming inside?”

Turning back around, Ayana rolled her eyes. While she was not threatened by her mother the least bit, she still didn’t like the way she always asked about Tramar. To Ayana, there was always something in her mother’s tone that suggested she had a little thing for Tramar. While Neeci would never admit to having any sort of interest in her daughter’s boyfriend, her eyes told a different story. Time and time again, Ayana could pick up on how her mother was looking just a little too hard in Tramar’s direction. In fact, it was almost to the point where Ayana would never want to leave her boyfriend alone with her mother.

Over the years, Ayana’s mistrust of her mother had only grown stronger. While she maintained her respect, never calling her mother out or outright disobeying her or her wishes, seeing her go through so many men since Ayana’s father had divorced her back when she was a child, only made her more skeptical of her mother and her real intentions. Like many children, she blamed her father for the breakup of the marriage. However, as she grew up and saw that her mother was fast and stayed in shape for the sole purpose of attracting men, even if those men belonged to other women, she could only be skeptical of her. To make matters worse, many of the men her mother messed around with were young enough to be her son.

“Yeah, Tamar is coming to pick me up, and we gon’ go somewhere,” Ayana explained.

“Where y’all goin’?” Neeci asked, walking back into the kitchen to get herself something to drink.

“I don’t know yet,” Ayana answered. “He wouldn’t tell me. He said it’s gonna be a surprise since I been so frustrated lately with finding a job.”

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