Weeks had gone by, and Tess had managed to avoid the kind stranger from church twice, for her grandmother’s sake of course. Tess had even felt that she liked the man… a little.
One Monday morning; Tess stood looking into the dim mirror, grooming her thick, long mane. She took the searing, iron comb off of the hot plate’s blackened eye and carefully placed the metal teeth to the root of her coarse locks. Then she slowly pulled the comb down to the base of her hair. The end result produced a sleek and shiny head of copiously tamed tresses.
Tess hardly wore any slacks, for her grandmother provided her with a host of dresses, skirts, and blouses.
This day, she dressed herself in a thin white blouse, to avert the summer sun’s heat, and a wispy black skirt to compliment her blithe attitude. Tess greeted her grandmother with a smile, and then stepped outside onto the shaded porch.
Tess spun around quickly and nearly pitched a fit when she saw that Silas Johnson was sitting on the porch swing.
“Uh… mornin’ Silas… What brangs you hea’?”
“Sit down…” he said, patting the empty space next to him.
Tess hated that he responded with a command, so she fixed her lips to contest to him.
“Silas Johnson, you da’ main reason why I--”
“TESS! You be nice, hea?!” Grandma Dinah interjected, pulling up the screen door and latching it shut.
Tess was enraged, but she obeyed. She clenched her jaw and slowly walked over to the swing and sat beside Silas.
He thought that she wasn’t close enough, apparently, for he put his arm around her small waist and pulled her closer to his side.
“You’s a pretty lil’ thang Contessa…” Silas began; but, Tess denied him a response. So, he quickly found something else to say.
“And yo’r hair sho’ looks nice today," he said, stroking the length of her hair, “Thank ya’ kindly….” Tess answered through closed teeth.
Silas spoke for all of twenty minutes about himself, his belongings, and what Tess would be missing if she kept turning him down.
“When you gonna let me marry you Tess? You know you'd be sorry if ya let another‘ gal take a hold ‘a me…”
“Silas Johnson, I wudn’t marry you if de’ Lord his’self sent a archangel down to tell me ‘dat we was meant ta‘ be togetha’!!” In saying that, she stood, walked to the edge of the porch, and spat out, “You’s jus’ too vain!”
Then Tess whipped her hair back around, and hurried down the steps.
“Yo’r jus too stubborn Tessa! You hea’ me?!” Silas retorted. “'Bout as stubborn as a militant jackass!!”
Tess yelled back saying, “Yea! Just one jackass you can’t seem ta’ tame!”
She walked towards the gate, and once she exited, she threw one hand up in the air as if to say “amen”.
For once, she felt free; she felt as though she could talk to any man that she wanted, whether it was in secrecy or out in the open. And, she knew deep in her heart that Silas Johnson would not be a candidate. Amen for that!
© Copyright 2017 Jennifer Brighton. All rights reserved.
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