Chapter 6 Circle Takes the Square —-Elaine Bonow
Circle Takes the Square
Saraphina opened the café as she usually did right at seven AM and as she did she thought about all the changes that has taken place in the neighborhood this past year. Evealynn arrived right after she opened, seven-o-five to be exact. “Good morning Evie, looks like spring is going to arrive early this year.”
Yes, it’s quite warm already and the birds are chirping like crazy.”
The small talk was interrupted by the arrival of Jo coming in as usual by the back door of the café. “Good morning ladies. Glorious morning ain’t it.”
“How are you feeling Jo? “ Saraphina said. “You’re getting awfully big.”
“I’m feeling great. I’m quite happy with this big growing belly of mine. Birdie has already decided that we are going to have a big beautiful baby girl. That’s what she says anyway and you both know she does know what’s going to happen before anyone knows, even God.”
“Oh Jo, I’m so happy for you too.” Evealynn went over and rubbed Jo’s large belly. “You and Miss Birdie are gonna be the best parents. I know I’m being nosey but what do you think she’ll look like you or…?”
Jo started laughing so hard she had to sit down. “Evealynn let me explain to you the facts of gay life. We asked for a tall, Chinese, smart—no brilliant sperm. So the baby should look like me tall, dark and handsome plus Birdie, short, Asian and smart. I just know she will be beautiful and I am going to be the best “daddymom” in the world.”
“Yes I think so too. I’m going to be the best godmother for sure.” Saraphina said sitting down next to Jo and gently stroked her short nappy head. “You are just like family to me Jo and you too Evealynn. Speaking of family what have you heard about our new pastor?”
“Girl next week we will have the honor of officially welcoming our new pastor Mr. Preacher, Alvin, “Boom Boom” Harris to the church.” Evealynn raised her cup of tea for a toast. “Here’s to our “better than the last one” new preacher. I think he will be good for our little square. He did change for the better.”
Saraphina sat quietly looking out the window at the street waking up to such a fine morning. She thought about how much her business had grown in the past year with so many “urban tourists” discovering her homegrown soul kitchen. She sipped some tea and said, “ I got a call from Cherise yesterday. You remember Cherise who used to work here last year. I guess she’s doing fine living with her sister’s family now.”
What she didn’t tell the others was the rest of the conversation because she was sworn to secrecy. Cherise knew her secret would be safe with Saraphina “Please don’t tell anyone but I had to leave in such a hurry because I was pregnant when I left and the baby’s daddy is Alvin. He knows. I told him and that’s when he told me it was over between us. No one else knows but you and of course the hospital. Maybe one day little Vynal will meet his daddy. “
During her reverie the conversation about the new Reverend continued. “I’m sure Octavia will be a really good preacher’s wife. She was such a beautiful bride. What a great wedding they had.” Evealynn looked wistful and said, “I wonder when they are gonna have some babies?”
“Well I heard he got his preachers license on line at the University of Phoenix. Doctor of Divinity my ass.” Jo said as she got up and headed to the kitchen. “Maybe I should get a license on line. I could be a preacher too or a orchestra conductor or a psychic psychiatrist.”
“Or a chef.” Saraphina chuckled. “Speaking of kitchens, you’d better go and get ready Jo. Sundays as we know are busy after church and with this weather I think we will be swamped.”
As if in response to her statement the door swung open and a young, clean-cut man entered.
“Excuse me,” he said. “Are you open yet?”
“Yes, we certainly are.” Evealynn said, “Have a seat anywhere I’ll be glad to serve you. Here’s a menu. Do you want a cup of coffee? It’s just brewed. A Kenyan roast.”
“No thanks. I actually came in because I had a question for you. You see I used to live here in the neighborhood, it’s been a little over a year ago, over on the other side of the square, in the apartments, you know, The Maxwell apartments.”
This short conversation seemed to tire him a bit and Evealynn put a glass of water on the counter in front of him that he drank thirstily. “Thanks ma’am.”
“Evealynn is my name and you’re welcome…..” She hesitated waiting for him to fill in the blank.
“ Steve, Steve Ford. But my friends call me Stevie.”
“Evealynn looked him up and down. She smiled and held out her hand. “Nice to meet you Stevie.”
“Yes, Thank you again,” he said with a slight stutter. I am looking around here for a house to rent. You see I just got back to town and I thought this neighborhood would be a good place for me and my friend to live.” Steve was nervous. This idea came to him a couple of weeks ago, to move back into this very neighborhood and find a house so he could take care of Six.
He was finally sober after his second six weeks of rehab with a long stretch in-between of relapse. When he found out about Six he realized that he had to help him out after all Six had done for him. Six had been so brave that day coming down all naked to see about his stupid gunshot wound that could have killed him.
The medics took one look at Stevie lying there all bloody and the naked hairless black man standing over him holding the gun, that they took both of them to jail. The trauma of being touched and hauled off butt naked to jail put Six over the edge. He completely flipped and ended up catatonic in the nut house.
Stevie, after his relapse, started back on street meth but after a few months the nightmares of Six covered in blood screaming his name, sobered him up for good.
He had a job now. When he was visiting the nut house he found out that he could get paid by the state to take care of Six.
Evealynn tapped him on the shoulder waking him from his reverie. “Hey, hey, are you alright? I might know of a house for rent. You see I rent a room in the basement of a house and the family that lives upstairs is moving.”
Stevie turned to look at Evealynn, “Really! Wow, I can’t believe my luck. Are you sure? Say you look so familiar to me. I seem to have seen you around here before. Are you sure about the house? I have references and everything. I’ll be taking care of a sick buddy. I hope that will be OK.”
Evealynn looked him over carefully. In her old business she had learned to quickly judge a man’s character and looking at Stevie she liked what she saw. He looked familiar too like she had talked to him before and she figured he wasn’t a past client. Those men she knew intimately and when she saw them she would freeze them out with her eyes.
“Yes, I think I will trust you Mr. Stevie Ford. You’ll love this neighborhood. It seems that somehow we all become part of the same circle.”