Azul Louis, Azul Taynor, Blue Hurt, Blue Lines, Blue Lines Blog, California, Cyan Abueg, Key Yemaya Walker, Keypsiia Walker, Keypsiia Yemaya Walker, Los Angeles, New York, North Carolina, Sacramento, Short Story, The Wedding, UCLA, UNC, UNC Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Vinyard
This morning coming into work (8/18/11), I thought of the idea for this story. Based on characters from my manuscript Blue Lines, the few who have read it may have some additional insight on the items and themes in this short story. It also references elements of my manuscript The Eyes Of a Man Born To Life, (which no one has read). A manuscript I began as a 20 year old, to write during any writers block with Blue Lines. I digress, this short story stands alone, while not giving away story arcs and elements from my manuscript. Please enjoy.
It rained lightly, but life had taught her not to worry about the small things.
Cyan fretted, as her daughter watched her run to and fro.
“Baby, it’s raining on your day,” Cyan pleaded at the verge of tears. “Azul is here, where are the rest of your girls,” she asked panicked, as her daughter slowly eased into the application.
“It would be fine,” she thought silently as she broke a slight smile between her makeup being applied as random drops slid down the window.
Azul dashed in in a panic, “Key-Key, rain…I thought it never rains in southern California,” she slightly laughed extremely happy to be free.
Keypsiia smiled widely, glancing at her best friend and mother. Thinking back on those long years ago in North Carolina, and her mind was slightly kissed by Blue. A fleeting melancholy was easily overcome by her day. She marveled at her best friend from New York. Azul Taynor had been there with her since the day they met, at that time she was simply Azul Lewis. She was there during the entire experience, and even accompanied her when she left UNC for UCLA.
In college Keypsiia, an 18 year old, was the seemingly grounded one, the stable one, yet she looked onto her matron of honor. Azul had been married for 7 years, and had two children. Both were Keypsiia’s God-daughters, or as she called them, nieces. Azul, now lived in California, and Keypsiia would head back home to New York after the close of all of the events.
“Who would have thought,” Azul blurted, trying to rephrase her words.
“It’s OK,” Keypsiia broke, “After Blue,” she finished. “I’m just shocked,” she joked, “you got married,” she smiled. “North Carolina and LA were so different from you, and now Brooklyn girl lives out here with her Cali man, and her little Cali babies. I love you Azul,” Keypsiia admitted, as if it were the first time. “I wouldn’t do this without you.”
Azul, knowing Keypsiia was not the easiest to cry, held in her emotional tears. She looked at her friends big wide eyes, and though she knew that the faint whisper of Blue would always be there, she was also confident in the fact that Keypsiia was confident in her decision after these last twelve years of extravagant highs, and tumultuous lows. She stared at Keypsiia, covered in a robe, holding her head up as the makeup was finalized. Tight corset semi-exposed, she held her stomach tight as the last touches were address. “He’s gonna knock that shit out tonight,” Azul joked trying to break a smile.
“Dammit,” Keypsiia replied after she broke out into uncontrollable laughter almost messing up her lipstick application.
Azul laughed, “wow, ‘dammit,’ is the most Keypsiia can say these days,” slowly referencing the college and post-Blue days when Keypsiia would make a sailor blush. “Oh,” Azul was startled as they began her makeup, and Keypsiia’s father Robert and step-mother entered.
“Hi baby,” he smiled as he kissed her forehead. “I brought something for you…something blue,” he laughed. Knowing both that she would appreciate it, and also that, although it was not Blue that she eventually married, the indelible mark he left on all of their lives would always be here. He reached into his pocket, and her step-mother shook her head blushing, and he revealed a lace Los Angeles Dodgers handkerchief for her to place around her leg. Cyan laughed, touching his shoulder. He smiled at his beloved daughter, and Azul noticed as her big brown eyes squinted, and she strained to hold back the tears. Her beloved father hugged her and simply whispered, “everything is the way it should be. He may not have come, but Elena is downstairs. If you’re ready to see her, I can send her up.”
“I’m not,” Keypsiia fought back her tears. “Not yet, I will though.” Her father smiled.
“Well let’s not hold you girls up,” he offered as he noticed the remaining girls rushing into the suite. “Congrats, I love you Key-Key,” he smiled kissing his first daughters cheek. He briefly stepped away and spoke to Cyan. Though her parents had not had the best relationship in the immediate wake of their divorce, their being there for their daughter the last eleven years, had given them a healthy respect for each other, and also helped them foster a better friendship.
Keypsiia thought about Blue’s mother. She had not initially liked Keypsiia, and did make known, but was always there for her. She still thinks back to that time they stole away to Atlanta and lived like a married couple. In his mother’s house and bed and bed, and bed, stupid children, she smiled. They had learned to truly love each other, and she would always be a part of Keypsiia’s life, though Blue would not.
“Enough of Blue,” she thought, though she knew going forward it would be all about Anthony. It had been, she had sulked, excelled professionally, cried, died, was born, slipped and died again, but when she was ready, he was there with a hand out, smiling at her.
“Hey Key,” Azul smiled, “Are you OK,” she asked acknowledging Keypsiia’s father’s words.
“I’m fine,” she smiled genuinely, “I am,” she beamed brighter.
Azul saw the look that she remembered from Golden Corral in Chapel Hill. It was the day she found Keypsiia in the rain speaking to Gerald. Glancing at the pendant, still around her friends’ neck, she wasn’t worried about Ms. Keypsiia Walker, at least for the current moment.
“It’s amazing,” they both said simultaneously. Keypsiia giggled her giggle, but there were no nerves behind it. “You got married first, and you are so happy, and now my time has come.”
“It has,” Azul acknowledged with a bright smile. She remembered the youthful naïve days of Chapel Hill, the bright but melancholy days of Los Angeles, Keypsiia finishing her last two years of school in one, and grad school in a single year, focused only on ambition, education, and staying away from relationships. She moved on, but yet did not forget her past. Although, she broke up with him, it took a long time to get past the night in Sacramento, her family downstairs, them in the attic. She smiled briefly, at 33 those feelings did not affect her anywhere near as much, and they were babies then. She learned a lot from him, and credited the events of today on him. He would always live in her heart, but not that he would negatively impact her life.
Keypsiia, not usually a crier, especially in her post college years, stepped up, glanced out the window, and then retreated to the bathroom. She maintained her composure, but her heart ached. Her love was unequivocally with Anthony. She did not question her decision, in the very least, but her heart ached now.
“Are you OK,” a following Azul asked, in tune with her friend.
“Yes,” Keypsiia admitted honestly, “today is rough at this moment. I love him, I really do. I wished my dad didn’t bring Blue up. His mother being here is rough to think about,” as she turned to the boat window overlooking the vineyard.
“Want some wine,” Azul laughed, as Keypsiia noticed how Azul was hell bent on keeping her physique, even after 2 children.
“No, gotta stay hella focused,” she smiled knowing using the words of her youth would irk Azul.
“Whatever,” Azul laughed. “Hey, you better drink up, those baby making hips won’t go back after you have your first one,” she laughed slapping at Keypsiia’s wide hips, lightly concealed by her robe. “Key, we have to get you in your dress,” she hugged.
Keypsiia, now better composed, walked back into the main room. She needed a bit of touch-up, but knew only 2 tears escaped, she prided herself because she knew tonight, she would probably cry about everything. “Anthony would be so shocked,” she thought. She did not cry when he proposed to her. She really had not cried much since North Carolina, and that night in Sacramento, and subsequent morning in San Francisco. She sat back to get her face attended to as the photographers and videographers took new material. Closing her eyes, she thought about last night’s rehearsal dinner. She was savoring these slow moments, because last night had been a blur. The rehearsal, the dinner, coordinating everyone in the right spot, their joint speech and them finally being whisked away to their separate parties. The planning seemed to fly by as now she was in the last preparations of becoming a wife.
“I wish I could have some wine,” she relented while smiling. “Azul, you need to get into your dress too,” she observed and unconsciously fingered the ring dangling from her neck. Azul noticed.
“You are OK, right,” Azul asked again.
“Yes, I’m fine…it’s just a little bit of nerves. It would’ve been the same if it was Blue, except I wouldn’t be holding this. That’s it,” she smiled. She stood, and Cyan walked back in dabbing her eyes secretly. She removed her robe, and Azul and Cyan helped her slide into her dress. The dress was an off-white, white beading that perfectly matched her skin tone. She remembered her mother saying, that she had never seen a dress that beautiful, Azul had agreed. The back was long and flowing, but could quickly be brought in to allow for movement. When comfortable in her dress, Cyan helped her with her jewelry.
“Baby, are you going to leave that on,” Cyan asked, but Keypsiia’s glance answered her question. Anthony was fine with it. He knew her previous life, and had no problem with it. Keypsiia felt, it was the way in which she could honor her past, as she started her life anew. Azul dressed quickly, as Keypsiia had little time between making sure her dress felt right, before the photographers would whisk her away to different locations for pictures. And literally as Azul emerged, she took off after Keypsiia and the photographers.
“Turn your head to the left,” was the beginning of the rigorous ritual of wedding photography. Azul chuckled as Keypsiia eventually grumbled, up until they brought her into the photography. Standing with the vineyard to their backs, the Bride to be, and her Matron of Honor, were a contrast. Keypsiia, the Sacramento born woman, her creamy complexion and hair that naturally had auburn highlights reflected against that of her best friend, Azul, a Brooklyn New York, specimen with her rich dark brown skin, and flowing jet black hair. They laughed as they were posed, posed, reposed over and over again. “Congrats Key, I’m so happy.”
“Stop,” Keypsiia lightly nudged, “I think I’m getting closer to that time,” she sniffed. “Don’t make me mess up my makeup. Azul could feel the emotions welling in her eyes until she noticed members of Anthony’s party making their way out to the vineyard.
“We have to go,” she alerted the photographers, “the guys are on their way out.
As the women were skirted off, Keypsiia removed her heels and relished the crush of the grass under her feet. Thoughts of Coker Arboretum arose as she and Azul ran like little girls. Blue had brought her close to tears there, as she grew tired of their ambiguity, though she was mostly responsible. He had questioned her there, but caved. The levity of their tempered escape, kept the Libra even, as they reached the resort entrance Cyan greeted them shaking her head. Elena stood with her, and Keypsiia could feel herself quickly turn toward tears.
“Hi Mama” she uttered surprised, and taken aback. That was the affectionate name she had developed for his mother.
“Hi Key,” she smiled giving her a hug. Elena loved Keypsiia and forgave the past though Keypsiia always felt a bit of guilt. She loved Elena immensely, and appreciated the love she received and her attendance. However, her heart still fluttered at the sight of the women that would have been mother-in-law some ten years ago.
“Hi,” Azul smiled breaking Keypsiia’s arising melancholy. “Ms. Gonzales, we just were almost caught by Anthony’s party, I need to take this one,” she pointed, “upstairs to make sure she’s fine, and get her settled for later.” Elena smiled.
“I know, Key come here,” she asked. Cyan smiled. “Everything is the way it should be. I love you, enjoy your day, and don’t worry about anything. I’ve watched you grow into a beautiful woman.” Elena kissed her forehead and cheek and smiled broadly. “Mi hija, una belleza, te amo mucho.”
“Belleza,” she whispered as Azul whisked her off. She remembered when Blue would always call her that. She righted herself, and laughed that she was about to marry a Black Hispanic man. Once upstairs, Azul sat her down.
“Are you sure you should have invited his mother? I understand, but will you be OK, you’re testing yourself.”
“I’ll be fine,” Keypsiia responded. “I’ll admit, that was just a hard moment, but she deserves to be here. She does,” Keypsiia pleaded as if she did not think Azul agreed. She sat back, and had her makeup readjusted not knowing that she had cried as much, staining her makeup.
Time began to fly, as Cyan and Azul, were more fervent in keeping anyone who was not a photographer or part of Keypsiia’s bridal party away from the room. She had wanted to see her brother Elliott before everything began, but also realized that he was a part of Anthony’s groomsmen. Soon, the morning, drifted into the afternoon, and Keypsiia was ushered downstairs and brought around where she would wait until it was time for her entrance. Sitting back in the heavily air-conditioned room, she breathed heavily. She thought back to the first day she had met Anthony. She initially found him to not be “her type,” always thinking, he was very different than what Blue would be at the same age. He smiled differently, his background was different, or so she thought. Keypsiia never thought she would get married, but he was unrelenting. Azul liked him from the beginning, and she had proven to make the right choice with her husband, Keypsiia laughed.
She looked at her empty finger, and remembered the morning that he drove her to the Catskills. She loved the outdoors, or rather, Keypsiia loved adventure. She had felt that something was up, as they took this weekend sojourn. An impromptu weekend trip, dinner, nothing out of the ordinary. A hike to see the waterfalls careening down the slope of the rocks, there was nothing out of the ordinary. A romantic dinner that same night, still there was nothing out of the ordinary. That night she fell asleep in his sweats, she may have moved to New York, but she was still a Cali girl. She woke with him cuddled against her. As she turned to him, thinking he was asleep, he stared at her. The look was different, and she had seen that shine in a man’s eyes once before. As he revealed the ring in bed, she cried, she cried like she never had before. Yes, the moment had played a part, but her tears were more from the fact that she had been here before. She knew this shock, she knew this feeling, her heart broke, and at the same time became whole, even after all these years. The rest of that morning was left for storybooks, as she returned to 2012 and thought of the future.
“Are you ready,” Azul asked, as it was her turn to leave Keypsiia’s and begin her processing before Keypsiia’s entrance.
Keypsiia looked at Blue‘s words on the crumbled paper as she prepared to walk into her future.
color may fade,
and seasons may change,
but, still love remains,
at times there’s pain,
and with darkness comes rain,
but, still love remains,
when my life God claims,
and for nothing seems the same,
but, still MY love remains,
and you still call my name,
and memory imprinted in YOUR brain,
apparently still YOUR love remains
Keypsiia Yemaya Walker was helped to her feet, and led to the door. The clouds began to part, and the California sun shone through. Her heart jumped and was lifted, Blue Hurt, her former love wrapped her as he watched her from afar. She knew he was and wanted the very best for her. As she rounded the courtyard he watched her, and her eyes lit up seeing her father walk up to meet her, and escort her in. And, as she rounded the lush rose bushes, she caught a glimpse of Anthony, and all was…
The manuscript Blue Lines is the fictional coming of age narrative of a young California woman Key Yemaya Walker, and her 2 year growing journey through school, love, and life period piece, written by Kenneth Suffern, Jr., taking place at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill between the years of 1997 – 1998. Loosely based on true events, and experiences during that time, told through the eyes and voice of the main female protagonist, a freshman first attending the school.