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This Blue Lines excerpt is from Chapter 12: Chance. The scene takes place as our protagonist Key Yemaya Walker happens upon the antagonist Blue Hurt while he writes on a bus headed to the local mall. Though Blue Lines takes place in Chapel Hill at the University of North Carolina, the real life imagery starts with her chance meeting him on the bus, which was the public transit I and friends would take from the University of Bridgeport at the Main Street stop by our dorm Bodine Hall, to Trumbull Mall, now Westfield Trumbull. The mall used in the writing process was a amalgam of Trumbull Mall in Connecticut, and Lenox Mall in Atlanta, Georgia, or Buckhead rather.
As I always state, Blue Lines, is a piece of fiction that evolved from real events, places, and people, therefore elements of this selection, as well as the entire work contain real experiences, and events of the time period in which my manuscript takes place. I’ll be honest, looking over this selection, I may not leave it up, though the work is copywritten. Please enjoy, this early Christmas present.
Blue Lines Chapter 12: Chance
- We got together, like, the first week of school and through this I have actually become accustomed to being alone. If he’s not at practice, he’s with his boys and the few times I see him, it’s always conversation about basketball or trying to get ass.”
- “And the lack thereof doesn’t do anything for you two.”
- “No,” she pursed her lips realizing that she had answered his latent question, “plus all the rumors,” she continued. “I confronted him and I know that he’s lying to me but I don’t care.”
- “It seems like you keep mentioning that he isn’t around. Do you think that it would have been different if he was there and spent more time with you?”
- “Not really,” she answered abruptly. “We don’t have anything in common but a love of basketball. There is nothing else that we can talk about or anything I can learn from him? And, him being around more would just make me feel as if I have to stay in the relationship,” Keypsiia betrayed her thoughts. “Maybe I’m just deciding to grow up in love,” she verbalized her thoughts not really intended for Blue to hear. “Not saying that I’m breaking up. Blue you like basketball, right,” she asked changing the subject briefly thinking that she needed a little bit of time to think about everything she was offering up about herself.
- “Yeah,” he simply answered. “I’m a Bulls fan.”
- “Bulls,” she raised her voice exasperated. “Ugh, I hate the Bulls. Who likes the Bulls,” she threw up her hands. “Most people who say they are Bulls fans are not really basketball fans.”
- “Hold up, hold up,”
Blue answered the animated young woman. “First of all, when I started watching basketball, I watched the Bulls. When Pippen and Jordan are long gone, I will still be a Bulls fan. When Jordan left, and everybody assumed the run was over, I was still a Bulls fan. OK, you’re from Northern California, who is your team, basketball fan?”
- “The Sacramento Kings,” Keypsiia stated while smiling broadly. “What,” she chuckled as she flexed her chest at him. “What do you have to say about that? I don’t like the Lakers, I don’t claim Golden State, and I’m a fan of the sorry Sacramento Kings. I even have a Mitch Richmond jersey from when I was in high school,” she giggled to his dismay. “I’m a real fan.”
- “Yes you are,” he answered in silent agreement. “Why did you go to the Bulls, Hornets game?”
- “I love basketball. I like watching the NBA, and even though I don’t like them, I wanted to see the Bulls, they are a historic team. I’ve even seen Magic and the Lakers, and I don’t like them. And when we went, I thought that ‘G,’” she felt uncomfortable mentioning him by name around Blue, “was taking me on a ‘real’ date.”
- “He wasn’t,” Blue furrowed his brow.
- “Nope,” she popped with her lips, “I guess because Jordan went to school here,” she continued, “he donated some tickets or something to the team,” she shrugged her shoulders. “I guess to reward the guys playing for his alma mater. I don’t know,” still shrugging her shoulders. “Well it was me, and the team, not just the two of us. I was so pissed, I didn’t even stay.”
- “You missed a good game,” Blue smiled. “So Keypsiia do you love him,” he asked as he returned the focus to their original discussion.
- “No,” she stated matter-of-factly.
- “Did you ever,” he responded seemingly shocked at her abrupt response.
- “No. That’s a whole different topic. Love,” she mused, “love is touchy.”
- “Why,” he asked not expecting an answer, “Personally I think love is the only pure notion, idea, or entity in this world. Look at it, all institutions or concepts can be corrupted. Government falls victim to greed, power lust, and a whole bunch of other things. Organized religion, don’t get me started. Everything, even something as trivial as sports can be and is corrupt, but love,” he paused looking toward the large atrium windows on the ceiling, “love is pure. Now remember I am talking about when a man,” she grimaced, “or woman knows that everything in their being is directed to the person. And it is to know that those feelings are reciprocated in full from that person. How can I say it? It is to know. It cannot be bastardized because as hard as you may try, you can’t lie to yourself. And, it can apply to anything. Besides a man and a woman, it can be for nature, well being of man, anything. I mean you can’t lie to yourself about it. You feel it everywhere. You feel it here,” he pointed to her head, “because you think it, and you feel it in your stomach, especially in the beginning, you just feel it all over. I’m sorry for rambling, how do you feel about it?”
- “Shit,” she knew he would ask her.
- “Stop,” Blue said with his finger on her lips.
- “I’m sorry. I don’t know how to explain love, it’s just a feeling. I’ve really liked someone before and there have been times I’ve thought about what it would be like if things worked out. But love, I don’t know, it’s weird. I mean, the only thing I liken to love is…well between me and a man is…a situation that has potential. What you said reminds me of an e-mail I had received from a friend. It said something like ‘once a person is in your life, you know a man, becomes everything to you.’ Um, ‘when you look into their eyes and see deep in their soul, you say so many things without using words and I would that my life ‘damn let me remember. I guess something like, ‘I would know that my life is…consumed by the beating of his heart.’ When I first received that e-mail, it reminded me of something that you would say. I thought about you and the things that you have written for me.”
- “That is very interesting. I enjoy seeing this side of you. Getting to know more where your mind is, how you think. It just helps to add more to what I know about you.”
- Keypsiia blushed, not knowing how to gauge his observations. “Do you believe in love at first sight,” Keypsiia probed.
- “Yes,” Blue answered tersely, as Keypsiia twisted her lips, unbeknownst to him, at his simple answer. Keypsiia and Blue continued to walk and she waited for his further response.
- “Yo that’s phat,” he said pointing to some wool hats, “let’s go up there?”
- “Well,” Keypsiia inquired with thoughts of requesting and answer to her question.
- “Well what love,” he smiled.
- “Is that it, ‘yes’ I believe in love at first sight. Come on Blue
, I’ve come to expect more in an answer from you. You just gave me a two hour answer on ‘love,’” she smiled.
- “Yes, I believe in it what more can I say? Some people think its lust, but then again I don’t subscribe to what other people think. Over there,” he pointed to the store, “I believe that that first glance, in certain circumstances can say everything.” Blue pulled a plush gray wool hat over his eyes.
- “Do you like this one Keypsiia?”
- “Yes,” she smiled.
- “Then go buy it for me,” he joked placing the hat in her hands and turning her around facing toward the register.
- “It’s kind of like when I first saw you at the game,” he proceeded to answer her query, “I was angry that the food was all over my clothes, but within seconds that anger was gone and I knew.”
- “Knew what?”
- “The same thing that you did.”
- “Really,” she answered inquisitively, “are you going to get the blue one too?”
- “Yes. Aren’t you going to ‘window shop?’ ”
- “Don’t change the subject,” She said to return his focus.
- “I thought that was what you were trying to do. Well am I incorrect in my assumpt…” he corrected himself, “wait, deductions.”
- “No,” she answered slowly thinking over her abrupt answer.
- “Then why are you trying to prolong the inevitable?”
- She was quiet and reflected on the statement before giving her answer. Internally she knew that his words were true. She secretly longed to be with him. He was someone who would listen and easily take note of her heartfelt emotions. She judged the propriety of leaving Gerald for him, but still she relented. Although she had come to despise Gerald, she continued the relationship for the sake of respect for him. Eventually their break up would happen she thought.
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.