When It All Falls Down(10)

By: Tamicka Higgins



Sharli was also known for being the queen of doing hair in her hood. To put it simply, no other chick within a half-mile radius could do hair to Sharli’s standards. People had always told the five-foot-eight-inches-tall chick, with a shape that was average but a personality that was out of this world, that she should stop messing around with thugs and get her life together. There was no reason, in other peoples’ eyes, that Sharli couldn’t go to beauty school and get licensed so she could really make some money doing hair.

As Sharli led Ayana away from the train station and down into the streets, the two of them chatted back and forth over just about everything.

“Girl, is it that obvious?” Ayana asked, wondering why Sharli had approached her so quickly about saying she looked as if something was wrong.

“Girl, you said that Tramar ain’t come back to the hotel room,” Sharli said. “I would be pissed as shit if that was my nigga. Every nigga I got know better than to pull some shit like that on me. If you say you gon’ jump up and leave first thing in the morning to go get breakfast, your ass betta come back. Girl, I don’t even know why you fool with that nigga like that.”

“Sharli, come on,” Ayana said. “I don’t even know why you gotta be that way.” They walked up to a busy intersection, stopping at the corner to wait on the cross walk to change to green. On all four corners were medium-height brick storefront buildings with small to medium-sized retail stores and restaurants on the ground levels. “I think something is wrong.”

“Yeah, girl,” Sharli said, shaking her head. “I’m with you on that. That nigga just got up and left you and didn’t even call you or say nothin’.”

“I’m serious,” Ayana said. “Tramar wouldn’t do that. Shit, just last night we was walkin’ downtown in Grant Park, and he was talking about us moving in together and stuff. Why would he be talking about that then get up and leave in the morning and purposely not coming back?”

“Well, I hate to burst you bubble,” Sharli said, “but the truth of the matter is that the nigga might have got his ass caught up in somethin’, girl. I don’t even know why you dating that kinda nigga anyway.”

“You got your nerve!” Ayana exclaimed, slapping her cousin on her shoulder. “Some of these niggas you be datin’ be on the five o’clock news every fuckin’ day of the week. Girl, don’t play.”

Sharli snickered, seeing how her cousin had picked up on her sarcasm. “That may be true,” she said, in a very matter of fact way. “But at least they come back to me the next morning. Well, sometimes this one nigga don’t, but I’mma have to work on him some more. I don’t think I broke him in right. He bout to get cut off this pussy. And you know that drives niggas crazy.”

“Fuck,” Ayana said, sounding as if she were already exhausted. “Here you go again with that mess. Bitch, I know the niggas love your pussy. I know that’s why you be datin’ two and three of them at a time, and they don’t even seem to care and stuff. Girl, we know you a fuckin’ pimp over them hoe ass niggas.”

“I don’t know what you know,” Sharli said. “I was just gon’ let you know in case you forgot.”

“I ain’t forgot,” Ayana said. “Now, back to me and what I got goin’ on.”

The two of them walked along the densely populated, south side Chicago streets. The further they got away from the subway station and into the jungle that was Sharli’s compact neighborhood, the more Ayana was worried. She checked her phone for text messages and missed calls constantly. Still, there had been no response.

When Sharli and Ayana walked up to the somewhat raggedy duplex that Sharli lived in, Ayana had begun to have second thoughts. She knew that she loved her first cousin on her mother’s side with all of her heart. However, she was unfortunate enough to have wound up living with her father’s side of the family. To put it simply, Sharli’s father’s side of the family was so ghetto and sneaky that even they might have had the wherewithal to run the Italian mob out of Chicago. There was just no telling what Ayana would see inside of the house. She simply hoped that the two of them could go upstairs to Sharli’s room and be in their own peaceful world of quiet and privacy.

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