Excerpt from the unfinished novel, Leaving September, by Sandra (Xanii@aol.com)
continued from previous installment
Reggae music played in the background of children splashing in the pool. Barbecue smoke trifled in the air before disappearing. The hazy sun began its descent into the horizon. The little neighbor children came and left in droves. M'Taii just checked on them every now and then and sat lazily on one of those inflatable pool beds, a mixed non al beverage in her hand. Sam had arrived and made quick work of being the Mother Hen of the shifting droves.
"Ms. M'Taii, can you help me swim in the water? Mama said I had to ask you first."
M'Taii was awakened by a small high pitched voice which happened to belong to Sams' daughter, Ashley.
"Sure Ms. Ashley! Now, are you certain you want to get that pretty bathing suit wet?"
The peanut butter color haired girl, twisted her foot in her sandal and thought for a minute.
M'Taii adjusted her fisherman's hat to the back of her head and paused while she waited for the little girls answer.
"It will be okay with Mama."
"First, let's get those water wings on missy."
And she began making swimming gestures with her arms.
M'Taii gathered the small Ashley in her arms and placed her on her wet lap on the side of the pool.
"Wanna learn a swimming song?"
"It goes like this..."
Sam watched as M'Taii armed Ashley with the water wings and sang a catchy song while they prepped for the pool. Once they were set, M'Taii slowly lowered Ashley into the pool and helped her to maneuver her way around the other rowdy children.
"She has always been great with children."
A small slightly feminine voice breathed the comment over the sizzling grill.
Sam turned and faced a slight man with dark hair and equally impressive dark eyes and eyebrows.
"Yeah, she seems to be. I'm sorry, have we met?"
"No, I don't think so. Are you the infamous Dora I've heard so much about?"
"I'm afraid not. My name is Samantha Doltaire. I did some work on M'Taii's house. Are you family?"
"No, just a friend."
Sam got a bit nervous and excused herself to get M'Taii and to alert her of the newcomer. When Sam gathered the un happy Ashley in her arms and turned to point M'Taii to the person, he disappeared.
"I think that grill is making you see things Sam."
"Well go check for yourself."
M'Taii exited the pool in a splash of water and adjusted the bum portion of her swim suit. Sleek water jettied down her camel colored legs as she made quick business of cutting the corner. She caught sight of the tail end of the persons pants and began a slight jog to see if she could catch up.
"Hey buddy! Can I help you? " She yelled at the persons back.
"Only if you let me get my gift from the car."
"You were always good with voices."
The tan toned stranger turned around and removed his dark glasses. M'Taii ran to his arms and gave him a whopping hug, nearly making them both topple over.
"I can't believe it!! Oh I can't believe it!"
"You should know me better than to leave and not come to visit."
"I was sure you had finally fell off the face of the world!"
"C'mon baby... you should know me better than that!"
Alex was one of the few friends M'Taii had managed to keep track of from her high school days. They had a few classes together and even went to the same college for a while. Alex was the keeper of all of M'Taii secrets.
She drew strength from his solid quiet nature. He was around for support when M'Taii came out and when she and Dora became a serious item. He was a bit gothic in his lifestyle, preferring dark to light and solitude to crowds but he was good people. He consoled M'Taii on those nights when things didn't make sense and on those reverse nights when she realized the total reality of it all.
"We should have became and item. " She smiled widely and tucked her arm behind and around him while he placed his arm across her shoulders and kissed the side of her face warmly.
"If I was a girl or you were a man." He looked at her with fake bedroom eyes.
"Now Alex! Don't tell me you and Todd are still together! You promised we would be together " She teased.
"Baby, if you have a few good hours and a good stiff drink, I'll tell you all about it. If not, hush your beautiful lips!"
They burst into a cackle of laughter, then hugged some more.
"Well, you have to tell me who that fair Maiden I met earlier was. Don't tell me Dora is out of town and the purring cat is playing...?"
"No Alex, that one crazy time was enough. Besides, I have to tell you all about it friend. I hope you're here for a while."
"I'll be in town for a few days. I hope it'll be enough to catch up."
"We'll make it enough, we always do. " She smiled up at him as they walked back, arm in arm, around to the waiting pool party.