Excerpt from the Forthcoming Release HONEY BUN
Mapleton, North Carolina Monday Morning
The sound of Mama’s voice calling her pulled Mina out of her dreams. She peeked out of the covers and saw Mama standing in her bedroom door, dressed in her work uniform.
“Go down to your grandmama’s this mornin’” Mama said. “She got a couple a bushel baskets of snap beans, and you know her arthritis pains her.”
Mina snuggled back under the covers. “Yes ma’am.”
She was sore. Lord, she was sore! Hidden under the covers she hugged her pillow closer, smiled and sighed. She’d never felt this good in her life.
She was about to go back to sleep when she remembered something. She sat up quick and pushed the covers away. “Mama!”
Mama came back to her door with her eyebrow raised.
“Troy asked me to go with him to New Jersey for the Fourth of July,” Mina said.
Mama cocked one eyebrow higher. “And?”
“Well, um…I’ma go…”
Her mother put her hands on her hips. “I see. And how long you plan to be gone, Wilhelmina?”
Troy said ‘bout a week…”
“Oh he did, did he?”
“And you just gonna jump up and go ‘cause he said so?”
“I thought you was gonna start work at Georgia Pacific next month,” Mama said. “You can’t just get a new job then up and leave for a week like you somebody special, Wilhelmina. Them folks will show you how special you are by firing you before you get your first paycheck.”
“I gotta go, Mama.”
“Why—‘cause he said so?”
“I asked him to take me with him, then he said he was gonna ask me anyway.”
Mama came in and sat down on her bed. “Baby, love is the most beautiful, special feeling in the world when it’s right,” she said. “When it’s right, it’s all you can think about and all you want to do. But you can’t be a fool over it for too long. You can’t let it get in the way of life; make you do things like make you lose your job when you barely started working.”
“I know, Mama, I know. I know I gotta work. But all I wanna do is be with him, all the time.”
Mama hugged her and said, “It feels kinda good being a fool, don’t it?”
Mina smiled against her mother’s shoulder. “Yes ma’am, real good.”
Mama kissed her on her cheek and got up. “Well, I got to get on to work, ‘cause both of us can’t be fools.” She stepped to the door, stopped and turned back. “Wilhelmina, I changed plenty of your dirty diapers when you was a baby. But just so you know, from here on out, a grown woman changes her own sheets when her and her man gets ‘em wet. And the only place she ought to be doin’ that is in her own house.”
“Your mama tells me you found you a fella,” Grandma said.
They were sitting on straight-backed chairs on her Grandma’s back porch, snapping butterbeans.
“Yes ma’am,” Mina smiled.
“Mmm-hmm, you sittin’ over there just a glowin’, child. You happy?”
“Yes ma’am.” Mina’s smile grew. She couldn’t hold it in.
“He twidlin’ your stuff good?”
“Your mama said you stayed with him up yonder in Franklin t’other night, in a motel. Said that won’t enough and you had him in your bed, too.”
“Lord, Mama gotta tell everything!”
“You thinkin’ ‘bout marryin’ him?”
“We just met, Grandma,” Mina said. She tried to look and sound sensible, but the thought of marriage made her heart take wings and flutter up to stretch her smile out to her ears.
“What’s that got ta do with it? Child, you sittin’ over there ‘bout to come out yo skin you look so joyful. I could see that if I was blind. Man make you feel like that, you ought ta marry him.”
Mina sighed and snapped the beans and made herself not scream that yes, she would marry Troy before he could drop halfway to one knee to propose to her.
“Your mama said he’s goin’ off to the service. You worried ‘bout that?”
“Guess so.” Mina didn’t want to talk about that. She didn’t even like thinking about it. She wanted to think about Troy leaving as something very far away for as long as she could.
“Well, yo mama says he’s a good boy, and a right smart boy. And she thinks you already got his heart, even if he don’t know it. If that’s how it is—if he’s like she says—well even if he leaves, he won’t be leavin’ you, baby. A good, smart man knows where his treasure lies. And mark my words, he’ll always come back to his treasure. If he’s the right kind of man, that’s what he’ll do for sure.”