Sunday, July 21, 2013

Enjoy a sneak preview of my upcoming novel, "Dating Pinnochio".

                                                DATING PINOCCHIO


                                                  Greta Bondieumaitre


Tisha is on the look out for the man of her life. Drew will do anything to help her find him. But when they run into two best friends and a super sexy rogue, theres a slight change in plans.

 Two not-so-sweet, headstrong cousins, three not-so-innocent men. With all the lies surrounding them, will Pinocchio’s nose ever stop growing? 


There’s something about a small, pointy nose that makes you want to kiss it. Dwight Harrison was not a nose person, but the young woman sitting across from him on the bus had one of those cute kissable noses, and for the past fifteen minutes, he hadn’t been able to tear his eyes away from her. It wasn’t every day you happened to see a small, pretty black woman with such a thin aristocratic nose. And somehow it looked perfect on her face.
     She had on large dark glasses that rested on top of it and tiny headphones that disappeared into her ears, and she seemed to be almost dancing in her seat. Her hair was pulled tightly into a bun on top of her head with a pink band which matched her pink mini-skirt and sneakers.
     He looked out the window at the thinning shrubbery. They would soon be in town. His reflection looked back at him, a bit blurry, from the lightly tinted glass. He wasn’t bad-looking, he knew, but today handsome would be a more fitting description. His white dress shirt was tucked into long black trousers and his short dark hair was brushed back, exposing a strong, manly forehead over dark, naturally shaped eyebrows, piercing dark eyes, a small button nose and a small round mouth. If he added a smile to that, he knew he’d look smashing. Maybe it would be a bad idea to let such an opportunity go to waste.
     He looked over at the young woman again, still absorbed in her music. He should ask her out or at least try to make conversation that would end with her phone number in his pocket.
     He held on to the overhead bars and made his way toward her. As he took the last step —he was now close enough to touch her—she looked up.
     The bus suddenly slammed to a stop, and Dwight jerked forward, his hand slipping from the metal bar. He tried to balance his six-foot-plus body, but gravity wasn’t to be denied, and he landed hard on the floor. He hadn’t realized that in his panic, his hands had landed on her chest.
     Alarmed, she looked down, taking in the hands grasping her perky right breast, the rest of him lying on the floor at her feet. The other passengers were staring at them, and he heard a few giggles coming from the children aboard.
     “I’m—I’m so sorry!” He let go of her as if her flesh had burned his fingers, and he shot upright. Something like annoyance flashed behind her sunglasses, but she smiled tightly at him.
     “It’s okay. Just be careful of where you fall next time.”
     He nodded dumbly, and just then the bus pulled away from the curb, almost sending him reeling onto the girl again.
     Luckily, he grabbed the railing in time and avoided looking down at her. This hadn’t been his idea of “talking” to her. Now she thought he was a klutz, a complete loser. He couldn’t blame her. He thought he was a klutz and a loser. At least they would have agreed on one thing if their conversation had gone beyond his imagination.

The bus to take her home from downtown Castries had been canceled, and the next bus was in two hours’ time. Tisha felt hungry, dirty, sweaty and shitty as she strolled about town, looking for nothing in particular, trying to kill time. She had her small overnight bag, which hadn’t seemed so heavy last night, slung over her shoulder.
     It was a good thing it was Saturday and she was not working today. She was tired enough as it was, and being cranky all day was not part of her job description. After last night, she was through with sleeping over at guys’ homes and especially lying to her parents about her whereabouts. Only her cousin/best friend, Drew, knew where she’d really slept—at a twenty-year-old’s house. No, that wasn’t correct. She’d slept in a twenty-year-old’s room at a center for disadvantaged young professionals, which had segregated dorms.
     First of all, Tisha had just turned twenty-five two months ago. She should have known that that had been a bad idea from the start. But then again, at twenty-five, she should have known a lot of other things, too, like not wearing sneakers with skirts.
     She also shouldn’t have had to lie to her parents about her whereabouts, but she was a single child and they were kind of old-school.
     Tisha had had her ups and downs with men ever since her seventeenth birthday, when her mother announced that she was allowed to date boys. But in the past six years of her life, men had done all in their power to disappoint her. From cheating to changing sex to abandoning her when she got pregnant, she’d thought she’d seen it all. Her love life had been hell recently. But she was sure that there was a good man out there that God had created just for her, and she was determined to find him even on a small island like St. Lucia.
     She and her parents had lived in Milwaukee for eight years before deciding it was time to return home to give their only daughter a normal, happy Caribbean life. She’d never groaned about leaving the states or her old friends. The prospect of living in the sun like in the bright, sunny movies she’d seen on television had been too exciting. And it had been perfect.
     She’d met the rest of her family, all except two aunts living in Europe, and she and her cousins hit it off at once. Drew had been her favorite from the start, and it was no surprise that they became best friends.
     The children at school, though, hadn’t been very friendly at first. She had been the one with the weird accent whom they looked at in awe whenever they thought she wasn’t looking. They’d nicknamed her “Pinocchio” because of her thin, pointy nose that her father told her was lovely and aristocratic. But she knew he was only saying that because when her nose had grown and grown, he’d asked her mother for a paternity test, which confirmed she was his daughter and for which her mother had never completely forgiven him. He was guilt-ridden and forever praised her aristocratic nose that she hated so much.
     Even at a young age, she couldn’t really blame her father for doubting that she was his child. She didn’t look anything like him except for her dark brown complexion. She had her mother’s high forehead, chiseled cheekbones, slim form, full lips and steady chin. But the gray eyes and the pointy nose, no one could explain.
      She didn’t really care about all that. What she hated was always being pointed out in a crowd or being told by a stranger that she had a lovely nose or, by crude boys she’d turned down, a beak. And so her nose had tormented her all her life, even though she knew that if she looked closely it was in proportion with the rest of her face and that it just stood out.
     If she had to admit that, she’d also have to admit that with a shorter cut, some hair texturizer and occasional makeup, she’d look like Eva from America’s Next Top Model, with more nose. But she didn’t want to be Eva, she just wanted to be left alone with her beak.


     She looked over at Drew, expecting to see a hint of approval or something encouraging, but her cousin looked horrified.


“You must be kidding me, Tish. You can’t withdraw from the dating market. You, Miss Romance, going through all that crap to find ‘the one’? If you do, you’ll have gone out on all those horrible dates for nothing. And besides everybody says that after the storm comes the sunshine. If you can have all those horrible dates one after the other, then when the wheel turns around, you’ll have only good dates one after the other.”

“Oh please! That’s not how things work. I’m cursed with bad dates just like that girl in Rachel Gibson’s book I borrowed you. Didn’t you read it? ‘Not Another Bad Date’? Didn’t you see the resemblance between us?”

     “Ummmm…. No,” Drew scoffed. “She’s white, you’re not. She lives in Texas, you don’t. She’s full of cash, you’re definitely not. She’s got her own house – you’re still living with your parents.

“It’s not that bad. I could afford a place of my own if I felt the need to,” Tisha said a little defensively. Drew only looked at her with a small telltale smile on her face – the one Tisha absolutely despised. Her cousin was her best friend but sometimes she could really be annoying – like now.

     Drew’s face suddenly lighted up.

“But I have great news – better news than you going off the market.” Tisha sat back down skeptically. She would have loved to escape this ‘great news’ into her bedroom, but she knew Drew would follow her there.

“According to a dating magazine I was reading recently, you could change your bad dating life into a more positive one with only a few words,”  Drew continued, the bright smile not leaving her face, even though Tisha was barely paying her any attention. “You want to know how?” No answer from Tisha.

     “Well, I’ll tell you,” Drew said, answering her own question. “It’s all about karma and positivity. Come I’ll show you. Anything is worth a try with the kind of luck you have.” She grabbed on to Tisha’s arms, pulling her off the couch and unwillingly into the center of the living room.

“Hold your arms straight above your head, close your eyes and repeat after me,” she instructed.

“Drew, I don’t think so.”

“Come on Tish, this’ll only a take a second and I memorized the whole chant just for you.”

“The things I let you drag me into. Okay, go ahead,” she said, sighing and doing as Drew asked.

     “Concentrate on what life you want for yourself, with what partner, including what you want him to be like, look like... Are you seeing it?” Drew sounded like a trance master. Tisha gave a small nod in response. “Okay, now repeat these words, still keeping the picture in your head.” Tisha nodded again, visualizing the perfect marriage, perfect husband, perfect enchilada. “Rickety rackity racka rick, change my bad dates into good ones. Make them what I wish them to be. Make me appealing to those that appeal to me. Ricket Racket!”

     Tisha repeated what she thought of as nonsense, three times as Drew asked her to, then opened her eyes and burst a gut laughing, her first laugh for the day. But this time Drew was serious.

“Drew, where do you get this nonsense from?” She collapsed onto the couch again and Drew came to sit on the armrest.

“This ain’t no nonsense girl. According to a test they did on fifty women who claimed to have bad dates all their lives, it worked for forty-five of them. So who knows, it might work for you.” She gave Tisha a small smile before getting up, slowly straightening out her tall frame.

     Despite her earlier annoyance, and disbelief in Drew’s theory, Tisha smiled back warmly at her. She knew Drew only had her best interest at heart.

“I think you deserve a nice date for once cuz.”

“And what’s about you Ms. Drew? Don’t you deserve one too? When was the last time you went on a date?” It seemed a laugh boiled up from the pit of Drew’s stomach before coming up in her usual guffaw.

“Girl I don’t have time for that, and you know I don’t believe in all that ‘love forever’ theory. A good date would only be wasted on me. Now kiss kiss, I got go to. I’ll see you later tonight. And if anything else pops up, you know, your usual juicy dating dilemma gossip, you know at what number I’m at.”

     She blew Tisha a kiss before running out the door. Tisha picked up her overnight bag and went into her room. She didn’t even bother to undress before lying down flat on her back, opening and closing her legs as if she was making a snow angel. She stared up at her sky blue ceiling like the rest of the room. The serenity of it calming her, washing over her like a gentle blue wave.

     It reminded her of where she was in the world and what a blessing it was for her to be able to live this life after eight years in a bleak, boring Milwaukee. After all these years in St. Lucia, she was still marveled by the wonders of the place. The forever bright colors and true dazzling sunshine. Maybe life wasn’t as bad as she made it sound after all.

     She thought a little back to last night, a small frown forming on her face. If only she could be as positive as Drew about finding ‘the one’. But her life seemed to be going in one direction and one direction only – away from that ‘one’.


Trying out blogging, let’s see how good I am at it ;)

Extract from "Play Me A Love Song"


Greta Bondieumaitre

Chapter One

     “So here’s my stop. I’ll talk to you later,” I say to Claude, an ex-colleague I was walking with before I spotted the Giga Music store on Rue de la Folie.
     “Okay, well, I’ll see you sometime. You know, we still miss you at the restaurant. You should come see us one of those days,” he says, waving as he continues on his way, leaving me standing nervously in front of the small music store’s windows. I stare at it a few moments, before taking in a deep breath and walking in. The automatic doors open and close behind me with a small swish as I enter into the dark interior of the store.
     Bonjour,” I announce to the gray-haired lady behind the counter. She isn’t very courteous and barely casts me a glance. A little flustered, I rub my hands together and take a look around at the array of guitars hanging from every wall.
     I’ve been here before. It was to buy a small microphone for my PC. And the atmosphere was the same—not very friendly. This lady should really work on her customer-communication skills.
     “Can I help you?” a male voice asks from behind me. I can’t believe it, but I almost jump out of my skin. Don’t know what got into me. I whirl around to find a tall brown-skinned man with really deep dark eyes whom I hadn’t seen the last time I was here. He must be the new sales guy.
     “Yeah, uh, yes,” I stutter without pausing to think. “I’m looking for a guitar.”
     “For you?” he asks matter-of-factly.
     I hesitate before answering. What am I doing? I can’t even identify the strings of the guitar. I can only play one-half song! I bite back my pride, hoping he won’t ask anything about tones or whatever.
     “What price range are you looking at?” Another awkward moment. I hate to admit that I want the cheapest product anywhere, but I don’t have a choice. A guitar is not a necessity and I am working on a budget. Again, I bite back the sour taste of my pride being drained from me.
     “Umm … What’s the lowest you’ve got?”
     He smiles at me charmingly and grabs a guitar from the hook and starts to play around with it, hitting some high notes, then lower ones. I guess that’s what they call tuning a guitar.
     “This is a good one. And it only costs one ninety,” he announces. Only costs one hundred and ninety Euros! Who does he take me for, a millionaire? Is it the English accent? French people always think English people are rich. And I’m not even really English—St. Lucian, to be exact. I chew on my bottom lip in agitation. I absolutely hate to disappoint cute salesmen.
     I remember when I went into the optician’s place once, just to check out the range of prices, and ended up buying three pairs of eyeglasses on credit, just because the sales guy was super cute and he had deep gray eyes, which looked right into me. I broke a pair two weeks later just so I could bring it back and probably flirt with him. Of course, I dressed to kill. When I got there a nerdy man in thick Coke-bottle glasses told me Mr. Cute Sales Guy no longer worked there.
     So, he’s fixing me with a brown stare awaiting my response. What the heck am I going to say? I can’t buy this guitar now. I only have one fifty and I can’t exactly ask him to give me a discount. I’ll look cheap and broke—the latter of which I am. Maybe I could just smile and tell him I’ll come back for it. I try to think fast, casting a glance at the gray-haired lady at the counter, who isn’t paying us any attention. Just as well.
     “Hmm?” he insists, and I turn to face him. His hair looks so soft and curly and he has the cutest birthmark ever on his left cheek. Heck, I’m gonna’ take that guitar!

     How did I end up in this music shop that would change my life for good? It’s so complicated that I don’t even really want to get into it. But just so you understand what my life was like before I bought my precious guitar, I’m going to tell you.
     It all started a week ago when my “boyfriend,” Moham, introduced me to his old guitar and taught me one of his compositions that I fell in love with, as I had with him. I was really pissed off that day after having not seen him for the last two weeks. But when I held his old guitar in my arms for the first time, I realized that was exactly the distraction I needed to avoid feeling so lonely and abandoned. The feeling of power that came with holding an instrument with so much authority was exhilarating.
     I guess since I mentioned Moham, now I have to tell you more. Okay … I met Moham two and a half months ago. I wasn’t looking for a boyfriend, having just gotten out of two confusing, complicated relationships and survived a heartbreak (that’s no longer important). We met at a rollerblading rink and made an appointment to go rollerblading together the next week. I didn’t think anything of him at first, just that he seemed nice, had a nice muscular body—and that I didn’t want a man. Well, we hung out for a couple of days and got to know each other.
     He was a young fireman and lived only thirty minutes away from my home. At that time, he’d been on vacation, so we took the opportunity to see more of each other.  Somehow he managed to get into my panties and the rest of me.
     But now, his vacation is over. He’s back at work at nights and at school during the day. He’s obsessed with passing his “upgrading” course, and apparently not even I can stand in his way. So basically, I see him once a week and sometimes less. Over the past three weeks I’ve been stressed to the point of wanting to cut my hair out—bald! What, with being unemployed for six months and suffering from LOF (lack of friends) disease. Hence the reason Moham suggested that I find an activity.

     Now I rush out of the music store to get to the bank before it closes. Heck! How do I end up embarrassing myself like this all the time! I asked the salesman to charge the guitar to my Visa card, which happens to have a glitch at the moment. He tried it three times. Finally, when I thought I would die of embarrassment, I decided to go to the cash point instead. I should have thought of that first.
     “Excuse me!” I shout through the shut door at a short balding man behind the counter at the bank. He waves me away. I knock loudly and he finally approaches and cracks the door open—not enough for me to get through.
     “We’re closed,” he states simply.
     “I’m sorry, but doesn’t this bank close at four normally?” I insist.
     “We had to close early today. Sorry. You’ll have to come back tomorrow.”
      My eyes open in horror at his words, but he doesn’t seem affected.
      I consider my options whilst he stares at me. The next branch is at the other end of town. By the time I get there, the music store will be closed. The salesman will think I took him for a ride and I won’t be able to show my face that side of town again. I stare down Mr. Baldy. Who ever heard of a bank that didn’t have a cash point outside?
     Suddenly I’m furious. I need that guitar—today! I push pass the astounded man, who is almost filling the doorway and shove my way into the interior. Before he can shout for security, I am already running to the cash point at the far end of the room, my Visa card in hand.
     I tap my security code quickly as the bulky security guard walks toward me, the same time as a furious Mr. Baldy.
     Hurry! Hurry! My heart crashes repeatedly into my rib cage. What had taken over me! I think I’m beginning to go crazy!
     “Madame, you are not authorized to be in here,” the security guard says gravely just as the machine spits out my money. Whew! I turn around and smile nervously at him.
     “I’m sorry, but this man over here”—I point in the direction of Mr. Baldy. His face is an angry red—“is really harsh. And I have an emergency. I need this money.” I wave the fresh wad of cash at him. “And besides, it’s mine.”
     “Okay, that’s enough. Could you step outside please?” he asks, frustrated, and to my horror tries to take me by the elbow. I rush away from him as fast as my small heels will allow.
     “I’m going, I’m going!” I reach for the door and almost run out into the late afternoon sunlight. That’s one branch I’m not going to be visiting soon!
     I walk into the music store, relieved that it is still open, my forehead beaded with sweat. Heck! I don’t even have a tissue and the salesman has already spotted me. He waves me over and I walk slowly toward him, digging in my handbag for my money.
     “Is that a karaoke software?” I hear myself ask him, pointing to a red and white box atop a shelf labeled “No Voice,” as he inspects the guitar for any faults.
     “Yes, you like singing?”
     I nod hesitantly. “I’ll take that, too,” I say and a big smile spreads across his face. I think about what else I could get if only so he could smile some more.
     “You’re trying to set up a studio at home?”
     “Nah, no, not really. I’m just learning with the guitar.”
      He nods, and puts the guitar in its case and hands it to me. I hold it awkwardly in my hand, not really knowing what to do with it.
     “It’ll be easier if you put it on your shoulder,” he suggests, grinning at my chagrined smile. I quickly switch the guitar from my hand to my shoulder and turn to leave.
     “Aren’t you forgetting something?” I turn around and he’s holding my “No Voice” box. I sigh miserably. Why am I such a klutz? By that time I feel so stupid I just want to get out of there. I can’t even look him in the eye. I just need to go home and lie down. But when he hands me the software, he holds on to it longer than necessary and I look up at him. There is something strange in his gaze that I can’t identify. He’s no longer smiling or grinning, no longer the “salesman.” It’s as if he understands what I’m feeling right now.
     “If you need help with your guitar lessons, you could come here on an afternoon and we’ll practice together. By the way, I’m Jonathan.”
     My eyebrows shoot skyward at that and I would like to feel my heart soaring at his suggestion. But I’m still crushed by my clumsiness and the events of the day that I just don’t care anymore. It’s obvious nobody taught me how to behave in the presence of good looking men. My mother would be so disappointed.
     I whisper, “Thanks, I’ll think about it. I’m Gina,” and make for the door.
     As I walk home, guitar on one shoulder, my box of “No Voice” in hand, I’m hoping this will be enough of a distraction to keep me from humiliating myself for a long while.

     Saturday night finds me sitting in the small ground-floor apartment where I live alone, wondering what about Moham I like so much. There are tears in my eyes and I feel like a good cry. I’m so lonely. I don’t want to comfort-eat, because I’m trying to lose some weight. I feel hopeless and abandoned.
      I’ve tried to call Moham ten times, but he isn’t answering. I’m hoping his excuse is work. He isn’t responding to any of my text messages either. Every time I check the phone and there’s no new message, I feel like a mashed potato. I feel like throwing away my cell phone! What’s the point of having it if I can’t get in touch with the person I need the most right now.
     I hate myself for being so dependent on someone who obviously doesn’t care about me or else he’d be here. I walk into the kitchen slowly, dejectedly and look in the refrigerator. Good thing I don’t keep comfort foods around or else I’d be a stuffed potato instead of a mashed one right now. I walk back into the room and collapse onto the bed. Maybe I’ll drown in my sorrows and die during the night.
     The next day brings no comfort to my tortured soul. Instead of feeling better, I get up with a stuffed nose and rush to the pharmacy to nip the bug before it gets a good hold.
     I have so many things to do today, but I come straight home from the pharmacy and take two paracetamol tablets. I start to gather my documents to go out later to the various offices and organizations.
     The phone rings out rudely and I jump. There’s drool on the side of my face and I am lying face down on the couch. Those paracetamol tablets gave me a good hit.
     I don’t bother to take the call, because it’s already ten o’clock and I’m going to miss most of my administrative appointments.
     An hour later, I hurry through one office to the next, one sour receptionist to the next until I am so exhausted I don’t feel like walking home. I decide to take the bus and save myself some stress. I wait sourly for ten minutes until it comes along and I get in hurriedly without paying close attention to its exact spot on the line up. I sit myself behind a skinny old man and rest my head on the back of his seat. I don’t get up when the bus pulls out of the bus stop, but two minutes later I realize that it’s going uphill.
     This is not right. We’re not supposed to be there yet.  My head is so heavy that I don’t feel like looking up, but I finally do and it’s just as I feared. I’ve taken the wrong bus.
     I get off grudgingly at the nearest stop and have to walk home through the back road after all. At that point, I’m not even upset anymore. I’m working on automatic. If I get annoyed, I’ll get hysterical, and that, I don’t need right now. The town fades into a residential area as I walk, paying no attention to details and the persons going the other way. This feels just like my life. I’m passively watching as I grow older, my life passing me by, shooting straight down the drain. 
     Soon, I’m unlocking my apartment door. The door opposite opens before I’m in and my elderly neighbor pops her head out.
     “I thought it was you,” she says. “The landlady passed a little while ago. She asked you to call her.” I nod and close the door in her face. Just what I needed to complete a day from hell. I head straight for my bedroom and bury my face in my pillow.

     My karaoke software isn’t working. I was in such a hurry to purchase it that I forgot to check the systems requirements. This software only works with Windows XP, and I have Vista. Problem: I’ve already torn up the box! Way to go, girl!
     I dress quickly in black skinny jeans and an orange mini T-shirt and head down to the music store. I hope there’s something Jonathan can do for me. Jonathan …  I haven’t even had the time to think of him since the day I bought the guitar at his store. I’ve been so down that I haven’t even had time to think of me. It’s way past time for a change.
     I put on a bright smile two buildings away from the music store. It is a Wednesday afternoon. I bought the guitar a week and half ago. I’m hoping he remembers me. I walk into the store gallantly, hoping the distress of the past few days doesn’t show. But the interior of the store is so dark and gloomy that I can’t help grimacing. I try to focus on the gray-haired lady sitting once again at the counter. I wonder if she’s Jonathan’s mother.
     Bonjour,” I greet her, and this time she responds in kind. “Is …”—I don’t want to call him by name, just in case she finds it too familiar—“the guy here?” I ask, feeling immediately silly.
     “Jonathan? Yes. Jonathan!” she shouts, looking up at the ceiling. I wait a little impatiently until footsteps are heard coming down the side stairs. Jonathan pops his head through the side doorway.
     “Yeah?” Then he sees me and smiles brightly. I’m so taken aback by this greeting that instead of smiling back or greeting him, I’m rooted in place, feeling and obviously looking confused. He approaches me and I catch myself.
     “Hi. Do you remember the software you sold me?”
     He nods, stopping just inches from me, and I remark at how tall he is. He stands at least a foot and a half taller than me, dabbing at his mouth delicately with a napkin. My eyes are drawn automatically to his wide, sexy mouth. Okay, I’m intimidated. I feel like forgetting all about the stupid software and getting the hell out of here.
     “Yes, the ‘No Voice’?” he asks before I can decide whether to run or not.
     I nod, grateful when he stops dabbing at his mouth and throws the napkin into a nearby bin.
      “Is there a problem with it?”
     “Um, actually, yes. It doesn’t work with Vista and I’ve already thrown the box. I’m so silly,” I say, chuckling.
     “No problem. I’ll just call up the company and ask them to send me an update.” I nod. He is smiling at me again. Is he mocking me? I can’t believe he can be interested in me. Who would be? I mean, I’m not bad-looking, but I have huge thighs, a big butt and am half-crazy.
     “Just call me tomorrow morning,” he says, bustling into action, and gets me a flier with the store’s number on it.
     “Okay,” I say, taking the flier and jamming it into my handbag. I’m ready to say goodbye, but he leans back slightly on the counter and starts to speak to me as if he is in no rush to let me leave.
     “So, how are your guitar lessons going?”
     I hesitate, wondering if a lie would help.
     “Um, not too good.” I give him a nonchalant smile. “I’ve barely strung two notes together.”
     “Do you have a teacher?”
     “Um … no. I was hoping to self-learn.” I shrug.
     “In that case, I thought you’d take me up on my offer?”
     Heck! I’d forgotten about that. “Oh!”
     He shrugs at me. “Why not? I get really bored around here, and you don’t have a teacher, so I’d say it’s a win-win situation.”
     I nod slightly. “Okay, maybe next week.”

     At four thirty the next afternoon, I walk quickly to get out of the rain, my flip-flops going, “klip klop” on the wet pavement. A feeling of déjà vu comes over me as I head in the direction of the music store. I think twice about going in, but finally the need to get into a warm dry place wins out.
     Jonathan is alone this time. The gray-haired lady is nowhere to be seen. He gives me a surprised look as I walk in.  “Oh! I completely forgot. Weren’t you supposed to call me?”
     “Sorry, I lost the number,” I admit, leaning a little into the counter he’s sitting behind.
     “Okay. Well, it’s too late to call the company now. We’re six hours behind Paris, so I’ll have to do that tomorrow. Can you call me in the morning?”
     “I’ll try not to lose your number this time. By the way, can I have it again?”
     He laughs and places another flier in my outstretched hand.
     “So tomorrow then?” Why did that have to sound so much like a date?

     Today I’ve found new motivation for living. After all, it’s Friday. Maybe I’ll even go out tonight. And maybe I just might meet Mr. Right and forget about Moham. The most I’ve heard from him in the past two weeks is one lousy text message saying he’s sorry about not coming to see me but he has projects for the future that can’t wait. In short, he won’t come. I feel so much better. Yeah right!
     I wish I could hate him. That way it’d be easier to forget about him and end the dependence crisis.
     In any case, I’m not going to think about him today. I’m an attractive twenty-four-year-old, almost single St. Lucian woman in a magnificent little Paris in the Caribbean. All the gorgeous Martiniquais/French men are dying to go out with me, and I’m pining over someone who’s only 5 centimeters taller than I am, who doesn’t spend money on me and who never has time. How much lower can I get?
     So I’m headed to the pharmacy to buy some makeup. If I want to feel at my best tonight, I need makeup to cover the few marks on my face left by late-teens acne. I speak with confidence to the pharmacist who is helping me pick out the right shade for my light brown tone. She proposes a creamy one that matches my shade perfectly, along with dazzling blue eye shadow. I am so happy about my purchases that I am skipping along the street on my way home.
     I live just outside of downtown Fort-de-France, so instead of taking the bus for a three-minute ride, I walk, hoping my efforts will tone my thighs a little. I don’t think it’s really working at the moment, but it’s always nice to take a pleasant walk on a late afternoon.
     I am so deep in my thoughts, still skipping along, that I don’t notice someone beckoning to me from a deep-red family car.
     “Hey!” a male voice says laughingly from the passenger seat. I approach slowly. It’s Jonathan.
     “Hi,” I say slowly, looking into the car. There are two little boys in the back and a young woman at the steering wheel. I say hello to her but wonder why Jonathan would call me over in the presence of his family. He has a family?
     “After your phone call this morning, I managed to download the update for you. Do you have a flash drive or something to save it on?” he asks me nonchalantly and too friendly for my liking. What if this is really his girlfriend and kids? What must she be thinking about him being so nice to me?
     I can’t imagine what my face must look like, because I am very uncomfortable with the situation. Looking down at my clothes, I am even more flustered and embarrassed. I have on baggy Bermudas that make my wide butt look even wider, especially with the big sleeveless Idon’tgiveafuckwhatanyonethinks T-shirt I have on. Guess who gives a fuck now.
     “Okay. Well, I’ll bring it by tomorrow then.” I suddenly remember to smile. I wave and walk off a little less enthusiastic than before.

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