Harlem’s Love Story…
For your reading enjoyment, find the first installment of “Harlem’s Awakening”…This is the “True Hollywood Story” (as it were) behind the love affair between the characters Joe and Harlem that plays out in the cabaret, “Harlem’s Night”.
Iced Ruby....Chapter 1
She sl-o-w-ly stained her lips with another coat of her new lipstick: Iced Ruby Red. It made her voluptuous pout even poutier and that thrilled her in places she hadn't been thrilled lately. She pressed her lips together like a baby-doll's when its string is pulled to say, "mom-ma". With a tissue she pulled from a white fluffy tissue box on her off-white dressing table, she leaned into the oval-shaped mirror and blotted.
It had taken her exactly 46 minutes to get ready (including the four minutes it took her to rush into her apartment and into the shower after working at Macy's cosmetic counter all day.) As she stood to review her masterpiece, she smiled. Her midnight-black silk dress was simple in cut and design but oh-so-rewarding of her many, many curves inherited from the black, brown and beige women that had come before her. It danced around her pretty thighs as she posed this way and that just like the bombshells she'd seen in "Life" magazine. She turned her bell bottom to the mirror. As she craned her neck to check out her rear view, a chocolate-velvet cascade of freshly pressed and curled hair fell over her amber eye. She sent a puff of air to do the job her hands couldn't do and she slid the dress up a bit (its material softly whispering "hello" to the delicate snaps of her black garter attached to her nylons as if to confirm one another's important existence)thankfully, two straight black seams marched up her sculpted calves to the wide band circling her thighs. She giggled, because somehow, those seams made her think of Joe's supple fingers sliding and riding in rhythm along the neck of his upright bass.
She loved to watch Joe play. He was playing again tonight at the Cornett Lounge. She'd met him there one late Tuesday three weeks ago when she'd gone in for a drink with her best friend Cora, who'd been having a doozy of a fight with her loser boyfriend, Harold.
She saw Joe the minute she walked into the haze that cloaked the lounge and its inhabitants. Shed swear they made eye contact, but Cora's wise ass said Joe hadn't paid her no never mind. What'd Cora know anyhow? Nothin'. 'Cause, what Cora didn't know, and what she hadn't been told yet, was that Joe had been payin' attention. He had slipped her a phone number when Cora wasn't looking. The phone number, among other things, had been used often over the past 21 days.
She grabbed an overcoat from her closet. A black wool number with large side buttons and wide flowing arms with mink at the cuffs. It was her reward for four months of eating corned beef hash at home on her couch, rather than steak and eggs at Dolly's corner diner. She felt like Dorothy Dandridge when she wore this coat. It was divine. She picked up her black clutch purse (the one with the gold clasp to match her earrings); slid on her black lace short gloves and pinned her hat on her head, arranging the lattice veil just so.
As her right gloved hand clicked on the porch light and her left reached for the brass door knob, she gasped, "Oh, my lipstick!" (She had been thinking of Joe again).She dashed back into her boudoir, found the shiny gold tube and popped it into her handbag. Then, for safe measure, she straightened the pillow on her bed that was sewn by her mother many years ago. Stitched in bright pink yarn, it bore her name: "Harlem".
(c)2007 Pen and Peppur LLC