Fiction Friday: Summer Rain

“Ugh. These children get on my nerves,” Sherri mumbled to herself as she reached for a bin near the back of the storage unit.

She closed one eye to avoid the sting of sweat that trickled down her forehead and the ladder she was delicately perched on offered little support. She managed to get a firm grip on the box and pulled it towards her, letting it fall to the floor. Sherri sighed before stepping off of the ladder. She examined the splash of contents and bent down to retrieve the denim jacket she’s had for the last twenty years that her fifteen-year-old insisted on wearing for Spirit Week. An old jean jacket from the 1990s for 90s Day is what’s up, Mama.  Sherri rolled her eyes then and rolled them again at the memory. That one takes after her daddy.

Where’d she get off calling my stuff old? Sherri thought, That’s vintage, honey.

Sherri tossed the jacket aside and turned the container right side up, examining it for any damage. When she found none, she tossed everything back in, jacket on top, and dragged it outside where it was much cooler. Once she was comfortable on her back patio with a cold bottle of water, Sherri busied herself with the mindless task of re-arranging her memories. Then she saw it. The photo album from summer of ’97… Charles. She hadn’t thought about him in years. After that summer and the semester that followed, she’d lost contact with him. Of all the past exes, flings, and crushes who had reached out to her on social media, he was the only request she might have accepted—before marriage, of course. But it just seemed like he vanished from the face of the earth. Sherri opened the album, smiling as she was transported back in time…

July 1997

“Hey girl!” Natasha, my designated summer best friend, came in and plopped down on my roommate’s twin bed. She flung her large braids over her shoulder and crossed her legs.

“You know Latoya don’t like you sitting on her bed,” I reminded.

“Girl, you know I don’t care nothing ‘bout what LaToya ‘don’t like.’ Let her say something then.” Toya, every bit the Southern belle, wouldn’t utter a word. I repressed a chuckle as I loaded my notebook & books in my backpack.

“What’s up, girl? I’ve got a meeting with my advisor at two and depending on what she says, “I may have to swing by the library, too.”

I was initially excited about the summer research program when I applied during the Fall semester; mainly because it came with a $3000 stipend, paid in four equal installments. But my advisor was a beast. I felt like I was writing a doctoral dissertation. But she insisted that I needed to be equipped to write “publishable” content.

“I forgot you got that crazy lady,” Natasha made a face and stood. “I’ll walk with you over to the English building.”

“Cool,” We exited my room and I locked the door, “You still haven’t told me why you came by.”

“Oh yeah, I met some guys who are here for summer school and they invited me to a party.”

“What kind of guys?”

“The kind I like.”

I looked at Natasha sideways, “Breathing?”

She laughed, completely unfazed. “That, too. But jocks. Big ones, girl.” Natasha’s New York accent was its thickest when she was excited or angry. “C’mon, you’ve been living like a nun for the last three weeks. We are young; we’re fine…in this city where no one knows us; on this beautiful campus. Live a little.”

Natasha had a point. “What time?”

“I don’t know, Brian said to swing by any time after nine. I’ll see if Erica and a few of the guys want to join us.”

“Cool,” I said. “Might as well do something I can look back on and hope none of my future children do.”

Natasha laughed, “Atta girl. Wear something cute.”

I snorted, “Don’t I always?!”


To be continued…

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