Imani and Braxton:A Compton Love Story

By: Keisha Simpson-Baker

Friday, October 1, 2014

Braxton Carter was 5’10” with dimples that were often revealed with the usual smirk that could be found on his face. He had 100% of my attention as I had his and I was loving it. Never mind what was going on in the front of the classroom; nothing else mattered at this moment.

This particular Friday I wore what my best friend Tasha called a “man catching outfit.” Skin tight jeans and my low cut shirt emphasized every curve of my size ten body. I decided to wear a cardigan just so I wouldn’t be bothered with the school staff talking to me about the dress code. I was a good student so most of the teachers would overlook it this one time. My hair was flat ironed, reaching a couple of inches past my shoulders and Tasha had done my makeup earlier that morning.

Tasha and I had been best friends for most of our lives. We met in kindergarten and it was a case of opposites attract right from the start. I traded her my chocolate chip cookies for her bag of chips and we had been inseparable ever since. Now in high school, we had different interests and had very different opinions, but like the sisters we claimed to be, we always resolved the problem and moved on. This was senior year, though, and I didn’t want anything to spoil it knowing that it would likely be the last time Tasha and I would be in school and share the same classes together.

“Imani, you look really pretty today.”

“Thanks, Brax. I have a dinner to go to tonight with my mom.” This was entirely a lie but I wasn’t going to let him know I’d dressed up for him.

“Well, I’m glad it’s with your mother and not some dude.”

My honey colored face turned bright red. “No, you know I don’t have a boyfriend, Brax. No dates or anything for me.” I had been dropping major hints the past month that I was desperately available and the lane was wide open for him.

“Yeah, how would you like for me to fix that?”

“Fix it how?”

“Come on, Imani. Stop playing. You want to be my girl or what?”

At this point I couldn’t help but to smile. “Yeah, actually. I would.”

Now he was smiling.

I just about floated through the rest of my classes, nothing could get me down. I was finally Braxton’s official girlfriend and I told Tasha all about it on the way home from school.

“Girl, I told you with a little makeup and the right clothes on, you can catch any man you want to,” Tasha exclaimed.

“I guess you were right.”

According to her, Braxton’s asking me out had nothing to do with the previous weeks that we had been talking and everything to do with the mini makeover she gave me. I didn’t care, I let her take credit.

“So girl, what are we doing this weekend? Wanna hit the mall?”

“That sounds good. I have to fill out this scholarship application that the counselor gave me but I could do that tonight and be free for tomorrow.”

“Now that you have a man, you gotta keep your game tight. You know how these chicks are. As soon as they see a good guy is taken, they are out for the kill.”

Tasha was right. Our school, like most, had its fair share of girls with questionable morals, and once a guy was taken, they seemed to find it a challenge to see if they could have him. If I had plans on keeping Braxton to myself (which I did), I knew I’d better keep up this new appearance. Luckily for me, Tasha was a fashionista and also very good with hair, nails and makeup.

“Okay, Tash, pick me up tomorrow around twelve.”

“Alright, girl.”

As I approached my condo building, I was hoping that the scholarship application wouldn’t take more than a couple of hours. After long week of school and homework, spending time writing an essay was the last thing I wanted to do on a Friday night.

This particular scholarship was for the University of Wisconsin. I felt like it was a longshot since there were thousands of kids trying to get this scholarship, but I was going to fill out the paperwork anyway to try my luck. I’d looked on the school’s website and realized that it was my dream school since it had such a large breadth of sciences, but after I clicked on the tuition information, I realized that without this scholarship, Wisconsin would remain just that–a dream. There was no way I could go without a ton of student loans on Mom’s mail carrier salary.

The essay didn’t take me long to complete so I was free to enjoy my weekend and think about Braxton. I decided to make some spaghetti before my mom came home. A few minutes after I finished popping in the Texas toast, my mother walked in the door with her hair looking a little disheveled and her post office uniform still on. Despite her apparent rough day, she was still very pretty. Lucky for me, I looked just like her; a filled in frame and sandy brown hair embracing her honey-colored face. I didn’t have to worry about what I would look like in twenty years.

“Hey, baby girl, how was your day?”

“Everything is going good, mom. I finished my application for that Wisconsin scholarship.”

“Oh, that’s great, Imani,” she said with her whole face lighting up. “I have a really good feeling about that. I did some research on it and you fit the description of a student who gets one of those scholarships! Have you decided what other schools you will apply to, just in case?”

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