Imani and Braxton:A Compton Love Story

By: Keisha Simpson-Baker



“Okay, Ms. Aguilar.”

In homeroom, Tasha immediately began rapidly firing questions at me before I could even take a seat. She had seen the whole Facebook post and wasn’t taking it as well as I was. Tasha was a ‘hit first, ask questions later’ type of person, and I really wasn’t trying to escalate the situation with Kayla. I figured if Braxton and I both ignored the antics, she would eventually disappear, but Tasha wanted to take action and fast.

“I say we let Kayla know who she’s dealing with. How dare she try to talk slick all over Facebook. Oh, and you know that ho comment was about you.”

“Yeah, Tasha, I know. I don’t want to fight the girl. I just want her to leave us alone.”

“A good ass whooping will make that happen.”

Fighting wasn’t my style at all. I had been in one physical altercation in my life when I was five with cousin Tiana over a Barbie doll. No one really got hurt but it was enough for me to retire my boxing career right then and there. Tasha had a few big boned cousins that she gathered up any time she needed to scare somebody or prove a point. Even if I did take action against Kayla, it would only make me look bad in front of Braxton. That just wasn’t the image I wanted to portray.

“Tasha, I think Braxton put her in her place the last time they spoke. He made it very clear that he wants me and that she doesn’t have a chance with him.”

“I’d still keep my eye on her if I were you.”

I had no intention of doing otherwise.

I was a little anxious for my first class of the day because it was one I shared with Kayla, and I wasn’t sure what her reaction was going to be. I sat in my usual spot by the window. Kayla entered the class and sat across the room and began to talk loudly and animatedly to the girl next to her. The bell rang and everyone was seated and quiet for the most part. Mr. Mitchell took to the front of the room and began speaking.

“Okay class, so today I have a special project for you. Today we are going to work on journalistic interviewing reporting. I will split you into pairs and the two of you will get ten minutes each to ask questions of your subject, and then you will spend the week writing your subject into a well-written feature article. I’ll be choosing the pairs.”

We recited numbers around the room and of course, Kayla and I had both picked the number nine and were going to be paired together. I swore under my breath as I noticed we would be paired up. I would have done anything to trade numbers with anybody. All the students got up from their seats and positioned themselves to face their partners for the interviews. I waved Kayla over to me since I had an extra seat nearby. This was going to be a hard interview for me because I knew everything that she wrote to Braxton about me, so I had to control my emotions.

Mr. Mitchell went on to describe the project. “I want you to complete this assignment as a mock magazine article so I need you guys to find out what makes this person interesting enough for people to read about him or her. You need to tell an aspect of this person’s life in a way that’s intriguing to your reader to get them to buy your magazine. Now in the real world of journalism, you might not get even five minutes of a person’s time, you may only get a press conference and you have to tell the story in an interesting angle so people read your article over someone else’s. I also want you to come up with a catchy title and a quote to capture the reader at the beginning.”

I knew I already had a million things I could write about this girl, none of which were good. It was going to be hard for me to find something nice to say but I needed a good grade on the assignment. As long as she kept it professional, I would, too. It wasn’t worth receiving a failing grade just to mess with this chick. Besides, I already didn’t need to fight for Braxton–I already had him.

“Alright, I’m going to give you ten minutes for person A to interview B then we’ll switch. Ready, go!” Mr. Mitchell started his timer. I looked at Kayla and gave her a weak smile.

“I guess I’ll be person A,” I said.

“I guess so.”

I had to think quickly to get this girl to talk to me. I had to see where her head was at concerning Braxton. I couldn’t help myself so I asked her, “Kayla, why don’t you tell me something interesting that happened over this summer.”

Her somber face broke into a grin. Obviously, summer brought on fond memories. “This summer was probably the best summer I’ve had in my life. I was able to do a lot of volunteer work with my church and really made some great connections with other fellow Christians.”

“What led you to get involved in the church?”

“Well, I’ve always been involved but this summer, I’ve really dedicated my life to living and doing the right thing. So anyways, me and one of the other volunteers at the church got really close and got to spend a lot of time together…Do you know Braxton Carter?” She put on this face that was puzzled and so fake. I hated when people asked questions they knew the answers to. It only meant they wanted to set up their next play.

“Um, yeah, I know him. Actually, Braxton and I are together, like boyfriend and girlfriend.”

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