Imani and Braxton:A Compton Love Story

By: Keisha Simpson-Baker



“I’d love to come. What kind of event is it?”

“It’s a talent show, we have comics, dancers, singers, spoken word and the tickets being sold will fund the youth group trips.”

“Sounds cool, what time should I be there?”

“It starts at six. I won’t be able to pick you up, though, since I’m setting up and hosting.”

I was dying to know if Kayla was going to be helping out but I didn’t want to look jealous, so I didn’t ask. “I’ll be there. I’m excited.”

“Great, I’ve been telling people about you, so I really want to show you off.”

I understood that I needed to come looking my best. “Brax, don’t worry. I won’t embarrass you,” I said with a wink.

“Naw, I didn’t say that. It’s just that having you around will really stop all of the Kayla rumors going around that place.”

“Rumors?”

“Well, I guess Kayla’s been running her mouth around the church about how she and I should be together after we spent the summer together. My family caught wind and to them, it seems like a match made in heaven. They think she’s the perfect churchgoing girl who can do no wrong, and they’re really good friends with the Richardsons.”

This wasn’t going the way I thought it was. I knew it could be hard for me if his parents had already handpicked the girl they wanted Braxton to be with. All I could do now is be the same sweet girl that I’d always been and hope that his family liked me as is. “Wow. No pressure, huh?”

“No, no pressure at all. I’m sure everyone will love you.”

Braxton leaned in and kissed me on the lips. In fact, that’s how we spent most of the rest of lunch time. I knew Braxton was a strong Christian but he was never shy with showing me affection. After we walked back to the main campus, Braxton gave me a hug and told me he would talk me later on.

Back at home, I decided to get to work on my article on Kayla. I didn’t want the unpleasant task hanging over my head the entire week. Knowing I couldn’t write exactly what I wanted to write, I had to settle on a paper that put her in a decent light. I wrote about how she’d transformed over the summer and how much the church meant to her and how she planned on staying involved in the future. It was a good enough essay and it was all I could do with the limited information that she gave me, and I was hoping for a B or better.

As I was wrapping up my essay, Braxton instant messaged me.

Braxton: Do you know this girl seriously called me about that essay?

Me: I’m not surprised, what did you tell her?

Braxton: The truth, that you’re a gorgeous, smart, wonderful young lady.

Me: Are you trying to piss her off?

Braxton: No, I’m not trying to hurt her feelings. She told me that she was signing up to help Saturday with setting up the talent show. But don’t even worry about it, Imani. The church is so big and there’s so much to do that I doubt I will even say two words to her.

My stomach took a dive at the news. Kayla just wouldn’t give up.

Me: I’m not worried, I just know that she’s persistent and it’s too bad your mom loves her because that’s only going to make it harder for me. I feel like an outsider to a world that you and Kayla have together.

Braxton: There is no world with me and Kayla. Hopefully in the future you will decide you want to join the church and then you can be involved with everything like she is.

Me: I can see how important it is to you so I’ll consider it.

Braxton: Alright, I’ll talk to you later sweet pea.

I put the phone away and completed the last paragraph right as I heard Mom’s key in the door.

“Imani, where are you,” Mom called frantically through the condo.

“I’m in my room. What’s wrong?”

She entered my room with a face that told me she was clearly excited for something. “Imani, I just go a phone call a few minutes ago from the Wisconsin scholarship committee! They looked at your application and they want you for an interview! You just turned the application in today and they already want you! Oh my God, this is so exciting. I think you have a shot at this, girl!”

“Mom, it’s still a long shot. There are so many people going out for this. Ms. Aguilar said they would have a quick turnaround time when she sent my app in this morning. Wisconsin is a really good school. I’d be lucky just to get in, let alone a scholarship.”

She just waved her hand at me as if I was speaking nonsense. It was hard to dampen her excitement but I knew that there were thousands of applicants and I’m sure a lot of them were smarter than me, went to better schools than me and were just overall better candidates than me. I hated to disappoint my mom, and I usually satisfied the goals, hopes and expectations she had for me.

“Anyways, I scheduled you for an interview this Friday at noon. I want you to make sure you have some nice clothes ready to go, ironed and everything. You’re going to go to the Fluff and Puff Thursday afternoon so Kori can do your hair. I already took the day off from work, so we’ll leave in the morning and eat breakfast downtown. I don’t want to risk being late.”

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