April 24, 2014

Creative Sundays: Guilty

Continued from, With Kerry,  part of an upcoming novel by Tiara Faith McCray anticipated in 2011.

When Kerry found out, I was careless.  I woke the next morning to an empty bed.  Kerry’s small black hair band lay on her pillow as if carefully placed in the spot where her head had been.  Her small purple suitcase was gone but her sweet almond scent was still in the air.

It was unlike her to leave without saying goodbye but when I entered the kitchen and Jayna told me she left early and didn’t want to wake me, I accepted that excuse although I should have known better.  Jayna wore one of Kerry’s old oversized t-shirts.  If Kerry was there, Jayna would have been wearing shorts, so I knew it wasn’t an accident when she kept bending over a little too far to get things from the lower cabinets.  I was shirtless and wearing my basketball shorts.  She kept looking at my stomach and smiling.

“Did you have a nice night?” she teased.  I shook my head and opened the refrigerator wishing Kerry hadn’t agreed to let Jayna stay the night.  After we left the restaurant, Jayna started dropping not so subtle hints about her long drive back home.  Kerry offered her my couch until the next morning.  I could still picture her smirking at Kerry and I when we entered the bedroom for the night.  A part of me wanted to take her up on what her eyes offered.  Another secret moment, with Kerry right on the other side of the wall but I resisted.

She sauntered over to me and wrapped her arms around my bare chest, I turned to face her.  She pulled me to her by my shorts and nestled her body into mine.  I sighed deeply. She snapped her head back with her arms still around my waist.

“What? Are you done with me, Nate?” She said pretending to pout.

I wished I was.  I wanted to push her away.  I wanted her to disappear.  I wanted the side of me that lifted her to the small kitchen table and lifted her t-shirt to be buried somewhere far away.  Instead, I buried my face in her neck, kissed her so deeply she could barely breathe.

“Who’s better?” She murmured when she came up for air.  I ignored her. 

“Me or Kerry?” She said a little louder.

Instead of answering, I pulled down my shorts.  She smiled as if that were a good enough answer and pulled me to her. 

“Oh my God.” Encouraged, I continued.

“Oh my God.”  This time I realized it wasn’t Jayna’s voice I heard.  Jayna sat up and placed her hands against my chest pushing me away and staring over my shoulder.

“Nate…” she drifted, her eyes wide.  I pulled up my shorts and turned around.

Kerry stood behind us holding a beverage carrier with three cups of coffee.  She opened her mouth as if to speak but no sound came out.  Jayna crept off the table and gathered her t-shirt from the floor, pulling it over her quickly.

It was so silent as Kerry eyes darted from Jayna to me then around the kitchen taking in the whole scene.  I started towards her and she threw the cups of coffee at my chest, the hot coffee sizzling down my body then onto the floor.

She turned around and headed towards the door.

“Kerry…” I said entirely unsure of what would follow.  She paused and turned around.

“I knew!” She screamed, her voice shrill and uncomfortable, tears streaming down her cheeks.

“I knew but I didn’t want to know…” she breathed.  “I knew but I didn’t want to…” she repeated.

For the first time, I noticed Kerry’s purple suitcase nestled against the side of the refrigerator and her airline tickets on top of her bag.  Jayna knew Kerry hadn’t left.  She wanted her to find out this way.  Kerry lowered her head and moaned mournfully.  She began to sob audibly.  I looked at Jayna cowered in the corner of the room, looking like a scolded child.

“Don’t you look at her!” Kerry yelled in a voice unfamiliar to me. 

“I loved you.” She spat, striking me twice with all of her might in my face.  She said loved like it was a dirty word.

“How could you do this?” She asked as if expecting an answer.  When I didn’t answer, she asked again, and again… pounding her fists into my chest for punctuation, the tears falling freely from her face.  When she lost her balance, I tried to catch her only to be smacked twice in the face. 

I felt emptied and unable to speak.  I had known this moment would come.  In fact, a part of me looked forward to it.  I didn’t want to hurt Kerry but I needed to be released.  I knew I would disappoint her and this day seemed as inevitable as death.  With or without Jayna.

Kerry pushed me aside and began towards Jayna.

“You’re disgusting.” She spat.  Jayna looked away.

“Look at me!” Kerry screamed taking a few steps closer to her.  I grabbed Kerry’s shoulders and she pulled away looking to the side.

“I am better than this.” She said more to herself than to  Jayna or I.

She exited the kitchen and a few seconds later, we heard the apartment door slam.

Not long after, I followed.

Tiara Faith McCray

Tiara Faith McCray

Tiara is native of New York City and reluctant resident of the DC Metro Area. She is a writer in her heart but a lawyer by profession. She is a wife and also a mom to two boys. She is a self proclaimed and self loving oddball. She is determined to find both spirituality and happiness and like any true totalitarian matriarch, impose both on her family. She is wise enough to know that this may not happen simultaneously.

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Creative Sundays: With Kerry

Continued from, His Dirt,  part of an upcoming novel by Tiara Faith McCray anticipated in 2011.

“I wish I could stay longer.” Kerry said, sitting on the edge of the bed and pulling her long braids back into a ponytail.  I had been lying in bed watching the last of the sun escape the horizon outside of my window when she emerged from the bathroom in an oversized t-shirt.  She had just washed her make-up off and her skin was bare and moist.  Her voice was a welcome interruption to the silence I had begun to grow accustomed to.

“Me too, baby.”  Kerry’s flight was at 1pm the next day.

“I know I gave you a hard time about being in New York with me…” She looked back at me, where I was leaned against a pillow propped on the headboard of the bed.  I placed my hands, fingers linked, behind my head, remembering how hard Kerry had tried to convince me to follow her to New York after she had gotten the job offer. 

“I knew I would miss you,” she whined softly. “I just wanted to be close to you.”

“I miss you, too.” I began. “But Kerry, what would I look like following you to a new city with no job and no plan.”  I could feel the frustration begin to rise in my body. 

She turned to face me and crawled her hand on to my lap, placing her hand on my thigh. 

“I don’t want to fight…” she whispered.

Softened, I twirled a few of her braids in my fingertips.  She turned and looked at me and smiled mischievously.  She leaned down and playfully bit my thigh over my shorts.  I laughed.  Encouraged, she bit the other one and I laughed again pulling her ponytail lightly.

“Hey…” she said popping up and laughing.  She leaned into me, her head buried into the nape of my neck.  She kissed my neck twice.

“I love you.” She stated looking into my eyes. 

In that moment, I wanted to grab her and kiss her.  Tell her I loved her too.  Confess about Jayna and swear to never stray again.

Her look changed; she looked worried.  She must have sensed my hesitation.

I grabbed her under her shoulders and lifted her up to my face.  I studied her, looking for a reason in that moment not to feel guilty.

“Why are you looking at me like that?” She said, her voice dripping with insecurity.

“Like what?” I said smirking.

“Like that…” She smiled, embarrassed.

I pulled her face toward me and kissed her.

“You love me, too?” She asked, pulling away and staring at me.

Too much, I thought.

I turned her over on the bed, pulling her t-shirt off, studying her body under the dim light pouring into my bedroom from the street light outside of my apartment.  Kerry didn’t just turn me on.  She got to me.  She got to me in a way where I never wanted to stop touching her.  I never wanted to stop hearing her voice.  I never wanted to stop breathing her in on nights like this.  Jayna accepted me for who I was but Kerry loved me for all that I wanted to be.  I hated the part of me that felt so strongly, that cared so much, that was scared of a world that she didn’t exist in.  I was pretty sure I would have been better off having never known her and I was pretty sure she would have been better off having never met me.

I traced my fingers down the middle of her breasts, down her stomach and down to her thighs.

“I love you, too, baby.”  I murmured, hoping that for this one night, I could hide my betrayal and be the man that deserved a woman like Kerry and her love.

Tiara Faith McCray

Tiara Faith McCray

Tiara is native of New York City and reluctant resident of the DC Metro Area. She is a writer in her heart but a lawyer by profession. She is a wife and also a mom to two boys. She is a self proclaimed and self loving oddball. She is determined to find both spirituality and happiness and like any true totalitarian matriarch, impose both on her family. She is wise enough to know that this may not happen simultaneously.

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Creative Sundays: His Dirt

Excerpt from an upcoming novel by Tiara Faith McCray anticipated in 2011.

I arrived at Mo’s at 6:18pm.  Jayna was waiting in the lobby and Kerry had yet to arrive.  Jayna shifted awkwardly on the lobby bench as I sat down beside her.  I looked at her and smiled.  She smirked.

“This will be interesting.” She said shrugging.  She was wearing a form fitting yellow camisole and white skirt.  When she shrugged, one of her straps fell to the middle of her arm just above her elbow.  I reached over and pulled her strap back over her shoulder letting my fingers linger and looking into her eyes.

“Don’t make it more than it is…” I began, my finger lingering under her strap rubbing her skin with the back of my nail. “Knowing Kerry, if she knew something was going on between us, she wouldn’t be inviting us to dinner.” I whispered.

She laughed.  “I’d be missing and you would be dead.”

I removed my fingers from her shoulder and placed my hand under her chin. 

“Well, Nate, maybe we should have some more fun before we die.”  She said staring at my lips.

I could feel myself getting excited.  Kerry could walk in at any moment and I couldn’t help but think of being with her best friend just before she got here.  I pictured Jayna flush, a little out of breath and hugging Kerry when she arrived. 

On the bench in front of ours sat a fairly overweight blonde woman looking at us with a small smile.  She grinned uncomfortably and looked away embarrassed to be caught witnessing our intimacy.  I smiled back and kissed Jayna heedlessly, closing my eyes and pulling her closer.  Lost in the moment, I could care less if Kerry walked in at that moment.

“I could do this right here.” I said, leaning back against the wall and wiping the small beads of sweat that had emerged on my brow.  She laughed. “I would let you.” She replied.

I glanced at my watch.  Kerry said she may be a little late, I thought.  I could tell her we were both in the bathroom. I planned, contemplating taking Jayna to the Men’s room.  A part of me wanted Kerry to wonder but have no idea.  I wanted her to kiss me and feel the subtle difference.

“After Kerry gets here, why don’t you meet me in the bathroom?” Jayna said looking intently into my eyes as if reading my mind. 

“Sorry I was late, guys.” Kerry walked in closing her umbrella.  Jayna stood up and embraced her. 

“Hey, baby.” I said as she pulled away from Jayna.  Kerry reached her arms around my waist and kissed me.  For some reason, I glanced over at the blonde woman who was no longer smiling but glaring at me, shaking her head before looking away.

“We are still waiting for a table.” Jayna said.

“How long have you been waiting?”  Kerry asked with a hint of irritation.

“I just got here…” I began.

“I was here at about a quarter to six… actually the hostess said the wait was about thirty minutes so we should be sitting by now.” Jayna offered.

“Let me see what’s going on.” Kerry said, walking off, taking charge as usual.

“Tell her I went to make a call and met me in the bathroom.” Jayna said as soon as Kerry was out of sight, squeezing my forearm.  She walked off, glancing over her shoulder and smiling at me, ensuring I would follow.

She knew I would.

“Our table is ready.” Kerry said beaming and resting her hand on my chest, clearly impressed with herself.  “Where is Jayna?” She said taking my hand and looking around.

“Went to make a call, I think.”  I looked at her take it in.  No reason to doubt me and still smiling slightly.

“Baby, why don’t you hold down the table while I take a quick whiz?”

“Okay…” she said, she tilted her chin up for me to kiss her.  I gave her a quick peck and smiled.  Sensing her disappointment, I added, “Just a few minutes, baby” as I sprinted off to the Men’s room.  It was more like ten when I met Jayna, who was waiting for me in the fourth stall just as ready as I was.

Tiara Faith McCray

Tiara Faith McCray

Tiara is native of New York City and reluctant resident of the DC Metro Area. She is a writer in her heart but a lawyer by profession. She is a wife and also a mom to two boys. She is a self proclaimed and self loving oddball. She is determined to find both spirituality and happiness and like any true totalitarian matriarch, impose both on her family. She is wise enough to know that this may not happen simultaneously.

More Posts - Website

Cakes She Makes

Since I was young, I can remember helping my mother bake cakes, cookies and pies in our kitchen.  I never thought in a million years that I would be using the skills that I have learned to start a home-based-business.  It started about 11 years ago, when my oldest daughter was turning 8 years old.  I wanted to give her a cake that was all for her and about her.  She had become a big sister for the first time, and she needed to know that she was still mommy’s sweetheart.  I decided to make her a barbie themed cake.  I have to admit, I didn’t know the first thing about fondant, or how to make frosting from scratch. I knew nothing of the types of things you see today in my cakes but I did my best.  As long as my baby loved her cake, I was satisfied.  Needless to say, she loved it.

With each cake I make, I try something new.  I started working with fondant but at first had no idea what I was doing.  The first cake I made proved unsuccessful, though it looked very pretty.  I noticed that people were peeling the fondant off before eating the cake (the fondant really didn’t taste good at all).   I then searched far and wide (internet) for a remedy to this problem until I came across a recipe for Marshmallow fondant. I started to work with this new fondant and the peeling stopped and it was definitely tastier.  I decided that from now on, that would be the medium I would use.

Having an art background, I felt that designing and sculpting cakes were not a difficult task at all.  I made anything from bears to hats, a bus, pumpkins, and other artistic things that come to mind. What really pushed me into a career of making theme cakes was the father’s day cake I made for my husband.  I wanted to make him a cake that put him in his element.  Him being a Pisces who loves taking bubble baths, I made a jacuzzi cake with him in it, of course. He loved his cake so much that he showed everyone he  met.  From that cake, I gained new clients and I began taking classes at the local Michael’s store not only to brush up but to learn  new cake decorating skills to please my clients and challenge myself. I have also considered taking culinary courses in the future, so that I can be certified in the pastry arts. Working with fondant is now one of the most popular mediums I have worked with, but now I work with chocolate as well. I have made so many interesting cakes but, to this day my husband thinks the pizza cake I made for a friend at Comedy Central is the best.

July 3rd is my grandmother’s 83rd birthday, and my Aunt has asked me to make her something fabulous and that defines her life experience.  Since she was born in Harlem in the 1920′s, a Harlem Renaissance themed cake was the theme we came up with. Being a person who is very interested in Harlem in that era in history,I was so thrilled to create a cake in honor of this positive time in black history.  I have been drawing and researching images so that she can have the perfect cake for her party.  Out of all of my cakes, this is my most anticipated because I am anxious to witness it’s outcome.

I am in the process of making a website where my cakes can be seen. I also have a blog dedicated to my cake making adventures.  cakeshemakes.blogspot.com/

Because I can

Of the many things I struggle to reconcile as: a woman of color, artist, mother, wife and feminist, is the ambiguity between the things I can do versus those things I wish to do. The pressure to prove my strength and gain validation in this world-both internally; amongst family and peers and externally, amongst society is at the very least an exhaustive undertaking.

For example, a woman of color has not lived until she’s announced that she can unabashedly “do bad all by her [insert damn if we're talking really bad] self”. And, boy have I lived, I’ve lived badly enough to know that, yes, I self-assuredly can do bad all by my damn self. However, in the lowest times it was being with my lover, my husband, my partner, my friends that assuaged the depravity of it all. It was the weekly therapy sessions, the medication to control my depression, there was comfort in knowing I was not alone. It was in communicating (and sometimes just plain cussin’ and shoutin’)through those times that proved, I can do bad all by myself, but I also learned, I have no desire to. Human beings are social creatures; women are human beings.

There hasn’t been a fish fry or girl’s night in yet, where a Labor Horror Story Crown hasn’t been placed. A pox on you if you opted for the drug-me-and-wake-me-when-the-baby-coos route. But why? Medical complications aside, surely you can deliver this baby. Keep in mind also, either the delirium of pain or narcotics will almost certainly ensure your story will not be retold quite as it happened. Of course, you can deliver naturally but must you? Further to that, what if you simply opted out of having children altogether and feel quite sated with your Lhasa Apso cues tar and feathering. Creation has gifted us with the capacity to give life, medical science has gifted us with the option to choose if and how we do it.

Twelve hour holiday meal prep, ankles swollen, back aches, curls done dropped, flour where foundation used to be, a cooking grease stain on your favorite blouse-peering across a table full of smiling or just gaseous faces. “You can slam pots, girl you put your foot in everything that leaves your kitchen, but did you really want to”? I happen to throughly enjoy cooking, but know many friends and relatives who find it deplorable,yet commit to the task year upon year. Not only can we cook, but we can eat other people’s cooking once in a while!

Sometimes, when I look at my proverbial hat rack, un/homeschooling, home making, business owning, artist, mother, wife, friend, lover…I marvel that I can do all of these things and still look so damn good doing ‘em. But, do I really want to? To me, being a feminist speaks of my commitment to equality not super human capacity. Being a feminist means not having to do bad all by myself. Behind every good man is a great woman…being a feminist means having a great man/woman to hold me up when I fall short of my greatness. Being a feminist means living a life of my own design simply because I want to and denouncing those things which inhibit my spirit and complicate my plan, because I can.

What will you do, who will you become; the choice is yours and yours alone.

Grace, Beauty & Wisdom: Original artwork by: T.Allen-Mercado 2008. Please do not alter, copy, use or distribute without the artist’s explicit written consent.

T. Allen-Mercado

T. Allen-Mercado

T.Allen-Mercado is a mixed media artist, award-winning essayist, student of anthropology, blogger, wife and, mother of two.

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