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More Than Your Walk Matters

Are Olive and Salomi true friends?

By Tiffany Gordon Published 3 years ago Updated 10 months ago 6 min read
22

Olive surveyed the lavender-grey sky just above her bedroom window. A storm was on the horizon; she could feel it in her wrists.

As if on cue, a bevy of evergreens residing in her backyard began to violently sway to an unknown beat.

Heavenly rain showers arrived next; bathing the chaotic atmosphere with a long overdue cleansing.

Olive was completely lost in thought, until the sweet smell of pumpkin-spice cocoa beckoned her into the kitchen where she found a small volcano of liquid sweetness erupting all over her stovetop.

Olive sighed loudly in frustration to keep from cursing. This was the third cup of cocoa that she had let boil over this week.

Olive's mind was currently being held hostage by worry and her level of uneasiness let her know that worry wouldn't be cooperating with the authorities about her mind's whereabouts anytime soon.

Olive's only child was in trouble. The type of trouble that would inevitably land him in the dirt or in jail. In fact, her last encounter with her son had scared her so much that she decided to call one of her sorority sisters for comfort.

Salomi Hampton answered Olive's call on the first ring:

"Hey gurrl," Olive said weakly.

"Liv, is that you? Why you soundin' like you need revivin'?" Salomi replied with a chuckle.

"I'm super worried bout' Tras Jr.," Olive revealed.

"Oh Lord, Liv! What's he doin' now?" Salomi asked curtly.

"I ain't that good wit' exposing my feelings...so...it's best I read from my journal," Olive responded bashfully.

"Alright Liv, you've got seven minutes, seven slim minutes... My stories are fixin' to come on,"Salomi warned, as she glanced at the clock on her kitchen wall, then bit into her blueberry muffin.

"Here I go," Olive said in her strong southern accent.

"October 3rd."

"Spitwell thinks he's tough, but I hear him boohooing in his room each night, just like a newborn babe. Spitwell? Ain’t that somethin'? He's been Mr. Trason Leon Spitwell II for the twenty-two years that I’ve known him, but since he's come home from Iraq he won’t respond to nothing but Spitwell."

"Yessiree it sho'll is rainin' the blues for Mr. Spitwell. He tries to mask his pain by blarin' that vulgar rap music while he’s in the midst of a cryin' fit, but what he needs to do is put on a little gospel music. Thank you, Jesus! and take a bottle of Jack Daniels, just one now! when the pain hits! "

"But seriously, I’m worried bout' my baby. He flies off the handle if his coffee ain’t warmed just right and he wears them stinky combat boots, even in the shower. Talkin' bout’ he don’t want the sand to burn his feet. But Chile, I ain’t seen no sand yet."

"And, every mornin' at 7AM sharp, he pulls a beat-up, unopened, brown paper package out his closet and gives it a salute. I ain't never found out what's in it, cuz he guards it wit' his life, and he gits mean as a rabid dawg, if anybody gits anywhere near it. Cujo ain't got nothin' on Tras during them moments."

"One day, he even mistook a pinecone for a grenade, and this morning, he threw his plate of grits at the wall so hard that the plate fractured into itty-bitty pieces. If I don’t do something about things soon I could be next…” Olive concluded as tears rolled down her cheeks.

"Woman up, Liv! Dry them eyes," Salomi interjected with the intensity of 1000 freshly uncapped Roman Candles on the 4th of July.

"Spitty ain't a toddler no mo… tell him bout' hisself. He's bout nuts wit' two t's from that damn war! He needs some help, as the Spanish folk say: Ahora! Ahora means now in Spanish, if you didn't know, Liv. Now get a move on!" Salomi continued.

"Serenity Church has free counseling for veterans at 9AM every Thursday. Walk...No run Spitty…over there, first thing in the mornin'. Now, I'm done with this conversation Liv! I’m tired of you whinin' bout' Spitty all the time. He don't need no mo breastfeeding! He just needs some of that tough love that that fine veteran's counselor Sargent Stoneridge is always handing out. Stoney's been where yo boy is at, remember? Now, I ain't got no mo' time for this foolishness. I cain't feel sorry for a youngin' who won’t help hisself," Salomi concluded, rolling her aquamarine eyes as she bent down and adjusted the pink bow on her right house-shoe."

Olive was stunned by her friend’s ant-sized level of patience and non-existent amount of compassion.

Was this really the same "amiga" that she spent all summer comforting when her in-laws rejected her Hershey-colored skin and told her that they would never accept anyone darker than a kraft caramel into their family?

As a light-skinned Black woman, who was often praised for her light hue, Olive hadn't faced the same colorist discrimination from the black community as Salomi but she knew wrong when she saw it and she believed each shade to be equally beautiful therefore she complimented Salomi's beautiful dark hue every chance that she got, like a good friend should.

Olive's temper began to bubble and fizz wildly, like her favorite peach soda water, Big Daddy C's used to when she shook it up too much as a kid before she opened it. She was officially sick of Salomi's rudeness and it was about time that she spoke up about it.

Just two months prior, Salomi had accused Olive of lying about having Fibromyalgia so that she could get out of having to give her year-end work presentation on time and because she missed serving the homeless, with her sorors, on Thanksgiving day.

As Olive thought about Salomi's bogus accusations, she could feel a migraine the size of Mt. Kilimanjaro coming on but she still managed to muster up enough mental strength to firmly say:

"Hold up DJ!"

"Stop the record!"

"You're bein' a hypocrite! I caint believe your chuckin' stones at me for ventin' when you constantly electrocute my ears with stories bout' your in-laws not servin' you potato salad at holiday suppers, makin' tarbaby-like remarks about you & Blue's future kids, and them “giftin'” you with bleaching cream for yo birthday. "

"As for counselin', I think you need to take a “run” wit' me and Spitty over to Serenity tomorrow to enroll in their new: Compassion Fatigue course so that you can reconnect with peoples again. It meets at 11:30AM. You're tha best RN I know but you been actin' like you don’t care bout' nobody outside yo self for a long minute now. Remember Lomi, more than your walk matters! Other people’s pain is just as significant as yo own! Now, let me git off this phone and rub down these “fake” fibro pains!" Olive concluded as she abruptly hung up on her stunned "friend" before she had time to respond.

Olive knew that she wouldn’t hear from Salomi for a long time, if ever, because of her frankness, but asserting herself was more important. Olive's newfound strength made her feel like she had superpowers. She knew that her grandmother: Florida-Mae was smiling down on her from paradise that day and saying to herself, it's about darn time young lady, it's about darn time, and frankly that was all that mattered to Olive in that moment.

Short Story
22

About the Creator

Tiffany Gordon

I am a super-spiritual, fun-loving artist, writer, & peer-counselor residing in the Pacific Northwest. I am also an Institute of Children's Literature alumna who enjoys writing about the triumph of the human spirit.

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  3. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  1. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  2. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

Add your insights

Comments (4)

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  • Novel Allen11 months ago

    Wow! What a conversation, selfishness rules doesn't it. Friendship is not one sided. True friends listen and give advice that is needed. Great story of how not to be a bad friend.

  • Loved the conversation between Olive and Salomi

  • Lively stories, I enjoy your characters and dialogue.

  • C. H. Richard2 years ago

    I reread this story as I previously hearted. Really well done. The conversation between these friends is spot on. Nicely done. I liked that Olive stood up for herself.

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