It's never too late!
Hello, Lovelies! Here we are again living what I hope is the best that life has to offer you on this first day of February 2020! I have so much going on it my crazy world so let's begin, shall we?
I chose today's subject because everywhere I look nowadays, people my age or older are knocking down doors and reaching those long, Im sure that someone, somewhere told them were unobtainable goals at their ages and why is that? Because success has no age limit that's why. Whether you're pursuing your diploma or degree, still grinding on working on your music, or a writer like me, the only limitations are the ones you put on yourself, like I have been known to say over and over again: If you have a pulse, you have a purpose!
I truly believe that in my heart of hearts, otherwise why in the world would I be this far out of my comfort zone, blogging and networking and engaging in so many conversations I would have shied away from a couple of years ago?
When I first started this 'book thing' as I have heard the naysayers call it, I told myself all I wanted to do was finish the book I started, after I did that I thought it was silly to just let it sit in a computer never to be read by anyone, so I self-published it. I was proud to see my hard work in print and available for anyone who might want to read it and I thought 'okay I've done' but that'writer's itch' as I have come to call it got louder instead of quieter and I continued to write.
Before I knew it I had self-published 4 books and even a collection of short stories and again I told myself I was finished. So. Not. True! I was on the phone with my daddy, who I affectionately call Mufasa one day basically trying to convince myself why I would never pursue or sign with a publishing company, you know they will stifle my creativity, make money off of my hard work,I didn't want to deal with the critique and rejection of my work and finally, I'm too old to be going that route anyway. Honestly who needs naysayers when you have self-doubt right?!
Well, both Mufasa and my husband who happened to be in our room to grab something, chimed in spitting out facts of all the people who became successful later in life including one of my all-time favorite authors, J. K. Rowling. My daddy always encouraged us to do what we believed in but to keep our feet firmly on the ground while we did, so he said 'If that's what you want to do, then do it, the very worse thing they can do is say 'no'.
So now two years later here we are. I have been signed to Sonovia Presents/Snow Publishing for two years and I'm cranking out books like a madwoman. No bestseller yet but it's coming and I'm working my tail off to make it so.
Truth be known, I am still my own biggest cheerleader and worst critic all rolled into one but the difference is when I catch myself saying things like ' I should have been more serious about writing when I was younger' or 'I am never going to make it in this highly competitive industry because of my age' I remind myself that words AND thoughts have power, so I chose another thought, a better one.
Before I sign off and share a bit more of Light Eyed Girl, two things, First, my newest book 'A Major Jones' is out there in the digital format, I will be working on getting the paperback up and going asap so go check it out, you won't be disappointed and second and most importantly I saw I had an increase in visits to the site this week and I wanted to say thank you for coming here and having a look around. I am new to all this and will try my best to keep things interesting and engaging and like I have said before if you have questions or feedback of any kind, drop me a line I would love to hear from you! Until next time Be Blessed and Be a Blessing!
Light and Love,
Natalie L. Gamble, Author
Light Eyed Girl (Continued)
On Sundays, we went to Arabic class and my Dad lead Taleem when he wasn't working, Rachael and I were finally getting used to wearing hijab and long dresses and had decided it wasn't so bad.
I had talked to Val several times over the weekend and even went to his game on Saturday while Dad was at work so they still had not met, he told me he had to help his Dad do the yard so I wouldn't see him before I went back to Mom’s so imagine my surprise when we walked in the house after class on Sunday and I saw Val and his cousin sitting on the couch.
Dad and Miriam(my stepmother) always drove separate cars to the Masjid so he was already seated in his chair sipping a glass of ice water in his t-shirt and dress pants.
I backed up against the wall and slid my shoes off pushed Alicia and Rachel out of the alcove at the front door before me, When I worked up enough nerve I hurried by them all and to my room to change clothes. I was so embarrassed!
“I thought he was busy today, why is he here?” I whispered to no one when I finally felt brave enough to go back to the living room. I sat on the couch next to Val but didn't look at him.
He and Dad were talking about his stats in basketball and football.
“Alright now that you're both here I want you to know at first I thought Nikki was too young to have a boyfriend but I know she needs to be around people her own age so I’m willing to allow it with the knowledge that you will not do anything I or Nikki's mother and even your parents wouldn't approve of.” My Dad stated looking almost scary.
We both nodded. “I noticed how much you talk on the phone to each other and as long as your grades don't slip Nikki I will allow you that privilege too.” He was staring at both of us he spoke.
I was twisting my rubber bracelets, linking them together on my wrist.
Val and his cousin Daryl were staring down at the carpet I think, I still hadn’t looked over at either one of them.
“Now Val I appreciate and respect the fact that you came over on your own to meet Nikki’s family, I know you told her you had other plans today but I'm glad I was able to meet you.”
Val cleared his throat nervously. “Nice to meet you too Sir.”
Dad picked up his newspaper. “Nikki I’m dropping you and Rachel off in a couple of hours, why don't you take your sisters to the park before we go?”He suggested.
“Yes sir, Rachel and Alicia come on we’re going to the park,” I called out and followed Val and Daryl to put on our shoes.
“Oh and Val?” My Dad called to him.
Val peeked his back out of the alcove. “Sir?”
“Please take care of my daughter when she’s with you I don't want to hurt you son.” My Dad’s face was deadly serious.
I gasped and wished the floor would just swallow me up. I stepped out of the house and onto the porch covering my face with both hands, my sisters ran out of the door towards the park a few minutes later.
Val and I were walking a ways behind them when he grabbed my hand.
“Um, Nikki?” He called my name quietly.
I sighed here it goes my Dad had scared him away. “Yeah Val?”
He smiled down at me “What the hell were you wearing?” He asked me looking confused.
I blushed and started laughing, “Um a hijab and dress.”
Darryl and Val were laughing too. “Okay….but why were you wearing it?” He asked shaking his head confused.
“My Dad is Muslim and we go to the Masjid on Sundays instead of church,” I explained as I watched Rachel and Alicia ran through the grass and onto the playground. They both nodded still laughing.
“I hope you know, you looked funny as hell though.”
I shrugged. “Yeah, I know, it takes some getting used to.”
Daryl ran off to play tag with my sisters, me and Val sat under a tree on a bench.
“Yeah, and your Dad is cool.” He told me still holding my hand.
I smiled, “Really?” I was so relieved and happy to hear him say that! My Dad meant a lot to me and even then it was important for the people in my life to see what I saw.
He nodded. “Yeah, he's scary but cool.”
“Did you have fun Nik?” It was July and Valentino and I were walking back from the arcade.
We had been dating for six months and my Dad trusted us enough to allow me to hang out with Val without the girls as long as we were on our best behavior.
So much had happened in that 6 months and Val had even been allowed to come with us to a few family events and even came when we went to the amusement park.
My stuffed animal collection had grown because of Val, between his carnival game skills or just when he saw something he was always giving me new ones. I now had three of his jackets that I had worn proudly worn to school until the day school let out for the summer.
Now even though it was summer, I always had on his windbreaker with a boombox and graffiti type art drawn all over it.
He traveled all the way up by my mom’s house and met Raunie and Nay, they loved him and said he was perfect for me. We were planning to go on a date with them and the twins we just had to wait for a time when we could all get together.
Val said my kissing lessons were over and I had learned well, I guess that was true because we kissed a lot.
No matter where we were we found a few minutes to spend together.
The top of the spiral slide, behind the rec center, at the park, on the bus when he would ride all the way out to mom’s just to spend time with me before I had to go do chores and babysit at Dad’s.
We were always super careful, I didn't want my Dad to make good on his threat, I loved being with Val and it would have killed me if I had been forbidden to see him.
“Yeah Val I always have fun with you, you know that,” I answered smiling feeling giddy and happy.
He squeezed my hand and got a serious look on his face.
“Val are you okay?” I asked suddenly concerned.
He sighed “Yeah just thinking that’s all.”
My stomach dropped was he not happy with me anymore?! My heart pounded against my ribs in fear.
“About what?” I asked looking down at the ground.
He stopped walking, we were a few blocks away from my Dad’s house.
“I want to ask you something but you can't get mad ok?” I was nervous and scared out of my mind!
“Ok, so ask me.”
He cleared his throat and started to say something and stopped a few times.
“Okay Val you’re scaring me,” I admitted trying to pull my hand away from his, he held it tighter.
“No don't be scared it's nothing bad I just don't know how to say it.” I pushed still feeling my like my heart was going to beat out of my chest.
“Just say it already, if it's not bad just say it.”
“So we’ve been together for a while now and I'm thinking maybe we should do more than just kiss.” He rushed saying looking over at me.
I let go of his hand and looked at him like he has lost his mind.
“More like what? I'm not having sex until I ready and yes I love you but no I’m not doing that right now.” I told him folding my arms, shaking my head.
He was blushing shifting his weight from side to side nervously.
“I know you’re not ready but do you think maybe I could touch you sometimes?” He asked dropping his gaze to his shoes.
This conversation was not the one I wanted to have, not right now, maybe not ever.
“You said you didn't want to scare me? Too late, you just did, you want to touch me where Val?” I asked moving a step away from him.
He turned even redder and swallowed hard, shoving his hands in his pockets.
“You know where Nikki.”
I took another step back from him,
“Why? Why would you need to do that?” I asked him nervously.
He shrugged. “I don't know I just know it will make you feel good, me too.”
I looked confused and shrugged. “Wait how do you know that? And do I have to touch you too? So you’ve done this before?”
My questions tumbled out, my mind was racing trying to understand any or all of this.
“Yes, I have and I’ve done more too.” He admitted looking over at me again.
My eyes grew to the size of saucers in surprise.
“What?! Val we are thirteen how much have you done?!” I asked loudly. He tried to grab my hands I pulled them away.
“Nikki don't be like this.”
I folded my arms.
“Like what? Tell me what you more you have done.” I demanded folding my arms again.
Just then I spotted my sisters on the sidewalk in front of my Dad's house, my Dad must have seen us coming up the street and sent them out to meet us.
“Oh great,” I mumbled and went to walk towards them.
Val grabbed my hand. “Baby wait, I didn't want to upset you so to answer your question, I haven't been a virgin for about a year.” He said quickly.
My stomach dropped and I felt physically sick. No! No! No! I don't know why I just assumed we were both virgins and would be with each other the first time. Oh, I know why because we are THIRTEEN!
“Val are you serious?” I turned on my heels and walked faster towards the girls.
“Nikki wait a minute.”
I ignored him and went to meet my sisters. I wanted to vomit, I wanted to scream, I wanted to get away from Val just for a minute to process what he just told me, he caught up to me quickly.
“So when was the last time you had sex?” I asked, afraid to know the answer.
He looked at me and looked away as the girls met up with us.
“Nikki, Dad said you were supposed to take us to the store then to the park when you got back,” Rachael announced and headed in the direction we had just come from without a second glance.
I moaned, must I deal with these two in the store right now?! I moved to follow the girls who were running up the street.
“Rachael and Alicia stop at the corner don't try to cross without me!” I called after them and Val blocked my path staring down at me.
“Val please move you know they won't wait.” I moved around him and he fell in step beside me.
“Are you mad at me now?” He asked his hands in his pockets.
“Answer my question Val,” I demanded still feeling ill.
He shook his head.
“Later, when we get back from the store.” He jogged down the block catching up to the girls and held their hands and crossed the street.
I dragged behind feeling like the sun had stopped shining, I was so confused once you had sex didn't you need it all the time? Would he break up with me because I wouldn't do ‘it’? Had he had sex with someone since we had been together?
We only saw each other every other weekend at Dad's it made it easier to keep up with us so maybe he had somebody else when I wasn't around?
Rachel and Alicia spent their allowance on jolly rancher stix, now laters, and Rachel bought a pickle.
Once they were loaded down with candy we were headed back to the park when Daryl grabbed Val for a breakdance battle.
I was sitting under a tree twirling a leaf between my fingers trying to sort out my feelings about a half-hour later when Daryl crossed the grass and sat under the tree with me.
“Who won?” I asked him making sure I still saw my sisters playing on the jungle gym.
“We did.” I got nervous when I noticed Val didn't follow him over.
“Where’s Val?” I asked looking behind him.
He was pulling up dandelions letting the wind carry the fuzzy white seeds all over the park.
“Oh, he got poked in the eye and went to rinse it out.” He told me grabbing another one.
I jumped up, “Is he okay?” I was moving towards St Thomas to go check on him.
“Dang girl calm down he's fine.” He chuckled shaking his head.
I sat back down and picked my leaf back up, folding my legs under me as I started to twirl it again.
“You really care about him, don’t you?” Daryl asked me.
“Yes, I do why would you ask me that?”
He smiled and shrugged. “It's just he’s my favorite cousin I don't want anything to happen to him or see him hurt you know?” He looked over at me pointedly.
My eyes narrowed, annoyed.
“Do you really think I would do that? Hurt him I mean?” I asked him about tired of both him and his cousin for one day.
He shrugged again, “He said you were mad at him because he told you he wasn't a virgin.” He admitted to me.
I rolled my eyes heavenward and covered my face.
“No Daryl I'm not mad at him for that I didn’t even know him a year ago, I'm upset that he won't answer my question I asked him after he told me that.”
I looked up and saw Val heading towards us.
“You know what Daryl just drop it okay?”
He tossed the dandelion stem he was holding in the grass.
“Naw you guys need to talk, who’s it?” He called out and went to join the kids playing tag on the jungle gym.
Val walked over and sat next to me. “Hey, you still mad at me?”
I looked over at him. “How’s your eye?” I asked ignoring his question. He turned his head showing me his eye he had a little scratch under the right one. Upset or not I still cared about him. “Are you ok?”
He nodded. “Yeah, I’m cool. Answer me, Nikki, are you still mad at me?”
I flung the leaf, giving him a heated look.
“Answer ME, Val.”
He looked at me for a minute but didn’t say anything. “When was the last time you had sex Val?”
“Just the one time Nikki that's it! Now can we please drop this?”
I was shaking, I was scared to ask my next question but did it anyway.
“Val, will you break up with me because I'm not ready to?” He looked at me like I hit him.
“Oh my God Nikki how could you even think that?!” He demanded getting upset too.
I shrugged. “Because you want more and I'm not ready I don't know when I will be,” I admitted sadly.
“God I’m so stupid I shouldn't have said anything! I asked because I wanted to be honest with you about how I felt you said you wouldn't get mad and look at you!” He was turning red again.
I felt like crying and that made me mad! How did he expect me to react? This was all new to me and I was scared we were even having this conversation.
“Nikki I’m with you every minute I can be and when I’m not I’m at home waiting for you to call before practice, writing you letters when you're at your mom’s. I love you Nikki and I want you and only you, you in the blue.”
We both started laughing I was wearing a short set in his favorite shade of blue. He pulled me in his arms and kissed me “I love you Nikki, and I’m sorry I upset you.” I wrapped my arms around him “I love you too Val and I’m sorry too.”
I stayed with Valentino right into the first few days of my freshman year of high school, then just like that we just drifted apart just as easily as we drifted together.
We seemed to run out of things to say and it was simply over.
I never went too far with Valentino but he did teach me a lot, like learning to trust and what it was like to be loved.
For the rest of my life, I held boyfriends to the standard of a thirteen-year-old boy with wild curly hair and the sweetest ways.
I remember the last time we were together that summer, he had taken me to get ice cream and on the way back to Dad’s it started to rain. My favorite kind of rain too, quiet soft rain no thunder, no lightning almost like a warm shower.
“Nikki, do you think it’s possible that we could love each other forever?” I looked over at him and smiled loving everything about him at that moment, my ice cream melting into a milky puddle at my feet.
“You know what Val? I think we could, isn’t that first loves are for?”