Excerpt: Love Theories by C Jefferson
In our lifetime, we all experience it. It’s that intimate tugging at our heart that controls our thoughts and our actions. Love Theories is a fly-on-the-wall moment into how others interpret and ultimately function given varying heart-to-heart interactions involving the universal feeling of LOVE.
Xiomora is a bi-racial teen struggling to find her place in life. Antonia, a recent college grad, meets a disc jockey and ends up in a world of trouble. A blue-collar working Wyatt, battles an unfair system to clear his name after his wife’s sudden disappearance. Majesty and Ainslie, best friends, face life challenges but with different responses. Jordan—the fearless, punctual, and sometimes ruthless venture capitalist—stands her ground in a male dominated industry. A Barbadian girl with big dreams leaves her home country in pursuit of higher education in the United States. A career-driven Angelina, once blinded by love, tries to give Cupid’s arrow another chance despite her mother’s interference. And the list goes on along this journey into the lives of an interracial couple, a culturally-biased doctor, a fraud examiner who has to withdraw from a case that involves her ex-lover, a rich man seeker, and a single mom who left her former church on bad terms.
They are each normal, everyday people, but they all are dealing with the most common and universal emotion known to man. Love Theories asks the question: How do YOU equate LOVE?
In The Middle
The breezy weather blows the palm tree leaves in a mild way as the green-violet colored hummingbird sucks out the nectar from one of her neighbor’s plants. Out of nowhere, a large honey bee goes around in circles, making loud buzzing noises while she’s moving in the opposite direction, trying to fan the stinging creature away from her. Obviously the Cotton Candy scented Calgon body mist she sprayed after swim class caught the bee’s attention. Just like Calgon’s slogan, she was hoping the day would could where someone would take her away from the madness at home.
The cookie-cutter, Orange County homes with driveways filled with cars, motorcycles, and children playing in the nearby park, wasn’t much different than the interior of her home. It was a neighborhood that screamed of peace, comfort and security.
Looks can be deceiving.
Before reaching the steps to the house, a sharp pain rushed through her ear, reminding her of that terrible day.
“Look at you. Rough hair, light eyes, thick lips and you’re much too big for a Chinese girl. You won’t make any friends. In my country, your kind is nothing more than peasant farmers.” Her mother spoke in a tone slightly above a whisper as her daughter’s eyes began to flood her face with tears.
“Showing feelings means no self-control.” A grin appears moments before the wooden spoon is swung across her daughter’s head. And to make matters worse, this was her first day of starting kindergarten.
As the door opens, she sees her mother mopping the kitchen floor. A curt whisper of “hello” escapes her lips as she makes a beeline to her room. The blinking cursor on the blank email silently mocked Xiomora as she stared at the computer screen in front of her. Mei enters the room without as much as a knock on the door.
“Is something wrong?”
Xiomora has been through this same routine enough times to know that something’s behind the act of kindness coming from her mother’s lips.
“No, mother, nothing’s wrong.”
Mei stares for a moment, but Xiomora continues to sit at the computer, staring at nothing and praying that she could be left alone. Immediately, the door is shut and Xiomora is happy as a clam in high tide. At times, she feels like Waverly from The Joy Luck Club. Just like Waverly, she’s criticized by her mother for having too many American ways, which puts a relationship barrier between the two of them. Just like Lindo Jong, Mei left her home country under unfavorable terms and hasn’t gotten mentally acclimated with North America. Bother Waverly’s and Xiomora’s mothers wanted them to become a prodigy for showoff purposes.
Xiomora goes to her Facebook account and her friends Svetlana, Kate, and Moon’s pages. Svetlana’s part Russian and Native American. She used to attend UHS with Xiomora, but her family moved to a small British Virgin Island of Bequia to tend to their boating business. She’s tall, blond, slim, piercing baby blue eyes and has the typical directness of an Eastern European. Kate, on the other hand, is popular, a teen model, fashionista, and a little envious of Xiomora because her runway walk is better. Moon is the complete opposite of all four. The raspberry colored haired, gothic-clothing wearing Latino hodgepodge, likes to smoke and read about Astrology. Xiomora looks at pictures of Kate’s modeling shoot on her page.
I wanted to be a model, but she prefers the violin and I hate that thing. She says inside her mind. Kate must have read her mind because she sends a chat message to Xiomora.
“How’s everything with you and your mom?” she asks out of pure concern.
“The same,” Xiomora quickly responds without giving it a moment’s thought.
She then types, “Hello” in the small chat box to Moon, but she hasn’t noticed that Moon has already logged out.
Svetlana sends an inbox message to her.
Before she could respond to her friend, she hears her mother’s footsteps a distance away from the room. To be on the safe side, Xiomora abruptly shuts down her computer. She then lays on her bed to listen to music. Xiomora had used her savings from her allowance to buy a MP3/MP4 player so she could have a chance to listen to music that she liked. She setup a password on her laptop to make sure that her mother couldn’t repeat her previous action of deleting all her old songs and replacing them with classical and traditional Chinese music.
“Mei, why did you do that?” Mr. Greene was home from work early one day and clearly not in the mood for nonsense.
Mei proceeded to tell her father every associated superstition she could think of as rationale for why she changed the music. Mr. Greene, on the other hand, had no problem with the music selection she listened to. His main concern as a parent was to keep her off the pole and to make sure she didn’t follow the tradition of some of his trifling sisters and nieces by depending on the government system for the rest of her life. He was willing to work three jobs a day to make sure that never happened.
“You’ve been home all day, why is this house untidy?” Clyde asked his wife in a mean manner.
Mei remained silent.
Clyde is offended, “Mei did you hear what I just said?”
Not in the mood to be confrontational with him, she quickly spits, “I was getting around to it.”
She walks away without giving him a chance to ask anything else. Xiomora is glad Mei was out of sight, so she resumes listening to her music while Clyde walks to his study.
Later that same day, Mei still tried to harass Xiomora. While behind the sanctity of her closed bedroom door, Xiomora heard her mother’s footsteps long before she came barging in.
The weekend came and went. Monday evening came quicker than a black mamba hunts down its prey. Xiomora had a light day at school, no homework and she was in her room reading a fashion magazine. As usual her mother was in one of her moments. “Why aren’t you reading music sheets?” She sighed loudly when she noticed that the wooden spoon hadn’t hit XiXi as intended. “When you come home, you are to study violin.”
After her initial questioning, Mei began to chastise Xiomora for not being smart and dependent like traditional Asian girls and belittling her for not having a GPA over 4.0.
“I’ll excuse your ignorance since you are part of that other race.”
Not believing what she just heard, Xiomora was speechless. Her father happened to be standing behind his wife. He took off his glasses and gave Mei a disgusted look before uttering, “What did you just say?”
C Clark Jefferson is author of Love Theories Short Stories Collection, correspondent, blogger, playwright, speaker and writing coach. She was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and has been writing since the age of nine. She obtained her MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management and studied abroad in London, United Kingdom while attending undergraduate school.