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Detra’s story

Part 15

“I used to smoke sweet tips, because I thought they were feminine. But I’ve learned I like heavier cigars. I’ve learned a lot about myself these past few years. I was put in charge of hiring for our entire company. I’ve produced my own play. My bracelet is so full of charms that Garrison had to buy me another. And that one’s half-way full too. I downloaded a dating app for seniors, called Our Time. I said: ‘Lord, you designed the body. I’m losing my ever-loving mind, so I hope you understand.’ I just wanted to see what was out there. And let me tell you, there’s a lot out there. I’ve tried all the flavors: Bangladesh, Egyptian, Hispanic, African. The whole smorgasbord. I’ve dated about seventy men. And I’ve had four marriage proposals, because what I bring to the table is rich. But right now I’m on a little bit of a break from romance. I’m taking time with myself. But that’s a romance too. It’s a love that’s lacy. It’s light filtering through the leaves. It’s not harsh sun, but it’s oh-so-warm. For 55 years I never liked myself much. But now when I hear people describe me— I like that woman. I’ve worked hard on her. I might be a little quirky. Truth be told I’ve sat down and pondered if I’m batshit crazy. But I decided no, I just hover over crazy, then I flit away. Like a hummingbird. Back in Arkansas I’d hang out feeders for the hummingbirds. I’d watch em’ all day. So I don’t mind being hummingbird crazy. I can be colorful, and dance, and sing, and make mistakes. I’m not hurting anybody. I’m not taking anybody else’s oxygen. I’ve got my own space. In the evening I like to set my chair out on the sidewalk, turn on my Bluetooth speaker, light my cigar. I never just stick the fire to it. I go around all the edges, and let it breathe a little. Until there’s no dead spots. Until I’ve pulled all the life into the it. Then I sit back, take a deep breath, and watch Harlem walk by. I smoke slow. It’ll take me two hours to finish. And I’ve made myself a playlist that lasts just that long: Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Bruno Mars. Everything has an order. And when that last song starts playing, it’s time to go home. Al Greene. Put a Little Love In Your Heart.”

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