Waiting in vain

An original story and Raleigh Fine Arts contest finalist

Clavaria Jefferys, Student author

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Daniel Myers, the guy who didn’t have a care in the world, as many assumed. That wasn’t the case at all though. For one, he had to take care of his mother and baby brother who had come to America to escape the poverty stricken community back in his home country of Jamaica. More specifically, Nine Mile, the village in the mountains of St. Ann.

The only way his mother knew how to speak was in Patois, the language of his people. Currently, he’s teaching her regular English, along with his brother, Jeremiah.

Second, he has to keep his grades above average so that no one would question his intelligence. Third, he’s trying to focus on getting Jeremiah and Marcia, his mother, out of his aunt’s home with her four kids.

“Ma, I’m heading to school,” he whispered into Marcia’s ear as she slept.

“Okay, Son. I love you.” She smiled a bit before fully opening her eyes.

“Long time, mama,” he responded, the same line they’ve made a tradition since Daniel was old enough to walk and placed a gentle kiss on her smooth brown cheek. Next, he maneuvered around Jeremiah so he wouldn’t awake him and moved out into the early December weather. Daniel tightened the hoodie on his head and made his journey to Cambridge High School, the school he would be graduating from after the spring semester.

Bob Marley, one of Daniel’s many role models, blasted throughout his earbuds while he walked to school. Music, especially by artists from his home, made Daniel feel at ease and forget about any of his problems, even if it was just for a little while. The faint sound of someone calling his name made Daniel pause the music and turn his attention to the car, that probably cost more than anything he has ever owned, and look at the familiar being in the driver’s seat.

“Wah gwaan?” Daniel allowed to slip off the tip of his tongue easily.

“What?” The female called from the window.

“What’s up?” He translated to the clearly confused lady.

“You’re in my last two classes of the day right?” She asked while cutting the engine to her expensive car.
“Yeah…” Daniel answered hesitantly.

“Need a ride to school?” The girl, whom he now remembered whose name is Corrine, goes by Cori.

“You stopped on the side of the road to ask me if I wanted a ride to school?” He questioned ‘Little Miss Perfect’ the infamous nickname that people around school called her.

“It’s cold out here. I’m being nice. So… ride or not?” Daniel took in her appearance while wrapping her arms around herself to help keep warm. He contemplated her reasoning, but she did have a point.

Cori got her answer as Daniel began walking toward the expensive looking car.
The two teens talked for the usual ten minute drive and for the first time, Cori was able to be herself without feeling as if she was silently being judged.

“You’re not like everyone says,” Daniel commented as they parked in the student parking lot.

“And you’re not just a pothead that fails all of your classes like people assume,” Cori fired back playfully. There was a moment of silence before both went into a fit of giggles.

“Touché.” Daniel laughed while slinging his bag over his shoulder.

“Thank you for the ride, Cori.” Daniel smiled.

“No problem, Dae.” Cori tested out the new nickname she came up with on the ride over.

The two went their separate ways but still happened to be in each other’s presence mentally.

Weeks passed and the friendship between Daniel and Cori blossomed.

“How long have you been growing out your locs?” Cori asked while twisting one of his locs around her finger.

“Since I was a young boy. Around four or five. My father had them, so I wanted to be just like him.” Cori sat up from her bed and listened to Daniel talk about his upbringing and his family, a topic he rarely brought up.

Time seemed to fly by when Daniel was in Cori’s presence and vice-versa. They had a connection like no other, and they trusted each other, despite only knowing one another for two months at most.

“Dance with me?” Daniel proposed when he noticed his time with Cori would soon come to an end knowing her parents would be back within the next thirty minutes and would not approve of Daniel. He didn’t fit their image.

“There’s no music.” Cori replied with a grin.

“Don’t worry, I got it.” Daniel slid his phone out of his pocket and swiped to one of his favorite songs by Bob Marley.

“I don’t wanna wait in vain for your love;

From the very first time I rest my eyes on you, girl.”

My heart says follow t’rough…”

The two swayed back and forth to the beat, releasing all of their cares out into the space around them. Their bare feet glide across the carpeted floor as the music fills the large space Cori calls a bedroom.

“So don’t treat me like a puppet on a string,
‘Cause I know I have to do my thing.
Don’t talk to me as if you think I’m dumb.”

“Daniel, you make me feel all of my imperfections. But, you don’t make me hide them, you embrace me, for me,” Cori spoke softly into Daniel’s chest.

“I’m not one to judge anyone. You like the fact that I live with seven other people, which I still find a bit crazy,” Daniel chuckled and continued to lead their dance.

“Cause if summer is here,
I’m still waiting there;
Winter is here,
And I’m still waiting there.”

Voices coming from downstairs made Cori snapback into her reality and rush to cut off the music.

“Daniel, you have to leave, now,” Cori urged while pushing him toward her balcony door.

“Wait, I need to know something.”

Panic flashed across Cori’s face as her mother’s voice grew closer to her bedroom. As much as Cori loved Daniel, she couldn’t let her parents find out about him; they always tore the ones she loved the most away from her.

What do you want to know, Dae?” Cori inquired. By now, she had pushed Daniel out on the balcony and cracked the door behind her. The moon and stars were shining bright tonight, but the smell of rain still filled their senses.

“Are you going to make me wait for you to love me just as much as I love you?” He widened his dark brown eyes a bit and closed the space between him and Cori.

A light drizzle had began to come down on the two, instantly Daniel gave Cori his jacket to keep her warm.

“W-what are you talking about?” Cori checked over her shoulder and saw that the door knob that led to her room was being twisted.

“-Go, now!” Cori partly whispered and partly yelled. She was growing anxious and frustrated at the whole situation. Cori didn’t want to get caught. But, she also didn’t want to lose the best thing to happen to her in a long time.

Cori didn’t stick around to hear what else Daniel had to say and locked the balcony door as she entered her room.

“Don’t make me wait in vain for your love…” Daniel whispered his final words before escaping into night.

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