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Yolonda D Coleman

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Saxophone Melodies: An Excerpt from Sugar Rush: Love’s Liberation
By Yolonda D Coleman
Saturday, June 09, 2007

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Saxophone Melodies: An Excerpt from Sugar Rush: Love’s Liberation

The house lights were up and the crowd was in place.


I was in the nation’s capital ready to blow the roof off


Blackplatinum Café. By day I’m Gerald Washington,


magazine publisher. By night, I am Blacksax, the marauder of


melodies. I play the saxophone and woo anyone who walks into


Georgia Avenue’s finest jazz club.


 


I relocated from Florida and started a quarterly literary


magazine in a one-bedroom condo in D.C.. Block Writers is


now in a separate facility on U Street thanks to my dedicated


staff and a few grants. I wanted to be in the midst of the next


generation of Harlem Renaissance writers. I know. I know.


Harlem is in New York City. I just couldn’t pay a Big Apple


mortgage with my Little Johnny Apple Seeds. D.C. was as


close as I was going to get to the Mecca of writers. Besides,


there was plenty of raw talent in the city in order for me to


gain capital. I was blessed to have my homeboy from college to


set up the computer networking system for my office pro bono.


Moses was an IT Master. He was one of many resources to help


me with the start up of Block Writers.


 


The magazine’s subscribers came mostly from metropolitan


areas on the east coast. Many high school and college creative


writing classes were our primary readers. There was, however,


always room for improvement.


 


I’m a hands-off CEO. I remain low key and let the writers


stand in the limelight. My staff is encouraged to explore and


embrace their creativity. I trust they will keep Block Writers


positive by producing quality work that will keep the checks


rolling and me out of the courtroom. Monday through Friday


they rotate the wheels of the publishing machine. I keep Block


Writers financially afloat. Occasionally, I’ll contribute a few


poems or some commentary in one of the sections. Friday


nights, however, are my moments in the spotlight as a musician;


and there was one night in particular that began to change my


life. It was my third set at Blackplatinum Café’s members-


only night and I was hyped. They say three is a charm. When


the curtains opened, I saw the reason my soul danced with


anticipation. She sat in the third row bordered by two other


ladies. Her hair was long and flowing passed her shoulders.


Her eyes twinkled even from the dimly lit candles on the table.


I pretended not to notice her, but found it challenging to do


so while checking out that one leg laying seductively over the


other in her Carolina blue pants. There was a slit on the side.


I had a sneak peek of her right thigh from the center stage.


She was tapping her feet to the sound of the music and the slit


constantly winked at me. I enjoyed watching her move every


limb of her body. She was figurative language in motion.


 


Like the sound of ocean waves splashing against rocks,


her presence mesmerized me. Her beauty was a ray of sunshine


dancing to my rhythm. Her soul called to me and mine played


a silent tune for her to hear. While on stage, I played the sax


with my eyes closed. I was envisioning our first encounter. I


imagined the lovely melody we’d make without sounding a


word.


 


The band and I played for what seemed an endless two


hours before taking a break. I wiped my brow and made a beeline to the bar.


 


“Hey, Jimmy. How ya doin’ tonight?”


 


“I guess I’ll make it I reckon. The usual, Black?”


 


“Club soda, man. And uh Jimmy,” I began while scoping


out my chocolate Jessica Rabbit, “let me get another one of


whatever that lady is having.”


 


SUGAR RUSH: LOVE’S LIBERATION


 


“You talkin’ ‘bout Dolly?”


 


“Is Dolly the honey wearing the hell outta that blue near


the stage?”


 


“That’s Doll.”


 


“Then you got it! I’m fixin’ to make my move.”


 


I paid Jimmy and took the drinks. I had a small window


to impress this lady and leave with a number before the end


of the night. Time slowed down with each step I made toward


Dolly’s table. I smiled at club goers who complimented me on


the show. The smile grew wider upon reaching my destination.


One of her girlfriends tapped her to let her know that I was


coming her way. Seeing them together reminded me of me


and my boys back home in Auburndale. In slow motion, she


flipped her hair away from her face and positioned herself to


turn around.


 


“Bonsoir,” one of her friends greeted me while pushing


her thick hair behind her ears. The other was scanning me


with her eyes. As tough as she tried to look, the butterfly clip


that held her short hair in place gave away her innocence. Her


nonverbal communication just let me know she had her girl’s


back if I said something stupid.


 


“Dolly, I have less than a minute to give you this,” I began


while handing her a glass of cranberry juice. “and to convince


you to stay until the end of the show so we can talk.”


 


She smiled a priceless smile and said, “Thank you for the


drink.” She turned back to face her friends.


 


I kept my cool but didn’t stay and wait like a puppy after


a bone. I let out a brief laugh and headed back to the stage.


When I heard my name being called, I slowed the pace of my


walk and then stopped without turning around.


 


“Oh and Sax,” Dolly began, “if you can come up with


something original before the clock strikes four, consider the


offer sealed.”


 


I nodded because I was confident I could hold up my end


of the deal. I just hoped she didn’t renege on hers.


 


For the next hour, I played as if my life depended on it.


I didn’t look in her direction while my hands caressed my


instrument. I wanted her to understand the messages I was


sending through my music. I wanted her to know that I was


gently explosive with my hands. The saxophone screamed in


ecstasy. Every note played was perfect and complimented the


other instruments in the background. The thump from the


drums was the heartbeat of the song. It was my motivation. I


know she heard the score because my soul felt hers. By 3:50am,


I was ready to have her blanketed in my musical review.


 


I turned just enough to face the band and the audience at


the same time and asked, “Hey fellaz, do you mind if I take


the last ten minutes to share a little sumpthin’ sumpthin’ with


these lovely people tonight?” Jupiter, the drummer, gave me


the go-ahead to proceed. He got his nickname because his


skills are out of this world. I took a sip from my glass and


prepared to collect my winnings. Dolly sat patiently and for


the first time since speaking with her I looked directly in her


eyes. I was locked on my target as I spoke to the audience.


 


“Blackplatinum Café, you’ve been a wonderful audience


tonight. So, let me send you off with a new tune I call Doll’s


House.”


 


The corners of her lips stretched into a smile. Dolly


was impressed. To maintain my position, I never took my


eyes off her. She needed to feel more important than anyone


else in that room. It was my duty to pretend that the space


in Blackplatinum Café was occupied only by Dolly, my


saxophone, and me.


 


I played flawlessly while the band accompanied me. The


audience gave us a standing ovation. At the end of the show,


the band and I greeted those who rushed to the stage to chat


with us. There was a line of women waiting for me. Although


I was only interested in the attention of one lady, I spent a few


minutes shaking hands, hugging those who extended arms


toward me, and took a few business cards only to quickly


stash them in my back pocket. Of all the dimes vying for my


attention that night, none compared to my caramel dream. I


tried earnestly to attend to my fans and cleared a path to get to


Dolly at the same time. My efforts were in vain. She was gone.


At first I was disappointed. Then again, I felt challenged.


 


“Yo, Black!” Jimmy called from the bar. “’Honey in blue


left you a note.”


 


I took the slip of purple paper from Jimmy’s hand. He


continued to wipe the counter. I read the note written in blue


ink. The sweet fragrance that once graced the lining of my


nose was all over it. My heart was happy.


 


Sax,


 


Thanks for erecting my house. We’ll speak soon.


 


-Dolly


 


Copyright © 2005 by Yolonda D. Coleman.


All Rights reserved.


 


 


 


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