Book by Berry Venise
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Suddenly Lucy was running. Her heart smashed against her chest hard and fast. Her feet hit the cement pavement one after the other with arduous thuds. Just like before, she wasn’t sure how much time had passed, she didn’t know where she was running to, she didn’t even know who or what she was running from.
Looking off to each side, Lucy tried to recognize something in the muted images around her; something that might shelter or protect her. She struggled, turning back and forth, but found nothing familiar in the blurred faces and the surrounding darkness.
For a moment a black German shepherd broke its stride and trotted along next to her. He threw his nose into the air as if he were trying to tell her something, but Lucy didn’t understand. She turned away to focus on the road, but her eyes were drawn back to the dog. This time there was a second head protruding from the neck of the animal. It was exactly the same as the first head except for the deep, black, empty sockets where eyes should have been.
Lucy screamed and ran even faster. But what was she running from? Even though she could hear no ominous footsteps or heavy breathing, something was definitely there—something terrifying. She steadied her nerves. On the count of three she would glance around quickly to look. One, two, three—but she didn’t turn, she couldn’t. Instead she whipped left and jetted down a dark alley, then on through an empty street. She ran, watching the fading darkness, which was eventually overcome by light. She ran, praying for help, anybody’s help. She ran until she finally woke up.
Lucy leaped out of bed, trying to remember more details this time. Maybe if she knew where she was or when it was happening she could figure out what the dream was about. She struggled to recall something, anything other than the monstrous fear that moved from her toes up into her knees, past her stomach and heart and finally to the center of her brain.
She opened the book of ten thousand dreams on her nightstand and found the section on running. She read the same passage every time she had this dream. “If you are running away from danger you will soon incur a major loss.” There was a spark of memory; the dog, the two-headed dog was something new. In the section of the book on dogs she read that multiple heads suggested spreading something too thin. It warned that success comes only with a concentration of energy. Then she looked up eyes and learned that the loss of an eye meant trouble or a threat on the way.
Lucy put the book down and went into the bathroom. She thought more about the dream as she brushed her teeth and washed her face. What could she be so afraid of? She shuffled toward the kitchen, but took a moment in the hallway to inhale the sweetness of this week’s flower. White carnations stood erect in the glass vase that had held red roses last week and would maybe hold lilies of the valley next week. After landing her first job out of college, Lucy spontaneously stopped by a florist shop and bought herself a huge bouquet of mixed flowers in celebration. It became a weekly ritual when she discovered how the flowers elevated her moods. This week’s white carnations enhanced her spiritual strength and devotion. Next week’s lilies of the valley would bring happiness and good luck.
In her small kitchen, Lucy pulled a pitcher of iced tea from the refrigerator and filled a glass half full. She tore open one pink and one blue package of artificial sweetener, dumping them into the liquid. A handful of ice and mountain spring water filled the rest of the glass. After taking a moment to watch the concoction swirl with each turn of the straw, she finally enjoyed a sweet, calming sip.
“Colored sugar water” was what Lucy’s grandmother, Madea, called the bland-looking iced tea that Lucy drank every morning. Lucy didn’t know exactly why she started drinking her tea like that, but now it was the only way. She truly loved the syrupy taste and cool texture. It was a morning addiction just like her boyfriend, Spencer’s, cup of strong black coffee or her best friend, Adel’s, can of Diet Pepsi. Although Lucy had yet to realize it, in many ways that glass of colored sugar water also reflected what her life had become; bland and routine, yet sweet and satiating.
Lucy covered her nose as she sneezed. “God bless me, God bless me, God bless me,” she chanted three times to save her soul and counteract the bad luck a sneeze could bring. She was about to head for the shower when she noticed that she had knocked over the salt shaker with her elbow.
“Oh no,” she moaned while picking up a pinch of salt from the table and throwing it across her left shoulder into the eyes of the Devil. The rest of the salt was brushed into her left hand, taken to the front door of her condo, and sprinkled right outside as a deterrence against any other evil that might be lurking around.
Lucy checked the clock and confirmed what she already knew; the dream had made her late for work again. She hurried into the bathroom, pulled off the oversized T-shirt, leaned into the tub, and turned the right knob clockwise. As she quickly stepped under the icy water that flowed from the massaging showerhead, Lucy’s body shivered and jerked, then eventually relaxed and enjoyed the extreme sensation.
Cold water showers were normal for Lucy. Sometimes only cold water flowed through the pipes in the Louisiana home where she was raised. However, it was not until she came to Texas and read somewhere that the cold water helped to close her pores and better protected her skin from extreme heat that she started to appreciate the experience.
The phone rang. Lucy stood still for a moment and listened as each ring blended with the sound of the pulsating water. She decided it would be too much trouble to get out and answer it, so instead she closed her eyes and focused on the force of the water.
It might have been Adel. She was waiting to hear from her about a sleepover they had planned for the weekend. Since Adel married for the second time, they hadn’t been able to get together as often as they wanted to. Lucy was worried. She was afraid that this marriage would be a disaster just like the first.
Adel’s first husband called himself Lane, an abbreviation for his nickname, The Fast Lane. He was a burnt-out musician looking for someone to take care of him. Adel’s Florence Nightingale mentality made her the perfect sucker. It was two years and fifty thousand dollars later before she finally figured it out. She swore her second husband was different, but Lucy wasn’t so sure.
The way Lucy saw it, Adel’s main problem was that she didn’t have a strong sense of self-esteem. It was as if Adel were trying to find her self-worth in a man, which was totally unnecessary since she could more than take care of herself. As the vice president of human resources at American Oil, Adel was on the fast track to a CEO position. She pulled in a six-figure salary with fantasy bonuses of twenty thousand plus, depending on the company’s yearly profits.
The call was probably from Spencer. He called every morning around the same time with the same greeting, “Good morning, love.” In the beginning of their relationship it was an endearing action and Lucy couldn’t get enough. His consistency and simplicity was exactly what she thought she needed, what she thought she wanted. But now it felt like they were drowning in still water. Lucy was bored after only a couple of years with the man, so how in the world could they consider spending the rest of their lives together?
Still feeling the brisk tingle of her recently dried body, Lucy sat in front of the lighted oak vanity and brushed her short, brown twists into place. Despite the fact that she could see herself moving, it didn’t feel like her life was going anywhere. Growing up in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana, had been both a blessing and a curse, because she understood so much more about life’s possibilities.
Raised by her grandmother, Madea Mayeaux, a well-known healer in New Roads, Lucy was used to people knocking on the door anytime asking for help. Theirs was a house where strange things like evil eye, superstition, and ghosts were revered. She grew up experiencing the power of magic every day. Wanting to get away from all that, Lucy moved to Houston to attend college, chose to stay after graduation, found a great job, and tried to redirect her life into a more normal pattern.
She met Spencer when she ordered a Big Mac at his McDonald’s franchise. She immediately adored his stable and simplistic soul. He always ordered the same dish at whatever restaurant they went to. He could always be found at home after work, sitting up under his television watching some sporting event or messing around in his yard redistributing mulch, planting flowers, mowing the grass, or weeding his garden. He was satisfied making love in the bedroom and usually missionary style. His stability had brought a necessary peace into her life.
Spencer had asked Lucy to marry him twice since Adel’s New Year’s Eve party. She didn’t say no, but she didn’t say yes, either. When she thought about it, she knew her major problem was fear, the fear of change. Permanently hooking up would mean major changes for both of them and Lucy just wasn’t ready. Spencer swore nothing would change, but she knew better.
Lucy knew all about change and she didn’t like it. Her future had changed dramatically in that one moment when her parents’ car was totaled by a tailgating semi outside of St. Louis. At seven years old, her whole life changed when she was moved to a place where plantations were restored for tourists to take a peep into that popular historical event called slavery.
After some consideration, Lucy selected a beige A-line linen skirt and a matching embroidered top to wear. She wiggled into the outfit, slipped on her beige sandals, then headed for the front door. When she stopped to pose in the full-length mirror for a final check, she had to grin, because she looked good. That outfit on her curvy, five-foot-eight, 150-pound body said, “Lucinda Marie Merriweather was all that!”
—Reprinted from Colored Sugar Water by Venise Berry by permission of Berkley, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright © 2002, Venise Berry. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.
Revue de presse :
“[Has] a rich and quirky flavor that sets it apart from other tales about the travails of sistah friendships.”— Black Issues Book Review
“With extreme emotion, passion, and a few twists and turns Berry offers a very thought-provoking, intriguing and moving novel. ” —The BlackBoard Times
“Entertaining...those who like their romance weighted with otherworldy significance will find plenty to satisfy them here.” —Publishers Weekly
“Berry has superbly dealt with black spirituality from the organized church and religion to voodoo and fortune telling.” —Booklist
“Upon finishing Colored Sugar Water, I was truly sad it had to end. Venise Berry writes with an obvious African-American flair and develops a true relationship with the characters. This is the perfect selection with a lot of soul!” —Savannah Morning News
“A soulful and heartwarming novel, Colored Sugar Water is for anyone who has discovered love—and wondered just how to deal with it.” —Upscale
Les informations fournies dans la section « A propos du livre » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.
Description du livre Berkley 2003-01-07, 2003. Paperback. État : New. 0451207750. N° de réf. du libraire Z0451207750ZN
Description du livre Berkley. PAPERBACK. État : New. 0451207750. N° de réf. du libraire Z0451207750ZN
Description du livre Berkley. PAPERBACK. État : New. 0451207750. N° de réf. du libraire Z0451207750ZN
Description du livre NAL, 2003. Paperback. État : New. New item. May have light shelf wear. N° de réf. du libraire BK0070633
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Description du livre 2003. PAP. État : New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. N° de réf. du libraire VP-9780451207753
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Description du livre NAL Trade, 2003. Paperback. État : New. N° de réf. du libraire DADAX0451207750
Description du livre NAL, 2003. Paperback. État : New. book. N° de réf. du libraire 0451207750