Mahad Basari was pleased with the growth of his architectural firm. It was the second anniversary and his business was solvent. After attending school in the states, he returned to Dubai to work for his father’s company but with all Dubai offered he found himself yearning for America. His father, Saad was very displeased. He wanted Mahad to receive an American education and return home to work, marry and live. He recalled that night two years earlier.
“Mahad, you cannot dishonor me in this way. We need you here. America will not honor or support you, you will be destitute.”
“Father, I must follow my heart and right now my heart is in America. If it does not work, I can always return home, but I need to know I can succeed there and on my own terms.” Saad looked as if his son slapped him.
“Your heart, is there an American woman? What about Amira?”
Mahad had known that would be his father’s question and concern. He and Amira had grown up together and their parents expected marriage but at twenty-eight, Amira loved her independence and had no plans to marry Mahad or anyone any time soon. The two of them were more friends than lovers. She was the first person he told of his plans.
“Father, Amira is fine. I am fine.” Saad walked from the room and did not speak to his son for weeks. They now spoke regularly but Saad had not gotten over Mahad’s betrayal as his only son.
Mahad knew what he did was the best thing for him, during college and his internships, he grew to love American culture, African American culture in particular and he could only receive that in America. His business was doing well but his personal life was non-existent. He hadn’t dated in months and was ready to get back out there.
Everyone tried warning Sadia Lemore against opening a bookstore but owning a bookshop as she called it had always been her dream. She had grown up an avid reader and loved books. Her dream had been to own a small, intimate bookshop that sold books of different cultures while serving tea, coffee and pastries. Three years earlier she had opened the BookCup on Main Street in the growing Springfield area while still working as a sought after public relations person. It had been tough going the first year but for the past year things had been going well and she was earning a nice profit. It was enough to keep a roof over her head and food in her mouth and what she earned from freelancing PR was enough for extras. She actually didn’t require much, she lived in an older home, she was refurbishing. Her clientele was a nice mix of ethnicities and she sold books because her place was so inviting. There were flags from around the world and the shelves were eclectic and each section covered different reading offerings. She offered books from mainstream American, African American, Caribbean, African and other authors from around the world. She also offered teas and coffees from different cultures as well. It was a wonderful environment for avid readers, browsers and studiers. Her father supported her completely with his time and money, filling in when she had other gigs. She was open Tuesday through Saturday and took off on Sunday and Monday. She loved her current life. If only she weren’t so lonely. As her mom periodically reminded her, she could love books and even sleep with them, but a woman sometimes needed a little extra.
Alton Lemore watched his wife Lynn, move about the kitchen. After thirty five years of marriage there were some things he just knew about his woman and others were a puzzle. He knew something was on her mind and she had to move around and ‘attend’ to things until she was ready to discuss it. He also knew it had to do with Sadia, their only child. Sadia, was thirty and Lynn was grandchild starved. At fifty eight, she felt it was time for Sadia to comply, right after she found herself a husband. Alton read his paper but would periodically glance at his wife. He still loved looking at her. When he married her she was a slender chocolate woman with long thick hair, over the years she had become more padded, which he actually loved and her hair was short and sassy but he found her even prettier. When she finally sat, he folded his paper and gave her his undivided attention. He knew she was ready to talk.
“How is Sadia ever going to find a man Alton and settle down if she spends all of her time in the books store, shop or whatever she calls it?”
“Lynn, she does not spend all of her time there. The bookshop is open, Tuesday through Saturday and she only works Saturday mornings, the young lady from the college works on Saturday afternoons and it is only open from ten to six on those days. She is doing what she loves and makes her happy.”
Lynn’s lips twisted at those words. She knew Alton would take her side. Sadia was just like him with her head buried in a book and having a passel of activities. Alton had spent the past twenty years as a principal but he loved nothing more than reading and collecting books. When Sadia was home and growing up, that had been their thing together. Lynn had always worked part-time and a job to her was simply a way to earn extra money.
“Don’t you love baking and don’t you love the feedback you get from the goodies you back for the shop. Think of all the things you have learned to bake such as mini flans and baklava.”
Sucking her teeth she stood up and went to check something on the stove, she knew Alton would have something to say about that. She was actually earning a good bit from her pastries and was often called to bake for other businesses.
Grinning, he returned to the paper. They both heard the door opening and knew it was Sadia. When she entered the kitchen, she kissed her dad and Lynn gave her the once over. Sadia was above average height with a great figure but you would not know it based on the shapeless dress she wore. Her hair was pulled up in a knot and her face was void of makeup but shone with health and energy. She slowly swirled around, allowing Lynn to check her out from every angle. Alton chuckled, Sadia had her mom’s number.
“Okay mom, get it off your chest, I should be showing my shape but at least my legs are showing and they aren’t ashy. That’s good isn’t it?” Sadia teased.
“That dress looks like a sack, how do you ever expect to attract someone if you can’t be bothered to accent your assets.”
“Mom, my assets are accented. What are you cooking?” She pecked her mom on the cheek and sat down next to her dad.
“Right. I cooked fish and vegetables. I know how you are about clean eating and all. I did make a very dirty chocolate cake.”
Sadia could only laugh at her mom’s antics. She knew it was all love. For the next hour, she sat with her parents and mostly talked to her dad about new books and the poet who was signing at her shop on Saturday morning.” Lynn’s radar went on full alert.
“Is the poet married?”
“Yes he is and if he wasn’t, I wouldn’t be interested. He isn’t my flavor.”
“What is your flavor?”
“Hmm, I like smart, I like tall and thick, with confidence, I like funny and well read… all those things. The poet is all those things, I am sure but he isn’t my flavor, I will know it when I meet it, or taste it.” She howled with laughter at the distaste on her mom’s face and more than a bit of shock on Alton’s.
Mahad sat across from his friend Cyrus, having a drink after a very busy day. Cyrus was a poet who worked by day as a landscaper. He owned his own business and did very well. Mahad met Cyrus when he did in the landscaping for his business and they became quick friends. Mahad was laidback and Cyrus was brusque and outspoken. He was married and his wife was pregnant. He often asked Mahad questions about the Muslim faith and Mahad loved the interest. He wasn’t nearly as immersed as he had been raised to be but he did go to mosque for prayer and peace. Cyrus’ wife had been raised in the faith, her father had been a member of the Nation of Islam.
“Man, you look whipped.” Cyrus noted.
“It has been a good week, good year actually. In addition to my one architect, I am going to hire an intern next week, so that will alleviate some of the workload. What time is your signing Saturday?”
“It is going to be from two to four. The young sister who runs the bookshop is a dynamo and she said we will go on until people stop coming. It closes at six. She has already sold a grip of books. Have you ever been to BookCup?”
“I haven’t. I tend to order books online mostly. I have seen it and it looks nice.”
“Man it is more than nice. Inside it looks like Morocco or something and there is a great vibe. She also sells international pastries and tea. There are two sofas and a few chairs with two large tables with chairs but she does good business. You are coming, aren’t you?”
“I wouldn’t miss it. I feel like I have been missing out from the way you describe it. There aren’t many bookstores left. How is she managing?”
“She is doing well. Man, I am telling you people love going in there. Many wished she kept it open longer but it is her and she has a student on Saturday and her Pops helps her out. She is also a public relations guru or something.”
“It is a family business?”
“Man, no, she owns it. Her Pops is a principal or something and helps her out. I met him a couple of times, well-read and old school hip, you would love him.”
He pulled a flyer from his bag and handed it to Mahad. There was a large photo of Cyrus sitting at table with books and the information about the signing but at the bottom was a smaller photo of Sadia and the bookshop information. His eyes zoomed in on her. She had a flawless toffee colored face with huge eyes, abundant lips and the longest natural lashes he had ever seen. Her eyes were the color of tea.
“Mahad…” glancing up, he saw Cyrus staring at him.
“I need to go. You can keep that flyer man. She looks much better in person.”
Mahad could only grin. After Cyrus left, Mahad opened his notebook to check out the website. The first thing he saw was that is looked just as Cyrus described it with jewel tones and wood. There was also a video of Sadia offering a welcome to the BookCup. On the video she was dressed in a white dress that billowed around her and her very abundant curly, coily hair was like a halo. He felt a shot of desire simply looking at the picture and looked up and around. Closing the notebook, he drained his beer and prepared to leave. He was looking forward to the signing.http://www.amazon.com/LOVES-CULTURE-Angelia-Vernon-Menchan-ebook/dp/B00QKROILO/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1418823683&sr=1-2&keywords=menchan