Dee Armstrong leads a seemingly charmed life. She has a successful midwifery practice, a supportive family, and an exciting romantic life. But when Dee mistakenly believes she will have to confront her first love and first heartbreak, Candace, it sends her tumbling back into her memories to re-live the terrifying and exhilarating joy of being a teenager in love … with another girl.
My inspiration for writing this book was me. It was a completely selfish act. One day, I was looking for a book to read - nothing too heavy, something a little funny, but with a decent story and something I could relate to. A story about black lesbians, not going through any heavy trauma, not coming out, not doing anything but living and having adventures and conflicts and regular everyday stuff. And I could not find that book. No where. Not in the library, not on Amazon, not on the internet. So I wrote the book I wanted to read. NaNoWriMo provided me with the challenge to write it quickly and the story just came. It's not autobiographical although some scenes and characters have definitely been influenced by events in my life. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
We met in Ms. Brown’s sophomore English class at Girls’ High. I loved English class. I was a big reader and Ms. Brown was on a mission to have us read 25 books in her class. She was a typical looking English teacher. She wore horn-rimmed glasses with a chain, comfortable cable knit sweaters, slacks and loafers. Of all my teachers, I felt that she was the most moved by her own classes. She talked about those books like old lovers. She was affectionate and loving towards them, knew them intimately, and accepted their faults with honesty and tenderness.
I often thought she must be lonely. She wore no wedding ring and had no pictures on her desk, but she always seemed pretty happy. Ms. Brown liked to shake things up. The books she picked covered every kind of genre and while most were classics, she threw in some chick lit, non-fiction, biography, and poetry. No two assignments were alike and occasionally she made us all get up and change our seats.
After the first week in her class, we had to rearrange ourselves into alphabetical order according to first name and introduce ourselves to our new neighbors. The girl in front of me turned around and smiled. I’d seen her before but I’d never talked to her.
“Hi,” I said.
“Hey. What’s your name again?” she asked.
“Deirdre,” I replied, “but everybody calls me Dee”.
“OK, I’m Candace and nobody calls me Candy.”
I smirked and laughed. She smirked back and turned back around to chat with the girl in front of her. Candace had dark mocha brown skin with surprising freckles and a slightly asymmetrical hairstyle that just reached the top of her shoulders. She wore gold hoops and a gold chain with a charm on it. Her Swatch was big and red and she wore Timberland boots with her tight jeans. When the bell rang, she jumped up, gathered her books, and headed out to the door. She glanced back at me and gave a quick wave. I waved back.
The next day, some girls went back to their old seats. Candace and I did not. We chatted every day until class started. Sometimes we wrote snide comments on our notebooks and showed them to each other. Sometimes we just rolled our eyes at each other when Ms. Brown was being extra theatrical. It was an easy friendship. She was not too put off by my sarcasm and I liked her blunt honesty, even when it was about my clothing choices. I looked forward to English every day.
Occasionally we would hang out in the hallways or at lunch. I liked her a lot, but class schedules, afterschool activities and the school’s walls defined our friendship and I was content with that. Sometimes I wondered why she even bothered with me when she already had lots of friends. She was the kind of girl that everybody wanted for a best friend. She was pretty but not too beautiful and smart but not a nerd. She had a twang at times but she was not a troublemaker, and she could be funny without being cruel or obnoxious. I didn’t know why she decided to befriend me. I thought maybe it was because I was kind of different.