In line with my previous thoughts on the matter. Eloquently said.
In line with my previous thoughts on the matter. Eloquently said.
He’s been a longtime favorite of mine. I was attracted to his quiet intensity, I think. When I saw the previews for Black Panther, it was always this thought for me. Wow. He’s kingly. He’s regal. I want to see him in this movie.
My friends laughed when I asserted in conversations that the depth-y aspects of the film, whether Killmonger was truly a villain, didn’t matter to me. Even the non-depth-y parts (“can we talk about how fine Michael B. Jordan is?”) were inconsequential. I was thoroughly in love with King T’Challa. After stalking interview after interview following the movie’s release, it was clear that Chadwick Boseman had stolen my heart.
Intelligent. Beautiful. That smile. Special in a way I couldn’t isolate.
And that’s why this one seems so hard to digest. Death is already a sting; being a deep believer in my Creator and appreciating the wonders of the human body forbid me from believing that death is a “natural part of life”; if it were natural, grief would be nonexistent. But thinking about how special he seemed, that indescribable aspect of his nature, gentle in a way but still strong—it’s a blow.
And certainly, the cancer is part of the blow. Having lost my dear Dad to cancer, I am tied to that disease in a way that is thoroughly unbearable. Learning that Chadwick had lived with cancer for four years while working…recently, I read that he had hope he would beat it. He was ready to beat it. My Daddy wanted so much to beat it. He nursed so much hope, even as radiation stripped him of strength, of energy, of life. I remember sitting in the doctor’s office one afternoon, infuriated with my father’s physician. Infuriated with him telling my father how well he was doing. Couldn’t he see how my Daddy was suffering? Couldn’t he?
So, yes, I see how it’s all wrapped up together. Mourning a man I didn’t know personally with remembering the grief of losing a man I loved with every fiber of my being. I see why it’s hanging on: this inability to stop thinking about Chadwick, to not shed tears when I read tributes about him, to let this go. I can’t seem to shake it right now.
My hope for the future is intact. I know, through Biblical promises, that I will see my dear father again. I also believe that for many we have lost. Even people we didn’t know personally.
But the loss of it all. It hangs on. It really, really does.
So, this pandemic and the resulting quarantine has proved, over and over again, that necessity truly is the mother of invention. I’ve seen people find creative ways to continue living and doing: roll-by parties (especially for 2020 graduates), young folks creating sanitized ways to hug their family and loved ones, so on. And one favorite thing I’ve come to love during these unique times are virtual weddings. Y’all. Virtual weddings, though. The intimacy (almost reverential), with just the couple and maybe an officiant, are so striking and beautiful to me. But when I read about Elaine Welteroth’s (whom I just adore) absolutely amazing wedding on her Brooklyn stoop, the squealing and inspiration was endless.
Here are five reasons Elaine’s stoop wedding slayed me:
1. Like I said, I’ve been hooked by the intimacy of weddings in the time of COVID. Elaine said bump that. She had guests, bridesmaids, even her neighbors there for this wedding, all while adhering to social distancing guidelines.
2. My queen Lupita was there.
3. I felt a palpable sense of joy while reading about Elaine and Jonathan’s commitment to still having this beautiful day happen despite possible obstacles. It was really lovely.
4. There was an elegant simplicity about this wedding. Elaine’s wedding dress came from her closet; her veil belonged to her mother. Everyone wore white. Just dreamy.
5. The mechanics: a “Soul Train” line of bridal party members socially distant standing on the sidewalk while Elaine walked down the “aisle”; each person having a FaceTime “buddy” so friends and family could see the ceremony. The love was truly in the details.
This wedding was beautiful, dear reader. Like most weddings, yes, but I really appreciated the creative lengths Elaine and Jonathan went to ensure that despite the current climate, it would be beautiful and memorable. Read the article and enjoy.
Have you attended any virtual weddings? If so or if not, what are your thoughts about them? Let me know in the comments.
So the Academy Awards were last night, and although I had no intention of watching (zero interest, despite my decades-long devotion to the Oscars; we’ll discuss all of that in another post), I had to, if only to hear my favorite being nominated for a Best Supporting Actor award. He won previously for producing 12 Years a Slave, but the acting is where he and I met in the first place, so it meant something to yours truly.
The giddiness was real. Still is.
Bon Monday, wherever you are.
If you’re living on this side of Earth, you’ve heard that Harry and Meghan have decided to significantly change their status with the royal family. (I won’t link to any articles because, whew chile, the bias.) In other words, H&M want to step back from being senior members of the royal family, become financially independent, and split their time between the UK and North America. I’m here for it. Let them live. Let them also live in a place where they’re not targeted viciously. I support it. The vitriol and abject racism I’ve seen for Meghan in the British media is indescribable. We talked about leveling up, didn’t we? Well, they did and I think it’s a fabulous decision. I won’t even discuss all the fallout and how Piers Morgan is just…no words. Team H&M. (I definitely hope Meghan resurrects her blog, The Tig. Wonderful writing. Wonderful voice.)
In that vein, I wanted to share a ‘lil short story I wrote inspired by the royals and my admiration for the Ginger Prince and his lovely wife. In case you’re wondering, 2020 hasn’t necessarily resurrected my creative writing. But I have hope. Read on, enjoy, and onwards & upwards. For everyone.
The Queen and the Green
The queen had spinach in her teeth. The offending green vegetable was right there, lodged between her two front teeth for all the world to see. And the world would see it, because after this morning tea, the queen would announce to the free world that her eldest grandson, the prince, was engaged to his troublesome fiancée.
For the record, she, Margie King, was the troublesome fiancée. She was the American commoner, the former executive assistant to the prince’s solicitor, the woman who wore a dress that didn’t even reach her knees when he had first brought her to meet his grandmother. (Never mind that the dress, hastily purchased when he had made her aware of his plans, had shrunk in the wash and was short because of that and not because of some wicked attempt to shock the ruler of 14 countries.) She was also the woman who wanted to alert her soon-to-be grandmother-in-law that there was spinach in her teeth.
It baffled Margie that no one was saying anything. The woman was presiding over a grand, long table, flanked on both sides by various family members and relatives, and no one had the guts or decency to tell her about the spinach. Yes, Margie was aware of the rule that that no one could approach the queen without being summoned or being spoken to first. Clearly, propriety trumped sparing her from humiliation. Even the queen’s husband, the perpetually bored prince who seemed half asleep most of the time, openly observed his wife’s mouth as she spoke, his eyes widening with each word and subsequent presenting of the food in her teeth. Margie was pretty sure that the man wanted to laugh. Unsurprisingly, he, too, said nothing.
Where were her ladies-in-waiting? Did they even call them that anymore? Margie had done about a month’s worth of royalty-related research to prepare for this event, but wasn’t sure if she had read anywhere that ladies-in-waiting still retained that title.
She wanted to tell Frederick about it, to lean over and whisper in his ear that someone needed to help his grandmother. But Frederick was seated about twenty cousins down from her. Someone had muttered “royal protocol” as a reason why they weren’t seated together, but Margie didn’t buy it. She knew it was the queen’s way of prolonging what it would kill her to soon announce—even if that meant temporarily separating her grandson from his fiancée during tea.
She would never forget the queen’s face six months ago, when Frederick declared his intent to marry her. Rage. Confusion. Fear. Nausea. A bit of sadness. Her features twisted up like the worst scene in a horror movie, right before the end comes. Margie had stood off to the side, breathlessly observing a stately sovereign turn into a creature of volleying emotions. Well, the twisted features aside, there were no actual outward emotions being displayed. She had the stiff upper lip reputation to maintain, after all, even if the audience was just four people: Margie, Frederick, the queen herself, and her half-asleep husband.
For a moment, Margie forgot about the spinach and thought about him. Her regard moved from the queen and rested on Frederick (although she could barely see him), her Frederick, the man she didn’t know she had been dreaming of until they met.
It had been raining buckets that evening. Her boss, Mr. Knox, had requested that she stay late to assist with greeting a client that would be arriving after closing time. Margie knew that Knox had high-profile, top-secret clients, some unknown to even her (such as this one) but the image of trudging through the rain and the dark to get to the Tube instantly became that top-secret client’s fault. She intended on being as nonchalantly rude to he or she as possible.
He had arrived precisely at half past six, calmly entering the lobby as if there weren’t oceans of rainfall and high winds behind him. No one was with him; you’d think the heir to a throne would be trailed by a sea of security detail. That being said, yes, she had immediately recognized him. Who wouldn’t? Everyone knew Prince Freddie, The Prince of All Princes, a title coined by the media. His handsome good looks (in real life, Margie quickly decided that “handsome” as a description was grossly insufficient) and famous girlfriends were well-known and well-reported. Standing up from her desk, she had greeted him—stopping herself from bowing—and led him toward Knox’s office straightaway, as her boss had instructed. “You move quite fast,” he had said from behind her. Margie gulped and turned around, glancing at him. He was smiling, his dark hazel eyes dancing at her. Instead of explaining that rapidly walking was her way of avoiding a royalty-related collapse, she had merely smiled at him in return and said nothing in reply. She doubted that her voice box would work properly anyway.
Much, much later, Margie watched Knox and Frederick speak to one another in hushed tones in the lobby. Their appointment had officially ended but the conversation continued. Margie then wondered if there was some sort of prenuptial agreement in the works; the prevailing rumor was that Frederick was close to proposing to his latest girlfriend, a French actress. Was that why he was there? Did royals even have prenuptial agreements? she then wondered. However, the presence of Mr. Knox now standing by her desk sharply interrupted that line of thought. She stood up. “Yes, Mr. Knox?”
“Our client would feel most welcome if you would allow his driver to take you home,” Knox replied.
Blinking rapidly, she glanced at Frederick, who again smiled warmly at her. “It’s rather awful outside and you’re here late because of me,” he explained. “Ridgely will take you wherever you’d like to go.”
“But…how…?” Her voice trailed off. At the moment, she wasn’t sure how to form a complete sentence.
“Simply say thank you, Ms. King,” Knox instructed under his breath.
Nodding, Margie turned off her computer and grabbed her handbag. After a year with Knox, she had learned to simply move quickly in spite of whatever questions she had about something. She approached Frederick and thanked him for his kindness.
“You’re quite welcome,” he had responded, holding her stare long enough to communicate that perhaps this wouldn’t be their last meeting.
It wouldn’t be.
“Ms. King,” said Ridgely the driver as he pulled up to her flat in Clapham that rainy evening, “His Royal Highness would like to contact you for dinner later this week if you would like to leave your contact card inside that box next to you.”
His Royal Highness? Dinner? Her contact card?
“Did you leave your card?” her flat-mate, Dory, shrieked after Margie had dazedly informed her of the evening’s events. “Did you, Margie?”
In that moment, Margie’s her mobile phone vibrated in her palm. With wide eyes, she presented the text message on the display to Dory: I hope I’m not being too forward, but you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met.
Many quiet dinners later, he confided in her that the French actress he was dating was a longtime friend from university that had agreed to attend all public events with him. He had long tired of questions about just when he would marry. “It’s exhausting, really, but I’m well aware that it’s the price we pay for this life. I’m hardly complaining,” he had remarked that evening. “They’ll simply have to wait until you say yes to me.”
Margie had nearly choked on her wine.
She gaped at him, waiting for him to continue. He gazed at her meaningfully and reached for her hand. It wasn’t the most romantic venue—Bernie’s Fish and Chips was a few miles from her flat and was the only place they could eat without being mobbed, being that most of the clientele were slightly inebriated, blue-collar blokes who thankfully had no idea who anyone was, much less the future king of their country—but Margie clutched his hand and recognized the moment for what it was.
“Are you asking?” she whispered.
“I’m imploring. Please marry me, Marjorie Lorraine King. I’m quite sure I can’t take it anymore, when you’re not next to me, and I’m also in love with you, so it just won’t do.”
She had laughed as tears cascaded down her face. “You have a way with words, Prince Freddie. You really do.”
He grinned at her. “So? Marry me?”
Margie said yes. Rather, she repeated it.
“It won’t be easy,” Frederick then said. “We’ll have a few mountains to climb: the prying eyes, the press, the questions.”
“The fact that I’m black and you’re white.”
Frederick nodded. “We live in a maddening world, don’t we?”
“Absolutely. But I’m ready for anything, Frederick.” She leaned into his tightened embrace and breathed him in.
“Believe it or not, darling,” he said, “the biggest issue, above all, will be my grandmother.”
Now they sat twenty cousins away from each other, his grandmother baring a portion of spinach in her teeth and everyone remaining silent on the matter. Some of them would likely laugh and wonder why Margie cared so much. Wasn’t the queen the same woman who muttered that she was troublesome when she arrived at the palace with the now discarded above-knee dress? The same woman who regularly leveled Margie with the kind of vicious stare meant for enemies of the kingdom? And yet she was also the same woman who invited 10 year-old girls from low income areas to tea at the palace two Saturdays a month, something the media didn’t know about. The same woman who sometimes put her head on her half-asleep husband’s shoulder when they were walking around their country home (he was pleasantly surprised each and every time). It was just spinach, but it might as well have been a “Kick Me” sign on her back. Margie had learned about the court of public opinion since her courtship with Frederick had begun. It was the one place the queen had no power over, and no one deserved to be fodder.
The queen then abruptly stood, signaling everyone on both sides of the long table to do the same. It was time to hold the press conference in the Tudor Room. As she smoothed her dress down–brocade, tea-length, and gifted to her by her kind, soon-to-be aunt-in-law–Frederick quickly appeared by her side. “You look beautiful,” he whispered in her ear.
“Thank you. Your grandmother has spinach in her teeth.”
Frederick chuckled. “She knows. She does it on purpose to see who will have the courage to approach her unsummoned and inform her. I’ll be sure to let her know that you said something.”
Stunned, Margie then looked up and found the queen studying her, the latter’s demeanor not quite as stone-faced as it typically was when she placed her attention on her troublesome almost granddaughter-in-law. Her expression seemed…softer? The woman couldn’t hear that far, could she? Did she know that Margie had mentioned the spinach?
“Come, Frederick, Margie. We will be late,” the queen called over to them.
Margie couldn’t even recall when the queen had mentioned her name.
“Onwards,” Frederick said softly, lacing his fingers through hers.
And upwards and everything in between, Margie thought, as she watched the queen begin the processional as the first in line.
Guess which two announced this chilly autumn morning that they’re having a baby?
Fun fact: your resident fan of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had guessed a month ago, while admiring Meghan’s lovely pleated skirts and intriguing style choices of coats and ruffles, that perhaps there was a little royal on the way. And, yes, plenty of folks called/texted me about the exciting news this morning and to also confirm that your Square Peg called it. *modestly inclines her head while she accepts congratulations about being a good guesser*
Happy Monday, y’all.
p.s.: The coldest of rain currently falls on the ground here in Somewheres, Texas. At present, I’m wearing a scarf around my neck and another around my shoulders. Welcome to Fall, indeed.
I want all of her clothes. Each. And. Every. One. Classy. Feminine. Elegant. Modern. Yes, Meghan. Yesssss
Are y’all familiar with Chip and Joanna Gaines? I’m sure your mother has also gently forced you to watch back-to-back episodes of Fixer Upper on HGTV when she knows that you’re positively allergic to anything having to do with home constructions, DIY, building, terms like rebar and backsplash, so on and so forth. Anyway, the popularity of their show led to the Gaines’ expanding. Magnolia Market at the Silos has a bakery/store/etc., and the Magnolia Table, which I’m far more interested in, has breakfast served all day. So, yeah, I need to go to there. Not just for the breakfast, but the look and feel of the buildings, both rustic and clean, are calling out to me. This need may happen pretty soon, though, because the Magnolia Marvels are all located in Waco, TX, which is about an hour and 30 minutes away from me. Huzzah!
Aren’t they lovely? I need a KitchenAid mixer, y’all. And I need it now. But, wonders the eagle-eyed reader, will she even use it? Why, yes, indeed I will. Hey, look, I’m not known for my kitchen anything prowess, but I love to bake (fun fact; I used to bake a ton when I was younger), and I feel like that mixer will come in handy for experimenting overall in the kitchen. So, yeah, if you want to donate one, send it to P.O. Box This Square Peg. Because these things are pricey.
Remember this gorgeous retro swimsuit from TICN #8?
Welp, it’s not a need anymore because…I bought it.
Pics coming soon on how it looks on me. The colors are a bit different, but it’s essentially the same outfit. We shall see. This is huge, folks. I don’t wear two-piece swimwear. And when I do, it generally involved a giant T-shirt and shorts. But the Summer of This Square Peg doesn’t call for hiding, does it?
More on that later.
Onwards and upwards…
There we all are, sitting in our living room in our old house in Ghana, surrounded by endless laughter and fascinating conversations. My parents are there; also uncles, aunts, various relatives, and longtime family friends that might as well be kin to us, being that I’ve known them and have been around them for as long as I could remember. Some of my earliest memories involve evenings like this, where my parents hosted friends, family, our neighbors. The joyous faces and smiles. The gentle teasing and ribbing between my father and his pals. The beautiful women I observed reverentially. And the food. Ah, the food. Without really understanding it, my parents were establishing, for their children, a blueprint of hospitality. Things didn’t change when we settled in the United States. From our little apartment to the townhouse we later lived in, there were always people. Family, friends, relatives, all part of our immediate family of six. My parents never hesitated to help friends in need; if someone needed a place to stay, he or she was staying at our home. As I got older, it was incredible to see the generosity and love my parents showed to others.
This posed a bit of a problem growing up, however. Sure, my parents could invite loads of people over because they were adults and could do whatever they, the payers of rent, pleased. But their kid inviting other kids over without telling them?
It happened more than once. I’m convinced my mother had moments of stopping herself from doing permanent damage to my hind parts. No worries, though: I learned my lesson at the age of 14. We won’t get into the details, but it was the last time I didn’t check with my parents first before making invitation. Believe me.
Here’s the thing (if you’ve experienced it or are experiencing it, you’ll agree with me): living alone is glorious. There’s really nothing like being the queen/king of your castle of one; laying about, doing whatever strikes your fancy. I moved out of my parent’s house and lived on my own in my first apartment when I was 24 years old. It was amazing. It was eye-opening. It was frustrating. It was the best. After that, there was an interesting journey of roommates and housemates and then moving back home when Dad got sick and then, a year and six months ago, leaving VA and moving to the Lone Star state and living solo once again. All that said, I’m happiest in the company of my own solitude. But I’m also the daughter of two people who kept that open-door policy we discussed above, and so it’s necessary to tell you I love a house filled with people.
I’ve hosted gatherings, game nights, movie nights, come-over-and-chill evenings (my personal favorite), girls-just-talking-into-the-wee-hours-of-the-early-morning events, etc. It’s thrilling to look around my living room and see people, to hear the laughter, to go deep into conversation. Last night, I hosted an impromptu dinner with friends. I actually cooked dinner–chili a la Square Peg–and we ate and watched movies and had a smashing good time. You can’t beat that on a Sunday evening. (But it was also nice when everyone went home and I resumed my relaxing spot on the couch and watching cheesy Hallmark movies.)
Can’t thank my parents enough for showing me how to love people, how to be generous, and how to say welcome.
What say you? Loner or lover of guests or both?
This is certainly unprecedented.
We greet Wednesday with not just one person, but five of them. (Well, still one, but we’ll talk about that in a second.)
Let me tell you how I discovered New Edition. Back in the 80s, the kids in school would sing, over and over again, “sunny days…” But they would stop there. And I would wonder what they were singing. Eventually I found out. They were singing the lyrics to “Can You Stand the Rain?” Days later, one evening, I finally heard the song on the old stereo in the room I shared with my sister. I stood there, happily frozen, listening, my ears swooning. As Ralph sang, “And I need somebody who will stand by me, through the good times and bad times, she will always, always be right there…” I declared that I was that girl. I could be that girl. It didn’t matter that I was 10 years old. It just didn’t matter. An NE 4 Lifer was born.
A Ralph Tresvant 4 Lifer was also born that day. (Second from the left in the photo above.) Every girl had their favorite. He was mine. He was and still is my 10 year-old girl crush. Still swooning in 2018. I told my mother that I would marry him, by the way, and I think she’s still rooting for that to happen.
The guys, to this day, make me smile. They just do. Their music, the fact that through everything, they’re still singing and dancing…ahhhhhhhhhh
Let’s end here, shall we?