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"He's fiiiiiiine," Sandy sang across the restaurant table and ran her tiny, cream-colored hand through her short black tresses. She was referring to some stranger seated at the bar.
Sandy, Liz, and I were enjoying Sunday brunch on a chilly afternoon in April at one of Detroit's finest restaurants downtown. The soothing jazz sounds coming from the black, baby grand increased my enjoyment as I swayed with the music.
We single ladies are celebrating the fact that we're "big girls now." We're all in our early-to-late twenties, graduated from different colleges, and have fairly decent jobs. We can afford to splurge once in a while.
I snapped back into the reality of Sandy's comment and looked around to make sure no one else heard her remark. "Who's fine?" I asked and then looked back down at my jambalaya.
I tell you. Sandy can be so obvious at times. One day I'm going to teach her young, twenty-three-year-old self how to do things with class, or at least learn how to use codes so that the whole restaurant doesn't know we're checking a brotha out.
"What man are you talking about now?" retorted Liz. Liz is twenty-seven, two years older than I am. She has never approved of Sandy's flirtatious ways.
I watched Liz play with her house salad. Her meal selection is a result of her trying to lose weight. In the past three months, Liz went from a size ten to a sizesixteen. I believe a lot of her weight gain has to do with having to put up with her single mother's wild antics at home. Next to praying, Liz's favorite thing to do when something is bothering her is eat. However, she still looks good with her flawless caramel-colored skin and shoulder length, black micro-zillions that are half braided, half loose.
Liz and I have always had lunch together after church. Then four months ago, the Lord reunited Sandy and me, former high school classmates, one day at the grocery store. We exchanged numbers, and I invited her to church. That following Sunday, dressed in four-inch heels and a short and tight jean dress with rhinestones, Sandy responded to the altar call. I walked down the aisle with her and she, in tears, got saved. I haven't been able to get rid of Sandy since that day. Now the Lord has given me a spiritual assignment to be her spiritual guide and friend.
I don't mind too much, I guess, even though sometimes I do have to remind Liz, my best friend of five years now, that Sandy is still young in the Lord. Sandy's behavior can be quite unpredictable at times, especially when it comes to her interactions with the opposite sex.
"Him, at the bar," Sandy whispered loudly while pointing toward the bar with her fork. I peeked at the bar section and saw an older white gentleman wearing a hideous toupee, an older black woman wearing a tight red dress holding a glass of mimosa, and a black man who looked to be in his late twenties.
He was dark-skinned with a bald head, had thick juicy lips, and enough muscles to make Tyrese look bad. The black muscle shirt he wore proved he was built, and his tan pants hugged his thighs.
I must admit, the brotha was fine. As Sandy kept flirting with him with her dark brown eyes, the man responded by looking over at her with hungry eyes of his own and a sexy smile.
"Give me a break," Liz said after sneaking a glance at the man and then snapping her neck. "You just got out of church not even an hour ago, and here you are flirting with some man. Ghetto."
"The Bible doesn't say that anything is wrong with flirting, right Mickey?" Sandy dipped her shrimp in its cocktail sauce and took a bite while keeping her eyes on the good-looking stranger. She kept her left hand positioned underneath her shrimp so she wouldn't get any sauce on her white, form-fitted dress that perfectly complimented her small, size-four frame.
Sandy is one of the smallest girlfriends I have, although she eats all the time and should weigh three hundred pounds. It must be in her genes.
"Her name is Michelle," Liz corrected Sandy for the umpteenth time. Liz hates when Sandy calls me
"Mickey." I've gotten pretty used to it myself.
"And besides," Liz continued, "the Bible says 'he that findeth a wife, findeth a good thing," not she that is desperate throws herself at a man so she can catch one."
Sandy rolled her eyes at Liz. I lightly kicked Liz under the table. Liz looked at me innocently as if to say, "What did I say?"
I've had enough of those two. I love my best friend and all, and Liz is called to be an evangelist and just graduated from ministry school last year, but she still has room for improvement when it comes to having patience with people who are recently born again. Sandy is a rare and difficult case, I agree, but we still have to work with her and be a Godly example.
Our waiter came over with a bottle of Merlot in his hand.
Who ordered that? "Compliments of the gentleman," said the attractive waiter. He pointed toward the man Sandy had been flirting with all along. The man looked over and winked at Sandy. Sandy beamed as she realized that the kind stranger had bought a bottle of red wine for our whole table.
"Thanks anyway, sir, but we don't drink," Liz blurted.
"Oh, no?" the waiter asked. Sandy's facial expression grew dim as she gave Liz the evil eye. "No, we don't," I cosigned.
Dejected, Sandy put her hand on her head and didn't say a word.
"What, do you want the wine?" I asked her.
"No," Sandy said with a sigh.
"Well, then, what's wrong?" I asked.
"Nothing. I guess. I mean, that was nice of him to send it over. What if he paid a lot of money for it?"
"We would have still sent it back, and he would have just wasted his money," Liz interjected.
"But he didn't have to go to all the trouble and buy it for us," Sandy whined.
"If we turn it down, then the waiter just takes it back unpaid for. Isn't that right?" I asked the waiter.
The waiter nodded and said, "That's right, ma'am."
"That's fine then. You can take it back," I instructed. The handsome waiter tugged on his tuxedo jacket and departed with the bottle.
I looked over at Sandy's frowning face and assured her, "That may have been a nice gesture, but you have to remember something, Sandy--we don't drink."
"I know. At least, I don't anymore," Sandy said with lowered eyes.
"Look," I said. "I know you probably didn't want to appear to be rude by turning down that man's bottle of wine, but we have to set the standard. We don't drink, and that's that."
"He shouldn't have assumed that we did anyway," Liz added, folding her arms.
Sandy didn't say another word but continued to eat her food and sip her water. She glanced toward the bar and saw that the man's spot was now vacant. Maybe we did offend him by not accepting his bottle of wine. Oh, well.
"Excuse me, is this seat taken?" asked a deep voice behind Sandy. Sandy turned around, looked way up, and saw her dream man, whom she thought had gotten away. I didn't realize he was so tall; he looked about 6'4". He made a motion to sit in the seat right beside Sandy.
"No, this seat isn't taken," Sandy said with renewed joy.
"Well, good. Mind if I sit here?" he asked Sandy, ignoring Liz and me.
"No, no! Go right ahead, have a seat." Sandy beamed as she pulled out his chair for him. That girl still has a lot to learn.
"I'm Dustin, Dustin Richmond," he said as he took his seat and reached his hand out toward Sandy.
Sandy shook his hand softly and said, "Nice to meet you, Dustin. I'm Sandra A. Moore."
"Nice to meet you as well, Sandra A. Moore," he said and then turned her hand over and kissed it ever so lightly. Sandy grinned.
Dustin released Sandy's hand and said to me, "And you are?"
"Michelle Williamson," I said confidently without extending my hand. He wasn't about to kiss my hand. No telling where his lips had been.
"And you?" He looked at an agitated Elizabeth Coleman. I could tell already that Liz didn't like this brotha.
"Liz," she replied with clutched teeth and folded arms. I could also tell that Liz wasn't too pleased with Mr.
"God's Gift to Women" inviting himself over to dine with us. Sandy, on the other hand, was elated. "Excuse me for one moment," Dustin said. He took his silver flip cell phone from off his hip and proceeded to press buttons. I should have known this man was just another brotha who thought he was all that, trying to show off and be rude with his cell phone. He probably was just calling his momma.
Dustin looked over at a now disappointed Sandy and said, "Excuse me while I phone my father--he told me to call him the minute I fell in love."
Sandy's wrinkled face mustered up a huge Kool-Aid grin. I had to chuckle at that one myself. The brotha was smooth. Dustin closed his phone, returned it to his hip, and got comfortable in his chair.
"Did you ladies get the bottle of Merlot I sent over?" Dustin looked around the table for it.
"Yes, we did get it, Dustin," Sandy said, "but we sent it back." She lowered her eyes.
"Oh, really? Why did you do that?"
"Because we don't drink, Dustin," Liz blurted.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't know."
"Don't be. That was nice of you, though," Sandy said while lightly patting his hand.
"A woman that doesn't drink," Dustin said while looking deep into Sandy's eyes. "I think I've hit a gold mine," he added with a charming smile.
Sandy smiled in return.
Dustin continued, "In all seriousness, Sandra, I must admit I have never laid my eyes on a woman as beautiful as you."
How original. However, I could tell Sandy was eating it all up because her Kool-Aid grin never went away. "Maybe you haven't," Sandy said with sheer confidence.
"But you know what? I think I have though, because I think it was you."
"Excuse me?" Sandy said, confused.
"I think I've seen you somewhere before."
"Don't they all say that," Liz whispered to me.
I poked Liz in her side.
"No, I have. I really have."
Sandy looked perplexed. Surely she would have remembered bumping into a brotha looking as fine as Dustin Richmond. She shrugged her shoulders and said,
"Maybe you have."
"You know what, maybe you have seen Sandy before!" Liz chimed suddenly in an unusually loud tone. "Have you ever been to our church, "Hype for Jesus," over there on 8 mile?"
Here we go. I should have known. A church commercial advertisement from Liz.
"Ya'll go to 'Hype'? That big church with all those young people, and that young pastor, Pastor Wilkins? Isn't he like, eighteen or something?" Dustin asked.
"No, he's not eighteen. He's twenty-seven. He just looks young for his age. And the church isn't that big, compared to a lot of these churches around here. We have about three thousand members, and the church is about seven years old," I said.
"Yeah, that's Hype. Three thousand people? That's big to me. As a matter of fact, my brother-in-law goes there, and I think I went there with him one time."
"Well, maybe that's where you've seen me before!" Sandy made an attempt to regain Dustin's attention and divert the conversation back to her favorite subject--herself.
Excerpted from He's Fine...But Is He Saved? by Kimberley Brooks Copyright © 2007 by Kimberley Brooks. Excerpted by permission.
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