|Product dimensions:||5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.58(d)|
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Passport DiariesA Novel
By Tamara Gregory
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2005 Tamara Gregory
All right reserved.
If you come to a fork in the road, take it.
-- Yogi Berra, American athlete
I'm trying to breathe like I learned in yoga class. It's not working. I only went to yoga once and I hated it. I'm a firm believer that the try again adage is bullshit. You've got a fifty-fifty shot of ending up with the same result as you do of having a different one.
"Maya, this is a high-performance automobile. Make it perform, for God's sake."
The 5-series Benz we were rolling in might as well have been a go-cart. I should've left the house earlier. You're supposed to be at the airport two hours before an international flight. I've got an hour and ten minutes before takeoff and Maya is acting like she's the poster child for the Safe Driving Council.
"I can't believe I'm going to miss my flight."
I put my head down on the dashboard and stare at my shoes. Tan Tod loafers. Ideal for traveling, completely wrong for just about anything else. I spot an orange Skittle lying on the black carpet. It's a cruel reminder that not only am I late, but I'm starving, too.
I lift my head just in time to see Maya making a crucial mistake.
"What are you doing? Don't get on the freeway. Take Airport Boulevard!" I'm yelling at her like she's a puppy that's peed on my Jimmy Choos.
She cuts her eyes at me but does as she is told.
"I'm sorry, but you can control more variables if you take surface streets."
"Kia, you need to calm down. You're not going to miss your flight ... "
She glances at her clock radio. It's 9:00 p.m. on the nose. My flight leaves at 10:05.
Maya continues, "But if you do miss it, it's not because of me. It was your vain behind that spent the last half-hour packing a toiletry bag! How many beauty products does one girl need?" If we were in a court of law, I would object. I admit to having a healthy amount of self-esteem. I mean, I do think I'm cute. Not Halle cute -- more like that black girl who was on three episodes of Friends cute.
"I'm a lot of things, Maya, but obnoxiously vain is not one of them."
Maya gives me a motherly pat on the knee. "Oh, honey ... " she says all sugary-sweet, as only a Georgia peach can. "You haven't stopped looking at yourself in the mirror since we got in the car."
The truth of this statement didn't prevent me from noticing that taking one hand off the wheel has caused her to drive even slower. I try not to freak out about it as I look once more into the visor mirror.
"I'm trying to figure out who is this girl staring back at me."
I'd just had my hair corn-rolled, à la Alicia Keys, and I wasn't sure if I liked it. I also wasn't sure if people could tell. Could they tell that just a few short hours ago my whole world had been rocked? Could they tell that yesterday I was a hotshot lawyer on top of my game and today ... well, today ... in between my mani/pedi and my hair appointment, I was summoned to my boss's office and promptly suspended. I'm too embarrassed to talk about it right now. With anyone. It's just one more reason I have to make this flight. The further away I can get from my life the better.
Maya looks me over. "It's certainly a different look for you, but I think it's hot. What did Lorna say?"
Lorna is my mother. She's the quintessential black Stepford wife -- perfect, but mouthy. Her hair is always done, dinner is always on the table, and she always has something to say about something.
"I breezed in long enough to grab her travel iron. She took one look at me and said if by some miracle I received an invitation to meet the Queen, I should decline."
Maya guffaws. "Classic."
I laugh along with her. Ouch! My head hurts. These braids are tight as a drum. Any drastic change in my facial expression causes shooting pain across the top of my scalp.
"And for the record, Maya, I was packed two days ago."
I'm one of the few Negroes who take pride in doing things ahead of schedule and openly admit to being a Maroon 5 groupie.
"I swear, Candy's triflin' ass. I sat there for forty-five minutes before she sent Coco over to wash me. If she would've started me on time ... "
There was no need to finish the thought. Every black woman has beauty-shop horror stories. It's our cross to bear. It's like going to church. We know we have to go, even when we don't feel like it. Afterwards, though, we feel like a different person, like a weight has been lifted off our shoulders. But, good God, why does it have to take so long? Does the pastor really have to take up two collections? Does the hairdresser really have to double-book appointments? Inquiring-minded people with a life really want to know.
Excerpted from Passport Diaries by Tamara Gregory Copyright © 2005 by Tamara Gregory. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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What People are Saying About This
“Romance, discovery, intrigue, a little taste of Sex in the City... Passport Diaries is the best trip of your life.”
“This cool, bubbly romance is the next best thing to being upgraded to first class.”
“Whether you’re sitting by the pool or ont he beach, it’s the perfect summer read. I couldn’t put it down.”
“An irresistible can’t-put-it-down ride for every girl yearning for self-discovery!”
“Stunning debut...Sassy, sophisticated, and laugh-out-loud funny. Gregory is a fresh original voice full of style and grace.”