...on my dorm room threshold like she’s not wanting to come any closer. Through the haze of my perfect smoke rings dissipating above my frosted hair and hoop earrings, she glances from the fresh and crisply made bed on the other side of me to the bare mattress ticking I’m reclining on. I shoot another three smoke rings toward the ceiling.
“You’re as good as that Camel billboard in Times Square,” she says.
“You’ve been to New York City?”
“My grandmother lives there.”
“Well, hey! That makes you my Yankee roommate? Johanna Lawrence?”
She eyes my Percy Sledge album spinning on her stereo. “Johanna,” she replies, “Everyone’s been calling me Johanna. And you all must be Lonnye-Ronette Drinkwater?”
I stump my mentholated Newport into the ashtray. “First thing you need to know: y’all’s plural and there’s only me in here.” ...
She seems desperate for the familiar. .... And here she stands like she’s found herself on another planet called Charlotte, North Carolina.
Lilly Drinkwater Covington, The Chick Palace