The Superintendent Diaries Vol. III

African American woman sitting on a motorcycle w. her child, part of the growing numbers of black motorcycle enthusiasts– circa 1971 (East Bay, CA) Time Magazine


Mr. Charles Henry’s reservations didn’t bother Koshtifa as much as the dualities in his behavior.  He was quite reserved and cautious with her as if she was a precious jewel.  But for the first time in her life she wanted him to treat her like costume jewelry one could use over and over again, without having any anxiety over whether or not they might lose it.

Even so, there’s was something that that kept him coming back.  And the intensity in his eyes said more than her  than her know-it-all sisters.  His eyes spoke volumes of emotion, but mostly concern.  Shooting bursts of cosmic energy, conveying that he wanted her soul and everything else, but was afraid to take it.  Though their dates were growing far and few in between, when they did they spent hours on end together.  They talked, they laughed, but often nothing more.  But Koshtifa was growing tired of the inconsistency.  She was confused and frustrated and it was driving her mad. It was time to cut him off.

She hissed and moaned to herself while filling out a time sheet. “Ahhh! Kosh, there’s nothing worse than fucking up at work ’cause you’ve been day-dreaming about a MAN.”  Buckley, her dog, looked up at her with wonderment.  Trying to figure out what in the world she was talking about and why she was speaking to herself in third person.

Koshtifa had in fact had been fucking up at work lately.  She was mostly overwhelmed, and it was noticeable.  Her boss even tore her a new one a couple days back.  She was not able to efficiently execute issues with her tenants and contractors.  This always made her feel incompetent and nothing got to her more than that.  Though Koshtifa Brown wasn’t a perfectionist she took pride in keeping her shit together.  Ever since a young adult, she always handled her business.  These days however it just didn’t seem like there were enough hours in the day.  Ms. Brown recently began taking odd jobs to help support her fine food and wino tendencies.  It never was a problem back in the day when she first took up the trade.  As the years passed by and her company grew, they began using different models, which meant less pay.  The new models of business didn’t seem to stop her tenants from having such unqualified demands of her. They still let their dogs shit on the carpet without picking it up.  There were still calls Friday nights disturbances at 10 p.m., young tenants on the line with stories of lost keys and burnt out lightbulbs .  Pigeons still made nests behind trash-cans.  She still avoided playing loud music because someone would pound on the floor from below.

Then the phone rang.  It was Henry.  She let it go to voicemail.  She hadn’t heard a peep from him in 9 days.

“Ms. Brown, good evening, it’s Henry.  I just passed by your place and wanted to come up.  I just bought this motorcycle and wanted to take you out for a ride, I thought I’d give you a call.  You’re not home though, nor will you pick up.  Shucks, I guess I should have just rang your door bell…well uhhh, bye.”  Click, he hung up.  She was pissed, “Out of all times to notpick up.  Damn, I l-o-v-e motorcycle rides!” she said.  After giving it much thought Koshtida rationalized the situation more thoroughly.  ” Then again, we would have had a romantic evening and he would have probably just end up with him going home prematurely—leaving me aroused and frustrated.”

The phone rang again.  Koshtifa bolted, about to pick up, but decided not to.   It was Vivian, her mother.  She a let the call go to voicemail.  Koshtifa was going through a melancholy period of her own and didn’t want to be bothered with her mother or family drama.  She had a wonderful upbringing, full of love, encouragement, and achievements but talking to her mother sometimes brought her into a deep hole of guilt and depression.  Especially when home life wasn’t so great—which was often the case.  Things just seemed so bland at this point and she had little to report so there was nothing to talk about.  Koshtifa was in a lull and life wasn’t all too interesting.

Luckily Friday came.  Despite her age, Ms. Koshtifa Brown was a deliciously seasoned woman who never had a hard time turning heads.  Tonight was definitely her night and she felt it.  She pulled out her Isaac Hayes record, lightly placed the needle on the first track and got in the shower.

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