Tell of Two Live Chapter 9

Photo by Maria Badasian on Unsplash

Catch up Chapter 8

Chapter 9

As Maya waited for the elevator she started to think about all the times she had been sheltered from the world in her life. She knew it started with Madison before she was even born.

Madison had been raised in Phoenix City, Alabama. Being Black in a small southern town, during the 50’s left little hope for many happy times. Her father had left the family shortly after her birth. Leaving behind a wife and ten children. Her mother always said that it was for the best, because he never brought much to the table anyway.

This was the beginning of Madison’s understanding that the world was full of contradiction. How could her mother love a man and have ten offspring with him if he wasn’t good for much?

Growing up in Phoenix City, Madison heard often that she was nothing more than a nigger who had nothing good to offer the world. Madison wanted nothing more than to prove those racist bastards wrong. She knew that she would never do that if she stayed in Alabama. So the day after graduating from high school, Madison boarded a bus for Chicago and never looked back.

She had made plans to stay with a distant cousin, whom she had never met, but who promised her room and board in exchange for Madison working in her hair salon part time. She chose to see this as an opportunity to explore her options and figure out where she fit in the world. Madison enjoyed working at the salon and soon discovered that she had a talent for making people feel at ease.

Madison’s cousin, Gwen, had a very different type of business and clientele than the salons that were back home. This salon was very upscale and its clients were wives of Chicago’s Black elite. These women had connections in the fields of law, medicine, academia, and any where else Blacks in this city had made their mark.

Shortly after starting at the salon Madison found that she was meeting people who could help her make it in her new city. It wasn’t long before she was approached by many of the clients to assist them with things in their personal lives. It started with her running small errands for the clients while they were at the salon being serviced. Which quickly moved to her planning parties, staging fashion shows and becoming their family’s confidante.

Before long Madison was counseling the women’s husbands on business image. Hanging around these women, she had learned very early how important image was if you wanted any kind of business success. She had surprisingly found herself in the position of being trusted by the cream of Black society. Her successes were mounting fast. Within a year of arriving in Chicago, five of the salon’s clients decided to invest in a business that they felt was perfect for Madison. Soon she would become Franklin Public Relations, Inc. By Franklin Public Relations, Inc’s. fourth anniversary Madison had taken that initial $50,000 investment and built a company worth more than $2,000,000. She had a client list unheard of for any minority at that time in the city. It wasn’t long before Madison’s reputation had grown outside of her community and she was now representing firms that weren’t owned or led by Blacks.

While entertaining her guest at her 5th annual birthday bash Madison met Jeffery Webster for the first time. Jeffery was twenty-two years her senior and an established artist working at the DeSuble Museum, he had tagged along to the party with one of Madison’s clients. He wanted to meet the person behind the legend and maybe pick her brain about how he could better promote the Museum. After Jeffery had introduced himself and they both agreed to meet later that week, Madison moved on to the rest of her guest.

Madison and Jeffery had been talking about the DeSuble Museum’s history when he abruptly stopped in mid sentence and stated that he no longer wanted Madison to represent him or the Museum. When Madison began to inquire about this obviously sudden decision, Jeffery rose from his chair leaned across the table and kissed her. For reasons that Madison would never be able to explain, she gave into the moment and before they departed each other’s company that afternoon they had sex on the floor of her office.

During the next few weeks they spent every free moment together. They both agreed that although passionate, their sleeping together was a bit too impulsive for them to handle and that they should wait until they knew each other better before their next sexual encounter. They used their time together from then on to share stories about their lives and their dreams for their future.

Jeffery had made plans to take a sabbatical from the Museum and travel around Africa researching native art. He wanted to live among the artist and soak up their culture.

Madison and Jeffery had been putting so much energy into their courtship that the fact that Madison had not gotten her period had gone unnoticed. It wasn’t until she started throwing up, that she was jolted back to reality.

She couldn’t be. They’d only been together that one time. But the calendar doesn’t lie. Her period should’ve started three weeks ago. What had she done? Children were not in the plans she had made for her life? How would she tell Jeffery? She had only known him for such a short time; she had no way of knowing how he would react. Whatever he would do she knew she had to tell him right away. He planned to leave for Ghana the next week. That afternoon, Madison had her suspicions confirmed by her doctor. She would be meeting Jeffery in less than an hour for drinks.

When Madison arrived in the Ritz Carlton’s hotel bar Jeffery was already there waiting. She saw that he had already ordered their drinks and was now listening intently to the jazz quartet, he had not even noticed that she had arrived. She slowly walked up and kissed him on his cheek, which startled him. Then she sat down beside him. He handed her the drink he had ordered and when she refused it, he looked puzzled. She thought that this was as good a time as any to tell him that he would soon be a father.

She said that the reason she could not drink tonight or anytime soon because she was pregnant. Madison saw the smile leave Jeffery’s face. He looked at her for a moment and calmly said, “I think I love you but this is not what I want” and he got up and left the bar.

Madison couldn’t believe what had just happened. She knew he would be surprised, hell so was she, but she never expected him to get up and walk out. Maybe he just needed sometime to think. He’ll call her later when he’d had time to digest the information.

Madison never heard from Jeffery again. The day he was to leave the country, a man introducing himself as Mr. Baker, called her. He was Jeffery’s attorney and said he knew about her situation. Mr. Baker said that before his client left on his trip he had made arrangements to provide for “her” child but that he wanted nothing more to do with the situation. Madison was told how to contact Mr. Baker if she ever needed anything and he wished her well. From that moment on Madison vowed to spare her child of as much of the world’s ugliness as she possibly could.

When Maya came back to herself she had somehow made it onto the elevator and into the cafeteria where she now heard someone calling her name. Getting her bearings she located the voice. It was coming from that fireman she had seen the other night. How did he know her name? Had they met before?

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Forging a path to welcoming & psychological safety, in systems, institutions & policies, at scale | Becoming the change I wish to see… |

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Kim Crayton ~ Antiracist Economist ~ She/Her ✊🏾💜

Forging a path to welcoming & psychological safety, in systems, institutions & policies, at scale | Becoming the change I wish to see… |