For Bonita

·         Outkast

·         Green

·         Greenville, SC

"Ugh, Trace, who told you to move down to where Forrest Gump n'em from when I desperately need you here with me," I whined into the phone.

My best friend Tracey had been missing in action for just over a week as she'd moved down south with her family as he husband obtained his dream job. He'd been recently appointed chief diversity officer of a small liberal arts institution. Tracey's job was portable—she ran her own, very popular, vegan soul food blog—so it was a no brainer for her, Michael and MJ to make that trek to the dirty dirty. Only problem was that our already limited time together had been virtually erased completely since she wouldn't be a short car ride away anymore.

"Firstly, Forrest was from GreenBOW Alabama, secondly...girl, I told Mike that maybe he needed a different dream because this place's something..."

"I told you!" I exclaimed.

Tracey and I were both what Southerners called yankees—I was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and she was from even further north than me, Minneapolis, Minnesota. We met when we both attended Fisk University, our first taste of an extended time period living in the south...well as southern as Tennessee could seem to two girls from the Midwest.

I'd met Tracey when I was in a transitory period.

In my senior year of high school, I had a big falling out with my closest friend because she let the lies of a third party come between us. I went off to college knowing no one, but my future roommate, Helen, that I'd talked to on the phone a time or two. Through Helen I'd met Tracey and we clicked immediately. I spent so much time in Tracey's room freshman year, me and her roommate did an unauthorized switch—the roommate going to live with Helen and me moving in with Trace. Tracey introduced me to several things during our first year of living together including Outkast's Aquemini album and how to find respite in a form of green herbal essence.

Our subsequent years were spent living together on and off campus and getting into several hijinks. After undergrad, we both moved back to the Midwest, settling in Chicago as elementary school teachers. That was when Tracey met Mike and I met Jacob. Jake and I didn't make it through my first full year of teaching, but Mike and Trace had been going strong for more than ten years at this point.

"Yeah, yeah," Tracey replied, "So... anyway how'd last night go?"

Ah yes, the reason for this call. The blind date that she'd managed to arrange for me long distance between me and one of Mike's frat brothers.

"Sis, I just...I know you mean well, but also maybe never set me up with anyone else again, okay?"

"That bad?"

"Worse than you could imagine, boo. Waaaaay worse. Buddy showed up half an hour late, reeking of Crown Royal and another woman."

"Noooooo," Tracey groaned.

"Yesssssss," I replied, with a giggle, "Let's just say we didn't last far past introductions."

Nicole Falls