Cuffing season: A short story by Shubricca L Bell. (Part 1)

It was fall, which meant, the leaves were changing colors as they fell beneath the trees. The weather was getting colder, which meant it was cuffing season. When it’s cold outside, people want to be boo’d up inside. Not to mention the Holidays. Who wants to spend, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New years and Valentine’s Day, alone? No one, if they can help it; and Loni, was feeling this way more than anyone, especially since both of her best friends and her sister were married. She was beginning to feel the pressure to at least be in a serious relationship. Between her mother asking her, “When are you going to get married and have me some grandkids?” And her sister saying, “You don’t have a man, because you’re too picky.” Loni felt as if she was going crazy. “I’m not picky,” Loni said. “I just know what I want, and my standards are reasonable.” The holidays were just around the corner though, and loneliness had Loni thinking that maybe she should compromise her standards. Maybe her standards were too high. “Time is ticking, and I’m not getting any younger. In four years, I’ll be thirty, and although I have a great career, I want a family,” she thought to herself, as she bit into the shrimp cocktail, and gulped down her margarita, because she knew her mom’s sister was about to come bug her too, and she needed a strong drink to get her through the conversation. “Happy Birthday. What a nice party, auntie Bernice,” Loni said admiring the fancy decorations. “Thank you, Loni,” aunt Bernice said, before pulling Loni to the side. “Listen, Loni. You’re my niece and I love you, but why don’t you have a man yet? You’re beautiful, successful, you love God, you’ve got those child bearing hips,” aunt Bernice said, as she took a step back and looked at Loni’s curves. “It would be a shame for those hips to go to waste. Find you a man and settle down. Don’t keep cutting everyone you meet off, or you’ll never meet the right one,” aunt Bernice said. “I appreciate the concern, auntie, but trust me, I am single by choice. If I’ve cut someone off, it’s for good reason. I don’t believe that in order to find love, I have to settle for less than I deserve. I don’t just want a man. I want the man God has for me. I will have a family someday, but it’s all in God’s timing, okay?” Loni said. “I understand. I just don’t like the fact that people are talking about you. ‘What’s wrong with Loni? Why doesn’t she have a man yet? Her sister and best friends are all married and she doesn’t even have a boyfriend, yet.’ I’ve tried to defend them, but I’m concerned as well, dear,” aunt Bernice said. Loni looked around the room, and it was as if all eyes were on her. Everyone at aunt Bernice’s party were either married or had a special someone, even the dog. Loni felt as if she was going to have an anxiety attack. She had to get out of there. The pressure was just too much. She could hardly breathe, and every time she was alone, here comes loneliness, trying to get her to call her ex. Going backwards was not an option for Loni. She only believed in moving forward. She’d tried online dating in the past, that was a waste of time. She wasn’t going back to that either. She had to do something though. She was on a mission to find a guy, and find one quick. Her heart wanted love, but more than love, Loni wanted to shut the voices in her head and all around her, up. Thanksgiving was quickly approaching and she was determined not to show up to her parents house alone. “I can find love later. Right now, I just need peace of mind,” she thought to herself.

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