I became acquainted with Chicki Brown’s work when I read her novella, ‘You Make Me Feel Brand New‘ and it was refreshing because it wasn’t about the perfectly-proportioned twentysomething woman meeting the perfectly-proportioned thirtysomething man and being swept off her feet. It was about a woman of a certain age meeting that thirtysomething man and sweeping him off his feet. How could you not love that?
And then I read ‘A Woman’s Worth‘ and knew that from then on, I would read everything of hers. I haven’t made it through them all just yet, but I am hooked by the Stafford Family, so I’m riding that out before I get to her backlist. So it’s my pleasure and honor to host her today, and get a sneak peek of her new release, ‘Till You Come Back To Me.‘
From ‘Till You Come Back to Me’:
When she arrived at the hospital, immediately she sensed a change in the atmosphere. Dr. Ijalana and Dr. Pategi were huddled together in front of the laptop and barely noticed her entrance.
“Good morning, Doctors.”
“Adanna, come and look at this!” Dr. Pategi said with more excitement in his voice than she’d ever heard. Rarely did the doctors consult with her on patient diagnoses. Her involvement focused on treatment, so she approached them expecting to see photographs of a particular medical procedure. Instead, text filled the screen. She leaned in to get a better look. The document was an e-mail from Doctors Without Borders. Their prayers and requests were finally being answered. The organization was sending a team of doctors to work at their small facility.
“This is incredible!” Adanna exclaimed knowing what this meant for their patients, many of who had been waiting for years for surgeries they could not afford. “When will they get here?”
“It says in the last paragraph that the doctors should be here the first week in May. They will evaluate all patients and decide which surgeries will be performed and when. We will assist them in the operating room. Before the team arrives, we need to review the patient waiting list and try to get them in for a final evaluation.”
“I can start doing that right now, Doctor.”
“I had the feeling you’d be excited about this. You are an excellent nurse, Adanna. We could not function without you.” He smiled, and the smooth ebony skin around his eyes crinkled. Dr. Pategi was one of the kindest people she had ever met, and Adanna considered it a privilege to work with him. As a husband and father of four, he sacrificed much of his personal time seeing to the needs of the sick, most of who couldn’t afford to pay the normal fees. He worked tirelessly to obtain funds from social and religious organizations to provide the care their patients needed.
“Thank you. Did they include background information on the surgeons who will be coming?”
He scrolled down the page and clicked on a link. The attachment opened. “Yes, there is a photo and a CV for each, if you would like to find out more about our visitors. Take your time. Everything is quiet right now.” Dr. Pategi stood, made the seat available to her, and left the room.
Adanna replaced him in front of the screen and casually browsed through the physician information. She stopped suddenly when a photo jumped out at her. The man she’d seen in her dream! The antithesis of African standards of male attractiveness, which generally included a wide nose, thick lips, and dark skin, this man had a fair complexion, a beard, and — she leaned into the screen to get a closer look at his professional photo — green eyes. Yet, she couldn’t rip her gaze from his image. There weren’t many men in her country who looked like him. A twinge of guilt stabbed her over admiring his intriguing face, and it wasn’t because of his fair complexion.
The issue of skin color had become an issue in Africa. Recently, a South African musician faced severe criticism over her decision to lighten her naturally dark skin, and subsequently a good number of people in her country had followed suit. The sale of skin lightening products was also a lucrative business in Nigeria, and the debate continued on the ethics of it all. Adanna heard it more often than not from her brother. Even though he had spent his teen years in England, Emeka was fiercely devoted to their tribal culture. He believed that the practice of bleaching one’s skin was tantamount to denying your heritage. This isn’t the same thing, she told herself while she stood mesmerized by the doctor’s high cheekbones and intense eyes. This man would be considered extremely handsome no matter what color skin he had.
She scolded herself for her mental wandering and scrolled down to read the résumé of Dr. Charles Stafford, which was impressive for such a young man. He had gone to medical school, done his residency at a major US hospital and eventually opened his own plastic surgery practice. Now he was giving up private practice to lend his gifts to the people of her nation.
And, in a couple of months, this fascinating man was arriving at her hospital.
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