How to Love a Blind yet Faithful Submissive

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CHAPTER ONE: HAIR-CUT PEP TALK

ISAIAH’S POV

Kind, strong eyes.

The kind of eyes that seem to say, “I have all the confidence I need, all thanks to God who gives me the strength I need for everyday.”

Those were the same eyes that I inherited from my mother, whom I never saw because she died giving birth to me. But somehow, I can still see her in my dreams: a lithe and petite frame that contrasts her strong personality yet fits her long, flowing summer dress that billows in the summer winds of Saint Louis; long black hair as vibrant as a crow’s wing; smooth, creamy skin the color of light caramels. But the most important thing were her kind, strong eyes that were in the deepest shade of blue, thanks to having a white grandfather and a black Creole grandmother.

And she gazes down at me, her eyes intense as her personality, as she says to me the same thing: “No matter what happens to you, never let anyone tell you that you can’t do anything. Don’t let anyone make you feel like a cripple…”

“Isaiah?”

I snapped out of my meditation state before fixing my tie. “Yeah,” I hollered from the bathroom. “What’s up, Natasha?”

A pause. Then, “That’s the landlord who came up,” I heard my roommate and closest friend say from the living room. “He said that you have fifteen minutes left until you leave for the barber.”

“Oh, thanks,” I replied as I smoothed out the invisible lines of my dress pants before grabbing my jacket. “I better get out here, stat.”

So, my name’s Isaiah. Isaiah Da’Von Van Blackwell. And yeah, I’m blind. Been that way since the day I was born. And aside from my close friend Natasha Allman, I was my own family and friend. Now, I was told, ever since I was in my early years, that I’d be lucky to have a home with someone to look after me. Or, that I’d be more content on weaving baskets or running decrepit antique stores. But despite being shuffled off into different foster homes and into families that saw me as old furniture, I never lost any hope that one day I would be my own kind of trailblazer.

But it wasn’t easy to get to where I am right now.

Yeah, there were the days of being abandoned and left to fend for myself, being cheated out of my allotted food and having to be my own kind of best friend. And when I was at public school, almost all the kids basically made me feel like I was invisible. Only a few teachers saw that I had potential while the rest just said that, “I’d should be grateful for having an education, even if I was destined to be a cripple.”

Seven households who all saw me as another opportunity to earn a check.

Nearly fourteen years spent in the shadows, but never beaten of course.

But two weeks before I was set to turn fifteen, a mysterious benefactor (code name: faceless organization) decided that I’d have better luck at an all-boys boarding school in Southern California. Arrangements were made by my late social worker (a sweet woman who left behind a husband due to breast cancer), and I was in San Francisco getting my education. And surprisingly enough, I thrived under the care of the no-nonsense teachers who never let me feel sorry for myself, even when I was blind. They even had me taking various lessons for my blindness: cooking, cleaning, playing music, and even learning to maneuver through a room without a cane.

A doctor specializing in battery testing also helped me to “see” without really seeing, having me use my limited eyesight and my other enhanced senses to figure out who I was talking to. I also learned touch-sensing and a few other tricks.

But the most important thing I excelled at were with cooking, art and fashion, which got me a scholarship (full-ride) to the Art Institute of LA. And there, I’d met Natasha Allman, a fellow fashion major with a knack of flair. Between the two of us, we got perfect scores and well-written reviews for future job opportunities like the one I was planning to get later on this afternoon.

I emerged from my restroom and trooped over to the living room where my friend was setting up her “sick-day” camp, no thanks to eating some fish-tacos from a sneaky-eyed vendor. “How are you holding up, Queenie?” I greeted her as I made my way to one of the other chairs.

She stifled a burp. “Awful,” she lamented. “You were right to wait until you to home to eat dinner last night. But I couldn’t resist a fish taco.”

I arched an eyebrow. “Yeah, but I kept telling you that the guy’s food-storage/cooking area was way off,” I replied. “And it smelled something too bad.”

“Don’t remind me. Ugh, if you can, pick me up some ginger ale and some saltines, Isaiah. This is so going to bite me in the fucking ass!”

“I will,” I chuckled just as I heard the knocking on the front door. “Come in!”

The door swung open, revealing a tall portly man that had the same fatherly gaze that greeted me since I arrived here during freshman year. “Hey there, old boy, you ready for the barber’s?” he asked me.

“Yes, Mr. Vinson,” I said. “How are you today?”

“Fine, but you still got some time before your job interview over at Vibe, you know that?” he said. “I don’t understand why you have to be all prepared for everything.”

“You know that Shadie and the others at the salon all want me to look my best,” I replied as I grabbed my computer bag that held my computer and portfolio. “And plus, you know that they all want to see you.”

The older man snorted. “Please,” he said. “They all want to see a picture of my grandson, who’s now a Marine. I don’t get why they just ask me if he’s gay or not.”

“They just love to tease.” To Natasha, “I gotta run, but I should be back in time to head on over to Mariah’s after the interview.”

“Izzie boy, you’ll be tired,” my ailing friend said. “Plus, Royale Crowne said to take the day off.”

I shook my head no. “Girl, someone needs to pay the rent this month,” I pointed out. “And you need to get some rest. Doctor’s orders.”

“I’ll stop by later to drop off some of my wife’s famous sick-bed soup,” Mr. Vinson offered. “You know that she can use that gumbo to knock off that stomach bug.”

“Anything, please! Just make sure that I get my rest,” Natasha laughed. “You better get on down to the barbershop.”

“See you!”

*************

Shadie Layne (aka Tyson Watson) had her mouth running a mile a minute as she and the other drag queens worked on split ends and coloring faux-pas for the clients of Dream Weavers Beauty and Barber Salon, one of the best Black-American hair salons of all Southern California. And by the time I arrived there, the place was halfway packed with the smell of hair relaxer in the air mixed with the sounds of Teena Marie on the stereo.

“Morning, everyone,” I said happily and was greeted with a few hellos.

Shadie, in her usual pink-wig glory with a deep-red pantsuit, waved at me. “Marcus has you covered in ten, sweetie. Kiss-kiss.”

I blew a kiss back at her as I took a seat in a nearby chair, looking at a men’s magazine to pass the time. But not even five minutes later, her brother Marcus (dressed in his LA Rams jersey and his favorite jeans) waved me over to the chair and I got up and got ready for my haircut.

“So, you ready for this job interview over at Vibe?” he asked me as he wrapped the gauzy tape around my neck before grabbing the clippers. “I heard that there’s going to be some tight competition over there, especially with the rich kids.”

“Man, you know that those kids over there are going to be bribing their way in,” one worker said as he worked on the braids of a young man. “And anyway, I herd that Vibe’s not the place to be messed with, especially with their standards. No amount of bribery and not even Daddy Warbucks’ money will get those kids a guarantee.”

“True. That’s why we got Isaiah here who’s one badass man with the needle and thread,” Shadie said as she finished up with her client. “Witness that hot cocktail dress he worked up for me when I needed a costume for my gig at the Red Tea Rose.”

“Or the moment when he fixed my girl Monica’s wedding dress two days before the wedding,” the other guy pointed out. “She was freaking out when her sister spilled her Chardonnay all over the skirt.”

“But guys, even I’m not guaranteed for the job, no matter how much my professor said that I’m in the running,” I pointed out, keeping my head low as Marcus worked on my edges. “And there are a few other kids who have really good taste.”

“Child, you just continue to work that magic that you got working on and they’ll see how good you got it,” Shadie pointed out. “We all know that you’re the best. And if they don’t take you, that’s their loss. In my book, you’re bound to go even further at any place, even over at the House of Suez.”

“I heard that,” the other boy known as Carter barked as some other customer agreed in assent. “Man, you know that Frazier kid just got married to one of the leading designers. Armand Saint Croix, y’all know him.”

“I heard that,” a female worker named Tiana said. “My cousin Taffy Ganache said that the wedding was flawless. Hell, I was even at the street-party/wedding reception. I still got food to last me a year.”

“And that Jarvis kid is really a good baker and artist,” Marcus added. To me, “If that kid could achieve the impossible, even after what his sister and the other two women did to him, you can get yours as well.”

Everyone knew of Jarvis Frazier and all the hell he went through no thanks to his sister Bernice and her co-conspirators Samantha and Patricia Reece. They nearly tried to kill the kid and even went as far as burning down House of Suez, the family bakery, and even Blue Bayou- all to prove a point the rejects were doomed to die while they got the glory. Well, they’re in prison for life and that Jarvis kid is the face of LA and the LGBT community.

“Thanks, y’all,” I replied. “I just hope that this works out for me. I still got my job at Mariah’s Diner, but I just need something to fuel my love for fashion.”

The rest of my stay consisted of small talk until Marcus was finished. Carefully, I skimmed the top of my head to make sure everything as pristine as I hoped to look. “Amazing as usual, Marcus,” I said, handing him a $20. “I better be off. I have an hour to arrive at Vibe so I can make sure that I am on point.”

“You give those people hell, honey,” Shadie said as I headed out the door where a taxi was slowing down to a stop by the curb. “And if they don’t take you, it’s their loss.”

“Thanks,” I hollered. I stepped inside the cab and handed the driver a $50. “Take me to Vibe Fashions on Walton and Hillcrest,” I instructed him.

“On it, kid,” the driver said gruffly. “Job interview?”

“You know it. And if you can-“

He cut me off. “I’ll get ya there in thirty, kid.”

All right, Isaiah, I thought to myself as I got into my meditative state to calm my mind. Break a leg!

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