Excerpt from Nobody's Magic by Destiny O. Birdsong, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Nobody's Magic

by Destiny O. Birdsong

Nobody's Magic by Destiny O. Birdsong X
Nobody's Magic by Destiny O. Birdsong
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2022, 368 pages

    Jan 2023, 368 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Lisa Ahima
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About this Book

Print Excerpt

I didn't really kick it that much before Doni cause I felt like I had everything I needed right where I was. I still live at home, and my daddy own Elkins Custom Auto, so we do pretty good. Nice cars, of course; nice house. Movie room downstairs; game room upstairs. The sunporch, which I love cause it's just the right amount of shade, and I can sit outside all day playing games on my phone or shopping online and not get burned. My friend Drina would come over and my mama would make us food while we sit and talk. Or if we did go out, it was to shop, like at Mall St. Vincent. That's where the good Dillard's is, the one with the Coach bags. I got my daddy to buy me one awhile back, but then I kinda wanted this other one that was beige with a flower on the buckle, and oooh! It was flames. But my daddy said I needed to get tired of the one I had, and when that happened, he'd buy me the other one. Then my mama said, "Careful, Curtis; she gon stop thinking you hung the moon." I swear my mama used to say that every time my daddy said no, and he would just laugh, but when everything started to happen, he'd just look at her like she was crazy. And I mean, I loved my daddy—still do—but I never thought my daddy hung nothing. And if he did hang the moon, I hate to tell him, but he hung it kinda crooked.

Stuff started happening in the fall—I know that cause my daddy had on his light jacket when he left, and my mama made coffee and we was out on the porch with each other under some throws, waiting for Drina. Drina didn't go to college neither, but she do go to school part-time for cosmetology, and she work at MetroPCS and do people's hair on the side. That day, I was paying Drina to redo my braids I had got over the summer. I coulda went down to Tresses, but I didn't wanna sit in a chair all day, especially if the TV I gotta watch ain't even got cable. Plus, Drina needed the money cause all the folks we went to school with had left for college again, but she had spent all their back-to-school hair money on her own tuition. So yeah—it was fall.

Drina do a good job, too, and I begged her to do it on the porch so I could see the birds. I'm always looking for blue jays—they so pretty. Or goldfinches. And then one time me and Mama saw a heron flying. She say it's probably cause of the pond, even though it's way out on the property, even past the other garage. Anyway, I ask Drina if she can do my hair out there.

"But, Suzette. It's kinda cold right now."

"It'll warm up around ten. And I'll get Mama to start up the fireplace till it do."

"But I don't want my hands—"

"And some coffee too. Mama! Bring Drina some coffee out to the porch! You hongry? We had cinnamon rolls for breakfast. And I think it's still some sausage left over."

"How I'ma do your hair if I'm eatin all this food?"

When Mama brought out the coffee, she say, "Drina, I don't know why this girl got you out here on this porch tryin to do some hair."

And Drina say, "I treat her like the rest of y'all do, Ms. Elkins.

Cain't nobody tell her no except Mr. Curtis."

Then Mama and Drina started laughing.

And I pout, cause Drina supposed to be my friend but she talking bout me like everybody else, and that ain't right. If I really am spoiled rotten, it's cause Mama and Daddy was doing too much when I was little. I couldn't go outside cause I might get sunburn. I couldn't play with the other kids cause they didn't treat me right. I couldn't stay after school or do no kinda activities after the voodoo incident. I couldn't even do debutante ball cause every girl was supposed to host an event for the debs at her house and my daddy say them people just wanted to see how we lived and he wasn't having it. And he didn't want me going off to college cause what if I didn't like it, or what if I got caught up with some no-good nigga cause I wouldn't know no better noway, since I didn't date in high school. Just woulda been a waste of money—that's what Daddy said. And I couldn't have a car cause I didn't have a driver's license and I had to get bioptic glasses to pass the eye test and we had to go to Nacogdoches for that cause the LSU clinic always booked like a year in advance, and Daddy would do it the next time he got time off work. So it was just like a cycle: couldn't do nothing now cause I didn't do nothing then. So the least I could do was sit on the porch and see some birds while I got my hair done. Damn.

Excerpted from the book Nobody's Magic by Destiny O. Birdsong. Copyright © 2022 by Destiny O. Birdsong. Reprinted by permission of Grand Central Publishing, New York, NY. All rights reserved.

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