What’s Your Pleasure?

“With practiced ease, he gently cupped her face and leaned in to WHISPER in her ear.” Page  9

Simple Pleasures, Natasha Simmons


It was so good! I couldn’t put it down and didn’t until hour five when I turned the final page of the epilogue. Not as bold as one would imagine, I keep my intimate love life very private. But no more! At least not for this rearview. Simple Pleasures was so sweet. Like a sweet seedless watermelon on a humid Chicago summer day. Like a cool glass of lemonade. A bit sweet and a bit tart. Everything I’ve ever wanted a man to whisper in my ear, this book did it. It was like every spoken fantasy was spoken to me under candlelight in a steaming bubble bath jacuzzi. Take this journey with me…

The Dream

So let’s start off with this dream sequence that opens the book. The eloquence of the prologue whispered nothing but sweetness to my soul. It screamed at the climax of simple yet intentional desires bottled effortlessly. I believe such pipe dreams are deeply rooted in child’s play.  Most of our desires derive from deep in our imaginations. Some derive from what our parents drilled in us growing up. Others, what we’ve watched in movies or on the Disney channel, like me. Don’t you do it. Don’t you judge me. Yes, I am a proud 90s baby and I grew up with the Disney channel fairy tales in the back of my mind. Now although love for me hasn’t come gliding on a magic carpet or from another spay-stay… dang I did it again. Another Disney reference. Well I guess I can’t help it. If you ask me, Walt Disney is responsible for many of my thoughts on love and facing fears. Anyway back to the point, although love hasn’t come in the ideal way, it still came. However, similar to the main character, Alex, there has been times where I must admit I was so busy that I did not notice what was right in front of me. All those guilty, say I, I and I again! We can blame our lack of attention on the wrong time, wrong person, wrong moment, but sometimes it may just be us. Alex was so busy with taking in her moment that it took a while to look up and take in the gorgeous hunk of a man right in front of her. In my mind, I imagine this hunk of a man had a sparkling resemblance to Idris Elba or Kofi Siriboe. How she almost missed that god of man beats me, but let’s be honest. How many times do we miss the dream because our attention is preoccupied?

I will be the first to say, I think some dreams aren’t worth taking in. Those dreams can turn into quick nightmares. Sometimes you just have to keep looking down until that person gets the hint. If you keep finding yourself in this situation, I would question what type of people are you attracting and why? It may be time to ask yourself some difficult questions. If you’re not happy with looking up and seeing the same old tired-looking nightmare change your environment, change something! Don’t be afraid to wait for your dream. Taking it one breathe at a time. Taking it one inhale at a time. That dream is coming. If you aren’t  sure if the image before you is a dream or a nightmare, test out the waters and be smart.

The Reality

The reality of a situation may be you don’t think it’s the right time. This is where Alex find herself on page 39.

“I see,” he said almost harshly. He was certain the “future” she spoke of involved her clawing desperately and alone up the corporate ladder. Alex detected the change in Joshua’s tone and wondered what that was all about. She decided to ask. “I understand that your future as a lawyer is important to you.” “Well of course it is. It’s what my father always wanted for me. It’s what I’ve nearly killed myself trying to attain these eight years.”

So what can the 21st century woman do? Do we give up on our goals? Do we keep it 100 and let the chips fall where they may? We can’t choose when love will hit us. Love is like a boomerang, if we throw it back it only swings back with greater force than what was thrown. So again, I ask what can the 21st century woman do? The only thing we can do. Keep our focus and be clear of our intentions, but stay open to the possibilities of what ifs. However, if you are not the one who desires a helpmate or confidante – keep it moving. Walk your path and own it! There is no shame in knowing what you want and not accepting anything less. You are a queen and your heart’s desire is just as important as the air you breath. If you desire more, step up to the plate and claim the chatte. Say it with me this time… CLAIM THE CHATTE! Know your worth.

Keep your focus on the big “P”. Nah, nah, nah, not that one. We spoke about this before. You know what the big “P” is. Not the pussy or chatte, as I like to call it, but your purpose. Everyone has one. We just have to dig deep to find its calling. Now there is a question that I don’t think the 21st century woman has yet to escape. It is the same question that I think Alex battles with throughout this entire book.

“He looked down at the angel sleeping in his arms and wondered how she had managed to wiggle her way into his heart. But he knew the day would come when she would move on to begin her career and he would leave the world behind and literally go wherever the wind decided to take him.” Page 58

Can you honestly pursue purpose and passion for a lifetime? Will the moment eventually end with a crash ending? How do you psychologically give into the freedom of a moment, when reality is breathing down your neck? At this moment, the leading male character, Joshua Phoenix finds himself in two worlds. He’s basking in the intimacy shared between him and Alex. However, his mind is racing with thoughts of the inevitable. So how do we relinquish ourselves from the piercing thoughts that raid our minds of the inescapable? I must admit I am guilty of this. I have driven away the possibility of what could be, because my conscience-stricken thoughts could not subside enough to enjoy the then and there. I was too consumed about the future that my present slipped out of my hands. I’ve learned the answer to this grand question that we ask ourselves, is yes! Yes, it’s possible. It sure as heck won’t be easy. There sure ain’t no roadmap giving you directions. In my journey, I’ve found in love and life the answers that I am seeking cannot be answered except through God. I must have faith and trust that my purpose and passion will collide in course, because God designed it that way and for no reason else.

The One We Love

“But it wasn’t a question of how he did it, but why? He didn’t owe her anything. She barely knew him, yet somehow she realized, he had become a part of her. She’d allowed herself to trust him implicitly.” Page 84

We find Joshua on the unfavorable end of Alex’s wrath at the beginning of chapter 9. He messed up and now he’s going through hell and high-water to make it up. And Alex asks why. Am I the only one who wanted to reach through the book and flick her forehead and say DUH BECAUSE HE LOVE YOU GIRLAH. Ok, maybe it’s just me. Alright it is me. The fact is, although actions can show one thing we want things said plainly. If you love me then tell me. You have nothing to lose by being up front. Check your ego and pride at the door. But truth says if we admit it, we become vulnerable to ourselves and someone is. Vulnerability is one of the most terrifying things you can ever give into in a lifetime. I must confess I’ve been in Alex’s shoes before, and if I am honest I still am. I love a guy who I don’t know if he loves me back. I have been in love with him since our worlds collided. At first I though it was exaggerated infatuation, but as we developed a friendship it grew beyond what I thought it would have been. Can I pinpoint the first time I fell in love? No, it just happened. Cupid dragged me by the elbow and hasn’t let go of me, despite my kicking and screaming. Would I ever want to know if the feelings are mutual? Yes, but I’m afraid of heartbreak if it’s not mutual. If it isn’t, who will have a cure for my heartbreak? I mean I can only clean, cook, cry and listen to Mary J. Blidge so often. And yes I do all four when I am depressed. Only God can judge me. I would never want to put my friend in a position where he feels forced to admit something he’s not ready to. Only time will dictate, but for now I’m safe because I doubt he’ll ever comment on this, and if you’re reading this… well, I guess you know now (insert raised eyebrows). Let’s talk king.

“Alex just leaned her head back and closed her eyes. She wasn’t ready to admit to Candice how much she really needed to talk to and see Joshua. She hadn’t really wanted to admit it to herself.” Page 166

Why are we so dishonest with ourselves? We sink in the sand and have the ability to save ourselves, but we continue to drown. Fear is the baddest muthatrucker out there and we let it control us. In chapter 18, we see Alex hiding. We see her being controlled and manipulated by fear. Doubt, the sister to fear, has crept in and she refuses to believe all that she and Joshua experienced was not sincere. Now is this too far fetch to believe? No, because I’ve been there. It’s just the make up of living. If you’re living, you will eventually sink. I know that sounds contradictory to everything written above, but drowning is a part of life. Just like falling is a part of learning to ride a bike, slipping is a part of learning to walk and almost crashing into a light post is a part of learning to drive. Ok… maybe not that last reference, but you get the point. We can’t dictate when sinking will take place. If we could, we would only choose when it was convenient for us. If that was the case, we would never sink, which means we would never grow and growth is essential to our path of purpose. I understand all of this is fine and dandy when you’re not in the middle of sinking, but knock the pressure off. It’s inevitable. We cannot change it. We cannot stop it. We cannot fully prepare for it. We can just push through and pray for wisdom on the other end. If you continue through, you will find yourself on leveled ground again.

The Simple Pleasures

“Wasn’t it you, Joshua Phoenix, who tole me I needed to enjoy the simple pleasures in life? I believe I did. And wasn’t it you too, Joshua Phoenix, who told me not to take life too seriously? Yes, that would be me as well.” Page 194

This book reminded me to never give up on love, purpose and the hope of what will be. I believe that Alex and Joshua were meant to be regardless if they met at a coffee shop or Guantanamo Bay. It was simply meant to be. Life just happened that way. Simple Pleasures taught me that the promises of life may be unknown, but nothing can erase them. It also taught me despite scars acquired, bumpy roads and moments of pure ecstasy, love is always beautiful.

I leave you with this “LET HER B” Moment by Beyoncé:

“So here we are in the still of this moment. Fear is gone, hope lives on. We found our happy ending. For there’s only love, only love. And this sweet, sweet LOVE after all is, all is said and done.”

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