A splash of sunshine for your Monday Blues....Happy Reading!
ANGELA RECITES THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS while my mother and I cook dinner. She’s twelve, tall, built like her brickhouse mama, and she’s in the eighth grade. And just like me, she got skipped in elementary school.
Unlike me, she’s enrolled at a private prep school in white bread Bay Ridge with other brainiacs like herself. She seems to like it, even though as she puts it, she’s only one of four chocolate chips in a tub of vanilla ice cream. But I’m worried. Unlike me, she is fragile. Her words fall out of sequence.
“Start over,” I say.
“This is so not coo-ull. It’s not going to help me become an astronaut, Mom.”
“The kids at your school will know it. So you need to know it better.”
“Mom, it’s 2008. We’re all equaaal.” I look over the top of my glasses.
“Ohmigod. I hate when you do that. Four score and seven years ago...” I wonder about my decision from time to time because although it’s 2008, the idea of electing a black man still makes the folks nervous. Black folks included. Things have changed. But a lot more has stayed exactly the same.
My mother is mumbling something about my being too hard on her, but I’m on to something else. Will my little chocolate chip come home with little pink-faced Jimmy and his little pink penis, talking about ‘Ohmigod, I love hemm!’? I chop tomatoes like there’s a medal to be won.
“Oh! I almost forgot! Rodney sent tickets for us to come to his game tonight.” I chop at warp speed now. Perhaps I could win the gold.
“It’s his first night in town. We should support him.”
“Not tonight,” I say.
“Why can’t we go, Mom? Cousin Kerri’s kids get to go all the time and I’m way older than they are.”
“Okay, well how ‘bout me and Dub take Angela to the game and we’ll tell you how it was.”
“Angela has a test at the end of the week and she needs to study. Plus, it’s a school night. For the last time. Not. To. Night!”
“But Mom, I could take that test with my eyes closed!”
“No game.” My mother slams her knife on the counter and grabs her hips.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” I keep at my tomatoes. Kop, kop, kop! Kop, kop, kop!
“Is this how you treat your family, Adrienne? He’s been nothing but good to me and your father. And he always asks for you. I would think you’d be a little more grateful.” I look over my glasses at her, too.
“Grateful for family. Your family’s all you got, Adrienne. Hmph. I didn’t wanna say nothing, but you ain’t got Terrell no more, cause you ran him off. You treat Kerri like a stranger. You come to holidays late and leave early. Now you don’t want to go to the game. What you think you teaching Angie with all this?” She tsks which annoys the hell out of me.
“I just don’t understand you,” she says.
“It’s been awhile since you’ve understood me.”
“Whas that supposed to mean?”
I drop the knife in the sink. “Angela, when you’re done eating, come right home. No game.” I yank my pocketbook off the chair back.
“Daddy. Where do you keep your stash?” I ask on my way out.
“Top of the cabinet. You okay?” he asks.
“I will be.”