Tea Time: Aunt Juicie

Sadie spoiled those kids. She ignored them and she spoiled them because she felt guilty that she didn't want them. That's why they in trouble today. In the news, acting up, going to court. Spoiled. 

Didn't nobody tell her to be gallivanting and sugar-stealing with that Rodney Barrus. Yes, she and Rhona were friends first, but she and Rhona woulda still been friends if she'da left him where she found him.

Nobody listens to the little sister, though.

I told her Mommy would be fine if she didn't marry Rodney. I told her that Daddy woulda gotten over it because he loved the mess out of her. But she couldn't see it. She said, "No respectable man would have me now." And that was that.

Truth be told, it was Michael from Bushwick Avenue who really loved her; and not that wild boar that told her whatever she wanted to hear to get what he wanted. I never saw what she saw in Rodney. He wasn't good-looking, but that wasn't the worst part. A man can be ugly as sin, but if he had a good personality, you could grow to love him - with your eyes closed. 

Haha! Yall don't listen to me. Sometimes we old people say things that's not politically correct. It's okay. I don't care much for politics anyway. Never have. Especially when it comes to war and fighting. Where was I? I was telling yall something.

Oh yes.

The crazy thing is that he was not a nice looking man, but Rodney wasn't funny, he wasn't kind, and he wasn't charming, either. He was smart; knew all these different things about stuff nobody else really knew about. He could also talk a good game. He would promise you the shirt off your own back and you wouldn't even realize it was your shirt you'd given up and then bought back for more than you paid in the first place. 

I don't know. Maybe he had a big secret, if you know what I mean. 

If stupid Tony didn't go off and die in Vietnam, then Michael would have stayed in Brooklyn and Sadie and I, we would have married brothers and none of this mess would have happened. She wouldn't have been saddled with that man, those kids, or this messed up spine that keeps her from sleeping soundly without medicines. But we all make choices. 

I don't see why I'm talking about them when I finally have my living room to myself for a few hours. Sadie is at rehab for her back and I'm just here, in my chair. By myself. Thinking again.

Yall woulda liked Tony. He was fiiiine with his sweet brown skin. He was sharp as a tack. But he was so kind. And funny! Chile, he could tell a joke that would have you laughing 'til your tears dripped off your chin. Know what I loved most? He loved the Lord. He did. He could have been a preacher. I know this has got nothing to do with nothin' but Tony could dance. We could dance.

We were gonna get married, you know. Tony said I probably was gonna kick-ball-change down the aisle. I would not have danced down the aisle. That would have been improper. But at the reception, honey? Yes! What's that girl's name that danced in Fame. The one with the sister who played Claire Huxtable? Yes, Debbie Allen. I woulda Debbie Allen'd all over that place. That would have been the Motown wedding party of the year.

He didn't come back though.

He didn't come back and I never got back to feeling as alive as I did when he was here.

It's almost forty-three years later. 

Ahhh. Let me figure out what I'm gonna make for Sadie and me to eat.