NYU Black Renaissance Noire NYU Black Renaissance Noire Vol 17.2: Fall 2017 - Page 24

“Just once or twice,” I said, foregoing a display of my skill at multiplication. “Well, just remembering can bring sunshine on your cloudy days.” She paused. “He got away from me: I couldn’t keep him. You can’t keep what you never had. Then I heard he died. Chicago, Detroit—somewhere. We had love but never got to the friendship part.” I had never felt true loss for long. More like the sadness after a football game lost, a pass I may have dropped that might have made a difference. There might be a pat on the back to cheer me walking off the field. But the next day, there would be things to attend to. Love lost? Let’s be serious. Never catch me on a park bench spilling it all out to a stranger, at least. Well, there was Lydia, whom I cried a tear or two over in my room. And Berniece, whose memory was my companion along with the lyrics to “”I’ve Got a Woman” for two weeks of night walking. Strange, strange. But still, to tell it in the open air, with strangers passing, sealed in their dreams and urgencies and schemes — no way. And what if the main canal to my heart burst listening to a woman sitting beside me confessing or creating her story? And what if it didn’t and I lived to be a hundred with no witnesses to my tale? I’ll start with the ups and downs of my loves, our common ground. “But hold it. I’m not here to get a sympathy card.” She was standing, grinding out the stub of the cigarette with the scuffed toe of her shoe. She swept the back of her coat several times. “The days ain’t made for sleeping. Even a used-to-be-fine lady got business to take care of.” I wanted to pull her back down by the elbow. She had not heard yet of my break-up with the only woman I had truly loved, I think, or the job hunt or the simmering volcano just south of my heart. After all, I would see her again, wouldn’t I? There is always next time. Always next time. I did not tug her elbow. She took a step away, then turned. “I want to thank you for helping me see things clear.” “Me?” “Yes, when I first saw you come in the diner, I noticed the way you carried yourself. Like you were a proud man shaking some load off your shoulders. When you came in the second time, I figure you just checking out that new waitress Sheronda, who change her hair with the phases of the moon and shorten her skirt a inch everyday. She always bending over in front of you to serve the chili or clean up. She got nothing on me for showing off back in my younger day.” She laughed through a cough. “But the third time when you didn’t look so long at her big behind, I figured you had something you needed to talk about. And so did I. So we were a good match, don’t you see? “But the way you move your hands and tuck your chin in when you laugh, it kinda remind me of the fellow I was telling you about. Some things we remember long past remembering time. You can’t help me on that one. I can never find him. But there’s one or two other people I still got to find. I got a daughter, you see. Out here in the world, I need to see her. I think she need me real bad. You listening to me now just sort of put me in the mind to keep movin and lookin’. So, Mr. Handsome, I thank you. I really do.” She waved and moved away, stopping only briefly to shield her eyes to look up at a squadron of gulls far from their familiar sea. n 11 BLACK RENAISSANCE NOIRE Now, the Culture creates Code. The Code is this: We do not speak about your pain. We do not break down; we are strong. The Code creates super humans. A pride in how much you can carry without breaking down, because if you dare break the Code, then you are automatically a failure. I think it is funny, you know, how society thinks softness isn’t a part of strength. Culture of silence creates a code that masking your pain, denying your story, and not telling it, is how it has always been, and how it should be. The Code will use tradition; it will compare you to others; it will shame you into not owning and telling your story of surviving. The Code makes it okay for my friends on that Friday night to sit and discuss what happened to them but never to speak about it outside, never to confront their anger or feeling of betrayal by some family members who knew but told them to say nothing about their abuse and in one case, a friend who was molested at ten was blamed by her mother. The Code is known between these women. It is an unspoken rule of knowing that if y ԁɔɕ͕ԁЁѼ͕ѡɅ)ԁ݅́ɥЁѼPЁɅ́Ʌ她Ёɕͥ)9ЁɽѥаЁЁ䁅䁍役)չхЁɥѕѥѼ͕%Ёԁݕɔ) ɥѥԁ͡ձ܁́ѡ݅ѼՍ)%́Ёݽɬȁ԰ԁЁɔɽՉ%Ё́)ձиQ ́ѕɸ٥ȁɕ͔ѡЁɅ)ѥэȁ̰͡ѥȁѠѥЁѼɅ̰ٕѡ)Ʌȁ́ѡɅи%Ё́͡ԁȃaɥȁ䁱չd)ٕ́ԁѼɕͥ́ѡЁ́ԁ) Ѡ́ ձɔ ɕєѡ Q ́ݡɔ)ѽɥ́Q́ѡѥѥݡѡɅѥͥ)́Ё͵ѱ]ȁѡЁݡݔѼѡ ݔɔ)ѼЁͽѥ%Ё́ѕȁѼեи%Ё́ѕȁѼȁѡ) ѡȁ́ѼѡȁݔٔѡݕȁѼѕ)ȁѽɥ̰ѼݸȁɅѥ̸ٕ)]͡ձ͕ѼɅѼѕѡȁѽɥ́䁱ѕѼ)ѡݥѠ%ͽ́԰ѕԁѡ)ѡ䁅ɔɕ͕Ё͠Ёͅ䁑ɕͥ䁡́Ѽ)хЁѼ̸ɅѡѼѕѡȁѽ丁Mѥ)ѕ́٥ѡݕȁѼݸѡȁѽ䁅ɕѡɽ՝ѡ)ɅѥͥIȁȁٽձԁɔЃqݥt+qѥt役ѕԁѡȁѽ丁eԁɔɅѡ܁)Ё́ݕȁȁ쁥Ё́ЁȁѽѼѕeԁɔ)ɝ܁ѡ䁑ѼѕиɅЁܸ)]͡ձЁѕѡ́ѡЁѡȁɥ̰ѡ՝ɕа)Ёѽ %͵ѱѡɅѥͥݔչхЁ́)ݕ́Ѽ͕ݔ͡ձɅѼѡаѼ)% չѥ̰ѡ́́хиḛݔՙ)ɽɕͥḛݔѼѡɅи9ݔЁmtɕ)ȁ́她ͥȸIȰ܁ݔ)ɽ́ɕи́ɕЁ́ȁٕɥ̸%Ё́х)ѼչхѡЁɵ饹́Ʌ危ѡЁЁ)ѡȁͽѥ́饹ѡՔȁхiݔѡɔ)ɔɥ́͡хѽݹ́͡ȁѼͥЁхѼ)хѠٽѕ́ѡɽ՝ͥɽɅɽ) Q䁅ɔɅѼ܁܁ѼѼݥѠᥕ)ɕͥQ䁅ɔЁ卡ɥ̸%ѕѡ͔ɔѥ镹́ݡ)ɔ݅ЁѼ!ɔͥЁ͍́ݥѠٽѕ́ݡ)ݥѕЁՑȁѡЁѥѡȁٕ̰ݡٔ)ѽѡȁɽͻeЁ՝ݽݡɔЁͅمх)ݡ́ЁѼѕѼͥЁչх)ѡȁ́مQ́́܁ݔ͡Ёͽѡȁͽѡ́)܁̸Qȁѽɥ́ɔЁ́хЁȁѡѼݸ)ЁѼѕȁݕȁѼٕѼѡ٥ٽȸ)Q͔ѽɥ́ɔЁѡյɥ%ȁͥѥՕ̰)܁ݔȁٕɥ́Ѽѡյѽ]ٔѼ͔)ȁ͕́Ѽ͕ѡݽɱ ́ݥѠѽ䰁́ݥѠ)́ݥѠљɴݔЁѕа͔ݔɔݥѹ͕́Ѽ)Q՝ѕ́ѡݽݡٕ݅́䁵ɹɔͱݱ)ѥѥɕ$ɽՐѼݥѹ́Ѽѡ́ѥձɔݡɔ)͵ѱͥ́Ʌѡɽ՝ݹѕȁѽɥ̸)Q́́Ё٥ͽ )1Ё԰)eЁԁ܁ȁѡ́٥ٕѡ͔݅)eԁЁɸ܁Ѽȁ݅́ѡɹ)eԁЁٕȁЁ)eչݽЁ̸͡) Ёѡɔɔͽѥ́Ѽѡѡɕ ]ٔѼչхѡЁѡɔ)ɔѽɥ́ݥѡѽɥ̰ͽɔѡѡѡȸMѽɥ́)ȁձɕ́䁡̸Mѽɥ́ѡаݡЁչѽٔ́ݥѠ)չ䰁ݥѠͽݥѡЁɽȁɕɕ͕хѥ]ݔ)ѕѡЁѡ͡ձեЁ͔ѡȁѽɥ́ЁЁݡ)ݔܰݔѡхٕ͔Ʌѥ̸ٕ]ѡ)хɥЁݡЁѡ́ٔ٥ٕ쁱ݡ$ͅ)ݥѠ䁙ɥ́啅́ѕѡ䁅Ё́1ݡ)$ѕݥѠ ݔ$Ё́͡)Qձɔͥ́ѡЁͥѕȁ܁ɽѡ٥ٽȁ̰)́ɕѠQݡͽݽх䁥ͥٔɥ%Ё)ѡ ձɔѡЁͥ́́͡ѡݥѡЁݡ͡)ɕ͡ݕ́ȁɕɥMPѕȁ܁ͅ)ѕȁ܁ɽPݽձͽ䁙ȁѼх)MݡЁݽձݽݥѡЁаݽݥѡЁȁݸ)ͽɍݽͽѡЁ́ѱȁ́Ѽ)ɽѕЁȰMх́ѡЁͥٔɥQձɔͥ)ٕ́ԁͥ唰ݡԁ