NYU Black Renaissance Noire Spring 2015 - Page 64

But even that last part would be a lie. I’ve told Stella. The mourner’s note to me reads: “LaDonna, Your encouragement meant a lot. Mum’s death inspired me to get moving on a lot of lost dreams, including writing a book one day. I started a writer’s group, to help get it out, and would love some members. Maybe you could come and talk about your story as well. Join us if you can, or tell someone else. 1435 Pearson Street, Schererville, Indiana. Thursdays at 6:30. Potluck. Warmest regards, Marty” “What story you got?” Stella asks me. “I never heard it…” “I have them. I have many,” I state. I affix corsage pins to chopped winter honeysuckle, rested atop one of my sociology textbooks, one I placed in my bag only to take to the university bookstore, to be sold back for cash. But I forgot to do this. Too. “She’s gay,” Stella snorts. She is old school open-minded, only. Her mind jumped over the mandatory hump of teaching Sunday school as an abusive Elk’s wife, straight to divorce and on to her own business, past the craters of motherhood to grandmotherhood and onto the single otherwise, reluctance to let another man tie her down, including my father. Now, she is the closest thing to a mother I will know. So she makes me laugh when I feel like crying. From inside of the cooler behind the counter, Tony hums: “Well…” The next day, while my husband is out teaching a little music to kids at a Chicago project building program, I attempt to make him a scratch parmesan cheese Caesar salad, roasted French garlic bread and rookie spaghetti carbonara (with bacon and just egg yolk, churned in butter). This will be special and this will fill him and I will not eat like a bird. I’ve also beat my aversion to dusting our many things, and transformed it into a fascination with Lysol’s pre-made wipes. I will be thorough and swift in my new era of motherless and childless domesticity. I have decided, without mention to my husband, to drop out of my psychology studies and use the money for my own psychologist instead. I will sell Stella’s flowers and all the belongings my husband will allow, and have “baby nights” like they are going out of style. I will be official with my Type-C status. As the crests of my life to be proud of, I will point to my acquisitions of the horn-playing husband who resents me and the Northwestern degree I am still paying for and the baby weight I am already pessimistic enough to think I will never lose. I will never again lie about the mother I never had. I will be prepared for a reaction to the awkward pauses one little white stick can wedge between a man and a woman once stuck together, the imposing question one good-hearted stranger or concerned familiar could ask. I will move on from stories to explain away my mother and come up with new tales to write off my child: my stubborn abortion scar tissue will become an emergency hysterectomy I needed to save my life, a genetic inheritance from my relatives who have few or no children either, my broken pelvis from a Frida Kahlo-like car accident, a childhood illness with fever so high it burned up my uterus. I will not lie. I will ‘re-invent.’ Why not? Daddy taught me how to do it. And, I will be so pre-occupied with all the possible reinventions of my new self that I will burn the garlic bread and spaghetti sauce and a dish towel and about the entire wall behind the stove while my husband blows his horn in the garage we filled with books instead of our kids’ bikes and air hockey sets. My husband, thankfully, had heard the smoke detectors chirping in Fall. 62 “Stella, she’s married,” I sigh. “And? Are you? This the second time she been in here for you. Now, I’ve heard of appreciation, and gratefulness, but I’d say this is overkill. A crush, it sound like. But, gone on head and go meet her at her house if you got to. What do I know?” BRN-SPRING-2015.indb 62 3/29/15 11:41 AM