By: Mia L. Hazlett
Work was absolutely impossible. Knowing I had a box full of my ancestry waiting at home made me appreciate the long weekend that was now upon me. I had told my friends I was going away for the weekend, so I could have uninterrupted alone time with my grandmother. Dead or not, this was the closest we had ever been. I needed to hear her story. I wanted to understand why she spent my lifetime showing her love for me through hate.
There was an inner conflict warring inside me at the same time. Should I include my mother in unraveling the mystery of her mother? We both knew who she was, but I guess in life it means a whole lot more to find out why people are the way they are. But because I was only a few letters in, I decided to wait on sharing with my mother. I felt a need to protect her, just as she had spent her life protecting me as best she could. There was a part of me that felt as though my grandmother was apologizing to my mother through me. She knew I told my mother everything, Maybe she wrote these letters to my mother so I would tell her, rather than for her to have to read them by herself. Because if my mother had received them, she would never share any of these with anyone.
I usually have my bottle of Riesling and a good book as I cozy under my sheets on a Friday night. But wine didn’t compliment the mood to the #4 envelope that sat next to my pillow. I opted for a cup of decaf coffee.
Even dough Mz Suzana dun luvd me and Moma, we dun stoped wurkin’ fo her not to much aftr dat der lunch. Sho was sad fo me and Mz Mary. Sho was sad. Wuznt jus bout money now and eatin. It wuz jus hard to find good white folk to wurk fo bak den. Moma didn’t want wurk fo nobody dat had manee boyz. ‘Cuz aftr skool I wood come on and meet her at her job. Even dough I wuz yung, she dun sed my bodee parts wur reel ladeelike. We dun had us good luk wit Mz Suzana, but not manee wite ladeez wuz like her. Lots ov dem dun hated culurzds. Don’t reelee no how it wuz dat Mz Suzana culd say stuff to her son, cuz most timez da white women culd not say nuttin in her house. So Moma wuz scurd a boy or da man in da house wood want to touch my bodee. After wut Mz. Suzanaz boy dun did to me, I didnt never want no boy on top me like dat again.
Moma dun found uz a house wit a reel mean ole ladee, but she wuz alwayz in her room. Her dotter wuz sumpin reel nice Macy. Sumpin reel nice. I dun liked Mz. Bell reel good. She pay Moma eight moneez a week Macy. We ain’t dun never made dat type der money. Mz. Suzana onlee pay Moma five moneez a week and gave us food and da clothes, but now Mz Bell do dat and mo moneez. Mz Bell have hurself two sonz. They wuz like da sun an da dark. Now here me Macy. HERE ME REEL GOOD. I never dun looked any ov doze boyz in der faces or eyez, but they dun said I did.
I dun walkd to go meet Moma one day after school. Dats wut I wuz suppozed to do. Meet moma at Mz Bells house. I wood do a da sweepin dat needed to be dun. When I dun got der I walked round da house to da back. Now my clothez wuz still small cuz Mz Mary wuz much biger than me. But I wuz a bit biger than Mz Bell. Dats da clothez I wuz gettin. Mz Bells old old clothz. Mama sed to preciate all we got an wear dem if I wuz gonna be der. Her shirt fit me reel tight cross my growin’ chest. Moma sed my bodee parts wuz growin sumpin wild. I wuz jus reel quiet when she wood talk like dat. I dun come round dat house and Mz Bells bad son wuz sitin’ on a stump with a long twig in hiz hand. He looked at me sumpin rong Macy. He looked sumpin rong. I jus went to da back door and der wuzn’t no way da door wood open. He started laffin’ sumpin rong. He told me wuzn’t no one home.
I dun turned to walk down da path I had come round to, but he wuz in my way. He got reel close like to me and sed he dun seen me lookin’ at him. I told him I hadn’t been lookin’ at nobuddy. He dun slapped me sumpin’ hard in my face for sassin him. Dats wut he sed Macy, I dun sassed him. He took dat twig and dun poked my chest. He kept on pokin and tole me to take my shirt off. I dun sed no. I new wut he wuz gonna do. But Macy wuznt no boy gonna be on top me like Mz Suzanas son gain. Not never. He dun push me and wit all my power, I dun push dat boy rite on back to the ground. Den I dun run round dat house and he dun cot up wit me and grabbed and ripped my shirt clear off. I didn’t have no things on under it, so chest wuz showin’. Moma told me only my husband wuz suppoze to see me like dat. But I didn’t care. I kept runnin’.
I felt him grab my sholeder and push me. I don’t know wut hapend, cuz I woke up in Mz Bellz house in da back room on a cot. My hed dun hurt sumpin’ awful and I wuz lookin’ at Mz Bellz mean moma. I think she wuz happy wuzn’t dead cause she started prayin sumpin. Mz Bell came runin on nex to her moma an den I saw Moma. She was cryin’ wen she dun grabbed and hugged me sumpin tite. It wuz a bit odd cuz Mz Bellz mean moma wuz bein reel nise to me and rubbin my hed.
Afder dat der day, I wuznt loud to go round der no more. Mz Bell dun taked cared ov uz reel nise, but hur moma wuz reel meen like. She dun hated uz. I never did see dat son ov herz again. Sed he went to liv wit sum hiz momas people dat lived sumwhere in a difrent state. To munts later, my Moma told me why. She dun told me everything dat dun happend dat day wit Mz Bellz son. Don’t member much bout da storee, but I new my bodee parts done got me to have a babee inside me. Yes Macy. Dat is why Mz Bellz son had to go far away. He dun gave me a babee dat der day wen I dun hit me hed.