From my inner ear, in the recesses there and in the brain, you settle and speak to me and I shake my head to feel the fleshing out of this voice that has to do with who I am, and what I want more than anything I can grab, hold, and keep so solidly in a static notion that can only be captured in a moment of creative expression.
The Bad Seed
It’s disappointing when you don’t like a kid. Kids are supposed to represent hope, right? But not all children are innocent, unassuming and adorable. Some of them have shitty personalities.
Remember the Bad Seed? She never got wrinkled, or had a hair out of place and she always said yes sir, no ma’am, please, thank you, and freaky little mature things like ‘how was your day today’ when usually a kid could give a shit. All this and a penchant for killing people!
I know a kid who reminds me of her a little. Scary, right? She asks the right questions and is at your disposal – ‘Can I help you with that Sandee?’ She says to me with that put on voice – get the fuck outta here! She stands erect and stares me dead in the eyes non-stop which is cool if it’s anchored by sincerity, but with her I feel a challenge, even mockery.
A kid came to the gallery where I work. Her father asked me a question, and she interrupted him. ‘What’s a wild garden?” She says, trying to project maturity. She stared, demanding. She twisted her body in a controlled way. The look on her face was put on. The exhibition is based on the concept of a wild garden, so I told her what a wild garden was, but she didn’t really care to hear the answer. She just wanted to assert her existence. “How old is mommy?” She blurted out to her dad then, peering at me. He wouldn’t tell her. “Why?” She asks. “You have to respect your mother’s wishes,” he said. “Well how old are you?” She asked. “I’m old enough,” he said. Maybe the kid sucked because her parents hide who they really are from her.
I didn’t like that kid. But she gave me something to blather on about. I like most of the kids who visit, even ones who run around like maniacs. Being a kid doesn’t make you immune to unattractive personality defects. Usually the kids who come in there make me smile from ear to ear.
Before my sister had her sons, I could give a crap about kids and wanted kids to stay the hell away from me. My nephews have opened up a new realm of energy for me. I’m receiving energy that I didn’t get before. It’s like I’m accepting that young and hopeful child in me.
Yeah that’s me in my pajamas, in my sister’s backyard, soaking wet. Ghetto right? She had the sprinklers on for the kids and the bubble machine going. “Mama, it’s a party?” Says my four year old nephew. “Yes, yes honey. It’s a party,” says my sister. Yeah sure it was a party. I only had one pair of pajamas. They dried fine. I wore them to bed again that night. Wanna know what my nephew calls me, sometimes? Grandma. So. How was y’alls weekend?
I thought of writing a short story, an essay about my three aunts. They are my mom’s sisters. They have their own children but they made me feel special growing up, still now. When I had crisis a few years ago, they all helped me. One flew up from Georgia and stayed with me for a few days.
My family was pretty tight when I was growing up so we spent a lot of time together, my aunts their husbands my dad all my cousins, grandma and grandpa. Grandma and grandpa were actually separated but showed up for all the family events anyway. This was all on my mom’s side. Even though I don’t speak to my aunts all the time, I still feel a bond because of those early days. They also had a brother, the only male, who was schizophrenic.
Shit I had a special relationship with him. When I was unemployed back in 2000, I would visit him at the institution every couple of weeks with one of the aunts that I mentioned. We picked him up, and ate out, usually at the same diner. He smoked several cigarettes and would impart nuggets of insane genius which I loved. I generally enjoyed talking to him. He passed away in 2004. Maybe I’ll come up with something to write about my beautiful aunts and uncle. I’ve held off because anything I come up with is just too maudlin.