I dreamed of the Mississippi darkness. Then the dark waters parted and a pair of eyes shone out. The eyes watched me with sad loneliness. I tried to look away and I could not, because the eyes were mine. I saw them from the inside out, but they weren’t giving up any secrets, other than that sad lonely cast to them. The eyes closed, and everything was dark again.
Andy and Bobby chewed with their mouths open, their eyes opened wide and staring; they were idiots reincarnated into bigger idiots.
Daddy left the room, and soon ice sounds pounded into his glass. I didn’t look at Rebekha when she sighed that old hurting hopeful sigh, and said, “Well now. Let’s see here. What’s next?”
I ate my dessert. The cold ice-cream froze my tongue. I hoped it froze everyone’s tongue so we’d all just be quiet for a while.
Dylan came to me, ran his hand up my thigh where the wind had played before. He touched my hair. He touched too much.
River laughed and laughed.
I was not my momma. I would not make the mistakes of my women-kin.
Jade watched out her window as two blue jays flew off making a racket. That’s what made blue jays happy, making racket and being big and handsome blue.
I said, “He’s not worth getting sick over.”
“The sad thing is, I thought he would save me.”
I leaned in to her. I needed to know. “Save you from what?”
“I don’t know exactly. But he made me think I was better off with him than without him.”
I thought how women found themselves all in a fix over men. That was what they let men do to them, take away a woman’s insides that made them who they were until they weren’t the same person any more. And a woman would somehow feel happy to have it that way. It was like the parasites I learned about in the sciences at school, how the little critters took over the host bit by bit and made the host behave in ways that create a better world for the parasite, not the host.
As I walked between the pews, the stained glass allowed golden light beams to filter through. One touched the top of my head, as if Jesus tried to pull me to him because I was so far away from him. I took in big lung exploding gobs of air. I wanted to believe in something that powerful. I wanted a saving as people who went to church said happened. I wanted the answers to secrets. I wanted many things. There I was, soon to be married, no longer my momma’s little girl riding Fionadala high up her mountain. There I was in a church with light falling on my head like a daddy’s touch. There I was. If I’d ever learned how to cry, I’d have cried then.