Ms. Khadijah didn’t miss a beat while she prepared our light snack.
“And so, like the dusty snow globe on the shelf behind you, that forsaken place inside remained undisturbed, never ransacked by menacing love, nor shaken by honest fear either.”
I felt my toes ball up in my shoes, denying my spirit permission to run. She was getting dangerously close to hitting the head off the nail. But oddly enough, I found myself soothed by the faint sound of her swirling spoon, evenly stirring two perfect cups of tea. She lifted her voice even more; I could hear her just fine.
“Would’ve been okay, right, had it not all begun to crumble and cave in under the weight of false pretense, leaving you wide open, a gaping hole in your soul where your fortress once stood.”
After every dramatic pause, I squeezed the soft flesh between my finger and thumb, listening for the swirl, swirl. Like only old folks can do, Ms. Khadijah’s words seemed to strip me naked on the spot, spinning my mind to snapshots of feelings, people, and events. Defenseless, I understood everything she said but didn’t say.
Now her voice dropped, as if this was the scariest part of a ghost story.
“In came the bulldozers. Arms filled with tons of dirt. Promiscuous patches of red clay swallowed chunks of gravel meant to manipulate and control others, but ended up controlling you. And now, as life eventually does to us all, you’re awakened by the reality that you’re buried barely alive, and those short, shallow breaths are no longer enough to live by.”
Clank, clank, clink. Like a hypnotist’s wakeup signal, three taps of the spoon snapped breath back into my lungs, and me back into the room. She brought the tray to where we were sitting – indigo blue porcelain cups placed next to two matching bowls of cut fruit, and a long saucer of wheat crackers lined up like fallen Dominos.
“Now, tell me my dear Krystal, is that a fair understanding so far?”
The aroma of sweet mint filled my nostrils as I took a sip.
“Yes ma’am. Moroccan mint was a tasty choice.”
It was the only smart-dumb thing I could fix my mouth to say.
© 2012 KimB.