The Way We Pay

concentrating black girl with laptop

First Draft

Greetings readers and writers! Thanks for visiting. I’m working on a short story about the weeks leading up to the moment when a girl decides that she wants to become a writer. I hoooooope I can write the story in letter format. Right now I’m open to including traditional letters, social media posts, texts or emails. I’m not sure if I’ll think of some other kind of direct written communication form. Anyhoooo, tonight I used my writing time to finish one of the main letters in the story. Like to hear it? Here it go. (Does anyone else remember that from In Living Color?

Dear Cousin,

I got your letter and the picture of you and the baby. He’s getting so big. He’s so cute! I’m glad somebody told you I was here. I came here a few weeks ago when my grandma on my mom’s side passed away. My dad said I can’t come stay with him yet because he has to get his place together right. Was he the one who told you I was here? My mom is not doing so good. When the doctor told her that my grandma had passed, Mommy fell over on all the flowers and cards. Then my uncle that I told you about, Uncle Junior. He said my mom was acting stupid and she needed to go take a pill or something. My aunt MayJay said he was out a pocket and that’s why my mom got up and threw the water pitcher at him. He didn’t really get that wet though because the pitcher was full of ice. I remember because when we came in I was like why would they give grandma this big thing of just ice when it’s so cold in here. Anyway that’s why you saw on the news that Orange Memorial had a brawl. Aunt MayJay said it wasn’t no brawl, they always try to hype it up when it’s Black people. But I kind of see why they said it was bad. There was glass all over the floor and blood on the ceiling. That was the night I came here to Brookdale Avenue. The dyfus lady brought me to Aunt MayJay without my clothes and then they both brought me back to the house so I could get some stuff. You’re so lucky she’s your mom. When her and the dyfus lady saw my sister Khadeeja at the house Aunt MayJay said she could come too. She said my dad would want her to since Deeja’s dad died, they don’t know who would make sure she’s ok. Deeja said she was ok by herself but Aunt MayJay told her to come on because she has more cable channels at her house and her neighbor could help Deeja with the Algebra 2 homework. Deeja told her it was actually Calculus but Aunt MayJay said her neighbor knows that too. The dyfus lady said not to worry about all my stuff cause it’s just stuff and I could get more but I told Aunt MayJay that my mom was in that stuff. Her hands, her smell and all the times she took us on vacation. So she let me fill up a big garbage bag with all the things that didn’t fit in my suitcase. When we got back here I was sad a little bit because I forgot to bring the Mickey Mouse globe from our trip to Florida last year. Remember that? That was the last time you came with us before you had to go away. Are you ok in there? Do you miss the baby? I think they took your car that we drove to Florida. My mom said it got in pounded. I wish I remembered the globe. But I was glad I still had shells from that beach in South Carolina. I held them to the night light and listened hard for the beach. I heard it once everybody got quiet and went to bed.
Aunt MayJay said I can write to you about anything I want. I asked her can we bring you some food next time we come. She said she has to call the lawyer to find out. I like the lawyer but there’s this other lady, she said she’s an investigator, I like her more. I asked her if she was a cop and Aunt MayJay was like Bayyinah!!! but not fast. You know how she says your name when she wants you to look at her. It was like Bye. Eee. Nuh! Hahaha. But the lady was like oh it’s ok and then she said no sweetheart I’m not a cop. I work with the lawyer. Aunt MayJay was like oh my daughter is so lucky she has you. Anyway, I wanted to bring you some food because Aunt MyJay can really cook. I know you know that. Aunt MayJay makes us eat dinner at the same time every night and come inside the house when the street light comes on. I didn’t think I would like that but I do. She makes rice and beans with a special hot sauce like every night and if I don’t get to the table, they be gone gone gone. Then she makes other things to go with that like maybe chicken or grits and catfish. Sometimes she makes meatloaf with ketchup in it. She said that’s how she learned to cook from her mom. I guess that would be both our grandmother. Did you ever meet her? Does my dad look like her? Do I look like her? I have to finish this now. Aunt MayJay says that a letter has to have a closing. I think that’s just like the first part, the dear part but to say goodbye instead of hello. I don’t really want to say goodbye. So I will just say I’ll see you next time I come to Bordentown.
Love,
Bayyinah
P.S. Did you hear back from Mr. Wonder yet?

One response to “The Way We Pay”

  1. I like the perspective! This is a short story brewing, I think it’ll have me in tears. Feels familiar…

Leave a Reply