Now that the dissertation is finished, Pacatrue has nothing to occupy his time...during the summer...in Hawaii.....anyway, he invoked the name of the Goddess Robin and called us to present voice offerings of our own works.
I wrote three entries for the last Clarity of Night contest; this is one I did not submit.
“I made you a new housecoat, momma.” Eve held out the garment.
“You may sew better than you clean my kitchen, but I don’t need a new housecoat.”
“You know Pastor Bob is visiting this morning.” Eve had rehearsed this part. “Your purple housecoat is in the laundry.”
Edith fingered the white lace running down the front zipper, the black bows stitched at the neck. Eve had counted on her mother’s lifelong weakness for bows. She relented, and allowed herself to be dressed. While Eve styled the older woman’s stiff white curls, Edith prattled about election results.
“A Negro in office. We’re a country of heathens.”
“Pastor Bob would say the Lord works in mysterious ways,” Eve murmured boldly.
“Don’t be foolish, girl. Saint Paul says, ‘What communion hath light with darkness?’ Darkness, Saint Paul says.”
Blue veins popped out of the crepe-paper skin on Eve’s hands. “People are people, momma, no matter their skin color.”
“None of that. Thought I cured you of that when that King man got shot.”
“That was forty years ago.”
“Don’t I know it,” her mother snapped. “And we’re still no better off than to get a Negro president.”
April 4, 1968. Edith had made Eve scrub the kitchen floor with a toothbrush for wearing a black armband after Martin Luther King’s assassination. A ribbon, actually; one of Eve’s few hair decorations.
Forty years later, that same ribbon sat eloquently against the white lace of her mother’s new housecoat.