These Things Just Happen

Two women walked into my bar.  They were sisters but I didn’t k now it yet.  I was a little stressed out because it was ten minutes till the kitchen closed and I had to hurry up and get the last orders in, so I hurried to give them menus and said hello but kept on walking.  They sighed and grumbled in disgust, and I heard it, but another customer at the end of the bar giving me the hungry eyes so I didn’t have time to entertain their care.  I came back to them though, determined to give them my full attention.  A long Island Iced Tea and a Mich Ultra, that’s what they ordered.  They were big women.  A dark skinned woman and a brown skinned women, both of them big boned.  After they ordered their drinks I made conversation.  One of them introduced herself as the big sister.  She was the smaller of the two.  Her little sister was the least talkative of the two, making timid eye contact and furtive glances which immediately returned to her drink.  I don’t really know I’m just speculating, but it seemed she had a mannerism of sensitivity, like she was used to avoiding the look  she met in other peoples eyes.  “Where can we go to hear some live music?”  The older sister wanted to know.  I immediately confessed to being a lame ass and not really knowing where to go but then remembered a spot that I had been to which featured reggae bands and dj’s every night.  I felt redeemed and continued to suggest that they patronize this bar I was trying to tell them about; so convinced, I was, that they would have fun.  The younger sister perked up.  “Ooh I like reggae,” she proclaimed.  Her sister shut it down immediately.  “Naw we ain’t goin to no reggae club sis,” “But why? I like reggae!” she repeated, her voice rose high and dipped low, like a child who couldn’t grasp the notion of why a grown-up would say “No” to something that seemed so perfectly reasonable.  ” Because these aint the clubs we know.  These is clubs in New York full of young students with pretty hairlines, like her” she said, referring to myself.  I stood there feeling like I was standing at the bus stop in the sixth grade with freshly hot-combed hair, holding my violin like it was all I knew and loved but would sell it for acceptance in a heartbeat if only they would stop saying ‘light-skinned with pretty hair’ about me, a bright-white-high-yellow-red-boned-mulatto of a white woman and a black man who couldn’t love each other longer than a night to make a statement that would last all of eternity for me.  Awkwardly I tried to recover from my own state of self-awareness which they themselves were not aware of.  “No!”  I insisted, too enthousiastically.  “You will have fun there, it is a real chill place!”  I was at a loss for words.   I had to change gears.  “Where are y’all from?”  “Chicago.”  “Oh!”  I brightened up, “I’ve heard great things about that city,” the younger one looked back down into her drink and I knew that the things I had heard did not apply to things she had seen.  I caught the look in her eyes and it made me cry inside for who we were and what we knew but would never say to each other.

1 Comment

  1. Now this is what I’m talking about. Love this kind of writing! Thanks for sharing this experience! -alex

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