Monday, February 8, 2010

Mix It Up Mondays: Flying Catterpillar -- Socialized Sympathy

Flying Catterpillar is the next guest writer for Mix It Up Mondays. If you would like to read more by Flying Catterpillar, She can be contacted via her blog

Socialized Sympathy: I Thought Mournings were supposed to be Good

First grade taunts of ooohh..Ms. Malloy got a wig on and look, G, look, you can see Ms. Malloy's bra through her shirt, always fueled my intense interest with Ms. Malloy. She always wore these sheer shirts with a conservative pearl clasp in the back that you could see her bra through. I don’t think she did it intentionally like those women with the pseudo baby hairs that walk down the street twitching an itch and talking to the air. I just think that she was old and had an expired sense of style. But, hey, maybe she did wear them intentionally. It wasn’t like she was blind or anything. With the sheer tops came the whispers of  pssh... ppssh...Dashawn said Ms. Malloy only got one titty. Dashawn usually knew what he was talking about when it came to stuff like this because his older brother was the star basketball player for MLK Boule Society high school and a lot of girls liked him.

As a six year old in 1990, discussions of one titty was kind of a big deal. When she wore those sheer tops with the conservative clasp she would always wear an old lady plain Jane white bra underneath; I always thought, if she really wanted to give a show, she would have added a lil’ pizzaz to her undergarments, you know, like the ones in Victoria Secret; but when she wore her old lady sheer tops with the conservative pearl clasp on the back, she really wasn’t trying to keep any secrets, now was she? Whenever she graced Ms. Jackson's first grade class with her white sheer shirts I would always try to guess which bra cup held her authentic titty and which one held her chicken breast or stuffed tissue. I never had any luck in guessing... her bra cups were so pointy they looked like missles. So both cups looked liked they stored a chicken breast and a banana if you ask me.

Ms. Malloy’s presence always stunk of death. I remember looking at her skin intrigued by its clay like visual texture. She had the appearance of an aged black baby doll, well, maybe just aged in the face, for, her tightly curled wig was always shiny and new looking like my ebony colored cabbage patch dolls whose hair I shined with spit and globs of Blue Magic grease that I stole from my sister's dresser.  Her skin looked like clay and chocolate Hershey Kisses.  Sometimes she walked with a cane and attached to that cane were tubes and wires that were connected to her body and sometimes went up her nose. I saw a few people walking around with those canes...I never knew why they had them, so whenever I saw Ms. Malloy with those tubes, I just thought she was one of them.

It was the first funeral that I ever attended; I was excited for the experience. I was more concerned about my wardrobe than the fact that I would see Ms. Malloy’s dead body. I wanted to wear black, so I heard that’s what people do in morning. However, my mother said that it didn’t matter what I wore because I was a child. Since the protocol for morning is different for children, instead of wearing all black to the funeral, I wore a green and white floral print jumper. I was a little upset that I could not wear black to the funeral like the adults; I really wanted to show that I was morning.

 As soon as the man began to sing, “It’s so hard to say goodbye” I began to cry. I suddenly began to develop an intense dislike for the singer, I wondered, why would he sing such a sad song at such a joyous occasion?   Them matrix folk are always singing those happy songs about being ready to meet their maker, now that she’s about to meet her maker, they up in here crying and sobbing looking all sad.  Look at Aunt Mona, the main one acting a fool.  Every Sunday while she cleaned, Aunt Mona would blast the gospel songs on WBLS to cleanse her of Saturday nights escapades at the Local Jop Bar on 21st street.  In between strokes of her mop and a puff on her cigarette she would complain to me and my cousin Jasmine about how we needed to have our asses in church to get saved by the lord.  I guess this funeral made up for all the Sundays that she complained about not being in church.  I couldn’t tell if Aunt Mona was sad or angry.  I wasn’t sad, I just remember seeing other people around me cry, so I followed their lead. I stopped crying and then I started crying again. I remember Ms. Tussy comforting me, I guess I really liked that, but, I wasn’t sad.

My Ma made me kiss Ms. Malloy’s dead cheek. I wanted to see if it felt like clay or taste like Hershey Kisses. I swirled my tongue around my lips several times, held my breath and planted my curious lips on Ms. Malloy's dead cheek. Once I came out of the casket, I licked my lips once again to see if I could taste any Hershey Kiss residue, but, nope, she smelled and tasted like nothing - just processed death. Maybe she wasn’t dead, just, passed out from all of that formaldehyde, like the night Big Ma came from the Cozy Corner and fell asleep on the stairs with one hand clutching the shaky railing and the other hand tightly wrapped around her plastic red cup.

Once the funeral ended everyone made a fuss about how they didn’t see Rashiid, Ms. Malloy’s son. As we proceeded out of the church, I spotted Rashiid standing all alone clutching the rusted railing of the church steps. At the sight of Rashiid, some of the matrix folks replied, “Oh, I see he’s taking it pretty well” “yeah, yeah, he did good” others would respond.  As if he was a child that surprisingly sat still and quiet during a boring church reception. If he cried, would they have said that he did bad like a child that screamed and hollered during a boring church service because the preacher was shouting to the sky trying to get God to hear him? Them matrix folk know they wanted to see Rashiid act a fool. They wanted to hear him let out a chilling wail that sent orgasmic vibrations through one’s body; they wanted to hear him scream "No, not my Momma! Why my mommmy? Please Don't Go!" as the pall bearers closed the casket. But, my man Rashiid, he didn’t give them the satisfaction, he knew that his mother only showed up because the Pepsi and the Vodka no longer numbed her pain of having a chicken breast and a banana for a titty, she needed a higher dosage of formaldehyde to transcend the matrix. She’d be back in green dreams and at the tail end of incense and Dutch Swiss sticks. Yeah, my man, Rashiid, he knew like I knew...

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