Tuesday, June 10, 2014

My Gold Hoops



I think we had watched too many movies with happy endings because we kept expecting someone to come in and discover us, to save us from the existence of our realities. It wasn’t going to happen. Whoever it was we were expecting was never coming. We had to stop watching crappy TV or else.

The girls became clichés. They became their mothers, in tight dresses, gaudy jewelry and heavily made-up faces. They sashayed and swayed their hips, learned how to flirt and follow through. It was a game they got good at quickly.

The boys inevitably turned into their fathers, but that analysis needs to stand on its own. Or perhaps in a revised edition of The New Jim Crow.

Alas, there was no real thought process behind it all, no tangible plan for the future. We just went along and kept hoping things would change. We kept hoping that by imitating the crumbling people around us, it would be just fine. We gave it everything we had, but it wasn’t enough.

In retrospect, I see now how it could never be enough. Our destinies were tied up, or rather aligned to the shitty neighborhood, the vacant spaces between the buildings, the ratty mattresses, and ash filled cigarettes. Dancing all night because the day offered nothing to live for, butterflies all havin' fun, you know what I mean. But feeling good offered no escape. The kids were all hungry, the apartment was a mess, and the bills were still due.

“I don’t have Daddy issues” she said. “I don’t even know who my Daddy is.”

She annoyed me because she reminded me of me.


 





24 comments:

  1. "the crumbling people around us"
    That's only one of the powerful visuals!

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    1. Figuratively and literally! Thank you.

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  2. There is so much to like it this one. The last two lines are the kicker for me. Nice job!

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    1. The last 2 lines fell from the sky. Thank you.

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  3. Dark and gritty, with fantastic imagery. I love those last two lines as well. Nicely done!

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  4. Awesome! Yeah, that's pretty descriptive. The line "Dancing all night because the day offered nothing to live for, butterflies all havin' fun, you know what I mean." grabbed me then the next "...feeling good..." sentence put it over the top. Really great story!

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    1. I was really feeling Nina Simone's version better. Thank you!!

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  5. You captured so much in so few words. I could see this narrator and this neighborhood very clearly in my mind's eye. I would definitely read more of this story. Karen

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  6. This line says so much: "We kept hoping that by imitating the crumbling people around us, it would be just fine."

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    1. Sometimes I wonder if that's what all children do? Thank you for your comment!

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  7. I enjoyed reading your story.

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  8. Painful, gritty and real. Amazing the world one can conjure in so few words.

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    1. My abstract analysis of growing up in the ghetto, your adjectives sum it up too. Thank you!

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  9. Those last two lines are like bombs going off. This whispers and then explodes. Loved it.

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    1. Wow, thank you for the lovely comment.

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  10. You had some amazing imagery. I enjoyed your story a lot. ♥

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  11. Oh, those last two lines are absolutely perfect. Really great job!

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  12. So glad this is in the top three -- it was one of my picks. Congrats!

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    1. Thank you, I am so honored at your comment!

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