Thursday, July 12, 2018

Thick as thieves.





Afternoon with a Grady elder:

Me: "I heard you had a lot of visitors today. I hate I missed them."
Her: "Yeah. It was mostly good."
Me: "Mostly?"
Her: "Mmmm hmmmm."

*silence while watching TV*

Her: "My granddaughter got upset with me."
Me: "Oh yeah? Why?"
Her: "She say I ain't got no business laughing at the TV or at anything else when so much serious stuff happening with my body. She don't like me to be talking about or thinking about anything that ain't concerning my health. She feel like I shouldn't do that."

Me: *just listening*

Her: "Here's what happened: My granddaughter came in here with her friend and her friend just cut her hair all down with some clippers into one of these little afro hairstyles." *pats her head to make sure I understand*
Me: "Wait--what does that have to do with. . ."
Her: "'Cause it look a mess." *laughing hard and smacking the cover in front of her* "Oh Lord. Not cute on her at all. Bless her heart."

*laughter*

Me: "Now that's cold. Did she ask your opinion about her hair?"
Her: "When she came up in my room she did." *laughing even louder*
Me: *shaking my head and trying not to laugh*
Her: "And 'fore you say I got hate in my heart for being black it ain't that neither. Some of these little naturals look real nice. I just don't like it when somebody go and cut they hair off and don't do nothing. Just show up looking like somebody bad ass grandson."

*laughter*

Her: "I want you to pick it or put some pomade in it or somethin'!"
Me: *laughing*
Her: "And then you act like since it's a afro I can't say nothing. That's where you wrong."

*more laughter*

Her: *now serious* "But that ain't what made her mad. It was just that I could laugh period."
Me: "I see."
Her: "And I tried to tell her--'Baby, even when sad and heavy stuff happen 'round you, it don't erase the happy and light stuff.'"

Me: *staring at her*

Her: "Like, if you lose your wife, right? I can tell you I'm sorry and mean it. And then if your little next door neighbor come over and borrow a cup of sugar but want to tell you a joke he heard in school that day, I got it in me to laugh at it."

Me: *still listening*

Her: "I can be sad 'bout your wife and laugh at that joke, too. And it don't make me no less sad 'bout your predicament neither. 'Cawse, see, I think happy and sad--they thick as thieves. So I go on and let 'em live in harmony."

*silence*

Me: "I wish I could record this to play back to myself later."
Her: "Naw. You a good listener. When you listen good, you catch it all."

*silence*

Her: "I don't want nobody turning on they sad on my account. Just be you. If you see me and you feel sad, then be that. But if somewhere in there you got some glad in you, don't go pushing it down on accounta me."
Me: "I love this. Thank you--for real."
Her: "Bet it don't even make sense."

*suddenly I want to cry*

Me: "The thing is. . . it makes so much sense that it makes me want to cry."
Her: "Cry?" *laughing* "Why you want to go and do that?"
Me: "I just feel guilty sometimes. When I feel sad and happy at the same time."
Her: "Don't. Your heart would go crazy if it had to just be one of those all the time."

*silence*

Me: "Do you feel sad about everything sometimes?"
Her: "Sure I do. Sometimes I be in here crying, too."
Me: "You do?"
Her: "Wouldn't you?"

*silence*

Her: "But look here. . . .if you seent that hairdo on that child? Whoooo weeee. You woulda laughed, too. Shit, maybe even cried."

*collective laughter*

Sigh.

My patient was right. I DID listen. And I caught it all. 

Happy and sad are thick as thieves.
And, like her,  I've made up my mind to just let them live.

Yeah.

***
#agoodword #gradyeldersrule #thickasthieves #amazinggrady #loveisthewhat #lettherebelight #andlightenTFupwhileyouatit

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