Home > Rock Chick Reawakening (Rock Chick 0.5)(2)

Rock Chick Reawakening (Rock Chick 0.5)(2)
Author: Kristen Ashley

The front door slammed.

“Fucking motherfucker!” Momma screamed.

I closed my eyes.

Let myself drift away.

And I started again to build my castle.

* * * *

“A Southern woman always has her table laid.”

Miss Annamae was talking to me in her pretty dining room with the big dining room table all laid with the finest china, sparkling crystal, shining silver, and its big bunch of light-purply-blue hydrangeas with cream roses set in the middle.

She adjusted a napkin in its holder sitting on a plate that was sitting on a charger that was resting on a pressed linen tablecloth.

“If she’s fortunate,” Miss Annamae went on, and standing opposite the table to her, the fingers of my hands wrapped over the back of a tall chair, all ears, like I always was when I was with Miss Annamae, I watched her move around the table with difficulty. She wasn’t a young woman. She also wasn’t a beaten one, even losing both her kids and her husband and having to carry on alone. “She can change it with the seasons. I have Christmas china.” Her faded blue eyes turned to me and a smile set the wrinkles in her face to shifting. “But you’ve seen that, haven’t you, Miss Daisy?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

And I had. Miss Annamae did her house up real pretty at Christmas. She always made sure I came over so she could show me all around and give me a tin of Christmas cookies she baked herself.

Momma had been working for Miss Annamae now for over two years. It was the longest job she’d ever had. She usually got fired a lot sooner than that.

I reckoned Miss Annamae kept her on as her daily girl not because she liked her or she did good work and kept a tidy house (which she did not, not Miss Annamae’s and definitely not ours). I also didn’t reckon she kept her on because she liked the fact Momma would be late a lot, show up hungover a lot, call off sick a lot, or one of her “men friends” would show at Miss Annamae’s big, graceful mansion and cause a ruckus.

No, I didn’t reckon any of this was why Miss Annamae kept her on.

I didn’t know why Miss Annamae kept Momma on.

Except for the fact she was a good Southern woman.

Miss Annamae turned to the big window that faced her back garden, calling, “Come here, child.”

I moved directly to her.

When I got there, she lifted her scrawny, veined hand to my shoulder and rested it there.

It felt light and warm.

“She works in her garden, a good Southern woman,” she shared, her eyes still aimed out the window. “She cuts her own flowers, arranges them for her own table.”

We didn’t have any flowers at our house. It was actually good when the yard died during that drought last summer and became a big patch of dirt and scrub. It looked better not overgrown. Like someone lived there, they just didn’t care. Instead of looking like no one lived there, and no one would ever want to.

The landlord didn’t agree. He got up in Momma’s face about it a lot. But she ignored him like she always ignored him when he got up in her face about things. Like the neighbors complaining about the fights or when she’d play her music too loud, which was also a lot, on all counts.

“You have sweet tea in your fridge, sugar, always,” she said to me.

I nodded, looking from her colorful garden to her and feeling some pressure from her hand on my shoulder as she rested into me, giving me her weight.

I stood strong and took it. I’d take all her weight if she needed to give it to me. That’s how much I liked Miss Annamae. And she had all my like seeing as Momma was how she was, her men were how they were, the kids at school were how they were, the teachers, the lady behind the counter at the store.

Everybody.

Yes, Miss Annamae had all my like mostly because there was no one else who’d let me give it to them.

This made it sad that Momma didn’t let me come with her to Miss Annamae’s house often, even though Miss Annamae always acted like she was real happy when I came. And I knew down deep in my heart this wasn’t because I helped Momma and did all the gross stuff, like cleaning the toilets, so she could have a break from that kind of thing. But I did it a whole lot better than Momma did so Miss Annamae actually had the house kept the way she was paying to keep it.

Still, Momma didn’t let me come often. Not even when I was in school and I had to walk home by myself and stay there by myself until she finished work (and then again stayed by myself when she went right back out).

I didn’t know why this was either, except, even if it was mean to think, Momma didn’t like it that Miss Annamae liked me.

I didn’t understand this. If Momma was quiet and respectful, like Miss Annamae had told me a lady should be, a lot more people would like her.

I was beginning to think Momma didn’t care if anyone liked her. So much, she’d rather they didn’t like her so she didn’t have to bother with people at all.

“No matter what you’re in the middle of, a caller comes, you open your door to them, you invite them into your home, and you make certain they don’t leave hungry,” Miss Annamae carried on, taking my attention again.

Not easy to do in my house where Momma spent her money on smokes and booze and not so much on food for her kid.

I was looking forward to the day when I could get a job and I could have money and I could use it for whatever I wanted. I wasn’t going to use it on smokes and booze, for certain. I wasn’t going to use it on fancy dresses or shoes or handbags either.

   
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