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Black Sad People of Color

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

The high pitched whistle from the tea kettle was like the saving grace bell from the heavens. I immediately got up to finish making the tea that this woman had asked for. Honestly, I would rather be slaving at work right now than awkwardly sit in the kitchen with her. I look through the steam blasting through the kettle to make out the feint neon green numbers on the front of the stove . 10:52. Dear God. I’ve been here for nearly an 8 hour shift all because I wanted to keep Uncle Seth company after his younger brothers funeral. Now he’s gone and I’m left here alone with her and her kids through this painfully long session of having to act like I care about what she has to say.

The pitter patter of soft and fast footsteps from behind me like heavy raindrops interrupt my internal complaints. Her kids have been running up and down my Uncle’s home since I got here. Part of me doesn’t mind them being here. Every once in a while I can divert my attention to them so I can have atleast two minutes away from their mom but the other part of me just wishes all of them weren’t here at all. Don’t get me wrong , I love family and I love children , but if I had to choose between never seeing my aunt again and having my little cousins in my life they can all go. Atleast I wouldn’t be making tea this late in the night that’s for sure.

The smell of the the tea masala boiling with the water means I’m almost done with this chore. Making tea for guests is a Kenyan tradition that I’m not really fond of because that’s a sign that whoever is here to visit plans to stay for a while. A deep sigh escapes my body. I froze for a second wondering if I had just ruined my Oscar performance of at least seeming a little inviting. She opened her wide mouth and I had expected the start of another awkward conversation about how family has to stick together and people make mistakes . I clenched my teeth together in preparation for my second act. “Do you have almond milk baby ?” I’m realized but couldn’t help but roll my eyes as I went back to what I was doing. “Regular milk doesn’t sit well with me or any of the kids,” she says from behind me.

“Yeah it gives me a tummy ache!” Yells my baby cousin Anaya from the living room . The other 3 , Martha and Phyllis didn’t really acknowledge us, probably too busy tearing up the living room. How annoying . We only have almond milk in Uncle Seths fridge because just like her and the kids we also can’t have regular milk. Family huh? Just another reminder that we are indeed family. I pour the almond milk into the pot and start stirring. Usually I could just leave the tea alone until it starts boiling itself but maybe if I just stay around the stove Aunt Ruth will be less inclined to continue this conversation.

“I don’t know how I could stay with him for so long and not see the signs,” a sharp shock hit my neck that traveled down my back. This conversation is clearly not coming to an end but I have no means of escape. Im literally just stuck here. I have my phone but I can only look at it so much without coming off as rude. The time passed without a response was becoming so long she might assume I just couldn’t hear her. “Just promise me you’ll be careful with Quincy.” The shock from before now surged through my entire body. 

The skin on my face feels so hot and my initial reaction is to start yelling at this woman. The nerve of her! To even remotely compare my boyfriend to that man? How could she even say that in a tone conveying care or love? Where was that when my sister needed it? Where was that after we had told her about her husband and she didn’t do a single thing about it? Now she has spent the past 3 or 4 hours trying to plead her case to me when I honestly couldn’t care less about what she has to say but bringing up my boyfriend? My boyfriend? I would never associate myself or love someone who has a single quality like her husband. I turn around and look at her as calmly as I could. With everything I had left I cracked a smile and said “I don’t think Quincy would ever do that.”

The speed of my heart started slowing down. My hands stopped shaking and I could finally tend back tot he tea that has been boiling now for about a minute. After pouring her tea I moved closer to the table we were originally sitting at and left it infant of her. I moved over to the other side of the kitchen , far enough to have a good amount of space but close enough where she shouldn’t feel the need to wonder why I moved. About 15 more minutes until Uncle Seth finally gets back home from picking his wife from work. I just have to wait it out. I can try and hear out this sob story and blank her out for a little longer.

Aunt Ruth used to be my favorite aunt. Being my moms only sister I had always felt so close to her. She was young enough to still seem cool to me as a kid. All that changed when her husband hurt my sister and she took her husbands side. After that day I never considered her as family. I barely even talk about her anymore because of what my sister went through. Her and her husband moved across the country and were no longer a thought. After so many years here she is sitting in my kitchen trying to have a heart to heart. The nerve. 

 The youngest of my 3 cousins had stopped playing to sit infront of the Tv with her legs crossed. This was the perfect chance to bond and most importantly innocently break from this lady. I came from behind to sit right beside her tiny human self on the carpet . Shes such a precious little girl. Even her voice would make you want to do anything for her just because she was that adorable. Definitely not as rambunctious as her older siblings and most kids her age. I had assumed she was tired of playing until I noticed she was rubbing on her ankle quite a bit. 

“Did you hit your foot Anaya?” I asked with a soft but evil grin on my face. I had told them earlier if they kept running around someone was going to hit her foot. When I look in the mirror I see a good person but not a person who will skip a chance to tease disobedient children. She looked up at me with her big adorable eyes and just stared at my smile until it faded away. Without a word to me she looked over at her mom and looked back at the TV.

“Nope, it just hurts” She said in a voice so soft an angel could sleep on it. Said it without looking away from the show too. Her mom got up abruptly from the kitchen table and started washing the dishes. Both of their energies did not sit right with me at all. I stared at the little girl and her leg, which she was still rubbing but a lot less since I brought attention to it. Her siblings had even stopped running around to play on the couch behind us but a lot quietly than they were before. Right when I was ready to shrug it off I hear very quietly “Daddy twisted it for knocking over his mug when we were playing”.

My heart dropped. The only noise in the room was the cartoon and the sound of the water hitting dishes in the sink. Her mom couldn’t have heard what she said but by the look her face I knew Aunt Ruth was well aware what happened to Anayas leg. 

The man who had hurt my sister has now also hurt his own daughter, my sweet baby cousin. I turned around and the other 2 were silently staring right at us while Anaya never looked away from the Tv. This must have been going on for a while and it seems like they all knew. The past couple hours have been her telling me how horrible he was and I could’ve cared less because 10 years ago she was too blind to leave. This is what she meant? How could I allow my cousins to basically come to me and I don’t do anything? All of a sudden my face got very hot. I was filled with anger not only because of my aunts husband but her inability to prevent this from happening long ago. I sat straight up without a word and started walking back towards the kitchen area where I had left her. Right when I gathered the courage to open my mouth and speak my mind the front door flew open with Uncle Seth and his family.

January 15, 2022 03:52

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