The Fam


I don't know where I want to be anymore. There have been times when I had a crystal clear picture of exactly where I want to be. A lot of the time, it involved some beaches in Hawaii. Other times a nightclub in Manhattan.


When Calvin moved back to New York, he stayed with his mom for a little while until he got his own place. He mused, "Don't you ever just want to go back home and just sleep in the house you grew up in? Just to see everything and hug your mom and sit on those same chairs?" I actually wanted to cry a little, mainly because I have never thought about it honestly. But for a second there, I did. For a second there, I thought of the possibility of going back to the Ida B. Wells projects or to our house in Park Forest South and just… walking around, hugging Breeze or our other dog… Dice. I remembered Momma's Mickey Mouse pancakes and tying up the Christmas tree against the bars on the windows to make sure it didn't tip over. I remember there was never a question about it; momma always let me make the angel on top of the tree. I remember Breeze drinking the water from the tree stand. When we moved, and all of that stuff left, I never really looked back. I never really imagined a reunion or the possibility of going back


I remember that last day at Ida B. Wells. I remember my last image being of our cat, Kenny, and her babies, sitting in a bright beam of sunlight on top of this standalone cabinet thing that had paint splatters on it from the last time I decided to paint the walls. She was just glowing, sitting there, looking at me. She seemed happy and content. I wasn't. I was more worried and remorseful... for her, for me. And I had to leave her there. Everything was packed up. We couldn't take her with us. My brother said he would "take care of it." I never did ask what that meant. I never wanted to know. When Calvin asked, "Have you ever just wanted to go home" for a second there… I mourned the home I can never go back to. And even now, so thirsty for a "home," someplace familiar, warm and all compromising… the thought of it doesn't bring me a lot of… peace. If anything, I just get angry that it's gone, and it's no way I can get it back. Ida B Wells has since been demolished. And whoever is living in our old house in Park Forest South, I'm sure is light years away from thinking it's remotely cute that some strange fat middle-aged Black man is sleeping on their front porch for "nostalgia."


I get jumpy at wanting that "home" feeling. I even want that feeling in people that I meet. I think that definitely had something to do with my obsession with/addiction to Dean all those years. I think my drinking has something to do with it too. I am most comfortable when I'm drinking. I'm also most comfortable those seconds/minutes after a really good orgasm. Not necessarily during the sex part, but most certainly after it's over. I got to remember to mention that to a therapist one day.


I'm watching the movie "Crooklyn" and crying like a faucet… like I always do. The first time I saw it, I was with my husband in his hospice room a decade or so ago. I kept thinking about when momma was in the hospital and almost died. And I was thinking about Daddy and how much I missed him. I remember my husband seeing me leak uncontrollably like a little faucet, and he kept asking me again and again what was wrong, and I just couldn't tell him. He got so pissed off at me.


For the most part, I don't like talking about my family or my past. Every once in awhile, I'll run down the "Story of Breeze" to people, and it feels so odd. I never thought my story or my family's story was ever that dramatic or... noteworthy really. Not in the big scheme of things, I guess. I have always prided myself that we ride the middle; we don't have any Olympic champions, but we don't have any mass murderers either. We're just a bunch of remotely upwardly mobile Negroes trying to make it like everybody else. But every time I retell our story, or watch a movie like "Crooklyn" that allows me to silently reminisce over it, something in me just begins to ring like a gigantic bell, right from my core. I miss my momma. I really miss my grandma. And I would give anything to be with my great grandmother.


My family, my story, my life, was never simple, not really. I naturally want to downplay it and say that it wasn't noteworthy or something as dramatic as say… Tina Turner having the crap beaten out of her or a friend of mine whose father plunged a knife in his neck or another friend who almost drowned in a capsized passenger train… but our stories, my story, what I felt, what I went through… there's some weight to it, some validity. The love I have for my family, as well as the pain they have caused me, is palatable. It's real. I miss them something awful... ALL of them. I really do. It's definitely one of those cards that I hold close to my chest. No one needs to know about my family. You can toss around stories of me and my ménage a twenty at bathhouses, drunkenly kissing strangers at some bear bar, riding the bus home from said bear bar on underwear night, and completely forgetting to put my pants back on… just don't fuck with my family. Don't ever fuck with my family.



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