Red Scarf and Patent Leather Shoes

Alright reader.  I wrote in my journal last night that for these blog posts, I don’t always want to have the tone of a fortune cookie.  So for this post I want to get a little personal, pull more from my own bag of tricks so to speak.  I don’t expect a large audience to actually read my posts anyways, so I am not taking much a risk here.  So… reprieve, huh?

Life is one long reprieve.  From the time I breathed my stuttered breath on this earth my body–my physical keeper–has been counting down until the end.  I am living the final countdown.  Because life is a long stretch of time, I don’t really feel the reprieve I am experiencing.  I have adjusted and grown accustomed.  I think I felt it more when was younger, honestly.  In childhood everything is so new and fresh and stark.  If it was bright day outside, and my grandparents told me I couldn’t go outside, I felt so attacked. However, the reprieve I experienced directly as a kid involved the mundane and the taboo subject of corporal punishment:

I forgot the red headscarf and those damn patent leather shoes.  Both could go to the deuce in my young opinion, but my opinion had no merit in her eyes.  She was going to whoop me.  She was to lay hands on me in a way not of God.  She was going to lay hands on me in the way souls are restrained in hell.  She was going to wield the whip of truth upon me.  It was a clear telephone chord, a tool for communication purposes.  Each strike was as if to say, “Feel pain, but do not cry.  If you cry, more strikes are given.  Tell me the truth, but only the truth that makes sense to me.”

“Alexandria where is your headscarf and those shoes.  You know you gotta wrap your head up at night, and I want to wear those shoes for church tomorrow!”  I could hear her say.

I would pathetically mumble that I had forgotten them at my grandmother’s house.

Her eyes would close in on me like a target, before I’d know it my cries of protest would be fruitless. “I am tired of your excuses, Alexandria.” It would have been over.

This time, she asked the question.  I fell on my knees in front of her in the kitchen, tears bursting from my eyes.

“Please, oh gawd!  Please don’t whoop me!  I just forgot it, but its the truth. PLEASE–”

I would have continued, but I heard her laughing.  She thinks its funny.  What?  This is good?  Yes, this is good. I, unbenownst to me, had amused her with my desperate attempts to not lose one of my lives that night.  I was saved a beating.  I gained reprieve from the queen.

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