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    poetry


    dots Submission Name: She Didn't Knowdots
    --------------------------------------------------------





    Author: Emerging Soul
    ASL Info:    48/VERY female/Wisconsin
    Elite Ratio:    4.36 - 1240/1114/244
    Words: 741
    Class/Type: Story/Depressed
    Total Views: 721
    Average Vote:    No vote yet.
    Bytes: 4124



    Description:
       This is something that is very traumatic to me in my life. I know..."To be so lucky to have such a problem..." but it still sucker-punches my emotions sometimes.





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    dotsShe Didn't Knowdots
    -------------------------------------------


    "Is that yo' daughter?" she said, disbelievingly. "How old she be?"

    "21," I answered.

    "You got a 21-year-old daughter, and you look like you do? Livin' large must be good to yo' face!" she laughed, and suddenly I wanted to be rid of her. I was so tired of hearing that opinion.

    She didn't know me. She didn't know the time and hard work put in to deserve what we have. She didn't know I came from nothing, didn't know the tears I've cried, the hardships I've known. She didn't know about the years waitressing, or walking 2 miles to the grocery store to save on cab fare because pennies meant eating dinner or not. She didn't know that I had also known the fear of not making ends meet, not being able to buy needed things let alone luxuries. All she could see was what I now had. That's all anyone could see.

    I passed money to her in exchange for her sale. I didn't need the "Industrial Strength Cleaner" she was hawking for an un-Godly price of $64 a bottle. I had felt sorry for her, knowing that she had spent the better part of this 90-degree day walking the streets of this city or another nearby, hoping for just one sale. I paid her cash so that if need be she could pocket it and profit more than the paltry $5 share that was probably hers at the end if she chose to do so.

    I knew the photograph of twin babies was a ruse, or just an obvious "feel sorry for me" tactic. But I had just written the weekly $125 check to the cleaning-lady for her 6-hours of dusting, vaccuming, waxing and washing that she'd done in my house and figured I could spare it for a good cause as well.

    Standing in front of the Mercedes and the Beemer in the driveway, she had asked me which one I drove. "Both," I had answered, and she had said, "Girl, you want to adopt a black girl?" and laughed.

    She didn't know the arguments we had had over these cars. How I didn't want to buy them, thought them too ostentatious, felt embarrassed to drive them for so many years. The BMW a 1997 model with less than 3000 miles on it. The Mercedes a 2001 with less than 15,000. She didn't know how I missed my old Buick, how I'd been happy with it, hadn't wanted or needed more.

    I could see myself through her eyes, and it took me back again to the struggle I have gone through in recent years just to stop feeling guilty for our success after we've worked SO hard and have gone through SO much.

    So I handed her the money and sent her on her way, feeling somewhat wounded by the encounter. I had thought that I had stopped caring what people thought, stopped fighting with the instinct to down-play things and try to weaken the wall that made me different from everyone else around me.

    I was surrounded by opulence and size, our home sitting royally at the end of the cul-de-sac, inviting passers-by to linger and look and dream as they circled by just to be nosy.

    There was such an urgency inside of me to stand up and scream, "THIS IS NOT WHO I AM!!!" but it was no longer true. I had gotten used to the space and the finery. I was not the pampered pet that many seemed to envision, I worked hard in my office every day. Still did the shopping, the laundry, the cooking, the bills, the child-rearing, the maintenance of our life. But I had to acknowledge that I will forever be seen as the spoiled gold-digger eating bon-bons in front of the television Soaps by those who don't know me. And it made me feel tired. And alone. And sad.

    So as I set the bottles of cleaner in the closet and returned to the telephone, the fax, the computer, and the paperwork, I tried to wipe the incident from my mind and focus upon my responsibilities.

    "She didn't know," I told myself.

    "She didn't know."




    Submitted on 2004-07-24 13:11:25     Terms of Service / Copyright Rules
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    ||| Comments |||
      I think you've articulated the protestant guilt ethic really well.
    In diary form too.
    And industrial strength cleaner at comedy prices is only a momentary release from being forced to count your good fortune.
    Just gives credence to the old adage that the harder you work, the luckier you get.
    I like that you reminded me not to feel the way you do...
    Later,
    K
    | Posted on 2004-07-24 00:00:00 | by Awkward | [ Reply to This ]
      people can be so judgmental without even knowing a person's circumstance. it is so true that you cannot judge a book by it's cover. this is a good lesson in holding one's tongue before making a comments such as this woman did to you. we can't know what someone else has been through. i'm glad you posted this. it is a reminder--judge not, lest ye be judged. good work.
    | Posted on 2004-07-24 00:00:00 | by magnicat | [ Reply to This ]


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