Take it for What it’s Worth
Posted: Thursday, June 27, 2013
In this excerptfrom my novel, Anytime Soon, Anaya Goode’s mother, Anita, goes at it with her sister, Marie. It’s no secret that the two women have differences of opinion.
Do you believe that you shouldn’t have to accept what life throws you? Where do you draw the line…if at all??
Excerpt from Chapter 4
“Chinese takeout? Anita, that has nothing to do with the fact that you made greens when you knew I was bringing cabbage. You are so rude!”
“Rude? Well maybe I’m rude, but at least I’m not a prude,”
Mom gave her a dirty look.
“What is that supposed to mean?” Aunt Marie asked.
“You know what I mean,” Mom said. “You sent my niece and nephew to that all-white school.” Aunt Marie sighed. “Not this again, Anita. What exactly is wrong with giving my kids a better life and putting them in a good school? I would love for the students at the Academy to be more diverse, but unfortunately I don’t have any control over that. What should I do, Anita? Put them in the local public school, so they can be inducted into a gang?”
“First of all,” Mom said, “you don’t get inducted into a gang—you get jumped into a gang. Get with the program, Merle, you have pre-teens in the house. Second, if you had your preference, your children wouldn’t interact with any Black people besides yourself and Allen.” Mom pointed her finger at Aunt Marie. “I’m surprised,” Mom hissed, “that you even let them come around us.”
“And I’m surprised,” Aunt Marie countered, “that Roscoe has been hanging in there with you for so long. You are so closed minded and old school, Anita. We were raised in a different generation. Get over it already. You’re intimidated by people who are intellectually superior to you. It’s pretty sad, Anita.”
“Intellectually superior? Sad?” Mom exploded. “Just because you picked up that European diction from God-knows-where doesn’t make you better than me, Merle. I graduated from college, just like you, and I even went back to graduate school, which you still haven’t done.” She tossed a spoon into the sink with a clunk. “I don’t know where along the way you felt like our upbringing was beneath you, and you were above us. You were embarrassed about the family nose, so you pulled a Michael Jackson. You were embarrassed about our great-grandmother’s name, so you pulled a Tina Turner. You’re a phony, Merle, nothing but a phony, with a phony nose and a phony name.”
Aunt Marie’s new nostrils flared.
“What’s wrong with changing what you don’t like about yourself, Anita? Who says you have to accept what life throws you and just deal with it? I always hated my nose, even when we were kids. And it was not the family nose.” Aunt Marie gestured what its former length was like. “It was twice the size of everybody else’s. You know that, because you used to tease me mercilessly about it. And the name Merle, Anita? Merle? Give me a break. I’m not walking around with that name. I’ve asked you a thousand times to stop calling me that. I changed my name over twenty years ago!”
“Whatever, Merle. I don’t have time for this.”
“Yeah, let it go.” Aunt Deb chimed in.
“I’m over it already,” Aunt Marie said.
Uncle Allen walked into the kitchen with a case of beer.