Use by Alice Walker I will wait for her in the yard that Maggie and I made so clean and wavy yesterday afternoon. A yard like this is more comfortable than most people know. It is not just a yard. It is like an extended living room. When the hard clay is swept clean as a floor and the fine sand around the edges lined with tiny, irregular grooves, anyone can come and sit and look up into the elm tree and wait for the breezes that never come inside the house. Maggie will be nervous until after her sister goes: She thinks her sister has held life always in the palm of one hand, that "no" is a word the world never learned to say to her.
You've no doubt seen those TV shows where the child who has "made it" is confronted, as a surprise, by her own mother and father, tottering in weakly from backstage. A pleasant surprise, of course: What would they do if parent and child came on the show only to curse out and insult each other?
On TV mother and child embrace and smile into each other's faces.
Sometimes the mother and father weep, the child wraps them in her arms and leans across the table to tell how she would not have made it without their help.
I have seen these programs. Sometimes I dream a dream in which Dee and I are suddenly brought together on a TV program of this sort. Out of a dark and soft. There I meet a smiling, gray, sporty man like Johnny Carson who shakes my hand and tells me what a fine girl I have.
Then we are on the stage and Dee is embracing me with tears in her eyes.
She pins on my dress a large orchid, even though she has told me once that she thinks orchids are tacky flowers. In real life I am a large, big. In the winter I wear flannel nightgowns to bed and overalls dur. I can kill and clean a hog as mercilessly as a man. My fat keeps me hot in zero weather. I can work outside all day, breaking ice to get water for washing; I can eat pork liver cooked over the open fire minutes after it comes steaming from the hog.
One winter I knocked a bull calf straight in the brain between the eyes with a sledge hammer and had the meat hung up to chill before nightfall. But of course all this does not show on television. I am the way my daughter would want me to be: My hair glistens in the hot bright lights.
Johnny Carson has much to do to keep up with my quick and witty tongue. But that is a mistake. I know even before I wake up. Who ever knew a Johnson with a quick tongue? Who can even imagine me looking a strange white man in the eye? It seems to me I have talked to them always with one foot raised in flight, with my head fumed in whichever way is farthest from them.
She would always look anyone in the eye.
Hesitation was no part of her nature. Have you ever seen a lame animal, perhaps a dog run over by some careless person rich enough to own a car, sidle up to someone who is ignorant enough to be kind to him? That is the way my Maggie walks. She has been like this, chin on chest, eyes on ground, feet in shuffle, ever since the fire that burned the other house to the ground.
Dee is lighter than Maggie, with nicer hair and a fuller figure. She's a woman now, though sometimes I forget. How long ago was it that the other house burned?
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Sometimes I can still hear the flames and feel Maggie's arms sticking to me, her hair smoking and her dress falling off her in little black papery flakes. Her eyes seemed stretched open, blazed open by the flames reflected in them.
I see her standing off under the sweet gum tree she used to dig gum out of; a look of concentration on her face as she watched the last dingy gray board of the house fall in toward the red.
Why don't you do a dance around the ashes? I'd wanted to ask her. She had hated the house that much. I used to think she hated Maggie, too.
But that was before we raised money, the church and me, to send her to Augusta to school. She used to read to us without pity; forcing words, lies, other folks' habits, whole lives upon us two, sitting trapped and ignorant underneath her voice. She washed us in a river of make.
Pressed us to her with the serf' ous way she read, to shove us away at just the moment, like dimwits, we seemed about to understand. Dee wanted nice things.
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A yellow organdy dress to wear to her grad. She was determined to stare down any disaster in her efforts. Her eyelids would not flicker for minutes at a time. Often I fought off the temptation to shake her.
At sixteen she had a style of her own: I never had an education myself. After second grade the school was closed down.
Don't ask my why: Sometimes Maggie reads to me. She stumbles along good. She knows she is not bright. Like good looks and money, quickness passes her by. She will marry John Thomas who has mossy teeth in an earnest face and then I'll be free to sit here and I guess just sing church songs to myself.
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Although I never was a good singer. Never could carry a tune. I was always better at a man's job. I used to love to milk till I was hooked in the side in ' Cows are soothing and slow and don't bother you, unless you try to milk them the wrong way.
I have deliberately turned my back on the house. It is three rooms, just like the one that burned, except the roof is tin; they don't make shingle roofs any more. There are no real windows, just some holes cut in the sides, like the portholes in a ship, but not round and not square, with rawhide holding the shutters up on the outside.
This house is in a pasture, too, like the other one. No doubt when Dee sees it she will want to tear it down.
She wrote me once that no matter where we "choose" to live, she will manage to come see us. But she will never bring her friends. Maggie and I thought about this and Maggie asked me, "Mama, when did Dee ever have any friends? She had a few. Furtive boys in pink shirts hanging about on washday after school. Nervous girls who never laughed. Impressed with her they worshiped the well.
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She read to them. When she was courting Jimmy T she didn't have much time to pay to us, but turned all her faultfinding power on him. He flew to marry a cheap city girl from a family of ignorant flashy people. She hardly had time to recompose herself. When she comes I will meet—but there they are! Maggie attempts to make a dash for the house, in her shuffling way, but I stay her with my hand.
And she stops and tries to dig a well in the sand with her toe. How the HELL is that even possible? There are so many titles to choose from that its almost impossible to have seen them all. The L Stop crew voted on over titles to come up with our top 10 favorites in order: Review by Vivian Gonzalez Courtesy of wikimedia.
I picked up a stack of local newspapers and zines in the school library.
I casually flipped through one of the papers, then I saw her face. I paused, wiped the drool off my face and then looked to see what this movie was about. Oh my god, which one is she?
Her name is Piper Parabo. Beautiful, the girl of my dreams. Then I read the description. I called up my best friend, Andrew, and we knew what we had to do. We had to go to gayville aka Boystown, to find this film. It was one of our first trips there and it was exhilarating. My heart was racing and my palms were sweaty the whole time. Then came actually watching the film. Beautiful, haunting, heart-wrenching, and poetic. It reassured me that this kind of love does exist and others go through it.
Best quote of the movie: Because if you move, right, you fall.