Sunday, August 08, 2004

NDAWNIS -zephyr's recollections

Do you know Paula?

Who's Paula ?

Paula Field.

That’s her name, do you know where she lives ?

I don’t know.

Who are you calling here ?

I have called all the Fields in the book. Robert Field is one of your relatives

–he knows your son and said you were the one who might tell me where she is.

Who are you ?

I am her mother, my husband wants me to find her. He says this has gone on long enough and I have to make an effort to find her since she left because of me.

So that’s why you call me.

She used to be married to –your son.

Still is. What’s that to you-- what do you want ?

I want to see her and talk to her again.

Don’t you have any other children ?


You have one child, and you go twenty years never looking at her face.
You swore you would have her dead. You still want that


What about my son, you want him dead too ?
He’s a lawyer now thanks to the girl.
They just returned from the White House you know

No. I didn’t know. I am glad they have done well.

So why do you call me—its not to pass the time.
Why should I tell you anything ?
How do I know you tell the truth—you want to see her to kill her again

Why, you’re a mother,
you know mother’s don’t want to kill their children.

Yes, I am –but we are talking about you,
she’s been a good daughter to me
--makes my hats just right and her children are beautiful
--her daughter looks just like me.

I would like to see them.

So bad thing-- it be too late for you, she gave up. Too hateful you are.
No one live with that. You threw her away.

She came to us, my sister took her in.

I heard. I didn’t think she would go away for good.

I thought she would come and beg me to take her back
after seeing how you people live.

Humph –Still all about what you don’t know.

So what you want from me ?

I want to talk to Paula, you know where she is.
You could tell her to call me.

My husband Isaiah and I own my house forty years, we never move.
Everybody know us. Why you wait so long ?
We always good people, five boys and four girls.
Yellow girl sad for too long –we thought she might die by herself.
Why you do that to her ? Humph --What is wrong with you

Please give me her number so I can call her and apologize.
I didn’t know.
I want to see her and the children,
she could tell people she adopted them.

What about my son ? Why should I tell you ?

You are mean spirit.

I promise not to threaten her or hurt her.
My husband told me to make things better.
I am getting old maybe she can come and take care of us.

You tire me with your stale talk.
Good people all over wanting a child and yellow girl get you

. . .here's the number, get away.
Thank you.

Zephry hung up the phone. She remembered when she met yellow girl first time. Girl was eighteen and she was shy around us.
Never knew what to do. I put her to work in my kitchen.
Too many people looked at her too much.
Isaiah’s sons all went in the back room to ask Arthur about her.

What was wrong with her? —He was my best son, why she go out with him ? He don’t know, but he took her to grandfather Webster. Singsong Old man say she OK, not just a skirt. She OK, leave her be. She will get over. Isaiah says she’s OK too --her birthday same day as his can’t be bad.

We all afraid her father will come kill us in our sleep and there will be no one to tell our story. Sons say no, can’t be that way anymore. Besides her mother don’t want her —imagine throwing away yellow girl. Every time family gets together all the littlest childrens grab her legs and she can’t move. Arthur has to go in and get her.
Zephry finished getting ready for church. Tonight she will tell this news to the pastor. An Evening Light Saints member has a problem. Need to pray. Oh God help us. We lived long and good. Not now. Isaiah would have been outside polishing his Cadillac, he bought it because Cadillac is an Indian name. Hah, Zephry smiled, I picked it because it’s a big horse and I needs a wider buggy now. But now there is no one to drive it. Isaiah is gone up from me.

Zephry had seen so many wasted lives. She had lost little Sam in the fire –he had been holding onto her long skirt. She thought the toddler had gotten out of the house behind her. She was carrying two babies –but he had gotten caught behind the open door and suffocated. She and Isaiah had cried as they rebuild their house. She had always loved having babies. Being pregnant was a time when she could rest a little more and not work all those jobs. Little Mama, Isaiah called her. But Little Mama was her mother’s name first. She would come over and take care of the other babies a few weeks after the new baby came. Zephry had learned to forgive herself for Sam’s loss. Now this woman who belonged to yellow girl would have things to learn too.

Paula’s mother was a master of lies and manipulation. She could cast the character of a lie in any conceivable shape and would pay any personal price to follow it through. She had called Zephry hoping the silly old woman would tell her where to find Paula because she was curious to see if she was still alive. Years before she had told Paula’s father that she had disappeared and that she didn't know where she was. Paula had checked in now and then but did not know she was holding the knowledge hostage from him. They had not heard from her in a long time –maybe she was ready to leave those people by now. Humph-- imagine having brown Indian children.
She dialed the number, she was crying over what Paula had done to her. . .

As Arthur picked up the telephone he remembered the voice and automatically handed the phone to Paula –you will be surprised . . .

Zephry’s words still rang in her ears when Paula answered the phone.
She was still there with him --stupid girl.

But what she didn’t know was that upon hearing her voice Paula realized that both her mother and her husband were copies from the same mold. Both lived through lies and the manipulation of others. Maybe it was the town they grew up in, but Paula needed to be free. She had spent eighteen years with each one of them. She had tried to leave him, several times in fact. But this time, somehow Zephry had managed a masterful coup. Zephry had freed her son and connected Paula with a future. Singsong old man, grandfather Webster was dead, Paula had lost her most treasured ally but his spirit and Isaiah’s continued to walk with her. She had fallen in love with them and what they represented.

After that phone call Paula knew that she had to begin life over.
She also knew he would not accept it. Webster had warned her she must never let anyone bind her feet.


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