Posted by: King Bee | March 18, 2007

Just Enough

I wrote this for a creative writing class I was taking. The task was to write a monologue from the perspective of another person…

I guess it is sort of funny if you think about it. I mean, not funny like an Eddie Murphy sketch, but funny in the way rich celebrities have loads of cash, and to top it off, they are given everything for free. You know, peculiar funny. In my younger years, I would have used the word queer, but in this day and age of everyone being so damn P.C., I would probably get in trouble for making a derogatory comment about the gays.

Now don’t get me wrong, because I rather enjoy the gays. They certainly make me feel safe walking down my street at night and lord knows they have made my neighborhood look better than ever. It’s just that I can’t quite understand how they think it is appropriate to have that physical contact, when it is very obviously not how God intended. But to each his own. Lord knows I can certainly relate to the courage it takes for those gays to defend their rights.

Being a black child in the 50’s, I can still remember a much different world that half of these snotty brats that come in here, night after night, very obviously take for granted. When I was a child, it wasn’t just separate bathrooms for men and women, but a whole separate bathroom for coloreds. You know, I don’t really know how you got me on any of these subjects. I am just so used to being invisible in here. I am so surprised to have someone acknowledge me, let alone ask about me. So, back to your question.

I am a school teacher. I have been an elementary school teacher for the last eighteen years. I have always had a fondness for those second graders. It’s that final year before they start running at high speeds to grow up. That final year they are still happy and content to be a child. Now, don’t you be tellin’ anyone, but even though they call it a job, I consider it a priviledge to teach those kids. There is nothing more fulfilling than knowing you have just introduced a future Picasso to paint or a future Neil Armstrong to his first math equation. The complete fascination and wonder as they encounter their first life experiences. That is my one true joy I still possess in this world. It keeps my hope burning. My hope that I will inspire a child to make the most of their life. And I pray for them. I pray that they avoid the loss and heartache I have known in this lifetime or at least have the strength to overcome it all. I‘m sorry. I did it again. I didn’t mean to get so maudlin on you. And somehow, I have once again rambled off on a tangent and still haven’t answered your question.

Y’know, I don’t know how I ended up here. It happened so long ago it seems. I lost my husband about 6 years ago now. Lost him to the fight against cancer. We were high school sweethearts. This may be too much information, but I am proud to say it. He is the only man I have ever been with. It was a love people fantasize about when they watch movies. When I was with him, we were invincible. And ooh-wee, he was a looker, I tell you. 6 foot 5 and every ounce a man. One of those real low voices that could quiet a room. Y’know, I don’t think I ever heard him raise it in all of our years together. Oh and he was smart. I could lay in bed all Sunday morning and listen to him read me the newspaper. He could explain anything I didn’t understand and nothing made me feel more alive than listening to that voice all day.

I always felt so safe when I was with him. He had those big strong arms that were tender when they needed to be. I knew I would always be taken care of so long as he was in my life.

The hardest part of the cancer was watching how weak it made him. I was never prepared to have to be the strong one. He ran the house, paid the bills. We did cook together. He never minded my not making a lot of money because he knew I loved working with those kids.

He fought that cancer for the longest time. There were moments the doctors actually thought he was going to lick it, but in the end it just cost us thousands of dollars. After awhile, the insurance wouldn’t pay anymore and we used up all of our savings. By the time he finally passed on, I had to sell the house and I was left with nothing but the burden of debt. I had no choice but to get this as my second job. And that believe it or not is the answer to your question on how I ended up here.

I just thought it was funny, peculiar funny, because no one ever talks to me in here. They are usually too embarrassed. Never take the time to find out I too am human. The parents don’t seem to have any problem talking to me during the day, but I have had one or two of them come in here at night and not even look my way. I am not ashamed to be a bathroom attendant. My momma and daddy taught me long ago the importance of a good work ethic. Even though it doesn’t pay enough, they will have to drag me away from those children before they can get me to retire at that school. Sure this isn’t the most glamorous job I could have chosen, but it helps to pay the bills, and every so often, a kind person like yourself takes the time to ask me how I am. And sometimes, that is just enough.


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