Thursday, September 18, 2014

Promises Kept

*When I was reading William Faulkner’s “That Evening Sun Go Down” in my Fiction class I wondered “what Jesus’ view was on everything since there are always two sides to a story?”, as it is commonly said. I was then inspired to write a short story of my own of another man who may have been in a similar situation and what became of him. I thank Faulkner for inspiring me to write this piece:   

        Addison, Alabama is a hick town where nothing exciting is ever going on, especially in 1947.  I sometimes wonder why I even stick around.  A woman is why, but as of lately, Tania is starting to lose her hold on me and I have been thinking of returning to New Orleans, for good this time  and not just for my usual visit to my roots.  I am starting to see what kind of woman I have gotten involved with.  Besides, no one wants me around; for some reason, people are scared of me and believe me to be a violent man.  I sometimes wonder if that was Tania’s doing.  Even before the Mister of the house that she works at forbid me to come up to the house, she has asked me not to fetch her after dark any more, making me look bad.  The only reason why I have been forbidden to come to the house is because I know that Mister Jamison has been diddling with my woman, and now she is carrying his bastard child, and he is scared.
               Tania and I had a big to do about it one day. She had gotten it in her head that now she is having a child by a white man that she is going to live the good life.  She thinks Mister Jamison is going to set her and the child up, so she prances around our shack of a home as if she is too good for me now.  That is why she is constantly throwing it into my face that it is not mine.

           I said to her, “You always use your witchy ways not get pregnant with my baby, but you allows yourself to get pregnant by a white man.”
                  “Humpf. You’re one to talk ‘bout witchy ways. Maybe you just ain’t man enough to do it right,” Tania said.
               Ignoring the remarks, I said, “Tania, you’re crazy if you think that Mista Jamison is going to acknowledge you and that child.”
         She got madder than a hornet and yelled, “What do you know about it?  What do you know about anything?  You know nothing.  You’re nothing but a stupid man.  You do not even know how to support your wife properly!”
       “Yeah, I must be stupid to stick around with the likes of you whore’n yourself out ‘n all, but I am not stupid enough to take on a white man’s bastard!” I yelled back.  Tania threw a cook’n spoon at me and started to grab a pot.  I walked out of our house as fast as my short black legs could carry me.   I wasn’t go’n to stick around while her temper is.  She’s crazy.  Someone can get hurt, and that someone is me.
        It was a few months later when she was in labor. I had to take pity on Tania in all that agony, but I could not forget who the father of the bastard was.  I got one of the neighborhood black kids to stay with Tania while I walked up to the lane to the Mister’s house.  I didn’t care if I was not allowed to step foot on his property; I was not going to let anyone or anything stop me from seeing Mister Jamison.  Corrina tried to stop me from entering his study, but I pushed her to the side and stormed in. 
    “What the…” said Mister Jamison.
    “Your bastard child is coming into the world tonight,” I said.
     “I don’t know what you’re talking about, but you better leave,” Mister Jamison said.
     “Just shut up!  And hear me out and quit deny’n it.  I know you were with Tania in my house many times.  I saw you two through the window.  You were pound’n into her and grunt’n like some wild animal.”  Mister Jamison went so pale I thought I could almost see right through his white skin.
I went on saying, “Now your bastard child is coming into the world and Tania thinks you go’n to put her and the baby up real nice, but I know that ain’t gonna happen.  I also knows I ain’t gonna to take care of a white man’s baby either.  You do something with your bastard child now, or I’ll make sure everyone knows who the real daddy is.”
      After a slight pause, Mister Jamison said, “Don’t worry about a thing. I will take care of it.” I turned and went back to my cabin and Tania.  She was not doing so well; she was screaming in agony.  I did not know what to do for her, and I was relieved when a white man showed up two hours later, saying he was sent by Mister Jamison.  He delivered the baby but would not let Tania see it when she asked. 
       “It would not be a good idea,” the doctor said.  He wrapped the crying baby up in a blanket and was about to leave when he turn to both me and Tania, who was crying for her baby, and said, “This night is never to be spoken of, or else.  This never happened.”  He then turned and walked out with the baby, the both of them never to be seen again.  We never learned if the baby was a boy or a girl.  Tania blamed me for her loss of the good life but not enough to have me leave her.
Mister Jamison’s wife must have known that Tania had just given birth, because she let Tania be for a few days but not as long as they’d allow a white woman to rest after giving birth.  Four days later, Misses Jamison sent their kids down to our cabin to wake Tania.  The brat, Aiden, yells up, “Ma says you laid around long enough, to get your lazy black ass up and tend to the house.” It was as if Tania never had a baby.
        Things were okay for awhile, as okay as a black man could expect.  I thought Tania was going to change after losing the baby, and using the word losing loosely, but I was only dreaming.  I found out one day she was still doing favors for the men in town for money.  It was a Sunday no less.  I was becoming the laughing stock of the town, because I could not control my woman.  I was so mad that I stormed into the house and slammed the door.
           “What the hells got’n inta you?” said Tania. 
Grabbing her by the arms, making her face me, I said, “Tell me the truth, Tania.  Are you still whore’n youself out?”
        Jerking away, she yelled, “Let me goes. I don’t have ta tell you anything!”
     “Yous my woman, ain’t ya?! “ I said.
      “I aints no one’s woman.  I does as I wants!” said Tania.
      “So’s yous are whore’n youself!”  I said.
      “ So’s what if I am! How’s you’d know about it?” said Tania.
       “Townspeople talk Tania.  Bubba Mack comes up to me n tells me what a good piece of ass you is!”
         With a sneer, Tania said, “I gives what I’s paid for.”
         “That’s it! Ims done.  Ims leaving, Tania.”  I went and grabbed my satchel out of the cupboard and started pulling my clothes out of the chest.
         Tania yelled, “Yous can’t leave me.”
       “I don’ts want a woman who is a whore.  I want a good woman. I dont’s want to be laughed at,” I replied and started walking towards the door.

      Tania screamed, “You can’t leave me!” She grabbed my arm to turn me around, and the next thing I felt was something hot slice me across my throat.  I dropped my satchel, and I realized that she slit my throat with that damn razor of hers she carries around in the pocket of her skirt, as I slid to the floor clasping my throat.  My last words to Tania as I breathed my last breath was, “Okay, Tania I wonts leave you.  I’s curses you.”
       Next thing, I remember is watching Tania bury something in the ditch.  That something was me.  She buried me down deep with her razor and wrapped up in one of our coverlets. I never saw the white lights everyone talks about, but it doesn’t matter anyway; I can’t rest until Tania pays for what she has done to me.
            At first, Tania told everyone I left on her but after awhile, I started getting to her.  When it got too much for her, she started telling everyone I was back in town and was out to get her.  She even had Mister Jamison feeling sorry for her for awhile, having her stay up at the big house for awhile, and then having him walk her home in the evenings when the Misses had enough of the Mister’s whore staying up at the house. 
          Anyway, Tania knew her time was coming.  I slowly watched her lose her mind, with some help from me, of course.  On the day she finally lost her mind completely, she thought keeping her stupid mutt, King in the cabin with her would protect her, but King could not protect her from herself.  She did try to tell Mister Jamison I was waiting out in the ditch for her, but he did not see me.  He did not see me because He did not look deep enough.  I was there, lying in wait for Tania.  After all, I did tell her I would never leave her.

*written summer 2008

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