I got a lot to say now I’m divorced. Which can lead to loneliness and darling, lonely is an eyesore. Lonely people, lonely. All alone again, naturally. It’s like I told you, only the lonely can play. You’re gonna make me lonesome when you go, and you did. I’m so lonesome I could cry, and I have. So much. People come see me, confess, look for advice or encouragement or a hug, then leave. I’m like some kind of Anna Madrigal House Music Madonna Mother that is just supposed to take it all in like a sponge with a quiet smile and a wave of her oh-so-elderly spot-covered hand. But damn Son, even Anna Madrigal got feelings. A guy called me AUNTIE the other day. Another called me SWEETHEART, and the third called me DARLING DEAR. I look in the mirror and see Yasmin LeBon but those words still make me turn into the twin spinster store owners from The Waltons with one POOF! Yep, it stings so much I turn into TWO old maids instead of just one. Where is my flannel nightie? God bless. Someone hand me the Vicks. I think there’s a tissue in my sleeve.
My shit to handle of course. I find these days it’s easier to handle my own shit. Allowing for others is still not my forte, so yeah Medusa made an appearance to all the ageism hot potatoes because I love these guys. They don’t mean it or mean to mean it. I’ve got to take the label and spin it like a jog wheel. Spin AUNTIE like a top until it lands on a 180 positive, winning position. Allow for their perspective even if it differs from my own. It’s not like if I disagree with it, that I have to stick around. Ebb and flow and away we go and it’s all okay.
The car I was in did a 180 perspective whirligig down I-95 on November 2, 1992. Purloining like that guy on Wide World of Sports with his yard sale skis before coming to rest in the wrong opposite direction, its entire body either dented or scratched like a Saturday night demolition derby. An entire van of marines headed to Quantico ripping off my passenger door. Me asking for my purse and threatening the guy who wanted to cut the bra off my shoulders. The one I’d just paid $60 for even though I took the bus. I’ve told that story 50 times. Maybe 62 will help me let it go. Yeah, I wriggled out and probably fucked up my neck even more in the process. Will tell you in a few years because I’ve had a surgeon tell me my sixties won’t be peachy. The price of vanity. Neverending race against the slippage of time right down your face. Life is funny, bees make honey.
I’ve always said Momma’s accident divided my life in two, but that’s not necessarily the case. My own accident happened less than a year after hers and yeah, my poor father and sister THAT year. Lord knows what they went through. I still remember the first two words out of my mouth on the payphone were, “I’m fine.” Even though I really wasn’t. Dad needed to hear that. Soldier on, Nae Nae. Soldier on. No, the latter half of my life began 20 years AFTER the accident when a neurosurgeon told me that little circus act paired with the car cavorting down the road would affect me gradually, slowly, for the rest of my life.
Leaving that office felt different. I felt older and not so damn invincible even though I’d walked away from something which should’ve killed me. How Momma couldn’t walk away but lay in a coma for an entire year and when she did awake after shunt surgery I was looking not at my mother, but at my MeeMaw. How I felt like Rapina Van Winkle who fell asleep at the ball and missed all the years when Momma aged gradually, first looking like a middle-aged Liz Taylor, then an elegant Vivan Leigh. But like Natalie Wood, Nan for me became a wax figure in one of Vincent Price’s movies. Her beauty was always the thing, the ticket, the reason, the flash. Now she had hairs growing out of her chin, one eye was crooked and her smile was hopeful and pleading like a cat left out in the rain. Bless her heart she looked like some of the folks I rode the bus with and not in a good way. Now it makes me love her even more because I know it’s her lesson, and mine. Then? My heart BROKE for her and there were months when we would furtively try to makeup her face and tweeze because the nurses knew not how and we just couldn’t bear it.
Nan was no longer the magnificent stallion Cher we all knew. When her parents fought tooth and nail to keep her alive, I silently wished they would stop. I knew she would hate it. I knew she wanted to be with Richard. Now she’s buried just down a piece from him in the cemetery and every time I stain my lips I think about the argument we had with the funeral director. She never wore pink. Only red or brown. Same with nails. Never pink. And good lord it just now occurred to me Momma lived the life of a country song. Move over, Tammy.
There are skeletons, there are stories, and all of it is glorious and has given me the strength to do things I never thought I’d do. It’s why I’m writing another book. We are Melungeon. Cole is a family name in the roster, and although the maternal line remains hidden enough stories and clues and photos remain for me to infer we are in fact tri-racial, maybe even quad. We are Native, Black, Levantine, Iberian Peninsula nomads born and bred. Some of us Jewish survivors, some of us landing not by our own hand, all of us running to the mountains and far western valleys to survive by mining, factory work, and subsistence farming. My grandfather left for the city at 14 off a sharecropping tobacco farm because he wanted a better life. Became a salesman, eventually starting his own accounting business when he saw opportunity. In tough times, you call on your strong ancestral line. They always answer. They did this for you, you know. It’s what they’re here for. Call on them. Often. Be well. Handle your shit. This was an excerpt of something. See you next Monday.
Taking two weeks off to hit Ableton hard, but there’s a popup with me on September 2, thank you SonderBlueHouse, DistrictLounge on Thursday September 7 for HER, and the Wonderfest Florida camping festival, October 6-9. Playing AND vending. See you there. DARLING. 😀 😀 😀