Not everything in a sad story is a bad thing, especially when you feel good after writing it.
Sometimes during the course of fiction writing, the lines between what’s real and what is not can become blurred. I found myself writing a bit of emotional dialogue about a conversation I really wish had taken place in real life. When I wrote my second novel “Skipping Childhood (From Abused Foster Child to Adolescent Serial Killer),” I already knew I’d be injecting a lot of my own personal childhood memories into the book, mostly all bad.
Sad to say, quite a few of the unhappy events in Skipping Childhood actually occurred, but the one I’d like to share with you right now never really happened. In fact, the following excerpt is a conversation that provides one of the few feel good moments that the book even contains.
A Scene that Provides Closure
I’m not exactly sure what prompted me to write this dialogue and describe the feelings in such a genuine way. I feel as if the conversation really took place between me and my mother, though I’m absolutely certain that it never did. The amateur psychoanalyst in me tells me that I chose this particular dialogue, in order to provide closure on the once painful subject. As you will see in a moment, the conversation is discussing the topic of “hair” — a subject that was a sore spot for me as a child.
Thanks to my own mother taunting me about my short and course hair and her constant name calling, I was extremely self-conscious. I suffered from nervous anxiety over the shame my mother made me feel about my hair; a story I plan to share in my Spilling the Beans publication in the near future. Even though I stopped being bothered by those particular negative feelings from my childhood, for some reason, I still found the need to write about the subject. As silly as it seems, I like pretending that this brief moment of mother daughter bonding really took place in my life.
Skipping Childhood [BOOK EXCERPT]
Even though she was more than ready to leave Chicago the next day, Deandra dreaded having to spend one more night in the house next door. As it turned out, the last night they spent in Mr. Ben’s house was the only good memory Deandra would have of the place.
They were all packed up and ready to go and she was excited about traveling on the train. They would be leaving very early the next morning, so her mother told her to comb her hair and tie it up with a scarf. That way, her hair would lie down during the night while she slept. In the morning, all she would have to do is pull the scarf off and go.
Deandra wasn’t sure what prompted her to, but she decided to ask her mother to comb her hair that night. In spite of asking her to do it, she was actually surprised when Diane agreed. After running to get the comb, brush, hair grease and a scarf, Deandra grabbed a pillow off the couch and threw it on the floor. Then she sat down while her mother scratched her dandruff and combed her hair, just like she used to do a long time ago. She would always remember how nice it had felt to have a simple conversation and bond with her mother.
“Mama, why I don’t have good hair like you?”
As Diane combed through the thick mane, she gave a slight laugh and grumbled.
“Hmmp. You got nappy hair cause yo’ ignorant ass daddy had nappy hair!”
Deandra knew Diane was referring to her biological father, someone Deandra knew absolutely nothing about.
“Oh. So you got hair just like your daddy mama?”
Diane had a wistful look on her face, but her words lied about how she felt.
“How should I know? I told you I never knew my daddy, or my mama. For all I know, I could have hair like the Queen of Sheba!”
Diane’s words dripped with sarcasm, especially when she said Queen of Sheba. Deandra quickly tried to lighten the mood again. They were having such a nice evening and she didn’t want it to end.
“I know mommy. You probably was a princess that somebody stole out of her baby crib one night. Huh mommy. You think it could have happened like that?”
Deandra found herself calling Diane “mommy”; something she rarely did, not since she was much younger. Saying it somehow made her feel closer to her mother. Diane apparently didn’t want to spoil the mood either. She managed to dismiss the negative thoughts that were forming in her mind about her parents and their absence from her life. Once again, she tried to keep her tone light when she answered Deandra.
“Girl I don’t know. Shut up and stop asking me silly questions.”
Diane gave Deandra’s hair a final brush before gathering it all up in one hand and preparing to put a rubber band on it. But first she pulled gently on her hair so it tilted Deandra’s head back. She stared down into her child’s face and playfully gave the tip of Deandra’s nose a little pat with her finger.
“Wherever we got our hair from, we got it now and ain’t nothing we can do about it but comb this stuff, right?”
Deandra smiled, both inside and out. She wished that moment with her mother would never end. She had a final thought about her hair, but she kept it to herself.
Shoot! I still wish I had good hair!