When I decided to show my latest piece, I realized how long ago I wrote it. Whoops!
“I always thought they was so stupid”.
She spoke in a dialect that I thought had been left behind in the modern age.
“My sister-in-law just don’t know how to run a family. She uses kids to clean house, but everyone knows that kids can’t clean house worth a damn!”
It had taken me awhile to get used to her odd way of communicating. On shift changes, she would act as though I were her friend, and I had to sit and listen, responding appropriately to each cue. Anything less and she would have told our boss I was rude to her. When you’re the new person on the team, you can’t call the shots.
So, unintentionally, I had become her friend. Confidante might have been too strong of a word.
The most noticeable thing about her was that she was always trying to put herself ahead of others with about as much sense the person who stands up 30 minutes before boarding just to get the perfect seat on the plane has.
She was always looking for another job, in spite of her commitments to this one, because “I have to think of myself.”
Most people think that, but few dare to say it.
“–she don’t know how to live! When I was young, I had hot coffee poured on me by Terry, and she don’t see how this is the same thing.” Somehow, she had switched from her incompetent sister-in-law to her foolish daughter in a matter of seconds. I never fully understood how her conversations evolved.
“Well, I guess you best be goin’. Don’t you have schoold today? I still haven’t figured out how I’m goin’ to school in the Spring and working all week here.”
This is where she paused, looking for some type of affirmation. School was an animal unknown to her. After dropping out of high school due to general unmotivation and pregnancy, she perpetually entertained this idea of going farther, but it never manifested.This was the one time I really saw her appreciate me, and I was able to feel like a friend to her.
“I know you can do it. You can always study for awhile when you’re here, and what’s a class here and there?”
“No, I cain’t study here. I’m always busy! Never get a chance to sit down. And when I go home…”
She started trailing off again and had forgotten about the hour and a half she kept me on our shift change.
“And last night, he was so silly. He had me pinned down and licked my face!” Sometime, that man seems more like a boy to me.”
Here, I simply gave the amused smile that was required.