Sunday, November 7, 2010

Living To Tell The Story

I was sitting at this lovely little store/coffeeshop/eatery on Delmar last weekend.  My girlfriends and I meet once-a-month to talk about a piece of black female literature.  We also spend the time exploring great little getaway spots in the metro area to give us a respite from our normal lives on a Saturday morning.

Through the course of discovering the great blueberry pancakes at Winslow's Home and meandering through the complicated story of Browngirl/Brownstones by Paule Marshall, I stumbled upon the courage to share an element of my past with these women.  I had never really shared the details, the feeling and raw emotion behind what happened to my son.  Perhaps it was timely because it was the exact calendar day and date, twenty eight years later, that my life began to unravel.

I told them about when Cory died and what happened.  I did not know there was an audience, someone listening and enraptured by the story that is so personal.

"I'm sorry to interrupt, but your story was so compelling, so raw, so true, I just had to stop."  "Oh," I said and took a sip of my latte.  "You should tell your story to more people.  I am part of MothUp here in St. Louis."  This pretty little stranger, with her young daughter at her side, gave me the five minute pitch of why I should share my story live, no notes, in front of a group of strangers for the upcoming event entitled "Oh, Baby."  She began to tell me about the format and the structure and how St. Louis is one of only a handful of MothUp chapters around the world.

My girlfriends were shaking their heads in agreement and one touched my back.  It is time.  It is time to tell what happened and take back the story.

When I got home, I tucked that thought away, last weekend was hard for me on many fronts, not to mention my husband's untimely decision to start a mini war on October 31st that left me more than a little mad and a lot angry that he chose that day to decide to rant, but I digress, the weekend was hard because my son died on Monday, November 1st.  I was reliving that exact weekend in the recesses of my mind, even down to struggling with asthma and having a man who was more interested in controlling than comforting at that point.

Yet, something about that young woman's request broke through the wall I put up on the memory, the need I felt to protect my young eighteen-year-old-self from the assaults that were coming, even in the memory.  So I decided it was time, it is time, and I responded to the young woman's email invitation.  She wanted to know how to introduce me - I told her to use my writing name for that is where I find my peace and authentic self when words spring forth from my soul.

November 11th at 7pm in a little coffee shop called Foam.  There will be no notes, nothing but my memories and the story that has not been told.  And a release and an honoring.  And understanding.  The time has come.

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