One hour ago I phone auntie M. to grumble. Me words tumble from me like rocks and stones and mud falling down a mountainside, and lay at she feet. And I sitting, shaking with the grievance.
And she open she bottle o’ jokes and anecdotes, and they fall like soft drops on me red, hot mood like cool blue balm. And I start to laugh.
[Y’see, it have a art to grumbling. When you call somebody to complain, you does got to know when to stop. You can’t go on and on, beating up on they eardrum, or the next time you need ears to listen to you, the ears don’t want to hear no more, ‘cause they get weary and corned from the last grumble.
Y’see, you got to know when is time to soak up the effort that the other person putting in to soothe you.]
So I laugh.
And we talk some more.
She tell me, "Gyal, a lady visit me the other day, she come back from Abroad. I ain’t see she since fifty years. And you know what is the first thing she tell me?"
"What, Auntie M.?"
"She say, 'oh gosh, look how you get fat.' And is true, I lookin' a li'l fat. Me clothes can't fit me, and me face round, round like the moon."
"And what she look like, Auntie M?"
"Well, y’know how when people live Abroad them get shaky, shaky…"
"You shoulda tell she so, tell she, "oh gosh, look at you how you get shaky,' " I say.
"Nooo, I could never hurt people feelings like that, I couldn't tell her that."
Then hear the sweetest thing ever.
Auntie M. say, "I tell you ol' uncle what she say…and he look me up and down, Up And Down. And he say, 'you are still beautiful in my eyes.' "