I loved Evelyn, but the crying was too much. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. I had to try and use my own brand of diplomacy.
“Finish your donut, and I’m gonna go throw something on. We’re going to the fair.”
She looked at me for a moment as if I had lost my ever loving mind. There she was, heartbroken, crying her light brown eyes out, and I was talking about the Montgomery County Fair.
“The fair? What’s at the fair?” She asked as she dabbed at the water that dribbled down her caramel face.
“Fun! It’s a Saturday. It’s a beauty September Saturday.And, we ain’t spending it being sad at my house! Be ready in ten!”
I lightly touched my index finger to the tip of her nose just to be a little more irritating, turned and went into my bedroom to grab a pair of jeans and a tee. While I dressed, I silently prayed for God to guide me, guide us through this situation. I didn’t want to say the wrong thing. Evy needed my help, not my judgment. And, I was bad at that. That’s the problem with being a strong, black woman, we judge each other way too harshly. This was gonna take the love of the Father.
We drove, twenty two miles, to get to the fair. The smell of corn dogs, and funnel cakes assaulted our senses long before we reached the entrance. We could hardly believe our eyes once we got past the entrance.
“Am I seeing what I think I’m seeing? She asked with surprised eyes.
“Now, I’m sure Dayton women are trifling. Are they wearing pajama bottoms?” I said.
At least four young girls stood at the booth to our right, waiting to get nine, or ten little kids a cotton candy. Their hair was all over their heads, as if they had just rolled out of bed. And, their language was perverse, and loud.
“This new generation is bonkers!”
Evelyn finally laughed. I laughed with her as they stared over our way. Our only choice was to say hello to them.
“Hi ladies!” We sang in unison as we walked away,giggling like school girls.
“So, why’d you bring me here? I know you, Red. Somethings up. The only time you wanna bring your old tail to something like this is when you’re trying to avoid a conflict, ma’am! What gives?”
Evy asked as she dragged me over to an area where they were selling turkey legs. For someone so small, Evelyn had a huge appetite. The too- muchness of smells alone made my stomach turn a little bit. Still, her question was one I was waiting on.
“Look, Sis. You’ve been through hell, and God brought you out alright. You’ve survived domestic violence, and on a grand scale. The things you’ve been through, I don’t think even I could have survived.”
“Yea.” She said wearily.
“Don’t do that. Don’t get all sad, and weary with me. That’s what I mean, Evy. After coming through all of that victoriously, why are you still bothered by what anybody has to say? Why are you letting anyone steal your joy?”
She stood there for a moment, holding her drumstick, and biting her lip. For a moment, I thought she was going to cry again. But, she didn’t start crying. She took a deep breath, and asked me to go on.
“Did you ever think that God allowed you to go through all of that for you to come back, and be some kind of example for the very ones that irritate you so much? I mean, the people that you were talking about, the ones that need refuge, the sinners that will come into Peaceful Beginnings looking for love, and understanding, maybe you’re it, Evelyn.”
Just then, Evelyn handed me the turkey leg, and reached into her purse. She pulled out her cell phone as if she had to make an emergency call.
“What are you doing, Sis? Am I boring you?” I asked her, confused by what she was doing.
“No. Thank you. I love you, sister. I’m calling my brother. You know, the one who is the pastor over at our church?” She said.
I looked over her shoulder as she scrolled her contact list for his number. Being the tallest has it’s advantages. I wondered why she felt the need to call him right then.
“Lord, please don’t let it be that I’ve said the wrong thing.” I prayed in my mind.
She stood there, her legs almost dancing with nervousness,the call ringing loud enough for me to hear, and she waited for her brother to answer. Her body seemed to freeze when she heard his voice on the line.
“Hello?” A heavy voice answered.
“Hey, Melvin. It’s Evelyn.”
“Yea, how ya doin’?” An almost monotone response.
“I’m fine. Listen, I called to ask your forgiveness..”
I was so proud of Evelyn. Even though she felt her family was treating her wrong, even though she felt outcast, and downtrodden, she was asking for forgiveness. I was so proud. Evelyn was going to be just fine.
This time, it was me crying. And, joy filled my heart