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It was on a clear summer night that they picked me up.
I’d been sitting out on the side of the cement pathway for almost a half a week now and had almost given up hope. Perhaps that family thought I was too ugly? No, no, I knew that I wasn’t ugly. I certainly wasn’t brand new, but… I wasn’t ugly.
At least, I didn’t think so.
My family pulled up in their little red car and rolled down the passenger’s window to get a good look at me. A large faced woman with lips big enough to kiss an open book peered out and squinted her heavily made up eyes at me.
“Gerald, I think this is the best we gonna’ get.”
The driver looked over his glasses and studied me for a brief few moments. He nodded. The large woman daintily opened the car door and stuck a chubby leg out, which was promptly followed by a formidably sized stomach all wrapped up in red drapery like a holiday present, scrunched up and displaying her every crevice.
She took a few waddles towards me, her heels clip-clopping along the cement until she stopped just a foot away from me. She bent down and pulled up a part of my body and took in a large breathe of my aroma.
“Oh sugar, this is perfect! Quick, less’ get it before mass starts, Gerald!”
And the next thing I knew, I was at home, nestled comfortably in front of the fireplace. I didn’t feel like I matched the carpet or the wallpaper or even the little knick-knacks that speckled the wall like the corpses of raindrops on a sidewalk. I was foreign.
Regardless of my looks, however, the large woman really seemed to love me. After she went to “Mass” with her chubby old husband, she would pull off her little white gloves and push her high heels away from her feet with her toes and then lay her rump right down on me, always antsy the first few seconds but eventually finding a position which allowed her to slump comfortably down like a candlestick’s wax slowly softening around a lit flame. She would flip on the television set and watch black and white baseball games and sometimes the loud man that shouted “Hallelujah!” and “Praise the Lawd!”
As I got used to her and she got used to me, the large woman’s body finally made an imprint into my chest that refused to fit the contours of any other rump that tried to pervade it’s area.
I grew excited to hear the door open and see her hobble in, clutching her little purse in her gloved hands. She spoke to her husband often about “The Christ” and “Saved” and “Never alone.” Those were words she liked to hear and say, and the loud man on the television shouted the same things, though he sounded much less gentle with his words.
“Ain’t no love worth havin’ but his.” She would say. I always wondered what she meant.
Three days ago, the large woman fell asleep on me and didn’t wake up for a long time. Her husband fell asleep a few years ago, too, and his family carried him away. He didn’t come back.
I’ve begun to miss my large woman. Her children have come over to sift through her belongings, weeding out what can be thrown away or sold. They pour over old photos and toss old crossword puzzles and newspapers and paperback novels into the fireplace.
Large men come weaving in and out of my room with boxes full of dust covered artifacts. They complain about the smells and the waste of space. One says to another, “The old bat could’ve at least cleaned up ‘fo she croaked, am I right?”
A small girl with swaggering braids walks into my room.
“It smells like old people in here.”
She walks towards me, still looking up at the walls covered in “The Christ” and pulls herself onto my dented torso. A tall woman that looks like my large woman if she were cut into quarters and stretched up walks in with her face scrunched into what might have been a permanent frown. She tells the small girl to get off that piece of rubbish so papa can throw that old thing out.
The small girl slides down and I realize that this is the last time I will be able to sit in my family’s room. As she walks out, she looks back towards the walls of my room.
Who is that man on the wall, she asks.
Nobody important, her mom says. “Jus’ a man your grandmamma wanted to be close to.”
They leave and don’t come back and I miss my large woman.
“Ain’t no love worth havin’ but hers.”
And I finally understand.
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