Rewriting the Script by Arlether Wilson CHAPTER THREE Jesse didn’t say anything to me for weeks. He wouldn’t even look at me. I was glad and that was okay with me. We’d moved once again and my younger relatives were coming over on a regular basis and Maggie let one of her dancer friends move in for a while. Sometimes there were as many as thirteen people in our three bedroom apartment. I really didn’t mind her living with us, but that was the first time that I’d been in a house with a white woman. I didn’t know how to act and most of the time I just starred at her. I remember the first time that I saw her. I didn’t trust her. She was just too friendly. Martha was tall, with long blonde hair. After spending a few days around her I learned that she was actually nice. She took us shopping and cooked for us everyday. Now Maggie could stay away as long as she wanted to. She danced at night, but stayed with us during the day. She was extremely domesticated for a woman with no children. Even my uncles and Jesse were smitten with her. Whenever she was around they were front and center, acting like little boys. She wore tight fitting clothes and they were always talking about her butt. She even gave my aunts and I dance lessons. She taught us how to gyrate and move our bodies in ways I’d never imagined. I didn’t really see the significance of it, but we did have fun.
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Rewriting the Script by Arlether Wilson Tina was really taken by her beauty and sophistication.
loved white people. She’d say, “I wish I was white. White people are so pretty. At least we got Indian in our family.” Anytime we came in contact with a white person she was always commenting about their pretty hair and eyes. And she loved to tell us about how they lived better than we did. And she spent as much one on one time with Martha as she could. Unfortunately, Maggie was so busy having fun that she didn’t see trouble coming. Martha and Jesse were having an affair right under her nose. None of the kids knew anything about it until I discovered the truth. One day Maggie hadn’t returned from her night at the club and all of the children were outside playing. The girls were skating and playing hopscotch. George and Terrance were stealing food from the rail cars parked behind our apartment. By the time they were finished we had a closet full of canned goods. I was surprised that Maggie never found out. Well, I hadn’t seen Martha in a while so I went looking for her. I called her name. She wasn’t downstairs, so I went to our room to look for her. However, when I tried to open the door it was blocked with a piece of furniture. But not enough to keep me from seeing what she was doing. I saw her and Jesse having sex. I didn’t know much about sex, but I knew that they shouldn’t have been in bed together. When they realized that they had
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Rewriting the Script by Arlether Wilson been busted the jumped up, covering themselves. I was shocked and knew that I had to tell Maggie. A few minutes later Martha came downstairs, looking guilty. She sat down next to me on the sofa. “Hey Letha. You okay. I was just in there talking to Jesse. You didn’t see anything did you?” She said. For a moment I was pissed. I couldn’t believe that she would try to deceive me. I thought she was my friend. I gave her a mean look and said, “I saw you and Jesse and I’m going to tell Maggie. “Please Letha don’t tell Maggie. Don’t you remember all of the nice things that I’ve been doing for you?” She replied. But I didn’t care. I folded my arms and didn’t say another word. She walked back up stairs. Later I saw Jesse leave the room. I waited for Maggie to come home. I didn’t see either one of them for the remainder of the day. My aunts and uncles kept asking me what was wrong, but I didn’t want to talk to them about it.
I was just too disappointed, besides I was only
interested in talking to Maggie.
How dare she do such a thing to Maggie. I don’t know why I was so mad. It’s not like she actually did anything to me, but I couldn’t contain my anger. Finally Maggie came home and I walked right up to her and said, “Maggie I saw Martha and Jesse in the bed naked together.”
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Rewriting the Script by Arlether Wilson I thought that Maggie was going to explode. She was squinting her eyes and her jaws filled up with air. Then she dropped her purse and ran upstairs. She went straight to Martha and I heard her say, “Bitch I let you live in my house and you just gone fuck my man. I thought you was my friend. Get yo shit and get out of my house.” Martha tried to plead with Maggie. Arms were waving in the air and they sounded like two cackling hens. Finally Maggie stopped, pointed her finger in Martha’s face and she almost pushed her down the stairs. Then the house fell silent and everyone was looking at me. Tina started crying and stormed out of the door. Then I heard her tear into Jesse. “You no good bastard. How could you do this to me? I don’t want to hear it. Get yo ass out of my house. She screamed. Suddenly I felt bad for telling Maggie. I didn’t like to see her cry. Minutes later Martha and Jesse packed their belongings and walked out of the house, together. Gloria and Tina didn’t talk to me for days. They told me that they hated me for sending Martha away.
I tried explaining and
apologizing but they still wouldn’t talk to me. It didn’t matter, because I had now everything was a mess. Maggie was devastated. She didn’t go to the club for a few nights. She must have been really heart broken, because she wouldn’t get out of bed. We were just taking care of ourselves. Two days later Ollie and Raymond came by and we told them the whole story. They shook their heads and said that they couldn’t believe
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Rewriting the Script by Arlether Wilson that she would do such a thing. Maggie told Mama what happened and she wasn’t too sympathetic. “Gull I told you don’t bring no other woman in yo house. Mama ranted. Two women in a house ain’t nothing, but trouble.” For once Maggie didn’t seem to be affected by Mama’s ridiculing. She wasn’t alone everyone in the house was in a gloomy state. **** The following Monday morning I was late for school. As usual Maggie was yelling at me to hurry up so I threw on my khaki colored dress, socks and penny loafers before I ran into the kitchen to get my hair hot-combed. It was my third month in Kindergarten and my teacher was complaining that I had already missed too many days. Maggie was always rushing because either she woke up late or she was just getting in from a long night at the club. That day I sat in the kitchen next to the stove and she ran the warm comb through my hair, placed my hair in two afro puffs and sent me off to school. I couldn’t get out of the door fast enough. That morning I walked to school happy as a chess cat. The wind was whipping under my dress as my skinny legs glided across the concrete. Most of the parents were out walking their children to school, but not Maggie. She had to get her rest. Back then we lived directly behind my school, Bastian Elementary, so it only took me a few minutes to get there. Once I arrived at school, I walked to my class and as the morning progressed I was reminded
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Rewriting the Script by Arlether Wilson that I forgot something. Of course I didn’t say anything to anyone. I tried my best to conceal it. But like most five year olds my attention span just wasn’t long enough. I surely didn’t want to be sent home and miss another day of school, so I put the thought out of my mind. I was too excited to let a little mistake ruin my day. That afternoon our class went to recess. My teacher was explaining the rules of musical chairs. I sat on the floor excited, keen and attentive.
During that time my teacher was still talking and
scanning the room. Suddenly, she paused in my direction and her mouth dropped. Honestly, I was so busy enjoying the moment that I wasn’t sure who are what she was looking at. Then she leaned down, and placed her hand over her mouth. Now everyone was starring at me. Seconds later she walked over, took my hand and dragged me out of the room like I didn’t belong there. Now I knew I was in trouble. When I think back on that day I still didn’t know why she was dragging me into the hall. We stood in the hallway for a moment, while my teacher starred at me and shook her head. “Young lady did you forget something this morning?” She asked. My chest became tight and I placed my hand under my lip as I often did whenever I was afraid. I shook my head, not knowing what else to do. “Is there any reason why you’re not wearing any panties?” Then I remembered my little issue. I paused for a moment, and then I blurted out, “Maggie was rushing me and I forgot.” She frowned and escorted me to the principal’s office.
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Rewriting the Script by Arlether Wilson Once we were in the principal’s office my teacher and the principal spoke in private before calling Maggie. Truthfully, I didn’t know what all the fuss was about. I had no idea that my forgetting my underwear would be such a big deal. Thirty minutes later Maggie came to my school. When she arrived she immediately walked in apologizing for my bad behavior. “I’m sorry ma’am there is no way that I would ever let Letha leave home without underwear.” Maggie exclaimed. She pointed her finger at me. “How could you leave home like that? You know beta.” Maggie whispered in my ear. Still, she failed to let them know that I couldn’t find any underwear that morning. Besides I only had three pair. That morning she didn’t get my clothes ready, I picked everything out by myself.
I dropped my head.
wanted to cry. The two women looked at Maggie and gave her a faint smile. Without saying a word Maggie nodded at the women, grabbed my hand and rushed me to girl’s restroom.
After putting on my panties I went back to my
classroom and Maggie went home. She never said anything about it while we were in the restroom. I continued playing with my classmates like nothing had happened. When I returned home the incident was never mentioned, but I made sure to never leave home without underwear again. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Purchase your copy of Rewriting the Script online at: www.arletherwilson.com.
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Arlether's debut novel, Rewriting the Script is not just another story about a girl surviving life in the streets. It's much more than that....