I am in the Barnes and Noble bookstore at The Grove in Los Angeles. I am waiting while Uraeus selects the books he wants. Thankfully he wants books. I birthed a reader. He has been wearing the same pair of flip flops since school began at the start of this month. I have offered to get new shoes. He has refused. I need him with me when I get shoes for him. His feet grow so fast. His taste change. Thankfully it has been a million degrees so flip flops have been perfect. This morning he told me that he likes wearing the same pair of shoes until he loses them or they wear out. My first thought was, who loses shoes? We will get more shoes today now that we are here.
The Asian man in line cut in front of me while I was waiting to pay for my new journal. He stepped in front of me as if he didn't even see me. I was invisible to him. I was an invisible woman. How invisible would would I have been if I were stealing? I wonder. Not that I steal. I was invisible to the white woman at the hospital Thursday night also. I didn't say anything then either. I should have. Thursday though, with the woman, the white woman, I was so angry at her. Probably because I am losing what little patience I have for white folks. I don't care how that sounds. Sure, there are some exceptions.
This moment, tucked in a corner on the top floor of the bookstore with a new notebook, is giving me life. Few things give me life like new notebooks.
If I felt like it I could be stressed out about some bills due next week. But I don't feel like it. So I'm working and trusting.
I'm getting my computer out of the pawn shop tomorrow. I'm happy about that.
So far Uraeus has selected four or five books. If I can get each one I will. I try to support his reading habit as best I can.
I need to get an oil change tomorrow. But we will see.
I'm ready to leave the bookstore and walk around a bit but I don't want to rush him. Besides, I have a really comfortable chair right by the window where I can easily free write my heart out.
People watching is the best game ever. Making up stories about folks in line, folks walking by. I pretend I know which ones are in the witness protection program. In my stories, someone always is. I like to think I know which people are not choosing between four or five books for their sons and an oil change. Like the lady carrying the big red American Girl bag in the fold of her arm as three young girls gleefully skip behind her. One has a white bow in her blonde hair.
I watch the twenty something years old handsome black man with the box cut and black jeans as he is walking with an equally as handsome white male about his age. I imagine him, the black man, whom I have named Charles, coming out to his parents. Maybe on a Sunday just as his mother came home from church.
And then there is the Mexican young woman who keeps staring at me. What has she imagined about me? What name did she give me? I want to be a Raquel in someone's story. Not that I look like a Raquel. But whatever. I only half wonder. I don't all the way care.
Here are two more black men holding hands. I love them. Eden and Bradford I call them. Bold enough to live their lives out loud. Don't you fucking dare call Bradford, Brad by the way. Of course his given name is RayThomas, but...details... He is Bradford now and you better call him that you asshole. I have assigned Bradford all this YOLO, hostile ass energy. I don't know why. Probably because his cap and shorts and shirt are all the same print and really I hate that shit but it works on him.
Dear Uraeus, please hurry up. My son takes his time. He really does.
This might be my new favorite bookstore.
That woman has on a nice sweater. Just my style. What if I asked her if I could try it on? Not for real but just to see what she would say.
We are going to close this bookstore down tonight.
The second American Girl bag has crossed my path. Rather, my eyesight. Maybe I need to check that store out.
Oh! Bradford is coming my way! Eden looked me up and down. I think he judged me a little bit. Maybe he's used to black women judging him. I wasn't judging. I mean, I don't think that clutch purse worked with those Capri pants but is that a judgement? I'm all confused now.
Okay, so Uraeus just came to get me to pay for all of his books. I gave up my good chair and went up a flight of stairs for him to ask for five more minutes. It's not the time, it's that I already moved my meat and lost my seat! Somebody please speak to your nephew about this.
How interesting that I should end up in a bookstore all day when I skipped my women's writing group today. I've been skipping a lot of things lately. This fog in my head is fucking with me. Getting dressed and going to work takes more energy than I seem to have lately. I have been craving time alone. That's not a good sign for me. But at least I'm writing through it. Most days.
Dear Uraeus, five minutes has passed. Truthfully he could ask for an hour more and I would be happy to give it to him. We do bookstores well together. I'll take Barnes and Noble over the Nike store any day.
Here he comes.