There was something about making love to Royal that just massaged the stress right out of Delia’s body. After their tryst at the hospital, she took the rest of the day off and spent a relaxing evening at home with her family.
In the mood for tacos tonight, Delia braided her hair in seven cornrows, donned jeans and a hooded sweatshirt, and headed for her favorite grocery store. Though the store was located on the lower end of town, Delia didn’t let that stop her from shopping there. Not only was she used to stores like that from her days in
Deciding not to go alone, Delia took Tess to the store with her. The boys wanted to stay at home with Valena. Besides the fact that they hated grocery shopping, they were too engrossed with their video game to go anywhere right now.
Delia found Tess to be excellent company for this outing. With her flare for chatter, the little girl kept Delia’s mind occupation with other things, anything but a man named Royal Seeger.
Everything was going fine until they got in the checkout line. That’s when Tess decided to be super inquisitive about all kinds of things, including people.
“Mommy, why that man pants so high?” the toddler said, pointing to a tall thin man walking by.
Delia’s cheeks colored as people around them began to chuckle under their breaths. “Tess, it’s not polite to point. And please use your inside voice,” she cautioned, trying hard to keep the smile off her face at the man’s above-the-ankle pants. Where she was from such pants were called ‘high-waters’. No matter what they were called, they were still funny to behold.
“Okay, but why is his pants so high?” Tess persisted, lowering her voice as requested.
“He probably likes wearing them that way, baby. The same way you like ice cream with sprinkles,” Delia replied, moving their cart up a bit as the cashier finished with another customer.
“Oh.” Tess looked as if she actually understood what had just been said to her. She did. “I like sprinkles,” she added, focusing on what interested her the most now.
“I know, baby,” Delia replied, finally letting her smile roam free. “That’s why we bought some today.” They spent the next several minutes talking about those sprinkles, about all they would do with them when they got home.
When it was their turn with the cashier, Delia lowered Tess from the basket and placed her on her feet beside her. They would not be taking the grocery cart out to the car and so she would need to use her little legs soon.
Tess wasn’t on the floor five seconds before trouble began. “Lady? Why yo’ feet so white in the back?” the innocent child asked the heavy-set woman in the yellow housedress directly behind them. “You been kicking sand?”
Delia gasped in shock and swung around to face her daughter. “Tess! That was rude,” she scolded. Then she turned to the equally embarrassed woman behind them and added, “I’m so sorry.”
“You just oughta be,” the woman in yellow retorted, clearly going into the anger zone now that all eyes were on her feet. “You oughta whip that little heifer, too, for even coming at me like that.”
“Little heifer?!” Delia saw red as her temper flared hotly. She was far from relaxed now. “My daughter made an innocent observation like any normal kid would. It’s not her fault that you forgot to slap some lotion on them ashy feet before leaving the house. You should have at least hid ‘em in some sneakers instead of putting them on display in house shoes,” she added, inadvertently causing onlookers to laugh at the blunt truth she just sprouted.
“I will break you in two,” the woman in yellow threatened, balling her meaty hands into fists. The EBT card in her left hand looked like it wanted to scream for mercy.
“Ain’t nobody scared of you,” Delia countered, pushing a glossy-eyed Tess safely behind her. “I done fought skanks way bigger than you before and won. So if you can’t accept my apology for what it was, then c’mon wit it,” she added, fully emerged in slang now, ready to throw some bows, too. Elbows, that is.
© 2008 by Suprina Frazier