Nosy, Mrs. Brown

Something went wrong.

I like the idea of seeing you before you see me. I want to be able to run away if I have to. Let me be prepared. Painfully, I am starting to realize plans change, and I will not always be prepared. I’m thirsting for Perfection, terribly. I don’t like surprises. I like plans. I think it through, and I want it to happen just the way I plan it.

Some days I just want to move in silence and be invisible. Hide and claim a temporary muteness. Maybe people would feel bad and leave me alone and not ask questions. I don’t want to talk about it.

Walking into the store and there she is. “Darling, how you been these days” she asked. I’m sure she’s heard the news by the concerned look. Whispering in my head all I could think was, PLEASE don’t be nosy today, Mrs. Brown. I’m already aggravated and I have to deal with this mess? What’s next? Of all the stores in Shulersville, why did I stop here?

I muster a smile in hopes that she’ll misread my heart and its true emotions, just hoping she’ll think that I’m okay just so we can make it a quick chat. Something went wrong, why do I need to talk about it. No, not today, Mrs. Brown–not today.

But, she has that concerned look in her eyes and my day…my week, this past month is just not what I want it to be. I don’t want to hear about how much I need to pray or it’ll get better. I heard that last week and the week before that. What’s a girl to do? I’m not quitting, I’m not living frivolously, and I just took some time off from work. I’ll be fine, I just don’t know how or when. I just want this hat to hide my face, these glasses to hide the pain, this shirt to hide what’s underneath.

“Suga, you don’t look well and you falling off, whatcha worrin’ bout?” says Mrs. Brown.

There’s that disapproving look that I was afraid of. As bad as I want to chew her out, I know around these parts that’s the death penalty for your reputation. Plus, she used to babysit my brother and I when we were younger. So, I’m going to suck it up. Besides she is sweet…I just don’t want to talk about me, because I refuse to cry in this store.

My life is in shambles, so why would I talk about it. No one in Shulersville knows what I’m going through including Mrs. Brown. “Look, Mrs. Brown, I said I’m fine!!” For a minute she stares. My mind went back to how my brother and I would sing “Brown bear, Brown bear what do you see…” She had this way of seeing everything. She was good. Steal a crumb of a cookie—she’ll know. She places her swiveled skinned hand, and freshly painted nails onto my tensed shoulders and pulled me over to a corner. I’m too weak to fight back the tears and I’m too weak to say or do anything equivalent to resistance. She yanked my glasses off and looked me in my eyes and tells me plainly: “Suga, you too sweet of a girl to go down like this. I know you do not want to go through this, but life isn’t always easy. And you are not the only one in Shulersville to have a bad season. Now, I’m sorry you lost your baby. I know how ya feel, I tell ya the truth. Why do you think I kept you and ya brother so much of the time?”

Shamefaced for yelling at Sweet Mrs. Brown, I said, “I don’t know…to make extra money maybe.”

She smiled the sweetest smile and told me that she had consecutive miscarriages. Mrs. Brown wanted us over to help fill the void of the very thing she had lost. Although, we could never replace the children she lost. My brother and I helped her heal. We helped her on the days that seemed unbearable. She reminded me that grieving is normal and that I will cry some days, but it’s alright to show my scars. She showed her scars and just like days gone by, like the scars from the many bicycle accidents she helped apply a Band-Aid and helped me heal in the same way we helped her, by simply being there.



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