ARRIVAL IN ST. LOUIS
I sit alone at a table. With my T-shirt from the juke joint in Alabama, I’m obviously less elegant than the average but I’m happy to be wearing my Fedora hat from Meyer the Hatter in New Orleans. A mature woman crosses the packed room and comes to me with a big smile. She asks me if I am alone, and after introducing me to her fiancé(a guy with an impressive stature), invite me to sit at their table. They come here every Friday night and don’t like to see single people alone, she says. We drink abundantly. The waiter brings some friend chicken –cooked right in the back room… They’re very warm.
As I witness this resilience, this seemingly endless patience enduring till better times, I can’t help by think about Africa.
They tell me: we don’t all live in the same country… You get used to it. They tell me about the dynamics of language.
The lady who invited me to sit with them works in a call center. It’s not uncommon that white people don’t understand her accent and ask to speak to someone who speaks “proper English”. But mirroring this experience, she has a hard time believing black people that don’t speak like her… that she accused of talking “white”… This is hopeless.
Savvy intellectuals, they are the first to ask me how I felt the country and admit that they themselves feel the threat that’s hanging over their heads. They know they’re privileged, but for how long? Everything could collapse in one day.
I stop by the local Salvation Army, unlike any other I had seen before… A huge warehouse where everything is in piles. There are many people. I score a brand name jacket for $2.57.
WHO IS JESUS?
LIZ & PAUL