A Story Written Completely In Dialogue

Deathbed Revelations 

“Here you go, Mama. Be careful, now. It’s hot.”
“Ah, thank you baby. If there’s anything I’d be happy to go out on, it’s eating your chicken okra creole soup.”
“Aw, Mama, don’t talk like that, you’re gonna be fine.”
“Mmmm, God had a plan for me, dear, and I’ve completed it. It’s time I go.”
“Mama—”
“I only wish my sister Renata was here. You remember her, right?”
“Aunt Renata? How could I forget! She used to always buy me beautiful dresses to wear to church every Sunday.”
“You were the prettiest girl in the children’s choir. God could see you over all the other children. You shined so brightly because of the dresses Renata bought you.”
“I couldn’t sing a lick, though!”
“You still can’t.”
“Aw, Mama, you weren’t supposed to say that.”
“Mmmm.”
“Is it too hot?”
“No . . . It’s perfect. You know, you were named after Renata. Renise, such a beautiful name.”
“You truly loved her. How did she die, again?”
“Plane crash. That fool pilot didn’t know how to land the thing.”
“I’m sorry.”
“You look just like her. Everyday you remind me of her. Your hair is thick like hers too. You’d think, after years of doing hers growing up, I would’ve learned how to do yours, but combing that hair is like picking cotton!”
“I wish it was still like that. Look at how thin my edges have gotten!”
“Lawd, I’m laying here bald, and you’re complaining about your edges.”
“Well, Mama, put your wig on.”
“What I need a wig for? I’m dying!”
“Mama, please.”
“Renata loved you, Renise.”
“Yes, you tell me that all the time. She loved me as if I were her own!”
“It kills me that she never had anymore children. Sometimes I feel that it’s my fault she didn’t.”
“What are you talking about, Mama. I don’t remember any cousins, growing up.”
“She had one child, a daughter.”
“Who is she? How come I’ve never met her?”
“She named her Renise.”
“W-What?”
“She loved you a if you were her own because you were her own, Renise. Her one and only baby girl.”
“What are you saying, Mama!”
“Careful, sweetheart, the soup.”
“I don’t care about the soup! You’re telling me that a woman I called aunt for most of my life was actually my mother!”
“She was young when she had you.”
“She’s dead!”
“David and I couldn’t have any children.”
“I never knew her. She was just the aunt who gave me pretty dresses and did my hair.”
“Your real father left her. You know how it was back then. People talked. We wanted to save her from scandal.”
“Why are you telling me this now?”
“I want to enter the Lord’s presence with a clear conscience.”
“Lying to me for forty-seven years gives you a clear conscience?”
“She wanted to tell you so many times, but I wouldn’t let her. You were just too young.”
“I was seventeen when she died, Mama!”
“You wouldn’t have been able to handle it.”
“And I can handle it now? With her dead and you dying?”
“And I am at peace.”
“Mama—”
“Thank you for the soup, baby. It was delicious.”
“Mama? Mama! Don’t you go now! You can’t leave me like this! Oh my God!”

—Nortina

 

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