passage from the book:
“You know my mom is taking us to the Amusement Park today at 3p don’t you? I don’t know if she is taking us or my big sister is, but we are going today rather than next Saturday, because school is about to start. My mother doesn’t want us going on the same weekend that school starts that Monday.”
“Oh really?” I wrote back-thinking of my TGGF; remembering that I promised she could get in on the trip-lying about having a ticket that I knew I never had, just so she wouldn’t be mad at me about Lena.
“Okay, cool, that should be okay with my mom. I will meet you at your house about 2/2:30 then,” I wrote back.
2:30pm came later that day and I showed up at Kenya’s-walking in to Painful running her mouth and trying to decide what to wear from Kenya’s closet.
“Hey Pam,” I spoke, seriously-in no mood for her immaturity and playfulness.
“Uhd didn’t I just see you!” she replied.
I rolled my eyes in my head, but didn’t reply back.
“Your mom here?” I asked, with a curious eye, frowned brow and slight smile.
“No, she’s still at home, probably asleep!” laughed Painful.
“Oh, oh okay. Cool.” I replied.
We all gathered in the kitchen and the living room to prepare for the ride up to the Amusement Park.
Rather than Kenya’s mom, her big sister was driving us there and would be picking us up at 7:45 that evening. She stood in between the kitchen and the living room yelling out the rules, and where to meet at 7:30, along with: what not to do, where not to go, who not to talk to, what side of the park not to go to, how not to split apart, and who to continuously report anything to, (I’ll let you guess): Me.
Off to the park we headed.
I could have very well told my TGGF about it right after church but I decided against it. My mind was so preoccupied with all that had happened last night, that I wasn’t quite ready to face her just yet. Besides, with the few neighborhood kids and Kenya plus Painful; it was much more than I could deal with at the time. I just wanted to have a good time with nothing to think about, nothing to be in my head or in my way.
Kenya and me stuck together like glue, and rode the park’s biggest and most popular rollercoaster ride a total of seventeen times in counting. We were so excited. We felt indomitable that day-like nothing in the world could touch us. We had the best time ever.
Kenya’s big sister came to pick us up at 7:30p as promised-and without report of incident. Everyone had a good time and was pretty worn out from the evening.
I didn’t wake up that next day until about 1pm.
When I raised up from my bed, I looked down at my breasts and my newest fully blossomed boob had swollen up in the craziest-looking way; like a boob with a light-bulb attached to it.
I yelled out in complete and utter shock: “Maaaaa! Maaaa!”
My mom was already gone and off to work-probably having lunch by this time. My brothers were not in the house either. I called her at work with the kind of panic that she expected me to have the same day that I got my period but I was calm and in control–-then.
This time, I panicked: “Maaaa! Maaaaa!
My right boob is swollen real bad Ma. It’s swollen real bad Ma! And it’s lop-sided Ma! What’s wrong with it Ma?”
“What?!” my mom responded.
“Is it hurting?” she yelled into the phone.
“No Ma. It’s just very red and swollen-it looks funny Ma, I’m scared!”
I yelled, in tears-thinking that I was going to have to get it cut off or at the very least, it was going to shrink back down to nothing again and I would have to deal with having one breast for another long while or forever.
I couldn’t bear the thought of going through stuffing my bra again. I was getting so tired of feeling like I was a complete freak of nature-my emotions were going through enough already, from the weekend.
“Angie let me get off from here and get you over to the hospital, I’m on my way,” said my concerned mom.
Lucky for me, per the ex-rays and the doctor, the swelling was most probably the result of riding the roller coaster ride back-to-back too many number of times. There was no benign or malignant mass to be worried about, but the doctor told my mom and me that the swelling should go down on its own, and all should be well “soon.”
“Soon” didn’t come soon enough because into Tuesday morning, my new boob was still swollen-though there was no pain.
Later into the afternoon, me and Nina, one of my umbrella girls, stepped out for the day to head to the store and to get some air and exercise.
Dee and Taryn, two of the few older teen-aged girls who I would sing for, were sitting at the top of the street-on a porch of another apartment building; snacking on some goodies and drinking some soft drinks.
With her eyes pinned down and her hands carefully tending to something in her lap with her tongue hanging out; wiping it across a thin-white piece of paper, Dee asked: “Where ‘you on your way to Ms. Angie?”
“Down to the strip mall, just getting out-getting our walk on,” I replied.
“I heard what happened to ya’ lil’ titty from the park the other day!” laughed Dee, while Taryn and my friend Nina burst into laughter.
“That’s not funny, my boob is still swollen-I’m scared!” I yelled.
“Come here Ms. Angie,” Dee said, then looked over at Taryn-sneakily.
I looked at them both-apprehensively, because they looked like they were up to something.
“What are you scared of? Let me give you something to make it better-some natural herbs…
This is going to put your lil’ titty right back to where it’s supposed to be. Watch what I’m doing okay?” said Dee.
She began to place the tiny white cigarette up to her lips while I kneeled in front of her. She then
asked:“have you ever smoked a cigarette Ms. Angie?”
“No, I-never,” I replied.
“Good. ‘Cause it’s nothing like that,” she explained.
“With cigarettes; you puff, inhale and exhale the smoke. Well, you do the same thing with this, except you inhale all the smoke and exhale as little as possible dammit ‘cause this costs more money!”
Taryn and Nina laughed uncontrollably-clutching their stomachs.
Dee began taking a few puffs and slurping in through her teeth while quickly holding her head back and squinting her eyes. Barely, smoke came out of her mouth-if any.
Puff. Inhale. Keep in. Hold smoke inside. Sift smoke in through teeth. No smoke exhaled. Success!
“Good!” said Dee.
“Now take a couple more puffs,” she said.
She placed the tiny cigarette to my mouth again: Puff. Inhale. Keep in. Hold smoke inside. Sift smoke in through teeth. No smoke exhaled. Success!
Nina and Taryn watched intently at mine and Dee’s back and forth exchange of the thin cigarette, as if we were taking turns fighting for it. Dee yelled at me:
“Alright deep throat! You only left me with a bird-clips worth of herb left!”
She snatched what was left of the funny cigarette back from my mouth and smacked my forehead.
We all laughed.
“Now here, take you a couple pieces of these Jolly Ranchers and take ‘ya lil’ tail on home and take a nap.
You’re going to get sleepy anyway-this is your first time. Y’all can go to store,” she asserted.
“Angie you will feel better when you wake your butt up. I promise you that!” she assured me.
Taryn busted out laughing and Dee did as well.
I felt they loved me too much to give or tell me anything crazy, so Nina and I did just what they said.
We turned around and made a B-line right back towards home, where by the time I reached my house-I was a little more drained than usual.
Nina hung out on our street where we lived-sitting on the porch with mutual friends a couple doors over from mine. I went up into the house and lay down in my room-watching television until I dozed off to sleep.
Later that evening-around seven, I woke up. The first thing I grabbed for was my swollen breast.
Much to my surprise, it was back to normal. The swelling was gone away, and it was as perky as its twin-all over again.
I followed my nose downstairs to the smell of my mother cooking in the kitchen and I stood on the bottom of the steps screaming with joy:
“Maaa! Maaa! My swelling went down finally!”
“Okay… Calm down! The doctor said it would Angie, why are you so excited?”
“No, Ma, ‘cause at first the swelling wasn’t going down. Even through this morning when I woke up.
Then I saw Dee and Taryn early this afternoon. It was something that Dee gave me that made the swelling go down!” I said, forcefully-rebuking anything the doctor said; discounting his credibility and expertise’ altogether while trying to prove to my mother that whatever Dee had was: the remedy, the way, the right and the light.
“What’d she give you?” asked my mom, with a perplexed look on her face.
“Herbs, she gave me a few puffs of this real skinny white cigarette and told me to go straight home to take a nap and soon my swelling would go down. She said it was all NATURAL herbs!” I bragged-all too okay with anything healthy and holistic.
My mom frowned, twisted her lips up, then turned her head to the side and said:
“Wait’ll I catch up with Dee. I’m not playing!”
She had a look on her face as if she wanted to burst out into a laugh but wanted to let me know that she was serious at the same time. I stared at her while looking in three directions: from left to right with my eyes darting back, forth and onto her (really fast). I wanted to burst into laughter from one of her many idioms that I could tell was on its way to the tip of her tongue:
“I’m gonna knock her into the middle of next week so she’ll be looking at Sunday’s from both ways!”
…Now whether the marijuana is to be credited for making the swelling go down in my breast or not is something we’ll never know. But I do know,