H O W A R D   U N I V E R S I T Y

Faces & Voices 5
An Anthology
of Verse and Prose

the Composition
for Honours Class,
Howard University,

E. R. B

Faces & Voices 4


By Teniece Rael Thurston

      We reached the door of the Supermarket at the same time and, in deference to her gray hair and seeming frailty I stood aside that she might enter ahead of me. She chose a shopping cart and moved slowly along the cosmetics aisle, the cart’s wheels squeakily protesting the need for a little oil.
      There was something vaguely familiar about her and, as I followed at a short distance I wondered if, when or where I might have encountered her before. The face was handsome, in spite of a network of fine lines around the eyes and mouth, and she carried herself with a lissome grace startlingly at variance with the threadbare coat, which hung loosely to her cracked, misshapen shoes.
      As singer from yesteryear? An actress? A dancer? I watched her and wondered and then I saw it. The flash of hand to shelf and pocket, the movement so flawless that for a moment I doubted what I had seen. She looked around unhurriedly, moved on a few paces, and then there it was again, the smooth quick flow of hand to shelf to pocket.
      I discreetly followed her as she continued her way around the Supermarket, watching as her hand moved from shelf to pocket down each aisle. Something was still strangely familiar about this woman. Her movements seemed all too familiar to me. It was as if I was experiencing déjà vu. The whole scene felt like a repeat of something that had already happened to me. Then it hit me. This intriguing, middle-aged woman was no singer or dancer or anyone famous. She was my mother.
      The woman who had abandoned me 15 years ago was walking right in front of me. Flashbacks of my mother pushing me in the grocery cart while she walked through the aisles stealing our groceries raced through my mind. I could never forget that look of fear on her face after she would place sticks of butter and eggs in her pockets. It was really the only memory I had of her since she disappeared from my life at the age of five.
      But, here she was now. It seemed like the perfect opportunity for mother and son to become reunited again; or was it? Did I really want to talk to the woman who vanished and never tried to contact me; especially since she was still doing the same things she was when she had me? Was I really missing anything since she left my life? Did I really need her in my life right now? No. I had a beautiful mother and father at home who truly loved me and provided me with anything I needed. She apparently had wanted nothing to do with me so why should I try to reconnect with her now? Realizing this, I politely said excuse me and pushed my cart right past her, without even again looking in her direction. 

©Teniece Rael Thurston

© 2001 Howard University.
(First Published in limited print edition, An Anthology of Verse and Prose, by the Composition for Honours Class, Howard University, Spring 2001. Professor E.R. Braithwaite)
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