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R.O.S.E.

By: kYmizsofly

Page 1,

The mirror was her shield, her confidant, and the only thing on earth that could not speak back to her.
 
It had always been her friend. Since the age of 7, she.was.told:

she.was…………………………………………………………………….beautiful.

and.she.ran.2.mirrors

2.look at: what

every.1 else.saw.

She went so far as to name the looking glass: Allure.
 
Trimmed in gold with a silver lining around the frame covered the majority of the wall.
 
-Mirror.mirror.on.the.wall.who.iZthe.most.beautiful.gyrl.of.all-
 
Rose stared at the looking glass and said, “My life was supposed to be just like Janet Collins.”
 
but it ain’t.
 

her.story begins…
 

She was four-foot eleven, with a petite frame, sporting a natural red afro, and wore red clog.boots which always matched her red lip.stick at Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School for the Performing Arts in Fort Worth, Texas.

FYI:

Rose was a dancer (naturally).

She did not share that

With anyone because

She may have been hit

by her Mama who had

5.other children to take

Care of including her

Husband who beat her

3.-2-.4 times a.day.

Kinship was something Rose knew-nothing about. it.the.feeling.the.closeness.the.love.the.word.the.the.the.she.did.not.know: the.
 
Alma.Jean was either in the kitchen, living room cleaning up the mess that Charles.Rae had left for her, tending to the children, ironing –washing clothes, screaming and hollering:

“Sit down, get off of that table, boy’e I sayz comes heah! Gyrl.I’m gon’ bea cho tale fah tak-n down dat haer. I means it too…
 
Rose would always be in her special.place when the hollering and cursing began:

-N.Front of Allure-

-N.The.Bathroom-
 
            “I can do chassé, cabriole, glissade, pique, double pique, and tempers.”

“I can do chassé, cabriole, glissade, pique, double pique, and tempers.”

“I can do chassé, cabriole, glissade, pique, double pique, and tempers.”
 
She did them in the little room that she had between her and the wall that almost touched her back.

Her arms aligned horizontially in the mirror, legs spread wide open, she would lift one leg, and stand on her toe---pointed.
 
Nothing would stop her from surpassing Carmen Jones…

She did not ever really hear the hollering, cursing, screaming, beating, crying.
 
The mirror did not speak back to her. Allure loved her. Allure was her reflection. Allure made her body float.

 
            Allure always applauded: Silently.
 

Rose was the oldest child of Alma.Jean. Rose did not have many friends. Rose was not allowed to do anything with out her sisters and brothers. Rose was confined to school, home, and church. Rose saw her daddy beat a man to death. Rose saw her aunt die of cancer on their living room couch—Black people did not have insurance back then. Rose walked to the hospital to see her mother deliver her last child in the snow after her daddy had just beat Alma.Jean. Rose lived in a shack. Rose lived across a chicken-shack. Rose was born in the 1950’z. Rose saw the civil rights movement (some of it). Rose knew her daddy was really not her daddy (step). Rose did not know when her mother slipped out that night. The night when she me Jimmie. He gave Alma.Jean money to take care of the children, because Charles.Rae gambled all his away.

Alma Jean slept with Jimmie.She lied to Charles Rae.

Rose found out one night after…
 
Alma.Jean was tired of being beaten by Charles.Rae

The.night.before.he.was.killed.on.the.rail.road.tracks.
 
“I’m tied. I’m tied. That’s why yo favah-rite of all six chil’dren I un bar’d is not cho’yoez.

 

 
R. O. S. E.

 
She be.long to Jimmie. Jimmie luv.me mo’ dan U e’vah haz. I mean’s I’mma tirad of U hitt’n on me and kick’n me in’s mys head. I’m sick an tirad of hav’n to wash yo’ nastty clothes. I can’t deal witcha no.mo Charles.Rae. I wan’t you to get yo’ ass off mys couch and get on dem streetz cause dats where u belong. I’m tirad. I’ms glad I had Jimmie, he was something USE wasn’t: A.Man. He take care of his chile’ and only outzsa respect does he stays away from gettn to kno huh.”

Pretty is… Pretty does… Pretty is… Pretty does…
 
Looking at myself in the mirror; I see sexy or what use to be sexy… that is what he told me yesterday. I never heard that I was beautiful from her: Alma.Jean.

I guess she was to busy tending to the other children. My reflection was suppose to be of a dancer, well traveled, not married. My dream began in her womb, as I continute to daydream while standing in front of Allure.

“Where did you come from,” Rose asks the caramel skinned woman standing next to her.

“I came through Allure,” Janet Collins, responded.
 
Rose had said her names so many times in her mind that the mirror allowed her to appear in the form of a shadow but to the would be dancer: Janet was reality.
 
“I see you like to dance."
 
“I did like to dance.”

“What happened?”

“I met this no good nigga named Earl; I got pregnant with my first child named Charlie. Then I met X and fell in love and was caught up in his life and never remembered that I had my own.”

“I see. So you mad cause you had them babies and you stopped dancing?”
 
“I’m mad because I love me to much. Nobody ever really loved me but this mirror. I can wake up in the morning, and stop in front of it at night and it shows me this pretty face. I wish I could have met my daddy. I wish my momma only had me. I wish that I could have had a nice childhood. I wish I was not pregnant at fifteen and then getting in to another relationship to solve my problems of loneliness. I wish I would have listened to my momma though she never listened to me.”

“You close to your mama?”

“No, she died a while back… I did go to the funeral but was not included on the program as one of her children. My siblings don’t like me because they say I run away from my problems. They say I think that I’m better than them, and that I act white. They say that my husband is a drug addict and sleeps with my daughter. I have a feeling that he did something to her but I never had the nerve to say anything because I love him and he provides for them. I can’t provide for them by myself. So, I keep quite. When she says something that is when I will say something.”

“Does any of your kids dance?”

“Charlie does, and she is good. But, I can’t seem to get myself to see her perform, it burns inside that I was not given the chance to pursue what I love too: Dancing.”
 
“Do you love yourself?”

“No, I hate myself. I hate that I hate. I hate that I don’t like me. I hate that I was born. I hate that my mother was born. I hate that my siblings were born. I hate that we lived in a shack. I hate that it was across from a chicken-shack. I hate that my step dad beat my mamma. I hate that we never had enough of food, clothes, books, toys, girlie things, and a backyard to play in. I hate the fact that my youngest brother was in danger while my mother walked in the snow for four hours to deliver him. I hate GOD. I hate that he does not listen to me. I hate that women can give birth. I hate that children are a responsibility. I hate that I have responsibilities. I hate that I hate. I hate that I’m answering your questions honestly. I hate that I’m beautiful and that’s all people see. I hate that I have gained weight. I hate that even though I have gained the weight people still say I look very young. I don’t feel young. I feel old-used-dried-tired-lonely-ugly.”
 
“And you say you wanted to be just like me. I remember when I was accepted in to the world of dancing that white folk did not want me to dance in their instituitions. They wanted me to be a white face—painted. Can you believe that they wanted me to paint my face white. Hell’ I’m New Orleans. I’m from culture—I am culture. They wanted me to be something else. I wanted to be me. I chose not to dance with them. I chose the life I wanted. I chose to dance.”

“Why could I have not just did what you did and went to school and not messed around with boys. Why did I have to get caught up in lies, deceit. Earl, the father of Charlie, never wanted her. He did not even want his name on her birth-certificate. He beat me. He hated me. He made in to a prostitute. And, I ain’t never told nobody dis. This is just between me and you Ms. Collins. I stretched my legs so far out to these men to feel what love was and realized that it was never between their legs but in their mind in that invisible place in the heart that no one sees. I wanted to be loved. I wanted my daddie’s love, my momma’s love. I wanted, I just wanted someone to realize that I existed.”
 

--------Janet Collins sits on the floor and looks up at Rose and shakes her head. She knows that she can’t help Rose only she can help herself.
 

--------Rose looks in the mirror and sees that her friend is sitting on the floor. She knows that Ms. Collins can’t change who she is right now.

She never was accepted

She never really knew who she was

She only felt and believed in Allure

 

Allure solved all of her problems—regardless if Janet Collins appeared or not.
 
(c)2010 kYmberly Keeton

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