I still don't know why we stayed. Outside of New Orleans...the chain link and razor wire surrounding the cheap motel made it look safe, even though it looked a bit like Stalog 17. Around three in the morning a frantic knock was at the door; I grabbed my gun from(more) under the pillow and rose into the chill. A thin African American woman in lingerie loomed large in the peep hole. She kept flashing her fingers twice, then stopping, which must be the deaf whore sign for twenty bucks. I went back to bed, and the frantic knocking happened a few more times, I suppose as she circled the motor court looking for the money for a quick fix. I was grateful for dawn, and got very little rest. (less)
I kneel to see Ablaa's tiny fingers grasping and pulling. Knots appearing in a flutter. She looks to be four or five, yet she tells me through the interpreter that she's eleven. I'm skeptical. She says she's been doing this work since she was four, and she's the highest paid gir(more)l in the room. Her family is very proud.
I'm mesmerized, watching her finger dance erupt in tapestry. I tell myself I have to have this rug no matter the cost, then weep as it sinks in that it's cost Ablaa her right to be a child. She stops suddenly, ties one knot poorly, then resumes. She says that her name means "'perfectly formed' but no one can be perfect except God." She points to the flaw in the rug and says it's how she honors Allah---that she could be perfect however she wants Allah to know he's always best. Every knot I see is flawless; all but one, and I'd give everything I own to have this rug. (less)
3 a.m. Daddy rises from the bed and lights a cigarette in one movement, a magical act that both repulses and intrigues me, his baggy tighty whities so loose at the leg he's spilling out. Even at age five I wondered when will he tell me he loves me? and even if(more) he said it, would I believe or care?
When will he? finally came when I was forty. He was dying of smoking, the toxins permeating muscle and sinew and oozing from sores. He's scary thin, not remotely the man I had feared and hated without reason. His eyes gloss over, he squeezes my hand and says he loves me. I'm sure he has no idea this is the first time. (less)
Beyond the drama of whether Adam had a belly button, lies the question of nothing. Even the existence of nothing seems like something; I mean how can you build when there's no foundation? Truth is there is no such thing as "in the beginning" because that very concept presupposes time,(more) which would have been something, not nothing. If God had really written the Bible, it would have started with, "Tumbling headlong into the dimension of time, God/dess burst into all things beautiful." (less)
Ashes and metal. He'd gone through a spiritual bonfire, book after book tossed end over end, dogma and catechism at war no more. His life's operating system reduced to molten love. He drew in the acrid air, looked over his shoulder at his past, took love and a sprinkling of grace, and(more) meandered through the doorway. In his mind's grin he knew love would be enough, then thought, well, that, and some food. (less)
It was an uphill battle. Every word he uttered was turned and twisted, held to the light of every wound she'd received at the hands of lesser men. He poured out his love, and she hung up on him twice a day, his words accidentally tapping into the collective white male(more) consciousness which she called "triggers." Her heart, knowing that he was different, wrestled dirty with his words. It was an uphill battle, and he made the grade. (less)