In the book, The Help of Destin, Emma Irby, is a story of Emma's frustration at being locked out of Ms. Mattie Kelly's home on a hot summer day in 1992, particularly because Emma had walked so many miles to work there. It was the right day, too. She was hopping mad.
"Gurl, they was cars all over da pla' and no un wuld open up da do'! Dey jus looked at mee."
Emma's English became even more unintelligible when she was angry, and dropping her word endings...
"I wa' knockin' and knockin' an' I seen all dose people in dere and dey didn't come 'n get me or tell me NOTHIN'!"
I asked, "Emma maybe they didn't hear you and were having a party or something. Did you go back another day?"
"Ye'I deed, but de door was locked and nobody was dere."
I was concerned that Mrs. Kelly was growing tired of having Emma after 28 years, and maybe was avoiding her. Granted, she had made a lot of mistakes, like burning up the ironing, and sparking up the microwave. Still, it really bothered me that no one could take the time to let Emma know what the event was, when clearly Emma could have helped out, if only to clean up afterwards.
A few weeks later, the answer came in the form of an obituary.
Mrs. Kelly had died.
We were both quiet for a long time...
What was there to say?
I comforted Emma by telling her, "Well, Emma, I am positive that if Mattie had been alive, she would have opened the door for you."
Just as she had every time for 28 years.
(c) 2013. Athena Marler Creamer. All Rights Reserved.