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For the black pumps and slacks you don as you enter the front door of our children’s school…I envy you. 


For the blithe way you tell your son, “We’ll see you later tonight at home when you get off the bus,” with nary a helicopter mom’s paranoia – gunning it out the parking lot to your corporate job, your corporate friends, your corporate man on the side that you kissed. 


I marvel at your…


…sea glass-colored irises, so clear I can make out the ridges and texture of the organs. I’m trying hard not to covet your skinny bones draped in manila folder-hued skin, your thin gazelle-like structure that causes dark eyes to dart away – pretending not to follow as you glide thru the church pews. 


I’m jealous of your…


…sheets of pitch black hair that flow naturally out of your scalp and rest on your clavicle, the times you’re not sweeping a hand three-fourths the size of mine down its length to smooth it out. Unlike the ratty real hair braided and affixed with nail glue to my own wondrously S-shaped and yes, nappy locks of softness crowning my skull like a pillow. 


I think it unfair…


…and have a small pity party when you go on anniversary jaunts to the good side of Jamaica as your mother watches your children, while my Mommy lies still in Restvale Cemetery. 


Yes, I still think of that restaurant near the Outer Banks with the babysitting room you told me about, and the way John read bedtime stories to all the kids. I envision the day my clan will stop working and sporting and ripping and running and posturing and ignoring one another long enough to rent one of those beach houses and just be… 


I’m happy for you…


…and your 6-foot-plus tall husband and his six-figure-plus tall salary and the 10-foot-tall cathedral ceilings it buys. I like descending from your kitchen filled with cappuccino-makers and silver doodads to your carpeted basement with the overflowing wine rack. 


I shouldn’t let the fact that your son asked “You don’t have toys in your basement?”  make me house-shamed. Nor the realization that I’d rather work on my website than swipe foreign food particles off my kitchen floor all day and die inside keep me from inviting you all over anyway. 


I’m proud of you…


…for all that weight you lost, your sun-baked deltoids, for the way you emphasized that nothing interrupts your workout routine. But mostly I like the way you holler at your rowdy boys, even in public – keeping a real tone an octave deeper than the nicey-nice voice I put on around town that fades into a hoarse and raspy and manic scream behind closed doors. 


I pity you…


…for the way you never make eye contact, for your afar off stance, for your fear of white people, for the way you complain about everything. I wish you’d pick up a dictionary and open your mind and realize that everyone is not out to get you. 


I feel sorry for you…


…and your bulbous behind, inflated thighs and feet that puff out the tops of your flats. I know you probably eat as much as I do, but the self-deprecation has just overtaken you right now. I pray it changes. I pray it does. I hated carrying 208 pounds before I birthed my daughter. Stop living thru your little girls. 


I forgive you…


…for not emailing me back, for your forked tongue, for spewing venom about my kid and me. For freezing me out, for that fake tone of congratulations when I tell you my good news. Please forgive me for the look of hurt as your man fumbles and we hug a millisecond too long. 


I thank you…


…for coming to my hospital bed with that new red sweater centered by a rose, for the gift bag filled with lingerie and fake rose petals…for the hair piece full of spiral curls. For all those books and magazines and checks you sent, and I dogged you out nonetheless. 


I bless you…


…in the name of the Son of the Blessed One, for where would I be without my friends? 


You inspire me


That’s more like it, inspiration over envy. The pangs of jealousy are lessons learned – bad feelings excised from my soul. Writing this is as cathartic as when I cried for three days. 


If I push you away, maybe it’s time, maybe our season is done. If God won’t let me and knits us back together, maybe I was wrong. He’ll take all this envy and pity and love and back-biting and roll it into something worthy in the end, something better than I’d ever make of it. 


At least now you all know the truth. Envy me for writing it?

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