TITLE: Our Great Room
GENRE: Women's Fiction
HONEY. She wages a war over honey. Sugar substitute in the pantry, pure cane on the shelf, yet she wages a war over honey. This was supposed to be a low-key celebration - just family and a few close friends - not a house teeming with dehydrated Negroes, all waiting for a glass of her amazing honey iced-tea. I tell her I’m not going and return to my book. My finger skitters down the page. Now wait a minute. Odysseus couldn’t have slain all of the suitors already. I thumb back to the beginning. Maybe Penelope is at the loom, unraveling her wedding veil again. I thumb forward. Perhaps the Cyclops? Hmm. Poseidon? No. The Lotus-Eaters? The Sirens? Hades? I thumb forward and I thumb backward, backward and forward. It is no use. I cannot find my place. I am lost.
I sigh and toss the book across the kitchen table. I have put too much zip in the toss, and the book, an old dog-eared paperback, takes out a plate of wings. My mother stomps her foot. “No honey,” she says, “Not one miserable drop in the house. Everyone’s thirsty,” she says, “And I need you to go find me some. I know it’s hot out,” she says, “Hottest it’s been all summer, but I was born and raised in Savannah - I know what real heat is - and Newark heat don’t got s*** on Savannah heat. Now here, take my car keys. Don’t worry about them wings; I’ll clean ‘em up later. You listenin’ to me, Alexandra?”