“This is Ada. Who am I talking to?”
“Hello, hi Mrs. Love. This is, I talked to you earlier, this is Tommie – Bud and Emma’s daughter, I talked to you, I talked to you on the phone, I answered the phone at my parents house and spoke with you earlier today.”
“Hello girl. Are your parents home now?”
“Oh, Oh, no, I don’t know. My father was home when I left, I’m at my house now, my apartment, my mom might be home now, but, I’m, I’m at home, at my apartment Mrs. Love.”
“Miss Love girl, it’s Miss Love, I never married.”
“Oh, Oh, I’m sorry Mrs. – I mean, Miss Love. I’m sorry, I just assumed.”
“Don’t be sorry girl, it’s quite alright, just call me Ada.”
“OK, OK Miss Love, I mean, Ada. Is this a good time to bother you Miss Ada?”
“It’s as good as time as any young lady. I done had my supper and now I’m just reading the paper and relaxing a little. I was hoping you would call.”
“Of course girl. It’s obvious that you don’t know nothing about me and it’s quite obvious, to you I believe, that I know a little something about you.”
“How did you know that I had hazel eyes Miss Ada?”
“I didn’t know.”
“When I talked to you earlier, you asked me was my eyes hazel.”
“Well, I know you asked me. How did you know?”
“I didn’t know until you told me girl.”
“But you asked me, you asked me was my eyes hazel. Why did you ask me that?”
“Because you said you was Bud and Emma’s child.”
“What does that have to do with anything? Neither one of them has hazel eyes.”
“I know they don’t. But I do, and so did my sister.”
“Your sister, your sister. Who is your sister, and what does that have to do with me and my parents?”
“Girl, calm down a bit. When you answered that phone and told me you were Bud and Emma’s daughter, that you were 32 years old, I got to thinking, I got to thinking real quick and started adding up in my head. I got to thinking about when Lizzie, my little sister, had to go away from our home because the elders said she had an infirmity, an ailment. They took her away from Tuscaloosa, they took Lizzie away in 1952.” About a year later, when I was about to go off to school, Lizzie came back home, but she was changed, she was different. She hardly talked to me or anybody else for that matter. All she wanted to do was mope around the house and play with this black rag doll that somebody had made her while she was away. I asked her where she had gone and what had happened to her, she was about 12 years old then. The rumor was that she was with child, she was pregnant, and my family took her to a home where she would be cared for until she delivered the baby somewhere in Mobile. Lizzie never told me what happened and after I went off to school, my mother wrote me and said that Lizzie got up one morning, packed a little bag and her and that rag doll of hers left walking up the road toward the main highway. That was the last time anybody saw or heard from my little sister. That was in the fall of 1954.”
I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t breath. I thought I was having a panic attack. I held the phone to my ear, I heard Miss Ada breathing on the other end. I got myself together enough to form some words.
“Miss Ada.” (I whispered in the phone).
“I have to call you back. Goodnight.” (I hung up the phone).
To be Continued.