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The Mansura Visit

March 7, 2017

It was supposed to be fun. My sister Vivian had finally moved out of my Dad’s house and we had the whole house to ourselves. Me, my older brother, my son, his best friend and fiancé and Amy showed up in Mansura around 10am Sunday.

We walked in to find a giant mess left behind by my sister and her boyfriend. It looked like someone had walked in and given them 5 minutes to get their stuff and get out. There were boxes strewn about. Coat hangers laying on chairs in the living room. A giant bird stand with a tarp underneath it, both covered in bird shit. (The boyfriend owns a giant bird.) Dirty dishes in the sink, tools missing from the shed and one of my aunt’s best paintings, done from a photograph of mine, gone.

It was disgusting, disrespectful and ridiculously rude. The more I walked around, the more upset I became. I was heading for a full blown panic attack in front of my friend and my son’s guests. I knew Amy would understand and even commiserate. She had a crazy family too but it was still embarrassing for me.

If my mom could see this. She would loose her shit, I thought.

A few things had  Vivian’s name written on them in sharpie. She had little notes on other things that said, “This is Vivian Smith’s.” As if we didn’t know which Vivian it was. She had to include her last name. There was a pile of stuff in the shed with a tarp over it, similarly labeled.

I tried to calm down and concentrate on crawfish. I straightened up the living room so I could feel more at ease and instructed Shawn to go buy supplies. Stephen, Amy and I would go to Cottonport to get the crawfish.

Going to Bernard’s Seafood is a treat all in itself. I waited in line behind a woman in a blue robe with yellow stars on it, slippers blinged with plastic stones and a wrap around her head. She had a box full of raw chicken and other groceries, which seem to be the common method of buying meat from this establishment. She turned to her friend, pointing to the stud in her bottom lip, saying that she had just had it installed a few days ago and she thought it might be infected. Her friend reassured her, “No, it’s ok. I got some hydrogen peroxide I can put on that.”

The store was well stocked with alcohol of all kinds. It was piled up behind the counter, in the aisles and in the coolers. I know from my childhood and from the general manner and appearance of the clientele there that day, that the neighborhood might not be most educated or high-earning in Avolyelles Parish, which is not saying much. Not that my family is any better. Yes, we own a large piece of land and considered ourselves middle class and reasonably educated. But only two of us have college degrees and we’re not exactly the picture of success and stability. After all, I was taking my 40 pound sack of crawfish back to a house that was ransacked by the drug addict sister who was 5 years out of a prison stint and who didn’t have the decency to say goodbye to her father who was a few miles away in a nursing home; the same father she mooched free rent from and even outright stole cash from.

Looking at the woman in the robe and slippers buying beer and chicken on a Sunday morning, I felt no judgement.

We boiled and ate crawfish and bitched and laughed. My nephew even showed up in the afternoon, knowing that it might be the last chance he would have to spend time with this particular group of people in Mansura.

Later in the day, I took the weird box I had made in architecture class, with my wedding ring inside one of its secret chambers and walked out into the woods. (A large part of our property is undeveloped and unkempt and we always called it “the woods.”) I found a nice peaceful spot on a high point, overlooking the small water way that meandered through the woods and placed in the thick leaves. It was an overcast day with a steady drizzle and everything was wet, including my brand new Chucks. I said goodbye to my little box and imagined how long it would take for nature to break down the rosewood or cover the box with vines and leaves. I imagined some future archeologists, hundreds of years later finding that little golden ring, no stones, just a asian looking pattern on it with no context to explain its existence.

Standing there, in the place I used to happily retreat to as a carefree, happy little girl, I felt like a part of my life was really ending.





From → Rantings

One Comment
  1. I can’t (no I can) believe she did that. To new beginnings. You should have pawned the ring.

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