train – burlap – fiction – pearls – vertigo
Elizabeth sat upright, wearing a navy suit and sweater in the train. Her only adornment was a string of pearls that she had been given by her mother, passed on by her grandmother on her 18th birthday.
Normally she would be dressed in jeans and her college sweatshirt with no pearls, her hair down but her mother forced her to wear this dreary outfit once every six months to visit her grandmother or “Grandmama.” Her mom really didn’t ask for much so she did it, but complained more and more each time.
The old bag was horrid, so demanding and old school, prejudiced and controlling. She only wanted Lizzy to be “associated” with upper crust white people like herself. Ugh. Lizzy smiled to herself, she definitely wanted to show grams the latest picture of her and Steve, her wonderful boyfriend who happened to be black, kissing in one of those photo booths. Just the thought of it made her laugh out loud.
Her mom was definitely cooler but when it came to her own mother she acted like a puppet probably because the old bag was a rich bitch. “This is the last time I am doing this” she said out loud to nobody in particular. But, the train had stopped at her station and she willed herself to get out and walk towards her “Grandmama’s ” house although she had to admit, she wasn’t feeling as proper as she looked.
When her grandmother came to the sitting room she offered Elizabeth a cup of tea from the silver tea set which she accepted graciously.Her grandmother’s face turned sideways abruptly and stayed like that. Lizzy had no idea what she was doing. In a few minutes she was stabbing her cheek with her index finger. Lizzy started to giggle, “what on earth is she doing?” she thought. She really tried to stop but once giggling starts it takes on a life of its own. She bit her lip, trying to stop but burst out laughing. When she was quiet for ten seconds grandmother said firmly “Elizabeth Warren, I demand you to kiss me on my cheek!”
At that, Elizabeth lost it, she really did, first she stood up and howled and then when she calmed down she stood up in front of her Grandmother and said “Excuse me? You DEMAND a kiss? First of all that’s gross and second, no one demands me to do anything. Do YOU understand? Her grandmother was so shocked she said she was getting vertigo and that she might faint but Lizzy knew she was faking it.
“How dare you talk to me that way, Elizabeth! I am going to phone your mother and tell her what you have done.” “Feel free” Lizzie answered politely. She was mad at her mother for putting up with this but there was no way she was going to stand for it.
She stood directly in front of grandma and slowly unbuttoned her blue jacket to show a tight Tee shirt that had The Grateful Dead design on it, she pulled off her navy pants and showed off her beige leggings. She went to the garbage and disposed quite elegantly of her navy blue pumps and was feeling quite pleased with herself. She had taken a huge bag which had her ballet flats in them, because she planned to go to a concert afterwards anyway. She thought for a moment whether or not to ditch the pearls but she decided to leave them on, after all, her mom gave them to her.
Her grandmother’s eyes were wild with anger yet she was speechless, no one ever had disobeyed her like this before. Finally, before she left, Lizzy sat down on the couch and told her grandmother what her life really was like. She showed her the hemp bracelets that Steve made for her, dyed in different colors, she even tied one on her grandmother’s wrist. She made sure to show her the photo booth photos, she stood up, thanked her Grandmother for tea, exited quietly and shut the door behind her.
When she finally got home after seeing the concert her mother asked her how her visit was, with her grandmother. Apparently her grandmother hadn’t called. She grinned widely, shrugged her shoulders and said “fine.”