"Hey! Wyetta!" Terry, the mischievous one of the Duo, rode alongside of me. "Look!"
And then he squeezed a canister. Mustard spurted all over my face.
"Oh! my goodness!" my hands went to my face. I waited for my eyes to adjust to the burn before I searched for my books that had fallen.
They rode off laughing, and spurted mustard on the mailboxes. It was just another day in the colored neighborhood. It's not like we bothered anybody. They came in here and picked trouble. Men, and children alike.
"You're a pretty girl, Wyetta! but then you aren't my type!" Jerry the freckled face one laughed.
"Nobody asked," I muttered, bending to pick up my books that had fallen.
With my jacket in hand, I wiped my face to help the sting of the mustard from my eyes. I always hated walking home from school. It amazed me how the white man treated us. Relieved when they disappeared, my mind went back to the conversation my cousin Rhonda and I had about Sam Cooke coming here in Florida. He was supposed to perform at the Harlem Square Club in miami.
"Wyetta, baby?" Moma called out to me as I stepped into the foyer.
"Yes, its me," Moma worked for her dad's family business. A local furniture store that was not far from us.
As the only child, loneliness had its times. But then I had the peace and quiet. I instantly went for a change of clothes to get a shower. Thankfully, the mustard swilled out of my hair with only one rinse.
Moma sat around the kitchen table, as she fumbled with some sort of papers.
"Your food is on the stove," she said over her shoulder.
"How was your day Moma?"
"Twas' fine sweetheart, your father and I are going in Miami later on in the day," she tilted her head, reading one of the many papers she had scattered on the table.
"Oh, really? can I come?"
"Child, the nerve of you to ask. Now you know I don't like you on these streets now. Dem people don't ever control their children. And lord knows I don't have it in me to get arrested today,"
"I know Moma," I giggled.
"I don't want you to open any of these doors to anybody that comes knocking. You lock these doors, you hear me?" with a hand that shook, she tied a apron around her and went to the sink.
"You know I do Moma,"
"I think Rhonda will be coming over today," I sat down with my food and began to eat.
She muttered something incoherent under her breath.
"Moma, Cousin Rhonda isn't so bad..."
"That child is something else I tell you..." she frowned as she counted the stacks of envelopes. Beneath them laid: newspapers and a ‘Seventeen Magazine’.
"Not one colored folk up in there,"
"Of course not," I responded with a mouthful of rice.
"But I'll be one of the first to appear on a cover, just you watch," I whispered so softly that moma couldn't hear, glancing over the page.
"Dem girls needs to eat is what," moma began to dry the dishes.
"They're models moma, and that's how models are suppose to look," I looked at the delicate features of the models that graced the front page.
"Mhm, whatever pays the bills," she murmured.
"Have you thought about what you ought to be doing after you leave school?"
"Well... yes, but I haven't made an decision yet," she looked at me for a moment.
She was now silent.
"We need to get out of this neighborhood. Overtown ain't nothin' but oppression and depression. I'm sure you see it, you ought to have your mind made up by now Wyetta," she glanced up at me through narrowed eyes.
"Don't waste your life cookin' and cleanin' for the white man,"
"Cook and clean for your own house," she smoothed down the apron that was tied around her.
"You get where I'm going?" She gathered the papers to take with her.
"Wash your plate!" she disappeared into her room.