Because I didn’t really know much at the age of 5, I only knew what my imagination taught me. My knowledge was reality’s candy. As a child, I couldn’t really latch onto the real world traumas because I didn’t really know any better.
Everything was already seeming gloomy around me at home. I couldn’t help but to think something was wrong. I didn’t really think anything of it because I was stuck in my own world. Watching the television sweeten my candy landed mind. I overheard my father talking on the phone while my mother was cooking breakfast. He wasn’t in a regular mood though. It seemed more like sadness. I meant to go ask what was wrong but I was distracted by the smell of sweet sugary Farina; My favorite.
“I know today is the day but this isn’t the time to be BS-ing with me.” I heard my father say. Today is the day for what? First thing that came to my sweet mind was a “party”... but I don’t think he would have sounded infuriated when talking about a party. “If it wasn’t a party,” I wondered, “what could he possibly be talking about?” My sweetened mind asked myself.
I walked in the kitchen to a weird looking invitation on the wall. “If it isn’t a party, why is there an invitation on the wall?” Being that my mind was the real world’s sweetie bag, I became more and more curious ad the day went by. I felt like I was in the “Franny’s Feet” cartoon. Instead of saying “Where will my feet take me tomorrow?”, I was saying “What other treats will my mind introduce today?”
I stared at the invitation. It had my little brother’s picture on it. Yeah, It was a party. I was upset that they were throwing him a party and didn’t tell me about it. My mother saw me staring at the unusual invitation and called me immediately. I guess I wasn’t supposed to know.
“Mommy, Why didn’t you tell me that Ramello was having a party today?” I asked.
She gave me a plate of my favorite breakfast meal which is Farina. Hot cereal. Hot sweet sugary cereal. The smell hypnotized me. She gave me a cup of fruit punch to go with my breakfast and told me to go sit down in the living room and eat and watch T.V.
After I had finished my breakfast, I told my mother I was finished and she put me in the bath and styled my hair up. I guess I am going to the party after all. After styling my hair up, she put on my black and white corset dress that had the flowers attached on my chest. I didn’t know why she was prettying me up but I really liked it. She put white stockings on me and the white socks with the fluttery silky ends that I wore for Easter that she bought from Easter. I really liked that look. After that, she put on my little black shoes with the strap that goes across the top of my foot and the little heel on the bottom. I looked really stunning. Even my father said it.
When my mother bathed and got dressed, she wore a nice dress with nice shoes too. Not any regular shoes. Heels. My father had on a sharp suit and my middle sister had on the same exact thing as me. I was ready to paaaarttttyyyyy!
Everybody else didn’t look like they were in a partying mood. My sugar coated mind was kind of getting suspicious. We got in the car and I was in such a good mood and I was excited. I couldn’t wait to get to the party.
About 10 minutes into driving, we pull up to a church. That’s weird. Ramello’s party is in a church? Well okay then. I saw many other family members in a gloomy mood standing outside of the church with his invitations. Mommy started tearing. When we stepped out of the car, I ran to my other family members to hug them and they were telling me about how big I’ve gotten. I was flattered but I just wanted to see Ramello. Where is he by the way?
“Keyani let’s go!” my mother calls. I skipped my little pretty self to my lou on my way to her excited. “ I’m going to see Ramello! I’m going to see Ramello!” I sang. I felt like I was walking on air as I walked into the church. I was excited but I felt weird because I didn’t see Ramello in 2 years but the gloomy vibe was surrounding me but my promising mind was shielding it from me. Once I walked in, I heard no music and saw no cake. This is a weird party. Is this even a party?
“Mommy what is this?” I asked with an inquiring mind.
“Shhh. come sit down baby.” She softly whispers.
“Why Is Romellow in that Strange Bed?” My sweet mind ask with curiosity.
“Oh no baby.. That’s not a bed… It’s a casket.”
“Mommy? Why is Ramello sleeping at his party?”
“He’s not sleeping at at his party, Baby… He’s dead at his funeral..” she rips off the bandage.
Holy moly. My sugary mind turns into sour. My little Brother is dead.
“Would anyone else like to speak on Ramello’s Behalf?” Pastor asks.
“Mommy can I say something?” I ask.
I ran up the wrong path to the “casket” but I didn’t care. I want to talk to Ramello. Everyone’s eyes widened with surprise as they saw my little self speedly go down the path way. I hear whispers behind me. “What does she think she’s doing?” “She’s too young to speak.”
Oh Yeah? “Hi family. I never been to one of these things. A lot of you might know me. Valerie and Ronnie’s youngest daughter speaking for their youngest son. My brother. I know I didn’t really know Ramello that well because I hardly seen him, but he is and always will be tattooed to my heart. He wasn’t living with us. I don’t really know the lady he was living with or why he was there but I didn’t like the diverge between us because a sibling can be a stranger. He was autistic. However, he was golden. I didn’t like the separation because you see what happens when you are separated for too long with no contact? You end up thinking that your little brother is having a party because you are sweet-minded and don’t know what reality is until it knocks you out. My mind was a cupcake to this world until today. I thought he was sleeping in a weird bed at his party. I thought that paper on the kitchen wall with his birthday and today’s date was a party invitation. Nope. That was an obituary and this is a funeral. Although reality knocked all my teeth out when my mother said ‘He’s not sleeping at at his party, Baby… He’s dead at his funeral.’, this still feels unreal. Thank you for your time.”
The whole church was overpopulated with millions of gasps because of what I said how much I said. I knew I wasn’t too young to speak. 15% of my speech was trying to prove them wrong. 85% of it was letting out all of that sugar and letting it dissolve. After that, I knew that Santa Claus wasn’t real and neither was the Easter Bunny.
Well isn’t that something…
I guess when I referred myself to Franny from “Franny’s Feet”, I actually did find out where my feet took me today. To reality. Now that I think about it, I feel like my mind and my parents were cooperating to take my candy away because I had too many mental cavities.
When we left the funeral, I went mute. I didn’t want to converse with anyone at all. I was broken. My mother noticed my face and felt my wave of emotion and kept trying to get an answer out of me but I wasn’t trying to set it free.
“Keyani can you please talk to me? I know your hurt and-”
“Please. Stop.” I cut my mom off.
“As a matter of fact mom, which one of you put the dollars under my pillow when my tooth falls out? You or daddy?” I pour unexpectedly. This sugar is weird.
She was speechless and blank.
“Which one of you puts the gifts under the tree? You or daddy?” The love for my little brother really had this much of an impact on me.
“Who hides the eggs? Who put the eggs and the treats in our Easter baskets? You or daddy?” They sweetened my mind so much that my thoughts had diabetes.
“Your childhood just meant a lot to us and we wanted to make it special.” She says.
I couldn’t help but to break down. I basically cried a river. Cried Ice-cream. Cried cakes. Cried cupcakes. Cried chocolate. Cried candy. Cried caramel. Cried sweets… Could you imagine not seeing your brother for 2 years and being excited because you think you’re going to see him for his birthday but in all reality, he’s dead and you never even knew?
That’s when I knew that candyland was closed for business and it was time to walk on an actual sidewalk.
At the end of the service, we had to walk back to the car to go to the Repass (the place where family assembles after the funeral to have dinner) but that was the longest walk to the car from a short distance that I have ever taken. The sidewalk felt colder but I was the only one to feel that type of air. I had to get over it. Reality was going to hit sooner or later. Only thing I was glad about is that I would be smart enough to expect the unexpected now that I got a taste of actual air instead of just oxygen.
Hence, I noticed that there was a children’s book in the back of the car and I grabbed it on my way out. I couldn’t even read but I took it anyway because just like learning reality, I’ll eventually learn how to read, right?
That book… I didn’t know what the book was about but my context clues were the articulative pictures. I saw a brown skinned baby boy with a red hoodie walking in the snow. I made up my own story and said that the baby was lonely because I mostly seen the baby by himself.
“The baby boy was walking alone in the snow. There was nobody on his side” I “read”.
Was I reading or putting myself in that book? I took this book with me inside and sat a table and waited for my mother to make my plate of food. I knew I couldn’t read but I knew my ABC’s and I knew the sounds they made. I was staring at the cover of the book and the impact of the font that it gives the letters of the book. Those white letters. “T...Tuhh Huhh”. I was just struggling with just saying the word because I didn’t know the unique sound that “t” and “h” made when they are adjacent to each other. As I continue to look at the little boy on the cover, I no longer start to think of me. I started to think of Ramello. It’s like our unbreakeable bond gave me the ability to sound it out. He had that type of affect on me.
“The Snowy Day” the cover said.
I wasn’t mad at my mother and father anymore. I just wish I hadn’t found out the way that I did. It’s kind of crazy how the funeral was actually on “A Snowy Day”. Bye-Bye sugar. I don’t want Diabetes.