Monday, June 10, 2019

the last book I ever read (If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin, excerpt five)

from If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin:

She knows Daddy better than I do. I think it’s because she’s felt since we were children that our Daddy maybe loved me more than he loves her. This isn’t true, and she knows that now—people love different people in different ways—but it must have seemed that way to her when we were little. I look as though I just can’t make it, she looks like can’t nothing stop her. If you look helpless, people react to you in one way and if you look strong, or just come on strong, people react to you in another way, and, since you don’t see what they see, this can be very painful. I think that’s maybe why Sis was always in front of that damn mirror all the time, when we were kids. She was saying, I don’t care. I got me. Of course, this only made her come on stronger than ever, which was the last effect she desired: but that’s the way we are and that’s how we can sometimes get so fucked up. Anyway, she’s past all that. She knows who she is, or, at least, she knows who she damn well isn’t; and since she’s no longer terrified of uprisings in those forces which she lives with and has learned how to use and subdue, she can walk straight ahead into anything; and so she can cut Daddy off when he’s talking—which I can’t do. She moved away from me a little and put my glass in my hand. “Unbow your head, sister,” she said, and raised her glass and touched mine. “Save the children,” she said, very quietly, and drained her glass.

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