Thursday, February 29, 2024

the last book I ever read (Lost in the City: Stories by Edward P. Jones, excerpt eleven)

from Lost in the City: Stories by Edward P. Jones:

The congregation applauded generously when the Gospelteers came on. Vivian stepped forward and told the congregation that the group would be singing some of the favorites of Mahalia Jackson, and the congregation broke into applause again. Anita would be singing the first songs solo, and the young woman took Vivian’s place in front of the group. She looked briefly at Counsel and he nodded once and began to play. Anita closed her eyes for a few seconds and began to sing as she always did—for God and for her father. Once, as she was singing at the Virgin Mother Baptist Church on Kentucky Avenue, Jesus had come down the aisle and sat down in a pew near the front. He told her that her voice pleased him. He had said no more than that, but she had taken his words to mean that he forgave her for living with John without marriage. And each time she saw her father, who would not forgive her, she wanted to tell him what Jesus had done and said. But she could not create the words. Perhaps the words were in the music, but it did no good, because her father did not come anymore to hear her sing.

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