On the top shelf.
In a shoe box for a brand of shoes he’s never even heard of, underneath a bunch on clip-on earrings, some even the size of a toddlers fist, organized in no type of way
That’s where Bernard’s mamma kept those letters from some man in someone’s prison claiming that he’s innocent and claiming that he loves her and can’t wait until they see each other.
Bernard usually skips over he first couple lines, sometimes even the first page-or-so; it’s all sentimental stuff, total bullshit. Kids, and especially the sneaky ones, have a fine-tuned bullshit detector. They lose it with time and enough pat conversations, and later, sterile relationships, or worse, loveless marriages, but sneaky kids can spot some bullshit in no time. To Bernard, most of this prisoners whole first page of his most recent letter was bullshit.
I just want to hold you in my arms, was one reoccurring line.
I want to love you like you’ve never been loved was another unspecific one.
Run my hands in your hair, he included for romantic measure like Bernard’s mama ain’t wear a whole damn wig.
The good parts always started after the intense scribble of three letters written on the yellow office paper so hard, the pen could have gone right through to the other side,
“XXX” it read and underneath these three letters was when it all got good and real.
Lines about the way she taste like vanilla between her legs, and how he wanted to spend all night sampling her flavors.
The prisoner had to be hung real nice they way he bragged about his own dick, which was as often as he could. In some lines, he talked about her riding on it, sucking on it, like a lollipop (all his words), having it between her titties so he could stroke himself between her.
If Bernard could infer a damn thing about thing letter it was that prison makes you downright freaky.
All this talk of how this prisoner wanted a wet tongue to play around in his hole, and how he’d only be sure to return the favor (a felon and a gentleman, he claimed). The way he begged Bernard’s mother to drip all of her juices onto him, or spank him, not too hard, but not too soft neither; teach him a lesson that the correction facility couldn’t.
It was a lot for Bernard to envision. His mother, a God-fearing and resilient alto of Bethesda AME church. The same woman who knew any scripture involving obedience by heart, also knew exactly how to make grown men beg.
Bernard didn’t even bother envisioning his mother taking part in the vicious and voracious sexual acts. He couldn’t even wrap his mind around the idea that his own mother might be a woman who was wanted. The same woman who wore oversized t-shirts around the apartment, the same woman who claimed God provided for all things, was the same woman a man wanted to undress, explore deep, and be able to taste off his fingertips the next morning.
Bernard’s mother wasn’t just a mother. She was also a woman who ran through a man’s mind and in his fantasies.
Knowing better than to ever speak of it, he folded the pale yellow papers and placed it into the box beneath the pile of earrings. He’d return the following month to see if there might be a new one – advances in this sort of love.
Bernard never returned for the purpose of being aroused. Although the letters helped him work on his dirty vocabulary when he and the other boys talked about sex as best as boys new to puberty could.
He read for evidence that his mother, holy and plain as she was, was still a woman.