Where Is Kitty Going?
“You like that poetry stuff?” The woman’s voice surprised Kitty. Soft and rich, the syllables drawn out like pulled taffy. Also, to Kitty, the voice was welcoming . . . not at all what she expected.
She must have looked surprised, because the woman chuckled softly and then started to dig down in her huge purse, rummaging until she found a candy bar which she pulled out and began to unwrap.
“I like poetry,” she stated. And bit off a small corner piece of candy. She chewed for a minute and then said, “I like Maya. You know her work?”
“Do you mean Maya Angelou?” Kitty asked.
“Yeah, Maya. That woman’s done some living. Ummmhmm. Indeed.”
“Yes, I liked her autobiographies.”
“Where you going?” The candy bar was disappearing. The woman crumpled the wrapper into a tight ball.
“Albany, New York? All the way up there?”
“Yes.” Kitty was beginning to feel uncomfortable. She was not yet used to the actual fact of her decision. She had not really discussed it with anyone except …
The woman stared at her for a moment, then said, “I’m going back home to Brooklyn. I been down in Richmond tending to my sister who’s took sick with the gallbladder. Poor thing. You ever been?”
“No. To Brooklyn.”
“No, I haven’t really been much of anywhere. Until now.”
“Really? Me, I been all over the place. Now, my sister with the gallbladder, she never goes nowhere. Begged me to come down here seeing as her husband’s a useless old dog and didn’t know what to do about nothing. I tell you. Why she married him. That’s one big, huge mystery. Men is such babies.”
“Sometimes people get married and don’t realize what they’re getting into,” Kitty said softly, almost to herself.
“That’s right. You so right on that one. I been married three times. Last one passed. Had the bad blood sugar. One before that up and left. The first was just a waste of my valuable time. A drummer he was. But very pretty. You married?” The woman looked over at Kitty’s hands, but the way she was holding the book hid her fingers from view.
“I … ” Kitty didn’t know how to answer. Until yesterday her wedding ring was sitting on the night table in the bedroom she had left that morning.
“It’s no hard question. Either you is or you ain’t.”
Kitty let out a little gulp of air, confused by the woman’s bluntness. Finally she said, “I guess you’re right. It’s not a hard question. I guess you’d say I’m in transition.”
“From what to what?”
Kitty was silent for a little while. The woman waited. She watched Kitty closely. She was smiling a little and nodding as if she was already agreeing with Kitty’s decision. Something about the woman loosened Kitty’s reserve.
“I was married. But that’s over. I left everything behind. Just this morning. And now I have nothing except what I’m going to become. I’m between my old life and my new one.”
“You got a boyfriend up there in Albany?”
“No,” Kitty shook her head slowly. “Nothing like that.”
“A job? That’s it. You got a new job.”
“Sort of,” Kitty nodded. “Yes, I guess it’s sort of a new job. But it’s more than a job. I hope it’ll be a lot more.”
“More than a job?” The woman turned toward Kitty then as if to ask what could be not a boyfriend and more than a job? “What you gonna do up there in Albany anyway?”
Kitty smiled, thinking about where she was going.
“I’m taking the bus to Albany but that’s not where I’m going. From there some people are meeting me.”
“You got family up there coming to collect you?”
“Who’s coming in a car then?”
“The car will take me to The Convent of St. Mary Sisters of Charity.”
“Oh, you got connections up there at that convent?”
“Sort of,” Kitty nodded. “You could say that. Yes, connections.”
“Well you cain’t stay there for long. Them sisters live all to theirselves. They don’t take in no boarders.”
“Yes. I know.”
“Then where you going? I mean after they take you on from the bus?”
“You mean you staying … you mean … ” The woman shook her head a little, puzzled, it seemed to Kitty.
“Yes. That’s right. I’m going to stay there … to become a nun.”
“I declare,” the woman said and looked straight ahead.
Kitty opened the book. She turned the pages until she came to the poem titled: what the mirror said and she read these words to herself – again – as she had many times before:
“listen woman, you not a noplace anonymous girl;”
and she skipped farther along in the poem, as she always did, and read again:
“she has waited patient as a nun for the second coming.”