#52essays: The Scabs

My sister got married today. She asked me to pour the ceremonial libation which is an integral part of any auspicious gathering in our culture, at the reception dinner.

I positioned myself and steadied the plant that would be the recipient, my voice and hands shook as I juggled the mic and calabash. As I poured I thought of Dad, who went to rest in 2003. I thought of Mom who made the choice not to be at her daughter’s wedding. I thought of aunts and uncles who have succumbed to cancer and otherwise would have been shaking a leg. I thought about the woman who raised my sister and me and how we no longer speak.  In the water swirled the wounds from yesteryear. Wounds that have scabbed over but have not fully healed. Wounds from Ghana and wounds from the 23 years in America. Wounds that will start to bleed afresh when anyone picks at the scabs above them.

Today when I poured libation, a sob escaped my soul and ran free, and I worried that the dear brethren, dearly beloved gathered to celebrate such a joyous occasion might mistake it for sadness or worse, jealousy. The sob stirred tears but I didn’t want to ruin my makeup or the bride’s so I uttered the ceremonial incantations, hugged my sister and my newly minted brother-in-law and returned to my dinner table before I lost my steely resolve.

Only I had already picked at the scabs and the wounds though ages old, bleeds afresh tonight.

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