The Usher (By: Jazz France)

She sat in a room alone. The house was not empty or quiet, but she had found a space just for her. No one else entered nor did she call any attention to herself. She enjoyed the solitude in the busy house. There were running foot falls above her head. Accompanied by the sounds of laughing and playing adolescents. In the room across the hall there was a story being told. Men were captivated by the story teller, complimenting the story with grunts and sounds of agreement or attentiveness. The kitchen was filled with the clatter of cooking, wine glasses, and women “ooo-ing and ahh-ing” at the counters and kitchenware. Outside, inside, back, and forth through the front doggy door two cats and four dogs jogged, played, ate, drank, and made their pet noises. 

Still, she sat alone. Quietly thinking. Planning out why it was that she would just rather not join any of the more lively rooms. She, the young woman, enjoyed sitting right where she was. Listening to the hustle and bustle of the house. For sometime the young woman was all alone. Or, so she thought. As she looked up to observe her immediate surroundings there was a small skinny child in the doorway. This child was looking directly at her; they waved. She was seen. It felt as if it had been a long while since she had truly been seen.

The young woman waved back to the child. This child wore light blue, checkered shorts, white tank top, and these white shoes that looked as if they were made of cushions. For some reason the shoes looked odd to the young woman. As the woman looked over the child, she saw that they had skin the tone of dark oak wood. The child’s hair was full of tight spiraling curls, pulled up into a high half pony-tail. Their eyes were the color of caramel and sparkled with joy, wonder, and a sort of unearthly wisdom that seemed to look beyond what the eyes could see. The child was smiling so big the young woman could see all of the teeth that they had. Well, all of the teeth that hadn’t fallen out due to shedding baby teeth. The child took a step forward and motioned to the seat next to the young woman.

The woman waved a hand over the seat and gave a small nod. This nearly angelic looking child skipped across the room and sat down. The child’s voice was small and sweet; just barely above a whisper. “Hello. My name is Najeera. What’s yours?” The young woman was slightly shocked and lost for words. What was her name? It had been so long since she’d heard or spoken it. Did she even have a name? Of course she did; everyone had a name. But what was it? Najeera placed her hand on the woman's. The little girl’s hand was so warm. It seemed to have been ages since anyone had touched the young woman at all. She felt the want to cry. Looking down the woman listened to Najeera continue, “It’s ok Miss. It seems like you’ve been here a very long time. It’s alright if you don’t remember right now.” Again Najeera smiled so sweetly it touched the woman’s heart.

Little Najeera was right. The young woman had been there for so very long. At first it seemed as if she wasn’t alone. Someone was always right there. They just never saw the woman, or heard her, or felt her when she reached out to touch them. The young woman soon learned that even in a full and bustling house she was completely alone. So, she decided it best to just stay by herself after a while. At least that way the people would stay and she could hear and see them moving about. The woman could then pretend that she wasn’t alone. Now today; there was this little girl. Little Miss. Najeera saw the young woman. Really saw her, and even warmly touched her hand. What a sweet child. The warmth of Najeera’s hand filled the young woman’s heart. It had just been so very long.

The young woman slowly began to notice herself too. She looked over herself. She rose her arms, looked at her legs down to her fancy looking shoes, and touched her hair that seemed to cascade down her shoulders. The woman took notice that her clothes seemed long, dark and old. There was almost a dusty look to them. The clothes didn’t even seem to remotely resemble the ones that Najeera wore. The young woman wondered if it was warm this time of year. She then realized that she hadn’t felt any kind of weather in some time either. She hadn’t felt rain, sunshine, snow or a breeze. It had been so long. What was sunshine like again?

Najeera continued to smile up to the young woman. “I bet you’ve been lonely here. Wishing just one somebody would talk to you. I bet you miss your family too.” As the young woman nodded in agreement with Najeera, memories flooded the woman's thoughts. There were two people, an older man and an older woman. They were dressed something similar to the young woman. They were both milk chocolate in complexion. The old woman had long salt and pepper hair tied up in a bun with a high collared dress on, it seemed to be a bit fancier than the one the women wore. The old woman had big dimples and smiled wide, she said a name that the young woman couldn’t hear. The old man donned a white button up shirt with shiny buttons and jeweled cufflinks. He also wore black slacks with suspenders. He held out his hands urging the young woman forward.

The young woman began to tear up, and whispered barely audibly, "Ma. Daddy." The woman looked down toward Najeera, who was still holding her hand. “I know” the little child smiled and nodded, “It’s ok to remember” she urged. The young woman saw the old man and woman hugging her. They smiled heartily in every thought she was having. They were so happy. Then thoughts of a man. A young man. His skin was similar to Najeera’s, if not a tint darker, and almost as smooth. He was wearing a top hat, his under eyes the brim were the shape of almonds and a brown as his skin. He was so handsome that the young woman could barely stand it. The young man wore a suit jacket with a buttoned up shirt and ascott. He smiled at the young woman and held out his hand.

Najeera saw the young woman crying and reached close to hug her. The hug was so tight that it shocked the young woman slightly. She hugged Najeera back. Then a new memory flashed into the young woman’s mind. There was smoke, so much smoke. Also, a bright red, burning hot light. A fire! It was a gigantic fire. Right in this house. Well, in the old house that once stood in this location? The old man and woman were on the floor trying to escape the smoke. While the young man was frantically looking for a way out of the burning house. The young woman could hear her own voice screaming, “Why?! Why would they do this to us?! We’re good people!” The young man replied , “It doesn’t matter, it looks like they got what they wanted. We’re trapped.” Then the memory faded, and the young woman found herself standing.

She stood looking into the brightest doorway she had ever seen. There was a comfortable breeze coming through it. It felt like a late spring day. The young woman could remember what a spring day felt like! She looked next to her and little Najeera was still by her side, now squeezing the woman’s hand and tapping her own ear. As if to tell the young woman to ‘listen’. Then as she gazed into the bright doorway, the young woman heard a loving voice. “Welcome home my child. It has been too long. Welcome home.” Then the bright doorway seemed to glow for a moment and three figures appeared. They started as shadows, turned to silhouettes, and finally became people. It was the old man, the old woman, and the handsome man. They all stood there waving the young woman in.

The one to speak first was the young handsome man. “Rosie, My Roaselie” He said, with a beaming smile. “Roselie. We’ve been waiting for you for so long. We’ve been missing you girl.” Slowly the young woman, Roselie, began to let go of Najeera’s hand. She started to walk forward as the old man spoke next, “That’s my baby girl. Com’ on here now.” Roselie whispered as she started to cry, “Daddy.” Then the old woman piped up, “That’s right chil’ let that go, an’ com’ on home.” Again Roselie whispered through her tears as she walked forward, “Mama”. The young man was the one to hug her. Holding her close he looked Roselie in the eyes, “Baby, I’ve been waiting for you right here at this door. Roselie my love. Oh, How I’ve missed you.”

Roselie stopped hugging the handsome young man. She turned to her little helping angel, her usher, Najeera and spoke for the first time in many years. My name is Roselie, Najeera. Thank-you so much. I was so lonely and I did miss my family.” She gestured to each person, “ my Mother, my Father, and my Husband. You helped me get home. Thank-you.” A stream of tears flowed down Roselie’s cheek. Najeera as big as she could, and waved. “You’re welcome Roselie,” She then curtsied, “It was a pleasure to meet you; have fun with your family.” Then the bright doorway began to close. Najeera and Roselike stood on either side of it waving and smiling at one another until it fully faded away.

Najeera turned to face the rest of the house with a happy sigh of relief. She then noticed that she had an audience. Both cats and all four dogs lined the threshold of the room; her on-lookers. She crossed the room that she knew as her Mother’s library and study. She addressed inquizitive pets. “Hi kitties. Hi doggies, can I get through please?” Upon her request the pets separated to allow her to pass. Najeera petted the dog closest to her right; a black lab, by the name of Henry. Then the cute little dark-skinned girl, with the head full of curls, skipped her way into the kitchen. Whistling as she went.

“Mommy! Mommy! I made a new friend, and helped her go home.” “Did you now?” Came her Mother’s reply. Excitedly as she could Najeer continued, “YEP! Her name was Roselie, and she was very pretty. She had a fancy Mommy and Daddy and a nice looking husband. She had long curly hair, Mommy, and wore a fancy dress with fancy jewelry. She was almost as gorgeous as you Mommy.” Young Najeera’s Mother smiled down at her daughter and kissed her forehead. “Well isn’t that something, but you go and play Najeera. Mommy is entertaining.” “Ok” came the quick and sweet reply. The young girl left her Mother’s side and skipped off into the house to play.


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