Don't Tell Me What To Do: A Spiritual Memoir
Just kill me now, LORD! I'd rather be dead than alive, because nothing I predicted is going to happen. – Jonah 4:3

I cried hysterically? Why?

Answer

I turned and started running back to my house. Candy dropped out of the bag. I bent down on my knees to pick up the candy, hearing giggling and loud talking behind me. When I looked up, the bike slammed into my face, the front tire hitting me in the mouth, knocking me to the pavement. Blood spattered from my mouth onto my shirt and pants. I cried out in pain, so loudly that Mama rushed out the door onto the porch.

“What’s going on out here!” She looked down to where I was holding my mouth. My hands were covered with blood. I cried hysterically. Blood seeped between my fingers and dripped onto the pavement. She hurdled herself down the steps.

“Let me see that mouth,” she ordered. Prying my hands away from my mouth, she looked inside, pushing up my top lip. I squealed in pain and tried to get away from her. “Hold still!” She pushed my head back to get a better look inside my mouth. “Oh, my God!” she said. The kids stopped laughing. “You done went and got your front teeth knocked out.

"She angrily turned to the kids. “How did this happen?” No one answered.

“I’m gonna ask you’ all one more time before I go tell your mamas. I want the truth, now!”

The boy on the bike looked down at me. “Miss Eunice, he tripped and fell. The bike hit him in the face. I didn‘t mean it.”

Mama lifted me off the ground into her arms. “You’ all go home!” She carried me in to the house.

“Didn’t I tell you not to leave from in front of the house?”

I knew in an instant that another beating might be coming.

“I didn’t leave from front the house,” I told her.

“Yes you did or you wouldn’t have gotten hit in the mouth.”

I desperately wanted to avoid getting a beating with that black belt. I cried as hard and as loud as I could, hoping to convince her that I was already in pain. Every time she touched my face with a rag to stop the bleeding, I screamed. She wiped my face anyway.

“Stop fidgeting. Your teeth will grow back.”

After she cleaned up my face, she led me to the kitchen sink. She filled a cup with warm water and made me take a mouthful. “Don’t swallow the water,” she said. “Swish it around in your mouth and spit it out.” She held me up over the sink. The water stung my mouth, causing me to spit the out bloody water onto her arms and onto my clothes. “Didn’t I tell you to spit the water in the sink!”

She made me take in another mouthful of warm water. I spit the bloody water into the sink. I did this several more times until she told me to sit at the table. I tucked my tongue into the gap in my gum where there used to be two teeth, wrenching in pain from my swollen mouth.

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"...Front teeth knocked out mouth,” she ordered. Prying my hands away from my mouth, she looked inside, pushing up my top lip. I squealed in pain and tried to get away from her. “Hold still!” She pushed my head back to get a better ..."
109.
"... mouth, sighing to herself. “What do I do now?” she wanted to know. Mama gave my mother a cockeyed look. “What do you mean? He got his two Front teeth knocked out, that’s all. nothing we can do about this now.” My mother looked at me with pity, frowning, unable to take her eyes off ..."

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