Welcome, lovelies, to Open Mic Friday! The format is simple. Every week there will be a featured “reading” in the body of this post. In the comments, you’re warmly invited to share some work of your own — and it doesn’t have to be text. To keep conversation and creative spirit flowing, please applaud and cheer for others’ offerings just as loudly as you would at a physical reading — by commenting on their work and giving props to everyone.
- Writers, if your work is lengthy, I recommend posting it elsewhere and including the link in the comments (with a sentence of description so we know what we’re clicking for).
- Comments are threaded, which means you can reply directly to each reader by hitting the “reply” button within that comment box. Converse!
I’m so pleased to welcome back Bernadette Davis, whose tantalizing short you may remember from the August 20 Open Mic. Today she shares another vivid piece with you.
Powerful Play by Bernadette Adams Davis
I was only going to stay backstage through the first costume change to make sure my son didn’t miss his second scene. The quick change from tuxedo – cummerbund, shirt, bow tie, the works – to a NASA jumpsuit had been too much the day before. And after four months of practice, he didn’t want to miss any scenes in the Chocolate Nutcracker, the dance performance he’d worked so hard to be in. “Chocolate” as we call it, takes the Nutcracker story and infuses African, African American and Caribbean music and dance.
That’s why I was backstage with a group of boys and two other adults who were in charge of the boys’ dressing room. Their call time for the 8 p.m. show was 5 p.m. By 6:30 p.m. they were in their tuxedoes and we had 90 minutes of high-energy boy time to kill.
We checked and double-checked that every boy had all his costumes in order. And reminded them over and over again to calm down, stop jumping around and other useless parental chatter.
At least an hour before show time, I overheard them talking. One of the boys called out, “we’re the sons of Obama!” And his compatriots agreed and repeated it, “yeah, sons of Obama.”
Walking and jumping around in their tuxedoes, I could see the resemblance. They were dapper, dashing and cooler than cool. President Barack Obama, who they’d likely seen over and over in tuxedoes at the inaugural ball and other state events, was an icon.
The boys, one of whom is my son, gathered in a circle, put their hands together and called out “we’re the sons of Obama” completing the best-dressed cheer I’ve ever seen.
One boy turned away, put a walkie talkie to his ear and said the president was on his way. They dispersed around the room and played president, Secret Service and no doubt numerous powerful roles.
In the small dressing room, I didn’t hear an adult tell the boys they looked like our president. Frankly, none of our handsome boys favors him. The boys could see the figurative resemblance, the possibility of someone like them being in a place where the men own tuxedoes and have security, power, and the nation’s ear.
In less than a year as president, these children, too young to really care about national politics, already had a changed view of the possibilities. Even if for now the possibilities are only that they play a different game and own the tuxedo as more than a performance costume.
What will those dapper gentlemen dream and attain as the grow into men who played as the “sons of Obama?”
Bernadette Adams Davis is a writer, wife and mother of two who lives in Florida. She also is an experienced communications professional (public relations, web strategy, internal communications) who is trying harder every day to balance her creative and career plans and goals. She blogs at http://blackbooks.blogspot.com/ and is on Twitter (@bernadettedavis).
Let’s see you give it up for Bernadette in the comments! And as always, you’re welcome to share your own work there too. Bring it!