I was a sixteen-year-old boy walking down the short main street of a northern Minnesota iron mining town, looking for friends or trouble to get into. I saw a new bone-white Lincoln Continental parked, facing me, on the street just ahead of me. I took a couple steps closer and saw that inside was a woman in the passenger seat. She was alone and looking directly at me with a slight grin. I stopped then, and if anyone had been around to see me, they would have wondered why I stood frozen on the sidewalk for what seemed like…it seemed like…time stopped.
She was a black woman in a land where one could drive a hundred miles and not see another, but that wasn’t it. It was her breath taking, exotic, sensual beauty. I swear her eyes were made of dark chocolate and gold, and her skin was a copper tone that I had never seen in a movie or magazine. She wore a white felt narrow brimmed Fedora with a feather sticking from the hat band. The longer I stood there, the bigger her smile got, but neither of us was uncomfortable. Just in the moment. I took in the whole image of her in this fine chariot and I knew that my life had been changed.
It was at that moment when the rest of the world found me, and I found the rest of the world.
When I first started picking you up you had a 12 year old son, now he’s 22 and you gave my number to him. Legacy.
I sat in your driveway for half an hour while you cried about… everything.
I carried your drunk ass up to the second floor and tucked you in on your couch.
You needed me to make it to the airport 65 miles away in 45 minutes. I did that.
You’re only a $6 ride but, a 95 year old woman from Ipanema, Brazil with nearly a century of stories can call me every day of the week for 6 bucks.
You bled in my cab, but I got you to the ER.
Your colostomy bag broke. I didn’t say a word.
I tuned in your vibration as you tried to explain to me what bush you were under at 3 a.m. I found you.
I was a guest at your wedding. When people asked who I was I told them, ” I’m the driver.”
I watched you ride the roller coaster without judgement, and I’ve always been here to catch you when you fall. Loyalty.
We have a thing going on,
By E.A. Cook
Jovetta earned degrees in medicine and languages, and at 20 years old she returned to Louisiana and rented an apartment in the heart of Storyville. When she wasn’t cooking and singing at Jazz joints, she gave the call girls medical attention treating scabies, getting care for the girls with herpes or gonorrhea or syphilis and she tended to their broken bones and bruises inflicted by the rougher trade. Spanish Flu was sweeping the nation but, somehow, the Red-Light District had been spared. A little grace that was welcome in that nowhere land.
She had been around for four years and had earned her street credentials and the respect of every musician, hustler, bartender, doorman, and everyone else who made their living after the citizens went to bed. And then she fell into Tom Anderson’s nightmare and everything turned to shit.