Sunday night I watched a movie called, “The Grey” with Liam Neeson on Netflix. I watched the film with my mother, grandmother, grandfather, and my mother’s boyfriend. We aren’t the stereotypical Black American family but we do try to make a habit out of Sunday dinner. Sunday dinner isn’t like the movie, “Soul Food.” We don’t eat artery clogging food and gossip. We’re too uppity for that. We eat whatever health conscious yummy meal my grandmother makes and then we watch a movie on Netflix. Most of the time we ad lib through the whole film so it’s necessary to put the subtitle feature on just so we don’t piss anyone off. We jumped and gasped through the whole film. While this is going on, the neighborhood hustle man is outside washing every car in the household inside and out for about $5 a pop. Can’t beat that price! So whoever has seen this film knows there’s a part where the main character collects the wallets of the each man as he gets murdered. His intention is to bring them back to the deceased mens families. In one very dramatic scene he’s lookIng through the photos in the mens wallets. My mother interjected and said, ” That’s not realistic. No one keeps pictures in their wallets anymore! You would have to go through their cell phones. They’d probably have a lock on the phone. Or a password on the gallery. ” I ignored her but she persisted. She asked her gentle-spirited ultra-romantic boyfriend who must have given her some sweet reply. He’s so soft-spoken that no one heard him but her. He probably said something clever like,” Your face is painted on my soul so I don’t need your photograph.” Anyway, she asked me and I told her (while simultaneously trying to watch the movie) I have an infant photo of my 9 yr old god-daughter. I have a couple photo of a high school friend who’s now married that I don’t even speak to anymore. I have a group photo with some college buddies from queens day at Roy Wilkins park 3 summers ago. So my wallet is in no way a reflection of my immediate family. To support my mothers case…Wolf- killing hunter survivor sad man would have to find my cell phone! Of course for some men…they’ll probably have a shot of Kim K as their cell phone wallpapers—-> The moment that touched me was when my mother asked my grandfather. My grandfather can be very serious due to his military background and Caribbean descent. Yet he is mostly known for telling some inappropriate joke at inopportune moments. This time, he reflected on the question. He looked away from the television. He stared at my grandmother intently and said ,”I think I only have a picture of Shaun.” I don’t know how everyone else in the room felt but that sure was special to me. His cell phone wallpaper is a picture of my sister and I. This would still leave my mother, grandmother, and uncle out. My whole life my grandfather has been diligently playing the lotto. Once an entrepreneur and now a retired sanitation worker, he’s always obsessed about money. I don’t expect anything to be in his wallet but cash and lotto tickets. But I’m in there.
If my grandfather was in that depressing dramatic and dreadful movie, the camera would scale over a shot of his wallet and I would be there. From a cinematic point of view, it would seem as though I mean a lot to him. Maybe it was time for us all to redecorate our wallets. Or buy new ones (because every man had a genuine leather brown wallet).
The movie was also about fear and faith. It was about coming to terms with your accomplishments (or lack thereof). If you could replace your fear with faith and move forward, you’d either live or make peace with your death. Then those faces in those brown leather wallets would have fond memories and someone to be proud of.
What’s in your wallet?
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