Photo courtesy of Brittany Jeter/Of Cats & Women

By Brittany Jeter • 

The Following Excerpt is from Brittany Jeter’s upcoming novel, “Of Cats and Women.”

“Var always been dismissive to Joy, and Joy always been the type of girl who takes up space without even trying. Vita knew Var hated that shit about her so every time she calls she brags about Joy getting her LPN and  driving on her own. I met Joy in 6th grade. We actually got into it and fought at first cuz somebody told her I ain’t like her and she said I thought I was cute cuz I was light skinned and I rolled my eyes at her. I was so mad when I heard that. Justin liked me though. But he liked her too, and so she told him that she was gon beat me the fuck up! I knew that shit was really about him anyway. We cool now though. She still be saying shit about my complexion, ‘specially when she do my lashes. Like who gives a fuck if my eyelids are beige! She got issues yo. She funny as hell though. Like when we together we just be like chillin and having so much fun, it’s crazy.
She’d be kinda mean to Relle though, but I think it’s cuz her mom be tryna groom Relle for the facility and saying shit like all the men there gonna love her cuz she so light and shit. Joy never got that kinda shine, she always been dark. Relle barely speaks English too, so Alvita be talking to her in they language and shit and Joy never wanted to learn that shit cuz Justin and his lil bitch ass friends flamed her one time her mom had came up to the school to pick us up early cuz she had to change her shift at the facility for $1.25 more an hour. Ain’t that some shit! She was trying so fucking hard to not let them see her but Alvita ain’t the type of woman who gonna let anybody miss her. After that, Joy would only answer her mom in English in the house and when they was outside the house, she barely even talked to her. She would sometimes talk to Missy-Ann, the cat imitating Alvita. She was real good at the accent and everything, shit used to have me dying. She begged me to give her my favorite headphones and this blue Panasonic CD player I had so she could listen to music instead of having to talk in public with Alvita. I gave it to her cuz I had got a new lil silver iPod shuffle for Christmas this year. Alvita would just show up smelling like the food she cooked talking loud as hell and Joy would just pretend not hear her. Like she wasn’t even there, and worse, like she wasn’t her damn mother. One day I slapped the shit outta Charmaine cuz she called Joy a African Booty Scratcher and like I used to call people that too but Joy was different. Plus Charmaine wanted Justin too so it just gave me more reason to fuck her ass up. Stupid bitch! Alvita watched up go in the door and then she went to wait for the 107, she was already late for the facility and she surely let us know the whole way home. When Alvita got to the facility she heard a CNA she didn’t particularly care for and a charge nurse she absolutely despised talking. She worked with them on the shift she just left and even though her hours sucked now, she was happy she ain’t have to work with they lazy asses no more!

“C’mon Mr. Jarvis! You gotta take this medicine so I can do my rounds ain’t nobody got time to be fighting wit chu every night,” shouted Glo.

“Girl I can’t wait till his damn family come get his ass in two weeks, he been here long enough getting on my nerves and ain’t nothing wrong with his old ass anyway” Glo said to De’Shawna.

“That’s why I don’t even deal with him, and if he ain’t got his meds by 10:59 pm when it’s time for me to clock out, I’m still leaving at 11 pm chile please I will put that right in the bottom of my notes and keep it pushing shit my kids are waiting for me on the couch at my momma’s,” replied De’Shawna.

The facility was filled with interactions like this one. Diasporic Women who got cussed out on the daily by residents who probably ain’t even remember where they were or cussed out by they families cuz they ain’t turn them right on the hour or the bed sheets wasn’t up to their liking…”

Brittany Jeter is a millennial Black American writer and educator from Southwest Philly. Her vision for the world is one in which everyone experiences sustained love, joy and abundance. She writes stories as a contribution to the ancestors, and is actively working to balance the universe in the favor of oppressed people.

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