So yesterday at our weekly intern meeting at the JFP, I walked in an hour late to the meeting, although I was on time for my schedule, and my fellow intern, Callie, was saying something about a weird thing that her cat does. So I started to wonder about what the topic was. I guess Donna noticed the confused look on my face and she informed me that the topic was: What have you wondered about in the past 24 hours?
As I began to rummage through my memory bank of all the thoughts that I had remembered that I had had within the past 24 hours, I continually came across a thought that I have every day. I didn't say that thought aloud, so I quickly reverted to the fact that my sister had just given birth within the past 24 hours (my niece: Madalyn - born July 13h @ 5:33 p. m.). Now, I think it's better that I write that continual thought, instead of share the memory aloud.
The Thought: I remember running through the house, back and forth to the fridge, letting the cold air burst fresh into my face. I remember skipping back to my newborn sister's room, running my hands along the walls. I remember dashing to the living room to answer the phone. I remember my mother saying, "Lex, your grandma is on the way." I remember my mother sighing because she didn't really want her 13-day-old baby out in the June heat. I remember the horn of my grandmother's green Buick blowing outside in the paved car porch. I remember hopping on the back seat with my baby sister and carefully pulling the seat belt across her car seat to be sure not to hurt her in any way. I stuck my head out of the window and yelled to my mom, "Save me some steak!"
As the night progressed and I'm watching cartoons and sipping apple juice out of my green Juicy Juice juice carton in my grandma's big blue La-Z-Boy recliner, I'm wondering what time is my mom going to come get us? I know we weren't spending the night because she didn't pack any overnight bags for us.
I called. No answer. I called again. No answer.
Around 11 p. m. that night, the phone woke me from a light sleep I was taking. My grandmother pointed the phone towards her mouth and yelled directly into the receiver, "Well call the ambulance, Charles!" Then, she grabbed her keys and shot out the door. I don't think I had ever seen my grandmother move so swiftly. I started to cry and scream to the top of my lungs repeatedly, "What's going on? What's wrong with my mom?" No one answered me. My grandmother's sister just held me and rocked me to sleep.
When my dad picked me up the next morning, I was antsy all the way home. I was fidgeting in my seat and glaring out of the window until we reached our home in south Jackson. When we pulled into the driveway, I saw that my mom's car was still parked under the car porch, so I was a bit relieved. I hurriedly removed my seat belt and jotted into the house.
She wasn't in the kitchen, so I ran to the living room. She wasn't in the living room, so I ran to her room. She wasn't in her room, so I peeked my head inside the bathroom. Still, no sign of her, so I thought maybe she was in my sister's room, folding clothes because I had remembered that she was loading clothes until the washer before we left the day before. Still, nothing. Finally, I went in my room, but SHE WAS NOT THERE. So I asked my dad if she had gone somewhere. With tears in his eyes, he picked me up and sat me on their king-sized bed that they had just gotten. He said, "Do you know where good people of God go to?" I said, "Yea, heaven, but where is mom?" He said, "Heaven."
I burst into tears instantly and ran to my grandmother's arms, who was sitting on the couch as if she were waiting for him to break the news to me. I cried so hard and so long that my nose bled all over my grandmother's yellow, floral print shirt. I was only 8-years-old. What was I to do now without a mother? And what was my 13-day-old sister going to do? She didn't even know my mother.
And the last thing I said to her was, "Save me some steak."
So back to Donna's initial question: What was something you wondered about in the past 24 hours? The thought I wonder about every single day is, what really happened to my mother?
(Sorry this post was so long)
Don't apologize, Alexis. This is wonderful.
(And you revealed to the world my habit of asking y'all to answer strange questions. Smile.)
Powerful piece Alexis. You are a very good writer, as my Wife would say, great attention to detail and imagery. If you don't mind my asking, what did happen to your mother, if you know and are willing to share? It perhaps could inspire and/or help someone else.
- Renaldo Bryant
Like Donna said, don't apologize for this article. This is a touching story. (I am humbled to be mentioned in it.)