“You told our son that I have the virus?!” I was on the phone with my ex-husband, Darrell.
“No, I simply told him that you had been exposed to it and needed to quarantine for a long time. I could tell he was upset, but glad that you were being quarantined as to not get sicker or get other people sick.” I pulled my phone away from my ear and pressed the speaker button before setting it down on the counter. I ran my fingers through my hair and sighed.
“Listen to me when I say this. I will get my time with my son. You will bring him here this upcoming Friday just like the plan says when we got divorced all those years ago. Week with me, week with you. And that’s final.” I hung up the phone and cried out in frustration then growled when my phone rang again. Without looking at who it was, I answered.
“What? What do you want?” I walked to my dining room table and collapsed onto a chair. My cat, Macy, rubbed up against my leg and I leaned down to give her a quick pat on the head.
“Well, that’s no way to answer your mother.” I sighed and closed my eyes, attempting to calm myself down a little bit.
“Sorry, Mom. I just got off the phone with Darrell. And guess what he told Jex!” I grabbed the pen that was sitting on the table and twirled it in my hand.
“What did he tell Jex?” There was suddenly a sense of worry in Mom’s voice. She knew how bad of a father Darrell was, and she kenw how sensitive Jex was.
“He told Jex that I was exposed to the virus and that I was going to be in quarantine for a long time! I haven’t left my house in two and a half weeks!” I threw my hand into the air and it fell back down on my thigh.
“That’s outrageous! Who does he think he is? If that was true, wouldn’t you want to tell Jex yourself?! Jex can’t possibly really believe him, can he? If he does, just imagine what wou-” Mom stopped talking and I heard her sigh.
“What’s wrong?” I leaned forward in my chair; a worried expression coming across my face.
“It’s just that it’s your son, and I’m just Grandma. I shouldn’t have that big of a say in what you should do. I should only give my opinion when you ask for it. Even if I do have a big mouth.” I smiled to myself.
“Mom, I always want your opinion. I may be forty, but I still need my momma. But I don’t understand why Darrell can’t just leave me alone except for when we have to meet to pick up and drop off Jex. Why, why, why?” Tears rolled down my face and I quickly wiped them away.
“It’s just like I’m some protagonist or whatever in a book and Darrell is my archnemisis times a hundred. Can you come over please?” I wiped my eyes with my sleeve and waited for Mom’s answer.
“Yeah, sure. I’ll be over in a minute. Love you.”
“Thanks. Love ya.” I hung up the phone and sat it down on the table. I leaned down to the ground and picked up Macy. She meowed and pawed at me, but I held her tight. I sat there, rocking back and forth while Macy eventually settled down in my arms.
I only stopped holding Macy when I heard a knock at my door, then the door opening. I loosened my grip on her and she immediately jumped out of my grasp. I got up and walked to the entryway. Mom was there, taking off her shoes.
“Hey, sweetie. How are you feeling?” I walked into Mom’s open arms and gave her a hug.
“Awful, honestly. Jex is twelve; he doesn’t need all of Darrell’s lies, and he just doesn’t need to be caught up in me and Darrell’s fights. He already has enough pressure being put on him doing online school everyday. Darrell thinks that it’s summer and that Jex should be outside playing football or something. I just don’t know what to do.” I released Mom and she gestured to the kitchen. I nodded and followed her in.
“Do you want me to make some tea?” Mom half-smiled and I shook my head.
“No, no. I’ll make it. Go take a seat in the living room. Please, Mom.” Mom put her hands up and walked into the living room. I walked over to the stove and picked up my metal teapot. I turned on the water and filled it up. Putting the pot on the stove, I turned it on. I walked into the living room and sat down on the couch facing Mom, who was in the rocker.
“Well, what do you want to talk about first?” Mom raised her eyebrows and I frowned.
“I’ve been avoiding telling you this for about two weeks now, but Jex was diagnosed with depression.” I turned my head to hide the new tears that were falling.
“No. What has Darrell done to him?!” I looked up at Mom and saw her tears; saw her anger. I knew Darrell was up to something, and Mom could as well.
“He’s taking medication and going to counseling.” I crossed my hands and put them in my lap. I was crying like Jex passed away.
“You know what? Maybe all three of you should do counseling together. Because otherwise it’s just going to get worse.” I looked up at her and I could tell that she was sincere.
“I would do it.”
Two Years Later…
“Hey, Darrell! What’s up?” I was on the phone with my ex-husband, Darrell.
“Hey, Sabrina! I was just wondering what time you wanted to meet tomorrow to drop off Jex?” Things had gotten a lot better with Darrell since we started doing family counseling after Jex was diagnosed with depression.
“Ummm… I’m still at work, so I can go get him after. Probably around four-thirty. That work for you?” The counselor was able to get down to the root of our problems, and we were finally able to have civil conversations such as what time we were meeting and where we were meeting to drop off and pick up Jex. It was a whole lot simpler than fighting about it.
“Yeah. See you then. Have a good day.”
“Sounds good. You, too.” I pulled the phone away from my ear and sat it down on my desk. I looked up and saw another patient. Or who I thought was another patient.
“Good afternoon, how can I help you today?” I got my hands ready on my keyboard to type in her name.
“Yes, good afternoon. I was actually hoping to talk to you if that is possible.” That is the moment when I realized who she was.