“Doomsdeh is cuhmin’ son.”
These were the words of my father whom I'd admired greatly. He had always told me about Doomsday and its coming, but I had never believed him. Honestly, I didn't even really knew what it meant. And, as the typical carefree child, who cared about any of that crap?
“Timothy! Pick up ya’ trash!”
He’d yell at me for being a litterbug. When you're seven, or even much younger than that, you’d usually be scorned for drawing on the walls, not “littering.”
“Timothy! Don' spit’cha gum out in duh ocean!”
Okay, he never said that, but I wish he’d did. It sounds cooler and a bit more serious when it's direct and makes sense. I didn't like being told to correct something after I'd had already done it and forgotten all about it.
As my father stands here, overlooking my casket, he stares at my methodically stacked hands. He places his hand atop mine and caresses his lifeless son. Not once does he look at my corpse’s face. I guess it's because my face doesn't matter—how I look doesn't matter. But, my hands; my hands are what matter. What I’ve done with them; the things I’ve destroyed with them; the things I’ve created with them; the things I’ve mastered with them. They’re what matter.
When I was thirteen, I chucked my m&m’s wrapper to the wind. It wandered. It wandered for many years like a nomad without a home. I couldn't tell you where it had ended up residing until disintegration; but, how it made me live for just six minutes, I could give you a story. I could even tell you about how I acquired that sixty-nine cents from my dad’s laundry money to buy it. I could even tell you about how I walked four blocks down Hill Street to Fenny’s Mini-Market for it. I could even tell you about how when I arrived back home, Mrs. Jefferson from next door was planting seeds in her garden and threw me a couple to take home to my father. Mrs. Jefferson was a very old and kind woman. After Mr. Jefferson passed, she took up gardening because Mr. Jefferson said, “Nature always needs new friends.”
“Heyah, Tim my boy. What’dya git?”
“Just a pack of m&m’s and these…” I held out my left palm that contained four tiny seeds, “They're from Mrs. Jefferson.”
“Well, did’ja thank’a?” I peeled open the side of the m&m's wrapper, and went to town on the chocolate. I tossed my head back and popped the chocolate-covered peanuts into my mouth. The crunch from the peanuts drowned out my father's question. Snatch. “Gimmie them dayum candies!”
He yanked the yellow packet from my hand and glared at me, “Whatch wash shat for!?” I yell with a mouth full of m&m’s.
“I ast you a queshtin boy! Did’ja tell Mizz Jeffuhsun thank ya?!” I rolled my eyes and looked away, still munching the nuts. He leaned in closer to me, pressing his ear to my curled lips, “I kent hear’ya.”
“Go ‘n do dat den.” He put the m&m’s packet in my plaid, button-up, shirt pocket and tapped it as if to send me off. I stomped back to the front door and kicked the screen open, which startled Mrs. Jefferson.
“Ooh! Little Timothy, honey, you scared me!” Her smile was as vibrant as ever, “How are you today?”
I smacked my lips and tapped my feet on the porch steps. I whispered, “Thank you for the seeds.”
“I’m sorry, honey, what was that?” She said as she raised up from her knees and dusted her green and white capris off.
“I said, thank you for the seeds.” I projected, aggravated.
“Oh no problem, honey. You know, I-” Without thinking, I slipped the candy from my shirt pocket and gargled the rest of the m&m’s. I flicked the crumbled wrapper from my palms outwards into the open air. Slamming the front door behind me, I smiled from the delicate goodness of the m&m sweets.
“Did’ja do as ya’ wah told?”
“Yes, dad.” Quickly swallowing the remains of the chocolate.
“Thank ya’, sir.”
Long-standing at the door, I suddenly remembered when I was seven and my dad made me pick up billions of trash off the ground because I contributed just a single piece. It was exhausting. Possibly the worst day of my life. I cracked open the front door just a bit to see where the m&m’s’ wrapper had gone. It was gone, alright. Just that quick.
“Sum wrong, son?”
“No. Not at all.” I somehow managed to get away with it that time.
“Hm. Well, whata’ya waiting on? Les go plant these here seeds!”
Dad and I only planted three out of the four seeds that evening. He kept howling about saving one for myself as good luck.
“When ya’ do the earf good—it doos good unto ya’. One day that seed gonna change ya’ son, and I wanna be deh when it happin. I wanna be deh when it grows into a mighty plant!”
When I turned eighteen, I moved out of my father's house into a rickety, old apartment. It wasn't much, but it was my home. Of course, Mrs. Jefferson brought some of her small succulents that she had nursed and kept around her home, as a house-warming gift. My father made a plaque imitating the Ten Commandments of Moses. It read, and I quote, “These here are my Ten Commandments that I shall abide by for as long as I live: 1: ‘I shall love this here planet that I inhabit, and it shall love me as equally.’ 2: ‘I shall follow the First Commandment.’ 3: ‘I shall follow the Second Commandment.’ 4: ‘I shall follow the Third Commandment.’” You get the point. Both of them displayed their love the only way they knew how, and I just rolled with it like I’ve always been doing.
“Oh, Little Timothy. You're not so little anymore! I guess it’s time I started calling you Big Timothy.”
“Just Timothy is fine.”
“Nyow, nyow son. Mizz Jeffuhsun juh luh ya’ a whole lotsa. She juh wont da best fah ya’.”
For the first time my dad’s thick country accent struck me. It was then that I realized I would miss my dad a whole lotsa.
“Oh, boy I almost fah got!” He fumbled around in his plaid, buttoned-up, shirt pocket and pulled out a baby seed. “Son, I pruhserved dis here seed ya’ got from Mizz Jeffuhsun dat day when ya’ was tha’teen! Ruhmembah?! Lez gone on ‘n plant it!”
“My, that’s a great idea! Come on, Little Tim-, I mean Big Timothy.” Mrs. Jefferson blushed.
Together we planted the seed, and they went on their ways.
“I’m so sorry for your loss. Little Timothy was such a good boy.” My father said nothing. “If you don't mind me asking, how did your son die?”
“I’m sorry, I don't understand-”
“Doomsdeh, Mizz Jeffuhsun. It wah his Doomsdeh.” Mrs. Jefferson is confused. She stares at my body and looks directly at my father's hand atop of my cold pair. She bows her head in silence. “I gotta call, Mizz Jeffuhsun," Her eyes widen, “I gotta call frum my son tellin’ me dat he was scared. I ast him- I ast him ova-‘n-ova, ‘Whata’ya’ scared of son?’ Whata’ya’ scared of?’ He kept yellin’, ‘Da seed, dad! Da, seed!’ So I ast him back, ‘What seed son?’ And, den- And, den-.”
“‘And then’ what?”
“The phone hung up.”
The planet, in which I inhabited just a week ago, had finally threw me out. I became the litter. I was the trash.
That day we planted the seed, we planted it on the side of my apartment building in the area most rich in soil. Conveniently, it was right next to my bedroom window. Everyday for a month, I bustled to nurture it to health, but it would not grow. I had begun to worry about the seed and its growth. For the first couple of weeks, I tried my best to do it on my own without my dad or Mrs. Jefferson’s help, but I honestly had no idea if what I was doing was even remotely correct. After a month, I gave up on the seed, and I had forgotten all about it. My dad would call and ask about it, but I’d tell a lie every time. On my nineteenth birthday, he even tried visiting to see its progress, but I lied and told him I wasn't home.
Three days later, Doomsday came.
“Oh, my. Did you hurry and check up on him?”
“I see. So, you found him?”
“Yes’m.” Mrs. Jefferson said nothing. She figured it's too much to bare a burden considering she found her own husband in the state I am in now. “Mizz Jeffuhsun?”
“Ya’ won't behlee what I saw when I got tuh my son’s home.” Mrs. Jefferson blinked. “On da ahside of his ‘partment winduh, it was a long, earfy, green vine kuhneccted frum where we plant da seed at, intuh his winduh. I traced dat mighty vine through my son’s winduh, and deh on da ground wuh my Tin Cuhmmanmints. Da plaque was split clean in half! 'N yuh lil’ succulents in da winduh was on da ground, too!—Dat- dat mighty vine grew straight thoo ‘em! Den, den dat mighty vine twirl up my son's bed, so I folluh’d it! ‘N dats when I found ‘em.”
“Who?! The killer?”
“Yes, da killuh! Doomsdeh! It was Doomsdeh! Da seed, Mizz Jeffuhsun! It was da seed! Dat mighty vine! Dat vine wuh wrapped ‘round my son’s neck so tight, Mizz Jeffuhsun! I try wit’ all my strenf to pull it offum, but it ain't wanna budge! I wuh just too late.” My dad panicks as he squeezes my bricked plams.
“Oh my god.” Mrs. Jefferson begins tearing up.
“‘N ya’ wanna know da wuhst part ‘bout it? Deh was a m&m wrapper tucked in his shut pocket.”
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