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“Goodbye,” your father, Herman, said simply.

“Goodbye, and good riddance,” your mother, Gloria, yelled.

“Goodbye, good riddance, and and-” your father paused for a brief second. He raised his right leg and extended his foot with a calloused hand. He took a worn out loafer off that very foot. “Screw your mother,” he gasped, exhaling deeply. He threw the shoe the length of the kitchen. It slid across the table, taking a plate and two glasses over the edge with it. Then it slammed into a sink full of dirty dishes.

“Why don’t you? You already screwed my sister! You pig, you disgust me.” retorted your mother.

“Well I guess it’s over then!” screamed your father.

“It’s been over for a long time, you just didn’t see it!” explained your mother. Her voice was calm. She moved, gracefully, over to the sink and placed a spotted hand on the water-drenched loafer. She pushed the loafer down to the bottom and watched satisfactorily as it filled up to the leather laces.

“What in the hell are you doing?” your father asked, trying to sound authoritative.

Your mother didn’t say a thing. She just walked over to your father. She lifted the loafer and dumped the water onto his head. Taking a step back, she admired her work. She glanced your way and smiled slightly.

“Seriously Gloria!” your father managed to utter. He was trying to sound dignified, which was near impossible. You saw him wipe a tear from his eye, he glanced your direction.

Your mother had his attention now. “One more thing,” she held the loafer high and reared her arm back as if she were going to throw it. Your father covered his face, anticipating a launch. The edge of your mother's mouth curled, slowly, slyly. She raised her head and eyes to meet your father’s. You watched from a distance as they looked at each other, eyes to eyes.

Then she brought her hand forward quickly, in an overhand throwing motion…She stopped as your father ducked. Then your mother began to laugh uncontrollably. The loafer had never left her hand. She held it out in front of her. Then she dropped it like a mic, this ended an epic moment. Your mother winked at you and your father stood stunned.

Looking back at that moment, you laugh. A sly smile, much like your mother’s, brightens your face. You contemplate your next action.

“Your parents were so cray-zee,” your husband Joe said with his thick Spanish accent. “Choo know whats going on in the worl today?” he asked.

“Of course I do!” you lied. “I love you, I know we have barriers- but” the words came out so quickly like they had so many times before. Each time you believed them less. You knew ultimately that you were headed for the big “D”.

“To hell in a bread basket!” your husband exclaims loudly. “That’s where ‘chore parents could go. They mess-”

“Now wait, just hold the hell on.” you shake your head like a bobblehead doll. “First of all it’s Hell in a handbasket, and second, let’s not get started on parents. At least my dad wasn’t an alcoholic”

“choo see, now you get personal.”

He was right. You did. You always did. You knew it. It was just so hard to admit it out loud. “Just say it.” you silently remind yourself. You knew you’d regret it if you didn’t. So you tugged at your Nylons, pinching on one of the legs with your thumb and pointer finger. You damn near ripped a hole in it with the pointer finger, the only nail you hadn’t bitten off this week. “Joe,” you said trying to sound soft and caring now, “I was told that a black-woman had no right being involved with a Mexican immigrant, actually my friend called you an illegal, I was told it would never work out. That our differences were so vast.” That was only half of it. You were told by his family and reminded on the day you buried your parents that if you did marry Joe there would be no family support. But how could you tell him that? Your parents remained together after the great loafer incident. It was not the first incident of the type and certainly; it didn’t end up being the last.

To make matters worse, you were told by “Gamma” Herman, and the esteemed “Mother Theresa” (Joe’s Abuela) that there would be a heavy price to pay, if indeed you followed through.

Joe snapped his fingers. “Chello, you space out again?” Joe looked you directly in the eyes now.

“No… I’m, I’m just thinking.” you diverted your eyes away from his and to the ground.

“Then why you holding a choo? It’s filled with water.”

You stopped and looked around the room. Your head was clear now. The beautiful kitchen you had planned together and worked so hard for. It’s grand quartz counter-tops peered above the grand cabinets. Not to be outdone by the stellar tiles you stood on that very moment. You and Joe had done well for yourselves. Joe started mowing lawns and doing whatever landscaping jobs he could find. You went to school in pursuit of your nursing degree.

That was twelve years ago when you still believed that the country was turning a corner. The first black man was being elected to the White-house. Joe’s small business had begun to boom and you watched him grow the company to thirty-five men and women. Several of them still with the company to this very day. You were eager to look past the differences that were so apparent now.

But now, these days, you thought, were so far removed from those days of dreams. You had your nursing degree; it sure was needed these days. You were the lead nurse on floor two of the second-largest nursing home in the county. All the overtime you could manage with the pandemic and all. You had already called to tell them you would be late for your shift today.

You finally manage to look back up to the eyes of your husband. His warm smile greeted you as he adjusted the brim of his ball cap.

“So chess you know or no you don’t know what’s going on in the worl today?” Amazing you thought, it was five minutes ago when he first asked you the question. So much has come to mind. Seven patients were lost to this damn pandemic and three more were struck and confirmed ill on your floor alone. One of them was a long time friend; a white woman who told stories like none you had heard before.

“Yes, yes I know quite well and understand what going on in the worldddd! It has a D on the end. It’s world!”

Then, that very moment it hit you, “Dammit” you were your mother. You held up the shoe and dumped it over your own head. Joe begins to laugh hysterically. His laugh is contagious and you begin to laugh with him.

Your phone beeps, or chirps, or tweets or buzzes, whatever it is the damn “dumb” phones do these days. Facebook again. You scroll down. Riot. President stinks, best president ever! Love God, Hate God. Another riot. #BLM. #AllLivesMatter. #BlueLivesMatter. #Solidarity. Oh a puppy licking a kitten. Shooting. Looting. Syrup, no syrup. Ban it all, keep it all. OMFG! You hurl the phone to the ground in a rage. Insane, why are all the people so insane?!?

You look at Joe who wasn’t laughing anymore. He was scrolling on his phone. He spoke as you picked up the phone and reared back, ready to throw it again.

“Choo know your friend Stella, not the one who got her groove back.” he chuckled uncomfortably. “Her deli was broken into, lost twenty-thousand dollars in damages.”

Joe was the level headed one. He surprised me with his insights on “George Floy” and the fallout from it.

“That poor man, asking for his momma,” you mumble under your breath. “Then there are the cops in our town, they have been nothing short of great to us.”

“Chess baby, ye ye yess! that better I pronounce Yes for you. Choo are right, what we do now.”

You have sent a crew over every week to take care of the police station grounds.

“Now we go to work Joe, you and I, we work our jobs, and we work our marriage.”

“Now choo understand what’s going on in the worl- worldd World.” He said it until he got it just right. His mouth stretched and flexed, but it was perfect. Somehow he always did this; he calmed you, made you feel special, significant even.

You fell in love with Joe all over again. From his worn out ball cap down to the greying goatee and on down to the khaki dirt stained work pants and yes all the way down to his loafers. The loafers that reminded you of your father and you swear he only got them as a sick prank or something.

But what struck you in that moment was that he wasn’t a cheater like your father had been. He wasn’t an alcoholic like his father had been. He was a good man who had worked hard and loved you like no other. So families be damned. Facebook be damned. You are a strong black woman and he is a “stron” Mexican man who didn’t pronounce his D’s, or G’s for that matter. So you decide that it isn’t up to the “worl” to decide what was best for you or anyone else. It is up to each of us to live the best life we can.

You put on your mask, hiding that sometimes vulgar mouth of yours. You reach down to the floor and pick up the “dumb phone,” You turn to your husband; he smiles softly. The phone rings. It’s not a text. Something serious.

It’s the nursing home where you work. The voice on the other end informs you that your favorite long term resident has just passed. You look back at Joe, a tear trickles down your cheek. You start to speak. Joe puts a finger to his mouth and waves it slowly.

“It’s okay baby,” he puts his arms out and pats his chest. You fall into it.

“Choo can be a few minutes late baby, the worl isn’t going anywhere.”

“Indeed.” you pull your mask down and off your mouth.

Twenty shades of twenty-twenty ain’t got shit on You!          

June 27, 2020 01:24

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1 comment

VJ Hamilton
22:13 Jun 23, 2022

LoL, a daring choice to use second-person voice! Thanks for the funny and ultimately heartwarming story!


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