Rudy’s reaction was mixed. Considering Aria staying with him aside from his history with Miles, appealed to his paternal nature. However, the thought that Aria, another one of the Miles’ responsibilities, was being left to him, fostered some resentment. He needed to talk it over with Trish.
“I don’t want her around here. What will the church think? She’s just strange, dresses strange, hair wild, always staring out in space, moving her fingers in that way she does.” She wiggled her fingers next to her head and crossed her eyes. “Have you noticed that she stares at Elias’ rear end whenever he’s around? For God’s sake she walks barefooted in the house and outside. I don’t like the way she talks, when she does say anything and I don’t mean her accent, she doesn’t know her place. Children should be seen, not heard. She thinks she’s better than everybody else. And why does she have to spend so much time with Kiev, which just proves she’s weird, strange, just not right.”
Why did I even ask her, Rudy silently regretted. “Look, Kiev is autistic. He is the way he is. Aria is her own person too and I think it’s my responsibility to look after her. She is family. My brothers come around more often because of her and that makes me feel good. Plus I think she’s charming. Does that make me weird too?” Rudy stifled his anger.
Trish replied, “Look where your being responsible for Miles has gotten you!”
The rawness and the sincerity of the remark hit a two-sided nerve with Rudy. Firstly, in the intimate and vulnerable confines of pillow talk Rudy had admitted his resentment towards his brother. Trish in the past few years used it as a weapon to manipulate situations. He felt betrayed. Secondly, he did feel resentful towards Miles, but the acceptance of these responsibilities also delivered some unimaginable gifts like seeing Elias in his first Off-Broadway show, accepting the New York Historical Society’s designation of the Kensington home as a historical landmark on behalf of the Rhone family, and accepting the New York Association of Jazz Preservation’s award on behalf of his mother. In his heart he could sense Aria was another one.
“Plus, she won’t be around that much. Miles enrolled her in a couple of summer camps and I think Elias and Sasha want her to hang with them at some of their rehearsals. I think they’re trying to recruit her to become a young thespian.” Rudy said, not
replying to her.
He repositioned himself on the bed, rolling his eyes then his body away from her body and hurtful comments.
Trish sucked her teeth. “I wasn’t raised like you and your brothers. Daddy was a proud Mason and we were part of the Links. We had to learn etiquette and stick to it. It will always be true that your position in life will be determined by the company you keep and people will be judgmental, it’s only natural,” Trish pouted.
“Being judgmental isn’t Christian or at least the kind of Christianity that I know. You know, I don’t understand you sometimes.”
“What do you mean you don’t understand me?”
“Where do you find your joy, Trish?”
“Where’s that question coming from?”
“I don’t know. You just seem like you haven’t been happy for a while.”
It had been a while since he thought about the nuts and bolts of their relationship. He recalled that Trish, the daughter of a prominent Mason, came from the African-American bourgeois. Though she wouldn’t have concurred, he observed that she had been raised in a religious home with little cultivated joy. She’d been taught to value appearance, etiquette, pedigree, and affiliations. Often, she’d convey stories involving judgment on other girls who smiled too much or too wide, or who showed their gums, girls who wore one dress too many times, or those who missed church more than three times in a row; those who could be called dimwitted, unconventionally dressed, unconventional beauties, nappy hair and such. Her mother constantly criticized Trish, and Rudy surmised that it probably had started during childhood. Being terrorized by such language seemed to create a person who readily lashed out with extreme criticism: a bitter pill wrapped in gold fondant.
He was won over by Trish in a short six months. In the beginning of their courtship, Trish doted over him and took great care in domestic responsibilities. They married. After that, it took only another six months to wear his spirit down, to the point that he lost his fight. Trish continued to handle domestic affairs, but with resentment, criticism and complaints. However, through her he had found the church and therefore felt a sense of gratitude and obligation, allowing him to look past her faults. His obligation to religion kept him from even considering dissolving their union. Joy in his life, however, was becoming an endangered emotion.
“Well, I find my happiness in church and in other places.” Trish flashed a contrived smile at him.
“Patricia, please, for me, consider it. Maybe a little change around here will do us good. Now come to bed.”
“What do you mean will do us a little good?”
“I mean maybe we’ve gotten ourselves in a rut. We could be good role models for her. You know her mother isn’t around.” Some degree of traction was gained, he thought.
“It’s not my fault her mother isn’t around. Maybe I’d leave too. She’s doesn’t make that much of an impression.”
“Trish, keep your voice down. Are you hearing yourself? You sound almost hateful.”
“Well, you’re asking a lot from me.” She said out loud, and then mumbled “For that little heathen.”