Chapter 1- The Dinner
Revolution: a major sudden change in the structure of society
I was too upset to breathe, too mad to think, too vicious to socialize, too depressed to eat; I was definitely on edge.
I lay in bed, with my face buried into my pillow. Stifling my cries and it acted as my tissue to dry my tears. I couldn’t stop the flow of waterworks that trickled down my face.
My life had been ruined. How did this happen? This was all my fault. I should have kept quiet as she told me but I was just too darn stubborn to listen.
I sat there and remembered what had happened some days ago, I was broken.
I was a train wreck. Two weeks after, here I was. Still broken but healing. I was in mourning for my mother, Kayceen Chambers. She was my best friend, my rock, my teacher, my role model but most importantly, she was a mother that could never be replaced.
She was my mom and I loved her.
It was my fault. I killed her and for that I know I don’t deserve to live. I promised to never hurt her and I did. I took a deep breath. My eyes were filled with tears and I was ready to leave. I had said goodbye to her but I never really meant it. Whenever I said goodbye, it was like saying, I’ll visit you soon mom.
I let my fingers slide over her gravestone once more. It said, ‘Kayceen Vanessa Chambers, a loving daughter, a wife, a mother, and a friend’. I stood up and brushed the knees of my jeans. What was engraved on her stone wasn’t enough.
She was more than just family and a friend. So much more and no one would ever know because she was gone. With a heavy heart, I walked away. This was the last I would ever come to visit though. I promised myself this time. This time, it would be the last. I wanted to forget. To forget the hefty price I paid. The price of my mother’s life.
I cried all the time I walked home. It was silent and it was late, around ten. I needed to leave the quiet and lonely house that was once cheerful and happy for a bit. It brought back too many memories. I had cried enough. I was done crying. Being in the house reminded me of her.
It was the simplest of things that reminded me of my mom, like the way she folded the clothes or how every few days she’d be cleaning. At times I had fun and I was happy. I wanted to tell her everything then I remember she’s gone. I felt guilty because I was laughing not long after she passed and that made me a bad person.
I started to notice the little things, at dinner, the food tasted bland and not because the cooking was bad but it didn’t taste the way she always cooked it. Remembering that she isn’t here anymore hit me hard like a ton of bricks and it hurt.
Mom wasn’t here and dad wasn’t himself. He left early in the mornings and returned early the next day. He sometimes fumbled up the stairs but maybe he was just tired. He was a cop and that meant he worked late but now that mom died he almost never came home. He had been burying himself in work ever since. As of late, he started to make more of an effort to be home but I know that only had to do with Ma, who stuck around after mom’s funeral.
I realized I had neared my house and I froze up. I was panicking. The ground under my feet felt as if it was shaking. It looked as if it was opening up. I was crying; I didn’t want to go home. I didn’t want to go back to that house. I bent down and I cried my breathing heavy but shallow.
“Make it stop please. I can’t take it anymore. Please! Dad! Help!” I cried silently, pleading for a release. “Someone... Help me!” I whispered.
The ground stopped shaking but now I saw the past. I was reliving the final moments of mom’s death. We had crashed but it was my fault. I woke up, everything a haze. Everything was upside down. I looked for a way out and crawled out of the extremely bent up vehicle. I had injured my arm. Any sudden movements felt as if someone was tearing my flesh. I had a huge cut, so much that my flesh was hanging off. Then I remembered... Mom. I ran to the other side of the car and I saw that my mom wasn’t moving. She was still in the car. I reached through the broken shards of glass of the window and shook her.
“Mom, wake up! You can’t die on me!” I shook her frail form even harder. “Mom, please wake up!” I screamed.
Suddenly, my favorite song started to play. I heard my mom’s voice in the form of a song. This wasn’t a part of the memory. It was a recording of my mom singing to me. It was a song that comforted me many times in the past. I closed my eyes listening for a while and slowly the panic went away. The song brought me back to the real world. My breathing evened out and I was able to stand up once again.
I took out my phone and looked at the caller ID. I allowed it to ring out. I just stared at my phone, trying to compose myself. It rang again and this time, I answered.
“Hey dad.” I answered cheerfully.
“Hey kiddo,” he replied. “Have you left the cemetery yet?”
“Yeah, I left not too long ago.” I told him.
“Could you get me ginger ale at the store on your way back?”
“Dad, I’m almost home.” I chuckled. “Besides, didn’t you buy a bottle yesterday at the store?”
“I-uhhh... The thing is...” Dad became silent and I waited for him to continue. He seemed as if he was trying to either come up with a lie or explain the complication.
Did dad hang up? Just as I was about to check I heard laughing in the background and I knew it was Ma.
“He said he slipped!” she answered for dad.
“How did that happen?” I laughed, I was curious. I wanted to know the story of how he slipped and what it had to do with the ginger ale.
“Never mind that” my dad spoke up. “Just hurry and get home.”
I nodded and soon realized he couldn’t see me. “Yes, dad. I’ll be there in five. Bye.”
“Bye.” I hung up and kept walking but a bit faster this time. When I got home and dinner was already on the table.
“Hey. I’m back.” I said as I walked into the dining room.
“Lexi, are you okay?” asked Ma. She was looking at me closely like she had noticed something.
“Of course, I’m fine.” I smiled at her. However, she didn’t seem convinced. My eyes were still sore from crying so much. My dad walked in from the kitchen with some drinks and put it on the table.
“Sit down and let’s have dinner.” He told me seriously and I nodded. Even though I was happy for the save, dad didn’t look happy at all. I was about to sit down and eat but then I remembered to wash my hands. I did and then sat down.
Tonight we said a brief prayer and we ate. Dinner was silent, my dad hadn’t said a word and neither did Ma. They were quiet, too quiet. This was unlike Ma to go so long without saying a word. Dad didn’t once look at me or ask me to pass him the ketchup. This was weird. We were having french fried chicken for God’s sake!
I felt so uncomfortable that I started to pick at my food unconsciously, while occasionally peering at the pair in front of me.
“Umm, are you guys okay?” I asked suspiciously, and as I did, Ma’s eyes glanced up at dad. Maybe they had an argument. “Did I do something wrong?”
“There isn’t a problem at all.” He looked at Ma. He was serious and his voice tense. He jammed his fork into a piece chicken and ate it.
“Okay...” I said, backing off. I didn’t want him to get mad at me. There was silence and we kept eating. No one said anything and it gave me time to think.
“Richard, I think you should tell Lexi. She’s old enough to know and Kaye would’ve wanted her to know.” Ma had suddenly spoken up. It sounded like something she couldn’t keep to herself any longer.
“Eureka, I’ve made my decision already it’s not up for discussion,” my father blandly replied while still eating. He was being careful not to meet my eyes. “I no longer wanna talk about that.”
Then it went back to silence. What does Ma mean by I’m old enough to know? What doesn’t dad want to tell me? It was very odd to see the two like this because they were always going at each other. It was sort of like watching two apes fight for a bunch of grapes; except this was done in a playful manner. They seemed young by nature.
“Dad, tell me what is going on? You are behaving weirdly. “I tried again. I really didn’t like his attitude. It was something important. Ma wouldn’t have brought it up if it wasn’t.
He suddenly stopped eating and dropped his fork in his plate; he got up and took his plate to the sink, leaving us at the dining table. I got up; pushing back my chair but my grandmother stopped me. She held onto my hand and shook her head. She was clearly warning me.
“Give him some time Lexi.” I nodded and pushed my plate away. “He just needs a minute.” I had lost my appetite.
“But look at the way he was acting. I think I should talk to him.” I stared at the door he just slammed.
“Give him time. It’ll be fine.” I sighed and nodded giving up. “I hope you’re right.”
“I know I am.” She smiled and looked at me with such concern.
I wanted to sleep. It was almost midnight. I had plans with Ma tomorrow and I needed to be energetic. I didn’t want to lag behind from lack of sleep. I sighed heavily; maybe a good night's rest is what I needed to help unload my heavy heart.
“Ma, I’m going to my bed,” I told her as I kissed her forehead.
“Okay, don’t stay up too late” she smiled mischievously at me as if she knew something I didn’t. She always asked if I had a boyfriend maybe that’s what she was going on about, but nevertheless, I answered as I left to my room.