|Wake Up Call|
Arguments are to be avoided: they are always vulgar and often convincing.
There was quarreling downstairs, and I couldn’t sleep. It was 2: 00 am, in the freaking morning, and here I was awake and losing beauty sleep. I tried to close my eyes and stack the pillows on my head but the shouts bore through.
It was very awful, but then I heard my name. It piqued my interest so I got out of bed and hid in the staircase where it was dark. From where I was hiding I had a good view of the kitchen and living room.
“Look at yourself. You need to be a man and stay strong for Lexi. She lost her mother too.”
“I’m sorry. I don’t know what got over me.” My dad apologized with his head down like he was ashamed of something.
“Drinking, smoking, and doing drugs is not going to change what happened. You reek of whiskey. GO CLEAN YOURSELF UP!” Ma shouted at him and I could see the raw expression on her face, disgust dripping from her voice.
My dad snapped. “You’re no better than I am. Kaye invited you to Thanksgiving dinner every year and what did you do? You told her you couldn’t make it because you were ‘busy’.”
“Yes, I was busy with the firm. You know that Richard” her voice simmered like she was trying to convince herself.
“Pathetic. That’s what you say. You were probably in England sleeping around with some random strippers, drinking, and playing poker. Celebrating and having a heck of a time. Then you show up on the day before the funeral, crying as if you cared. We called your phone, your workplace and left millions of voicemails. You have no right to judge me.”
“Greg is not a stripper!” she defended.
“Get out of my house you hag!” my dad bellowed. My heart clenched.
“Shut your filthy mouth Richard” she warned.
“You’re a sorry excuse for a mother. Make sure you’re out of my house by 10:00 am today.”
“But what will Lexi say?” she worriedly asked. My heart jumped and raced like an antelope at the sudden mention of my name.
“Make something up like you always do. You are good at that.” He shouted the reply as he walked towards the staircase.
It took me a while to register that he was coming my way but I got away just in time.
I had just witnessed a family feud.
I dragged my sorry self-down the stairs not bothering to tame my wild bed head or change my clothes. I sat around the island in the kitchen and I noticed a yellow sticky note, with my favorite little words. ‘Enjoy the sunshine, sunshine’, then and there I knew it was Ma.
The sticky note was stuck to a bowl with a spoon; I looked about, my eyes flickered to the magnificent cereal box that stood in front of me, in all its glory. Involuntarily, my stomach growled like the thunder giving way to a storm. I went to the freezer and grabbed the milk and plopped back down into the chair. After chugging down my cereal, I remembered the events of last night.
I lay in bed, not making a sound as footsteps approached my bed. My back was turned and I didn’t plan on getting reprimanded for eavesdropping. I felt my bed sink and I squeezed my eyes shut and held my breath.
“Chyenne, are you up?” he questioned. I know I should have probably not pretended but I did.
“I know you’re awake because you’ve gotten quite stiff since I’ve sat here. Listen,” I could smell the whiskey and the weed on him. “I’m sorry about what happened at dinner. I have a lot on my plate and it’s a little more than I can chew.” He thought it would be appropriate to make a dinner joke and I could hear the smile in his voice.
No. No, I didn’t turn around and forgive him. To forgive him would be too easy and what was going on with him changed everything. Instead, I just kept still. He seemed to get the memo that I wasn’t planning on answering anytime soon, so he kissed my cheek and left.
I was angry at dad for disrespecting and shouting at Ma. But was what he said about Ma true? The question which was the query of the year; that kept doing somersaults and cartwheels in the back of mind was what my father was hiding from me?
I put the empty bowl into the sink and dumped the empty carton box into the trash. I waltzed in Ma’s room. You guessed it; we were to go dancing...
I knocked on the door and she invited me in. She was already done with the packing, except for the fact that she bought too much stuff and it couldn’t fit so like always I was the human heavyweight.
“Thanks, Lexi.” She smiled halfheartedly as she zipped her suitcase shut.
“Why are you leaving so early you have two days before your actual fight. I m-mean flight” she laughed.
Yes. She laughed.
“I know you know why I’m leaving. Your dad doesn’t want me here.”
There was a knock at the door and we remained still. “Eureka, it’s Richard. I’m sorry about last night. You can stay. Scratch that.” He sighed. “Please stay.”
I turned to look at Ma expecting to see a full-on grin but instead, she looked determined and her smile was... Weak?
“It’s okay Richard; I think it’s time I get going and I’ve already booked a flight, but thanks.” I furrowed my brows. I was confused. Why did she refuse his offer? Dad left, leaving us in silence.
“Ma, why did you refuse? He apolo-"
“I know, but a drunken man’s words are the thoughts of a sober man. We can spend a little time together if you want. We could go for ice cream before I leave.” She knew I couldn’t resist the power of ice cream and eventually I gave in.
“Fine, but I get to choose what flavor you eat. You keep eating vanilla-like it’s the only flavor in the world.” She laughed at my bargain.
I stood looking at the freakishly large ice cream chart. It had about two thousand different flavors. I’ve lived here all my life and every time I came here I never got tired of gazing upon it. It was like the holy grail of ice cream. But to me, it was the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’.
“Chyenne Chambers would you stop staring and choose the ice cream already. People are looking at us as if I got a retarded grandchild.” Ma complained uncomfortably.
She walked towards me and pushed my lower jaw up. “You better keep it closed or you’ll catch flies with that thing” she smiled. I faced her only to meet the most amused grin I’ve seen in a long while.
“Okay, no need to get your panties in a twist. The pistachio ice cream for you and the vanilla is for me. Might as well see why everything you eat is vanilla flavored.” She raised her brows as we collected our ice cream. She stared at me as I was about to taste.
“Lexi, if you don’t like it, can I have it?” she asked innocently.
“The doctor’s orders said nope.” I smiled evilly at her; making sure to upset her a bit.
“This doctor doesn’t like me one bit. I don’t know why I agreed to this. I mean come on this is pure torture to my taste buds.”
“But Ma, you haven’t tasted it yet.” I laughed at her. “Just try it please?” I was begging with every fiber of my being, also known as my famous brown puppy dog eyes.
Finally, she gave in, she took a taste and her eyes widened. I acquired this as my cue.
“So how is it?” I prodded. “Is it everything you imagined?”
“It is good, I guess” her shoulders slumped in defeat, and her voice dropped a little lower, almost a whisper.
I couldn’t help myself. “What was that? I didn’t quite get that.” I teased. I laughed at her shyness about being wrong about the taste of the ice cream.
“Fine,” She retorted, smiling a little. “It tastes better than the vanilla one.”
At least I won this round. Yeah!!