October soon turned into November, which my students and fellow coworkers were very excited for because this meant more breaks from school with a couple weeks in between them. Their excitement was understandable because it meant rest and relaxation.
However, this also meant that finals were coming up and I knew the kids were also dreading that the most. The upside to holidays during the second half of the year is finals and those were the most awful things to think about with thanksgiving and Christmas in their minds. To make this time of year a little more easier for them, I made sure to review everything in a way that they all would remember whether or not they were the types to be a pro at studying or be extremely bad at it.
As for my final, I made sure that it was worded in a very understandable way for them no matter their reading level or comprehension skills. I remember being in school myself and not understanding a damn word the finals would say, even though I read it over and over again. I’m going to make sure my students this year and for years to come don’t go through that same dilemma as I did.
“What’s wrong, Emily? You’ve been quiet the entire day,” My mom said.
“I’m fine, mom. Just thinking about finals and stuff,” I sighed.
“It is a stressful time for you and your students,” She responded.
“It is. I’m trying to make it as less stressful as possible,” I said.
“Good. Those kids will need it. You know how finals used to get to you every single time you would take them,” She responded.
“Yeah and it sucked,” I nodded, “This time, I’m going to make sure that my students can comprehend the final as best as they can. There’s no need in confusing the hell out of children with the wording. It’s going to trip them up, even if they have higher reading levels.”
“They’ll remember this for years to come when they’re all grown up. They’ll remember your impact,” She said.
“Thanks, mom,” I smiled.
“Enough about work. How’s it going with your new man friend?” She asked.
“It’s going good. We have a date next weekend,” I answered.
“Ooh. Where are you going?” She questioned.
“Don’t know. It’s a surprise,” I responded.
“A surprise? Maybe he’ll take you out of town for this,” She said.
“He just might. He’s only taken me on two dates that cost pennies to him,” I responded.
“And then he took you to Greece, which was expensive within itself,” She smiled.
“Yeah he did. That villa was nothing to sneeze at either,” I replied.
“I’m so happy that two of my girls are getting the best and only the best,” She sighed contently, “You girls deserve the best and only the best.”
“I know, mom,” I smiled softly.
“Your father was wrong about you girls accepting whatever is handed to you. Him and his whole thought process around that is so damn backwards,” She rolled her eyes. My dad was never one to spoil us. In fact, he complained about buying us the necessities as if he was some dead beat paying child support. He always made me and my sisters feel as if just taking care of our significant others and getting praised for it was spoiling us enough. It was such an archaic way of thinking that I almost hated him for it.
“Speaking of him, where is he?” I asked.
“Hm? Oh he’s at his place,” She answered.
“His place?” I furrowed my eyebrows in confusion. Her eyes widened when she realized her mistake. If she’s acting like this, then that means that something is definitely going on.
“Mom, what do you mean by his place?” I inquired.
“You were going to find out sooner or later, even though Casper and Harmony were sworn to secrecy,” She sighed. It didn’t take long for me to finally figure out what she was talking about.
“You guys are getting divorced?” I asked.
“Actually, we’ve been divorced since last year,” She replied.
“What? Wasn’t he still living here?” I asked.
“No. He was just putting up a front for you girls because he doesn’t believe in a broken family,” She rolled her eyes.
“Why?” I questioned.
“Because he felt that it was embarrassing for you three to know that we got divorced,” She answered.
“It’s even more embarrassing that he thinks that putting up a front is a better way to keep it a secret,” I replied.
“He’s never been one to be all that bright up there,” She said, gesturing to her head.
“Of course he isn’t,” I agreed.
“Anyways, we got divorced last year. The final straw was when he tried to force Casper to drop out of her music program,” She informed. That time was so awful for Casper. Our dad had made her feel so horrible about her choice in major to the point of where she actually considered changing it to keep him happy, but my mom, Harmony, and I convinced her not to until she completely discarded the idea from her mind.
“Honestly, I would have preferred if you had divorced him back when I was in high school,” I said.
“Girl, you already know that I would have divorced him then, but you know your grandmother got into my head and told me to just deal with it for you three,” She sighed.
“Yeah I remember that and I was pissed off about it,” I responded.
“Exactly. I love my mother, but no. Just no,” She shook her head. That event was something I clearly remembered. Not only was my mom upset with my grandmother, but my other relatives too that did not like my dad at all. It took a while before my grandmother was officially forgiven, which wasn’t until my junior year of college.
“Anyways, I’m glad that you guys are divorced. I’m happy for you,” I smiled.
“Thank you, sweetie. I’m glad too, but I feel bad for waiting so long. It was more damaging for us to be together for the sake of you two. I wish I knew then what I know now,” She said.
“Well, mom, this is fine now. We don’t fool with dad anyway because of his behavior and we all turned out to be just fine,” I responded, “In fact, we all made it a promise to never stay with a man that makes us unhappy because of the children.”
“I’m glad you girls know to put your happiness first,” She replied.
“Of course we do, mom. We took your words to heart,” I said.
“It’s so nice to have you three listening to me. Before, you would get mad when I tried to tell you something and that made me so mad half the time, but you already know my policy,” She explained.
“Yeah. Don’t listen to you and we end up looking stupid,” I chuckled.
“Mhm. So, listen to your mother. Your mother is always right,” She giggled.
“I’ll listen to you for as long as I live,” I smiled.
“That’s my girl,” She hugged me tightly. She kissed my forehead before we pulled away.
“So have you showed this man what a tight pussy is or are you taking it slow?” She asked. The drink I was drinking was spit out immediately when she said that.
“MOM!” I yelled.
“What? I’m asking a simple question,” She innocently said.
“Mom, you don’t ask your adult daughter that,” I told her.
“Girl, you know I’m different,” She smirked.
“Mom, please stop saying the p-word. It’s weird and gross when you do it,” I shuddered in disgust.
“Pussy, pussy, pussy, pussy!” She annoying exclaimed.
“Mom, you’re embarrassing,” I muttered. She cackled hysterically.
“I’m just trying to see where you two are with this little relationship. You’re going a little slow for my tastes, but to each their own,” She shrugged.
“Mom, as much as I want to push him down, we both agreed to go slow,” I informed.
“Booooo-ring!” She said.
“Do tell me what you would do if you were in my position,” I made a face.
“First of all, I’d have sex with the man and lock him in. He’s rich and a baby would secure that,” She told me.
“Mom, no. Just no,” I shook my head, “Plus, I’m not about to have another incident like in college when I told that guy to impregnate me in the heat of the moment.”
“I remember that. That was too hilarious,” She laughed. I remember it too and it wasn’t a fond memory either because a) her and my sisters laughed at me, b) me and that guy were talking dirty as hell and I loved it in that moment, and c) I was scared as hell of getting pregnant around that time. Thankfully, I didn’t get pregnant at all and me and that guy continued what we were doing with protection after that.
“Well, I was a little disappointed and confused on why I had that fish dream around that time, but it was all cleared up once we found out that Harmony was pregnant at the time,” She smiled.
“The fact that you told me that you had a fish dream wasn’t even funny. I was panicking because I was hoping that I wasn’t pregnant at all. Not to mention that I would have to deal with dad and his mouth,” I rolled my eyes.
“If he had said something, then you know I would have defended you like my life depended on it,” She replied.
“I know, mom, but he’s so damn annoying and condescending when he says stuff,” I murmured.
“Oh he definitely is. I’ve had to put him in his place on more than one occasion. Half time you girls witnessed it and other times I did it in private too,” She said.
“I can never forget the looks of embarrassment he had every single time you got onto him,” I chuckled.
“Mhm, but now I’m happy to be rid of him after all these years. Should’ve just left him when Casper was five, which was an actual idea,” She explained.
“And you should’ve. You could have been married to someone else with another child,” I smiled.
“I could have, but I’m happy with the children I have now,” She beamed, “You girls are my pride and joy.”
“We know, mom,” I said.
“I’m glad. Now, speaking of marriage, I don’t know what your sister is thinking, but she sent me a text yesterday saying that she wants to marry this French man she met,” She informed.
“Mom, I think she was joking,” I rolled my eyes.
“Joking or not, but black French men are worse than black men in the states. They’re all just as colorist as they can be,” She shook her head.
“Maybe he’s different,” I told her.
“Hm. I hope so for her sake because I would hate to have to be an international war criminal,” She responded.
“Casper is a big girl, Mom. She can handle herself and I assure that she’ll nip whatever colorist ideas he has in the bud,” I said.
“I know, but she’s the baby of the family. I worry about her a lot. You remember that last jackass she dated,” She reminded. How could I, or any of us, forget? That guy was trash from trash mountain, which should have been a real issue from the moment my dad said that he liked him and thought he was a good fit for her.
“Don’t remind me of him. I still want to kick his ass and dad’s too for inviting him to family events long after they broke up,” I hissed.
“If there’s one thing that idiotic man knows how to do, it’s be a jackass to his own daughters and prove that he would rather take the side of the men that hurt you instead,” She narrowed her eyes.
“I’m very familiar with his brand assholery,” I muttered.
“I’m still angry at the fact that he had the nerve, the gall, the audacity to call me and try to tell me something because that bitch boy Jaylen told him about the fact that the man you’re dating is white,” She shook her head, “I had to curse his ass out for that because he has no business trying to get upset at you for dating that man and calling you out of your name when Jaylen isn’t even half the man he is.”
“I didn’t know that he was calling me out my name,” I furrowed my eyebrows together.
“And yet again I let something else slip. Way to go, Erica,” She muttered to herself.
“Mom, it’s not exactly shocking to me to be honest. It’s upsetting, yes, but not shocking. Remember Hassan? Remember all those names he was calling me when he found out that we were dating?” I said.
“God. That was a horrible day for you and I’m still sorry that you had to experience that from your own father. Hassan was such a nice boy that respected you and treated you like a princess,” She sighed.
“He was,” I agreed.
“Speaking of him, I saw him last week in the store. He greeted me and asked how I was doing,” She smiled.
“How is he doing?” I asked.
“He’s single and he asked if you were, but I told him that you were currently seeing somebody,” She answered.
“Let me guess, the next thing he did was give you his number and said to give it to me in case it didn’t work out?” I smiled.
“You know that boy so well,” She chuckled.
“Of course I do. That’s how he got me,” I giggled.
“God. That boy was so damn smooth and he brought me flowers when you had him over for dinner,” She said, “What I wouldn’t give to have a son-in-law like that.”
“Yeah well things change and so do people,” I replied.
“That’s true,” She agreed.
“Anyways, where’s Hassan’s number?” I asked.
“Oh. What happened to Mr. Richy Rich?” She smirked.
“Nothing. Just going to give him the number of somebody who might be interested,” I giggled, “A certain cousin of ours.”
“I already know it’s not Nadeija because she’s sunk her claws into the gym teacher at your school,” She said.
“Of course it’s not Nadeija and who told you about him?” I asked.
“Your aunt Brenda. Told me that when she was FaceTiming that girl the other day, she had that man in a trance,” She laughed.
“That does sound like her,” I cackled.
“Whoever you give it to, it better be somebody ready to handle all of us Richards women in the sack,” She said.
“Mom, you act like I’m going to set him up with Valentina,” I rolled my eyes.
“Don’t you ever in your life set a man up with that girl. She nearly broke the last one,” She warned me.
“I learned my lesson, mom,” I chuckled.
“Good. Almost made me pay for that men’s therapy,” She shook her head.
“Anyways, it’s not going to be her. So don’t worry. It’s going to be Leona anyway,” I replied.
“I take back what I said. He’s probably going to break her. You know how that girl is,” She said.
“Mom, at least have some faith in her,” I replied.
“I have faith in her in other areas, but not this one,” She told me.
“You are so wrong for that,” I snorted.
“Wrong or not. I’m just looking out for her,” She said.
“Plus Hassan is not-never mind. He’ll break her,” I replied.
“Mhm. Better warn her,” She made a face.
“Hassan likes to mess with girls like Leona,” I said.
“Just throwing her to the wolves. You’re awful,” She shook her head.
“Oh whatever. Hassan might be able to pull her out of her shell,” I replied.
“From how you described him a couple years after that break up, I don’t doubt it,” She nodded.
“Before we get too deep into this, give me his number already,” I held out my hand.
“Fine. Here,” She passed her phone to me, “Well at least this way Leona will get back into the dating scene. She hasn’t dated since Anthony left her.”
“I know. I hope it goes well for her sake,” I murmured.
“She deserves a good man,” She agreed.