rough draft of novella being developed for the NANOWRIMO contest
Later through the heavy wind at my cold face and the blowing snow which I used my hands to cover my face I sneezed as I walked at a fast past. Just a few minutes ago Issac dropped me at the entrance of the graveyard which was located on Irving Park Road and currently I was listening to the sound of Issac’s tires zooming away me standing on Irving Park Road as he left me in the midst of the quiet Irving Park Cemetary. My hands were stuck in my black down coat and my head was covered with the hood of my coat plus the warm wool scarf Nandi had brought me the previous Christmas. It was a nasty day, but I was determined, it was time to really say good bye.
Going to Ms. Africa Jones, did help me, although the Joie that Issac sees would never tell. I mean, I thought long and hard about it. And I needed to tell Imani some things and hope she forgives me. With these thoughts in my head, I slowly trudge my way through the wide ground that is covered by all kinds of plots and the names surrounding me blinded me to the point where I thought I wasn’t going to find Imani’s plot. I kept going though and finally nestled in between a short plot and huge plot that was tall and in the middle was my baby’s. My hand was on the pulse of my throat and the tears that had been hiding they began their sad roll down my frozen cheeks. I scraped my black boots as I found myself at the front of my baby’s grave. Not sure if I had the words to tell her how I really felt. How empty I felt but I had to try to vocalize my feelings.
With watery eyes that seemed to want to keep the sad flow out of my body, I felt myself breaking apart and my voice cracked, “Hey Mani.”
I stood there and didn’t know if what I had to say was going to absolve me from the crime I had committed. But I know God is a forgiving God and maybe he’ll let this one sin go. Just one time. My chattering teeth told me I better hurry up because I told Issac to come and get me in twenty minutes. Shoving the stupid thoughts that creeped in my mind, I said out loud. “Hey baby. Sorry mommy wasn’t the best mother. I always had you in my mind. I hope you never forget that and know that I’ll love you to the end o fmy days. I will forever love you and I hope you know that I didn’t want this. You gone from me. Please forgive me..” I fell to my knees not carrying about the cold snow below and forgetting about my surroundings.
“I have to tell the truth to you about your...real.” I sucked the cold wind in my lungs and spit, “daddy.”
I stood there not sure proceed and feeling like the devil was laughing his butt off at me. Not miss confidant Joie. The one who used to have men fighting over her. Not the one who always exuded a lot of great positive energy. Everyone thinks I am the most confident person but inside my soul I am not.
I shake my head at my internal ramblings and take out the two page letter from my coat pocket. The one I wrote this morning while watching the world come alive. But it’s done and I must speak the awful truth and let Imani know that I was a selfish person and that I want to be forgiven. I deserve to be forgiven. I lean forward on the ground and stare at her full name and curl up to the plot as I openly cry.
“All I can say is that I did love your real father. That it was good between us. He supported me but I made the decision to move on with Issac. Your real father was not a person who I’d say would have been able to help you get the things that Issac have given you. Plus he disappeared and I couldn’t find him. I swear if I knew where to find him, I’d have told him about you. Please don’t be mad at me Imani. I love you and always will. Hope you will always love me. You have a place right here”, I pointed to my chest, “and you always will live and breath here.”
I closed my melancholy eyes, shoved the letter on the ground with bright yellow daisies and white baby breaths I had picked up at Dominick’s earlier that day. I searched the graveyard and found green trees all kinds just beautiful to my eyes even though I was in the midst of a snowing day. Even though I should be sad, I know Imani is smiling down at me. My feet slowly make their way back to the entrance of the graveyard and I wait for Issac to pick me up. I hear the slow peal of the phone ringing in my black Coach purse and I dig through my soft Kleenex tissues, various pens, Imani’s funeral program, some kit kat’s and with frustration on my fingertips curse aloud then finally finding the Cingular cell phone under the ten key ring that included my Name spelled out and a picture of Imani dangling from it.
“Yeah.” A question forms from my mouth as I speak into the phone pulling my purse closer to me and trying to fight the wind that was in my face.
“Hey, babe, I’m like five minutes away. You okay? You sound tired.”
“I’m cool. Just cold as hell out here. I’m trying to stay snow free.” I stop as I see his car zooming closer to me. “You close as heck. I thought you were five minutes away.” When I step into the car I hear the funky old love beats of Marvin Gaye soothing my soul and I lay my head against the seat and rest my head. I see a huge grin on Issac’s face as he drives down the icy roads to the house. Stuffing my purse on the floor between my feet, I ask him where he got the music from.
“Music Now. You know I download a lot of music and in fact you will love the rest of what I downloaded last night - some Freddy Jackson, Lakeside, Al Green...” His excited eyes lit up as his lips moved fast and hurriedly.
I really can’t believe he downloads all the old music. He’s like twenty-seven but he acts like an old man - I guess it’s okay though. I like listening to the old jams like “Say Yes” by Lakeside. I remember Momma pumping that through our old apartment on 64th and University. We had a huge four bedroom apartment more than enough room for me, Joe, Nandi and Momma. Although Momma didn’t let me and Nandi use the separate bedrooms until I got older. It was fun.
I bop my head from side to side listening to the music and I’m softly prodded by Issac.
“You warm enough?” His hand is pulsed on the temperature button in the car as he is waiting for my response.
“I’m good, in fact, I need to take this coat off for a minute.” I shrug off the heavy coat only slightly so I can breathe a little bit.
“Okay, just checking...” He seemed to want to say something but he held his tongue in check and leans back to his seat with no response.
I continued to listen to the song and smiled, digging into my purse and deciding to send a quick text message to Corey. I need to figure how to talk with him and decide on whether we should tell our partners about our past relationship. He said no, but I feel like we should just because it’d be the right thing to do. All I need is to give Issac another reason not to trust me. As it is, he’s pissed about the email date thing. I hate the fact that he went into my personal journal to read my secret and personal feelings.
My fingers flop inside the junky purse and I finally find the phone and flip it open to dial the number but I forget that Issac’s right here. So, how do I do it without getting his attention and then I come up with an idea. I am so good!
With my finger in my purse, I quickly pull out Corey’s business card and then use my cellphone in my huge purse with one finger on the SMS function and let my fingers dial “hey let’s do lunch” real quick while eyeballing Issac from the corner of my eye. He’s not really paying attention and he’s listening to “Distant Lover” by Marvin Gaye. His head is bumping from side to side and his hands on the volume blasting it even louder. He’s cruising fast down Irving Park and we’re getting close to Sheridan Road where he guides the car to make a smooth left. At that moment, I quickly press send and put the phone on vibrate so it won’t even ring.
I pull my hand out of the purse while fanning myself.
“Dang, it’s hot in here.” I roll my eyes as I fan my face trying to bring cool air to my cheeks.
“Don’t worry, we only a few books from the crib.” He stops and faces me briefly eyeballing me like he was a detective, “So what were you doing with your hands in your purse?”
Dang, that’s what I’m thinking. I”m thinking okay Joie act cool. On the outside my face is calm and not nervous. My eyes are blank and I simply say, “I was answering an text that Siah sent me. She said
something about lunch.”
I couldn’t read his eyes. It seemed like he was more focused on the road so when he turned into our parking lot right across from the Dominick’s, I was surprised and confused, “Really?” He seemed to stop just to think deeply and then his hard edged voice chimed, “Well, why did you keep it in the purse. What are you really hiding?”
“Nothing.” I fumbled with my coat, shrugging it back on, and looking into my purse at the vibrating phone. My sweaty palms itched to grab it but I was stuck with Issac’s eyes boring into mines. I had two ways to do this thing. Lie again or tell the truth. But I didn’t want to do it now. But before I could do anything the buzzing of the phone got his attention and he saw that I wasn’t doing responding to it, so as he stopped the car and put it in park, he reached over into my purse and grabbed it.
Then shouted loud up in my face with a snarling face ,” Why is Corey Johnson texting you? Isn’t that Siah’s fiancee?” The steam from his anger pounded my head with a heavy headache and I didn’t want to answer. So that prompted Issac to scream, “What the hell is wrong with you? Answer me, Joie!” He looked like he was ready to slap the shit out of me.
“Okay. Please don’t be mad at me. Can we talk about this upstairs.” I shifted uncomfortably in my seat feeling the warmth from my coat and trying to calm down my out of control heart. I felt like I was going to explode like an volcano if I didn’t get out of the car with him.
“No, we need to clear this now. You are just so shady lately.” His entire body was fully turned to me and his eyes were burning with questions. He looked ready to rip me up out of my seat if I didn’t vocalize what he wanted to hear.
I tried to touch him with my gloved fingers but he leaned back. So I just spit out, “Corey Johnson is Pharrell.” When I glanced at him, his eyes smoldered with confusion and more questions, so I continued. “Corey said he is a detective and he wanted to talk with me about Siah’s wedding...” I added “I just ran into him the other day, when I went shopping at Marshall Field’s.”
I tried to rub the side of Issac’s confused face but he pushed back. “I don’t believe you. If I remember correctly Pharrell and you had a baby and you had an abortion. And he was crazy as hell. He was a drug dealer - “
“But Corey said he was uncover at that time and that he was trying to bust some drug dealers at the park district.” I was getting frustrated now. I was telling the truth but he was letting his insecurity take over. He just didn’t want to believe me.
His exasperated voice announced, “You just don’t stop. If you don’t want to be with me, just say it. Stop lying.”
I opened the car door in an impatient manner and went to his side of the car creaked his door open and said matter-of-factly with fingers shaking in his face, “If you can’t trust me, then why are you with me? Why don’t you call Corey right now...” I spoke in a broken whisper, “Because no matter what I still love you and why would I be texting him about a date or something. I think you need to call Africa Jones for an individual appointment because you...” I stopped, “have serious issues.” And with that I hurriedly walked from the parking lot to the apartment complex, jiggling my keys and running for the elevator although I did notice his eyes cutting through the double doors but he was too late and the doors shut as he came puffing like a little dog to it.
I just didn’t care no more. Even if I had him call Corey he’d still be saying I am lying. I just have dug myself in too many holes with him and I don’t know what to do to fix this. Whatever love we had was dying under all the bullshit we have created. I just don’t know what to do about this at all.
When I got to the door of the apartment I was startled by the appearance of Corey and Siah. Shoot, this thing gets better and better.
(c) 2004 by Pam Osbey
All Rights Reserved
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