“It’s Mama. She’s in the hospital”
When Laticia saw her brother’s number on caller-ID, she knew it wasn’t good news. Dwayne never called just to call.
“What happened? Where’s Papa?”
“With her. She had a stroke, they think.”
“They think? Don’t they know?”
“That’s what Papa said they said.”
“OK, well, do you need me to come home?”
“’s’up to you, I guess.”
“Do you or don’t you need me there, Dwayne? Just answer the question!”
“Stay put for all I care. But Papa might like to see you, ya know?”
Laticia struggled to know what to say. “For how long, do you think?”
“Jesus, girl, it’s your Mama we’re talking about here! She had a stroke. These things are usually pretty bad. What you want to know, for how long?”
“I can, of course, come home, but, work, OK? I can’t just say I’ll be back whenever. And what am I supposed to do about Terrance?”
“That’s your business. Look, I called, and now you know. Make up your own damn mind.” Dwayne hung up.
Laticia stared blankly in front of her. Strokes are bad. Long recoveries. Many trips to the doctor and physical therapy. She couldn’t see her father being up to the ordeal, let alone Dwayne being anything other than the pain-in-the-ass he’d always been.
Would she be expected to move back home to help out? After all this time? Did they think she’d just give up all she worked for; the comfortable home and life she finally had made for she and her son? She’d have to bring Terrance with her. No way she’d leave him with his father, what with his crazy schedule these days driving a cab. The man hardly had time to see his son as it was.
Laticia hated herself for thinking this way. It would be bad, really bad, not to go home. She couldn’t subject her parents to the shame she knew they’d feel if she wasn’t there for them when they needed her. Her aunties and uncles would remind her of it, too, laying on the worst kind of guilt trips. They had their own troubles. And, as much as she felt like it was Dwayne’s fate to have to care for them, after all the years of living off their parents’ inability to cut him off, she knew it was a pointless argument. Dwayne might be sober now, but he was never able to manage his way out of a paper bag, regardless.
The thought of moving home to help care for her mother gave Laticia a sudden desperate sense of loss. She knew all too well what life in that godforsaken backwater of her childhood was like. Just the thought of the place, worse, of living there again, made her anxious and uneasy. It would be a tremendous set-back from which she feared she might not ever return. The future for her and her son, far away from that place, and one that seemed so solid just five minutes before, was already beginning to fade.
I incorporated the prompts a bit more indirectly this week. This week’s prompts are: A gypsy cab glided to the curb; It’s a shame about your future; She knows too much.