A Future, Past

“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.
https://aooga.wordpress.com/2019/02/24/olwg-91-friendly-skies/

Dan

What a f-n cliché. Frickin’ corny, Dan thought. A windy fall day blowing giant orange, yellow and red fall leaves through the air. It was a scene right out of a cheesy chick-flick. All that was missing was a sweeping piano sound score. The thumping bass from the mobbed-up Honda parked at the far end of the parking lot did not match the postcard-perfect image. Dan shook his head. Something was always fucking up the picture.

Dan took a deep breath and stood up. Can’t sit here all day. He started walking south, not at all sure where he was going. Reaching for his wallet, he surreptitiously figured the bills in its fold. A hundred or more. The thought suddenly struck him: It was enough for a Greyhound home. And just like that, he turned west toward downtown.

The woman next to him on the bus was chatty, never drawing breath as far as he could tell. If anyone asked, he’d not have been able to tell what the fuck she was yakking about. He took off his coat, balling it up into a pillow, and lay back into his chair. He was asleep before she figured it out.

The walk home from the bus station was longer than he remembered. Passing familiar sights, Dan realized it had been a good while since he walked through the old neighborhood. He smiled when he saw Mrs. Stokowski mowing the lawn in front of her place. Dan gave a short wave as he passed, but Mrs. Stokowski only offered a tentative polite smile in return. Had it been that long? Dan thought. I wasn’t all that young when I left, was I? Am I that unrecognizable?

“You know, of course, Kitty never came back.”

Dan turned around. Mrs. Stokowski leaned over her mower and turned it off. “You know that, right?”

“I do,” Dan said.

“OK. Just sayin’.”

“OK.”

Dan gave Mrs. Stokowski another short wave and resumed walking. Why the fuck would she think he gave two shits about Kitty?

Anyway, just one more block, he thought, and it would finally, once and for all, be said and done.


The prompts this week are: A hundred dollars in her purse; loquacious; Kitty came home

https://aooga.wordpress.com/2018/11/04/olwg-75/