RIPPED & READY (S4/PART 4)
RIPPED & READY S4/IV
When I closed my eyed to put that horrific evening behind me, I honestly felt that life would return to normal until I was awakened by my mom’s panicked call for assistance. To be jolted out of dead sleep by the cries of someone in distress allows you to surpass all the groggy, slow-moving, stretching and yawning activity that normally goes along with the “rise-and-shine” routine. At first I thought I was dreaming, but when I realized that I wasn’t a surge of adrenaline flooded my reflexes and I yanked the covers off of me, jumped up out the bed and hauled ass into the living room where she had apparently fallen to the floor. The pained look on her face looked extremely familiar and when I did a fast rewind, it dawned on me that she could be having another stroke.
I knelt down beside her, lifted her head gently up, resting it carefully on my lap, then I gazed into her eyes, reassuring her with calm in my voice that things were going to be okay. Once I had gotten a few it’s-gonna-be-okay-it’s gonna-be-alright’s in, I called out to Rafael but he didn’t respond. In that I could hear a loud thumping coming from his room, I knew he was in there with his music blaring too loud to hear me calling. Now, I had repeatedly spoken to him on more than one occasion about how loudly he played his music, and I told him that it was unacceptable and inconsiderate – especially since his room was closest to mom’s room. She never complained about it either, and would always ask me to lighten up on him when she felt I was being too strict. I couldn’t believe it either because Danita and I weren’t allowed to have any bass in our music when we played it back when we were young. I tell you, older people sure did give the youngsters more leeway than they ever gave us.
After my third frantic call to him I grew impatient.
“RAFAEL!!!!!” I screamed out, in agitation, hoping that he would hear that one.
When I heard his door swing open I breathed a sigh of relief.
He entered the living room with a nervous look on his face right into my icy glare. I could tell he was bracing himself for an all out verbal assault from me, but when he saw moms laying in my lap his facial expression shifted to uncertainty, but I didn’t need for him to fold under the pressure of what was occurring, I needed him to run across the street to D’Andre’s and get help. During an emergency nothing else mattered, but I did make a quick mental note to rip him a new ass about his disobedience. The one thing I constantly had to do was reiterate directives and I was running out of patience.
How many “got-dayum” times did you have to explain the reasons why to a teenager?
Why didn’t they comprehend the first, second, third or fourth time?
How come it always had to be a battle for control just for respect?
If you bought them all the little electronic luxuries that they asked for, then why couldn’t they show their gratitude by doing what you ask them to do?
Why did they make you want to knock their teeth in just to get their attention?
I didn’t know and I didn’t give a fuck, I was about sick of him.
Why did my mother allow her heart to overshadow sound reasoning?
She was too old to be raising a teenager – especially a troubled teenage boy with a history of behavioral problems. I remember coming home that day and finding this new addition to the family, and I was not pleased at all. My mother’s term as parent of children ended when Danita and I reached the age of eighteen, and she had earned the right of being able to enjoy the rest of her life without the headache associated with rearing a young child. Well, what I didn’t count on is that she pretty much enlisted me to assist her in looking after him, and I was not pleased at all with it. Hell, if I wanted a damn kid I would have made one myself – all of my equipment worked fine.
“I…I’m sorry, Marco…” he said, stuttering like a CD that was skipping.
“Little man, I don’t even have time to get off into your disobedience right now… what I need for you to do is to take your ass across the street and get Cassey and Wallace – tell them that moms has taken ill and that they need to come over her with the quickness,” I told him, as calmly as I could. I didn’t want to upset my mother anymore than necessary.
When I saw the tears welling up in his eyes, I couldn’t be cross with him. I knew he was afraid, so rather than add to his anxiety I repeated the request in a gentle, firm, tone. “Rafael, she’s going to be alright, but I need you to do as I ask you to do, okay,” I told, as I tenderly caressed the side of my mother’s face.
“I…I’m sorry… I didn’t mean to…” He said, but I cut him off.
“Rafael…now, okay…” I said, repeating my request.
Dear God, was I the only one in the joint that realized the urgency of the situation?
Oh, snap, I forgot, he was just a kid.
By the time the Calvary returned, my mother had regained her composure somewhat, because she had started talking to me in a raspy-whisper. Listening to her admit to me that she was frightened about tore me in two. I felt so helpless not being able to do more for her than what I was doing, but even in her weakened state she managed to purge maternal strength in the form of a warm smile and a light peck on my the top of my folded fist.
How could I ever live without her in my life?
If I lost her I don’t know how I would be able to go on.
The future could only be a dark one without her familiar voice in it.
Who would wrap their arms around me as tightly and lovingly as my mother?
Nobody could ever replace her angelic presence in my life.
I don’t want to even think about what that would feel like….
No, it hurts too much to…
“Marco! What’s going on with Mrs. Flora Mae?” asked, Cassey, as she knelt down beside us.
“I don’t know, when I got in here she was lying on the floor,” I told her as tears streamed down my cheeks.
Cassey looked at me, and asked “Have you called 911 yet?”
I never even thought about that.
Damn, how could I be so damn stupid?
I suppose my fear had gripped me so tightly that I wasn’t thinking clearly.
“NO, I didn’t! Please, somebody do it now… do it now!” I exclaimed, slowly unraveling as the seconds passed.
“Wallace…” Cassey called out, but he responded before she completed the request.
“I’ve got it… don’t worry…” He said, as he lifted the cordless land-line phone and started dialing.
“Mrs. Flora-Mae, dear, just relax, help will be here shortly,” Cassey said, placing her hand on top of the one I had resting on my mother’s chest.
“Please look after Danita, Marco, and Rafael…” my mother said, which sent a shock wave through me.
“Mom, stop talking like that!” I demanded, scared out of my wits.
She just smiled without responding.
“She’s a little out of it, Marco, don’t worry, she’s just saying what comes natural to her, trust me, she’ll be okay,” Cassey assured me, stroking my hand.
I looked at her, wanting to believe what she was telling me, but I was at odds with her words and my mother’s fragile state. How could she be okay looking like she was about to slip away from us so quietly? That’s the one thing about situations like this one, people always tried to say what you needed to hear, but I wasn’t trying to hear it. All I knew is that my mother had already had one stroke, and for all I know she could have had another one, so nothing was going to ease my worry until she was at the hospital.
“Where are they at?” I asked, only minutes after Wallace called.
“Son, you’ve got to give them time to get here, so be strong for Mrs. Flora-Mae, okay?” he said, standing over the three of us.
I looked over toward the entry way to living room where D’Andre was standing, with his arm around a distraught and teary-eyed Rafael. When I saw him there a quick, fond, memory entered my mind. I remembered the first time I had ever met him – we were just eight years old at the time. Our family had moved in and he and his family were out in the front yard doing lawn work. Believe it or not, I knew that I was gay then, because when I saw him I was instantly smitten with him. He was the cutest boy I had ever seen before in my life, and those hazel eyes of his melted me even back then.
“Hey…” he said.
I blushed and said “hey” back.
“You wanna ride bicycles?” he asked, flashing that killer white smile (Yeah, he even had it back then, though a tooth or two was missing.
“Mama, can I ride my bike with…” I didn’t even know his name yet.
“D’Andre, my name is D’Andre, but you can call me D…that’s what all of my friends call me…” He said, not finishing his sentence.
I looked at him puzzled.
“Well, what’s your name?” He asked, with one hand propping up his blue mountain bike, and the other on his hip.
“Oh, my name is Marco,” I told him.
“Well, Marco, go get your bike and let’s go on an adventure,” He said, climbing onto his bike.
“Mama, can I go riding with D?” I asked, all excited.
“Hell no, you can’t go riding, you need to help unpack all of this shit that we’ve got to unpack,” my father, Henry-Lee said.
“Oh, you old fool, shut your mouth, let these kids go on and play…he’s only eight years old, good Lord, man!” My mother said, throwing up her hands.
The memory caused me to smile.
For as long as I could remember my mother always protected me.
If she passed away, who would protect me then?
“Moms, please, you’ve got to hold on…” I begged, in a soft whisper.
By the time the paramedics arrived her eyes were closed.
Dear God, just a little more time, please, I said, praying silently to myself.
I really hoped he heard my prayer.
Author G. D. Grace reserves all rights and reproduction without written permission is not permitted. If found, legal action will be taken against the person(s) or company(s) that have cut or pasted (Plagiarized) any portion of this written document. Author, G. D. Grace; Published © 2010 November