RIPPED & READY (S4/PART 5)
RIPPED & READY S4/V
The three of us, my parents and myself, left the house trailing one another in a rushed pace with Rafael leading the way. His uneasy demeanor foretold what we should expect prior to entering the home where my buddy Marco resided with his mother. His biological sister, Danita, resided there as well, but she was currently in a southern state attending college. She had left shortly after the death of their father, with a little push from her big brother. Unfortunately, during her time away, Mrs. Flora-Mae was stricken with a slight stroke, and Danita’s natural instinct was to rush home, but Marco knew that if she did, there was a high probability of her not returning to complete her studies. He told her that, unless their mother took a turn for the worse, there was no reason for her to waste money on a plane ticket nor miss any of her classes at school to come home unnecessarily.
Even though it didn’t quite sit well with her, she did as he suggested, but racked up cell phone minutes calling constantly to check on the well-being of their mother. I’m not sure how I would react if something like that happened to my mother, but one thing I’m certain of is that I would be just as rattled as both he and his sister. I’ve known Marco ever since we were eight years old, and from the moment our young spirits connected, we were inseparable. Collin Clarke, who lived a couple of houses to right of where I lived and directly across from Marco’s, didn’t come into the friendship fold until he was about ten years old – that was how old he was when his family first moved into the court. Marco and I were riding our bicycles when this huge U-Haul pulled up in front of the then, and now, vacant house Collin and his family called home.
“D, do you think they have any kids?” Marco asked me, straddling the seat of his mountain bike, with his right leg propping it up and both hands on the handlebars.
“I don’t know, let’s ask,” I said, hoping with all my might that they did have another little boy for the both of us to play with.
Now, we couldn’t have been more obvious could we? But hey, kids don’t know anything about being discrete and as kids we had that luxury. Even though we were being nosey neighbors, our young age made it acceptable for us to gawk in broad daylight. When his parents looked at the both of us standing there beside our bicycles, they just smiled and waved in unison. I heard his mother comment on how cute both of us looked, and we both blushed and said thank you. Collin’s mother and father had the darkest skin color I had ever seen – most would call them blue-black, and the apple certainly did not fall too far from the tree, he was just as dark as his parents, but he was an ashy little sucker, and that “ashy” tag hung over his head and became the springboard for many who played “the dozens”, and no one was more infamous for “capping” on Collin than Marco’s little sister, Danita.
Danita was the first one who called him out about his need for lotion. She was three years younger than all of us, and sassier than a small ankle-biting canine. Collin’s family had been living in their home for about a week or so when the battle of the dozens between the neighborhood kids picked up steam, and spearheading the verbal battle of wit was none other than, Danita. With a black Barbie doll dangling at her side in one hand, her right thumb stuck in her mouth, and an assorted color of ribbons in her pig-tailed hair, she stared Collin up and down before finally taking her thumb out of her mouth.
“You look like you’ve been playing in your mother’s flour container, ‘cause you got more powder on you than a piece of raw chicken,” she said, chortling and sticking her thumb back into her mouth.
The hurt look on Collin’s face magnified the moment of hilarity.
Every kid in the immediate area started whooping and hollering together, and what made matters worse is that Collin used to stutter when he was younger, so instead of him snapping back at her with a quick response, he stuttered on the letter “F” for about 15 seconds and it made him sound like Porky Pig, and the laughter already in progress increased in volume, accompanied by high fives and knee slaps. The expression on his face was one of defeat and, like any kid, being teased by the majority; a teary-eyed Collin fled on his bicycle, dropped it right off in front of the steps of his parent’s doorway, and went into the house. We didn’t see him until the next day.
Danita always had a sharp tongue and a short temper, but I truly believe that she had a serious crush on him. You know how little kids are when they fancied another kid. LOL
That memory made me smile, and as I looked over at my buddy who was trying his best to maintain his composure under the circumstances, my heart was warmed. Being as supportive as I could, I had my left arm wrapped around their young house-guest, Rafael, comforting him so that Marco could focus solely on his mother. I knew the young cat was afraid because I could feel his body trembling, so I repeatedly kept telling him, just above a whisper, that everything was going to be fine.
When I shifted my attention back to the center of the room, I saw Marco looking at Rafael and I, and he mouthed the words thank you. It pained me to see my buddy so distraught, and times like these always made me want to kick myself in the ass for being so self-centered and acting like an idiot all the “got-dayum” time. I knew how much Marco loved me, and I had to stop leading him on, knowing that I could never give him what he wanted by being the man he so desperately wanted to grow old with.
He isn’t a sexual conquest to get my rocks off with.
He had feelings that deserved to be cultivated and cared for by the right man.
Friends don’t treat friends the way that I had been treating my dude; lying to him, not telling him about his former boyfriend’s presence at that freak party at the Brothaman’s Club with Darrius, Peewee, and that deceased asshole, Lance. Then, hooking up with that no account Peewee and getting hooked on cocaine… you just don’t do dirt and think that you can rinse it off without any traces of it being left, because anything that is done behind closed doors is easily revealed at some point in time. In this particular case, my unkept appearance was a dead giveaway that I was living foul. A real friend, sometimes, knows you better than you know yourself, and though they may not be able to pin point exactly what it is that is going wrong with you, their noses are sensitive enough to get a whiff that something isn’t right.
When it comes to his boys, Marco becomes a “got-dayum” bloodhound and that’s what all of us liked about him; his heart was humongous and that’s why when we finally made love it was so fucking intense. His sensual touches made me want to scream out loud, “Mercy!” and the way he darted that tongue around on certain pressure points of my body literally made my toes curl. His whispery pillow-talk made the roots of my hair tingle, and when I closed my eyes he took me on an erotic ride where I felt like I was flying… fucking flying… I am not lying. That’s why I get so weak and want him, because I’ve never had my thirst for passion quenched the way he quenches it.
“D’Andre, open the door, son!” My father said, snapping me out of my daze.
“HUH?” I said, startled a bit.
“The door, son, the door…open the door for the paramedics,” He instructed.
“Oh, okay,” I said, embarrassed at the fact that he had to call me a couple of times before I heard him.
You see, that’s what I am talking about, sometimes I think way too much about myself and my own lustful needs. How in hell could I be thinking about sex when Mrs. Flora-Mae was lying down there ill? I had to pull myself together and get me a new “get-right” attitude, because karma is a real bitch, and I didn’t want her showing up slapping me without any “Mercy!” Yes, Peewee, Lance, Darius, and NeeNee were all paid a visit by her and look what happened to them, so who was I in her eyes? A prick holding a number that she would surely call on one day when I least expected it.
Everyone watched in silence as the paramedics checked Mrs. Flora-Mae’s vital signs, and outside of the medical equipment noises the only people doing any talking were the paramedics; giving one another instructions and exchanging medical terms back and forth. The anxiety in the room was so thick that you could almost slice through it like a piece of cheese sitting on a wooden cutting block. I tell you, nothing is more nerve-wracking than watching someone close to you being poked and prodded by strangers with needles and other medical apparatuses – it really is pretty sobering to watch. You just never know whether the outcome will be life or death; all you can do is hope for the best.
That’s what we were all hoping for.
After approximately fifteen grueling minutes of uncertainty, the tall ripped & ready caramel colored brotha broke the silence and said, “Well, it looks as if she might have experienced a slight stroke, however, we cannot be certain until we get her to the hospital and run some more test, but we’ve managed to get her blood pressure stabilized. Will one of you be accompanying her to the hospital?” He asked, scanning the room.
“A stroke…?” Marco asked, in a tone of anguish.
“Yes, sir, it appears it could be, but, again, we cannot be sure at this point,” he said, in a sympathetic professional manner.
“But, she’s already had one stroke,” Marco said, shaking his head as tears streamed out the corner of his eyes.
“Well, that’s why we need to get her the main center immediately, because we are not sure about the severity of it,” the paramedic told all of us.
No sooner did he say that did Collin appear. I suppose he walked in through the open front door. He asked what was going on to no one in particular, and everyone just shrugged their shoulders and watched as the two paramedics carefully lifted and placed Mrs. Flora-Mae on to the stretcher. The entire scene was surreal, for we had all experienced before, and I’m sure that none of us expected to go through it again this soon. She had been doing so well, and I was certain that she was eating correctly because Marco was always commenting about how he missed the way she used to cook. Anything that used to be flavored with pork was now flavored with spices minus the salt, and he said, even though it was tasty, it wasn’t as tasty as before.
“Everything that tastes good is bad for you, fuck!” He’d always say whenever the subject of a home cooked meal came up.
He never mentioned it to his mother though, because he never wanted to run the risk of hurting her feelings – he prided himself in being supportive of his mother’s low-sodium diet, but outside of the home, well let’s just say, we don’t’ call him thickness without reason. The “fellas” and I stayed on Marco about his love for fast food and the 45lbs he had picked up gradually over time. We always mentioned it in a way as not to offend him, because he has always battled the bulge for as long as I could remember. He wasn’t obese, but he was thick, and if he didn’t watch it he could easily start tipping the scale in the wrong direction.
With the morning winding down, we all picked who would be riding with who out to Stanford Hospital. My parents took Rafael with them, and Marco, Collin and I went in Marco’s car. The paramedics wouldn’t let Marco ride inside the ambulance; they said it was against the rules now. It caused a few raised eyebrows but we didn’t want to add any stress to the already stressful scene, so we left it alone. I decided to do the driving because I figured that Marco really didn’t need to be behind the wheel of his VW Jetta, which he relented without a fuss – that’s when I knew his mother’s condition had gotten to him. Marco hated anyone driving his car, he didn’t care who it was.
Before pulling out the driveway, I looked over at my friend and said, “Stay strong, Marco, your mother needs you to be the man who your father couldn’t be.”
With that, I backed out, put the car in drive, and headed towards the unknown, filled with hope, and heavy in prayer. I was glad that Collin showed up because there is always strength in numbers. The only one who was missing was the fourth member of ou friendship square, and that was Todd Berry, but he was battling his own demons. The three of us had planned on visiting him at the Veterans Hospital in Menlo Park today, but with Mrs. Flora-Mae’s life waiting in the balance that would have to wait.
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