Violet’s cries wouldn’t stop. She woke up drenched through her thin shirt and pamper. Running a high fever at three in the damn morning, I stripped her down to next to nothing and went downstairs with my phone. I almost slipped and fell trying to make my way to the kitchen to grab ice and a large container. All while balancing a crying toddler and attempting to keep my eyes open in the process.
“I know Violet, I know…” I cooed, wishing Homer was here. He would usually sit outside with her and cool her down but he just had to go back home tonight. Of all nights. “Knowing damn well he knew this was going to happen.”
Violet’s cries continued right into my ear as I struggled to carry the ice water in the other arm, slowly walking towards the back door. Using my free fingers that gripped Violet’s thighs, I unsnapped the lock to the sliding door and as soon as I moved the glass, the alarm for the house began to pierce and shriek.
“Shit! SHIT SHIT!” I snapped.
The water dropped and crashed at my feet. I had to put Violet down and run towards the pad on the wall to settle the alarm. My child thought she could battle the alarm with her ears covered as she screamed just as loud. The phone started to ring from the security company asking if everything was okay. I’m trying to yell over the noise that it was an accident. They’re not hearing me of course and of course! Perfect timing that I had to freaking pee!
The alarm that woke the entire neighborhood up eventually shut off as I started the water again with a fresh thing of ice. I grabbed my daughter with her hanging at my side and dragged her out to the backyard. Ignoring my need to relieve myself, I dipped the black cloth into the ice cold water and gently began to wipe her down. Starting with one arm to her fingertips and nails, she laid across my lap still crying but her eyes were closing like she was fighting sleep.
You and me both Violet…
I dipped the cloth in again to start with her other arm as I closed my eyes and hummed a Beyonce song. Anything to get me through this night. When my phone started to ring again, I thought it was the alarm company telling me the police were on the way but I was relieved when I saw Homer’s name across the screen.
“Hello?” I answered tiredly, placing the phone beside my hip.
“Violet going through it?” he asked.
“If you know when this is going to happen, why did you leave? She’s been crying nonstop, and running a fever. You know I’m ready to take her to the hospital––”
“She’s good. Just going to be a rough night or two but she’ll be fine,” he said. “I don’t know when it's going to happen until it happens.”
“Which means you’re probably sitting in front of a fan,” I retorted, glancing at my phone at the random text message notification. Elizabeth Milton. How did I miss this text?
“I’m outside with Desna right now. I don’t hear Violet crying,” he noted.
“She’s in my arms watching me and trying not to fall asleep. I’m half soaked, ears are still ringing from the alarm I accidentally let go off… Ugh… it's been a night Homer… I have work in a few hours but here I am… Violet has me up once again running cold water on her with a rag,” looking at my daughter with envy, “life doesn’t get any better than this, cupcake. Enjoy it while it lasts...you’ll be on your own to deal with your own night sweats and shifty moons…”
Violet just stared before turning her head into my arm, rolling on her stomach like she wanted me to get her backside.
“Nerve of this child,” I muttered, dipping the cool rag into the water. The small sweat beads on her back mimicked rain on a window as I began to wipe her down.
“Is everyone going through this right now?” I questioned.
“Most likely...anybody of totem ancestry is going through it one way or another. My homeboy’s wife...her totem, her whole family is a tortoise,” he laughed to himself, “and they take that shit seriously...but on nights like this...he said she takes cover… Doesn’t come out of her closet for days...her and the kids...wanna be a dark space. Don’t eat, won’t talk to nobody, nothing.”
“How long is this going to last?” I asked.
“For a while...until the first official day of summer hits. The Moon Run…” he said as I closed my eyes, “can you hold out or do I need to come get her?”
“I got her,” I muttered with a stifled yawn, “I’ve been doing this long before you came in the picture… I’m just gonna need a lot of coffee to make it through a work day. I’m going to see if Delilah can watch her for me. Are you okay?” I asked. “Do I need to come up there and pour ice cold water on your body?”
Homer’s low laugh always made me smile, and you could tell he was grinning against the phone when he spoke.
“You funny, Pia.”
Silence slipped comfortably between us until he spoke.
“When you gon give me another one?” he asked.
“You know what I want, Pia.”
“I am not some baby making machine, Homer. I want to enjoy my body. Violet was a rough pregnancy and even harder labor.”
“That’s because you didn’t have me.”
“What all do you want from me, Homer? Let’s do this communicating thing you always speak so highly about. What do you want from me?”
“Honestly? It’s not much I’m asking from you, Pia. I want you to move to South Carolina...like yesterday.”
“Oh my God,” I laughed.
“Hear me out, you asked? I’m telling you what I want. I want you up here with me because I’m not moving to Georgia. It’s not my home, and it's not Violet’s home. I can get us a bigger place, a big house in Charleston or Columbia. No problem for me. I look at properties all day. I want you to be my wife. We get married up here. Do it my way first then we can go the traditional route with the church… I don’t want you working. I want your focus on our children and I want another one. I’m not making up for lost time because of Violet. I want you pregnant because I want to raise another baby with you, Pia. I want more children with you. How my parents are and how your parents are. Wife stays home, tends to the children while the husband is out putting in the work.”
“And in return, what do I get?”
“You shouldn’t look at it like some exchange,” he said as I rolled my eyes. Typical.
“So you want me to uproot my entire life in Georgia….my daughter’s life, away from my family, away from the only place I’ve ever known to move to South Carolina with a house you probably already have picked out for you I mean us. Stop working and stay home to watch children all day… you want to marry me, your way first of course, and you want me to get pregnant again because you want to raise another baby with me. Not because you’re making up for lost time with Violet. I ask what do I get in return for all of this and you say it doesn’t work like that? So I give, you take….but never the other way around?”
“You get my undeniable love, affection, attention, and loyalty. You get my respect, my protection, and praise.”
“Homer, honey I can get that from the humane society if I just pay for a dog––”
“Don’t ever in yo fucking life try me like that, Pia–––”
“I’m serious!” I laughed. “You’re describing a dog. What does the human side of you offer? All I’m hearing is everything I have to do to make you happy, what about me?”
“What do you want?”
“I want to stay in Georgia. South Carolina is nice, but Georgia is my home. Violet has friends and family here on both sides.”
“You’re not even giving me a chance to finish, Homer.”
“I’m not moving down there. I will do everything in my power to make you happy and not want for a thing but I need to be in the right mindset, and I need to be home to do that. Can you understand me on that, Pia?”
“Do you have houses already picked out?” I asked dryly.
“I might,” hearing him grin on the line as I smiled. Who am I kidding? I knew we were going to cross this bridge eventually. It was going to be an adjustment and I barely liked any of the schools out there but I knew it was only a matter of time before Homer started suggesting I move to South Carolina. If his family wasn’t as...colorful as they are and my daughter was just a normal child that didn’t run hot according to the moon and stars, I wouldn’t be having this conversation. Wouldn’t even be an option to move up there.
“I know it's a lot to ask, but I need you to trust that I got you. I got us. Do you trust me?”
“Nah, do you trust me?” he stressed. “If I’m asking you to do all of this for me, that must mean I got something planned for you. When I ask for your hand in marriage, trust and believe the man that I am? That will stand before you, knows exactly what he needs to do to keep you happy. Just trust me. Just take my hand and say yes.”
“Okay Homer, geez,” I mumbled with a smile, “I trust you, okay? I trust you. I’ve heard this same speech from two other men before but I have a pretty good feeling about you,” I said as he laughed, “you just better have me in white, at the altar when you propose. I’m not getting engaged again.”
“I hear you, baby. Your man hears you loud and clear. Trust that I’m taking care of business on my end so when you come home to me, you won’t have to worry about a thing...but lay back and get pregnant.”
“Homer,” I laughed, careful not to wake my daughter, “do you remember when we first met?”
“When I approached you at Spelman, and you went off on me in front of everybody, or at the club?”
“I went off on you because you were rude.”
“I was being honest...and an asshole. I know,” he admitted. “Then you...threw it on me like I ain’t never had it before…”
“Stop it,” I laughed.
“Do you know how much porn I watched, studied––– Nah hear me out. Don’t laugh. I’m being serious. I watched so much damn porn after we got together at the Moon Run. Made sure I came correct when I spent the night in Atlanta.”
“And you did, you most certainly did,” I said, feeling chills trickle down my spine at the memory. “That was an intense night.”
“It was….That’s when I realized you were the one… You’re the one I was waiting on...this entire time it was the girl stuffing her face full of bread on the bench that day on the yard.”
I adjusted Violet’s body, feeling her skin practically burn mine from her heat as I placed the rag around her neck like a scarf. She was asleep but her breathing was scattered that eventually turned into slow heaves of her chest.
“Homer, she is breathing like a damn horse,” I muttered, trying to turn her over again, “she’s still burning up…”
“Yeah… she’s tryna shift. We all are... She needs to be with me for the rest of the weekend. I can walk her until she cools off.”
“I can walk her now if––”
“No. Not by yourself you’re not, and not in Atlanta. Just keep me on the phone until she calms down. I’m charged up...what about you?”
I glanced at the screen, still eyeing the letter notification I have yet to open.
“I have enough battery,” I replied as I swiped at the screen, “my mother texted me though…”
“Oh yeah? What does she want?”
“She wants…” my brows furrowed together, “she wants Jasmine, Frannie, and I to meet her for lunch…Why me?”
“Ain’t no telling with her…Moon probably got everyone in their feelings...”
I'm pushing for Cyber Monday release. Life got in the way you guys but I am writing. Trust me.
**Deleted Scenes are NOT part of the book/story.