“How are you feeling, Percy? It’s been a while…”
I sat down on the dark blue couch and looked around the new office in Dunwoody. Dr. Hampton walked around her oakwood desk and sat in the chair across from me. Her silver hair was cut into a short style and she had new red rimmed glasses to match her notebook.
“Yeah, pandemic has really set a few things back,” I stated, pushing my glasses up before folding my arms across my chest. “I didn’t want or feel the need to come here.”
“I’ve been told you and your family are…”
“We’re going through it like any other normal family,” I stated with an attitude. “My father died and my sister has become distant to the point of barely hearing from her for weeks at a time. My mother is struggling to maintain and the burden is falling on me because my stupid brother is still groveling for his wife’s affection after cheating on her. He won’t recognize his own family, the one he grew up with but will stay up her ass and ignore my calls.”
“Where is Jasmine in all of this?” she asked.
“She’s been away,” I said, focusing on the wall art, “her mother has her back home with our son…She won’t be back for another two weeks…”
“And how are you feeling about that?”
I snapped my head at attention towards her, eyes peering at the doctor but I was doing everything in my power to fight back the wave of emotions.
“I have kleenex if you need to–––.”
“I’m not going to cry for God’s sake,” I retorted. “It’s just been hard. Her mother felt like she needed her home to visit family. Everyone wants to see our baby and they think it would give me space and time…”
“Why would you need space and time?”
“Are you going to keep asking stupid questions?”
“I’m here to help. We’re not about to go through this again, Percy… I’m just here to help. You seem to be carrying a lot of weight on your shoulders. Your mother is having nervous breakdowns and I believe there may be a prescription drug addiction happening–––.”
“It is,” I said, cutting her off. The less I had to hear about it, the less I had to think about it. My mother became addicted to pills. I never wanted to see her in that light but I was the one as of late to pick up the pieces.
“Nobody will be satisfied…nobody will pay any attention until she’s dead and gone,” I said. “Nobody cares but me and I’m sick of it.”
“How long has Jasmine been away?”
“We’re going on two months,” I muttered. “She was only supposed to be away for two weeks but pandemic, travel restrictions…her family clinging to her. I’m fine without her. She isn’t the problem. For once, my wife is doing what she can to make me happy. My family is the damn problem.”
“Mmmm but it must be hard to be away from your son this long.”
“I’ll be fine. My family,” I stressed. “Is the issue. Not her. My mother calls me in the middle of the night crying over my dad, claiming to see him in her dreams. I never want to answer her call but I always think, if I don’t…I may never hear from her again.”
“Mmm yes,” nodding her head as she took some notes down, “I am working on getting your mother some help beyond me because it's concerning. It really is. She was doing so well, even after his passing but…”
“She fell apart…I know. I was there.”
“And I don’t want the same happening for you. You like to appear strong. We know this about you. You never want to show weakness but you are one of the strongest people I’ve ever met. You don’t––.”
Dr. Hampton stared at me. She didn’t believe me for a second and a part of me knew I was lying but once the session was over, I was already halfway out the door and towards my car. I haven’t heard from Jasmine since last night and after calling her repeatedly. Her phone just went straight to voicemail.
“Fuck,” I muttered, putting the phone away as I pushed the shopping cart down the aisle. I pulled at my face mask and looked at the frozen meals wishing I could remotely cook the way Jasmine does.
My phone suddenly began to ring and I jumped at the chance to answer only to see my brother’s name.
“What is it?” I snapped angrily.
“You busy this weekend?” Piru asked. “I’m taking Frannie on a trip just to get out the damn house before she loses her mind–––.”
“I’m not watching a single fucking child,” I retorted. “You always do that. I call you about mother and you act like you can’t answer–––.”
“I call you because you have a house to yourself and I know you’re not doing shit but bitching about–––.”
“Oh now I’m really not watching your damn kids,” I laughed before slapping a bag of frozen pasta in the cart. “You don’t do a damn thing to help me. You only worry about––.”
“Fixing my marriage.”
“You got another baby out of her! That should tell you she isn’t gonna leave. If you still feel like that, maybe you’re the one that needs to leave and if she’s still holding it over your head but was stupid enough to get pregnant–––.”
“Watch your mouth,” he warned. “Your wife took your son and fucking left––.”
“I’m not doing this,” gripping the cart for a hard turn around the corner, “watch your own kids or have mother watch them. I’m not doing it––.”
“I’ll drop em off–––.”
“I said I’m not––.”
Piru hung up as I left the cart right there in the middle of the aisle and decided to leave, no longer hungry. My phone suddenly starts to ring again and I was hoping it was Jasmine until I saw Roberta’s name on the screen. Which could only mean one thing.
“Hello?” I answered, noticing the dent in the back of my truck. I looked around, knowing I didn’t have that when I pulled in.
“Mr. Milton? I’m sorry to bother you so late but your mother is…”
“What is it now?” I sighed, getting into my seat and slamming the door shut.
“She’s refusing to leave the room until she sees you and is threatening to harm herself…”
Her thick spanish accent couldn’t hide the nerves and anxiety she must have felt working along side my mother as an aide.
“I’m on my way,” I sighed before hanging up.
My mother’s house was in the opposite direction of mine so more than likely I was going to have to spend the night again. I started to call Jasmine’s mother and almost became desperate enough to call her sorry ass brother. Yet, most nights were almost always the same.
“Percy, you have always been my favorite…my special baby boy,” my mother whined as I helped her up the stairs. She was doing so fine. Everything seemed to make sense after father died but something…It felt like she just woke up one day and decided to sulk and become depressed. Her hair had been falling out, her eyes sunken in, weight loss to the point where I was starting to see bone. It was hard to watch but hard to turn away. I helped her to the bathroom and ran her water, just enough where she can sit in it. The one time I left her be, she attempted to get out and almost fell on her back side so I kept my back facing her while she did what she needed to do.
“Your father made me so miserable when he was alive,” she complain as I heard the water run. “Now that he’s gone, I feel like he’s doing it from beyond the grave. If he can’t be here, then I can’t be happy. Well Howard! You won! You fucking won! You see me now?!”
I heard her slap at the water as I stared up at the ceiling to keep from crying but I could feel my eyes swell with tears of hatred.
I haven’t spoken to my wife all fucking day and night. My brother is a certified idiot. My sister forgot she was even born here in Georgia, forgot she had family here because oh…Homer and his parents are so perfect. They’re this…they’re that to her. All the love she gets from them, why come here when it's hell on earth with our family?
“SCREW YOU HOWARD! YOU LEFT ME HERE TO SUFFER!”
“Mother please,” I sighed. “Just hurry up–––.”
“Wash me,” she begged. “I need my back washed. I can’t…”
She began to cry, complaining about not being able to wash her back until I turned around and sat on the edge of the tub to help her.
Without her asking, once she was ready for bed, I was the one to give her two sleeping pills and a glass of water, having to get rid of all the alcohol in the house. I found most of her hiding spots for her pills but she still managed to slip in a few from paying housekeepers underneath the table. I waited until she was fast asleep before going to take my own shower and change into clothes for bed.
Just before my last attempt at calling my wife before she felt my wrath, my phone rang and her face…her smile popped up for the Facetime call as I immediately sat up, grabbed my glasses and cut the nightstand lamp on.
She didn’t have to say a word in the first few seconds because I recognized my kitchen in the background.
“I’m sorry I haven’t been able to call. I left my charger during a layover…phone died,” she said as she pushed her hair back from her face. She looked tired and trained but beautiful as ever and her sun-kissed skin gave her a natural glow. Even at night.
“You’re…home?” I asked, almost choking on my words.
“Yep. I was finally able to leave. Let me tell you, traveling by yourself with a baby is never something I want to do again. My mother couldn’t come but they opened up travel restrictions a little bit…Whew,” she sighed. “Where are you? I was…”
I tried wiping my face but her silence told me she already saw the tears fall.
“Baby you’re home,” I let out, voice barely above a raspy whisper.
“I’m home,” she smiled. “I never intended to stay that long. I’m not comfortable keeping you away from our child for that long…and he was starting to miss you. Percy, why are you crying?”
“I’ve been having bad days all week,” I admitted, staring at her through glossy red eyes.
She simply smiled at me as she moved throughout our home before the screen went black, pausing as she swiped through her phone.
“Mmm…Frannie just texted me and said she was on the way with Piru to your mother’s house,” she said before appearing back on the screen.
“What?” I let out, confused.
“I’ve been talking with Frannie too while I was away and she had no idea how bad it had gotten with your mom so she’s coming…We’re going to take turns like it was supposed to be…”
Just like she said, Piru and Frannie couldn’t get here fast enough. I was halfway out the door when they pulled into the driveway. Piru without so much as a word to me but Frannie quietly apologized.
I was on the highway hitting almost 80 to get home, almost hitting a curb during a sharp turn until I swerved into the driveway. Garage wasn’t opening fast enough but that front door opened and all I could see was an outline of her holding our son while waving. I tripped twice just walking up the path before kicking my shoes off and colliding into my wife’s body with my face buried between her and my son. He cried with his small glasses pushed up against his forehead while reaching out for me to hold him. He’s a daddy’s boy. Simple as that. Same no nonsense temperament as me with very little shit in life to make us excited or happy, but when we love, we love hard.
Jasmine was in tears as she watched our son cling to my neck and continuously apologize for being away for so long.
“You damn right you apologize,” I snapped through my own tears, trying to find a way to stand firm and dominant with my feelings. “Don’t ever in your life leave me like that. Unless I’m going too.”
Jasmine smiled before circling her arm around my neck to kiss the side of my face. Just taking in this moment that my woman was home. My better half made me feel whole until my phone started to ring. Without a word, Jasmine grabbed it out of my pocket and looked at the name.
“Hey Piru,” she answered, waving me to step into the house while she stepped outside to grab my shoes. “Oh okay. Just call my phone from this point on or have Frannie call me. I’ll take it from here. Percy needs a break as I’m sure you’re aware. No…No I don’t care what your mother is doing. I’m jet-lagged and will probably be for a while so I have time…trust me, I got time if you want to go there with it.”
I smiled, hearing the attitude she had to suppress in her voice. Jasmine became my security guard and shield for days when she knew it was too much for me to handle and this was one of those moments she was going to personally deal with my family until I was able to find my footing again. It was one of those moments where she could freely cuss any of them out without consequence from me. I hoped she would find a way to smack… some sense into Pia but that was wishful thinking.
I looked at my son who just sat comfortably in my hold, along for the ride with his beige round glasses making his eyes wider than they needed.
“You miss dada?” I asked as he nodded. “Dada miss you too.”
Shout out to the birthday girl Shantae...she made a special request for P-Money and Jasmine ....even though the blog is mostly Percy..lol.
Also, It's been a while since I wrote about these characters but I figured it was either updates or move on to show yall what's about to come out...but! The story getting ready to come out has not been introduced or on the blogs yet and I think I wanna keep it that way. Very different from what I'm used to writing.
Anywho, which couple would yall like to have an update on next?