“Come on, she's a nice girl. What? Gonna be racist like her mom?”
“Jicobi, you know I'm not racist. I work with white people. You just need to go for your own race sometimes. You’re starting to sound and act like your father.”
I didn’t like that comment one bit. Dang woman! She always had a way of getting under my skin. Always comparing me to my father. Yeah, just because he was a no account piece of crap doesn’t mean I had to be. But you couldn’t tell her that. No, she was right. She always had to be right. You could tell her that I’m black and she’d swear up and down that I was purple like Barney.
“Yeah, and guess what? You married the jerk. So don’t you come at me with that. Ma! I ain’t him. I may look like him. I may have his voice, his nose and I may bite my finger nails but the mirror doesn’t tell me that I’m him. So stop treating me like him!”
She slapped me. I deserved it. No matter how much of a typical angry black woman she was I had no right to go off on her like that.
“I am your MOTHER! You eat my food. Sleep in my bed. Stay under my roof. Boy, you don’t even have a pot to leak in let alone do you have the right to raise your voice at me and use such foil language. I outta wash that filthy mouth out with a bar of Zest!”
I started to walk away. The heck was I thinking? She ain’t a white mama. She was a black mama. White kids could just walk away from their mothers on average. Not us black folk. She grabbed me by the arm and yanked my happy self back to the dinner table. The smell of chicken reminded me of Lauren too much. I took her to KFC for a first date. Come on, I was broke. It was cheap. And it was chicken. What’s not to like? Granted, the bathrooms were nasty enough whereas I wouldn’t even allow a roach to use them.
She let go. This wasn’t like my mother. I expected to be knocked out Mike Tyson style. No, not this time. She hugged me. I was confused. It was a “Scooby Doo” moment for me. I was waiting for Ashton Kutcher to come out and tell me that I’ve just been punked.
“Want the truth baby?” she asked.
Her face told me everything I needed to know. More like the face of a woman that was broken.
“What’s wrong Ma?"
She sighed. She even let go. I watched her take a few slow steps towards a picture of what was once our happy family. Mom was it in, me as a baby in my father’s arms and, of course, my father. I had to go comfort her. I knew something was wrong. I was emo. I was the one wearing the My Chemical Romance t-shirt and the tight ass jeans with the size twelve Vans. She wasn’t. So I knew something had to be up.
“Come on Ma. You can tell me. You tell me everything.”
Another sigh. “Baby, this is hard for me to say as a mother. I want you to love her. I want you to be with her. Babydoll, I want you to be happy. But I can’t help but think about your father when I see you with a white girl. He left me for a white woman. Don’t you understand how that makes me feel. Can you even fathom that? How can you feel happy for your son when you know that the same kind of straight haired woman stole your heart, put it in a box, and sold it for cheap pornography? That’s why I can’t be happy for you. I want you to pray for me. Let God fix my heart so I’m not bitter every time I see you with her.”
Mom already knew my opinion of this “God” character. That’s why a frowned up the second that hypocrite's name was invoked. Still, she went through a lot. The woman did everything she could to provide a decent life for me. It was hard. Not just hard because she was nothing more than a janitor.
It was hard because she spent money on me the same way she did with my father. He never held a decent job. He didn’t even want to attempt to find a new job once he was laid off. Nope, too much of a dang moocher. So, she provided for him much of the same way she’s providing for me. And to see me with Lauren? I know what I’m doing isn’t wrong but I understand why she felt the way that she did.
There was only one thing I could tell her. “You know what grandma would say. This is why heartbreak deserves a combat medal…”