The Sex Opera ...Season 2

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Chapter 1, part 4

Rico

Waiting for his uniform to finish tumbling in the dryer, Rico checked his watch and estimated how much time he had left to get to the mall to start his shift. He resumed ironing a crease in his pant leg and brushed his goatee into a smooth foundation. After the dryer buzzed, indicating the cool down cycle was beginning, Rico snatched open the horizontal door and grabbed his warm shirt and socks and slipped them on with the quickness before gliding his hot pants on. Within minutes he was dashing up the basement staircase into the kitchen breakfast area.

“Isha, I’m on my way out. You gon’ be here when I get back?” he asked as he buttoned his shirt at the front door. “I hope not,” he mumbled.

“No. I have to run over to my daddy’s house and get my car fixed.”

“Okay, well, make sure you set the alarm. I’ll talk with you later.”

Rico grabbed his keys from the vestibule table, stepped outside the door, and sprinted to his car. As he unlocked the door and disengaged the alarm to his black-on-black Monte Carlo he gave himself a mental note to run the car through the local car wash for its daily spin under the soft clothes.

After locking his doors, and securing himself behind the seatbelt, he flipped open his cell phone that he kept in his secret dash board compartment and pressed the chirp button. As he waited for an answer, he adjusted the CD player to his favorite cut by Game and nodded his head to the heavy bass the permeated his eardrums.

Chirp. Chirp. “Whassup?”

“Aye, Jamal, wha’chou got up?”

“Shit. Where you at?”

“On my way to the mall to get ‘dis lil’ cheddar. Wha’chou got up lata on?” Rico asked, backing out of the driveway carefully.

“Nuttin’ much, why? Whassup?”

“I need to meet up wit’ you so we can go ova’ some shit. With dat nigga Mark out da frame we need to strategize on how we gonna get his peeps on our camp. You know wha’ I’m sayin’?”

“No doubt. Wha’ time you talkin’?”

Rico directed his car toward Eight Mile Road as he thought of his response. “Shit, I dunno, let’s say ‘bout nine. Dat cool?”

“Yeah, dat’s straight. Hit me up when you ‘bout to leave da mall so I can meet up wit’chou..”

“A’ight,” Rico said as he turned on his blinker to turn right into traffic.

“A’ight man.”

“One.”

****

Jaleesa arrived at the hospital a half hour from the initial call from Stephanie. When she raced in the emergency room, she was greeted by sobbing faces that she hadn’t seen in years. Her parents, George and Teena, were in attendance as well as some old friends that she remembered from high school. Stephanie sat in a chair rocking with a handful of Kleenex clutched against her nose.

Jaleesa walked across the room taking in all the wet, swollen faces that huddled in corners. Her mother cut her eyes as Jaleesa she moved closer to her sister’s partner in life. Without any words exchanged, Jaleesa’s sadness reemerged as Stephanie opened her arms to her and they hugged tightly. After they released one another, Jaleesa’s mother walked across the room with her arms folded across her chest, sniffling.

“I don’t know why that callous boy did this to my child. But he’ll pay for this. I personally see to that.”

Jaleesa wiped her nose and said, “You don’t have to worry about him any more. He’s answering for his crime right now.”

Teena turned her nose up. “What do you know? The last we heard from you you were strung out on drugs and probably doing God knows what to get high.”

Jaleesa’s nose twitched as she held her composure. “What do you care, Teena? You never gave a damn about me anyway.”

Stephanie stepped between the women and kept them more than a few feet away from one another.

“Guess that should rang true with that baby of yours. I don’t see how you can stand here and act like you gave a damn about anybody other than yourself.”

Jaleesa held back her mean thoughts. Her mother always had a way of pushing her buttons. It had been that way since her teenaged years. The years of arguments and verbal assaults had made Jaleesa despise her mother for being such a callous woman who always thought the world revolved around her. Her father, George, was quite the opposite. The easygoing character that everyone got along with. He loved his wife unconditionally no matter how hurtful things she said or did.

“I wouldn’t be surprised that this happened to be related to some shit that you did to your sister.”

Everyone is the waiting room stood silent listening to Jaleesa and Teena’s verbal exchanges. George stormed across the room, wrapped his arms around his wife’s waist and pulled her back.

“That’s enough, Teena.”

Jaleesa fired back, “I guess you would say some shit like that. You never did love me like I deserved to be loved. Maybe it’s because of you I couldn’t love my son like a real mother should. It’s because of you I couldn’t love myself let alone my child.”

“Hey, hey, this isn’t the time or the place,” Stephanie advised as she tugged at Jaleesa’s pant pocket.

“Fuck her!” Jaleesa said. “She’s not my mother. She was just the incubator.”

Teena covered her mouth in distaste and walked away with her husband by her side.

“That wasn’t necessary, Jaleesa. You’re mother is grieving like everyone else here,” Stephanie said in calm manner.

“You don’t know her like I do.” Jaleesa turned around and glanced about the cold room. “Excuse me while I go see about my sister.”

She walked across the floor and stopped at the nurse’s counter. Before scribbling her name on the visitor’s clipboard, the automatic sliding doors opened ruffling the papers as she picked up the pen. She glanced over her shoulder and there was Brad standing in the entryway searching for her with worried eyes.

Jaleesa dropped the pen, ran to him and threw her arms around his neck and began crying as if she just received the news. “Thank God you came. Thank you so much for being here,” she whispered.

Brad massaged her back as he held her tightly against his chest. “I’ll always be here for you.”

Jaleesa could hear footsteps shuffling about the room as she clung onto Brad with all her might. She turned around only to stare into the disapproving faces of her mother. Teena’s face was tight as if she just witnessed a brutal lynching of a runaway slave.

Still clinging to Brad, Jaleesa watched her mother turned to her father and whisper something in his ear. Jaleesa pulled away from Brad and grabbed his hand. “Come with me.”

As she strolled across the room, she overheard someone say, “Here we go another sister dating the white man.”

Jaleesa stepped in front of Teena and clucked her tongue. “Not that I see the need to introduce you, I’m going to see my sister.”

She pulled Brad in direction of the nurse’s station. Stephanie stood to the side of her and pinched her thigh.

“I’m sorry Brad, this is Stephanie, my sister’s partner.”

Brad extended his hand and softly said, “I’m sorry for your loss.”

Stephanie nodded with a short, polite smile. “Thank you. I’m glad you’re here for Jaleesa.”

“Has anyone had the chance to see Reese?” Jaleesa asked Stephanie as Brad held onto her hand.

“No one has but you can try to see if they let you see her being that your immediate family.”

Jaleesa nodded before turning to Brad and kissing him on the cheek. “I’ll be right back.”

“Are you sure you don’t want me to come?”

“I’ll be fine. You stay here. I’ll be back shortly.”

Jaleesa went back to the nurse’s station where a Caucasian nurse sat as she wrote something on the clipboard.

“Excuse me? I’m here to see my sister.”

“What’s the patient’s name?” the nurse asked without looking up from the clipboard.

“Reese Nathans.”

“Reese Nathans.” The woman closed her eyes as if she looking for the answer in the back of her eyelids. “I’m sorry but she’s went down the morgue and we’re not allowed to let any one down there. Your family has to make arrangement for your funeral director to come and have her picked up.”

Not having the will to fight the nurse’s words of rejection, she nodded as one tear dropped from each eye and landed on her cheeks. The nurse reached out and rubbed her hand. “I’m so sorry, honey. But it’s hospital policy.”

Jaleesa nodded again and turned away from the counter. Her blurred vision distorted Brad as he approached. He wrapped his arms around her waist as she cried on his shoulder.

“They won’t let me see her,” she sobbed.

Brad led her out of the hospital. “I know. You can see her tomorrow. I’ll come with you.”

“Get me outta here. I need to go home and rest,” she instructed as she held onto his coat.

“Okay. Let’s go.”