Chapters 7-9

Chapter 7 – The Secret

Since my last encounter with Jason Emery, I couldn’t get his invitation and his voice out of my mind. On Wednesday, I had promised him an answer in a couple days, and it was now Friday. Nicky and I met at Sammy’s bar after work that evening and of course brought each other up to date with the latest. Nicky was excited to share her success in finding a suitable apartment and I was so happy for her. My girl was becoming more independent and I looked forward to crashing at her place and chatting all night. I then informed Nicky that Jason had invited me to his birthday brunch and it was the day before my birthday. Nicky looked startled. “He did?” She paused for a second then said, “He did not mention it. Well, great, we will both be there. He has invited other co-workers as well.” “But I barely know the guy,” I responded, “We met only once, why would he invite me? As a matter of fact, I thought you may have been the one to put him up to this.”  

Nicky looked at me and for the first time I saw a distance in her eyes that made me uneasy, I knew Nicky so well. I got that gut feeling that she was refraining from telling me something.  As I considered the possibility, I looked away as a pang of guilt stabbed my mid-section; I remembered that I never explained to Nicky the reason for my awkward behavior, when Jason was introduced to me. I never revealed to her that Jason looked exactly like the young man in my dreams. All of a sudden I was confused and wanted to be invisible. Here I was with my best friend and for the first time I was seriously struggling, wondering whether I should reveal my secret.

We sat in silence for approximately fifteen seconds, then Nicky turned to me with a shrug and said.  “I believe Jason felt comfortable inviting you because he knows you and I are cool.”  As she spoke I felt a slight release of my inner tension as I thought, yes, we are cool. Nicky and I are just fine. It couldn’t be more than two seconds before Nicky blurted out “Was Jason Emery the young man in your dream?”  I turned to look at Nicky and immediately wanted to defend myself. I was caught off guard and instinctively wanted to evade the truth and the possible revelation of my secret.  Now more than ever I felt my secret was a threat to the quality of our relationship. I squeezed my eyes shut as Nicky stared at me, I could feel her eyes searching me, piercing into my soul. I felt terrible! 

Nicky knew me too well; my silence was loud and undoubtedly provided the answer she was looking for. After bracing myself, realizing I was cornered, I looked at Nicky and said, “It was my intention to tell you all along, it’s just that for some reason I wasn’t comfortable.” “Why wouldn’t you be comfortable Maxine, it’s me? You told me all about the dream, remember?” “Yes” I answered. “But… for some reason I held back. Girl, you had me wondering.”  By then, I had shaken off my reluctance reminding myself that I was speaking to my best friend, someone I knew and trusted for a long time. “I was wondering if you had a thing for Jason.”  Nicky looked at me with a smirk on her face.  “And if I do, he is the man of your dreams, right?” “Nicky!” I snapped and stared at her with a playful scowl. Nicky laughed and looked at me, “Jason is a Christian Maxine, and I am not.”  I looked at my best friend, a little surprised with her answer and thought to myself, neither am I.

Chapter 8 – The Answer

Saturday morning I woke up staring at the ceiling as I remembered what transpired the day before. I could not help pondering for a while on Nicky’s Statement “Jason is a Christian and I am not”. These words possessed my mind and I began thinking deeply about the meaning of Nicky’s utterance. I sighed to myself, pulled out my journal and started to write.

“Dear journal here we are again. I think I need help, help to exist as if this dream never happened. Before this dream life was less complicated. I am focusing on this dream too deeply. Nicky doesn’t make it easier with her conclusions. Yes, her conclusions seem to indicate that she is attracted to Jason Emery and is a bit disappointed that he is a Christian. What does it mean to be a Christian anyway? Aren’t we all Christians? My soul searches for answers.”

Placing my pen on my tummy, I closed my journal and whispered to myself, “Who is a Christian?” I started searching to the left of my room scanning my bookshelf for my bible. I couldn’t recall the last time I saw it. I thought to myself maybe if I read it, I would find answers. My bible was no where to be found. I sat up scratching my head, “boxing my brain” about its possible location.

As I tried to figure out what may have happened to my bible, I thought of Mom and called her. I remembered receiving the said bible as a birthday gift on my sixteenth birthday. It was a beautiful bible and very special to me. I kept it in the box and in the gift wrap and never let it out of my sight. It was royal blue and had a yellow suede book marker. My countenance lightened as mom’s voice could be heard at the other end. We chatted for a while and I reminded her about the bible she gave me. She was overjoyed to hear that it still meant the world to me. She wasn’t too concerned about me not finding it and said, “Ask your sister”.  Oh yes, Mothers know best, I was convinced that Rena had it.

It was fun to update Mom on activities at home. My mother was average height, a little chubby and of light complexion. She wore a very low-cut hairstyle and was simple but tasteful in her dressing. She was a go getter and loved to achieve. Hosting and entertaining  friends and family brought her immense joy; she was a great hostess. I often remembered great times socializing with our friends and family. It was usually a Barbecue or a cook-up of some sort. When my mother left, our social life suffered. I missed her in a thousand ways.

Before we said goodbye, I asked Mom if she thought I should accept Jason’s invitation to his birthday brunch. Of  course, Mom was updated on the Jason Emery story as well. Mom responded and said, “I see no danger bumble bee (her pet name for me), I think you should”. Having mom’s approval was it for me; I was finally comfortable and ready to give an answer. I was also inspired by her to hold a barbecue party for my birthday the following day. She  thought It would be a great way to bring back music, laughter and hospitality back to our home. Oh, how I wished she could be present.

Immediately after Mom’s call I contacted Jason to give him “the answer”. Unfortunately, the call went unanswered so I quickly sent a text indicating to him that I would accept his invitation; I said “yes”. My tummy grumbled and I was surprised to see an entire hour had passed since I woke up. Next up for me was some breakfast. As I advanced to the kitchen, I noticed a text response from Jason Emery which said, “Great, I am looking forward to having you.” I responded with a thumbs up. I was relieved that it was finally settled.

Chapter 9 – The Accident
On entering the kitchen I saw my sister and asked, “Rena do you have my bible? “It’s on your bed.”  “Wow”, I stepped back a bit surprised by her unfriendly tone. I suspected she overheard me talking to mom. This big sister of mine always seemed to be lurking around my safe place and often seemed to be aggravated by me, my life, my conversations and even my sweet sleep. I sighed at her response and refused to answer wishing she would be less hostile

As the day progressed, our family sought to be productive. Rena was cleaning her room, while Dad was in the kitchen doing a million things; Dad loved the kitchen. I could hear someone raking outside and I assumed it was my brother. I tried to get some washing done then proceeded to clean the bathroom. My favourite chores were washing, cleaning the bathroom, and cooking. I tried staying away from dusting and sweeping as much as possible and I didn’t like to mop floors.

As the evening drew near, I anticipated Nicky coming over to help me plan my birthday party. I was a bit anxious that we were just beginning to plan but I felt supported by my family and my close friends and was positive that it would work out. It was my intention to keep it simple and sweet. I heard the knock on the door and with high spirits welcomed Nicky inside. We quickly created our to do list and got to work. We had to decide on the starting time, invitees, eats, and other attractions. Dad had indicated earlier that he would take care of my birthday cake, drinks and the music. Nicky and I were making commendable progress. We sought to contact everyone on the invitation list right away. I suddenly had a thought and said, “Nicky I must return the kindness shown to me by Jason Emery, I must invite him.”. Nicky’s approval was important. She looked at me and asked whether I thought he would fit in. “Well…” I responded, “He may not come but at least I think he should be invited.” Nicky agreed and I proceeded to contact Jason.

My phone fell to the ground, hitting the tiled floor with a heavy thud as the house shook, following a heavy sound of metal slamming into a fixed structure, a blood curling scream, glass shattering and the sound of an engine rumbling. We all raced to the door calling out to Joel because we knew his last location to be outside. I felt numb and cold. As we opened the door, we were relieved to see Joel making his way to the front of the house, just as shocked as we were. A few feet away was a woman standing staring at the site of the accident trembling and shaking furiously. We concluded she must’ve been the one who screamed.

Our front wall was collapsed with a wrangler jeep on top of the rubble. The windshield was smashed in and we could see a man’s body in the driver’s seat slumped over the steering wheel appearing to be motionless. We could hear a soft whimpering of a child. Dad shouted, ” Call 911! Call 911!” My sister wasted no time and amidst the confusion and shock, managed to make the call.

My soul cried out for mom. If she was here, she would know exactly what to do. Dad cautiously approached the mangled vehicle and noticed a little boy pinned behind the driver’s seat. Dad motioned to us to come closer; we were so concerned for the little boy; he must’ve been around four or five. “Oh my God!” Nicky exhaled. It was too much for her. She slumped to the pavement and I encouraged her to stay there.

Dad searched for leaking fuel while Joel, Rena and I sought to comfort the little boy. He was fully awake, his eyes widely opened as fear gripped his little body. His whimper came out of his mouth as if he was experiencing intense pain that hindered him from crying freely. One of his arms fell limp at his side and he seemed to plead with his eyes for help. We continued to comfort him with words while we anxiously awaited the Paramedics. It was difficult to wait. I felt so helpless and weak.  I found myself kneeling against a nearby stone and positioned myself to ensure the little boy could still see me.

Do you think the man in the driver’s seat was the father of the little boy?

Next chapter will be posted next Saturday.

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