I glared at Bob, anger burning my face.
But the sight of Lynn in a wheel chair, paralyzed from the waist, down took my breath away.
“Welcome, Lynn and Bob,” said the group in unison.
Lynn refused to meet my eyes.
“Thank you, Marcus for setting this up,” Lynn said, annoying the hell out of me. “And suggesting this activity to the judge. I’m looking forward to working with my son in law and his husband’s murderer, his ex-boyfriend…Bob Grimes.”
Marcus tightened his grip on my shoulder, possessively.
I said, “I suddenly just lost my appetite”, and pushed past Marcus, throwing his gift in the trash.
Stomping to my car, I was flustered.
The nerve of Marcus Johnson to set me up like that.
And Bob, Chile, please. Anger management? What happened to prison time for killing my husband, for attempting to kill me because I didn’t want him anymore…
I hadn’t seen the bitch from hell since we fell inside my husband’s grave after she tried to kill me...
When she learned that Dime was my father...
I rest my head on the steering wheel, deciding that I made a mistake returning to the world after losing my sweetheart. I wasn’t ready to deal with the ghosts of the past. Lynn was a reminder that you couldn’t have your cake and eat it too and Bob reminded me of forgotten passion and the car accident that ended my baby’s life.
Something he purposely did, hoping to kill me instead.
Someone tapped on the window and I looked Marcus in the face.
“Can I join you?”
“That’s my boi”, he implied, opening the passenger side door, letting himself in.
“Running from your demons doesn’t chase your grief away. Haven’t you learned anything from what you taught us about handling anger?”
“Marcus, this is different.”
“Different, how? You have a paralyzed hypocrite that once gave birth to your husband and a bitter ex-boyfriend that drunkenly too him from you. At some point you gotta Man up the way you tried to get me to embrace my sexuality, in a way you tried to get me, um get Jonathan to stand up to his mother.
“Wasn’t that what you both were talking about when Lynn started beating your car with a Bible, moments before Bob wrecked your car and your lives?”
No matter how much it hurt to see Lynn and Bob, Marcus was right. I had to practice what I preached.
“OK, you’re right, dude. It’s not going to be easy. I want to mill them both.”
“You’re acknowledging your red flags. I like that. Look, there via something you should know.”
“I read the letter you wrote me, over half a year ago, about your relationship with your husband and living with HIV. I knew it was from you. I recognized your handwriting from signing my receipts when I pay for group sessions. Your letter helped me come out to my family.”
I was completely perplexed.
“You did? Congrats, my brother. I commend you. Welcome to the club.”
“I lost my brothers and my mother. Shockingly my father has my back. We’ve actually become closer because of it.”
“At least you have an ally.”
“Yes, I do. Come on. Let’s go back inside. And when it’s over, I’m taking you out to your favorite restaurant.”
“You don’t know my favorite restaurant let alone my favorite entertainer, sign or favorite color.”
“Janet, Capricorn and light blue. Yes, I got three outta three. Let’s go.”
I stared at him.
How did he know my favorite color, entertainer and sign?
I never told him or anyone in the class.
In fact my husband is the only one I ever told my true favorite color. I told everyone else that it was beige so that was one less copycat styling and profiling in my true favorite color.
Getting out of the car, Marcus hugged me again. I felt good in his arms. They were so familiar. I felt his heart beat, very soothing.
But I pulled away. My husband was probably turning in his grave. I didn’t want to be with anyone else. I vowed to die single and alone. Jonathan was it for me.
Now he was a bittersweet memory.
“I pray that you find it in your heart to forgive me for what I’ve taken from you out of my news for revenge.”
I hadn’t realized it was Bob talking until Marcus held up his arm and placed me behind him.
There was a flash of danger in his eyes. The same look Jonathan always had when someone jeopardized my safety.
I felt totally safe.
“Save the confessional for the group, sir. Haven’t you causes him enough pain and suffering, bruh.”
“I’m being totally sincere, dude. My kids made me take this class as a condition for them to continue being in my life. I was blessed to avoid prison, but the life I took robs and hunts me every single day. It’s driving me insane.”
For the first time Bob Grimes, my ex, was being sincere. On my fucking birthday.
“I’ll participate in this fix my life shit, then once we all heal, please, never speak to me again, Bob.”
Marcus said, “I’ll hold him to it, baby. I won’t let nothing hurt you.”
“Let’s go inside and get started.”
Once we were back in the building, we took our respective seats and Bob Grimes said his name, admitted that he was the drunk driver that killed my late husband and put me in a coma and his remorse moved me in a way I never expected.
It took a while to realize that Lynn was gone...