“Good afternoon, Lynn,” I said, extending my hand; trying to be friendly for my husband’s sake.
She reluctantly shook it, the nerves twitching in her temples. “Hey.”
It was a rather weak handshake, but I didn’t pay it no mind. I wasn’t there to sell Girl Scout cookies or hold a MADD (Mothers against Drunk Driving) rally for drivers with DUI’s.
You’d swear Jonathan was walking on eggshells, wondering when the pleasantries were going to succumb to all out violence and fighting.
Jonathan squeezed my upper arm and kissed his mother’s cheek. Her face lit up Times Square whenever he was around and slowly faded when I followed him like a lost puppy.
I was crazy about him and would fight the devil to protect him and if I had to stand up to the woman that gave him life, the woman that has tried to make our lives a living hell then I was prepared to be his spokesperson and personal lawyer if he suddenly suffered from lock jaw that prevented him from keeping her in check.
Growing up a church boy intoxicated on mysticism seemed to cripple him for life. We were both God fearing men, but I was spiritual, not religious and I haven’t been praying as much as I used to.
I prayed every day for everything, but the instant I found love and married Jonathan, even though in my heart I wasn’t ready for marriage, I stopped praying about everything. I haven’t been to church in years and didn’t have the desire to go around phony bitches.
“Here’s your twenty dollars,” I said politely, calling her everything but a child of God in my head.
My eyes must have betrayed my true feelings because she was abruptly tense.
“I wanted my son to pay me back. He was the one that borrowed my money because your broke ass haven’t had a stable job for three years.”
“Mother,” said Jonathan, keeping her on idle. My NASCAR was piping hot, about to go from zero to ninety in a split second.
“It’s OK, baby. It’s no biggie.”
“While you’re in my presence you are to call my son by the name me and his daddy gave him.”
“He’s my husband. We got married and forsake all others, ma’am.”
“My name’s Lynn. Miss. Lynn to you.”
“Whatever, Lynn. Plus you wanted to talk to me. I will call you whatever I damn well please.”
She crumpled my twenty dollar bill and threw it at my chest. “Keep your money. If it ain’t from my son then I don’t want it. And let’s be clear,” she went on, acting her shoe size as if she was Midget Mack. “I didn’t want or agree to talk to you. My son begged me to.”
I glared at Jonathan. “You begged Ursula the Sea Witch AKA Cruella the Ice Queen to talk to me without my permission? Isn’t it bad enough you left this morning to talk to her without even informing me you were gone? The same energy you used to text me your whereabouts is the same energy you could have woke me up and told me you were leaving. I already don’t want to be here.”
He was caught out there. He bought a few moments of silence by busying himself picking my money up from the ground. I wasn’t Scoobydoo. I don’t pick up anything thrown at me, I didn’t care what it was.
“Then leave,” she said. “I already have two daughters.”
“I wish y’all had some hair, because the teaspoon of hair you have barely fits through a rubber band.”
Jonathan had enough. “Mama. Can you shut the hell up and Harry...”
“The name’s baby. Try using it, like you have for eight years plus when I make your toes curl.”
Lynn cringed and I smiled like a Cheshire cat at her unease.
“Son, her name is Harrisha; I’m sorry, his or her name is Harry.”
“Baby, let’s go inside. Can y’all please act like adults? Mom, you’re too old--”
“--I’m not old, boy. I’m fifty years old!”
“--to be acting like a five year old because you didn’t get your favorite toy for your born day. You need to chill, please. Both of you are starting to piss me off.”
“She need a man. She’s probably mad that I managed to keep a monogamous man for almost nine years and she couldn’t even keep a man or a husband with breast implants.”
“Harry!” Jonathan yelled, about to slap the back of my head.
“I done told you it’s Baby, damn it.”
Lynn folded her arms, insulted. She’ll get over it.
I entered her house, feeling like I was heading to my own execution.
“Lynn, say what you gotta say so we can go,” I said, slamming the front door closed in their faces just as they were about to pass the threshold behind me.
I was already sitting on the living room sofa when Jonathan glared at me and his gap-tooth Mama say on the Lazy Boy, firing up a Salem Light...
“Y’all cool now?” Jonathan rhetorically asked. “Good. Mama, I told you that you owe my husband an apology. You had no right dumping scolding gravy on his crotch.”
“So what I almost burned his balls off. It’s not like he’s going to make babies. He’s too busy wasting them on you, Son.”
Jonathan was quiet. Still refusing to stand up to a woman that only used him to babysit his siblings so she could have a career in law enforcement for the past twenty-seven years.
At thirty-one years old, a bucking Sagittarius, he was Cinderella. It’s not what she could do for you. It’s what you can do for her.
She was overbearing and unreasonable. She loved her two spoiled daughters more than loved her son.
Since he was eight years old he’s been the baby sitter, house maid, dish washer and laundry manager of her household, waiting on her and his bratty sisters hand and foot and all she did in return was curse him out, treat him like a bum in the street and get as much money out of him as she could.
Maybe she’s mad that I came into his life and put a stop to him giving his ungrateful family his hard earned money.
He was an ICU Tech at Mercy Hospital for ten years and self-published a few poetry books that won him a few awards from the literary industry. His books were so good he was propositioned by a major publisher to sell his soul before giving him a six figure deal
He walked away from it and never wrote another book again.
And that’s how I felt right now. Like I had to offer his mother my soul for an ounce of respect.
I decided that I had enough.