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Archive for the ‘Chapter 14’ Category

It was day four.  Saturday. Early in the morning.  My mom and I were lying in the bed in the master bedroom at the country house. I was in a catatonic zombie-like state, staring at the ceiling.   I didn’t have much to say.  Kesner was still dead.

Mom was trying to make it better.

She would say small things here and there.  She read me emails and text messages that she was receiving.  She wanted me to know how many people were praying for me.  A few people called during that time.  Aunt Carole.  Aunt Pepper.  I listened to her end of the conversation as she talked to them on the phone.

We were just lying there.  Just the two of us.  Me and Mom. In the morning.

Mom asked me what Kesner’s last words were to me.  I told her:

“Thank you very sweet.” 

That was the email that he sent me after I left the bag of groceries on his back porch.  One simple line.  no comma.

It was at that exact moment that I began to consider the greater meaning and possibility of that sentence.  It was as if he had said, thank you for this very sweet little romance just before I died.  Thank You Very Sweet.

It was sweet.

Mom thought that was a perfect goodbye.  She said:

“That should be the title of your book.  ‘Thank You Very Sweet.’ I know you’re feeling badly now, but when you’re feeling better, I think you should write about this.  You have an incredible story to tell…”  

She was right.  But I didn’t want to think about writing then.  I would think about that tomorrow…

Around that time we began to hear stirring in the house.  Klay and Gayle were up and moving around.  Mom got out of bed to have a few words with Gayle.  The two of them were conspiring to force feed me.

Gayle 

Gayle, otherwise known to me as ‘Glitter Pop,’ is my friend and my Link Sister in the Metro Manhattan Chapter of Links.  A few of us call her ‘Glitter Pop’ because that is how she refers to her jewelry collection.  According to Gayle, any basic outfit can be made fabulous with a little glitter and a little pop. Gayle is always iced out in diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, etc.  And Gayle’s ‘basic’ style is St. John head- to-toe.  She is always well appointed and simply,… fabulous.

Glitter Pop

I had the pleasure of meeting one of Gayle’s college friends over the summer.  She said that in college they used to call Gayle ‘Whitley’ because she reminded them of the character from the popular TV show: “A Different World.”  Monet said once that she’s never met a Gayle that wasn’t fabulous.  I agree, I think the name Gayle carries fabulous expectations with it.

But Glitter Pop is more than fabulous to me, she is my friend.  Gayle and I have been friends for several years now.  She is so positive and happy.  She loves life and she embraces each moment with joy and fullness.  She inspires me.

But in that moment, at the country house, there was no glitter and no pop.  No ice.  Just Gayle in a satin floral moo moo with a tray of Activia yogurt and two blueberry mini muffins.

They sandwiched me in the bed.  Gayle on one side and mom on the other.  they were gearing up to force feed me!

Mom was growing weary of my food fast.  And truthfully I was getting hungry.  But I only wanted to eat the minimum amount.  I did not want to indulge.  I did not want to enjoy anything.  I would eat just enough so that I could have energy for one more day.

And so the three of us sat up in the bed.  Gayle to my left and mom to my right.  Gayle spoon fed me yogurt until it was all gone.  She fed me two mini muffins also.  They made me eat every bite.  I rolled my eyes.  But inside I felt thankful.  For the LOVE that was resting on either side.  Just then, LOVE also walked through the bedroom door.  Klay came into the room to join us.  It had been decided that I also needed to take a bath. They had done so much conspiring in such a short amount of time.

Klay drew me a bubble bath in the heavenly soaking tub.  The bath was made complete with fresh floating orchid pedals and a comfortable white robe to put on when I got out.  I was thankful.  But still very sad.  They left me alone and I sat in the tub, knees to chest, and looked blankly out of the window.  Kesner was still dead. 

How had this happened? 

When I had enough, I got out. I put on the robe and proceeded to get dressed.  I came back into the master to find my mom reading a plaque on the bedroom wall:

Bidden or not Bidden, God is Present.’ 

Whatever – I thought.

I didn’t feel like I knew God anymore.  I was angry.

I put on a simple green cotton dress and I went outside to the patio and returned to my lounge chair.  I spent the rest of the day there. Felicia was among the first to arrive that day.  (Qiyana, Klay and Gayle had stayed over from the night before).  Felicia came with her son, Baby Craig.

Baby Craig at the Country House

Baby Craig was a blessing.  He arrived with an arm full of colorful silly bands.  Each band had their own little shape.  Felicia suggested that he give me one of his bands ‘to make Miss Kim feel better.’  He gave me two green bands that matched my green dress.  When he took them off and handed them to me, I looked and they were both in the shape of angels.

Baby Craig had given me two angels. 

Of all the animal shapes that adorned his arm the two that he gave me were angels.  It was in that exact moment that I began to feel Kesner’s presence for the first time.

He was with me.  

I wore those green silly bands all summer long.

Baby Craig didn’t stay with us too long after that.  He was mesmerized by the large sprawling front yard. He immediately took off running.  It was the most precious site.  He was smiling and laughing and happy.  It made us happy to watch him run.  Felicia pulled out her i-phone and captured it on her camera.

A picture that Felicia took that day… Baby Craig Running

Children are such a blessing.

Klay, Baby Craig, and me in my lounge chair…

Talithea came by also.  She had just been sitting for the Principal’s exam and she was beside herself.  She thought she failed.  Talithea is an educator that fully understands and embraces the challenges and complexities of teaching in an urban school in today’s world.  She should be a principal. She gets it.  She had been preparing for this test for weeks, but she had not expected the kind of week that she was going to have leading up to the test.  I knew that she was feeling anxious, so I prayed for her.

It was my only prayer during that time.  The only communication between me and God, who I was mad at.

I told her so.  I told Talithea that if my prayers mean anything, “I want you to know that I prayed.”  She was thankful but still sad.  She didn’t want to bother me with her sadness, so she left me outside in my chair and went in the house to talk to my mom – The Comforter.

Mom was frying fish by this time and Talithea came in and just cried.  I don’t know many details about their encounter because I was not with them, but I know that my mom gave her comfort.  She made her feel better.  And soon Talithea joined us again on the patio with a glass of wine.  She was going to be ok.

It was around this time that they (the conspirators) had developed another food strategy.  They made me trade food for wine!  I could not have any wine unless I ate something.

The Horror!

Felicia made chicken salad.  She placed a plate of it next to me with some crackers.  If I wanted wine I had to eat a few bites.I  begrudgingly scooped a little onto a cracker and took a bite.

Oh..My…Goodness…!!!!!!!!!!!  Chicken salad never tasted so good!!  Oh my goodness!! What in the world was in that chicken salad?!?  I couldn’t deny it. I didnt want to let on that I was enjoying it – I wasnt supposed to be enjoying food -Kesner was still dead! But, food fast or no food fast, that chicken salad was the bomb!!!  I made one exception to my fast.  I would only eat chicken salad.  Nothing else.  And only enough to survive.

It was a small victory for the food conspirators.  Chicken salad it was!  As long as I was eating something.  And it would be that way for the rest of the week.  If I was hungry at all, Felicia just seemed to be right there to whip up some chicken salad on the spot.

Felicia

That evening my mom went to the Kappa Ball for just a few moments to connect with Kesner’s fraternity brothers and give regards on my behalf.  They confirmed that the funeral was going to be the following Saturday.  They also expressed interest in doing a gathering, a visitation with me and my mom on Wednesday of that week.

When my mom returned, she took a bath and went to bed. Gayle and Klay enjoyed each other’s company by wine and candle light in the living room.  and I sat outside in the dark with my sorority sisters, Talithea and Qiyana.

It was the second week in June and fireflies were lighting the night sky.  It was beautiful. It looked like Christmas.  Twinkling lights. I felt like Kesner was putting on a show for me.  Wanting me to know that he was there. He was present.

The three of us talked for a bit and then Talithea soon retired to bed, she stayed with us that night.  Our last night at the house.

Qiyana and I sat a little longer.

I began to cry.  It was a loud pain – filled cry into the night.  I was still sitting in the lounge chair that I had been sitting in all day and Qiyana was sitting quietly by my side.  I cried and cried into the darkness. And then I stopped for a moment and  I looked at my friend with cancer and said to her with absolute authority :

“Don’t you dare die!  Don’t you leave me!”  I said “Qiyana, don’t you stop believing for one second that you are going to live!!!”

She looked at me and was silent for a while..    then she whispered:

 “Ok.”

And that was that. We went inside and went to bed.

© Copyright Thank You Very Sweet, 2011

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