Blackhumouristpress's Blog

May 14, 2019

A Letter to Unwanted House Guests

I would be remiss if I let you walk away and not say something to you. When I was sixteen years old, I ran away from home and went to live with poor people on public aid that were willing to take me in. To show my gratitude, I helped clean the house and do chores like all the other natural children of the house. Even at that age, I thought it was exceptional that people with very little, were willing to include me in their lives. With that said, when your daughter came to me to ask for a $500.00 advance to help pay for the rent at a motel flop house after you were evicted from your apartment, I did for you what someone once did for me. I let you move into my home.

 

Being your daughter’s boss in a small restaurant and bar, I blurred personal and professional. I spoke with her often about social issues based on the news of the day. I was asked more than once if I felt any guilt for slavery or white privilege. It was a bit sassy for a young woman of 19 years of age to so brazenly tell me that white people are the devil but especially white men. I should have never gotten involved in hindsight. For my generosity, I never received even so much as a thank you from you or your daughter. Your daughter telling me that her last day working for me will be tied to her last day living in the apartment above my restaurant- my home. I had no choice upon hearing that except to tell her and you to get out of my place immediately.

 

You both are devoid of empathy but picture this- I did hospice at my parent’s home for my mom for a month. She died on a Monday and on a Thursday, my girlfriend came in unexpectedly and went through my place like the Gestapo and found that Anne Frank and her mother had been hiding in a bedroom together, looking at their phones eating Popeye’s Chicken in bed. I never got a kind word from either of you for sharing my place with you. Now as your daughter may have told you, I am not the most liberal minded person in the world but I did something so blindly liberal that you may have mistook at face value human to human generosity with some sort of white guilt. I have none of that shit. Possibly you never got around to thanking me because you felt you were owed this in some sort of way. Maybe that’s racist of me to come to that conclusion. Maybe you’re just ignorant and ungrateful people who are incapable of understanding that someone did you a big time favor by taking you in. After all, everything today is racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, homophobic and if you are white, you have to be willing to go through some sort of truth and reconciliation purging session to cleanse one’s self of privilege. I can tell you that if your daughter thinks she can be surly and judgmental with people that help her, she will get a go fuck yourself response from most people. White or otherwise. My fuck you moment came when I texted both of you to know when she was coming to work on a really busy night. The response- I will be late. The question- how late? The answer- we’re not close. The reply-I didn’t ask you where, I asked you when. Her reply- don’t be rude. Don’t be rude. Don’t be rude is what the 19 year old girl who has been cloistered up in my apartment for free with her mother and says to me when she will be 90 minutes late for work because she was witnessing a friend take prom pictures. That was the limit for me. This was after the death of my mother and the discovery by my girlfriend that you had been shacked up in my apartment. I lost my mom, my girlfriend and then was told by my star employee that when she finds a place to live, she’s quitting.

 

In conclusion, I do not want you to think that this is a racial thing. I was married to a black woman and have a child who is about as black as our ex-president. It might be that black button that every white person presses when pressed about whether they are racially cool. I have a black friend. I married a black woman and so on. I have to sort out in my head if the things that transpired were things that could have happened by any obliviously ungrateful people regardless of the color of their skin or if this goes hand in glove of many with the stereotypes that exist out there. Maybe I will never know. I do know that your daughter is destined to be living with her daughter one day off of the generosity of some fool if she does not wake up and find more ambition than watching mindless shit on her phone all day and learns to work hard. Youth is transitory. I don’t think I need to tell you that.

April 11, 2019

She’s Leaving Home

Filed under: dementia,hospice,Short Story,Vietnam — blackhumouristpress @ 1:46 am
Tags: , , , , ,

The two men sat in the dark room with symphonic music playing. Lying in the bed with the white noise of oxygen being pumped into their mother’s nose.

“I think they fucked this whole thing up… If she can’t swallow any longer than how the fuck did she eat yogurt and drink water?” Asked Wade.

“There’s no way of knowing if it’s going into her lungs or stomach…” said Jimmy.

Jimmy is Wade’s son but was adopted by Wade’s mother while he was in Vietnam and so Laurie was the mom of both men. Wade was adamant that his mother was Jimmy’s grandmother and referred to her as such. Jimmy, tired and stressed over standing watch over a dying woman snapped at his dad and brother.

“Look… When someone adopts you, that person becomes your parent. You and my real mom gave me to her and so that makes her my mother too… Why don’t we just call her Laurie? That way I don’t have to hear you call her grandma. She’s not your grandmother and she’s not mine either.”

Back in the old days when Jimmy was a boy, Laurie would make Jimmy spend time with Wade. Wade, a Vietnam Veteran affected by Agent Orange, had a short attention span, problems with anger and an inability to hold a job. Wade never had to ever take care of another human in his life until now with his mother doing hospice. Laurie was a tough woman who fought cancer several times and won. Wade was a man who was burned over 65% of his body in a house fire and lived. Jimmy had a high threshold for stress.

“Wade… Do you remember the guy you shot in the foot?”

“Oh yeah… That fucking guy…”

The man’s name was Gene and he was a drunk Marine who was sitting in the backyard of a drunk Army/infantry veteran. Gene called Wade a pussy and told him he was too much a pussy to shoot anyone. Wade took a sip of his beer, pulled out a handgun and put it to the foot of his drinking buddy and pulled the trigger.

“Whatever happened to that guy?”

“He was as nuts as Mr. Peanuts. They put his ass in a mental institution. I don’t know if he’s dead or alive.

Wade yelled to his hard of hearing mother who was lying in bed holding a stuffed animal, staring straight ahead. He took a sponge on a stick and tried to jam water into her mouth. Lodged in the corner was a ball of yogurt that was being stored not swallowed.

“Looks like Laurie is saving that yogurt for dessert later,” said Jimmy.

Both men quietly thought about the days when she was younger, pretty and vibrant. Laurie was a bundle of energy at all times and could never do enough for her boys. Wade looked at Jimmy in his tank top with his arms folded. Jimmy’s arms looked strong. Both men worked out, ate well and wanted to try to not suffer in old age as much as possible.

“How much can you bench now?”

“On good days when my joints don’t hurt… 235 maybe 240… I remember when them two Greeks kicked my ass and I had to get stitches on my eyelid. You were lifting out in the backyard with your shirt off. It was summer time and Laurie was hanging clothes out on the clothesline. I came to you and asked if you could get me started lifting. You looked at me and told me never to wear stupid clothes anymore and eat more meat… I gained 35 lbs. of muscle that year. Nobody wanted to fight me anymore after that…”

Laurie picked at the blanket that covered her with one hand and reached out to her mother and grandmother who were standing in a field with the wind in their hair. Both women waved to Laurie and she waved back.

“Well, I say we call 911, get her to a hospital and do another swallow test. This is horseshit. If she can swallow, she can swallow.”

“Wade… The car is running but it’s not going to drive anymore… You know what I mean? It is what it is. She’s doing better because she sees you and me now instead of the nurses at the nursing home twice a day. She has advanced Alzheimer’s. It’s a matter of time. I don’t want that but it’s coming. We’re watching the sun setting with clouds. When the clouds pass and the sky gets lighter, we think the sun is coming back. It’s not coming back. It’s setting here and rising somewhere we can’t see.”

“That’s some deep, poetic shit, Jimmy. Put that on a greeting card, make some money.”

“I’ll put your picture on the front for people to laugh so that they won’t think it’s too heavy…”

“Fuck you…”

For as much as Jimmy disdained the man who was really his father, he was impressed with his ability to go on. His ability to persevere. His ability to conquer without fear. Jimmy understood that Wade was afraid to lose his mom. More so that Jimmy.

“Where are you going?” Asked Laurie, faintly.

Laurie’s mother and grandmother turned and held their hair in the breeze. They were young and vibrant like they were back in the 1930’s with crimped, short hair.

“We’re getting things ready for you… We’ll see you soon.”

Wade started to tear up as he looked at Laurie. With a crackling voice and sniffles, he explained harsh things that happened in his life that never left him.

“We captured a gook that got some of our guys killed. We tied him to the back of our truck and let him bounce around until his body was pulled apart and only his trunk was left. I watched a guy next to me die after a hole was put through his head. I watched people die in that burn unit from their injuries. I screamed myself when they scrapped my skin with a wire brush and had to cream my whole body and give me morphine… Those were hard things. Losing your mom is the hardest thing I have ever gone through and I’ll never forget her.”

Jimmy began to tear up. He was crying too. All he could do was shake his head in agreement. They would both miss her.

 

The Beatles

She (we never thought of ourselves)
Is leaving (never a thought for ourselves)
Home (we struggled hard all our lives to get by)
She’s leaving home, after living alone, for so many years.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.