Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Guest Fiction Series: On The Other Side, Part 3




What the h*ll? I could have sworn that I heard his phone ringing. I could have sworn…
I got back into my car and rushed home before Martin realized that he left his car door open and came back outside. I sped off and headed towards the house. I knew that I had to get home before something else unexpected happened.

I can't believe all of those missed calls were from me. It doesn't make any sense. How? He's been with me. When he wasn't, he was at work. I don’t remember calling him for anything. I guess the extra calls would make sense considering I just called him while I was following him. But what about the other 37 calls? Why can’t I remember?

I’ve had more trouble with my memory over the past few years. The doctor said that it would happen. Just give it some time. Who would have thought that it would have taken almost two decades for me to experience any after-effects of the accident?

That was about 17 years prior, and the memory still rested in my mind. It was a Wednesday night, and mom thought that it would be a good idea to go to church. She knew that I had been struggling previously with some decisions that she forced me to make. Instead of talking it over, we prayed. This was always her answer for things. We never went to church on Sundays, and we didn’t have a church home. But whenever something bad happened, we were in somebody’s church praying to God that things would get better. Personally, I thought that was a way for her to feel holy. If she could pray us out of a situation, everything was all right with the world. If she couldn't, then no harm, no foul because we did not attend church regularly.

I remember wanting to go to church growing up, but my parents didn't believe in general assembly. They believed that you could pray without the church, that you could worship without the building. That night we needed prayer. We went to Wednesday night prayer and asked the Pastor to pray for me, for my strength, for my sanity. We prayed and then we left. 

On the way home, we didn't talk much. Mom always believed in letting the prayer sink in, letting it soak into our pores. We should be quiet, and give God time to work. So quiet that if he spoke, we could hear him. I had yet to hear God's voice. Dad was driving. He came to a complete stop at the next light. Then his light turned green. After looking both ways, proceeding through the intersection, a car came out of nowhere and slammed into the side of us. Our car spun out of control and crashed into the light pole on the side of the street. The other car backed up and kept driving. The impact was so strong that our car wrapped around the pole. Mom died on impact. I watched her take her last breath. The last word she muttered was Jesus. Dad was a trooper. He made it to the hospital. The car was hit on his side, so he received the majority of the impact. He had some internal bleeding and some broken bones.

I usually sat right behind my dad because I felt safest there. That night, I sat in the middle. I couldn't choose sides that night. Mom had made me angry, and Dad was just Dad. He never stood up for what he believed. He always let mom make the decisions. I was upset with him, and I sat in the middle seat that night.

I came out of the accident without a scratch. There is something about being in the center of a vehicle. When it wrapped around the pole, it was almost as though it missed me completely, like there was a shield that kept me from getting hurt.

That was the last time I saw either of my parents alive. Dad died at the hospital that night. He went in his sleep. The doctors said something about a vessel in his brain bleeding out. We never saw it coming. He went to sleep that night and never woke up.
                                                                                                                                   
Now here I am, in this car, leaving the one place I never thought I would be, a church, chasing after my husband. After losing my parents, I never really went to church much. I would go a few times to appease Martin. I never went on my own, and it always seemed as though he was dragging me there.
As soon as I snapped out of this episode of Grey’s Anatomy meets reality I came to just in time to realize I almost had an accident of my own. I was three centimeters away from hitting the car in front of me. They slammed on their brakes, and I realized that I almost hit them. I needed to pay better attention while I was driving. The person in the car behind me honked his horn. I did hit my breaks rather abruptly.

The rest of the way home I chose to focus less on my father's driving and more on my own. 

I wonder what God is trying to tell me now. 

“S**t, my kids!”

I had been so consumed with my past and present situations that I forgot about the only thing that did not need fixing, my kids. I made a quick U-turn and made my way to my friend, Stephanie’s house to pick them up. They had been there all weekend, and I was supposed to pick them up after having lunch with Martin.
When I pulled up, they were excited to see me. They got in the car. Maria had always been the curious one.

“Hey Ma, Where’s dad?”

“Your dad had some business to tend to today. I’m sure he’ll be home later.”

“Can we have a movie night?”

“Sure baby. Amari, want to pick the film?

“Sure, ma.”

Amari picked the same movie for the third time that month. We always had movie nights. It was usually our way of bonding while their dad worked late. Since I didn’t work, I typically spent more time with the kids. They were getting older, though, and they didn’t need me as much. They were very self-sufficient. Movie night was the only time we got to spend together. Everyone did their own thing. But I needed them that night.

They were the only thing going right in my life. So I spent the rest of the night enjoying their company.

Maria was our princess. She was 13 years old and loved to watch movies. She liked all genres, but she loved horror films. As much as she loved them, they gave her nightmares. She would crawl into bed with Martin and me after we had gone to sleep and snuggle up next to Martin. She was a real daddy’s girl.

Now, Amari, he was our soldier. He was 16 and afraid of nothing. We almost lost him at birth, which I think made him fearless. When you’ve survived death the way he did, you have no choice but to tackle everything else full force.

Amari picked a decent horror movie. That night, I wanted to feel needed. Maria needed me to make her feel safe, and I needed Amari to give me strength. He didn’t know what was wrong, but he knew something was bothering me. He stayed near me the entire night. He catered to me. He even prepared the snacks for the evening. His specialty was making sure that I was okay.

As we watched the movie, and Amari and Maria were dozing off to sleep, I couldn’t help but to think about Martin. My phone hadn’t rung, and he still wasn’t home.

Where could he be? We’ve been here all night, and there are no signs of him coming home anytime soon.

As I woke the kids up to get them to bed, I called Martin once more. I knew that he wouldn’t answer, but I gave it a try.

Ring... Ring...

His voicemail picked up.

”You’ve reached the right person at the wrong time. This is Ahmad Jenkins. I’m sorry I’m unable to take your call...”

I hung up.

Wait, who is Ahmad? I must have dialed the wrong number. I’m just sleepy. Yea that’s it; it’s been a long day.

I didn't call him back. He’d come home when he was ready, and I was tired. I dozed off to sleep, thinking about Martin and the type of mood he would be in when he returned home.

I didn’t mean to scare him or make him angry; I only wanted to see what he was doing. He’s been acting suspicious, and I can’t deal with the emotional disconnect right now. The last time he was angry because of something I did, I ended up in the hospital. Let’s hope that this time would be different.

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Verina Wherry is a writer, poet, and aspiring author who spends her free time listening to music, shopping for incense, and watching Criminal Minds reruns.



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