“What do you mean she didn’t make it?”
“Sir, her family is in the room, would you like to join them?”
What are you talking about? Dead? Tammy ain’t dead! I just spoke to her this afternoon. Where is she?
Sir, I can take you to the family. You just didn’t make it in time. I’m so sorry. Why don’t you follow me?
Jared felt cold…as if he was completely uncovered. The hallway the doctor started down looked white, barren, and long. My legs won’t move. What’s wrong with my legs? “Uhhh ma’am…, doctor? Suddenly Jared felt the floor under his throbbing head. If two people clanged cymbals on both sides of his head, the noise would be less deafening than the throbbing he could hear in his ears. The light above him looked like a huge flying saucer, now it was becoming blurry, and he could feel tears running into his ears. Where is she? Tammy, where are you at? Wait…. [Darkness] Let me just lay here and catch my breath. I just needed more time. I just needed more t….
Days like today are what life is made of. Nikki Rodgers wore my Starter jacket during the whole lunch recess AND she saw the kickball game. She saw me kick the ball over the fence… she SAW me! B+ on my spelling test, my Louisville cut is fresh, AND we’re headed to the coliseum for the Warriors game tonight. This might be the best day of my whole 8th grade. I might even ask Uncle Luke if I can wear his other pair of Cazal’s tonight. I’m feeling lucky- like ANYTHING is possible! Maybe that’s what Gramma means when she says anything is possible with Jesus. Maybe she means days like THIS!!!
Jared fakes a dribble up the walkway, and shoots a jump shot with his invisible ball as he opens the screen door.
“Boy! What I tell you about letting my door slam!”
“Sorry gramma! It’s me, I’m home.”
“Hey baby. Come gimme my sugah. How was school? You get the test back?”
“Yep, B+ gramma!”
“Well, alright now! I told you anything is possible if you only believe!”
Hmmm…that’s what she was talking about? I thought it was a miracle Nikki wanted to wear my Starter. That seems bigger than a spelling test.
“Gramma, I’m hungr….”
“Boy, I know. You’ve been hungry since you been alive. I made you a roast beef sandwich with the meat we had left over from last night. Just like you like it. Sit down so granny can feed you.”
“K. Gramma who’s that outside?”
“Oh, her name is Tammy. Her parents moved into the house across the street. I’m gonna be watching her every day until they get home from work. So, she’ll be here during the afternoons with you. She starts at your school tomorrow. I told her parents she can walk home with you after school……I said, I told them…”
“I heard you…”
Gramma spins around with her hand on her hip. “You say something Jared Daniel?”
“Yes ma’am. I mean no ma’am… I mean, yes, I’ll walk her home if I have to.”
“Of course you will because you’re a gentleman and it’s good to be kind. (Gramma’s voice fading in the distance) “It’s godly to be hospitable.”
Man, she’s pretty!
“Jared, do you hear me?”
“Huh gramma? Ummm yeah. Sorry, who’s in the hospital?”
I guess we would’ve been like brother and sister if we hadn’t always loved one another. I’ve loved her since I was 12. I took her to her prom. She didn’t speak to me for months after I didn’t take her to mine. The other girls at her catholic high school did things she didn’t do. Tammy was different. I just had to protect her.
She’s been right about every girlfriend I’ve had. And as far as I’m concerned, none of her boyfriends have been good enough for her either! She’s always been different. Even after we were grown she’d go sit and talk with gramma. Like she was an old lady trapped in a young woman’s body. She’s just always felt like home.
I keep dreaming about her. I see her face at the oddest times. When I envision her smile, I catch myself smiling. I don’t like the way that makes me feel. I don’t like not feeling in control. And her mouth. No other woman talks back to me like that! Why do I let her get away with that? She ALWAYS has something to say! I CAN’T STAND that!
I’ll be thirty-five next month. Mom keeps telling me I need a covering. I keep telling her she covers me just fine! She told me last week that one day somebody’s gonna snag Tammy. Where that come from? Uhhhh ok. Like I told mom, as long as he does right by her, we’re good! I felt nauseous when I said it though. But Tammy scares me. She doesn’t really NEED to get married though. I can’t even think of who could really handle her. She’s always wanted to be married and have kids though. Tammy… (he nods smiling) She’s sharp. She’s beautiful. She’s trustworthy. She’s LOYAL. (Stomach flutters again) Yeah, he’d have to be…. I wonder if she ever thinks about us. She acts like she never has time to hang out anymore, but I see how she looks at me…I just don’t know if I can...(phone vibrating interrupts Jared’s reverie)
Answers phone clearing throat… “Good Afternoon, Jared Sinclair…”
“Jared, it’s Christine.”
“Hi Mama Christine! You don’t sound like yourself. You sick? You okay?”
“Jared, it’s Tammy…there’s been an accident.”
“What’s wrong with Tammy? Where are you? She okay?” (grabbing keys off his desk)
“They brought her to Highland. Are you close? Oh my God!!! I have to go Jared. Get her if you can!”
(Jared frantically dials his mother) “Umm Mr. Sinclair, you have a client at 2:30… Mr. Sinclair!”
“Not now Janine! Family emergency! C’mon! Why is this elevator so slow!…. Yeah, mom? Where are you? I need you to pick up. Meet me at Highland. Something happened to Tammy…”
(driving frantically, weaving in and out of traffic) I’ma tell her. I’m just gonna tell her how I feel. Wait, how do I feel? What am I supposed to say, you feel like home? You make me think of my gramma? I can’t even think. God, just let her be okay. I know you’ll tell me what to say. Just let her be ok, okay? Please? PLEASE! I just need more time.
(gasping for air, looking around) What is that?(chest pumping) Where am I? I’m in my room. That’s the alarm. Jared moves his left arm to grab his cell phone and feels the tear soaked pillow against the side of his face. Let me catch my breath, MAN! I was dreaming. [exhale] The clock reads 5:05am.
“Yeah gurl, so let’s just meet up at Kincaid’s after work. I want to hear ALL about it. You’re giving me something to look forward to while I’m at work all day. It’s gonna be CRAZY. I have four c-sections scheduled.”
(Loud knocking at door)
“It isn’t even 8am. Who is that banging on my door!”
“Oh my goodness. I can hear it over the phone. Keep me on the phone while you go check sis. People crazy.”
“Gurl, it’s Jared.”
“Tammy, what he doing over there so early?”
“That’s what I’m about to find out! I’ll call you back.”
(opening door) “Jared, why are you popping up at my house and knocking on my door like you’re the police? Do you know what time it is? And why do you look like that? (straightening head scarf and tightening the belt on her robe) I’m looking all crazy… Jared? What is it? You alright?”
“You look beautiful.”
(side eye) “Jared, what’s wrong with you?”
“We need to talk…”
© 2017 Kelsi Marie