Leave me here. I’d rather look at the sunset, admiring the backdrop of the mountains, its rocky gray against the skies iridescent shades of red and orange igniting the dynamite to my soul’s passion. The birds have come. Not for the sunset or the mountains, but for me. They’ve come to sing me out of my misery, I don’t speak bird but I can tell through the harmony of its chirps that they see the sadness my soul bares, they want to encourage me to take life by the horns and I want to, I do—but it’s so much easier to live in my head than to change an entire life I needed no help to ruin. Who I am, is not who I wanted to be. I wanted to be one of those beauties riding through the hills in a drop top midnight blue Mercedes, free from the problems of ordinary folk. I’d see myself weighing in on world issues of poverty and racism, rebuilding economic infrastructures.
I breathed in so deeply that exhaling became euphoric. Sweet serenity it’s working, I can feel my peace leaking in one ounce at a time with each Nightingale note. That is until Petey, our neighbor’s son pulled up and changed the tune to Usher “There’s goes my baby”. I opened my eyes to find myself on the west side of Chicago, Lotus to be exact sitting in my red 2012 Buic Verano and it’s only a Buic because that's they way my car spells it since the ‘K’ decided to kick rocks.
Seeing Petey only further reminds me that I’m back home with her. Yep! back home with mom. Ugh, I’m turning 32 in two weeks and not only do I have no one to share it with, but the mere thought of having to see her peering over the bed at my outright aggravated face at 7:15 in the morning asking if I plan to stay in bed the entire day has hugely impacted my happiness and to be honest it has grossly pissed me off at my future love. He was supposed to save me, to be my night in shining armor. Does he not know what he’s putting me through? Subjecting me to the prison of my family to be judged and tortured. I can hear myself praying to God and speaking to whoever he is, “find me, please… save me from myself, from my life ”. I wait—nothing happens.
Great! Even God is ignoring me, I turned off my engine, grabbed my Steak n’ Shake fries and double cheeseburger out of the passenger seat while walking toward the house I found myself singing along “There goes my babyyy, You don’t how good it feels to call you my girl” –Damn. Fucking. Jerk!
“What’s up Sheiana?” “Hey what’s going on petey” I respond. He slowly leaned out of the passenger door of an orange chafed caddy with a beer in his right hand and cigarette hanging off his lips. The hair from his mustache is curling into his mouth the same way grass grows over hills; he hasn’t shaved in God knows how long. He doesn’t have on a shirt and not because his body calls for it, it’s actually quite the opposite. He has on no shirt because he’s hot, he’s always drinking and always hot, but he speaks to me everyday and looks at me with a certain revere that I can’t help but to feel important. Imagine that, Petey the neighborhood’s drunk has added to my self-esteem.
Usually I’m pretty good about my eating, but during times like this comfort food work better than me losing my sanity. My mother’s house has always been a sanctum for chaos, when I was younger I’d say we lived in a rehab center. I wasn’t over-exaggerating; most of the people that came through here looked like they should’ve been in rehab, my mother never seemed to mind it though. She greeted them like they were family; made them plates and on our good china too, so I resolved to eat only from plastic ware. My mom, Kim and her sister Rose are the owners of this house. Rose is the eldest sister, but my grandmother’s fifth child out of the eight total. My mother was the 6th and at nearly 50years of age my mother and her sister are still inseparable. My grandma says it’s because of Rose’s illness, she was diagnosed with Lupus when she was 13. My grandma also says she’s an evil heffa. I agree. She can be at times, especially when I recall her in the memory of my childhood. “Your kids don’t love you Kim!” she would yell. I only remember what I can imagine is my look of wrath toward my aunt and chagrin for my mother. She never said anything but I would later find out she had to have believed it on some level. Now Rose is just nosey Rosey, a very frail woman who loves gossip and candy.
My middle sister lives here too; she is in the basement with my younger cousin, the dredlock Rasta who is usually chronic-high. There is something precarious about the relationship with my middle sister. It’s a strange love-hate that I’ve always sensed, but didn’t know where it came from. My mom share Rose’s room since I am occupying hers. Upstairs in the attic my uncle buck has one room and my baby sister, who is away at College, has the other. Buck is a recovered drunk, who is recovered mostly because he was attacked and forgot he used to be a drunk, the attacker wacked him across his prefrontal cortex disintegrating most of his long-term memory, needless to say he’s still a few acorns short. Aside from the four outfits he owns which all include the same combo no matter the weather, every morning he walks downstairs and yells “What up doe” to whoever is there and sometimes that’s nobody. He wears dress slacks through winter, spring, fall and summer, two brown and two black, both pairs have a cuff at the bottom; four button down dress shirts, one white, one grey, one blue and the other black. Two pair of basic Air Max gym shoes, one black and one white and a black leather fanny pack where he carries the lose squares he sells. He eats peanut butter and jelly during the day and pork n beans and hot dogs at night, every night!
Walking one foot in front of the other I’m disgusted at me! I finally leave home at age 29 and I’m back three years later. What do I do if there’s a guy that wants to come over? What if he asks where I live? Do I lie or admit that I’m a 32yr old woman trying to pursue her dream of acting and had to move back home to keep herself financially afloat?
I shiver at the truth and decide to go with the lie, fake it til you make it or confess it until you posses it. Either way I was in no shape to face what society would call me to my face or behind my back. I needed to survive this season, to come out on top, to be everything I said I could be. I don’t want to be a loser and ironically that seems to be the repeating mantra of my life. I’ve become so obsessed with not failing that I can’t even have a relationship without adding up my inadequacies. I feel incomplete in relationships, especially when my own inner closet is a mess. I want love and I want it the best way: deep and messy, unfiltered and reliable, but I can barely keep up with my car payments. I keep getting calls from my life insurance agent, I think I pissed her off asking questions like “why in the hell would I pay you life insurance when you don’t reimburse me for accidents like a normal insurance agency?” Truth is, I just couldn't afford life insurance any more. Furthermore by the time I’d need it I’ll be dead! Her response regarded asking stupid shit like why I quit my job? Insensitive bitch!
I unlocked the front door and listened for any form of life. The house appeared to be empty, at least empty enough for me to make it to my room where I can drop the pretense and just be free to be unhappy. I can make it… almost there, seven more feet to go! Six, I walk quietly creeping by the closed bathroom door. Five, I hear a small creek—I can smell victory, the bathroom door opens, Four. Dream deferred, I only smell shit now and it is mixed with genital musk