Dee's Journal




Entry #4: A Sudden Trip to Los Angeles.


Last night we had my favorite dinner - fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Trevor was jabbering about some really old baseball card that Ray's uncle had and Felicia was telling me that she and Kyle weren't going to be seeing each other anymore because she thought he was a little too friendly (and she gave me a look so I'd know that he was moving along a little faster than her usual speed limit). And my parents were having a major debate about which part of the chicken is the best and why (we're talking breasts versus thighs). It was pretty loud and I was listening to all of this and thinking how nice and warm it was being all together in the kitchen. With the five of us and that pecan pie of Mom's still doing its thing in the oven. That's when the phone rang and Trevor jumped up to get it ('cause he's always wishing someone would call him). It turned out to be Aunt Beatrice, my mom's younger sister who lives in Los Angeles.

My mom and dad gave each other a "what now?" look as she took the phone from Trevor. You see, Aunt Beatrice and my mom aren't exactly best friends, on account of the fact that Aunt Beatrice has a habit of dating really wild guys and running out of money and forgetting she has a family until she needs something. I guess Mom figured it couldn't be anything good that Beatrice was calling to tell her.

And it wasn't. Grandma Webster had a stroke and was in a coma. Suddenly I felt really cold. My mom started shaking so bad that my dad had to take the phone and write down the information.

After Dad hung up my mom looked at him and he just put his arms around her and held her while she cried. I'd never seen Dad acting so sweet and tender to my mom. And I'd never seen my mom looking so sad and lost and in need of a friend. I was thinking how nice it must be to have someone who understands when you need a hug. Someone who knows you that well that you don't even need to say a word. They just feel it and put their arms around you and hold you for as long as you want. Me and Felicia and Trevor just sat there, our food getting cold, watching Mom and Dad in each other's arms. Then the phone rang again. It was Uncle Will in Sacramento. He's my mom's older brother and he likes to take charge of things. So he told my mother what time he'd be arriving in Los Angeles the next morning and what time was my mother's bus arriving so he could meet her at the bus station.

Well, that kinda woke up Momma and she started making plans. We spent the next few hours running around getting the suitcases out of storage and helping her pack and she was leaving all kind of reminders written on little pieces of yellow paper for Dad since he was going to stay home and watch after all of us while Momma was away visiting Grandma. And there were lots of phone calls. It seemed like Momma was letting everyone in the world know that her mother had had a stroke and that she was going to Los Angeles on the 7 am Greyhound. If she wasn't so upset about Grandma I'm sure she would have been excited about the trip. My mother has always loved to travel. But this wasn't a trip. This was something real scary. Not going to the big city... going to the unknown where death might be waiting at the other end.

After me and Felicia cleaned up the kitchen I went in to say goodbye to Momma because she was going to be gone before I got up the next morning. Then I got into bed and the house was still except for Mom and Dad talking quietly in their room down the hall. The door was closed and all I could hear was murmuring.

I started thinking about Grandma. How she loved playing gin rummy and how she never forgot the birthday of any of her children or sons and daughters-in-law or her 11 grandchildren. How she loved cats and how she always had something friendly and encouraging to say to any child she met. And I thought about the hard life she lived and how, compared to the things she had to put up with, the stuff that bums me out is so minor. I mean, even when things were really hard for her, when she was young and totally on her own and barely making it, she still had enough spirit to believe things would be better some day. And that's what she wrote in her journal. About her wishes and prayers for a brighter future. I wondered if the whole prayer thing really counted for anything at all. I wasn't sure, but I sure knew I didn't want Grandma to die. So I guessed it couldn't hurt to pray. And I did. Real hard.

The next morning I woke up and remembered that Mom was gone to Los Angeles to see Grandma who was very sick. I didn't want to get up, but I did. And I went to school.




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