Musical Selection: Doja Cat|Woman
Part III: She’s stretching herself in all directions for her daughter
Today, I will give her the space she needs to talk about Bree’s graduation invitation, her current need to want to get clean, and perhaps a future for us. Today, I will learn about this woman a bit more — the one who ripped my heart out almost a year ago but hasn’t left me alone since. There is a reason for all of this. There is always a reason for everything, yes? Today, I will be the listener she needs — the shoulder with everlasting comfort.
Tomorrow will bring whatever it will bring, and I will be ready for it, too
Cari devours her breakfast. She is adamant about consuming delicious, home-cooked meals. We almost never ate out. In the past, she would say, “Rena, whatever you make, I will eat it.” And she did. There had never been a meal of mine I cooked, she did not eat. She had been more than pleased to inflate my culinary ego, and I fell into every compliment as quickly as I could. This woman — the woman I loved and still love, the woman whose body I pressed my palms onto, massaging every ache away … she has returned. What will I do? What can I do?
“I still can’t believe Bree sent me an invitation to her graduation. I haven’t seen her in so long, Rena. God, how will I react when I see her?”
“I don’t know, Cari. The graduation is in, what? A little more than a week? How about you take it day by day, and when we get there, you react however your heart implores you to act.”
I look at her searching my eyes for more answers. The sunlight from one of my windows in the kitchen kisses her right cheek gently. She glows. Even though her beauty shines through undeniably, I recognize the pain in her eyes. The pain of a mother who will go above and beyond for her daughter. An addict reaching out to the heavens to get clean for the possibility of new love in the future. It has only been three days, and she’s stretching herself in all directions for her daughter.
“You’re right, Rena. I mean … You’ve always been right about most shit.”
“I’m not trying to be right, love. I’m just saying what I’m saying. There’s no need to agonize over what you will do when the day isn’t even here yet.”
I slide another cup of coffee in front of her. She grips the mug with a mighty force. I watch her as the hot liquid slips down her throat. We’re going to be okay with this. We are.
Her accent meets my ears in a way I am accustomed to it doing, but this morning, it’s different. I can sense the pain in her voice — the unknowingness that comes with reuniting with one’s daughter — especially for someone who is an addict yearning to become sober. Cari had already contacted one of the addiction and drug rehab centers in our area prior to mentioning it to me. She had an appointment with a licensed professional who would assess her upon their first meeting and go from there.
That she had taken these steps informs me she is serious — truly serious about reconnecting with Sabrina and getting sober. The old Cari would mention getting clean and then five days later, I’d find her strung out in an alley near Shoaf Blvd passed out at 3 in the morning. Cari’s phone rings just as soon as we’re done eating, and it’s Bree. My entire body tenses up because I recall the last real conversation they had and how much it tortured Cari. I listen intently.
The room is silent and each word she utters bounces off the walls and echoes back to us. She ends the call with tears in her eyes and says not to me, but to the air in front of us or around us — she was not looking at me.
“Ze maakt me zo van streek!”
I pause. I walk over to her slowly and gently pull her into my arms. I don’t have a clue what had been said — I don’t speak Dutch, but the tone … the tone showed anger? Sadness? Both?
“She makes me so angry, Rena. So angry. But how? How can she make me so angry and I still love her so much?”
Not being a mother myself, I am perplexed. I do not feel qualified to answer this question. I continue to hold her. I continue to let her vent and cry. I say what I am thinking.
“Please tell me you have not been uninvited to the graduation.”
“No … Worse. She doesn’t want you there.”
We stood in silence. Teardrops from her big, bold, and dark eyes fell onto my hands. I danced in a circle as I held her close to me. Our breaths pushed from our chests and forced us to stay in sync with one another. How will we deal with this? I don’t yet know, but what I know is this … we have a chance at a new beginning, and daughter or not, I will stand guard against Sabrina if I have to. I won’t watch her break her mother’s heart for a second time.
Once was enough.
Part I and Part II
©2022 Tremaine L. Loadholt Originally published in Prism & Pen via Medium.
I just realized I had not shared the first two parts with you all. I hope this will help you get caught up here. Part I and Part II are above. Peace and blessings.