Day 10: A Day I'd Rather Forget
Man, I could have a volume set full of these. I really have to choose just one? (shaking my head)
Sitting on the chapel steps @ Alcorn
(yeah I dug the Janet Jackson braids)
Okay. Bear with me because I have to put down a little bit of backtracking to lead to it.
It was around the last part of May. Year 2000. My mom had surprised everyone by deciding to show up for my college graduation. (jaw drop)
No one thought she was coming because she failed to make an appearance when invited to my high school graduation. The only reason why she even received an invitation to my college graduation was out of courtesy.
You would think she would be on her best behavior on my special day, but she tried to make things all about her in a number of ways.
Dr. Lee--Honors Advisor
Dr. Lee looked bewildered because this is the first time he had ever laid eyes on my mom, for one, and two, every time there had been anything associated with my education, my grandma had always been around.
Grandma apologized for my mom's behavior after she stormed off.
Then, following that, although I wanted to eat at one place, my mom wanted to eat somewhere a bit fancier. I know it had been years since she had lived in Mississippi, but there weren't a lot of super fancy places to go eat. Sure there were places that served steak and seafood, but it wasn't places where you couldn't pronounce the names of stuff...that type of thing.
I didn't want to go anywhere that fancy.
She didn't want to go where I wanted to go.
So in the end, the family gathering got divided (which wasn't supposed to be the plan). People who wanted the fancy caravaned with my mom; everyone else ate where I ate. I could tell my grandma was highly ticked, and she said, "I wish she never came. She always has to make things about her."
But this isn't the day I'm making reference to. Let's just say I'm setting the tone.
A couple of days after that, my grandma went into the hospital. The doctor originally wanted her to go in earlier, but Grandma said she wasn't going to miss my graduation. There were complications going on with her heart. The doctor wanted to keep an eye on her to see what was causing it and to make sure she was all right.
I knew my grandma didn't like hospitals all that well, and I wanted to make sure I spent some time with her--at least overnight so it wouldn't feel as scary for her. The day that I wanted to go, my mom wanted us to spend some time together.
Confession: Yes, I was still a bit salty at her for the way she acted at my graduation (since it was only about three days removed), but I had already decided that particular day I was going to spend the night at the hospital with Grandma, which was what I told her.
I asked her if it would be okay if we rescheduled.
She was like, "Sure."
Yet the day when I did have time to spend with her, she was nowhere to be found. She had time to hunt up one of her ex-husbands and somehow found my sperm donor (who to this day I've never seen) to try and show off. I guess call it a "Look What You Could Have Had" moment. Either way, her getting closer to them was more important than her trying to repair an already fragile relationship with me.
I left it alone.
The day Grandma got out of the hospital was when I reached my boiling point.
I was trying to make myself open to having a relationship with my mom, but I knew in order to do that, there were certain things she would have to stop doing.
She would have to quit accusing my grandparents, particularly my grandma, of brainwashing me against her.
She would have to quit making promises she could not keep. She'd have to quit expecting me to love her in the same way as her mom and dad because she just wasn't there for me in the way I felt a true loving parent should.
I was done with the fantasies I had of her. I saw her for who she was and was trying to deal with that the best way I could.
I had an argument with my sister, the one I reference that had left with my mom when I was three. You see, she had been an advocate of my mom. My mom had told her one story of why she had left and went to California, but I knew how things went down.
My sister came at me, not understanding why I was "blowing mom off" in reference to the day I was spending in the hospital seeing about my grandma (her own mother) when she barely spent half the day there that whole week Grandma was in there.
So then, I fired back about my mom "blowing me off" to hunt up old memories with two men who could give a rat's ass about her (and one of those guys telling the neighborhood that he had hit it).
I left from outside and went inside to try and calm down. Grandpa saw I was upset and tried to comfort me.
While he was trying to talk to me, my mom comes in all pissed off. I guess my sister had told her what I had said. Then, she starts saying that I had no right to be bitter at her, that Grandma and Grandpa made her leave me with them and that she had always wanted to take me. That's when Grandpa got upset because of the fact that she was lying to me.
My mom went back outside, and I guess both her and my sister told my Uncle about it.
Now at the time my Uncle and I didn't see eye to eye. He's the same Uncle who had issues with my grandparents not doing as much for his daughter as they were doing for me. So now, he has plenty to get off his chest, equipped with liquid courage and truth serum.
So before I could get halfway down the hall, he storms in and yells out, "You need to learn how to get along with your people!"
Usually, I would ignore him when he would get belligerent and just keep walking. This time, I stopped.
"Say what now?"
"You need to get along with your own people!"
I turned around and shook my head.
"This, coming from a man who isn't friendly to you unless someone is doing something for him. This, coming from a man who didn't do one thing for me during the time I was growing up. This, coming from a man who carried a grudge against your own mom and dad for stepping in when your sister failed to just because you were too lazy to do for your own child. This, coming from someone who thinks when his woman kicks him out, he can just lay up in here and not pay a lick on any types of utilities or food he uses up in here that he runs up. But I need to get along with my own people?"
I cackled angrily. I think it took a while for the words to set in. I continued down the hall. My Uncle decided to get really bold and grab for me.
I didn't know when Grandpa had appeared but I could hear him, "You're my son, true enough, but I'll kill you if you hit her. Get the hell out of this house, boy!"
My Uncle let go of me and rushed past Grandpa to get out. He knew Grandpa meant business. I guess my mom came in to see how things went down and decided to make a final appearance.
My Uncle had failed so she had to have the last word.
She said that she wish she never had me. She said I was no longer her daughter.
I told her I wish I never came from her. I told her she was never my mother. She cared too much about being with a man than having love for any child she ever had.
Grandpa grabbed her as she reached for me. It didn't even phase me that my Uncle would try to get stupid with me because he only gets bold when he gets a lot of alcohol in him, but here was my mom, lunging at me like I'm some female on the street.
I had enough.
"Get out of my face, you two bit whore! You won't ever have to worry about hearing from me ever again. How dare you come at me because you hate the truth about yourself? How dare you lie to me about everything? Just get out of my life!"
Grandpa let go of her.
The door opened behind me. My grandmother came out, and she was trembling, her eyes filled to the brim with tears.
"Get out of this house, Faye, and leave her alone! You wanted to be the center of attention; you got your wish! Ruined Monica's graduation. Couldn't give her peace for spending time with me when I was sick. Can't have a relationship with her siblings because ain't no tellin' how much mess you've said. You ain't happy unless everyone else is miserable along with you. Get on out of here!"
She looked at Grandpa. My mom prided herself on being a Daddy's girl. Surely, Grandpa would take her side, she thought.
But Grandpa nodded his agreement.
The river of tears I was holding escaped. My whole spirit felt broken. I began to wail. Grandma put her arms around me and held me. Grandpa brushed past my mom to hold us both. Grandpa never got as much of her disrespect as Grandma and me, mainly because my mom always believed that Grandpa was her ally. However, in that moment, she saw that she had no backing. She left the house.
She went back to California the next day. It would be almost eleven years before I saw her again, which would be about two months before Grandpa passed away.
Day 10, that's a wrap!