I laid there, helpless, staring at the ceiling. I could taste the dry air as it whisked in and out of my mouth. It was still dark out and I was alone once again. This was my daily routine every morning. Sometimes I would wake up crying. Other days, I was angry throughout the day for no reason at all. And then there were days like today, where I was still wondering why? Why did she have to hold on to that secret? Why couldn’t she just tell me?
My therapist said that the pain would subside with time. But it hasn’t yet. Losing someone you love is hard. But when it’s your mother . . . who remained silent about having cancer . . . . and waited until the day before she passed to tell you? It’s devastating! I keep hearing her voice in my head . . . .
“Hamiliton, I didn’t want you to worry baby. I couldn’t let you stop chasing your dream to take care of me”
I stood there at her bedside angry, but dared not show it. I had to be strong for her even though she was leaving me. How could she not tell me what she was going through? I wanted her to live, but she wanted to be selfish! How could she? How could she leave me? We were CMB! We were all we had! Instead of convincing her to stay, all I could do was hold on to her withered hand as she slipped away. That night I didn’t just lose a mother, I lost my best friend. And today was one of those days that I needed one of her pep talks.
I had to present my proposal to the board on taking over another smaller agency. But I wasn’t nervous about my speech. My mind had been monopolized by the beautiful professor. Even though I admired her truth and her full figured physique, getting Naomi to open up was excruciating! I had to initiate everything! She always waited until I texted or sent a video to say something back to me. And then when she did, there was no meat behind it. If I wanted to face time, either she couldn’t or she complained about my camera being dirty. And compliments? I still don’t know if she finds me attractive! Her response was always dismissive. So could I tell her how I was feeling about my mom? Hell no! And because of that, my conscious was beating me up, telling me I was an ass for continuing to entertain her. . . . .
“Why in the entire hell are you still talking to her? I know you better not send her a good morning text! You better not!”
“Why can’t he send her a good morning text? He’s thinking about her! There’s nothing wrong with expressing his feelings?”
“Nigga fuck yo’ feelings! You always getting played by listening to that dumb ass heart! He’s got your emotions all over the place! One moment you’re sad about your mother. Next minute you’re consumed with that toxic chick! He’s gonna have you taking more meds if you don’t pull it together! We gotta get this paper baby! Game face!”
I nodded in agreement and took off my mask and grabbed my cell phone. I pulled up Pharoahe Monch and “Simon Says” filled the atmosphere as I stepped into the shower. I regained my focus and transformed into Dr. Simon. I took my meds, grabbed my coffee, and headed to the office.
“Good morning Dr. Simon. Mr. Joseph and the other board members are in the conference room. I’ve already set aside your plate of fruit and cranberry juice”
“Thank you Holly”
As I made my way to the conference room, my phone began to ring. I took out my cell to answer, but didn’t recognize the number. I didn’t have time to take any surveys so I declined the call and switched the ringer to vibrate. I walked into the conference room and made my introductions before taking my seat. Not even two minutes into enjoying my breakfast, the phone rings again. Same number. No voice message left. I didn’t know who it was, but for them to be calling me twice in five minutes meant that something was up. I excused myself and stepped outside. Before I could call the number back, a text message came through . . . .
“Hey Hamilton. I just wanted to make sure that you were okay. I know today is rough and I wanted to check in on you”
I looked at the text again. Since I didn’t know who this person was, I decided to inquire.
“Thank you for checking in. I’m sorry, but I don’t have your number saved in my phone. Who is this?”
After several moments passed, the reply text came . . .
“It’s your dear friend, Monique”
I sat there and stared at the screen for several minutes. I couldn’t believe that she was texting me after all this time! You see, Monique wasn’t the type to keep your number when the relationship was over. She was the type that would delete all traces from you out of her life! Pictures? She’d throw them away. Old texts and emails? She’d delete them too swift! And anything that you bought her during the relationship? She would either give it to Goodwill or throw it away! And how do I know this? Because this was her ritual with all of her old boyfriends. She didn’t want a trace of them in her life. She believed in that energy shit. Me? Let’s just say I wasn’t her . . . .
“Thank you for thinking about me. I can’t believe that you still have my number. I gotta admit, I’m floored! Thank you for bringing light to an otherwise dreary day”
“Hamilton, there’s so much I could say. You are not forgotten no matter how I’ve tried. I know your heart was knitted to your mother. I wasn’t gonna let this year go by and not say something. It’s never easy losing a parent . . . . . ”
And Monique Evans knew that more than anyone. Her mother died giving birth to her and her father passed away several years after. I think that’s what made her so hard, but so giving at the same time.
“So how are you? How is your son?”
“We’re doing fine”
Then I did something that I shouldn’t have. I had a vulnerable moment.
“You know I still love you right?”
“I know you do”
“How do you know?”
“Hamilton, I can still feel you after all of this time. I tried to erase you from my mind . . . . and I just simply can’t”
“You can still feel me?”
“Yes. I still have that connection with you”
My spidey sense was tingling. So why didn’t she call me when I was near death last year? Didn’t she feel me then? I wanted to believe her, but why was she responding now? It was more than just my mother’s anniversary. Did she want to give us another chance?
“Well . . . if you keep thinking about me and all, why don’t we meet up and have a conversation?”
“What do we need to meet up for? Do you want forgiveness? Hamilton, I forgave you years ago”
“So what about us?”
There was no response after several minutes. Even though she presented to most like Mother Teresa, Monique could be an intransigent, insufferable, wretch! For most of our five year affair, she was too good to be true! It was like God answered all of my prayers when he created her. Monique was so instrumental in shaping me into the man I am today. She gave me focus, which was no small feat! I mean, I traveled a lot for work and was literally living out the trunk of my car. I was trying to raise my son on my own and finish my Master’s. She took on the task of getting me organized. Whenever I needed something, she would give me her last to make it happen. Would sew up the holes in son’s clothes and make them look brand new. She would prepare, I mean purchase dinner. And the sex, man! So why did we call it quits? Remember that part about her being an intransigent, insufferable wretch?
After I waited another five minutes for her response, I put away my phone and went back into the chamber and took my seat. My new supervisor was at the podium looking at me like I was his ticket to a wealthy retirement.
“And without further adieu, I would like to introduce you to our new Director of Clinical Business Development, Dr. Hamilton Simon!”
Monique was still on my mind as I rose from my seat. As the crowd applauded, I got into game mode and pulled myself together. I had my expansion speech in hand and began to go into work mode. Once I finished, the board applauded and voted unanimously to green light my take over. As I walked out of the conference room, a familiar face was waiting for me at the receptionist desk.
“Good morning Hamilton”
In Memory of My Aunt Ada
Written by the Wednesday Gentleman