Brown Sugar’s Mom Lesson #317

As a single mom, I try to be sure I spend alone time with each of my children. I always want them to feel special with and without their sibling present.

So this past weekend, I took my son to breakfast. Just the kid and me. We played Rock, Paper, Scissors. We played Heads Up. We sang songs. We danced to the soothing warmth of our hot chocolate (mine may have had a tinge of Kahlua) caressing our throats on that snowy day.

I noticed a male friend (let’s call him Daniel) had come in and the second my son saw him, he immediately invited Daniel to eat with us. No harm, no foul, right? We ate, laughed, and played games.

As sudden as the ice storm of 1997 covered the Mid-South, my son blurted out to Daniel, “I wish you were my dad.” It was so innocent. I was so embarrassed. If this #melaninmagic had been a few shades lighter everyone would have noticed that my face had grown hot. Although Daniel thought it was funny, I was mortified! After we left the restaurant I took a moment to calm down so I could talk with my son rather than fuss at him.

So I asked probing questions. I asked him why he said what he said to Daniel when he has a dad. My son sat in the back seat of my car starring at me fearfully through the rearview mirror.

Me: “When your dad asked you if you were coming over this weekend, you told him no. Why didn’t you want to go?” My son replied, “Because the only thing I do over there is play the game and watch TV.”

I knew that, but I thought that was just the way those two bonded… #NOT

Me: “Well baby you have a daddy, so why did you tell Daniel that?”

My son replied, “Well Daniel talked to me. Daddy doesn’t. When I try to talk to him, he’s either playing his game, on the phone, or on Facebook.”

So I asked him if he had ever told his dad that (because this kid is pretty outspoken), and he replied no. Then asked if I could tell him. #ThinkingFace

So then I asked why he was always so angry, and he didn’t reply. So I said, “Well baby you’ve gotta tell mommy something because you’re always angry with your friends and your sister. What’s going on?”

That beautiful little brown boy dropped his head and burst into tears. I could feel my heart breaking… no shattering, by the second.

He eventually choked out, “I just don’t feel respected. Daddy never talks to me, my sisters only want to talk to each other, and they’re mean to me whenever I try to come in and talk to them, no one listens to me! I know you’ll listen mommy, but I just want my daddy to listen to me too!”

Now this blog is not meant to bash my ex. I would hope that he talks to our son, but I’ve known him since we were 12, so it’s highly unlikely, but I am aware that he’s not much of a talker. My son, in a sense had given up on his own father being able to openly communicate with him, and decided to try to latch onto another male who provided him with what he so desperately longed for……. #scary

With tears brimming my eyes, I swerved into a Target parking lot, and reached back for my son. I told him to come sit with me, and I let him cry it out. I hugged him. I listened. I had no words. All I could do was what most mothers would do. I silently prayed over my son. Just as soon as the silent Amen floated from my lips to God’s ears, my son perked up. We hopped out of the car and somehow got sucked into the black hole that is Target.

When I was there, he wanted to hop his heavy 88 lbs self on the front of the basket and talk to me about how Power Rangers was a thing again, and how bacon couldn’t be real food, and how cool boys wear blue jean shirt, and how science was really cool, and how he wasn’t sure if he could still go to Christian Brothers University because he didn’t know anyone who was drafted from CBU. I realized that maneuvering the basket with him on it was much harder than it used to be, which meant he was bigger than the last time we did this, so I decided to get him more socks, t-shirts, and underwear (this will play a part in this story momentarily). He enjoyed that moment so much!

My mom would always tell my sister and me, “don’t have kids, cause once you have ’em, they’re yours.” So, I’ve embraced the fact that I’m a single parent. It’s March, and my ex hadn’t given me any money to support the kids since January. I don’t call. I don’t ask. I leave him be. I had an event yesterday, and asked my ex to keep the kids. I could’ve gotten a sitter, but considering he hadn’t seen them in two weeks, I figured #YOLO, right? He agreed, and came to pick them up. I stood in the door and watched them get to the car safely.

My son comes running back up to the door with a slip of paper. I got the paper along with a quick peck on the cheek, and my son was off. I looked at the money order my son I given me from my ex that was dated 2/10/17 (well over a month ago) in the amount of $19. I promise you, if his name and mine weren’t on it, I would attach a photo of it to this blog.

All I could do in that moment was laugh. He doesn’t see them. He rarely calls them. He actually spent money to give me a $19 money order that he’d held for over a month that couldn’t even cover the amount I spent on socks, underwear, and t-shirts (told you it was coming back up)! He got $30K from his mother’s life insurance policy, and I received a whopping $19 to take care of the kids? Turn up! Bottles for everybody! Shots on me! Ok… My bad ya’ll. I may have gone a little overboard with the sarcasm. 🙂

What I did realize was this: for the first time, in awhile, I wasn’t angry by his actions. I’ve been blessed enough to care for my children without his support. By no means has it been easy. I’m grateful for my best friend, family, and others who have helped along the way for being my village. Mom lesson #317 brought an increase in growth and a decrease in pettiness!

Brown Sugar’s Sandstorm

“Like sand in the hour glass, these are the days of our lives….”

Each fallen granule is evidence of yet another non renewable experience that has shaped who we are.

Some particles, more than others, dedicate more time, effort, and mass to certain seasons in our lives.

See there’s the finer sand like friends, our interests, our free will.

Then there’s the more course type like politics, religion, love.

That final coarse granule (love) doesn’t seem to slip through the womb of the hour glass as easily as the others though does it?

It’s forced like a predator aggressively raping a victim.

It bites like your very first shot of cheap liquor.

It burns like the hot scorching oil that leapt out of the skillet and scalded your skin the first time you fried chicken on your own.

That love granule is a course one. Course enough to cut you.

It’s the kind your mother told you not to get in your hair when you played in the sand box.

It’s the kind you carry with you days after leaving the beach.

It hurts and it lasts.

“Like sand in the hour glass, these are the days of our lives….”

My first love sandstorm started so quietly that I didn’t see it coming, you know how these storms are.

Then it picked up speed that was so forceful, I couldn’t see, I couldn’t hear, I couldn’t think.

I could only feel.

Fear and pain.

I left that sandstorm in high school only to willingly walk into another similar sandstorm in college.

This one was more intense because it followed a thunderstorm.

This wind velocity was increased.

I struggled to breathe in this storm, but there’s a Chinese proverb that says mothers are stronger than any other woman.

I had to survive that storm. There was someone else depending on me to survive.

Or so I thought.

Years later, I went back to where my first sandstorm happened.

I revisited that season.

For some reason I couldn’t remember the pain it caused.

So I stayed.

A sandstorm couldn’t hit in the same place twice right?

Or was that lightening?

This love granule was so coarse that it cut every inch of me.

I stood there bleeding and wounded and exposed

And at the worst possible moment, without warning, the worst sandstorm of the century ensued

It engulfed me and left me for dead

I lied there coughing up blood from the brutal attack of this storm

When the next two granules that slipped through the hour glass and landed next to me were my children…

The two sweetest, finest, most unique granules sat atop the mound of my mistakes, successes, wins, and losses starring me in the face

Needing me. Depending on me. Shaping their own life experiences after me.

So, I picked myself up.

I nursed my wounds

I healed

I prevailed

“Like sand in the hour glass, these are the days of our lives….”

That sand granule is unavoidable.

This last love sandstorm came dressed in a nice beard. An extensive vocabulary. A charming exterior.

This sandstorm slithered like the snake it was into my space

It graciously took down the quartz walls I had built around my heart

What felt like the smooth colorful glass that protected me and kept each granule contained in a beautifully shaped piece of art.

This sandstorm convinced me that this art was in fact a cage.

This last granule came in and annihilated me once and for all from the inside out.

When I regained consciousness

I was left lying there

Unable to move

Gasping for life

Lying on my back looking up at the swirling vortex of my life’s experiences

Grasping at the memories that brought joy

Grasping at the memories that brought pain

Grasping at all that makes me… me

“Like sand in the hour glass, these are the days of our lives….”

Chapter 13 (Jason)

Clink… Clink… Clink

The clinking sound Jason made swirling the ice around in his glass filled the room. His now empty glass had been filled repeatedly with cognac more times than he cared to count.

Jason was reared back in the plush soft leather recliner with his feet propped on the ottoman. He had the television on ESPN, but wasn’t paying attention to the baseball game that was playing. Jason had grown tired of staying in the guesthouse. It had been almost two weeks and Summer still didn’t have anything to say to him. He was left feeling lonely and aggressively missing the connection to his wife, albeit he took advantage of it. In those two weeks he learned that some needs could be met, but connections could not be substituted or replaced. Jason’s emotions quickly spiraled out of control while Summer paraded around as if he didn’t exist. He was angry with her for a couple of days because he felt she was overreacting. She’d leave any room he entered, was always dressed to perfection, had started back wearing lingerie to bed, and would only cook enough for herself. Now, he was  In the midst of this world wind of emotions and realized how he had taken his marriage for granted.

Jason was fighting like hell to do right by his wife, so he made the leap to begin counseling. He knew it was time to get himself right so he could be a better man for his family. When he got to the therapist office, he silently asked God why He would tempt him so soon! Ordinarily, he would have made a pass at his therapist. She was a beautiful and jazzy woman probably in her early fifties. She reminded him a lot of Phylicia Rashad from the Cosby Show. He loved the way she carried herself, and sometimes found himself fantasizing rather than listening to her advice.

So far, she had been very helpful. Jason was going twice a week. He didn’t realize he had so many suppressed emotions concerning his dad. Those suppressed feelings, Jason learned, were the cause of his sexual addiction. It was crazy to Jason how enjoying the warmth of a woman’s love could be considered an addiction.

“I can’t believe I let this shit ruin my marriage.” Jason grunted as he benched pressed the two hundred and seventy-five pounds in his home gym. It was Thursday, and he decided to workout to clear his thoughts after meeting with Annette, his therapist.

Annette had suggested that Jason take some time to figure out what he really wanted. If he really wanted to save his marriage or if his competitive nature was kicking in and he wanted to simply “clear his name.” Annette had said something he thought crazy at first, but the more he thought about it, the more it made sense.

“Men are physical creatures and women are emotional creatures. Men move on, not dwell on the situation. A man is more likely to tell a women, ‘I want us to move forward.’ Women are emotionally invested and connected. They have to process the situation and figure out which way to go next.”

Jason was ready to move past this and didn’t understand why Summer was still punishing him. As time went on, he realized that she was truly hurt and was probably confused on where both the marriage and the family stood. Then to shake salt in her wound, Skylar left that bogus ass voicemail! How in the hell did I forget to take that video from her? This time I hung myself with my own damn rope.

After two hours of strenuous cardio and strength training, Jason decided to go into the main house to shower. He needed more clothes and he needed to give Magnolia, the housekeeper, his dry cleaning. He also wanted to see Summer and hoped she was home. When he walked into the house, he inhaled the sweet vanilla scent. He loved that faint sweet scent. That fragrance let him know Summer wasn’t far, and had probably just left the room. He instantly felt himself become overwhelmed with stabbing grief at the thought of losing his family. Jason took his time traveling up the stairs to the bedroom shower. Partially because he was apprehensive about what to say when he saw Summer, and hoped she was up there.

Slowly, Jason opened the door, and was disappointed in what he saw. Summer was nowhere in sight. The bedroom had appeared as if she hadn’t been there at all. Jason showered and changed into a fresh pair of Ralph Lauren khaki’s and a coral colored ralph lauren polo styled shirt. He took his dry cleaning downstairs for Magnolia and decided to head out to meet his son Ayden for lunch. Before leaving he left a note for Summer letting her know that they would have dinner tonight.

“This has gone on long enough. I’m tired and I can’t even imagine how you are feeling, but it’s time we stop running and stop being angry. Tonight we will get answers and move forward. Tonight we heal. Dinner will be at 7:30. I love you.”

Jason walked out of the house with his mind set on placing the pieces of the puzzle back together. When he settled into his car, he noticed a card on the dashboard. His heart leaped! Jason quickly tore open the envelope and found a card. On the front, it read, “Remember when my heart acknowledged yours? 07/31/1998” Jason was so nervous about what was written inside the card. When he opened it, a sheet of notebook paper fell out. Jason opened it and immediately knew what it was. It was the letter Summer wrote him many years ago after he took her virginity. They dated for nearly three years before Summer slept with Jason.

So, I got caught up. Caught up in the moment. The moment when my breath ended. Where yours began. My arms had you wrapped in the most intense embrace. You had my mane, that told the story of the strongest nation, in the palm of your hand, much like my heart. I laid there, vulnerable, wanting, aching, for you. To taste your tongue… Feel the dance it so rhythmically does with mine when our lips touch. Wanting to feel you fill me to the point where all breath leaves my body. Needing you to push deep enough for all fear, doubt, mistrust, disappointment, and confusion to no longer reside. I was caught up in that magical moment we create so well so often. You asked me how I felt about you. My heart screamed, “I’m so in love with you Jason!” but my head knew that love was like an earthquake and earthquakes caused damage. They leave behind massive amounts of hurt, pain, destruction. But before I could decipher between which was right or wrong, I got caught up in the safety of your arms, and welcomed the earthquake. Allowed you to shift the first tectonic plate deep inside of me. Caused the mortar that held the breaks surrounding my heart to crack apart. My fight or flight immediately kicked in. I shifted under the weight of you, knew there was no where to run for cover. Left out in the open. Vulnerable with no protection. And before I could cry for help, the words, “I’m in love with you Jason!” swiftly escaped my lips like a prisoner circumventing the confines of Alcatraz. Those words broke free from my soul and poured like honey from my fingertips. The magnitude on the Richter scale of my heart jumped up a notch. I knew the pain those words would bring, but there was nothing I could do about it. They had already been released into the atmosphere. It was the affirmation needed to confirm the destruction to come. You devoured me as soon as the words left my lips. Kissed me as deeply as the arch in my back. Before I could scream out not to listen to me, not to believe me, I could feel your heart racing upon my breasts, could feel the reciprocity of your love for me emitting through my pores. The transference of energy causing vibrations so deep that it caused a wave my ancestors felt. I got caught up. At this point I was enclosed in an entrapment I never saw coming. How could a rose really grow from concrete without at least fertile soil and someone tending to it regularly? As the earth inside of me continued its paradigm shift, I felt you break ground when you penetrated me slowly, yet intensely. My nails dug into your back as a sigh escaped your lips. I welcomed the earthquake that became more magnanimous with each stroke knowing full well there would be no search and rescue team that could help me recover from the damage I knew would be left as a result. I had to track it all. Needed to record this series of events because history was in the making. All I could do was open the book of The Beginning of Us in hopes that it wouldn’t somehow translate into the book of The Ending of Me……..

Jason sat there motionless. His mind was racing with thoughts from that day, and his heart was full from the love he had for his wife. A lone tear slid from Jason’s eye when he read the inside of the card. “Turns out it’s The Ending of Me.”

Brown Sugar’s Journey – Finding Answers in my Son.

I am celebrating my eleventh year in education! Honestly, I didn’t realize that I’ve been in this profession as long as I have until I calculated it for this particular blog. For six years, I taught all male students. As my curiosity grew about how to best teach boys, I fervently chased after learning more about gender strategies. The more I taught boys, and the less I taught girls, I was completely sold on brain-based learning. Because boys and girls are wired differently, the delivery has to be tailored in order for each gender to be taught effectively.

As an educator, I’ve had one constant question that has nagged me about adolescent boys. What happens, whether physiologically, physically, emotionally, or mentally, that causes a male African American teen (around the ages of 12-14) to become so angry and rebellious? So many of the Black boys I taught were indeed products of an impoverished single parent home, but that couldn’t be the cause, because I had seen other teen boys on TV with different backgrounds, but the same issue. Well, fortunately for me, a conversation with my own son gave me a peek into the answer I so desperately sought after for so long.

My son is the product of a single parent home, and he’s being raised by a single Black mother. He’s angry. All. The. Time. I know some of this is the result of the divorce. Although my ex-husband was rarely ever home because of his work schedule, or exercise schedule, or “extracurricular” schedule, the fact remains that he knew his dad lived there. Now, he doesn’t. So, he’s angry. Yesterday, my son yelled at his sister about something that was actually his fault. I responded to him with, “what did I tell you about yelling at my daughter?”

With pleading eyes, that looked like they would have been accompanied with a hand caught in the cookie jar, my son responded, “You told me not to.”

“Have you ever heard a man yell at mommy?”

“No. Well yes. Daddy does all the time.”

Because I didn’t anticipate that response (it caught me off guard), it literally took my breath away. But I was in the midst of teaching a lesson here, so I had to keep it rolling.

“Well, how does that make you feel?”

My son balled up his fist (like the Arthur meme), and his eyebrows furrowed in deep thought, then he spat, “It makes me want to punch him for being a jerk to you.”

In that split second. I got it. My son is angry at the person responsible for teaching him how to become a man. My son is angry at the one person who has shaken up his security. My son is angry that his dad is no longer in the home. He’s angry, and I can’t help him.

I listened to my son that day. He poured his heart out about what makes him angry: Why is daddy bringing his new girlfriend around whenever it’s MY time with him? Why can’t you and daddy just forgive each other so we could be a family again? That’s what you tell us (referring to his sister and him) to do. So, I was honest with him. PG, but honest. I never want my words to lose their credibility because I chose to hold back the truth. So, when he asks questions, I answer as clearly and as honestly as possible. Even though all of the answers he has right now are biased because he only gets my side of the story, he deserves the very best I can possibly give him as a mom.

Our sons are angry ya’ll, and we aren’t noticing it until it’s nearly too late. We notice when drugs, gangs, failing grades, and decisions that are so often labeled as typical boy behavior are awry in our son’s lives. I need my prayers to cover him so that when what he believes and what he sees doesn’t align, he’s capable of making wise decisions. I need my son to know that nothing he does or ever will do can stop me from loving him. I need him to find comfort in God’s timing and reasoning. The conversation I had with him let me know that he needs his mom to go to war for his heart, his emotions, his peace of mind, his future as a father, husband, and citizen, his healing. He’s my son, and he’s worth it.

I wish I could have these conversations with his father. If even for just five minutes he could step out of his self-absorbed bubble to think about someone other than himself, then he could hear the cries of his son reaching out for him. Or maybe he hears them, but the cry for a father’s love is so familiar that he runs because his cries were never answered. If I could give him one message to help him see the damage he’s causing his son, it would be, “Pay attention to the seeds you’re sowing. You still hate your father for abusing your mother, for never being there with you, for never telling you that you had so many siblings (that you’re still meeting) and for being a rolling stone. Don’t ask for mercy you won’t give.

Brown Sugar’s Single Momdom

In this journey of motherhood, I can honestly say that when I got married, I never saw myself being divorced. I spent nearly twenty years of my life with my ex husband, and now, I’m learning how to be a single Black mother all over again. Being single is the most liberating experience of my life! My 30s came with self reflection, growth, and maturity especially when I realized my two little ones depend on me for 98% of their development.

Here’s what I don’t understand. I work full time, and my career is pretty demanding. From 7:45 am – 4:30 pm, I’m solely responsible for making decisions for over 600 people (to whom much is given…). That did something to me to put that last statement in writing. Made me realize some stuff. As soon as I leave work, I get my two children, who are in grade school and middle school. Well, as a single parent, I’m responsible for listening to their day, checking homework, feeding them, getting active with them, doing a devotional with them, getting them ready for bed, and once they are in bed, I have to get clothes ready for school tomorrow, pack lunches, check folders and backpacks.

It would absolutely be easy if I could come home and rest on the couch, watch a good tv show, and nap to recover from the day. However, being a parent means I’m responsible for  preparing them to become productive citizens in a rapidly shifting society. In order to be effective in doing so, parenting requires sacrifice. Now, I understand that my ex won’t do things they way I will, nor will I always like the way he does things (part of the reason why we’re divorced), but when he actually does get something done, I have to just let it be. What is it about my ex that has handicapped him in such a way that he doesn’t have the ability to think critically?  He normally has the kids anywhere between 24-35 hours a week. There are no sacrifices because he doesn’t attend any of the kid’s events, school programs, games, or performances. I can only hope he cares enough to come see them be baptized this coming Sunday. There have been days when I didn’t eat lunch because during my lunch I was sitting at my children’s honors program, or I had to make up time on the back end because I was sitting at the doctor’s office all morning with one of my children. Men know what it takes to raise a child, but for some reason like to pretend as if their work schedules and personal lives take precedence over their children’s well-being.

Why is it that men feel that because they pay child support (and my ex doesn’t even pay $200/month), and they get the kids on their “assigned weekend,” that they are parenting their children? What about teaching them life-long lessons? What about providing our daughters with a standard for the type of men they’ll date? What about providing our sons with a role models? My ex has the freedom to move as he pleases. He can go to the gym after work. Go on dates when he wants. Rest whenever he’d like to.

Raising my children brings me new joys each day. They are growing into some of the most humorous, creative, compassionate, opinionated children I ever did love. It hurts to realize that the one I chose to procreate with will never provide my children with what I experienced with my own father, A father’s love. I wonder if they’ll ever have real stories to share like I do, memories that bring a smile across their lips, lessons to pass down to their own children? My children deserve more. I wish I knew better then in order to provide them with it.

Chapter 12 (Skylar)

Skylar knew that she had to do something and it had to be done fast. Jason wasn’t answering and it was a strong possibility that he was back with his wife. She was sure she had done enough damage to make Summer walk away, but why in the hell was Jason not answering his phone? Was it possible that they were able to talk this out and move past Jason’s indiscretions? Although Skylar still dated other men, that did not necessarily mean she was willing to completely give up the one man that made her feel as though the world revolved around her. In spite of her occasional friends, she actually was in love with Jason.

Last night when Jason didn’t come home, Skylar called over Cory, her trainer from the local gym, to take care of her during her “fragile state.”         

After realizing Jason wasn’t coming, she needed someone to hold her to control the racing thoughts in her head. Cory was cool and they had never slept together. The two of them usually clubbed and socialized. Cory showed up at Skylar’s door with a bottle of wine, chinese food, and Skylar’s favorite game of Taboo. Cory was so sweet. He had the potential to be an amazing boyfriend. The only problem was, Skylar didn’t want a relationship with Cory. All she wanted was Jason.

While Skylar fixed their plates, Cory put on a movie. He brought a comedy because he figured it was what she needed. Skylar only called when she needed cheering up, however tonight Cory had another plan to make her smile. Tonight he would make his move. 

Skylar was so naive that she walked around Cory in her boy-cut underwear and a tank top. She sat down beside him in Indian style and handed Cory his plate. The two of them ate, drank, laughed, and had a great time.  Skylar asked Cory for relationship advice. He told her, “get out while you have a free pass. Sleeping with a married man is definite admission to heart break and access to problems that have nothing to do with you,” he told her. “Now that his wife knows, that’s a whole new set of problems you have to deal with and she’s his problem, not yours.”

Summer placed her face in her hands and groaned.

“Listen,” he said to her. Steve Harvey always says, the thing with sin is it makes you pay more than you want to pay and stay longer than you want to stay.”

Seeing the vulnerable look shadow her face, Cory knew it was almost time to make his move. “Hey, look at me,” Cory said as he placed his hand on her leg. “I know you love him. I can tell. But you’re a beautiful girl and you can have any man you want.” Skylar dropped her head and fought back tears. She didn’t want any man, she wanted her man.

“Jason ain’t the only man who can treat you like you need to be treated.”

“What do you mean by that?”

Cory almost laughed out loud. “This shit works every time.” He thought.

“Come here,” he said softly. Skylar obliged. She slid closer to him.

“Let me show you,” Cory whispered as he kissed Skylar behind her ear. He cupped her right breast in his hand as she leaned closer for him to kiss her. Cory was gentle, yet she could tell that he had tons of pent up tension. She let her hand travel to his zipper and almost gasped at the hardness poking through his pants. He had to be working with at least seven inches. She thought to herself, “I’m about to ride him like Seabiscuit.”

Cory had pushed her back on the sofa and was now on top of Skylar. He heard her phone vibrating on the table. She heard it too and it slightly jarred their rhythm. Cory decided to step it up to get her head back in the game. He dove his head between Skylar’s thighs. The phone vibrated again, but Skylar’s moans drowned out the sound.

The third time the phone vibrated, Skylar jumped up and said, “that might be Jason!”

“Who gives a damn!” Cory was pissed.

Without even looking at the phone, she picked up and breathlessly said, “Hello?”

Apparently the voice on the other end was not one she wanted to hear. Cory watched her body tense up and her mouth drop open.

Skylar hoarsely answered, “Summer, how did you get my number?”

Chapter 11 (Summer)

         Summer decided to get a hotel room at the Double Tree downtown to sort through some thoughts without being distracted by Jason’s lies. No matter how hard she tried to swallow her anger and hurt, it felt as if her chest burned from holding it all in.  Jason set off a walking time bomb; ready to explode at any given moment.  After checking in, she dropped her overnight bag in the closet and went to relax on the plush burnt orange-colored recliner. As she sat there, taking in the elegant décor of the room helped her to settle down. The earth-tone hues in each room gave the suite warmth.

Summer sat in the quiet room, too afraid to turn on the television, knowing she would only see another person’s horror story. “Even though misery loved company, she had no room with me tonight,” Summer thought aloud.

Glancing over at her purse and realizing her phone was still powered off, Summer contemplated leaving it where it was because of the last catastrophe that took place dealing with unwanted voicemails. Nevertheless, she headed to the refrigerator to grab a bottled water, grabbed the phone from her purse, and plopped back onto the recliner. While drinking her water and waiting for her phone to power on, she thought about how Jason met that young girl. Did he charm her? Did she seduce him? Did he take her to lunch? Did she invite him to dinner?

The constant vibrating snapped Summer from her thoughts.” Seven Voicemail Messages,” her phone read. “Here goes nothing… again,” she said as she pressed one to retrieve the messages. The first one was from Monica. She was concerned and checking on Summer. Outside of her loud and boisterous demeanor, Monica had a sweet and caring spirit. The next three messages were all from the office. She had forgotten about the properties that she was scheduled to show in Harbor Town, Central Gardens, and South Bluffs.

Luckily, Alisha had been able to show them. She had to be sure to send her a thank you card. Message five was from Ava. “Hey mom it’s Ava. I’m thinking about checking out this new club tonight and I’m a little nervous because it’s a different type of atmosphere. Just wanted to hear your thoughts. Call me when you get a chance; All my love!” Message six was from Ayden. “It’s my favorite girl! Hey ma, I needed a little help on choosing a good gift for my lady. We haven’t spoken in a few days, with finals and issues with her family. I want the gift to say I support you and I love you. Shoot me a few ideas via email; all my love!”

Summer missed her kids so much, and she hated the way this bullshit Jason had dragged their family into pulled her away from their kids. She just didn’t want to face anyone or talk to anyone about anything. After saving both messages from the kids, she listened to the last message, and it was from Jason. Summer’s blood pressure skyrocketed at the sound of his trifling ass voice! Needless to say, he claimed he had cooked dinner and was living in the guesthouse to give her space. “Do I have ‘damn fool’ written across my forehead,” Summer screamed. “He probably poisoned the food so he and his mid-life crisis could collect my insurance money and live the golden life on some island. Jason could sit and rot in that damn guesthouse for all I care!” Summer listened to the voicemail a few more times to see if she could tell whether or not Jason was being sincere. The only thing Summer got from the message was a deep feeling of resentment.

Finishing off the bottle of water, Summer pulled out her laptop bag and decided on responding to Ayden.  If it’s one thing Summer knew, it was jewelry and lavish gifts. She’d have Ayden and his little girlfriend back on track in no time. Remembering how stressful exams week were during college, Summer thought diamond studs and a certificate to a massage parlor would do the trick. After emailing Ayden back, Summer decided to return Ava’s call.

The call went straight to voicemail. Summer instructed Ava to go to the club and have a good time. It would be good for her to get out and meet new people and take in new scenery. She was so glad to know that Ava was willing to step out and try new things. Ayden was the social butterfly while Ava tended to be the fly on the wall.

After ending the call, Summer was about to power off her cell phone when another text came through.

Hey Summer! I left a message at the office a couple of days ago. I’m looking for a new property in the Annesdale Snowden Historic District, and I definitely want you to be my realtor. Call me. Let’s do lunch! –M.S.

Summer sat there completely dumbfounded. She hadn’t heard from him in years with the exception of the occasional high and bye via social media! Summer quickly powered off her phone before her vengeful thoughts became her actions. She finally decided to take that hot bath she so desperately needed. It was time to wash away the worries and stressors from the day. Surely she could find some peace tonight, right?

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