Let’s talk trauma Part 2
I learned early that it only took one thing to make life go from extremely good to bad. My mom had a sister, and Aunt Clara was an addict. She left Rico with us for years, which was cool because it was like we were brothers. When my dad died, that’s when life changed. My aunt came and took Rico away, and for months after that, my mom wasn’t herself.
I stayed away from home at Jayden’s house, so I didn’t see her like that. His mom and my mom were best friends, so her door was always open to me. Rico would meet us there too. It seemed like no matter what life took us through, all we had was each other. That’s why when Jayden showed up at school today, I knew something was wrong with him. Jayden and Rico were like my brothers, so when Jayden dropped a tear and finally told us what was going on, it affected me, too.
He was the strongest out of us three. He had been playing the man of the house role since we could remember. Hell, he even taught me some shit about how to cook, wash clothes, fix stuff, etc., which helped me to keep my house regular when my mom was in her down phase.
One thing we all had in common was none of us had a dad figure in our lives. And although my dad was gone because he passed, we all knew that feeling of wanting that father’s love in our lives.
After school, we would typically find stuff to do to avoid going home so soon, but with the way Jayden was feeling, and the weight that was on us, we all decided to go home and call each other later. When I got off the bus at the corner, I saw my mom’s car, which let me know she was home from work early, it had been at least two years since my dad had passed away, and my mom was getting back to her old self.
As I walked up to the house, I could hear screaming. “No, fuck you! Sister or not, I don’t owe you shit!” I listened to my mother say. “But he does.” I heard another voice say and instantly knew it was my aunt Clara, Rico’s mom. It was no secret that these two sisters didn’t see eye to eye. “Darren doesn’t owe you shit; he’s dead!” my mom said as I stood at the front door, listening. “See, this is why I hate you. All you think about is yourself.” My aunt said. “Says the damn junkie that left her son for years,’’ my mom rebutted. “Fuck you,” my aunt said back to her. “No fuck you, how dare you come in my house trying to demand money that you have no right to.” my mom said. “Because it’s Rico’s money.” my aunt said.
“Key word Rico’s money, my husband, left that for him. Not for you. If you can not afford to take care of him, bring him back to the home he was safe in and loved before you came and snatched him away.” My mom said. This was crazy. These two women were sitting here arguing over money my dad had left Rico and me in his will. He looked at us both like sons, so when he passed, the lawyer told us we both had a reasonable lump sum of money we couldn’t access until we were twenty-one or in college. But my mom could access it to care for us if she ever needed to.
“You and Dave are living great. Look at all this shit. And here I am struggling and you won’t even help me.” My aunt said. “I told you my answer. And let’s be clear, me and Dave live great because I make that happen for us. Also, let’s not forget your son was living this way as well you removed him.” My mom said. “You know what?” my aunt screamed. “What?” my mom asked you. “One day the truth is going to come to the light and you’re not going to be able to play this prefect role you’ve been playing.” My aunt said. “Girl, get the hell out of my house.” my mom said. “Okay wait…. I really need this money so I can take care of Rico.” my aunt said in a different tone. “I am not giving you any money. Look at you. Look at your arms. If I give you money, that shit will go up your nose or in your arms and Rico will never see it.” my mom said. “So that’s it. You just don’t care about Rico?” my aunt asked. “Tell me what Rico needs and I will go get it and bring it directly to him.” My mom told her. “So you don’t trust me to get stuff for my son?” my aunt asked. “Girl bye.” my mom said, dismissing my aunt one last time.
I sat on the steps outside our front door, and then I heard it open. When I turned around, both of them looked at me in shock. The drugs were definitely doing my aunt wrong. She was skinny to the point I thought I might break her if I hugged her. Her eyes had dark rings around them, and with her spaghetti-strapped tank top on, you could see all the places she had been sticking herself to get high. “Hey aunties baby,” she said as she hugged me. “Hey auntie,” I said dryly as my mom watched us. “Listen, I need you to get some money from your mom for me and Rico.” my aunt whispered in my ear.
I placed my hand that was far away from my mom into my pocket, pulled out the money I had, and slipped it into my aunt’s hand. She let me go and kissed me on the cheek. She turned back to my mom and gave her a dirty look before walking off.
“Did you give her money?” my mom asked. “No, ma’am” I lied to her instantly even though I knew it was wrong; my heart wouldn’t let me let my aunt and cousin suffer. “Come in this house we need to talk.” my mom instructed, and I grabbed my bookbag from near the stairs and headed in.
“So how much of that did you hear?” my mom asked me. “Heard what?” I asked her back, trying to play dumb as we entered the living room. She looked me in the eye, and I looked at her with no emotion on my face. “Sit down,” she said, pointing to the couch. I took a seat. And looking at all the bags. “What’s all this stuff?” I asked. “It’s for you,” she said with a smile.
I looked in a few of the bags, noting the sneakers and clothes. “Why?” I said, as I looked back at her. She took a seat next to me, and the same look she had on her face when she told me my dad died was on her face now. And my heart raced. “So I’ve been going to the doctor because I haven’t felt well and today they finally told me that….” my mom stopped. “That you are what?” I said. “That I have breast cancer.” My mom blattered out. “So… these gifts were what a way of you trying to butter me up before telling me I am about to lose another parent?” I screamed. “Dave, I’m not going anywhere. I am going to get the treatment I need and I am going to beat this thing.” She said.
I hopped up off the couch. “But you don’t know that.” I said, angry. “Baby relax.” I said as she stood up. “Relax how? I just lost my dad and I deal with that every day. Now I am possibly going to lose you, too. But about me, if that happens, what happens to me. “I said as a tear rolled down my face. My mom came over and wrapped her arms around me, and the tears streamed down. My knees buckled, and I slid to the floor, and my mom came down with me, never letting me go. “Why do bad things keep happening to us?” I cried out onto her shoulder.