Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Happy Mother's Day! Today I have posted another installement of Simply Aubrey Pt.5 below. Also, I have posted a poem I wrote for my mother, Thanayi A., on my poetry page: Inside These Padded Walls. Click the link below and it will take you there. You may also notice that the poetry that was previously there is now missing. I'm making some changes to the site and I thank you for your patience. Please feel free to leave comments.
Inside These Padded Walls
Inside These Padded Walls
It was the day of Phillip Morris’ funeral. The week had been emotionally draining for not only Salim but his wife, Aubrey, as well. The couple hadn’t seen or heard from Brittney since she rushed out of the house with Ryan in tow. They were extremely worried about them. Salim had hoped to spend some time with his nephew before he moved away to Boston. He never mentioned it but Aubrey was fully aware that her husband was disappointed and hurt. The funeral had been nice and simple, and Salim and Aubrey got a chance to meet Phillip’s adoptive parents and some of his old friends. She wouldn’t tell her love but she was extremely upset that Brittney hadn’t been by to see them and even had the audacity not to show up at the funeral. Aubrey was convinced that Brittney was using some type of drug, and she was close to calling child protective services. But she didn’t want to jump to conclusions, and she didn’t want to start kicking up dust especially at this difficult time in her husband’s life.
The repast was held at Salim’s community center. Salim and Aubrey sat at a table with Phillip’s adoptive parents; William and Sharon Poole. They entertained their guests, but Aubrey and Salim had barely spoken a word to each other. They remained at each other’s side and held hands occasionally. She was actually used to the silence and it didn’t bother her. Salim was barely at home when she was there, and when he was home he was in the office working. The holding of hands was more of a façade for their guests. They loved each other very much, but their relationship had gotten to the point when words were unnecessary. Their marriage was almost a routine. Aubrey tolerated it but she was not happy about how their relationship was going. She missed the days when they went out on the town for dinner and attended occasional wine tastings. She missed the nights they would spend wrapped in each other’s arms laughing and talking about any and everything. She sighed. This was the first time they had been out of the house together in months. She wondered where they went terribly wrong. Had she changed? Was Salim simply bored with her? A million thoughts of how to rekindle the flame in their marriage raced through Aubrey’s head while she sat next to her husband, who was engaged in a conversation with one of Phillip’s old band mates. Everything came to an abrupt halt when she noticed Brittney and Ryan entering the room. Numerous emotions rose in her chest. Aubrey didn’t know what to do or so say to the small woman. First, she wanted to see what her husband’s feelings were. She leaned over to her husband and whispered in his ear that Brittney was there. Salim’s head jerked as he searched for her. Once he spotted her, he excused himself from the table and headed her way. Aubrey watched as her love spoke to her.
Brittney wore a pair of black pants that showed her panty line and a black shawl over a gray camisole. Aubrey assumed the woman didn’t have formal attire. Ryan was wearing a pair of jeans and a collar shirt. His face was sad but he was still precious. Aubrey wanted to go to him and plant kisses all over his face until he finally smiled. She frowned. She had always wanted to give her husband a son, but she couldn’t. Her back stiffened and she cocked her head slightly to the side when she noticed Salim’s posture had changed and his hand movements were becoming more aggressive. Aubrey quickly excused herself from the table and joined her husband. The Salim and Brittney stopped talking when she approached, and Brittney rolled her eyes. Aubrey inhaled a deep breath before speaking. She wanted to choose her next words wisely.
“Hey, Brittney. We missed you two at the funeral and the burial ground.”
“Honey, Brittney was just telling me that she didn’t get to the burial site until after we were already gone.” Salim said stiffly.
Aubrey was confused. “Was it a transportation issue? We had plenty of room in the limo.”
“No. It wasn’t.” Brittney stated.
Aubrey could tell by Brittney’s stance and the tone of her voice that she was irritable. But Aubrey was the last person she wanted to have an attitude with. “Is there something wrong, Brittney? You never brought Ryan to the house to see us this week, you missed the funeral, and you show up to the repast late. What’s going on?”
“I came here because I can’t take Ryan with me to Boston.”
Aubrey was speechless. She looked up at her husband and noticed the look of disgust on his face. Brittney must have already told him the news. Aubrey cleared her throat. “Salim, take Ryan to our table and make him a plate. I know William and Sharon would love to see him.” Salim took Ryan’s hand and walked away. “Brittney, I think we need to talk, but not right here. Come with me.” Aubrey stated firmly. She was not asking permission. Brittney sucked her teeth but followed Aubrey out of the banquet room and into Salim’s office. She closed the door behind them and sat on her husband’s desk she had bought him for their last anniversary. “Brittney, I know something is going on, and I believe it has something to do with your relationship with Phillip. But what you are doing is not only affecting your son but also Salim, his brother.”
“What do you know?” Brittney spat. “You know nothing about Phillip or our son.”
“I’m not saying that I know you. What I am trying to say is I want to get to know you. I want to help you. Me and Salim want to help you.” Aubrey was sincere but still confused about where Brittney’s aggression was coming from.
“Help? Oh, now you want to give help? Fine! Take my son!” Brittney was yelling and had burst into tears.
“What? Why can’t you take your son with you?” Aubrey asked hesitant in approaching the volatile woman in front of her, but offered a tissue for the tears streaking her face.
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Aubrey stood there for a moment. The little boy favored Salim a little. Aubrey finally remembered her manners and spoke. “Hi. My name is Aubrey.” She was speaking to the frail woman but her eyes never left the small child. He was handsome but she could tell he was timid from his posture.
“Hi. I’m Brittney. This is my son, Ryan.” The woman spoke.
Aubrey beamed a smile and released the tension in her shoulders. “Oh my! Hello. Come in.” She stepped aside and allowed them to enter her home. She closed the door behind them and led them to the living room. “Honey, Brittney is here!” She yelled to her husband. Aubrey told them to have a seat on the couch. Aubrey didn’t know much about Brittney other than the fact that she dated Phillip, but she figured that Brittney felt some way about his death. Salim finally joined them. He gave Brittney a hug and affectionately rubbed Ryan’s head. Aubrey was a little confused.
“Would you like some hot tea?” She asked Brittney. Brittney declined. “How about you, cutie? Would you like something to drink?” Ryan didn’t say a word. He simply shook his head. Aubrey knew it would take some time before he felt comfortable enough to speak. She took her husband’s hand and sat on the loveseat.
“Aubrey, remember I told you about Phil’s girlfriend, Brittney? This is their son, Ryan. I told them to stop by when I saw them earlier at the morgue.” Salim noticed the slight look of confusion on his wife’s face.
Aubrey finally understood. “Oh, so that handsome young man is my nephew!” She smiled at Ryan hoping he would smile back. He didn’t. “How old are you, Ryan?” No answer.
“He’s six.” Brittney answered.
Aubrey nodded her head. She could never imagine losing her father now. Let alone at the age of six. This was probably one of the saddest days of this young boy’s life. No wonder he didn’t want to talk. Aubrey decided to learn more about Brittney instead. “So do you all live around here?”
“Well. I was staying in Coral Gables, but now that Phil’s gone I’m going back to Boston to stay with my grandmother.”
Aubrey had been to that part of Florida before so she knew where Brittney was referring to. Coral Gables wasn’t that far from Tamarac, Florida. “I’m so sorry about your loss. I can tell he meant a lot to you.” Aubrey knew if she ever lost Salim she would lose her mind. She definitely wouldn’t be as cool, calm, and collective as Brittney. This woman sitting before her had to identify the dead body of the father of her child. That had to be tough.
“We’ve been apart for two years but he was a great father. He loved Ryan so much, and their relationship meant a lot to me.” She looked over at her son, who still had yet to even make a noise.
“It’s crazy that he never told me that he had a son.” Salim spoke up. “We lived together for six months and he never brought Ryan to the house. I just don’t understand.” He shook his head. Aubrey reached over for her husband’s hand quietly and gently squeezed it. She knew he was still trying to cope with the death of his half-brother.
“That was a rough time in his life, Salim. He had lost the mother he had been searching for ever since he found out he had been adopted. I believe that’s when his drug habit got out of hand. He was devastated. There were a lot of unanswered questions that haunted him.” Brittney’s tone was flat. Aubrey couldn’t understand how she wasn’t breaking down at the mere mention of her ex-boyfriend. Has this woman even cried, Aubrey wondered.
“That’s understandable.” Aubrey said and Salim nodded in agreement.
“I just wish he had told me so that I could have been a part of Ryan’s life.” Salim stated.
“And you still can, baby. We can spend time with him before they head to Boston.” Aubrey attempted to cheer him up.
“Yes. We aren’t leaving until the funeral, Salim. Ryan probably needs you the most right now.” Brittney offered.
Salim stared at Ryan with tears welling in his eyes. “Man, he looks just like Phil.” Aubrey squeezed her husband’s hand tighter.
“Baby, I think I left my cellphone upstairs. People are probably calling. Can you get it for me, please?”
Salim got up quickly. “Yeah, I’ll get it.” And he was gone. He knew Aubrey had sent him on this mission to give him a moment to cry and pull himself back together. They both knew he didn’t want to break down in front of Ryan. They had to be strong for him.
“So how did you meet Phillip?” Aubrey asked once Salim had disappeared up the stairs.
Brittney smiled for a brief second. The first display of emotion Aubrey had seen from her since she found her on her doorstep. “I met Phillip at a jazz lounge out in Boston.”
“Yes. He was performing. Phil was a great singer.”
Phillip seemed to have so much going for him. What made him turn to drugs? And how in the world did he end up overdosing in a rundown motel room? Aubrey wished she had met her brother in-law. He sounded like an interesting man. “Wow.”
“That night it seemed like he sung to my soul, and he left the lounge with my heart.” Her eyes became cold. “It just wasn’t meant to be.”
Aubrey could tell something had happened between Phillip and Brittney, and it wasn’t good. “Are you all hungry? I have some chicken salad left. I could whip up a couple sandwiches.”
“No, thank you. We are about to leave.” Brittney stood up and Ryan followed suit.
Aubrey didn’t even attempt to hide her look of confusion. Did she offend Brittney? Why was she leaving so soon without an explanation? “Oh. Well, let me get Salim so he can tell you goodbye.” Aubrey quickly exited the living room to get her love. Maybe he could convince Brittney to stay a little while longer.