EXCERPT from The Perfect Solution
The furniture consisted of a dirty sofa, an end table, a small table, a folding chair sitting in front of it, a telephone sitting on its edge and the thread worn over stuffed blue arm chair that he was sitting on. Everything looked so old and unfamiliar. He wanted to go home and couldn't understand why she had brought him here.
"I don't know this house", he thought to himself, "And I sure don't know that lady."
Brhin studied the woman as she stood by the kitchen door. After she had carried him out of The P. S. Center he had struggled with her not to be put in her car, but she had been stronger. She pushed him onto the back seat and dragged the seat belt across his chest. As he hit out at her hands and face she had bat his swings away and forced the seat belt into its catch. As soon as she slammed the car's door, he unclipped the belt and tried to open the door, but it was locked. Reaching for the lock as quickly as he could, Brhin unlatched it and pulled the handle of the door.
"It won't open," she had said. "There's a child safety lock on the door. I don't want you to fall out. So just sit back, put the seat belt back on and be still."
"No. I don't wanna go with you. My Auntie is coming. She's gonna take me to my momma." He slapped the back of the seat near her head repeatedly in his anger.
"Sit back, I said." She growled and reached to shove him backwards as she approached the stop sign and abruptly hit the brakes, which caused him to slide off the seat and onto the floor. "Or you'll be sorry."
Scrambling from the floor, Brhin got back on the seat. As he did he noticed one of the teachers in The P. S. Center's yard and he banged on the closed side window and shouted.
“Hey, help. Get me out of this car." He pressed his face to the glass.
The heat from his breath fogged the glass and he rubbed his hand on the glass to clear it. Brhin noticed how one of the children pointed towards the car and said something as it started to slide away.
"Sit down, Brhin." The woman commanded.
Ignoring her order, Brhin swung his body to the rear window. He saw the teacher standing and looking towards the car and he started to cry. There was nothing she could do because he was now too far away and the lady was starting to drive faster.
"Brhin put on your seat belt. I am bringing you home."
"You promise?" He sniffled.
"Yes.... and you'll be happy there."
She had driven around for what seemed like forever. Stopping and turning, until finally she had turned into the driveway of this house and pulled the car into the garage.
"This is not my house. Lady, you're at the wrong house," Brhin shouted when the woman lifted him from the car. "And put me down. I can walk."
"I know. I don't want to linger out here. It is getting colder. We'll just go inside for a little while."
"You promised to take me home."
"And so I did. We'll talk about it inside. Behave, is this the way your mother would want you to act?"
Hearing this and knowing how his mother felt about misbehavior, Brhin immediately stopped struggling and lay still in her arms. When they had gotten in the house she carried him to the large blue chair and struggled with him to take of his jacket.
"I don't want you to take my jacket." Brhin sobbed, pulling tenaciously at it until he pulled the bundle of material from her grip and crammed it behind his back.
"I won't take it, Son. I just don't want you to sit in here with it on. It's kind of warm."
"I won't put it back on." Brhin promised through the unshed tears caught in his throat. Cautiously pulling the jacket from behind his back, Brhin hugged it closely to his chest.
"Okay. I'll just go and lock the kitchen door and I'll be back. Relax."
Brhin sat back in the chair and watched her as she left the room. She was big. She was a lot taller than his momma and a whole lot fatter. The comparisons of the two women making him wonder what his momma was doing. She's probably waiting for him and crying. He wanted to go home. Moving to the edge of the chair, he started to get down when he heard the woman returning to the room.
Pressing his back into the smelly upholstery of the chair as the woman approached, Brhin pulled his jacket closer to his chest and bit the collar apprehensively. He studied her face closely. It felt as if he should know her, but he couldn't figure out where he’d seen her before. Her eyebrows grew so close together and were so thick that she looked as if she had only one and the mole on her face was big and ugly, but her hair was pretty. It reminded him of a few of the girls from his center who wore their hair the same way. What was it they called it? Oh, braided. To him it looked like a bunch of tiny jump ropes.
He remembered how the first time he had noticed the little girls' hair like that and had asked his mom if he could have his done and she had laughed before tickling him until he had run around the room laughing with her chasing him. The thought made him miss her.
"Why did you bring me here?" Brhin asked softly. "You said my mommy told you to come and get me. I wanna go home."
"Your mommy did tell me to come and get you. I just thought it would be nice to spend a little time together and get to know each other. Wouldn't you like that?"
"No." Brhin shook his head slowly. "I want to see my momma. She's sick, ya know. And her neck is all hot, so when I get home I put a cool towel on her head and we lie in her bed and watch cartoons. She says it makes her feel a lot better when I'm at home. We get all unner the covers. And she hugs me close." He smiled. "She has a lot of pillows on her bed. Sometimes she hides little candies under the pillows and we play hide and seek to find them. Then we laugh and laugh. And I…"
"I don't want to hear all of that. You're not going there right now so just get over it. Are you hungry my son?" She softened her tones abruptly when she saw an expression of apprehension cross Brhin's face. "I know you should be. Its three thirty and you didn't take the snack your teacher had at The P. S. Center."
The lady knelt down before him and pressed her face close to his. Their noses were almost touching. Her breath smelled awful and her teeth looked as if they had not been brushed in years. The only thing that looked nice about her was her hair.
"There's a McDonald's across the street. I know how much you like your nuggets, Son. I can go across and get you some."
"No, thank you. I just wanna go home. My momma will be looking for me. I'm not your son. You're not my momma." He shouted, sitting straighter in his chair and pointing his finger at her.
"Shhh, From now on I am. Your old mommy can't take care of you any longer and she asked me to keep you so I'll be your new mommy." She explained in childish tones. "Can you try to understand that? As you said earlier she is ill. She's too sick to keep you. I will take care of you now.”
Brhin opened his mouth to argue with the lady but changed his mind. He hated when people talked to him as if he were a baby. His momma said it was because he was such a little guy that people just thought he was younger and couldn't understand. "People only know how smart you are when you show them," she would say. Brhin returned to his position in the chair and studied the woman's face. He still had the improbable feeling that he knew her, but then realized that she was a total stranger. As he looked into her face, he remembered things that his mother had told him about strangers and what to do if he was ever with one. She always said to be brave and tell them whatever they wanted to hear and as soon as possible, try and call home. Leave a message on the answering machine if she was not there and then call the police. "Remember, Brhin," she had said. "No matter what a stranger tells you about me, I will always love you and never stop looking for you."
"Son," The woman rubbed the top of his head. "What are you thinking about?"
"I'm hungry," answered Brhin, moving out of her reach.
She dropped her arm to her side and watched him pensively. She noticed the way he clutched his jacket tightly in front of him and she stepped back from the chair.
"You don't have to be afraid of me. I wouldn't do anything to hurt you. I have been waiting to have you here for a long time. When I come back I want to show you all of the things I have gotten for you. You will love them. What I wanted to say was I am just about to run to Mc Donald's across the street and get you nuggets. You can stay here if you like."
Brhin looked around the room again. It was dirty. Old papers and McDonald's cartons and paraphernalia were scattered everywhere. A nasty pile of roaches crawled around eating crumbs of food sitting near the clothes on the sofa.
"You gonna leave me by myself?"
"Yes. It is cold outside. Oh, wait a minute. I have something for you." She left the room and came back holding a small stuffed brown bear.
"Hey, how'd you get my bear?" Brhin sat up in the large chair and leaned forward, excitedly reaching for the toy. "I take JoJo everywhere. He can't go with me to school though." Forgetting his anxiety, Brhin buried his face in the bear's fur. "This is not really my bear."
"It is your bear, Son."
"It doesn't smell like my teddy." He sniffed the fluffy fake fur on the stuffed bear's body.
"No, I just washed it. He was really dirty. Your momma gave him to me."
Puzzled, Brhin looked from the bear to the woman.
Shrugging his shoulders, he hugged the stuffed animal closer and leaned back in his chair. At home, whenever his momma was too busy, he would watch television with JoJo. It made him feel less lonely. He figured this stuffed bear would be just as good.
"Okay, but I still don't wanna stay here by myself. Momma never leaves me. That's bad."
The woman stopped in her act of putting on her coat and gave Brhin a considering look.
"You're right. Something could happen while you're here alone. Come on, put on your coat. We'll run over and right back. I can't afford to let you get sick."
While they were standing on the porch, Brhin studied the house as the lady locked the door. He recognized the color of the house to be yellow and a zero and a four were in the address but couldn’t recognize the other numbers. He thought to himself.
"Lady, what are those numbers on your house?" He asked aloud.
"Don't let them worry you, Son. And remember this, I want you to stop calling me 'lady' and call me 'mom', all right?"
She tugged him down the steps.
Acknowledging her request absently, Brhin repeated the numbers of the house over and over in his mind, almost forgetting them when he stopped to the edge of the sidewalk. Standing near the woman on the sidewalk next to the curb, Brhin looked around in amazement.
“I know this street.” Brhin spoke low and excitedly. “I go to that McDonald's every cartoon day for breakfast with my momma. If I go that way, he looked to his right I go to the daycare center. I don't want to go there. If I turn that way,” He looked to his left. “I can go home. I wanna go home.”
He tried to pull his hand out of the lady's grip, but she tightened her fingers. Erroneously interpreting his tug, the lady gave his arm a sharp jerk.
"Be still. Do you want to fall into the street? As soon as the car passes, we will go."
"When can I go home?" Brhin asked as they crossed the street.
"When we come back from McDonald's you’ll go home."
Brhin looked around McDonald's interior for a familiar face. This was the place where he spent his every Saturday morning. He knew none of these people. He knew all of the people that worked on Saturday mornings by name and they knew him. These workers smiled when they took his order, but he still didn't know them. Oh well, I will be home soon. He thought to himself and smiled again. He was still smiling on the return walk to the lady's house. His joy at the anticipated trip to his mother had him bubbling over and causing him to sing a tiny tune. His smile abruptly disappeared when they entered the house and the lady began removing her coat.
"You promised me I would go home. I wanna go home, lady." He shouted angrily.
"You are home." She pulled him towards her and began to unzip his jacket.
"You stop it." Brhin slapped at her hands and persistently twisted and turned his body as he tried to pull away.
"Be still, Son."
Holding Brhin's body firmly, she yanked the sleeves of his jacket down his arms and sat him none too gently, in the chair he had occupied earlier.
"You are home, Son. This is 'home', now."Write About Or Link To This Post On Your Blog - Easy Links :
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