Chapter I - Getting the CallA Chapter by Suze
Michaela gets bad news from her brother, Michael.
It was Monday afternoon, and I was busy doing a whole lot of nothing when the call came. I peeled myself off the couch and rooted around in the mess of books and newspaper on the floor for the phone. The caller i.d. showed my brother's home number. "Hey, Mike, what's up? Whachoo doin' home?" I lit a cigarette and slouched back on the couch. "I've got some news, Mick." I heard the click of his own lighter, the deep inhale. "Auntie J died this morning." I heard myself gasp. Auntie J couldn't be dead. I had just spoken with her last week; she had given me hell about not calling enough. Real hell, too, the kind only big black ladies who love you half to death could give. Dead? "Mickey?.....Micheala?" Mike was calling my name for a few moments before I could respond. "When? What happened?" The tears were close, but I managed to keep them out of my voice. "Heart attack, came out of the blue. I just saw her myself, two days ago? Agway, picking up mulch. She gave me hell, you know how Auntie J does." He laughed, but when he spoke again I could hear that his tears weren't so far away, either. "She invited me over for coffee, you know? Served me butter cookies, same as when we were kids." "God, Mike, she wasn't alone was she?" "No, she was with Big John at the house, she had just made him lunch. She was dusting the mantel or something when she said she didn't feel good. Before John could even get up she was on the ground. He called 911 and everything but by the time they got there she was unconscious, she died pretty soon after they got to the hospital. Big John and Aunt Cassidy are making the arrangements." Mike laughed softly. "Aunt Cassidy called me at work, you know? She was worried about who you're going to stay with when you come down. She's already got you next door at Auntie J's in your old room." Silence. "Mick?" "Uh-huh." "You are coming aren't you?" "I don't know, Mike, I don't think I can." "Oh bullshit, Mickey!" "Seriously, I just don't think so." I was shaking my head back and forth like he could see me. "Oh Jesus Christ, you don't think so? It's Auntie J, you have to be here." Mike really sounded pissed. "I do have a job you know, they don't really give time off so freely as that." "You're a bartender, Mickey, not a brain surgeon. I'm sure they can do without you for the week. That's not what it's about anyway, and you know it." "What do I do, just show up after however many years? Show up with flowers and pay my respects?" I heard Mike blow out smoke in exasperation and slam his lighter down on his kitchen table. "Yeah, ya do! You come home when someone dies! That's what people do, you know, they come home when someone dies." "Well, what about Dad?" I could hear my voice getting a little panicky. "Yeah, right, it's Dad you're worried about." He snorted in disgust. "It is Dad I'm worried about! I haven't even talked to him since, like, 1993! I haven't talked to Dad since before, well, whatever. You know. A long f*****g time." I closed my eyes and put my head down, suddenly beyond tired. "So what? So don't f*****g talk to him. But you come home for Auntie J, Mick, you can't not come home for her." I sighed deeply, already wanting another cigarette. My head was swimming. Auntie J couldn't be dead, could she? "I'll call you tomorrow, Mike. I'll let you know then, okay?" "You'd better." Click. Ah f**k.
© 2012 Suze
Coming Around Again
About~Hi, my name is Suze - thanks for stopping by!~ I am a fiction writer mostly but have found that I have a taste for essays lately as well. I'm here to seek the opinions of other writers on my work, .. more..