Diane prepped for this the night before. She couldn’t finish her food because she had “no appetite.” She watched television with the box of tissues as her close companion. She even sprayed Lysol occasionally for the added convincing effect.
So when she woke up the following morning and looked her mother in the eye to exclaim, “I’m Sick”, she thought that would be the end of the story. Unfortunately for Diane her mother, Geneva, has a different definition of “sick.” In Geneva’s world, if there is no need for hospitalization then you aren’t “sick.” Anything short of a bullet wound can be cured at home.
Diane decided to turn up the heat. Her older sister was off from work and this would be the ideal opportunity to stay home from school, listen to music, watch her favorite shows, and have a home cooked meal as soon as it’s prepared. She got out of bed, stomped her feet, slammed doors, and even spoke loudly to herself in the kitchen (great acoustics) for the added convincing effect. Unbeknownst to her, Geneva is an expert at ignoring theatrics and drama.
At this point, 26-year-old Sage was lying in bed meditating on all of her failures in life.
“If my ass was bigger, I could have been a stripper. Then I wouldn’t have gone to college. Then I wouldn’t have student loans and be drowning in debt. THEN I would have my own apartment!” she breathlessly whispered to herself while simultaneously staring at the certifications on her wall. Ironically, there was a plaque next to her bed that read, “Every day holds the possibility of a miracle.” “How long must one wait for peace and serenity?” Sage sighed rhetorically.
“IF I PASS OUT AND DIE ON THE DESK AT SCHOOL, IT’S YOUR FAULT!!! YOU’LL HAVE TO LIVE WITH THAT FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!”
There had to be an equalizer in Diane’s lungs and a microphone in her mouth. How could such a petite 12-year-old frame project so well?
” THEY WILL CARRY MY LIFELESS BODY INTO THE SCHOOLYARD AND LIE IT NEXT TO THE FLAGPOLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
“You sure are loud for such a sick and feeble girl”, stated Geneva.
Checkmate. Mom won.
Defeated Diane took her two generic ibuprofen tablets, the sloppy Joe sandwich prepared for her lunch (it was grocery week) , zipped her hoodie and sport vest ( it was laundry week) , and sprayed her throat with chloraseptic for the added convincing effect. She sadly walked to the front door in silence accompanied by the occasional cough or sniffle.
Geneva, now fueled by anger, was doing her own introspective analysis. ” If my parents had only let me join the air force then I would have been a pilot. I wouldn’t have been in NY working two jobs. I wouldn’t have sung at that wedding, met their father, and now be dealing with the Roaring Twenties and the Terrible Tweens! She sighed and glanced at the group photo of the three of them stationed on her dresser. Ironically, there was an old greeting card lying next to her bed from Diane that read, “I know I’m not always easy to deal with but I love you so much mommy. ” Rushing back and forth from the kitchen to the bathroom to her bedroom, she contemplated what her fast and furious route would be to get the kid to school on time and clock in at work before the grace period. She hopped on one foot and almost tripped on air trying to get her trousers on.
Sage got out of bed. Put her hair in a head wrap (it was a hair week), threw on some sweats (it was laundry week), grabbed a pop tart ( it was grocery week), and put her arm around Diane.
“I’ll take you to school baby girl.”
They jumped in Sage’s 6-year-old, still financed, Hyundai and blasted gospel music all the way to their destination.
From the couch, still in her trousers and bra with a toothbrush hanging from the corner of her mouth, Geneva sat in disbelief. She dug through her purse passed the band-aids, chap stick, and tissues and located her cell phone. She proceeded to text message Sage: “Your gesture was appreciated. Thank you.”
Text driving at a stoplight, Sage received a new Inbox message.