Travis’ mother, Tori was speaking musically in a key Travis had never heard before. His mother’s voice was high-pitched and her tonality was a falsetto that could rival Mariah Carey. She was angry and he could tell that the conversation was going to be extremely long.
“Mom, I’m guessing you went to church today?”
“Hell yeah!” she exclaimed. Tori then realized she responded to a church reference with the word “hell.” She quickly whispered, “Lord forgive me.”
“I’ve been out of service for a couple of weeks because of the operation on my hemorrhoids. By the way, why didn’t you come see me in the hospital? Sire came to check on me.” Tori took a thoughtful breath and then when Travis didn’t respond she continued. “Anyway, why did you abuse that poor girl? I liked Tamara. She did so much for you. Pretty girl too. What’s wrong with you? Where did I go wrong? ” Travis didn’t say anything. Every question was rhetorical. This wasn’t a conversation. It was a dramatic monologue. When he couldn’t take any more badgering and his ears began to ring he decided it was time to interject.
“How did I abuse Tamara?”
“From what I understand from Sister Karen , you threw the girl on the floor, ripped her clothes off and borderline raped her. I’ve already changed your name in my phone to ‘Ike Turner’. Then Sister Tamica said you are with some fast girl named ‘Nice’ or some foolishness like that.”
“Her name is ‘Special’, mommy.”
“They should have named her ‘Speedy’ because she’s fast! Apparently I should have named you ‘Stupid’ because you are embarrassing me to no end!” Tori shrieked.
“There’s nothing to be embarrassed about mom. I’m grown. I’m not your responsibility anymore.”
“Oh yes you are! Need I remind you, technically you’re married! Your father left you all that money on one condition…”, Tori said.
“…I must be a married, ‘responsible’, committed and dedicated man. Yes I remember”, Travis finished his mothers thought.
“Yup! That wonderful girl married you knowing you were so …lost. She really believed in you. How do you repay her? You treat her like garbage. I’m glad she busted up your apartment! Glad your brother kicked your -”
“Mom, did you call to say anything positive?”, Travis interrupted.
“Absolutely not,” Tori stated firmly. Then she hung up the phone.
Travis missed his father. They say women with “daddy issues” have trouble in their relationships but what about sons? Travis and his father were buddies and traveled together all the time. They were like brothers. Travis senior supported his son, loved him, and communicated with him. Then when Travis was a junior in high school, his father died of AIDS. Tori told people that it was cancer but the truth was Travis senior was having an affair and contracted it from his lover. Luckily, Tori tested negative. There wasn’t much love-making in their marriage. Besides, Tori insisted on condom use since her handsome husband was always traveling and couldn’t be trusted.
Travis knew Tori was right. He missed Tamara all the time. He didn’t miss her physically but he missed knowing that she would be there if he needed her. She never smothered him. She was patiently waiting to be to be validated. Travis always introduced her with her name and no title. Despite the lack of respect, Tamara agreed to marry him so he could collect the money his father left for him and avoid the 9-5 rat race. She never saw a cent. There was no bells, bows, or ceremony. He didn’t even claim her as his girl. They were married on paper only.
Travis lived a sustainable life at home. It wasn’t cushy comfy but he could survive and that was good enough for him. On the side, he sold his art pieces. That’s when he would splurge on the more lavish things he liked. If Tamara divorced him he would be forced to find a job. For some reason, his father allocated his money based on his relationship status. Travis assumed it had something to do with his fathers fascination with “The American Dream.” He was always taught you must have family, property, and profession. Would Tamara divorce him? He never even thought of that. He wondered if his brother Sire had begun to plant seeds in her impressionable mind. He couldn’t stand Sire. He loved him a little bit but he hated him a little bit more. Travis was convinced Sire was jealous of him. Travis was also convinced even though Sire was bigger and buffer…Travis was brighter and looked better. They were in constant competition. Travis always won. He would get Tamara back and keep Special on the side and neither woman would suspect the other. While he continued calculating, his phone rang again. Once again, it was his mother Tori.
“Yes maam”, he answered annoyed.
“I forgot to tell you, you need to watch that funky temper of yours. Keep your hands to yourself and keep your gun in the drawer. I gave that weapon to you for emergencies only”, she said.
“Ma, I have absolutely no earthly idea what you are referring to. My gun doesn’t leave the drawer and the safety is always on.”
“Boy, you think I’m stupid?! You shot that poor girls back window out! According to the rumor mill, her cousin Courtney is working on a retaliation strategy. You may want to take the safety off that gun, son.”
Travis was alarmed now. Thoughts were swimming in his head. All his previous intentions were quickly overshadowed by concern and obsessiveness. Travis was furious.
“I didn’t do it, mom.”
“Well who did, T?”
“A dead man”, Travis answered. He then ended the call. He powered off the phone, took the battery out and put it in his pocket. He put a shirt on, grabbed the 9mm out the drawer, loaded it and tucked it in his pants. He left a note for Special with specific instructions on how to move out and how to return his key. Then he swiftly exited the apartment without even locking the door.
(To be continued…)