Mama was over my house helping me get ready for our engagement party. It amazes me how strong of a woman she is. Mama is a God-fearing woman and I know her faith alone, had a lot to do with her remission. She’d pray every day while she was fighting and every day after. Not to just be cured but, to find light in every situation.
I could only dream of being half the woman my mother is. She’s an amazing wife, wonderful mother and above all a child of God. Even at her weakest points she stayed strong. I am so blessed to have her a role model. She inspires me to be better, without judging my mistakes and embracing my flaws.
Mama was flawless. She continued to rock her short hair even after it grew back after chemotherapy. She rocked it better than Halle, Nia Long or even Rihanna. Her caramel skin was wrinkled free and make-up free. She looked so angelic, with her white fitted dressed, accessorized with gold.
“You look great Mama,” I complemented her. Mama giggled as she made a 180 turn and posing like Niami Campbell.
“You, my dear, look beautiful Tanya.” She admired me up and down as I stood in 6-inch heels, wearing a coral dress, draped in diamonds. Not too flashy, but enough to accent my attire. I blushed as we stood hand in hand.
“My baby is getting married. Where has the time gone? I still remember chasing your naked tail around the house trying to put your night clothes on after your baths, your first day of school, your first period…”
“Maaaaa…” I laughed. “I think that’s enough now.”
“Wait, until you hear my toast.” We both burst out in laughter. My mom probably laughing at me being naive to her toast verses laughing with me.
Knock. Knock. It had to be Pops. “Hey, what’s all that giggling in there about?”
“Coming right out, John.” Mama answered in between laughs.
“I’ll be in the car. If you gals not done in five minutes. We leaving.” Pops was referring to himself and Rayl. We knew they wouldn’t leave, after all it was my party. We snickered again.
“I’m serious ladies.” We both covered out mouths holding in our laughs as we listened to my father proceed downstairs. Once we knew the coast was clear we laughed like to small school girls.
“Tee, I have something for you.” Mama grabbed a box from her belonging and went over to my vanity. “Come sit down She opened the box and there was a beautiful diamond necklace inside. I was in awe as I watched her take mine off and replaced it with hers.
“My mother gave this to me on my wedding day. I just couldn’t wait until then, so I am giving it to you now.”
“It’s beautiful, Mama.”
“Just as you are baby girl.”
I admired myself in the mirror, the necklace looked great with my dress.
Honk! Honk! It would take Pops to ruin a moment, but I’m glad he did before the tears started rolling. Mama and I gave ourselves one last look in the mirror before heading out to Pops’ Cadillac.
The party was going great! All our guest was on their best behaviors, food was supurb, nothing but good vibes with great people.
Clink. Clink. Clink. Clink. Pops stood up tapping his champagne glass with his knife.
“Attention everyone. I’d like to purpose a toast.” Pops presence demanded attention. It was something about his demeanor that made everyone migrate to him.
“From the day Margaret told me she was pregnant. I knew it was something great. When the ultrasound revealed it was a girl. I was ecstatic. It’s every man’s dream to have a beautiful baby girl. And I am blessed that she is beautiful.” Everyone chuckled. “My mission from day one was to protect and provide for my princess. I’ve never failed at that. Once she met Raymond here, I knew they were destined to be. He reminds me much of myself, but less handsome. She’s happy, he is a good man. Now my mission is complete.” The applause came roaring in as I fought back tears hugging Pops tight.
“My turn, my turn.” Mama whined very kid-like, “Tanya I already said some embarrassing things to you earlier, so I’ll save the rest for the wedding.” The crowd laughed right on cue, but I was relieved. “Princess, as your father stated we’ve loved you since conception. I’m so proud of the woman you’ve grown to be and even more proud that you’ve found a man to value your greatness. Raymond, take care of my baby. ‘Cuz best believe Mama got moves.” Mama stood in a boxer stance, looking like Lalia Ali. Ray got up nodding his head and bowing down to her.
“Thank you, Mama. Thank you, Pops for those heart filled speeches. Special thanks to you Mama because you’ve taught me how to be strong. How to be a woman. And how to not take any mess.” With emphasis I looked at Pops and Ray, as they grinned. Pops I’d also like to thank you for treating me the way I am supposed to be treated. You were my first love and made it easier for me to accept Raymond’s love. To my King, Raymond Trevor Reynolds. I love you sooo much. You mean so much to me. I’ve watched you grow into an amazing man and in return you helped me become an amazing woman. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you as Mrs. Reynolds.”
The party whistled and applauded as Ray got up to kiss me softly.
“To my Queen. And that you are. I wouldn’t be half the man I am today without you. I know I am not perfect but, I love that you accept my flaws. I lost my mom when I was 16 and you’re just as amazing as she was. Ms. Marge you’ve accepted me as a son and I thank you for that. Pops, you the man. I don’t know how you survived living with both these divas but, I’m here to help now. You know my dad wasn’t around as much as man should, but I vow to be better than him and as good as you!” I was in awe at Ray’s speech. Seeing him soft and gentle as I like, was perfect for tonight. I watched him embrace Mama and bear hug Pops. I was high off life in this moment. Nothing could break me from the joy I felt as this dinner.
We were close to saying goodbye to everyone, giving hugs and kisses when two detectives burst inside our private event.
“Raymond Reynolds,” the tall Italian detective stated.
“Yo, what the fuck is this?” Ray asked, pulling me behind him as my heart began to sink. Why are they here? I thought to myself. The fucking game! That bitch knew how to fuck up a good time.
The other cop, a black guy, came over to him, “You are under arrest for the murder of Kalvin Todd, anything…” As he began to read him his right. I zoned out. My last memory was Ray mouthing, I’m sorry to me as the detectives took him away in handcuffs. Now I was at my parent’s living room laying in Mama’s lap with Pops and my Uncle Charles staring at me.
“Hey, baby,” Mama smiled at me as I rose from her lap.
“Hey,” I mumbled.
“You hungry? Thirsty?” Mama scrambled trying to make herself useful. I shook my head no.
Pops stood up and walked over to me ad sat down. He wrapped his arms around my shoulders as I buried myself into his chest. Tears started to burn my face as Pops caressed my shoulders with his thumb.
“Why Pops? Why?” I screamed, Pops didn’t answer. Neither did Mama or Uncle Charles. They just let me vent.
My mind was everywhere. Murder? Kalvin? Ray? But why? He always told me he was there to protect me. I gasped.
“It’s all my fault.” I cried.
“Shhh…baby don’t think like that. It’s not your fault.” Mama moved closer to me rubbing my back.
“That’s right baby girl,” Uncle Charles stood up, “It’s that punk ass nigga fault.”
I looked up to him in despair.
“Chuck!” My mom yelled.
“Nah, sis. Fuck that. Baby girl deserves the world and this messy ass nigga can’t even provide that.”
“That’s enough Charles.” Pops exclaimed.
“John, c’mon man. You know this shit fucked up. Got my niece over here bugged the fuck out. Blaming herself for some bullshit he did.”
“He didn’t do anything!” I cried out.
“Believe that shit if you want to. Pigs ain’t come ruin no damn party off hope. That nigga murk…” Pop stood up, silencing Uncle Charles. Through clenched teeth Pops said, “Charles, Imma tell you one more time to shut the fuck up or get the fuck out my house.”
Uncle Charles was never known to back down from a challenge. He stared my father down with a smile on his face. “Da fuck you think you talking to?” Before I knew it Pops was on top of Uncle Charles, breaking Mama’s coffee table on his way to the floor.
“John,” Mama screamed and I screamed out “Pops,” in unison. Pops had lost control, but the voice of his girls had a way of bringing him back down. He yanked Uncle Charles up of the floor. He was leaking blood, but still smiling.
“Bitch ass nigga. Marge ya husband a bitch. I don’t know why you ever married his bitch ass.” He laughed as Pops through him out the front door.
I began crying even more. “Margaret, take baby girl upstairs.” Pops demanded and we both moved. As we walked away I could feel Pops staring at me, but I held my head down.
“Come lay in bed with me baby,” Mama suggested. I just nodded and followed her to my parent’s room. The area was spacious. When they originally bought the house it was a 4 bedroom house, but Pops had the adjacent room wall knocked down to create a bigger master suite. In the middle of the room there was a king size bed painted with gold sheets and comforters. Mama loved gold. Pops hated it, but he puts up with it because he loves Mama. Whatever Mama wants, Mama gets. Much like me and the reason why I love Ray so much. He treats me as Pops did my while life, like a princess, but in this case now I am his Queen. He treats me as Pops treats Mama. Somehow in this moment I feel like a peasant; worthless, exhausted, and confused much.
“Tanya? Mama whispered.
“Yes?” I sniffled. I was done crying. I think my tears had ran out.
“I love you. No matter what happens, I am here for you, okay?”
“Thank you Mama. I know you are and I love you too. I just don’t see why he would do this?”
Mama shifted her body, propping herself up on the pillow, “You think he did it?”
I was slow to respond, but I eventually nodded my head yes. Mama sighed.
“I know he did, Mama.”
“How baby? Where’s your faith in your man?” She seemed a little disappointed. Her voice was still calm, but I noticed the mild change.
“Well Kal and I had words a few weeks back. He called my cell phone one day while I was at work and then popped up at the hospital. He didn’t touch me or anything, but it was very uncomfortable being in his presence. He wasn’t himself, well the him I knew five years ago. I was terrified and I told Ray. I shouldn’t have told him.”
“Yes, you should have baby. His duty is to protect you.”
“But, look at me now Ma, I’m a mess. He can’t protect me from prison.”
“Stop thinking so negative, chile. Aint nobody going to prison because Ray didn’t do a thing.”
“But…” Mama put her finger up to my lips. Pops knocked on the door and stepped in. Mama and I looked at him without saying a word. We tried to read his demeanor by watching his face and body language. Pops had a good poker face, but you could usually tell his mood by his stance.
“Marge, can I talk to baby girl in private please?” His voice was soft. Mama smiled at me and pecked Pops cheek as she walked out the room.
Pops sat on the edge of the bed and I sat up to look at him.
“I’m sorry about that thing with your Uncle Charles. But, that nigga gets to me. I can’t stand his ass. He runs his mouth too much.”
“But, he’s right Pops.” Pops looked at me breaking his poker face, raising his eyebrows.
“What you mean he right? He aint got no right raving about Ray and he not here to defend himself. While you’re here heartbroken and he aint give a shit about what he s was saying.”
“Ray did kill Kal, Pops.”
“You don’t know that baby girl.” I nodded yes as I explained the story to him. For a split second his face showed amazement, but he stayed firm.
“Tanya, you know him better than any of us. You know what that man is capable of. He loves you baby girl and he wouldn’t jeopardize your future with him over bitch ass Kalvin.” Pops words said one thing, but his face was falling apart. He was in deep thought, which only means, he’s up to something.
“Get some rest baby. You look a mess.” He joked, pinching my cheeks.
I smiled and it felt so good to do so. “I love you Tanya,” Pops kissed my forehead. “I’ll take care of it trust me.” I was too tired to analyze his last statement. I could faintly hear Pops talking to Mama as I drifted off to sleep.
Be sure to tune in next Sunday to find out what happens next!