For a longtime i hated any black cars. I mean any car painted black and looking like it could be a hearse. Then when I lost my Mommy on this earth? I knew exactly why. That black hearse looking car represented my deepest fears. I even looked away when I saw it.
If I was out with my mom I almost wanted to close her eyes so she would not see it. You see, every time I went to hospital defiantly spending the entire day with her even past ‘visiting hours’ because why should anyone tell me how much time is enough time to spend with my mother? Once I almost caused a scene because of this and she said, ‘It’s just for a few minutes mama go stretch out its almost visiting time again anyway’. Each time I walked past that Texas gate and saw that blackish car looking like a hearse parked there, my heart stopped. Does it think this is a parking? Can someone get it out of there!
One time while at the hospital, after helping her roomates get settled, fix their nets or phones those little things you can’t easily do when confined to a bed and some strange liquid called ‘treatment’ is dripping into your veins a drop per minute for the next 72 hours of your life. They call it chemotherapy. I needed to use the ladies and because we were in an unfamiliar room than the one we got twice or so before, I needed directions to the closest one.Someone directed me outside. So out by the back dark corridor I went and yes it was at night. They said some door to the left and so I opened. I can’t remember if light came from that room or someone opened a window or something but light streamed through. Guess what I see? A body! Laying straight. Out, cold and gone. I have never frozen yet ran so fast my entire life! Shutting the door I somehow ran from out back to the gate, somewhere there running into that black hearse looking car. Guess it was there for a mission.
Finally at the front of the building completely breathless, in pain, shock a thousand thoughts for me for whoever that person’s family is. The watchman’s first reaction was surprise, then laughter. He said like you’ve seen a ghost. I looked at him said no nothing. Said my prayers and begged God never should I come to her in that room or that car. Massaged my face and tried to bring my bravest face on. Went back to the room so we could pray together as we usually did so my brother and I could go home. All the way home I was on edge. I think I only shared with him after we got home.
My Mom got to know this couple of months after that incident. I don’t even know how this came out but in one of our seat outs with her it did my brother narrating how I literally shot through the darkness. She laughed and said ‘I am so sorry you had to go through that’. Then silently ‘I am here to stay’. You see, she knows me quit well and I her even without speaking. She could see through the trauma, the love and determination. In our silence we spoke, with the dreams we saw, had and shared, we spoke, in the speech we spoke and shared, we heard each other far beyond spoken words, we understood.
You know that person who is your mom, your friend, best best friend, confidant, your baby and you hers all rolled into one dough if baked only the best of aromas will be found? That one. The irreplaceable someone you never imagine your life without and swear you won’t accept someone else coming to try and fill a ‘comfort gap’ because the truth is? Leave that gap ALONE! It has its owner and while I don’t see her with these eyes? She’s still there. Yep! You catch my drift.
The one we’d plait each other’s hair then my brother would complain I am doing a shady job on his beautiful mother’s hair then she would say ‘Leave her alone. She should know I am only letting her practice on me for my grandchildren’s sake’. Then he would respond ‘I see…and remind me again what she’s still doing in this house?’ Then we would both get him off my neck. The one who i share our love for healthy nice hair and knows my appreciation of mixed people simply because their hair got the best of both worlds.
That black hearse looking car. Shame on it! A thief. I couldn’t imagine it carrying my own one day in a ‘final journey’. I don’t want a final there just can’t be a final journey. And when that ‘final journey’ came, I refused to get on it. How dare it! Who invited it because I am sure I did not. I was very clear even on those roads not to come near me or us.
Three months before, with deep contempt I looked at one that carried one of my friends on her ‘Final Journey’ . No, we were supposed to be having your wedding you imagined it. We would dance really dance and we must. You said cars that were decorated with fabric and some kind of flowers were ridiculous. You always had some out of this world random unexpected comments that had me laughing in wonder and others freezing. The last time I would see you was a in a dream a week before and talk about how the kids were sang beautifully the Friday before. Getting that message on Sunday night? Seeing that car on Thursday? Was a terrible punch. Another friend equally in shock sat outside crying her heart out and told me you see this heels with that gold thing and this purple scarf? These are the colors she said she would want in her wedding whenever it will be when that dear future man stops sleeping and locates her.
My Mommy insisted on going too. My dad even asked her if she’s sure and strong enough to go. She had to be there for her girl. Tina was her girl too even though her baby is very close to my age. She felt it as deeply as I did. My fears intensified. That could be me in my dear friend’s daughter’s whose also dear too me – in her shoes. That black hearse looking car and anything written ‘funeral home’ (ironic because the real funeral, sorrow and mourning does not happen in those locations but you carry it around in your heart for who knows how long. Somebody go rename those unnameable places!) I looked away. A couple of weeks later her daughter would tell me during one of our random check-in visits with each other, ‘that morning, I had purposed to bring you the car I somehow knew the others would be overwhelming but when I woke up that morning and realized why I would be coming to see you, not to plait our hair and random stories near mom and you know maybe granny but this was that time all over again. Reality finally caught up and I was frozen, racked by sobs’. Ah!… That car again.
On that morning of that journey, God sent me blessed relief through a dear friend Risper (who from 7 mornings before and through the week swept into our rescue making herself a personal chauffeur among other things because again I don’t believe I would have easily stomached an ambulance yet another time). Instead of that car-bus I got into hers. Yes it was black but not hearse looking. Took Mom’s picture with me. Because no thank you! That car-bus full of people singing, that was at one point infront then the rest of the times behind was a lie. Someone just broke the bargain. At the morgue for some few horrible minutes in the company of family, friends, brothers and sisters of one and various faiths, neighbors and elders directing things and those instructed not to loose sight of us; I thought they would ask me to switch cars because I would have said no thank you. My friend’s car was perfectly good. Meet me at the service. I don’t have business with those that break agreements especially one so important.
As grace would have it, a different car had been prepared for family. Thankfully white and definitely not hearse looking. This time, my brother with our mom’s picture close to his chest. All of us- Father son daughter, adopting an alternative existence. Split between the one that’s meant to do what’s meant to be done and the one you keep to meet much much later. Usually when everyone goes, it gets quiet when exactly? Who knows? I realize now that can take months and years . Pieces and reflections of that other side could suddenly hit you like images from a periscope showing you corners you don’t always visit or ready to face saying ‘hey! I’m still here, come let’s talk’.
No such car will find her ever again. She lives free of any encumbrances, seeing us even when we don’t, free yet so deeply and still intricately connecte-
d with us. However now like the AD’s and BC’s calendars of identifying time and events our
lives’ calendars just got reset. Now everything is classified in a strange way AD and BD. Everything becomes a first for we and she. Relearn everything but in honor. In honor of this irreplaceable warrior, victor, queen, daughter, mother, wife, sister, auntie, mentor, grandmother, friend, God’s own…name it.
So now, you blackish or maybe even whitish or bluish whatever shade of a car whose name is a hearse I’ve got no business with you. I realize, there is never going to be a final journey with us. We live on here and after. We live through each other and on our own.