(Note: Hey, hey! I wanted to share a short story that I begun to write several years ago but did not complete. I finally completed it! This short story will be presented in four parts on my blog, and each part will be followed by an inspirational song that I enjoy hearing. I pray that you receive a positive message from the story! Blessings, afrotasticlady)
A bottle of Vodka and a bottle of Ibuprofen were sprawled on the passenger seat of his car. Vodka was a strange beverage for him to be drinking. In college, he had attempted to drink a cup of Vodka at a fraternity party, but the alcohol scraped his throat. He could not continue drinking, and the fraternity guys laughed at his innocence.
Now, Benjamin shoved the Vodka bottle into his mouth. He swallowed the raw liquid and let out a gruff “aaah.” He turned his head to his driver’s window and observed the people entering and exiting the Western Massachusetts Rite Aid.
A young woman yanked her two year old daughter out of the sliding doors. Her red hair was in a loose bun. She wore yoga pants with a large hole in the right knee area. Her slender child moved in the opposite direction. She screamed “C’mon kid!” and tears exploded on the child’s cheeks.
Some of the customers scowled at the adult and child as they interacted with each other, but none of them interrupted the battle. Benjamin quickly rolled down his car window and heard the expletives that flowed out of the mother’s mouth. He knew he should intervene, but his stiff body would not respond to his compassion.
The mother dropped her bags and pulled the terrified child towards her face. A middle aged woman with wavy, grey hair wrapped in a bun, slowly pushed her shopping cart towards the entrance. Again, the child tried to remove herself from her mother’s thin arms. Despite the mother’s skinniness, she appeared to be a strong woman. The mother let out a final swear to her daughter and spat on her face.
Benjamin shook his head and stared at the adorable child in denim overalls. “Mum-my…I hurt,” the child wailed. The middle aged woman left her cart and ran over to the woman and her daughter.
“You don’t spit on a child like that. Is that your daughter?” the middle aged woman asked.
“Yeah, it is my daughter and this ain’t none of your business,” the mother responded.
“Honey, are you alright?” the middle aged woman bent down to the child’s level.
“Get away from her, nosey!” the mother slid her body between the middle aged woman and the child.
“You don’t need to be a mother! What’s wrong with you?” the middle aged woman yelled.
“Lady, I don’t even know you, and you think you can tell me something!” the mother yelled back.
Benjamin rubbed the sides of his face, and then grasped one of the dark coils of his small Afro. He did not want to listen to this confrontation anymore. His mind was already confused. He brought the bottle of alcohol to his mouth and drank it the same way his own kids drank their juice boxes. They titled their little heads and gulped until it went down the wrong way. They never heeded Benjamin’s instructions to “slow down.” They dealt with the effects of their quick drinking: strained coughing.
Benjamin ripped the Vodka bottle from his mouth and hacked. He was removing himself from his empathy. The middle aged woman could solve the situation between the mother and her child. He turned on the engine and peeled away from the parking lot.
“Where am I going?” Benjamin questioned himself.
This country town was different from his home. Down the street from the Rite Aid, there was a Moms and Pops store and an old fashioned movie theater with only two titles on the placard. As he drove out of the downtown area, vast farms approached him. His two year old daughter Aima, would have danced as soon as she saw the animals. She recognized animals well and amused the family with her imitations of cows, horses, and pigs. Benjamin smiled and thought about Aima’s high pitched voice making a “moo” sound. Benjamin stopped smiling and grimaced when an agitated driver rushed past him.
“Dang man, where you going?” Benjamin shouted and waved his fist. Drowsy, Benjamin pulled over to the side of the road. His head dropped on the steering wheel,and he began to moan. Full moans. Moans that would have frightened his children if they were in the back seat. Benjamin blinked, and tears trailed down his cheeks. He turned his head towards the bottle of Ibuprofen.
That bottle looked more glorious to him than his Bible looked.
Take them, he heard in his mind. He grabbed the bottle and massaged it in his hands. He slouched down in his seat and spun the bottle. Benjamin sighed and dropped the bottle back on the passenger seat. He took his phone out of his pocket.