Posts Tagged tea
Ala received a call while Jase drove them to the hospital. She noticed he was cutting through neighborhoods by using alleys and figured he did not want to face any stop and go traffic. She answered in a whisper.
“There you are,” Gene said with a nervous flick at the end of “are”.
“I called you and didn’t hear back.”
“I know. I meant to call.” She could see the light bounce off the of the corner of Jase’s eye. He was watching her talk and did not want her to know it.
“Are you alright?”
“I’m fine.” She couldn’t stand talking on the phone using half of her voice. It felt like her throat was being squeezed shut. She didn’t like lying to Gene. Even though she hadn’t yet, she could tell it was coming. Jase sped up just as the light turned from a rusted amber to red. He nearly collided with a car that had the right-of-way. The brakes screeched as the car lurched forward. Ala clasped her chest as the strap from the seatbelt dug into her collarbone. “Jase!”
Panicked, Jase looked both ways and behind them. He was breathing heavily.
“You’re with Jase? Is he is town?” Gene said.
“No, I’m in Boston actually.”
“Boston? What for?”
“I had to come visit for a little while.”
“I’m mixed up.”
“It was a quick trip.”
Jase pulled over and got out of the car, slamming the door behind him. Ala saw him pacing on the sidewalk.
“Are you there?” Gene sounded irritated.
“Yes. I just am in the middle of something. Would it be alright if I called you back?”
“Sure. If you remember.”
“Gene-” He had hung up. Ala shoved her phone back into her bag and let herself out of the car.
Jase stopped pacing when he saw her.
“Why don’t you let me drive?”
He nodded. She climbed into the driver’s seat and adjusted the height. He closed the car door and put on the seatbelt. He put his hand on her wrist.
“I didn’t hurt you, did I?”
She shook her head and they pulled away. Slamming on the brakes and cutting off her circulation with the seatbelt, while knocking the wind out of her, didn’t hurt as much as them splitting apart had.
Fortunately, they were only a few blocks away from the hospital because Ala could not take the severe depression oozing from Jase. They had nothing to say to one another and the silence was thick and smothering.
When the elevator door opened, a lady who Ala recognized as one of family neighbors stepped out. She wore a large red hat with pink roses dangling from it and a tight cream suit that zipped up the back. She hugged Jase and patted his cheek. Ala stepped away to avoid hearing what they talked about.
Jase stepped into the elevator and Ala followed.
“Please. Do you know she’s sleeping with my father?”
Ala looked down and the dented scuffed linoleum. She heard recognizable voices as they made their made down the long hall. She averted her eyes from looking inside of the rooms.
The room Jase’s mother was staying in was bright and sterile. There were large pink and purple floral arrangements on every surface, along with all of the latest magazines, paper coffee cups and half empty water bottles.
Jase’s sister-in-law, Coffi, sat bouncing a fat infant on her lap while his brother talked business on his phone, while looking at the parking lot out the window. Jase’s younger sister was wedged on the bed with her legs half dangling off next to his mother.
His mother’s silvery blond hair was twisted up in a tortoise shell clip. It was flawless along with her light makeup. Her green brocade robe was placed over her shoulders, as if she had the slightest draft and her satin slippers hung from her tiny feet.
“Ala,” she said, her eyes turning a brighter blue as she held out her tan hand. “My dear.”
Ala walked over slowly and touched her warm hand. She bent to kiss her cheek and noticed that her skin felt more dry than she had remembered.
Jase’s sister smiled up at her. They hadn’t been close, mainly because she had spent years in rehab while Ala and Jase were dating and they never really were able to form a relationship. Jase’s brother looked over and nodded.
“Abigail, I brought you Jasmine,” Jase’s father said while entering the room. He nearly let the cup of scalding hot tea fall from his hand when he saw Ala.
“Hello,” Ala said and got up quickly to greet him. He wrapped his arms around his waist and gave her a strong hug.
“I’m glad you came back,” he said into her ear.
She tried to force a normal voice.
“Dad, it’s Ala.”
“Is everything okay? Where is your phone?”
“I forgot it, I just wanted to tell you—” She heard the phone rustle against his shirt.
“Pearl, pick up, it’s Ala.”
Ala could tell her mother picked up from their bedroom, where she was probably packing for the cruise they were leaving on the next day.
“Is everything okay?”
“Well, yes. I wanted to call because I’m coming home.”
“What happened? Is it Jase?”
“It’s everything. I can’t stay here.”
“What about your job?”
The questions of course, Ala was unprepared for, because she assumed they would be thrilled at the news. Her mother wept when she told her she was moving. And her father didn’t want her to live with Jase unless she was engaged.
“I’ll find a new job. I just have to come back.”
“Okay, just calm down. We’ll fix this.”
She wanted them to drive to Boston in their luxury car and pick her up. To tell her not to worry about her things, they could be sent. She wanted to leave that very minute. It then occurred to her that they perhaps didn’t want her to move back into the house.
“I’ll find an apartment. I promise”
“Oh Ala, don’t be silly. We haven’t touched your room. When would you like to come home?”
“Today, tomorrow. Please, anytime I can.”
“Alright, we’ll book you a ticket. Why don’t you go back, pack up whatever you can and have some tea. You sound terrible.”
Everything of course had been fine for the two weeks she’d been back, but something definitely had changed that she couldn’t put her finger on it. She had always been the center of their world. Having no siblings, she assumed her parent’s lives depended on her and her alone. She even felt pressure to have children so her parents wouldn’t be bored. All of this apparently was an illusion though.