Authors: Jamallah Bergman
“Well, I did just find out and besides she’s married to Richard, you know that.”
“Of course, but does he know that you two have been fooling around?”
“We haven’t been fooling—” Jeremy stopped himself because now people were starting to stare at the three of them. “Jessica you are making a big mistake acting like a fool in front of all these people.”
“Me? I’m acting like a fool? You are supposed to be with me and yet, you’re the one whose walking around here arm in arm with your pregnant skank.”
“Skank, Now listen here Jessica, even though I’m pregnant that doesn’t mean I won’t knock you into next week.” Cheryl bellowed.
By this time, his parents, Tyler, Lily and Jessica’s parents came over to see what was going on as well.
“I’d like to see you try it,” Jessica told her.
“What is going on?” Paul Bartlett asked the group.
“Dad, Jeremy is cheating on me!” she pouted.
“What?” her mother Miranda, exclaimed.
“Mrs. Bartlett, Jessica is jumping to conclusions again,” Jeremy told her parents.
“Jessica please, you know that Cheryl and Richard have been friends of yours for years, since high school for Christ sake. Hell, you both were there at their wedding. Why Jeremy would be messing around with a married woman is completely unreal when he’s very much in love with you.” Her mother told her.
“Look at her momma, she’s pregnant. This is probably the reason why he’s been avoiding me. He’s probably been going to see her and taking her to her doctor’s appointments to make sure about the baby.”
That was when Cheryl grabbed the drink out of Jessica’s hand and all hell broke lose. Jessica tried her best to attack the poor girl while Lily, who really never liked Jessica anyway, tried to grab hold of Jessica by the hair.
It took all three men to get both Lily and Jessica off of each other while everyone had been gawking and making comments about what they were seeing before them.
Jeremy had to make sure that Cheryl was safe and apologized to her over and over again for Jessica’s behavior because he knew that she would never own up to what she’d done.
After that day, the gossip mill went through Oak Glen faster than a swarm of bees. It was hard for his parents to talk with Jessica, much less her parents after that fiasco.
His mother wanted nothing to do with her and completely forbid having her on the farm much less having him date her again.
Lily had even told him that if she even saw her on the farm that she would continue where she left off that day.
It also put an end to the get together because his parents were too embarrassed by what had happened to continue it.
Ever since they broke up, his mom tried her best to set him up with someone and even though he did date from time to time, it was just to be able to get out. Jeremy wasn’t interested in anyone exclusively and knew that there would be time for finding someone later.
“Mom, I appreciate you helping out but again, please stop.” He grabbed a block of cut cornbread, gave her a kiss on the temple, and walked out of the kitchen.
When he went to sit down at the counter, his mom came from out back. She wiped her hands with her apron looking concerned but sad as she brought him a glass of ice tea. “I’m sorry sweetheart and I will butt out from now on, as far as your love life.”
“Two hundred and fourteen,”
“Do you know what that number means?”
She shook her head.
He smirked and braced himself for her response. “That’s the number of times you’ve said that you will butt out of my love life.” Soon, he felt the smack of her hand towel going upside his head and a groan from his mother, this only made him laugh because he knew that she would never butt out of his life.
amelia had been thinking.
Ever since they left Oak Glen over a week ago, she’d been preoccupied with the idea of going back to her Aunt’s home to stay. She went over the good and the bad of moving back and it seemed the good outweighed the bad.
She knew she needed a change…a BIG change in fact.
“Did you get a call from a Mr. Wilson today?” Mr. Dawson shouted as he came towards her desk in a huff.
“Yes, he did sir. I gave you the message when you walked in from lunch.”
“I never got the message.”
“Yes, you did, when you came in from lunch and you asked me whether there were any messages, I gave you three of them, and one was from a Mr. Wilson.” She knew what he was trying to do, trying to start an argument with her and usually, she would take it but today, she had had enough.
“Listen girl, I looked all over my desk for that so called note you so called said you gave me and I haven’t found it at all.”
Giving him the eye, she stormed out from behind the desk, making her way past Mr. Jones’ office as well as Mr. Steiner’s. She walked into his office, still smelling of cigar smoke, looking around the desk, which was piled high with folders and paperwork, she shuffled papers as they fell on the floor.
“What the hell are you doing?”
She completely ignored him as she pushed aside folder and paper that was within her reach.
“Matt…James? Will you tell this girl to get the hell outta my office? She’s making a mess in here!”
“It was already a mess Stan. What are you looking for anyways Pamelia?” Mr. Jones asked.
“A note that she supposedly gave to me from Wilson while I was at lunch, it was supposed to been a very important call.”
“I think you can stop looking for that note Pamelia,” Mr. Steiner told her, pinching the bridge of his nose and letting out a groan.
“What do you mean I can stop?”
“Yes, James what do you mean?” Mr. Dawson asked, incensed with so much rage that he was literally turning red.
“Turn around Stan.”
Pamelia watched him turn him around.
Mr. Steiner reached down and pulled the sticky note from the seat of Mr. Dawson’s pants, then handed the ‘lost note’ to him. “Is this what you were looking for?”
The color drained from his face and then he looked back at her as his lip curled. “Do you mind straightening my desk back?”
“I will not straighten up something that you messed up in the first place Mr. Dawson,” Pamelia replied, sick of the years of this abuse that he’d constantly plagued her with. She didn’t care about the fact that they all stared at her with mouths agape, today was the last straw.
“What did you say
“I’m not a
Mr. Dawson. From the first time, I started working here, you along with everyone else have been nothing but rude and underhanded towards me and I put up with it. The only one who’s been nice and cordial with me has been Mr. Jones. Why did I put up with it? Well mainly, because I needed this job, but I don’t need the ridicule and hatred brought on by you of all people, Mr. Dawson. At least Mr. Steiner says something nice to me every once in a while. You’ve never said a nice thing to me since day one. Every chance you got, you insulted me. Sure, I could have went and told the press just how much of a bigot you are. But I’m not like that, that’s not how my momma raised me to be. I have a better opportunity to make things better in my life and I can say now for sure that I won’t find it here! You know what Mr. Stan Dawson? I finally realized why you hate me so much. It didn’t take me very long but I kept what I knew to myself that you are nothing more than a racist, a good ole’ boy. Being that I am the only black person in the office, of course, you needed a punching bag. Always waiting to see if I was going to break and I didn’t. I stayed strong for the sake of my job which I did well too. Better than any of these other girls you got working for you!” She made her way past Mr. Dawson, along with Mr. Steiner who stood there in the hallway with Virginia and Elizabeth.
“What are you doing?” Elizabeth asked her as she went into her desk to grab her purse.
“You quit, what the hell do you mean you quit?” Mr. Dawson bellowed with that fat cigar sticking out from the side of his mouth.
“Just what I said, didn’t you hear me when I said it? Hold on, let me say it a little bit louder for you…I QUIT! You can find yourself another lackey who can tolerate your colder than the Artic office and your snide, crappy treatment.”
“Pamelia…” Mr. Jones spoke up, his face showed his concern.
She knew he was sorry about this but what could he have done? He’d already tried talking with the man about his behavior towards her for years and he knew that it’d gotten completely out of hand.
“Where are you going to go?”
She walked up to him, holding his hand for a moment and smiled warmly. “Don’t worry about me Mr. Jones. I’m going to be taking another road toward something better for me.”
“I hope so, but I will say that I’ll miss your face around here.”
That kind of broke her heart a bit, because she always thought of Mr. Jones as a father figure, who always worried about her along with his wife. She gave him a hug as he held her tight. “I promise to give you a call when I get to where I’m going.”
“You better young lady. I know Bernice will be heartbroken if she didn’t hear anything from you. Will you be coming to get your last check or do you want me to have it mailed to you?”
“I’ll call and let you know, I promise.” So, with that, she headed out the door, leaving her past behind and looking toward what would be her future.
When she finally made it home after going to her favorite Chinese restaurant to grab some wonton soup and egg rolls, Pamelia decided to call her sister up.
“Hey girl, have you finished off that fudge yet?” Veronica asked.
She just laughed. “No I’m half way there with the fudge, but I did quit my job.”
“No way, So, you finally left that death trap huh?”
“Yes, I left the death trap.” She rolled her eyes at her sister’s comment. She knew how much her sister hated her working for the law firm, especially when it came to Mr. Dawson.
“Thank God, so when are you going to go to Oak Glen?”
“I don’t know. I’ve been trying to gather up boxes and all plus, I found someone who I know will move my stuff to the house for a reasonable price. I just have to let him know when I want him to do it. I did look through the newspaper back in Oak Glen for jobs.”
“You clever minx, you knew all along that you wanted to go back. Playing it off like you were thinking about it and you knew you were going to go.”
“I didn’t tell you this Veronica, because I thought if I told you, you would think I was crazy or something. But when I got home from Oak Glen, I was just resting, munching on some Laffy Taffy. I swear to God Veronica, while I was sitting here eating, Aunt Marlene was sitting over here on the couch on the opposite side of me. Wearing that black turtleneck and white pants, she always liked to wear. She was smiling at me and told me to stop eating that candy or it would rot my teeth out.” She chuckled. “But she told me that something bigger and better was going to happen to me, once I move back to her home. I swear it was like she was right there in front of me in the flesh and then after that, she disappeared.”
Silence echoed from her sister’s end for a moment but then in her own sisterly way she said, “You’ve had way too much Laffy Taffy.”
“I’m serious Veronica. I’m for real on this. You know I wouldn’t lie to you and especially, something this eerie. I didn’t even get any sleep after that. But Mr. Dawson got to me today and I just about had it. Ever since I got back, he was on my ass left and right for every little thing, like he was punishing me for leaving that day. Then today, he had the nerve to call me
because his fat ass ended up sitting on the note I gave him that he said I never gave him in the first place.”
“The bastard, I’m just glad you left when you did. Just let me know when you want me to come, so that way we can help with you packing your stuff. Did Mr. Matthews ever get the yard straightened out?”
“Yes, he did. He got the guy and a friend of his to come mow the yard, trim the trees and bushes. From what he told me, everything looks real nice.”
“Well, that’s good, maybe we can go by and just do some light cleaning you know, open up the windows, do some dusting, wiping the place down a bit to freshen it up.”
“You just want to get some more of that fudge don’t ‘cha?”
“Chris found my secret stash and ate up my fudge, including his. So yeah, I told him I hoped he got sick, which…he did.”
They both ended up laughing. Pamelia knew that Chris was just as much into sweets as they were.
“When do you want to go?” veronica asked.
“How about Friday, I can get some cleaning supplies and we can go up that way.”
“Sounds like a plan sis, we can leave in the morning, and I’ll come and pick you up.”
“Great and that give me time to call around some more to people as well as find some boxes and tape. Check you later sis, love ya.” Once she hung up, Pamelia felt calm and relaxed as if a huge weight was finally lifted from her body and her mind.
Maybe this was the direction she needed to go.
~* * * *~
For the next month, Pamelia embarked on what she felt would be a ‘change for a new life’. Her sister helped with cleaning up the house, which was extremely dusty. She decided to get the hardwood floors waxed which brought about a new look to the house. Even though at first, she wasn’t going to change a thing in the house, she decided that since this was her home now, that she would paint the rooms. When she was living in her apartment, she wasn’t allowed to paint the walls and if she did, she’d have to pay for someone to repaint them back to their original color. Now, she had the freedom to do what she wanted, so she painted them with beautiful calming pale colors of green, blue, pink and lavender for her room.
Then she realized once she got the walls painted that she needed new furniture. She ended up getting a new living room and then a dining room set as well as a new bedroom set with a beautiful dark mahogany sleigh bed that she got from an antique store in town. She even went and got two rocking chairs for outside on the porch, along with a wooden table and benches for the back yard. One of the guys who’d worked on her yard also made things with wood from chairs, tables, even beds and when she saw one of his tables, she had to get them to make everything complete for her new home.
Once her clothes were brought over, along with her stuff for the kitchen, Pamelia had the men go with Veronica to the storage unit and when they came back, they brought in two taped up boxes and sat them down in the living room. It wasn’t until after they were paid and they were gone when Pamelia and Veronica opened up the boxes.
“Oh, my God,” Pamelia gasped as she took out Aunt Marlene’s patchwork quilt.
It looked just the same as it did the last time she saw it. She put it up to her nose, inhaling the faint scent of her Aunt’s rose petal perfume that she wore every day. Pamelia felt herself tearing up when she put it down beside her on the couch and continued exploring the box. She found some of the figurines that she would have around her house, the ones that she always would ask her about.
“Where are you going to put them?” Chris asked.
“I’ll put some of them around the living room here,” Then she grabbed the one that meant the most to her, a beautiful figurine of a black ballerina doing a pirouette. Her arms outstretched high above her head, a lovely smile spread sweetly along her face. “This one here will go on my dresser.” She got up, walked to her bedroom and put it down in the middle of her dresser, right in front of her mirror.
When she walked back into the living room, Pamelia watched as Chris pulled a very familiar big brown leather bound book from the box.
“Will you look at that,” Veronica took the book from Chris’ hands. “It’s the family bible.”
“I thought this was long gone.”
“Family bible,” Chris was clueless to what they were talking about.
Pamelia smiled and said, “In our family, we would record the family births, deaths and marriages in this bible.”
The two sisters sat down on the couch as Veronica opened the pages, which were slowly going brown along the edges and the pages showed the dates and names. But they were still there, all their family members, starting with their third times great grandparents Ethel and Marion. “Here they are, Ethel and Marion.” They turned the next page as she was looking for her name and found it along with Veronica. “Look, there we are and there’s yours and Chris’ marriage recorded right here. There’s dad and mom, their marriage and the day they both died.” Then as she went down further along the page, she saw Aunt Marlene’s name. “Do you have a pen?” Pamelia asked her sister.
“I think so, let me check my purse.” Veronica got up to go into the kitchen.
“What are you going to do?” Chris asked.