Resurrection 35Posted: November 20, 2016
This is a chapter of the book I am writing for NaNoWriMo. If you want to read it from the start, click here for the chapter index.
When Ricky’s F-250 rolled up to the “mobile mansion” at 8:20pm he could see his mom’s beat up Camry parked outside.
He got out and lit a cigarette before climbing the steps to the door. As he entered Kat greeted him.
“Hey, Honey, your mom’s here,” she said, kissing him on the cheek.
“Yeah, I see that,” he replied in a voice low enough only she could hear.
“Hi mom, why are you here?” he said, walking the hall from the back door entrance to the living room.
Romona had heard Ricky seemed to be living large, or at least larger than he had been. New truck. New woman. Spending money. Romona, like Kat, had a nose for these kinds of things.
Romona stood and hugged Ricky. He stiffened and stood there unresponsive.
“Oh, Ricky, you don’t know how much I’ve missed you.”
She released him and could see he wasn’t moved.
“What do you need, mom?” Ricky had learned he never saw his mother unless she wanted something. He had been able to avoid her for months. He took a drag from his cigarette.
“Now that’s not polite,” rebuked Kat. “I’ve just met your mom and we’ve been having a nice talk. Let’s all sit down.”
At her direction the trio took seats on Ricky’s new furniture. Ricky was stone faced, sitting on the recliner facing the couch. Kat and Romona sat on either end.
Kat took the lead.
“Ricky, Ro’s been telling me she wants to fix things between y’all. You need to listen to what she’s saying.”
“Hmph,” said Ricky, going into the kitchen to get a beer.
“Ricky, I’m your mother and you’ll always be my son,” began Romona to his back, “I love you and just want to make things right.”
Ricky cracked the Keystone Light open and dropped back into the chair.
“How do you spose ya gonna do that?” replied Ricky.
“Honey, I don’t know, truly. My life has always been a mess ever since aunt Becky and I moved to Newport. I never really told you much ’bout that. But times was bad. I guess I never were much of a mother to ya, but I tried.” Romona’s eyes were tearing a bit. She could cry on command when she wanted to, all she needed to do was remember to feel sorry for herself.
“‘erybody has it tough. Ain’t nothin’ new.” reminded Ricky.
“Now Ricky, let her speak her peace.” Kat said. “Go ahead, Ro.”
Kat had empathy for Romona. This could be her in a few years if Ricky didn’t make the score he planned.
“I knows yous probably hate me. I knows I weren’t much good at motherin’. I were young, Ricky. I never had no real schoolin’. I did the best I could, and you growed up fine. I just didn’t never know what to do, how to raise you.
“Things were hard when you’s born. I almost died havin’ ya. I ain’t never tol’ you the worst part….”
“Yeah, I know you almost died, hell, you tol’ me that all my life,” said Ricky. “They had to give ya one of them emergency c-sections. Hell, you tol’ me I’m the reason you got that scar on your belly. All my life since I’s little you ‘minded me it was all my fault.”
“Ricky, that weren’t the worse part. You know your Aunt Becky used to be a dancer,” Romona was trying to back into the story.
“Yeah, hell, half the county knows that.” Ricky still can remember his aunt coming home from Newport for visits when he was a child. She would talk about how much money she made that weekend, the men she got it from. Ricky remembered because sometimes he would take money out of her purse so his mom could buy some food. He’d tell Romona he “found” it. After the first time Romona knew where he kept “finding” money, but she took it anyway. She’d reward him with some candy or a Matchbox car.
“Beck and I, we lived together from the time I’s 14. The rich man who owned the club got us a nice ‘partment and we lived there, just the two of us. You know I is sceered a lot. It were worser then.
“He were a nice man an’ I’s just a kid. He’d take me to movies and such. Bought me pretty dresses. Always made sure aunt Becky and me had food. He was a nice man.”
Ricky started to say “yeah, a nice man who was Becky’s pimp” then thought better of it.
“Anyways, we gots close. Real close. He teached me things. You know I weren’t in school or nothin’. We fell in love.”
“Fuck, Mom, are you here to tell me my dad was a pimp?” This time Ricky didn’t hold his tongue. “I coulda gone to my grave not knowin’ that. Why the fuck you gotta tell me that? Fuck.”
Ricky drained the last of his beer and threw the can against the wall. Then he jumped up and got another one from the kitchen. He opened it and drained a third of it, his back to Kat and Romona.
Kat was scared. She’d never seen Ricky like this. And he was drinking. She had experienced what happens when a man is drinking and loses control.
“Honey,” she said in a sweet tone, “let’s let your momma finish.” She stood up and walked over to the recliner, patting the seat. “Come back and sit down.”
Ricky returned to the recliner without saying a word or looking at either woman. He slouched into the chairm, looking at the stained tan carpet. Kat sat on the arm of the chair, rubbing Ricky’s back.
“Go ahead, Ro.” Kat encouraged, hoping that was the worst of the revelations.
“Fuck,” muttered Ricky under his breath. Kat took off his hat and kissed his head.
Romona’s tears were running full force now.
“He were a good man. He were. He loved me too. He weren’t no pimp, he owned lots a companies. That weren’t the part that’s so bad, Ricky. The bad part…see, I messed up and gots myself pregnant.
“I ain’t tell nobody for a long time. Then I started gettin’ a belly and he noticed. He’s a smart man, Ricky, he’s real smart. He said I needed to get it took care of. Said he’d e’en pay.
“But Ricky you was my lil treasure, even ‘for you was born. I couldn’t do it. You knows I always loved you. You were always my sweet baby boy. I ain’t got no regrets over havin’ you.
“But that man I were talkin’ ’bout. He were married. He loved me, but we wasn’t gonna be able to get married, raise a family. That’s when I came back here and moved in with Mamaw Eddy.”
Edith Farmer was Romona’s father’s mother. Ricky’s great-grandmother.
“Is that all you needed to tell me, ’cause you can leave…” Ricky was ready for her to go.
Romona interrupted him.
“You ain’t heard the worse of it. It’s ’bout why they had to cut you outta me.
“I gots big, real big. I went to the doc and he tol’ me I’s havin’ twins. Made me go to the bed. I’s just 16 and no place of my own, no money. I lay there at Mamaw Eddy’s thinkin’. All the time thinkin’. She ain’t have no TV back then.”
In the mountains of Eastern Kentucky in the 70’s there was no cable or satellite television. Most of the homes didn’t even own a televsion.
“I was thinkin’ all the time. Thinkin’ about you, about givin’ you a life. But I didn’t got no money, no job. I’s thinkin’ the best thing for yous was to give you to a good family. Let them raise you and your brother. That way you can has a good life. I was thinkin’ maybe I could visit you sometimes in your nice house with a nice family.
“One night I’s in bed and I feel somethin’ wet on my legs. I reached down and it were blood. I thought I lost you. Papaw Bart took me to the hospital. I was scared, real scared. They said you were ready to come, but they had to do it by cuttin’ you out. They said ’cause I were havin’ two babies, they had to be cut outta me.
“After the surgery, then brought you and your brother to me, laid you both on me and I nursed you both.”
“Fuck, Mom, I have a brother? Why ain’t you never told me?”
“Ricky, you gots to understand how scared I were. Once I saw you, I didn’t want to give you or your brother up for adoption. You was mine. And I loved you. I spent a week in the hospital. I got to hold you and your brother. I loved you both so much.
“Mamaw Eddy and Pawpaw Bart weren’t too happy. I tol’ then I was going to give you and your brother up for some nice family. When I tol’ them I was gonna keep you and your brother, Pawpaw said he ain’t gonna have two bastard babies keepin’ him up all night. Mamaw tried to get me to give you both up too.
“They had a woman come and talk to me. Try to make me give you both up. I said no. I was keepin’ my babies. Mamaw and Papaw was mad at me. Finally Papaw said I could keep one.
“I shouldn’t a did it. I shoulda said no. But I let them take your brother. I ain’t want to, but they was so mad…I is so sorry, Ricky, I is so sorry…you prolly hate me now, well ain’t nobody hate me more ‘n I hate myself…” Romona dropped her head into her hands and cried.
Ricky didn’t say anything. He just kept looking at the floor, stunned.