Daddy came home around six from working. T.R. and Jordan came over to Daddy when he stepped inside the apartment. They hugged and kissed him. Even Potato was barking her greeting at him. As Daddy hugged me, he noticed the look on my face and read my mind. He turned his head to Jordan and shook it.
“It’s always like me, Jordan.” He told him. “I too can’t keep a secret.
After supper, Daddy called us kids to the den for a family meeting. We sat down on the sofa as Daddy tried to roll the words from under his tongue. T.R. looked at Daddy as she thought about where we were going on such short notice. Daddy found the words that he was searching for.
Daddy began, “Children, as you know, we haven’t been spending time with each other since your mother left. And I have been working extra hard to support you three. I have thought things over and come to a decision about what I should do for us to spend time with each other.”
My daddy was flushed red from the heatwave. Most Caucasians like him are often flushed when they are caught in a heatwave.
“You know our Cousin Ray in Orageburg?” Daddy asked us.
I knew Cousin Ray a lot. Jordan and T.R. only knew him in the pictures and stories Daddy often shared with them.
“I called Ray,” Daddy continued, “and I made an arrangement for us to spend a month in Orageburg with him. We don’t have much time. I want you three to pack your suitcases and get a goodnight’s sleep; we’ll be leaving tomorrow morning at 6 AM.”
The three of us were shocked to the core. Tomorrow morning at 6 AM. I looked at T.R. and Jordan and knew that the news had hit them as well. My brother and sister were happy about the vacation. “We get to spend a month with Ray instead of a month of summer school.’ Jordan cheered. Jordan and T.R. rushed to their rooms to pack.
We went to bed early at 8PM and woke up at 3 AM in the morning. My daddy, Jordan, T.R. and me were getting ready for our trip to South Carolina. After breakfast, Jordan and I washed and dried the dishes as T.R. helped out placing the dishes in the top cabinet. Jordan was whistling a song as he was drying a cup on his shirt.
We left home our apartment at 6 AM. T.R. locked the door as I helped Daddy with the luggage. It was dark with a hint of the sunlight in the sky when we got outside. When we got to the car, Daddy unlock the trunk and placed the luggage into the back. After Daddy closed the trunk, we hopped into the car and drove off.
Daddy drove from New York State onto the highway. During the ride, I turned on my iPod to pass time. In the middle of my song, Jordan called my name to ask me a question.
“What are you listening to, Sissy?” he asked.
“It’s just an old school song that I’ve downloaded to my iPod.” I told him.
“Can I listen to it.”
I took one of my earphones out of my ear and inserted into my brother’s. My brother was swaying to the music playing. T.R. wanted to listen, too, so I gave her my earphone. As T.R. listened, she replied, ‘I didn’t know that you liked Jazz.”
“Now you know,” I told her.
My daddy drove on into the night as my brother and sister slept with my dog Potato next to them. As I watched them sleep, I thought about Cousin Ray and how he will react after seeing me as a sixteen year old girl. When Cousin Ray met me, I had my hair tied in pigtails and ribbons. Now that I was older, I wonder if my cousin would still remember me after nine years. I fell asleep, dreaming about meeting my cousin.
I woke up the next morning to find Daddy entering into a neighborhood. The neighborhood was getting ready for a new day. My brother, sister and Potato were starting to wake up. Potato was helping them by licking their faces. Daddy arrived at a whitewashed house and drove up into the driveway. At the front door of the house, I saw a Caucasian man with a Hispanic woman by his side. The man was in a Face-it t-shirt and faded blue jeans. He had clean-cut hair and wore glasses. I smiled when I saw him.
As Daddy parked the car, I unfastened my seat belt and opened the car door. I cried as I ran to the man. I got to him and threw my arms around him. The man put his arms around me as well.
‘Hi, Ray,” I whispered.
“Hello, my honey,” Ray answered back.
To be continued/Stayed Tuned!