All at once, a haze of light, a throbbing pain, and confusion swirled in her head. The feeling of hot bile churned in her stomach attempting to erupt like a volcano. “Oh my head. Crap, why is it so bright in here,” words were difficult at this time in the morning. “Left those damn things open.” Rays of sunshine beamed through an unmasked window antagonizing the after-effects of one too many Vodka Red Bulls. Through the haze, came a sound. Something familiar that her liquor induced mind could not quite process. Shine bright…..Shine bright….beautiful like diamonds in the sky. If anything could wake her from the dead, it would be the sound of her iPhone’s ring tone blasting a Rihanna track. Slowly the haze gave way and reality started to set in. Yeah, reality, with an entire host of upchuck attempting to trespass its threshold.
She slowly placed one palm against the bed, slightly lifting her head. She turned her face towards the direction of the vibrating melody attempting not to shift her body out of fear of eruption. One slight movement could turn the entire contents of last night into projectile, molten, wet and slimy vomit. “Oh man, I think I might have over did it just a little,” she whispered to herself. Her Red Leather Gucci Soho bag was laying by her waist, which thankfully made it easy to reach in and pull out her life line. Without even looking to see who was calling, she clumsily swiped the screen and answered, “Hello.”
“You need to come get Josh,” the voice over the phone said, rather emphatically. “You need to come get Josh, he’s gonna be late for school again.”
“Ma,” she replied. “Can’t you just drop him for me? I had a late night at work.”
“You know what, I am tired of always taking care of your crap. You’re always having late nights and plus my car is in the shop. I gotta take the bus today. So you need to get your no good hide out the bed and take this boy to school. He’s about to be late so hurry it up.”
“Ok Ma,” she muttered.
“Sylvia,” her mother said and paused. “Sylvia,” she said again and paused, her silence demanded acknowledgment. She only called her Sylvia when she was really upset. In every other mood, Sylvie was the name of choice. Sylvia still could not help but feel as if she was alway upset at her; always disappointed.
“Yes,” Sylvia answered with a sigh, knowing that tone in her mom’s voice all too well. Knowing some smart jab to the face was on its way.
“Please don’t come over here dressed like a whore; god knows Joshua don’t need to see you like that, or whatever state you’re in,” and with that the phone went blank.
Mom always knew how to push her to the edge of loosing it. And even though Sylvia expected it, she’d always hoped it wouldn’t come. The comments which were more than just words. She’d almost hoped that some supernatural maternal instinct would kick in and suddenly transform her loveless mother into just an inch better than what she was. But no, 31 years has been long enough for miracles. “Who the hell is she to judge anyways,” toxic thoughts roamed through her head. I so hate her sometimes. Always acting like she knows me. The least she could do is make up for all the crap she put me through as a kid. Whatever, I don’t need her handouts. Sylvia’s anger brought back memories of a life long ago.
Sylvia was mom’s mistake. She had Sylvia in her teenage years. Her high school sweet heart and Sylvia’s dad got mom pregnant on prom night. When he found out she was pregnant, the phone calls stopped, mom’s sweetheart turned sour and he ran off to college never looking back. Mom would always warn Sylvia about men who make huge promises. Sylvia always figured that her dad was the very reason for this. Maybe he was a big dreamer or maybe he knew mom was materialistic and used it to get into bed with her. “Don’t you ever let a man get between your legs with promises of a big house in the Hamptons. You better work hard and make your own way,” Mom would say. Back then, a gold necklace would have had Mom melting. A man could have bought her soul with diamond earrings. Imagine how bitter she became when the gold turned out to be gold plated and the diamond was a cubic zirconia. The last they heard of the dead beat, he was a car sales man in some undisclosed part of the country. He had a great job as an accountant, but then he got caught embezzling money. “Don’t bite the hand of the one who feeds you,” Mom would say. Another quote from her library of wise words to live by. Some of the stuff she would come up with seemed to have been birthed from the pain and bitterness of years gone by. “Never trust a man who blinks with one eye.” Really, who comes up with this stuff. The wise words of mom, Sylvia was sure, came from some backwater superstition of her childhood in Colombia, add a dash of the Holy Catholic church and voila. How did Bernie, Mom’s husband, put up with her all these years. He must have been some saint of a patient man or just simply as crazy as Mom. Well whatever he was, he was patient or crazy enough to marry her in the middle of all her ridiculousness.
Either way, Sylvia was a mistake and a failure and Mom saw her in no greater light. She was hard on Sylvia. Maybe Sylvia was an embodiment of Mom’s younger self; an embodiment of her shattered dreams. Maybe Sylvia’s life was a mirrored image of Mom’s dreams and the vanity of it all; doey-eyed, naive, and desirous of sparkling things. Maybe if Sylvia had fallen for the big house on the hill top, Mom would have thought different of her. All it took were few snorts of coke, vodka, and a date rape drug and she was pregnant; mirroring Mom’s own teenage pregnancy with Sylvia. The combination had her so doped up, the doctors had to juice her a few times with those electric paddles to bring her back. At least those guys felt bad enough to call the Paramedics once they saw her nose bleeding. And it was under these circumstances Josh came to be. Joshua Bradley, the miracle boy was conceived under a little less than ordinary circumstances. You could not make this stuff up if you tried. The fact that he survived pregnancy with Sylvia is a miracle all in itself.
She pushed against the soft sheets and left the phone where it laid. She slowly lifted her groggy and sopping body leaving a palm and body print in the memory foam. Her legs were not fully functional but she was able to somewhat stand. “Here we go,” she said to herself, finally coming to terms with what she had to do. One step after the next finally got her to the restroom of her small one bedroom apartment. She slumped face first over the toilet and allowed the juices to flow. The porcelain had become her salvation from the tormentuous demon in her stomach. Once she felt as though she had sufficiently relieved herself, Sylvia made it over to the kitchen and took the opportunity to make some coffee. “This is definitely a black coffee morning. I need to get going.” Her strength slowly returned as the sick feeling drained away. Her legs still quivered, from more than just side effects, but dancing five hours with small breaks here and there. After the third hour, her legs really hated her. At the end of the night, she could barely push the gas pedal without her legs shaking uncontrollably. “I’m really getting too old for this,” she said to herself hoping her legs would work after only a few hours of sleep.
Sylvia made her way back to the bedroom and caught a glimpse of herself in a full body mirror, which was leaning adjacent to her closet. “Ow, I’m already starting to bruise,” she said out loud scrunching her nose at the reddening palm print on her derriere. She ran her fingers through her tangled dark brown hair. The curls, which took her the better part of an hour to style, were all but gone leaving a tangled mess in the wake. Sylvia’s hair was thick and reached down to her breasts. As she got ready for a shower, she could feel the huge hand sized welt on her left butt cheek beginning to get sore. “That jerk,” she said under her breath. “Had to make him pay for it.” He knew the rules. Many of them did: no slapping or groping or sticking or licking or biting or anything freaky unless your dancer agrees to it; and he chose not to obey them. Sylvia was doing that grinding thing she does, which usually drives them wild, but Gerald got a bit too excited and landed a hot one on her backside. “Now, Gerald,” Sylvia was sure that was not his real name, but he said she should call him that. And who would give themselves a fake name like Gerald. Considering the circumstances a hot 5 feet 4 inches latina grinding her 41 inch butt on his minuscule rod, he should have been prompted to choose a much sexier name. Sebastian would have been a far better choice, Sylvia thought. But all the man could come up with was Gerry. I guess I can understand why he felt the need to slap me like that, she thought. He lacks originality and his prude of a wife probably doesn’t allow for such behaviors. “You know you shouldn’t have done that. If you want me to continue, you’re going to have to show me that you’re very sorry. Gerald say you’re sorry,” Sylvia had said holding out her hand expectantly. Gerry laughed and showered her with twenty dollar bills. Then Sylvia turned and poked her butt at him, “Gerry, say you’re sorry.” She reproved him with sass, turning an otherwise bad situation to her advantage. Sylvia was always good at that. Actually, Sylvia was quite exceptional, and as a result, turned bad situations into money opportunities. She looked over at the large Gucci bag laying on the bed to see the cash had already spilled out. There had to be at least two grand in there, she thought. The glee filled her chest, which made the rotten feeling in her stomach worth it. “Thank you Gerald,” she said unable to stifle a broad grin.
The others girls said that he was a Mayor or something, which wasn’t strange. The only people who came to these parties were men and women of high esteem. Those who were far too popular, who had to maintain an appearance of virtue in the public eye, secretly enjoyed all the pleasures Miami had to offer. Of course, it all took place in an environment where they knew their identity would remain unknown. There were even quiet rooms, where these people could go if they had to take a call from someone they didn’t want knowing about the strippers. The traditional strip club would simply not do. Hence, Max Dinaro, the owner of the Royal Playhouse, threw these private parties for his high end clients. Clients, for whom money was no object.
Some twenty minutes later Sylvia pulls up at Mom’s house in a shiny new Mercedes. She beeps the horn, jumps out and leans up against the side of her brand new luxury car. Late but always fashionable. Mom bolts out the front door, attempting to not be surprised, “took you long enough.” She steps past Sylvia and heads for the bus stop.
“Ma,” Sylvia calls after her. “Ma wait!”
Joshua, not far behind, could see Sylvia attempting to catch up to the energetic 5 feet 4 inches, 44 year old woman, Latina spice.
“Ma wait,” she repeated. Finally caught her by the hand, pulled her, and slowed her pace. “I’ll just take you to work.”
“Don’t bother,” Mom was playing hard to get as always when it came to Sylvia.
“Ma, c’mon, please just let me drop you to work. You don’t need to take the bus. Don’t you have to be at work by eight. You might as well come with me. You’re gonna be late.” Sylvia tugged, still holding fast to Mom’s hand.
Mom stopped. Sylvia could see the disappointment in her eyes, the fact that the car looked brand new and was expensive disgusted her. “I don’t want to ride in that thing.” She pulled her arm quickly, freeing herself, and made her way across the street. This time Sylvia did not pursue her.
Standing at the side of the street Sylvia pleaded, not caring what any passerby might have thought, “why can’t you just be happy for me, just this once?” A lump developed in her throat, making it difficult to get the words out, “Would it hurt you to just, to just…” Her words trailed off, not finding the courage to finish what she started.
“To just what?” Mom replied over the sound of the passing cars and the large city bus lumbering down the street. “To just what Sylvia? What did you have to do to get that car?” Mom started to speak again, but her words were drowned out by the bus grinding to a halt. Sylvia stood on the other side of that two lane street and watched Mom climb into the large city bus.
Josh, on the other hand, seemed very happy to see the car. That thing was a beauty. All black with red leather seats. She had changed the front grille to black which gave the car a mean Night Rider look. It was sitting idle in the driveway purring like a Persian kitten. The car took up a cool, calm, and collected posture, as it sat lazily in Mom’s driveway. Sylvia saw Joshua eying the car. She thought, don’t let’s pretty exterior fool you. Because under that hood was a monster cat waiting to be unleashed and Sylvia was in one of those moods. The car was much like her, pretty and ferocious.
Josh was still standing at the porch admiring the beast from a far when she called to him, “hey Josh let’s go.” The tone in her voice drew his attention away from the car and to her eyes. Her eyes were sunken from lack of sleep and sad as if she had been mourning for days. “Jump in, let’s get to school.” She pulled out of the drive way slowly and started down the street. “Why can’t she just be happy for me. I’ve always wanted this car and now I finally have it and she had to just go and kill the entire experience. I can’t stand her.” Her level of anger was directly proportioned to the weight of lead in her foot. “I can’t wait to just get out of here. I hate this place, this city,” speed steadily increased.
“Sylvia,” Josh called out loud enough to break her train of thought and to remind her he was still sitting in the back seat. She realized the speed she was going, pressed the brake and quickly slowed the pace of the car. That car moved so effortlessly, it almost seemed out of place to drive it slow. Sylvia quickly looked through all her mirrors and breathed a sigh of relief that no cops had caught sight of her blazing down the busy street.
“You know I am still your mother right,” she commented.
“Yeah, so?” Josh replied.
“Usually, good little boys call their mothers, mom or mommy or something like that.”
“You’d be surprised, good little boys are hard to find,” he had a smirk plastered across his face. Sylvia, through the rear view mirror, realized he was wearing a blue and grey jacket. It was embroidered with a basketball insignia. There was the word Trojan on the top arch, a replica of the Trojan warrior’s helmet in the middle, and the word basketball on the bottom arch. She didn’t know he played basketball and she felt guilty for not knowing such pertinent information. Sylvia obviously had not gone to any of his games, which might have actually been a big deal to him.
“Well you are my good little boy and I think you should call me mom,” she insisted. Though after seeing the basketball jacket, she did not feel deserving of the title.
“Well Sylvie,” he drawled, “if you get me to school on time then I might consider it,” he looked down at his watch and it was already 7:35. “Oh well, too bad, it’s already 5 minutes too late for that.”
“Ok Mr Smarty Pants, we will continue this another time,” they finally pulled into the school drop of area. “Have a great day today.”
“Yeah,” he slowly opened the door but felt a bit disappointed that no one was there to greet him at the drop off. There was no one to show off his mom’s hot new ride to.
“Baby,” Sylvia said, she paused for a moment and softy said, “I’ll pick you up by four ok?”
“Don’t bother, I’m going to Chad’s after school and I can walk back to grandma from their,” he replied. “Silvie, I’m late, I really have to go.” With that he stepped out of the car and ran into the building. The door closed behind him.
This has been the first chapter of “Do You Think Your Mother Would Like Me?” Read Chapter 2 – Teacher’s Note.
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