May 23, 2012
Name: Evan Anthony Jamison
Career: Interior Design Intern at Bridgeman and Long Architectural Firm in Downtown New Bolden
Several thoughts flew through Evan’s mind at once. Leslie’s smile when he got accepted into school, picking out her prom dress, telling him the news. It had never been his intention to hide this, he was proud of her and what they had done. Everything he was doing now, was to prove that he was ready and worthy to provide for her. He hadn’t done enough it seemed.
Evan realized almost not soon enough that tonight really was an evening to remember and this was merely the finale. He had always meant to tell them sooner but never got the chance. His thoughts were interrupted by Mrs. Jackson’s heaping sobs.
“Janine, please come in…we’ll sort this whole mess out.” Regina came quickly down the steps. As expected his mother would come in and supervise, they would get answers, Mrs. Franklin would explain the non sense. She had to help him understand how he had suddenly lost everything.
“She had decided to come here after all, she even stopped to pick up a present. I felt that Evan should have it.” Janine placed the small box wrapped in gold paper into Evan’s tingling hand. His fingers were numb, his mind blank. A knee – jerk reaction forced his hand from his side as he gripped the small box and held it like the time bomb he assumed it was.
“Tell us what happened to Leslie, Janine,” his father’s voice sounded like a thunder-clap amidst the storm brewing in his head. He half-listened half remembered a text he’d received only a few moments earlier before bedlam erupted in the hallway and chaos reigned in the study. Leslie had mentioned she had a surprise for him, a text message much like the one he’d received five months earlier.
Evan would never get the chance to tell his parents, that they were going to be grandparents, in a way he felt they’d deserved. He found that lately, he never had a chance to tell them anything. His mother who now lived in the far distant reaches of her own mind, was mechanically moving through life either at work, or barricaded in the upstairs bathroom. An occurrence which coincided with him finding her bawling her eyes out in front of the fireplace in the study. He had just left Leslie and had decided that he would tell both of his parents, regardless of the outcome.
The Jamison’s were a proud family, they would band together and help him through the fear and the nerves. It had been a little after midnight. He had just parked his car behind his dad’s black BMW and walked into the house when he heard a soft muttering coming from the family room. The lights had been off except for the warm glow of the firelight and he could hear his mother’s voice. She was talking in hushed tones as if she was speaking with someone but no one was around. Evan tiptoed slowly to the family room, the moonlight casting menacing shadows against the wall which looked mint green against the pale blue of the moon.
“What can I do? What can I do?” his mother muttered to herself and rocked beneath the blush silk bathrobe. She was almost chanting it, in the hushed tones of a crazy woman. She seemed possessed not just with the question, but by whatever caused her to ask it.
“Mom are you alright?” Evan asked abandoning his troubles to take on his mother’s. He’d often wished that night could’ve be different. That he’d shared his burden with her instead of harboring not only his secrets but hers as well. His mother, hair matted to one side of her head, face puffy and waterlogged beneath the cascade of tears that had danced down her cheeks. Her eyes were glazed and her voice sounded as if she’d been chain-smoking acid.
She looked up at him as if he were a stranger and that was how he felt. He’d never seen his mother that way before. Unraveled sobbing to herself, the faint smell of wine lingering on her breath as he leaned closer to hear her murmurings. Muttering nonsensical sounds to no one of any importance. He had gently placed his hand on her cheek and she broke beneath his touch, heaving hard sobs which threatened to break their silence.
They never spoke of that night and Evan never had another chance to share his news. The next day his mother decided to throw him a giant graduation party. Which ended in the study where he, his mother and father and a weeping Mrs. Jackson were now circled together raw and exposed.
“What were you two thinking?” Eric said vehemently.
Evan looked to his mother to aid him, they shared a moment that night. When he dared to hide his sins for the sake of helping her hide her own. Yet, when he looked at his mother all he saw was the broken shell of a woman. She was lost in shock…or grief…..or insanity. He knew now that the woman seated in the arm-chair by the firelight truly was a stranger, even in the sense of this tragedy she sat glazed and dazed with a simpleton’s smile on her face.