I had just placed my foot on the first weathered step leading up to the front porch of my mother’s house, when an amused voice asked, “What is my firstborn doing coming over here so early in the morning? Must be something on your mind.”
Because of the shrubbery and the plethora of tropical plants she had wrapped around the veranda, I couldn’t see her sitting in her favorite lime green lounger that gave her the perfect view of the street, the neighbors’ houses, and her property, all while she went undetected. Just how she liked it.
“You must have wanted something when you called last evening,” I told her when I kissed her soft upturned cheek. “I’m just seeing what that was.”
I backed away quickly to avoid her unwavering scrutiny, though I knew that was impossible. She was my mother after all. I looked into her smooth and ageless face as she looked back into mine. She twisted her lips while inspecting me for the lie.
When she found it, she pointed out, “You, mon fils, have never not called me back within an hour of me calling you, so I know what, or whomever, had you tied up is special. Sit down and tell me about her.”
Trying to avoid this conversation was futile. She already knew about her, the beautiful client I had the pleasure of being with for one day and one long night.
“Her name is Zena.”
“Beautiful name,” She said and waited patiently.
“She’s a beautiful woman.”
“Baby boy, I know that already. You’ve never been this way for anyone else. I know her beauty lies on the inside the most.”
Zena’s throaty laughter from yesterday teased my memory. Her choked cry from her orgasm this morning had me shifting in the chair I now sat in across from my mother.
I could see her holding onto her smile as if she could read my lurid thoughts. “So, what’s got you torn up? You should be with her now instead of here on my porch looking like someone stole something from you.”
I remained silent. She had stolen herself from me and it was too soon for me to be upset at her for it. In fact, I would have done the same thing — shit — had done it many times before.
“Ahhh. She did steal something.”
Ready to defend Zena, the woman that left me looking like a fool, I denied that. “No. She stole nothing. I don’t think she has that in her.”
My mother just smiled. “I meant your heart. She stole your heart.”
I had been prepared for her astuteness, which is why I wondered why I came here in the first place. I could have called and then she wouldn’t have been so spot-on. Not ready to admit the truth yet, even though we both knew it, I deflected.
“I just met her.”
The reality of that statement shook me. Now I was up out of my seat and pacing. Damn, what was wrong with me. This made no sense. Did this woman put roots on me?
My mother just watched me calmly and took a sip of her glass of ice-cold water.
“You are my devil-may-care child. The one that takes the risks, plays your hand, but it always works out for you. What makes this one any different?”
“Not sure,” I lied. The truth was, I cared about this one. For one night, I felt loved and I wanted that again. Out of all the women I’ve lain with, the one that dug deep was a woman from Pittsburgh, of all places.
“I think you know why and the only way you can deal with that, is going after her.”
“And? You run a national transportation company. You have cars everywhere. You can get to her.”
I ran my hands through my hair. I was thinking the same thing this morning, but I talked myself out of it because it seemed crazy.
“And before you look for a reason to not go, just know that Amédé has been asking for the opportunity to step up. Now may be the time to allow him to run things for a few days.”
I finally looked into her wise green eyes. “Okay, I’ll think on it.”
“I think he’s ready,” she said.
“I think you’re ready too.”
I knew her words had nothing to do with the business. It was about my heart.