We are Going

Morning came in the same way it always did. Sam blinked open his eyes to the prevailing threats. He found his plate of hot French toast, just like his Nana had promised, at his favourite place on the table in the kitchen. His mom watched him eat with a mixed expression, she did not utter a word. Nana busied herself with the non-descript, ready to referee should the need arise. She floated above the fray somehow, her usual cheerful self. Sam couldn’t remember the last time she had ever really been cross with him, as opposed to the icy aura that was sitting in front of him.

Had she bothered to change her clothes? Sam queried in his mind, as he examined her same set of scrubs from the night before, in return for her glares in his direction. She didn’t appear to care much, twisting in her chair and wrapping her tired hands tighter around her coffee cup. She looked like she might fall over asleep. Finally, he put down his fork, hoping something like a crashing plate on the floor, or a house fire would break the excruciating silence. The stare that she had evenly held shifted away to the coffee cup she was holding.

“Doing your homework?” She muttered between gulps.

“Y, yeah, Mama,” Sam responded with a flood of relief, but kept himself from saying more, looking hard for any sign of endearment.

“We are going to see your Dad this weekend,” the statement was blurted out immovably.

“B..B..BUT Mama!,” Sam attempted a protest.

This time the anger that returned was subdued to a lower decibel but it was as unmistakable as the night before, “We are going.” The order rounded off with a slam to the table applied by her clinched fist. She lifted herself with great force from the table disgustedly and slid the chair back into it’s position with a screech and a jolt, leaving immediately.

Sam sat defeated on the threshold of tears again, his Nana turned toward him from her position near the sink and sighed. Sam could sense a hint of disapproval over his protest, but the last place he wanted to go was to that cold, lifeless, concrete prison. Prison, where a thousand souls met their earth bound purgatory. Where it wasn’t so much about the crimes you committed but the societal position you found yourself in prior. Almost as if numbers were called up randomly, and 1 out of 4 black men were eventually going to face their time, still paying for the crime of being black. His dad didn’t deserve to be in there. He didn’t commit the crime. He knew somebody, who knew somebody, who identified him in a line up, and that was it. Life behind bars.

“I don’t w..wa…wanna go, Nana,” he looked down at the puddle of maple syrup in his white corning ware plate, wishing he could slide into it.

“Sure,” Nana folded her arms into lock down position “I do remember you saying that, but my question to you is, what should you do?”

“G..g…go with M…M..Mama, I g..guess,” Sam shifted in his seat, and momentarily pleaded with his eyes to soften his Grandmother’s resolve.

“Visit those imprisoned….” She said it softly turning to finish the dishes.

That was it then.

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