Throughout the night, there is no sleep. I am not sleeping. I am up keeping guard over my sanity. I think about Chic and Baylor. I am sure Nicole is two sheets in the wind in her mediocre suite. Hell, Daddy might be downstairs in the lobby on some next level shit. Either way, I know that my team is strategizing and I am strategizing myself. I hear the pen clicking on the metal of the clip board and that is the worst sound ever. It actually bothers me more than the “Doom Room” antics. Disgusting is just an asshole, plain and simple. I am holding my arm up for him to scan my bracelet. He is taking note that I am not sleeping during “lights out”. Whatever, at this point, I don’t give a damn.
I hear the rustling of wheels on linoleum and I know that Vontay is on his way to me. I hate the sound of the wheels, but at least Vontay is pushing the machine. He gets to me and takes my blood pressure. He also takes my temperature. I thank him for earlier and his response is that he got hired to help. It melts my heart. Most people would hate their job given these crazy ass conditions. I ask if I can get some Tylenol, he already has that, some saltine crackers, and the smallest can of ginger ale I have ever seen. This feast is simple or not even thought of as a meal. However, I thought I was sitting at the table with Jesus and Mary Magdelene. I tell Vontay I am in debt to him forever, he brushes me off and I am dead serious. He sits with me for a few minutes. I tell him about my dilemma, he is just shaking his head. He asked what kind of health insurance did I have. I tell him United. “BINGO!!! That is why you are in here. United pays 90% for your stay in a mental facility. They saw your insurance and they had proof that you were taking psyche meds. This sets off everything and this is why you are here. This floor makes more money than the Cancer Ward.” Ain’t this some shit. Mrs. Binion will be on this stat!
Vontay tells me that he always thought he would be a nurse. He thought dressing up as a nurse for Halloween was everything. He got his ass whooped by his mother. He was wearing one of her aprons and had on lipstick and a paper nurse’s hat that he made himself. This makes me sad for him. He tells me that he never knew his father. There were some speculations about who his father was. He thinks it is a guy that lived around the corner from his grandmother’s. He has two other siblings, one sister and one brother. They are only 13 months apart. Momma was really active. He is not close with his brother, but he and his sister are thick as thieves. His siblings have the same daddy. There dad comes around to give his mother money and then he gets something else for being a good father, while they are forced to go outside and play. Even when it’s raining. His mother treats his siblings better than she does him. Not only does their daddy pay, help her “feel better”, but neither of his kids are gay. He speaks about this as if it is a grain of salt and not such a big deal.
He said that he was bullied in high school. His sister would come to his defense, but his brother would watch or walk away like it didn’t have anything to do with him. His sister told him that the minute that they could, the two of them could get an apartment and move away from this mess. Vontay is actually from Riverview. It is right on the out skirts of Tampa. He and his sister really did get an apartment when Vontay graduated high school. He worked a job at the port helping the cruise ships load luggage on board. He was 19 and his sister Veronica was 16. Once he had first and last months rent saved, he told Veronica to pack her things. Vontay said his mother was sitting on the couch, smoking a cigarette as they were loading their things into the car that Veronica had borrowed from one of her friends. He said his mother didn’t blink or ask what they were up to. His brother Various, yes I said his brother’s name is Various, comes out of the kitchen and wants to know what they are doing. Veronica tells him that they have gotten an apartment and they are moving out. Various with his hating ass says, “Momma, you hear this shit? They moving, talking bout they got a “partment” somewhere” Vanessa’s response…. “That just means more room for us baby” Still smoking her cigarette, still drinking her wine cooler, and still has her eyes glued to the TV.
Vontay tells me that he enrolled in the University of Tampa and majored in nursing. He met his now, long time boyfriend Shawn there. Once he got his degree he did some residence work and now he is here. He goes to school during the day time because he wants to become a RN. I tell him that I think he is tenacious and strong. I ask him about Veronica. He tells me that she is now in her second year at the University of Tampa. She is a business major. I tell him that so far, all I hear is success. He produces a proud smile.
As for his mother and brother, they don’t speak to them anymore. For the most part, they don’t have contact with any of his family. He says that Veronica is still in contact with her father and one of her aunts. She thinks her dad feeds information about them to her mother. Vontay said that he was in a Winn Dixie one day just on a whim and he saw his mother standing over the meat case. He tried to go down another aisle but she saw him and followed him down there. After all of the shit that she put him through, this bitch has the nerve to ask him for some money to help pay for the groceries. Vontay said he was so mad that he left his shopping cart right there in the middle of the store and walked out. He didn’t even look back to she her facial expression. I tell him that he isn’t the only person with “Mommy” problems. He stands up to get back to work. I thank him again for looking out for me. He in turns thanks me for listening. He hasn’t even told Shawn half of what he just told me. I tell him in due time, if he wants to. He tells me that he has faith that I am not going to be here long. He prayed about it after we met. How do you top that? If I were to ever come into some money, I will call Sallie Mae myself and pay off all of his student loans. Vontay covered me from day one and I will never forget it.
The only real way for me to keep time in this place is via airplane noise. The hospital is situated right in the middle of the airport’s landing circuit. You can easily hear the planes as they start to land. I know that the earliest flight you can catch out of any small city starts at 5:00 a.m. Last landing is about 1:30 a.m. This is how I am keeping up with the time. There is very little sunlight in the “Doom Room”. The only windows are in the social worker’s coup and the psychiatrist office. I have been sitting with my back against the wall throughout the night. The only other patient that is up is Maria. She is just floating. Nothing new about that. I start to nod off and I am startled by “Ghetto”, yelling it’s time to wake up.
I didn’t sleep last night. I haven’t been able to sleep since Cint has been in the hospital. I am used to her and Baylor piling on top of me during the middle of the night. As much as I complain about them doing that, I would give anything to have them piled on top of me right now. Baylor went to bed with Auntie. Traitor. I am sure the ice cream and cheese puffs was enough to convince him to crash in the room with her. I get up and start to get moving. I have a meeting with an attorney this morning.
“Yes, I need to make a reservation for your hotel. I will be staying one night.” I am listening to the agent click away on her computer. The kids are constantly telling me that I have to start doing stuff online. Online is monitored. No correspondence from Joseph on there. The agent returns to the phone and provides me with a confirmation number on my reservation for the Hilton. Jordan is sleep, but I need her to see that I have already made the hotel arrangements so that I can get out of her way. I am stiff from being in this hospital ER chair all night. I go to get coffee. My phone rings and it is Jacinta…..