All of a sudden it wants to rain. I am driving on the way back to the house and my windshield wipers automatically come on when the rain sensor is alerted. I can’t listen to any music on the radio. The noise. Now I am having to listen to the windshield wipers go back and forth. The noise. I reach into my purse and I pull out my prescription for Xanax. I take the pill, no water or anything to swallow it. I just need to get my nerves under control. The more I think I know what I am doing the more I am scared. I am paranoid. I think that everyone and anything around me knows that I am supposed to be reporting into the mental facility that is located in Brandon. I am clearly driving pass that to head to our home in Riverview to meet Chic. I am at a red light and as the wipers go back and forth, I close my eyes and I pray. I pray until I hear a horn behind me urging me to go because the light has turned green. Tears are rolling down my face and I am scared. I have never been the scared type, so now this is bothering me that I am scared. You get the spiral that I am going through?
I pull into the driveway and thank God that Chico is in the garage waiting for me. I get out of the car and I run to him. He holds me, he is rubbing my head, and I am crying uncontrollably. “Everything is ok, you are safe. I am not going to let anything happen to you. I promise.” This admission consoles me. I truly don’t know and I probably will never know what was really going on with him during this whole situation. As strong as he appeared to be, I am sure that this situation had taken it’s toll on him and he was probably just as bad off as I was. Either way, he was not going to let me see that side of him. It just wasn’t going to happen. He had to be strong for the both of us.
I have never had to depend on someone else being strong for me. My life growing up on the outside seemed like a fairy tale to some. However, those that were in the know, knew that Jordan and I were fucked up. We had the most lovingness grandparents that you could ever ask for. They were our everything and we went to live with them when I was three years old. ON and OFF, until permanently at five, my father gave my grandparents guardianship so that he could continue working. His profession required him to be overseas about 75% out of the year. This included holidays. I give daddy credit. He never missed a birthday. He may have been pulling an “O.J. Simpson” running through the airport, but at least he caught the last 15 minutes of our school performances. We didn’t want for anything. Anything that did not include having him and my mother. My mother was sure to disappoint and because of that we lived in “Never Never Land” mentally with Michael Jackson.
There has never been a time when someone hasn’t come down to my eye level and tell me that I had to be a “Big Girl” and “Take care of my baby sister”. Hell I had no choice, but to be strong. However, I was five when this started. I loved Atlanta for the city that it allowed me to be. It raised me to think positive about my heritage and I was never embarrassed about anything. My grandmother was the strongest woman that I have ever known. I emphasize EVER! If you knew her you would understand. I wanted to be her, I wanted others to think that I was her. So I imitated her starting at the age of three. I sat on the floor of the kitchen with her, while she cooked for our entire family. I watched as that kitchen door would open and close with all kinds of family and close friends coming to my grandmother for everything. She fixed it all. You had a problem. She had a solution. Her “strategy” always seemed to work. She died when I was fifteen. Fought cancer like none other. I will never ever think that she thought that cancer won because she died. I thought that she won, because she wouldn’t allow cancer to keep going. So, with all of this, I am a product of a strong woman. How did I get to the point that I wasn’t strong and had to depend on someone else to be strong for me? She left me to be the next strongest “go- to” right?
Chico is still concerned that all of this is happening too fast. I believe he is ok with the idea of what we are doing. I do not believe that he thinks that I am ready to make this drive from Tampa to Atlanta. It is not a long drive, maybe five to six hours at the most. However, my mental state and being as fragile as I am has him concerned. “Babe, are you sure you have had enough sleep? I mean you have been through a lot and I don’t want us on the road if you can’t make this drive.” All that is he saying is logical. “Chic, if I don’t leave now, then I don’t know what Florida will do to me. I have to leave now. I can’t stay here and watch someone come for me. I am sure social services are on the hunt as to why I haven’t reported to the mental facility. Let’s go before anyone can even guess where the hell I am.” I know that he is trying to make sure that all is good. “Cint, what about your job?” If Coke wants me in Florida, they can go to hell too. It is just that simple. “I tell him that I will contact my HR person and give her an update on my medical concern that they already know about. They don’t know about the “Doom Room”. They only know about the cancer issue. As far as I am concerned, I am still an active employee and asking for my short term disability to kick in. Plus, I need the insurance to cover it.” All is fair in love and war. Right now, I am at war. I have to do what is best for me and for my family. “Let’s go”
I am still scared the entire drive. I don’t let Chico think that I am, but he isn’t stupid. I get a call from Mrs. Nicole Binion…. “What’s shaking?” I am not sure if I should tell her that I have totally bounced out of Florida. “Oh nothing, just driving.” She knows that I am supposed to be at the mental facility, but she wants to know how the Psychiatrist visit went. I tell her everything that has happened. Nicole is far from stupid either. “Cint, where you going? Whats up? It is past 10:00 a.m. I know your ass is supposed to be at the mental facility. If I know you, you are way gone, so spill it”. I tell her that she knows me like the back of her hand. I cry. I tell her how much this shit has been so overwhelming. I tell her that I am scared and in my heart, Atlanta is not where I wanted to go. She knows why I feel the way I do about Atlanta. I would always consider it home, but I never wanted to move back. So to be on our way to Atlanta to hide, was sitting at the pit of my stomach and making me nauseous.
“Look bitch, it is only so much shit that anyone can handle. I get it. However, I hope for your sake this shit has a happier ending for you. Atlanta may have changed sis. It might be for the better. Besides, you got “Lewis” as your rider.” This makes me laugh and I needed that. “Cint, suck that shit up and charge it to the game. It is time for you to start living and stop existing. I need the new address and anything else you need to tell me that you haven’t told anyone. You know, just in case.” I promise that I will call her when we get there. We hang up and as soon as I end the call with Nicole, the phone goes off again and again the screen says “Daddy”. FUCK!
I answer the phone, he goes straight to it like I would expect. I am now on notice when it comes to this man. It is like being under the “Wiz”. “Why haven’t any of you answered any of my calls? Do you think this shit here is a game? Jordan is sick and I can’t have both of yall out of control. What are the people in Florida saying? I already know that you are out.” How in the hell does he know that? Ok, my bad, I am talking about Joseph Jones. He probably has a satellite watching me drive on I-75 right now. Before I start to tell him what was going on, he stops me. “I love you. Are you ok?” With this I am tearing up again, but trying to sound like I have all of this under control. Strong Jacinta is whack. “Daddy, this situation I am in is fucked up. I really don’t want to talk about it now, because I am driving.” He is caught off guard at why I am driving. “Where is Chico? Why are you driving? Where are you going? I hope that you are following up with your real doctor to get started on your next steps with getting this cancer thing straight.” I am not a good liar. He knows this, but takes my next comment and leaves it on the table. “Yes, daddy. I actually just got in the car to get Baylor a double stack from Wendy’s. I plan to go to the doctor tomorrow to follow up. I am not sure how to deal with this Baker Act thing, but Chico has found me a great attorney and we are just going to follow his lead. But for the rest of the day, I just plan to eat and get some rest. I didn’t get to sleep in that place. So if you call and I don’t answer, just know that I am ok. I am probably sleeping.”
I am telling him all of this while I past a sign on the side of the highway that says “Welcome to Georgia, The Peach State”. Won’t he do it!