Mike is enjoying his after birthday messages when the power goes out. His neighbor from the unit behind, taps on his back door.
“You lost power too? How about the ladies?”
“They’re fine. Anyone else in the complex without power?”
“I dunno, you’re the first one I’ve asked. Did you call it in?”
“Yeah. They’ll get on it. . . .”
“As long as the freezer doesn’t thaw, we’re good.”
“Hell, if it’s off too long, put it all on the back porch and it’ll keep. Lock it in the cabinet so the animals don’t get at it, and it’ll be fine.”
“Not a bad idea. See you later, bro. I’m going to bed.”
It sounded like a good idea to me too. I kind of wished that Simone was there, but I knew I was gonna have to ride this one out by myself. Me and my pal Dick were gonna be lonely. I pulled my battery operated socks out of the drawer and fired them up. My electric blanket is useless at this point, of course, but I had extra quilts in case I got cold. I snuggled up with a hot water bottle and fell asleep. The lights coming on woke me up about midnight. The weather outside was less windy, but the snow was still coming down. I made another cup of hot tea and drank it in front of the TV. Not like there was much on, but I was thrilled there was something to do. I checked my Facebook page and my picture had been posted on a couple dozen websites by then. One of them said, “Who is this man and where does he live? Cause he’s smokin’ hot and sexy!”
I had to reply to that one. “Thanks, baby. I’m nowhere and everywhere. Love ya, Big Mike.”
All it would take was one smart assed friend of mine to cough up my location. However, since most of these women did not live locally, I figured I was okay. I had over 600 more new friend requests, so I spent a little while accepting those before crawling back in bed.
My alarm went off at the normal time, but I could see just from looking out the window, that there was no school today. The snow was piled up to my windowsills and heaped over the porches. It had stopped snowing, so I got my blower and went to work on the sidewalks and driveways of the folks in the complex. After that, I checked on Molly and Jesse. They were fine, their power had stayed on all night.
“Maybe I should give Chester a call and have them postpone their trip,” I said to Molly.
“The weather service assures us that the snow will be clear by Friday.”
“That’s cutting it fine. I’m a little worried.”
“If it gets that bad, they’ll close the roads and stop traffic coming in. You don’t need to worry about them getting stuck outside town.”
“No, Molly, I’m worried about them getting stuck here! I can handle Ma in small doses, like over the phone and all, but I’m not prepared to have her living here—maybe stuck at my place! That I could not handle well.”
“I never heard a grown man so terrified of his own mama before,” Jesse contributed after my last cowardly display. “How can one woman strike such fear?”
“You haven’t met her, you don’t know. She is indescribable. I love Ma, really I do, but she has this way of getting under my skin, sniffing out anything I did wrong the last 100 years or so of my life. She can work the guilt so I’m wishing I’d become a priest, or maybe a rabbi. Or that I was Saint Michael instead of who I am. I am never the perfect son. I can’t be. As I am, I’m a constant source of disappointment to my mother. Live with that twenty-seven years and see how it makes you feel.”
“And your baby brother is the golden child who can do no wrong?” This from Jesse.
“Yeah.” I nodded, shuddering slightly. She patted my hand, looking solemn.
“I’m so sorry, sweetie. Some folks just ought not have babies.”
“Now my dad. . . .” I got a warm feeling talking about him. “He was great. When he was alive, I felt like I never did a thing wrong. I could fly if he told me I could. Ma never took him seriously. He was a good man, hard working, creative. He had all kinds of crazy inventions he did in his spare time. We worked together on a few products that would set the world on its ear. But he died before he got any of them patented.”
“How old were you when he passed?”
“I was twelve. He didn’t even make it to my bar mitzvah. He died a few months before my big day.”
“Oh, honey.” Both women spoke in chorus, hugging me.
After a group hug, I made my excuses and left. A less chilling wind blew across the wide open spaces. I could tell a warming trend was coming. Already I could see places where the snow melted. By evening, it would probably be almost gone. At least the roads would be clear enough to take a bus down. I figured I’d be working tomorrow for sure.
© Dellani Oakes 2014