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Friday, June 20, 2008I Never Realized He Was Listening
My brother (yeah that's him in the pic) approached my mother in the kitchen as she prepared dinner. “Ma I need to talk to you about something important but please don’t get mad.” I started to head out of the kitchen but he stopped me. “Mia stay I might need you.”
Mom looked up at Stevie and palmed his cheek with her hand “I can’t promise you I won’t get mad Stevie but if I do get mad I’ll just walk away and we’ll talk about whatever it is when I’m calm s’okay?” He nodded his head. He took a deep breath and then said, “Ma Jai is pregnant. I got her pregnant before we broke up last month.”
Her hand shot out like a martial arts master and grabbed my brother by the front of his t-shirt twisting it managing to get some of his chest hair caught in the clench. She dragged him down to her face, “Are you insane, you’re kidding right? No way in hell would you be dumb enough to get that girl pregnant. No way in hell. Especially with all the talks we’ve had and the fucking endless supply of condoms in the bathroom cabinet. No way.” “Ma…” “Steven William” “Ma you’re pulling out my chest hairs.” “I don’t care; wait until you see what I’m going to do to your balls.” He burst out giggling, “Mommy I’m kidding! I’m kidding! No one is pregnant!” She released him and smoothed his shirt down and pushed him away from her.
She leaned back on the counter and crossed her arms over her chest. "Spill it Stevie what is it you really want to tell me?" He reached down and pushed her curls out of her face. “Ma I want to join the marines after graduation.” My hands shot out in a repeat move of my mother’s. “Are you insane?! There is a war going on Steven. A. War. Iraq, have you heard of it?” I began to shake him, “What about college, what about becoming a fireman?" My mother stepped in and loosened my grip on him “Let him go Mia. You're going to give him shaken Stevie syndrome.”
The three of us headed to the dining room for a long talk with me glaring at him the entire time. He gave us his reasons for wanting to join but all I heard was blah, blah, and blah, and yadda, yadda. He told us his plan on becoming a fireman and college was not abandoned just postponed for a bit. This is just something he felt strongly about and had wanted to do for awhile and could not move onto one stage of his life unless he completed this one. None of his friends were supportive about his decision but he didn’t care because what mattered to him was our opinion. The look on my face said it all. He seemed distressed by my reaction which I guess he totally didn't expect. Mom reached over and patted my hand, "It's time to let go Mia. He's not a baby anymore. We've got to let him grow up." "No we don't." In the back of my mind I still see him as that adorable curly headed toddler that followed me everywhere and would jump on me every chance he got just to shower kisses on me.I reminded my brother that they will shave his head. His half way down his back beautiful hair will be a thing of the past. He shrugged his shoulders.
My brother looked at me and made his famous puppy dog face, "Mia please?" "Just give me some time to get used to the idea Stevie." I tell him. I decide right then and there that wherever my baby bro is stationed I will follow. “Does pa know about this? “ I asked. “Yeah he does," my mother replied “we spoke about this a couple of weeks ago.” My brother was shocked “You knew? He asked. “Yup, since you never asked him not to tell me he told me.” Steven chuckled, “I should have known. So what was that all about in the kitchen?" “You started it. I was just messing with you. I give as good as I get. Can't help myself.”
It took me a couple of days but in the end while still a bit wary I threw my support behind Steven because it’s what he wants and because the little chit keeps throwing my words back at me. Be a leader not a follower... Live your dream don’t let nothing get in your way no matter how hard the struggle. I never realized he was listening. I really need to keep my mouth shut around that kid.
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