I can hardly believe everything that's happened to me lately. I barely even know where to start. My mother turns out to not be my mother at all. She's just some psycho who kidnapped me away from my great-grandfather at the store.
The only real relative I have is my great-grandmother. I don't really remember her, but it was weird when I saw her the first time, and heard her voice, the word Mamee came to my mind. I said it out loud before I realized it, and this old lady just started crying and hugging me. You know something, it felt really good. Mom, well I guess I shouldn't call her that now, she never hugged me much.
After days of not knowing what happened to Jessie, I sit here looking at him sleeping peacefully in the bed, the enormous bed, that Mamee says is my room now. She showed me the room that used to be mine before I disappeared from here, but it still had baby furniture in it, so she gave me the room that used to belong to my parents. This bedroom is bigger than some of the apartments Mom, I mean she, and I used to live in. The whole house is huge, though. I thought we were driving up to an apartment building at first. I'm glad I didn't say it though. I don't want these people to think I'm too stupid to stay here.
Huey says I don't have to worry about nothing ever again. He says that his grandmomma and my great-grandmomma will tear anyone to pieces that ever looks at me crossways. I'm not sure what that means, but I have decided that even if they are old, I wouldn't want to make those two old ladies mad at me. I can tell Mamee is really mad at Mom, I mean that woman, but she tries really hard not to let me know it. It's almost like she's afraid of upsetting me. I always felt like Mom didn't love me the way other kids' moms did them. I would never have guessed about all of this, though. No matter how hard I tried to make her happy, I never got along with her that well.
The weird thing is I can't seem to stop calling her mom. I know now that she was not my mother. I've seen pictures in the house here of both of my parents, and my grandparents. Shoot, there's pictures here of people six and seven generations back.
These folks have always been rich, I think. That makes me a little nervous. What if I go out somewhere and I eat with the wrong fork or something? I never knew you got more than one until tonight. Nobody seemed to notice that I was copying from them while we ate supper. Well, nobody but Jessie, and he was copying from me.
I do love the food here. Huey's mom cooked enough to feed an army and there was just a few of us here tonight. It was Mamee, Grandmomma Annie Mae, Aunt Pet, Uncle Mel, Huey, and me and Jessie. They insist that I call them those names, even though it's pretty obvious that they aren't related. I don't mind that though. I've never had any use for prejudiced people. They are losing out on some cool friends and some great times and it's their own stupid fault.
Well, Jessie's wiggling around in bed like he's looking for me in his sleep, so I'm going to go let him find me, (grins). I just wanted to let you know that everything looks like it's going to be just fine now. See you tomorrow. Night, diary.
"Mrs. Amee, I still don't see why you put those boys in the same room," Pet complained in the kitchen as she put the dishes from supper into the dishwasher. "You know they got more healing up to do."
"The most important healing that those two need right now is emotional," the old woman replied over her late night cup of herbal tea. "They need each other close by so they both know that they survived what they've been through."
"Lord knows they've been through enough to deserve some time together," Annie Mae added. "Besides that Pet, if we had separated them, how long do you reckon it would have been before they were traipsing through the halls looking for one another anyway?"
"You got a point there, Mrs. Annie," Melvin laughed. "Them two boys is meant to be together. You can see it wrote all over their faces when they look at each other."
"What I see on their faces when they look at one another is the same thing I see on your face when you look at me," Pet retorted with a laugh. "Ya'll ain't nothing but a pack of dirty old hound dogs, the whole lot of you."
"You sure sing a different tune when we're alone," Mel teased her back.
"Hush your mouth!" she scolded as she threw a dishtowel at him.
"You know you're both right," Mrs. Amee mused aloud. "I see the same thing too. You and Melvin are in love and so are those boys. Now if we could just find someone for Annie Mae to settle down with…."
"You hush up, Amee Whatley," Annie Mae blurted. "You fix your own lonesomeness before you go meddling with mine."
"Well, maybe I could hook myself up with that cute young model boy that Huey has on his computer," Mrs. Amee said somewhat loudly as she looked at the doorway. As she expected, Huey burst into the room.
"Mrs. Amee you promised you wouldn't say anything," he was protesting.
"Boy! What you doing sneaking around doors listening in on people's conversations?" his mother demanded.
"I believe the term the boys at the hospital would use is busted," Mrs. Amee laughed at the teenager's obvious embarrassment at being caught. "I suppose now that you're almost old enough to drive you should be treated more like an adult."
"Thank you, Grandmomma Amee," the boy said sweetly as he hugged her. "Does this mean I can have a cup of coffee before bed tonight?"
"It most certainly does not," his mother told him quickly. "You can have some of Mrs. Aimee's tea, if you'd like, though."
"That's ok, I've tried that stuff before," the teenager said as he made a face. "How about some warm milk like you used to make, Grandmomma?"
"So much for wanting to be treated like a grownup," his mother teased, but he and his grandmother ignored her.
"Well, just for you, baby," Annie Mae said as she kissed his forehead. She got up and went to the refrigerator. "I don't suppose you want another piece of this coconut cake I made for supper…."
"Yes ma'am," the boy agreed quickly.
"As long as it's coming back out…." Melvin began with a smack of his lips.
"Diets be damned, cake all around, Annie Mae," Mrs. Amee said happily.
"Can we have some more too, please?" Dixon asked from the doorway where he stood holding Jessie's hand.
"Well of course you can have some more," Annie Mae told them. The two boys walked into the room in pajamas. "You boys look about as comfortable as a snowball in August. Don't you like the pajamas?"
"Yes, ma'am," Jessie answered quickly. "They're just fine."
"When is the last time you wore pajamas, Jessie?" Mrs. Amee asked him. "Tell me the truth now."
"When I was four," the boy muttered.
"I stopped when I was five," Dixon added as the old woman turned to look at him.
"Well, why didn't you say something?" Annie Mae asked them.
"We didn't want you to think we didn't like them."
"They're just pajamas, boys. They ain't that important," the old woman replied.
"You mean you won't make us leave if we don't want to wear them?" Dixon asked innocently.
"Dixie!" Jessie hissed in warning.
"Boys come here," Mrs. Amee called to them. They approached her slowly. When they got close enough she pulled them into a hug. "You boys are family here. Nobody will ever ask you to leave. In fact, when you get ready to leave on your own, we'll probably ask you to stay longer."
"Why would we leave?" Jessie asked. "We don't have anywhere else to go," he added mumbling.
"I'm sure the boys at that hospital could have found places for you to go that you would have been a lot happier and more comfortable than this old mausoleum and a bunch of crotchety old farts like us," Mrs. Amee told them.
"Excuse me!" Huey interjected. "I am not a crotchety old fart."
"That's true," Aunt Pet announced. "He's just a fart. Silent but deadly don't begin to cover it with him."
"MOOOOM" the teenager wailed as the two younger boys giggled.
"See there, that's a good sign," Uncle Melvin told the boys. "You just laughed. That means that the place is becoming home already." He walked over and knelt in front of the boys. "Fellas, I just told Stinky over there the other day that I am powerful glad to have more guys around the house. There is entirely too many grumpy old women around here sometimes."
"You just wait Melvin Washington," Aunt Pet scolded. "I'll show you grumpy."
"He was just trying to make us feel more at home," Dixon pleaded seriously. "Please don't be mad at him."
"Oh, darling, I ain't mad at him," Aunt Pet told him quickly, as she saw the concern on his face. "I was just teasing, that's all."
"You'll find out that we tease each other a lot around here, but it's always done in love, boys," Mrs. Amee assured them. "We are all family here, and now you're a part of it forever and ever. The person that tries to tell you different will answer to me and my lawyer as soon as I find another one."
"Philip's dad is a lawyer," Jessie mumbled. "Philip is my brother's boy … I mean his friend. Philip used to let me sleep with them sometimes when I had nightmares. They always wore pajama bottoms when I was in the bed with them, though. They never touched me like that bas… I mean that mean man said they did."
"You miss your folks, don't you Jessie?" Aunt Pet asked softly. The boy nodded silently and then tried to run from the room, but Melvin caught him.
"Whoa there, young'un," the man told the boy as he gathered him into a bear hug. "We don't solve nothing by running off around here. Why you trying to leave in such an all fired hurry?"
"I was afraid if you guys saw me crying again you would think I was a baby," the boy admitted quietly.
"I told you you're my baby, but that doesn't make you a baby," Dixon told him. Jessie blushed a little more than he already was and ducked his head toward the floor.
"There ain't a thing in the world wrong with missing your family," Mel told him as he tucked a hand under the boy's chin. He saw Jessie's tears and added, "If you feel like crying, you go ahead and do it. If somebody mess with you about it, you tell me. I'll give them a punch in the nose so hard they'll be the one crying."
"I'm going to call Arkansas first thing in the morning and find your brother, Jessie," Mrs. Amee assured him. "I will have him here for you as soon as my money can make it happen, and when you've got as much as I've got, that gets pretty quick."
"But that asshole told me he's dead," Jessie wept.
"Jessie!" Dixon gasped.
"He's just calling the man what he was, Little D," Mrs. Amee told the two boys. "I don't like cursing just to hear the words, but sometimes there just isn't a polite word to use for some people."
"Yeah, you should hear some of the things she has called that woman that kidnapped you, Dixon," Huey added with a grin. This time it was Mrs. Amee who blushed slightly, but not strictly from embarrassment.
"That woman stole from me in a way that didn't just hurt once, it kept on hurting over and over every day and got worse every time one more person in my family couldn't deal with it anymore and passed on," she practically growled. "Little D, I know she raised you like she was your momma, but I can't find it in me to have a kind word for her, especially after what she did to you, and I mean both of you."
Here she looked over at Jessie who was still being held by Melvin. "Jessie, you are my family now just as much as Daniel, I mean Dixon is," Mrs. Amee told the boy. "I will not rest until you both know that, beyond any doubt. I also won't let you spend one more day apart from your brother than is absolutely necessary."
"Thank you, Mrs. Amee," Jesse replied, as he wiped a tear on his pajama sleeve.
"Excuse me?" the old woman questioned him. "You get your little butt over here and call me what I told you to and then give me a hug, you sweet little thing, you."
"I'm sorry, Mamee," Jessie told her as he hugged her and blushed at the same time.
"Don't be making moves on my man, Mamee," Dixon warned with a grin. "Go find your own boyfriend."
"Ain't I been telling you the same thing?" Annie Mae laughed.
"You can both leave me and my love life alone," Mrs. Amee giggled. "I've got all the men I need in my life right in this room."