“Jaya, are you sure you want to do this?” my soon to be mother-in-law, Ms. Glenda asked folding her hands in front of her on the kitchen table.
I leaned forward in my chair, tilting my head slightly and asked, “Do what?”
Ms. Glenda’s eyes narrowed as she leaned in closer. “Get married.”
“Of course I’m sure,” I smiled. “I’ve never been more sure.”
“Why don’t you and Troy wait a while? You two have all the time in the world to get married,” Glenda said, twiddling her thumbs.
“Well we don’t have all the time in the world to get a refund on these plane tickets. The trip is next week and we ARE getting married,” I snapped, popping my neck in a circular motion.
“I just think you should wait,” Ms. Glenda said pushing her chair back from the table. She turned around to the stove and stirred the pot of beef and cabbage that was starting to boil over.
As I took in the familiar aroma of Ms. Glenda’s southern cooking that filled the house every Sunday afternoon, I thought about the first time I stepped foot in her house. She had invited me to Sunday dinner. I was nervous because I never had dinner with any of my other boyfriend’s families before. The tiny ranch style house sat in a row alongside five others with single driveways and spacious front yards. When I entered the house for the first time, I was surprised that there no rats or roaches running around. I had heard things about the way people lived in North Philadelphia and was under the assumption that their houses were all unkept and dirty. To my amazement, Ms. Glenda’s house was clean and tidy with antique furniture and pictures of family members sprawled throughout the house.
Ms. Glenda dropped a pot in the kitchen sink, snapping me out of my thoughts. “Well, I’ve waited long enough- Five years to be exact,” I said looking over at the magnetic calendar on the refrigerator door to confirm the date. “And I refuse to wait any longer.”
It was exactly a week away; my wedding day. I’d paid my dues and put up with all the crap Troy had thrown at me; the staying out all night, finding other women’s phone numbers, and outlandish lies about his whereabouts. I figured it was all part of him growing up; we had been together since he was twenty-two. I looked down at the one carat princess cut engagement ring he’d bought me several years ago as a birthday present. All my hard work had finally paid off-soon I would be Mrs. Troy Johnson. It sure had a nice ring to it.
Part 1 “I’s Married Now!”
It had been five years since Troy and I met and finally decided to take the plunge. His proposal came in light of me receiving my first book deal from Kensington Books for a chick lit novel I’d written a year before. One might think that was the only reason he asked me because he saw dollar signs. Truth was, we already had a house together and it was only natural that we walk down the aisle. Instead of the big wedding with the fancy, frailly, white dress with lace and beads, Troy and I decided to fly to Vegas and get hitched at a small chapel right off the strip. It was our little way of celebrating our marriage and enjoying a honeymoon at the same time.
Troy and I parked our rundown gold Chrysler Concorde down the street from the jewelry store where we were going to pick up our wedding bands. We were leaving for Vegas in the morning and had plans on getting married soon after we arrived.
“Do you have the money to get our rings out?” I asked as we hustled down the street trying to get to the store before it closed.
Troy remained silent as if he didn’t hear what I had just asked. He trailed slowly behind me as if he wanted the store to close before he got there.
“Troy, I know you heard me. Do you have the money to get the rings out?” I asked again slowing down to match his pace.
A blank expression spread across his face as he stopped in the middle of the sidewalk. “No, I don’t have the money for our rings.”
“Troy, what the hell? Why don’t you have the money?” I almost yelled, now standing directly in his path as if I was ready to take him on in a fight. I could feel the anger start to seep out of my ears as my face turned beet red. “You knew that we were supposed to pick these rings up for weeks now,” I hissed pressing my chest against his.
He remained silent as he looked into my dark and gloomy eyes that used to be filled with life and hope.
“Answer me,” I demanded beating on his chest with my fist. “Why don’t you have the money for our rings?”
“Because I don’t,” he snapped stepping around me and turning back around towards where the car was parked.
Tears streamed down my face smearing my eyeliner and mascara. I used the sleeve of my camel colored wool blend coat to wipe them away, leaving a black stain on it.
“That’s not good enough Troy-give me a real reason,” I demanded grabbing his arm and pulling him back in the direction of the store.
His two-hundred and fifty pound body shifted slightly from all the tugging I was doing.
“Because I don’t care, that’s why,” Troy barked pulling away from me.
The words just rolled off his tongue, stinging me like a swarm of bees. My legs buckled like someone had hit me from behind with a huge piece of wood.
“What do you mean, you don’t care?” I repeated. “I took so much shit from you; you must be crazy if you think you are going to back down now. Now come on-we’re going to that jewelry store and we’re getting those rings.”
I couldn’t understand why Troy was acting like this. I played his little head games and worked through all of his flaws, but he still wasn’t able to treat me right. What really killed me was when I aborted a child for him because he wasn’t “ready.” In my mind, he owed me a wedding and I wasn’t taking “no” for an answer.
Eventually, we walked to the jewelry store in complete silence. Once inside, I pulled out the yellow slip with the layaway information on it. The sales associate disappeared in the back room and retrieved a pair of white golden his and her matching wedding bands with tiny diamonds set across the front.
Troy peered over at the rings and shook his head. “I don’t want no ring,” he said causing other customers to stop and focus their attention upon us.
“Troy you gotta get a ring,” I said forcing a smile to ease the tension in the room. Any other time I would have easily cussed him out, but I was too embarrassed.
“I said I don’t want one. Why don’t you just combine the layaway amounts and just get your ring. I won’t be able to wear mine anyways because of my job.”
“What does your job have to do with it?” I asked.
“It’s a violation on the construction site. It may get stuck in one of the machines or something,” he said in such a way convincing me that he was telling the truth. “We can get mines later.”
I agreed and combined the down payments. I paid the remaining balance of three-hundred dollars with my own money. As we left the store, I felt satisfied with my purchase, but I couldn’t help to wonder why Troy was acting so crazy. I brushed it off as pre-marriage jitters and focused all of my energy on trying to get through the upcoming week.
When we arrived in Las Vegas, Troy and I took the shuttle bus to the Palace Station Hotel. We checked in and found our way around the gigantic hotel to our room. When I opened the door, my jaw dropped. The oversized room had a thirty-two inch flat screen and stainless steel microwave and refrigerator. Marbled tile covered the bathroom from top to bottom and little soaps lay neatly on the folded towels above the commode.
“Troy, come look. This is beautiful,” I said running my hand across the edge of the bowel of the pedestal sink.
“Yeah, I’ll check it out in a minute,” Troy said plopping down on the bed and reaching over to the dresser to grab the remote. He flicked on the guide and the first thing he thought of searching for was information on The Bunny Ranch, a popular whore house that he had seen on HBO.
I sucked my teeth and continued to admire the hotel room. I peeped out of the window and savored the view of the steamy hot tub which sat right outside of our window. Too bad its December, I thought closing the blinds.
“What we gonna do tonight?” Troy asked continuing to search the hotel menu on the TV for popular places in the area.
“Get married of course,” I said lifting my Victoria Secret’s wheelie bag on the king sized bed. “That is, what we came here for right?”
Troy grew silent as he leaned back on the bed with the remote still in his hand. “I’m sayin’, can’t we just enjoy our little vacation and get married another time. Maybe like in a few months.”
My eyes narrowed and grew dark as I thought about all the bullshit he had just put me through the night before; him not coming home all night long and causing us to almost miss the plane due to him being pissy drunk. “Troy, we came out here to get married and that’s what we gonna do,” I demanded, sifting around for something to wear. “So get dressed.”
Troy shrugged his broad, muscular shoulders. “Alright then.” He unzipped his poorly packed duffle bag and dumped everything onto the floor. Wrinkled t-shirts lay in a pile by his feet.
I glanced over in his direction.“You didn’t bring nothin nice to wear for when we get married?” I asked trying not to sound too annoyed, but knowing the frown on my face already portrayed how I was feeling.
“For what?” Troy snapped. “You been wit me all this time so what does it matter.”
I shook my head as I undressed and gathered her toiletries. “I’mma take a quick shower and change my clothes. Unlike you, I CARE what I look like on my wedding day.”
As soon as I entered the bathroom, turned on the shower, and closed the door slightly, I saw Troy grab his cell phone.
“Ma, it’s Troy,” he said keeping his eye on the bathroom door. “We here.”
After a slight pause he eased off the bed to sit in the chair by the corner so he could get a better look at the bathroom door. “Naw mom, I can’t tell her. I knew I should’ve told her before we left, but I just couldn’t. I tired, but I couldn’t. Listen Ma, I gotta go. Call you later.” He placed the phone in his back pocket and sat back down on the bed beside his pile of wrinkled clothes.
It took everything in me not to bust out of the bathroom and ask Troy what the hell that conversation was about, but I knew he’d know that I was eavesdropping. I took a quick shower and got dressed although that conversation nagged the hell out of me.
TO BE CONTINUED…
© 2012, Shalena D.I.V.A.- Author| Speaker| Life And Business Coach. All rights reserved.