Changed…a fictional series
By Katrina Jo
Book 1 – pt. 2
My legs felt like 100 pound weights as I climbed the steps to the porch, opened the front door and entered the house. I tore wildly at my house dress until I wrenched it free from my neck. It fell to the floor and I dropped my slip next to it before staggering back to the shower in our bedroom. The warm water flowed over me. I grabbed my washcloth, the soap from the wall-mounted blue and white tiled dish, and began to scrub. It wasn’t coming off. A hint of red seemed to stain my skin. I increased the water temperature and screamed in pain as the steaming water flowed down my back.
“He’s dead.” The words came out like a whisper, and I covered my mouth with both hands. A chill that began in my core shook my whole body and I collapsed against the shower wall grabbing at the water faucet as I began a slow descent to the floor. Water pelted my hair; the long, straight hair that Dixon loved so much. I didn’t have the strength to move and wasn’t really searching for any. I rolled over on my side, balled up, waiting for something. I wanted someone to explain how my life had become so horribly rearranged and give instructions on how to go on from this point. The director of my life was gone and I was left without a script to follow or a role to play.
Tears flowed as the sun went down. Then the knocking began. At some point in the evening, the people remembered that he’d had a wife.
“She’s in there I’m sure,” I heard a man’s voice say.
“The lights are on in som’ a the rooms.” Mama Ruth, her voice was tenor deep and grandma sweet all at the same time. “Sister Pratt?” She was calling to the bathroom window. “Did ya’ll try the front door?”
“It’s open,” a raspy man’s voice called out from the direction of the porch. “I think she’s in the bathroom. I hear the shower running.”
I sat on the bathroom floor wrapped in my favorite towel, listening as they knocked on the frame of the screen door then patiently waited for me to come and receive their condolences and their hams and their quik check sodas.
As the hour grew late, the mourner visits stopped and lucidity pulled my mind into the present. I made one phone call.
“Good evening, Lovett’s Funeral Home. How may I assist you?”
“Good evening this is Mrs. Pratt.”
“Can you speak up hon? I can’t hardly hear you.”
“This is Mrs. Pratt. Dixon Pratt’s wife.”
“Oh Mrs. Pratt I’m so sor-”
“I need to come in and make arragements for my husband.”
“Why yes. We got word that you might be calling. Mr. Lovett is away at a mortician’s convention, but he’ll be back by-”
“Is he the only one who does the funerals there?”
“No ma’am. I just thought that-.”
“Who’s on duty in his stead?”
“Leonard Tanger, can also…”
“Can I speak with him then?”
“Of course you can. But with your husband being who he was in the community, I’m sure Mr. Lovett will want to take care of his services personally.”
The keyword there is WAS.
“I’m coming in tomorrow at one to meet Mr. Tanger. I would prefer that my appointment be kept confidential, if you don’t mind.”
“Uh, of…course. Um, I’ll make sure that he’s here.”
I could hear the questions in her tone. Why not wait for the owner? Don’t you want your husband to have the best?
You do realize the people will expect a spectacle? The people were getting a spectacle every time the saw us together with a smile on our faces.
All of that watching and waiting. All of the love and dating experiences that I passed up waiting on that great love affair. Love affair? Love-like lie is more like it. He wined me and dined me right into a mess. I married the big time preacher. The man everybody wanted. Humph! And he wanted everybody but me. Why me God?
Because you were a fool. I promise I could almost hear the voice of God on my wedding day saying run the other way and never look back. But I was too afraid of what everybody would say if I left him at the altar.
Who wants to admit that the perfume you wash from your husband’s clothes every other day didn’t get there when he was praying for women who were slain in the spirit. No, it was there because he was slaying her and the only spirit they were operating in was Jezebel. Her scent was all over the house; in his suits, in his handkerchiefs…even in his underclothes.
Tears returned heavier than they were before. I sat in the living room sobbing in my favorite chair. My tears were composed of one part sorrow, one part shame, and two parts mad-as-hell.