CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and FORTY-FOUR
Sunday morning — 6:07 a.m.
“Miss T said that you were really good in the clinic yesterday,” Jeraine said to his sister, La Tonya.
They were sitting at the cement table in the sunken backyard of the new house. Tanesha had convinced La Tonya to stay for dinner. Exhausted and depressed, La Tonya had fallen asleep on the couch after dinner. They had found a bed for her and her children. Jeraine knew that La Tonya got up early, so he made coffee and went to wake her.
This was the first time they’d spent any real time together as adults.
“You must think. . .” La Tonya started.
“I don’t think anything,” Jeraine said, cutting her off. “I wouldn’t be doing my sobriety if I had judgements of you or anyone, really. My focus is on my own messes.”
“Not on mine?” La Tonya asked.
“Seems like you’re doing okay,” La Tonya said. “You’re back on your feet.”
“I’m alive,” Jeraine said. “As long as I’m alive, I can. . .”
“. . . do something to change my situation,” La Tonya said. “Thanks Dad.”
“I like your white teeth,” La Tonya said.
“At least my personality isn’t the fakest thing about me,” Jeraine said.
La Tonya laughed in spite of herself. Jeraine chuckled.
“No, really, it seems like you’re doing great,” La Tonya said.
“It’s a big mess,” Jeraine said with a sigh. “I feel like every time I get things going, something comes a long and messes it all up.”
“Like the pandemic?” La Tonya asked.
“Exactly,” Jeraine said. “Jake’s the one who came up with the idea to use the ballroom. I. . .”
Jeraine shook his head.
“My agent and the casino guy did the rest,” Jeraine said. “I. . . I never have any idea what I’m doing.”
“It doesn’t stop you,” La Tonya said.
“Because everyone around me is dragging me forward,” Jeraine said. “I blocked our moving into the new house because. . . I don’t know why. I wanted to control the colors or. . . Honestly, it’s just my madness.”
“I do the same thing,” La Tonya said. “You guys let me live in that house. It’s perfect for us. But. . . I. . .”
“Good,” Jeraine said. “Stay as long as you need it.”
“I don’t want your charity,” La Tonya said.
Jeraine laughed. La Tonya watched his face and then laughed.
“God, we’re so a like,” La Tonya said. “If I were on my own, we’d be living with the unhoused.”
“Stubborn to the end,” Jeraine said.
La Tonya nodded. They sat together in silence before laughing. Jeraine smiled at his sister.
“Nelson said you did a great job yesterday,” Jeraine said.
“He was very nice to me,” La Tonya said.
“Did you enjoy yourself?” Jeraine asked.
“You know what?” La Tonya smiled. “I did. I was there. . . an hour, maybe two. . . when I realized how much I like helping people. It was. . . really great.”
“I’m sure they’ll have that clinic again next Saturday,” Jeraine said.
“Yeah,” La Tonya nodded. “Blane asked if maybe I could help him with his practice. Heather has always been his office support but she has another job?”
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow...
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