I had fallen asleep at my parents dining room table. It seemed like I had been out for a long time when I heard the phone ringing. I lifted my heavy head off the table and immediately looked to where my father was still sitting in his chair.
“Bud, Bud – don’t you hear your phone ringing. Dad, Daddy – answer the phone.”
I jumped up and almost tripped on that stupid carpet that they got under the dining room table on top of carpet. “Bud.” I made may way toward the still ringing phone in the kitchen closer to the dining room.
“Hello.” (I said to the person on the other end).
Hi, How ya’ll doin. Emma?”
“Hi, hi. No, this is Emma’s daughter, Tommie. Mom’s not here right now, would you like to leave a message?”
“This is Tommie you say?” (the voice on the other end asked).
“Yes, yes ma’m – Tommie, Thomasina. Can I ask who’s calling please?”
“How old you be girl?”
“Excuse me. I’m sorry, do I know you?”
“I say, how old you be – how old are you girl?”
“I’m thirty two. Who’s asking?”
“Thirty two! You thirty two years old? Where on earth did Emma and Budrick get a thirty two year old from?”
“What! Excuse me. Budrick. Who am I talking to. Do I know you?”
“I don’t know child, do you know me?”
“Again ma’m, no disrespect intended, would you like to leave a message for my mom?”
“Tommie, Thomasina. That’s a nice name. Can I ask you a question dear?”
“I guess so. What?”
“Do you have hazel eyes?”
I went blank and my mouth opened wide by itself without any help from me. I couldn’t speak to the person that was on the other end of the phone because no sound would come out. All I could do was hold the phone to my left ear and stare out the kitchen window into the beautiful backyard with the spectacular vegetable garden. Budrick, Budrick – I had never heard my mother call Bud Budrick. Was that his real name. I always thought it was Buddy. How did this woman on the phone know I had hazel eyes. Was she still there. I don’t remember hearing a click – just silence.
“Yes, yes ma’m. My eyes are hazel. How did you know?”
“Cause my eyes are hazel.” (long silence).
“Do you got something to write with? – I’m ready for you to take that message now girl.”
“Hold on, one minute, let me get something to write on.”
“First, please write my number down for yourself, it’s 330-868-8827. My name is Adaline, Adaline Love of Akron, Ohio. Tell Budrick, tell Bud Miss Love called.”
“You called to talk to Bud – not my mom?”
“I’ve been calling every month for many years to talk to Mr. Powell. Your mother know, don’t worry yourself about that, Emma knows who I am.”
“How do you know me Miss Love?”
“I know of you.”
“What does that mean – you know of me?”
“Let your daddy know that the pecan harvest was good this year. I talk at you later child. goodbye.”
I hung the phone up and looked in on Bud. He was still sleeping, the empty Budweiser can lay empty on the tray next to him. I took the empty can to the kitchen, rinsed it out in the sink and stacked it in the corner where he kept his empties for deposit. This Adaline woman had to be the old lady who Bud talked to on the phone – who else did he know in Akron. What’s with the hazel eyes – what does she mean her eyes are hazel too. Besides myself and this guy I went to high school with – I didn’t know any other black people, especially as dark as me, with hazel eyes.
I put the message from Miss Love on the tray next to Bud, gave him a kiss on the cheek and let myself out the side door.
To be continued on Sunday, 2.14.2016