Sometimes, U have to let go of the past…
Sometimes, U have to let go of the past…
“Sometimes, U have to let go of the past -
Sometimes, U have to accept things U don’t want to accept -
Sometimes, U have to do things U don’t want to do -
Sometimes, U have to go places U don’t want to go -
Sometimes, U have to become someone U are not -
Sometimes, U have to try to please people U love, even when U know it is wrong -
Sometimes, U have to make hard decisions -
Sometimes, U have to bite the bullet….” ranted Selma Hernandez, her passionate, sensitive, brilliant but somewhat nutty Puerto Rican roommate.
Well, perhaps, sometime, U are just full of crap,” thought Lilia Denise Trumont remembering Selma’s rant before she left college to return home for the summer. Then again, maybe ?…
“Next stop Knoxville, Tennessee,” yelled an irritating female voice. As they changed bus drivers, Lilia wondered why a 5’1” 90-95 pound Black woman would become a Greyhound bus driver. “Let me know if you need anything.”
“Can you turn up the heat please?” suggested a young Black man, but the bus driver evidently didn’t seem to hear.
As she rode the very cold, howling Greyhound bus to her parent’s home, Lilia Denise Trumont wondered what the hell ever possessed her mother, Sally Mae Trumont to want to move back to her parents deserted farm house in Messiah, Alabama. Surely all these years of Northern living had changed her? And, why the hell had her dad, usually the most sensible and reasonable man in the world, agreed? Nuts?
After all, hadn’t her grandparents on her mother’s side been dead for over ten long years? After all, hadn’t her parents both worked over 20 long years to build a enviable lifestyle in one of Maryland’s preeminent communities. After all, hadn’t they acquire the social standing that they so richly deserved? Hadn’t they traveled the world, seeing everything and doing almost everything well-to-do upper middle class retirees do. Perhaps, thought Lilia, something weird twists upper-middle-aged brains at a certain point. When they get bored with life, watch out! . Why? Why did they want to move to Nowhere, Alabama and be in the wilderness with Southerners. Crazy?
“Next stop Nowhere, Tennessee,” yelled the same irritating female voice. “Remain on the bus please!”
As the bus driver disappeared inside the tiny bus terminal, Lilia wondered why Greyhound would schedule a stop in such a tiny town? It was very dark and isolated here. After all, it was the middle of the night and she had been riding this damn bus for 36 hours straight. Her parents had insisted that she take a scenic route and see some of the country. Aliens had come down from the sky and done something despicably dastardly to them both. Perhaps, they were both reliving bad LSD trips from the 70s. They said they never inhaled, but who knows? Suddenly, an older Black man jumped out of his seat and went outside the bus.
“Sir, why did you leave the bus?” screeched the tiny returning middle-aged bus driver.
“It was freezing on that damn bus!” insisted the 50-something Black man.
“If it was cold, why didn’t you request that I turn down the air?” yelled the driver in a commanding voice.
“I did ask you to put some heat on …” suggested the young Black man.
“Why did we have to stop here anyway,” challenged the older black man.
“Sir, that is none of your concern,” insisted the little female Hitler as the argument heated up.
It was clear the bus driver and the older black man were fire and water. Everyone was tired. Everyone was irritated. Everyone was ready to go because the bus seemed a little warmer when it was moving. Everyone was ready for these two old bulls to shut up. Finally, “Maime, the young man did request you turn on the heat when you first got on the bus, but you didn‘t hear him,” advised an older white woman with a calming voice. “It’s true ,” advised another middle-aged Black woman also sitting near the front. That did it, little Hitler was outnumbered …
“As I said when I got on, if there is anything you need, just ask …”
“Well, we are asking,” howled the older Black man rubbing salt in the little bus driver’s incredible ego.
“OK, all you had to do was ask …”
All her life, Lilia had heard things about Southerners and Southern living from her conservative, but lovable mother who was born and raised in Messiah. Meanwhile, the bus temperature was becoming warmer and fairly pleasant. Most of these Southern things were dreamy, like seeing the animals come right up to the fence line(except skunks, of course), like the tranquility of walking along the pond where her father fished, like not hearing sirens day and night amidst nature’s mind-boggling silence, like not having neighbors for half a mile. Some of their discussions about the other races and race relations in the Deep South scared Lilia. Her mother had occasionally said things, and her very liberal father had joked about Southerners and their sometimes questionable habits with a casualness that absolutely frightened her. Her father was born and raised in Baltimore Maryland by German parents and grandparents who knew the price of race arrogance.
Anyway, Lilia was much like her dad. Why? Why? Why couldn’t she just stay at Harvard for her first summer like dad had years before? Why? Why? Why had her parents ordered her to come home for their first summer in Nowhere, Alabama? “Were they out of their warped, cotton-picking minds?” pondered Lilia too ignorant to know Alabama didn‘t grow cotton. There were too many trees. And, what about Alabama’s legendary heat and humidity? How would she survive that?
Suddenly, her cell phone rang again: “Hey, country girl, what‘s going on - you surviving?”
“Barely!” suggested Lilia forever spoiled by city living. “Girl, its been one thing after another … you wouldn’t believe ….”
“Yes, I would,” said Selma. “If my parents had moved to Alabama, I would have said ‘See ya, wouldn’t want to be ya!”
“Girl, there are a lot of Mexicans in Alabama, well, that is what I hear.”
“What, I’m not Mexican.”
“Is true , all the Southern states have a lot of Hispanics. According to The Discovery Channel, they are the fastest growing population. Girl, about a fourth of the people on this bus look Hispanic.”
“I don’t care … you couldn’t get me down there for all the tea in China!” retorted Selma.
“Whose voice is that I hear in the background?” inquired Lilia knowing Selma’s love of and for men.
“Girl, I invited Carlos de la Vargas over for some coffee, and he decided he wanted a gourmet meal. You know how it is.”
“Carlos? You know I had my eye on Carlos, you scanty, teasing Latin bitch,” suggested Lilia playing.
“That’s Latino Punta, you illiterate Nazi whore,” suggested Selma also playing.
Honestly, tough, Carlos was pretty. Perhaps, too pretty. “Later,” suggested Lilia tired now.
Lilia had endured enough of this darkness and these thoughts. She had listened to her dad when he told her to bring a small blanket and pillow - just one problem - she could not sleep in a strange place with even stranger people around. In fact, she had not slept for the last 48 hours because her mind was just too active - too full of thoughts and questions. The temper on the bus was completely pleasant now. Not that many people were on the late bus to Birmingham, Alabama. She had two seats to herself and she leaned her small frame against the inner chair and curled her feet up in the isle chair, covered herself with the blanket and made a small head-like cradle using the pillow. Gently, she placed her blond hair off her neck and closed her eyes. It was 2:30 AM and the roads were sparsely populated and dimly lit. Nothing at all was happening, so Lilia slept and dreamed.
Ironically, Lilia dreamed she was an amnesiac on a Greyhound bus. It true . She dreamed she was in a dream world traveling to an unknown destination. As dreams sometimes do, they confuse the dreamer. In her dream, Lilia didn’t know who she was, where she was going, or how she came to be a passenger on this bus. Most of the people/creatures on the bus were zombie-like null-heads who didn’t speak and didn’t move much. To make matters much worse, the bus driver was a robot-like being whose only function was to keep the bus between the white lines.
“Where are you going?” asked a smooth silky, sexy, dangerous male voice from behind Lilia.
Lilia turned to see the man of her dreams, literally, smiling at her with open arms. I like this dream thought Lilia to herself within her dream of course. Lilia and her mystery man talked for hours. When the bus finally stopped, Lilia, not knowing where she belonged in this world, departed the bus with her hero. Somehow, they were transported to their log cabin and soon they had three sons and a daughter. WoW! This dream was becoming exhausting. Years passed, and her children grew.
“Wake up Miss, we have arrived in Birmingham, Alabama,” advised the tiny bus driver in a kind voice.
“Thank you,” said Lilia pleased her bus trip was finished, but angry she had to leave her dream man and dream family. Ah! Dreams.
As she left the bus from stall one, Lilia could see a building that said, “Alabama Power.” After clearing the cobwebs from her mind and eyes, she realized the Alabama Power probably referred to the electric company.
“Lilia,” yelled her mother, pleased with her daughter's well-being.
“Hello baby,” said the monster who had forced her to take the terrible bus trip - dad. Well, not so terrible as she considered her dream.
“Hey dork,” laughed her 13 year old twin brothers in harmony.
“Mom, Dad, dorks!”
On the ride south toward Montgomery, Alabama, Lilia could see the Saturday morning sun rising. It was now 6:30 AM and Lilia notice how scenic this part of Alabama was. It was actually very pretty here. The left side, North bound side of I-65 very jam packed with cars. Lilia wondered if there was an accident somewhere in the Northbound lane. Or was this normal traffic? Probably an accident. Also, the thick trees of Birmingham were thinning out. She liked this landscape despite her previous carefully thought out scheme to absolutely hate everything about the place.
In January, 51 year old Sally, 60 year old Thomas (Tom) Trumont, and the boys had decided to visit the farm. Sally had taught high school for 22 years before retiring and Tom was a retired car salesman. They had met late in life, Sally was 29, and Tom 37. Tom was divorced and already had three children from a previous marriage. It was a short romance before their marriage because they both knew they were soul mates. Almost three years later, Lilia, now 18, was born. Six years after that, Lilia’s twin baby boy dolls were born. For the longest time, she dressed them like dolls until one day, mean daddy put an end to it.
Suddenly, a sign appeared that said Messiah 4 miles. As mom maneuvered her Toyota down the country road, Lilia noticed the house or farms were spread out, but that sometimes, there were several houses in relative close proximity. This was a nicely manicured area that suggested there were well-to-do families here. Suddenly, Messiah appeared. The sign said, Messiah population 1400. The town was extremely small - one post office, one fire engine, one meeting hall/city hall, one grocery store/service station, one elementary school building, and of course five churches.
Evidently, the twins loved this place. According to mom, they had found twin girlfriends. They were in twin heaven. Five miles down the road, dad worked part time as a car salesman in Jasper. They didn’t need the money, but he couldn’t resist. He loved it too - to him, it was like a continual vacation. Mom worked as a substitute teacher thought out the county. She had fulfilled a dream by returning home, but ironically, she was unhappy. Perhaps, it was true what people said - “You can never truly go home.” By the time you get back, its changed! Most of her mom’s childhood friends now lived in Montgomery or Birmingham. Many had left the state to go to out-of-state colleges - none returning after college. Besides, to her mom, it just wasn’t the same without her parents.
Sally notice that several of the town’s people stared at them in a surprisingly hard manner. What the hell was that she thought? Again, more people stared, unsmiling?
“Mom, Dad, is this the twilight zone?” asked Lilia. “Why are those people staring at us so unfriendly?”
“I don’t know,” responded her mother, sad, and almost moved to tears.
“It is the oddest thing,” replied dad. “Sometimes, when you talk to some of them, they seem so friendly. Down the road in Jasper, I am always treated in a very friendly way. In fact, I drink with the guys and have visited all their homes. Whenever I come back here - nothing.
“It’s me,” said her mother. “It has to be me for some odd reason.”
“At first, I didn’t believe that,” said her father. “Now, I don’t know what to think. Everywhere she goes, she is treated oddly!”
Her brothers were in the back snickering. These little turds knew something. Her mother was suffering, and they were snickering. Why? Normally, they were never, well, seldom cruel. Why on earth wouldn’t they say something if they knew? She’d get to the bottom of it once she was rested.
The next day, after sleeping for 14 straight hours, Lilia visited the farm. It was once a very prosperous working farm and ranch. Her mother had hired men to fix up the place and it looked great. It was surprisingly modern. Besides, Lilia believed her grandparent had left her mother a significant inheritance. She had probably used some of that money to fix up the place and send her to Harvard. Her mother had also hired two Mexican farm/ranch hands to take care of the place. One worked there every day after his other job. The farm had cows, horses, sheep, and ducks on the pond. Her mother had the rather large pond cleaned, stocked with bass and other assorted fish, and she had two docks and a fisherman’s shed built on the pond. She also put gravel all around the pond and had a road installed leading up to the pond. Dad and the boys loved fishing. But, only mom cleaned the fish. Although beautiful, the farm could not be seen from the main road. Its isolation scared Lilia somewhat. She was proud of what her mother had done with the place.
At lunch, her mother had told her that she was being ignored in Messiah and that she was sure the towns people didn’t like her. Even at church no one spoke to her. It was a mystery.
It was Saturday, so Lilia took her brothers and went into Messiah’s gas station to put some gas in her father’s new Ford F-1500 pickup truck. She wanted to see more of the area, but had never driven a pickup truck before. She decided she liked its power. In Messiah, the young people, the older people, and the children were all extremely friendly. This was NOT the place her mother had described at all. Something was very wrong here.
Once back in the pickup truck with brothers grim: “Why is mother being treated like a social outcast?” she demanded. “I know you two turds know something.”
The boys wouldn’t talk. Her mother was a social butterfly. Everyone like her. That was a fact. Had she chosen the wrong perfume. Did she dress too funny? Maybe that was it - after all, this was an extremely conservative place. It was a mystery for sure. That afternoon, Lilia and her brother drove all around the area. It was scenic and beautiful. Most of the larger farms had man-made ponds. Some of them even had horses. It was quiet here too.
That night, Lilia dreamed about her special man. The dream was almost exactly the same. It was wonderful, so wonderful.
The next morning, Lilia’s mother asked her to drive into Messiah to buy some eggs for the morning breakfast. When she arrived in her mother‘s Toyota, there were several cars there filling up with gas and about to head to work. Almost everyone stopped and stared at her. No one spoke, and no one would carry a conversation with her. It was eerie, true Twilight Zone stuff. Lilia carefully checked her clothes.. Jeans? T-Shirt? Yeah, that was the usual Messiah wear. What the hell was it then. As she approached her mother’s red Toyota she read the license plate and smiled. U-FATSO reminded her of so many good times up north. Her mother hadn’t change her tags to Alabama plates. As she drove home, she suddenly stopped. That’s it. They don’t like the license plate. No! Couldn’t be. Yeah! Could.
She told her mother and father her theory when she arrived and her mother agreed. U-FATSO was the culprit!
U-FATSO was the license plate her mother had purchased after her twins were born. She had the plate made to remind her she had gained so much weight. Later, when she lost the weight, she just kept U-FATSO as a constant reminder to watch her weight.
Dad was amazed. He too agreed. For five nearly months, her mother had suffered.
Together, the three of them drove to Messiah. At the service station/store, they asked several people what they thought of the license plates, and to the person, they hated it. They had thought this woman from the big city was insulting them. They had thought she was pretentious and mean. They had thought she was arrogant and strange. When they found out what the plates meant, they were embarrassed.
That day Sally Trumont decided that sometimes, you just have to let go of the past.
COPYRIGHT . shypoet1 aka Jimmy L. Holder and may not be copied or reproduced without written permission.