“Take A Break, Babe”

This morning driving into Houston with my father I started to feel it. This particular *ping* has stung me before and went away. With the cups of coffee, cigarettes and an hour and half bike ride through the woods! Without my morning rides, lately, this *ping* is stickin’ around longer than I’d like.

I used to wake up at 4:30AM to drive my X to and from work. Night or day shift. I’d wake up to her putting on her FRC’s. I’d say, “Good morning, Honey.” And we’d smile at each other wishing we could just lay in our comfy bed.

Now, I wake up in a twin size daybed with a regular coil spring mattress. Cover myself in covers and rearranging pillows to form an imaginary body beside me. To be more specific, “my spot.” My spot was right under her arm with my head resting on her chest. I’d fall asleep to her heartbeat and breathing. Or sometimes, her reading to me. It made her mad that I’d fall asleep while she read. Her voice put me to sleep reading.

One of the many things that had us hooked on each other. We both knew how to read and enjoyed it.

Our first phone conversation, I was jumping for joy hearing that she knew what a book was. I had just come out of a “relationship” with a stud who hated reading and couldn’t stand me reading.

X was butch. She was smart, used to be quite hilarious. And a Mr. Fix It. I don’t mean the ghetto “fix it.” She would research the tar out of something and fix it, right! Those were some of her good qualities.

I wish I could pin point when things went sour. Aside, from knowing that I was merely an option while she became my priority the longer we stayed together. Before the fighting. Before things went stupid between us. Before it became hell. I had to prove that I wanted her and only her.

Got rid of any butches who showed the slightest sign of wanting me. Yes, even casual flirting. Or just a compliment. Got rid of her. I lost a few good friends that way. As we all know, I don’t typically get along well with other femmes.

Driving back and forth from her job was “our” time. Without interruptions from the kiddo. In the kitchen I’d make her breakfast and pack her lunch. Sometimes, she’d give me a kiss and say thank you. Somewhere along the line, it became..”Put this in there.” or “I want this.” Demands. Instead of “thank you” or “Can I have this in my lunch?” It was little demands. Of course, when she used to ask, I’d say, “Of course, Baby!” Give her a quick kiss on the forehead and tell her she was silly.

I miss my morning routines the most about “us.” It was “our” time. Any other time, I hardly ever saw her anymore. Her son and I would do things through out the day to keep ourselves busy until she got home. When she did get home she’d hop in the tub and get ready for bed. Even her days off…she wasn’t with us. It started to really fall to pieces.

I’m not claiming to be innocent. Just..I knew we weren’t going to make it. A few months before our final break up. I knew. Kissing became more infrequent. Just everyday looking at each other died off.

As much as I know that this is overstepping my stepmother role. Let me tell you this! I raised that child for five years. She was working all the time! When she wasn’t working…she got herself wrapped up in something else without us. Then would get annoyed that her son would hover over her shoulder. Watching whatever she was doing. What do you expect? He never sees you? Working twelve hour shifts. Switching from night and day is tough! I understood. Her son understood.

I’d wake up in the morning and K (her son) would be getting his cereal bowl asking if his mom was working nights or days this week. I’d answer three nights and then she’s off on Friday. We’d both so excited that she’d be off on a whole weekend!

“What shall we do while mommy’s off!??!?” And we’d rush to my calendar to pick out whatever events I’ve written down for the chance of everyone being free. K being home his dad’s house, X not working, and X’s brother being up for some family time.

Her last work day for the week. On the way home she’d drop a million things for her to do. It used to make me loose my breath. Like, my gawd, woman! BREATHE!

“Honey! You haven’t made it home, yet. Get some rest first.” I used to tell her.

Ya see. She had a horrible immune system. While I remained healthy as an ox. She’d get real sick, dizzy spells that made her run into things. Her speech would get slurred. Doctors treated her like she was making the shit up. But, I’d see her everyday. Had to fight with the doctors alongside of her. Nonetheless, I’d made it a rule for her to take the first day OFF. Don’t do anything!

“Take a damn break, Babe!” I used to beg her.

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