Caleb’s eyes blink open as he lifts his body from the bed. Shifting his weight he almost falls in the attempt to reach the phone.
“Hello,” his voice scratches.
“Yo. You know you should be woke already”
“We have to leave in an hour”
Dropping the phone he runs to the shower knowing Cole will forgive him . He almost knocks over his mother. Caleb’s mom thinks of them as brothers. She could never really get a read on her son, but Cole could. Almost every day she would call Cole just to make sure Caleb wasn’t in harm’s way. She knew however Cole would never tell her anything Caleb didn’t want her to know.
Knowing there isn’t enough time to tame his mangled mane, and not wanting too anyway he throws on a black skullcap. He groans as he sees that not only is Cole’s car in the drive way but so is Aunt Jessie’s. He had forgotten that his aunt had asked him to take his younger cousin with him. When he and his cousin were alone he enjoyed his company but, Roger did not know when to be mellow. He didn’t know that sometimes it’s good to find solitude in a crowd.
Caleb went to say hi to Aunt Jessie. When Uncle Omar first married her everyone was nervous because she was white, but she was so amiable that everyone came to love her and forgot their original reservations. Although Caleb hated the idea of taking Roger with him, he also hated the idea of turning Aunt Jess down, besides his mother would never forget if he had. Aunt Jessie had never met Cole, but Caleb wasn’t worried they would be on the road before anything too awkward was said.
Cole’s dependable hopty is the iron horse that will take them to the university. Cole has the habit of naming all of his favorite things grandiose names. He calls his car the Argo. The trunk is open as Cole walks out the door, his father has already put his suitcase outside. Cole kept his book bag in his room with him. It’s never more than a few feet from him. He slings it on his back. Deciding it would be unsociable to just leave he decides to shoot the breeze with Mom, Dad and Aunt Jess.
“Don’t worry mom. I’ll be back in a few days.” They both know it may be a lie, that in Caleb’s heart he believes he should have left home years ago. It burns at his pride that he hasn’t.
“Yo the sun ain’t gonna be up forever. We’re burning daylight and worse gas.”, Cole shouts.
Jessie moves to put Roger’s bags in the trunk. Cole looks at Caleb counting on his fingers and raising an eyebrow. Caleb smiled. This put his mother at ease. Cole seldom smiled. Whenever he was at home he lied in bed in an artificial night. The glow of the bed lamp and the computer were the only things keeping him from true darkness. Even now being out in the morning sun hurt his eyes.
Caleb’s mom knows the sorrows of her son for they are her sorrows as well. She doesn’t know what to do or say to shake him out of them. She cries every night believing she has failed in her duty to protect her son. He never wanted or asked for her aid. Even if he had there is know denying that the twists in the road are his fault, but she still cries. At his high school graduation she wore a black afro. Now, just three years later her hair was a grizzled grey. Caleb was worried about her as well. He knew his depression was causing his mother to wither, yet he could not escape himself.
Jess snaps a few pictures to commemorate the moment, and tosses the camera to Roger. In emulation of his older cousin, he grew his hair but instead of growing out it grew down.
“When you gonna get a hair cut Cal”
“Soon as you do. My ‘fro makes me look like a warrior your head makes you look like a girl”
“At least I don’t wear a hat everywhere I go even in the summer.”
“No but you should cuz. But you should”
“See what you started” Eva laughs to Cole
“It was early and arh arh There was a little need for tension breaking”
“Don’t worry about it Ma” Caleb laughs
“We ought to get going”
The trunk closes and Cal and Roger get into the car. As they drive off their parents wave them off.