This is the first installment of a two part story (good news is, the second part is finished, barring a few editing issues and should follow in a week or two!). This story began as a simple one shot, but quickly became a monster – both parts run longer than my usual efforts…so be warned. I will say now, I have no clue how well I’ve come to being accurate about the key plot points, but I think it works. I hope you enjoy! Please let me know what you think. It is always your comments, both pro and con, that inspire me to continue…
As always, this is a work of fiction – all characters exist solely within the confines of the story and my imagination. Again, Enjoy!
I sat in the visitor’s center feeling very out of place – concrete walls with small windows made of thick glass and metal bars giving off poor light supplemented by harsh fluorescents overhead. Several children fussed, squalled or fidgeted around women who were likely their grandmothers or aunts. A few other men sat at the small rectangular tables bolted into the concrete floor. Male and female guards were at the exit, weapons displayed prominently, their faces set in a permanent squint as they studied each of us for trouble.
By ones and twos, women came in from another door, escorted by female guards, harsh looking women with butch haircuts or tight buns pulling their hair taut. The women they escorted were dressed in shapeless blue khaki dresses or in blue khaki slacks and blue chambray shirts. To a woman, they looked around warily and then upon seeing family, their faces would break into expressions of love or shame and sometimes both.
“Visitor for Carleen Howard,” called out a woman guard, bringing a woman through the door. I stood up, my heart beginning to pound, putting a hand on the table to steady myself. The guard pointed to me while the woman she escorted stared at me a little concerned or confused. She shook her head and looked quizzically at the guard who rolled her eyes and said something that got her moving, walking slowly and cautiously towards me.
She was dressed in the shapeless dress that most of the women prisoners seemed to be wearing. I tried to match her face to the one I held in my memories, few that they were. A woman in her mid-forties, dark brown hair streaked with white, chopped off in a crude pixie cut. She carried a lot more weight than I remembered – at least I think she did. Her face was fuller and her bosom seemed to swell out and strain against the material of her dress. Her ankles were trim however – her calves well muscled as if she did a lot of exercise.
She got closer and then her eyes went wide, showing me that they were as brilliant a blue as I remembered as she suddenly realized who I was. She stopped on the other side of the table and in a voice that while harsher than I recalled, I still recognized, said, “You shouldn’t be here, John.” Her eyes, so deeply blue, began to tear up.
I felt my own eyes begin to sting as I replied, my voice suddenly hoarse, “Hello, Momma.”
On March 19, 1992, my mother murdered my father, emptying an entire clip from a police issue Glock automatic pistol into him while he slept on the couch. I was four years old and didn’t witness it, but she freely confessed to the police when they came. I think the shots woke me up and I remember sitting next to my mother on my bed while she cried, hugging me tight with one arm while the pistol dangled from her free hand. I think I remember vaguely understanding that something had happened to my father, but not being real upset about it. He was mean to me and my mother…real mean.
My last memory of Momma was of her reaching out to me, sobbing and screaming my name as a policeman carried me away, trying to shield my view of a white sheet over the couch, stained a dark shade of red. Mom’s eyes would have been red from the crying except for the dark bruises that had both eyes almost swollen shut – bruises that pretty much covered her face. Her long dark brown hair was falling down into her face, denying me one last look at her.
On August 1, 1993, Carleen Howard was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of her common law husband, Lee Dean Garrett. Carleen or Carlie as her friends called her was twenty-one years old. Her defense lawyer’s efforts for acquittal based on the preponderance of evidence of physical abuse or to achieve at least a reduction of charges were all in vain. When you kill the son of a sheriff in rural Mississippi, you are in for a world of hurt.
By then of course, I had become a ward of the state, never knowing that Sheriff Garrett had decided to sweep clean any connection between his late son and as he would later put it, “That sorry piece of white trash that crawled up from the wrong side of the tracks and her misbegotten bastard.
Before my sixth birthday, I was adopted by an older couple – then almost fifty themselves, childless since the mid 1980s when their only son had been killed in the waning days of our peacekeeping efforts in Lebanon. Kent and Donna Tucker become my mother escort ataşehir and father and took me out of Mississippi to a small town in Western Illinois where I had about as nice an upbringing as anyone could ask for.
They were both wonderful people. Dad, beneath a gruff and grumpy exterior was a wonderful father, teaching me by example how to be a good man. Mom was a June Cleaver for the modern world – balancing a job as school teacher with raising a family. I was loved and I knew it and I loved them both dearly in return.
As the years passed, I let my early years fade away, only occasionally recalling my birth mother – usually picturing her as very pretty and often sad. The only memory other than that of her sobbing as she tried to hang on to me that last moment was of her and me on a picnic. I remembered my mother smiling as she spread the blanket on the ground, her deeply tanned face almost glowing, her eyes a bright shining blue, framed by long mahogany tresses. I remember hugs and kisses and her chasing me around while I laughed until I couldn’t catch my breath. In the end, all I had was a memory that she loved me.
When I was fourteen and Dad thought I was old enough to know, he sat me down and told me the entire story of my real mom and dad. Lee Dean Garrett was a violent, hard drinking son of a man who ran his county with an iron fist. My grandfather had served as Sheriff of the county for nearly twenty-five years before my real mother, Carlie Howard emerged from the swamps of southern Mississippi at age 16, running away from home only to meet and get knocked up by Lee Dean.
The Sheriff wouldn’t let him marry my mother, but tolerated her presence, helping his son set her up in a trailer park on the outskirts of town. Dad called my birth mother a “round-heels” which he said meant she was a slut. Lee Dean was an alcoholic abuser of women and despite the danger he represented, while he’d wander off for weeks or months at a time, Carlie would sleep around with other men.
When Lee Dean would find out, he’d beat my mother. When my birth mother was examined at the hospital following the shooting of my father, she had severe contusions about the face, arms and abdomen, two broken ribs, a fractured eye socket and a bruised kidney. Records indicated a total of nine older fractures from over a five year period. Not that it mattered. The son of Sheriff Garrett could have been a serial killer and still his father would see to it that his killer would spend life in jail.
I had known vaguely what my mother had done and didn’t know how to really process this information. I felt some vague guilt over her situation, but whenever I voiced questions about how she might be now, Dad was vehement in dropping the subject. I always felt that his attitude of “leave the past in the past,” bothered Mom. In the end, I concurred with Dad and simply pushed the matter of my birth family into a dusty corner of my mind and went on with my life.
I went to a university in Ohio, majoring in American Literature and writing my senior thesis on William Faulkner – perhaps my Mississippi roots influencing my choice. As I was considering whether to pursue a teaching career back in Illinois or to begin work on my masters with an eye towards an eventual doctorate, my adoptive Mom fell ill.
Mom’s heart was giving out and now into her early seventies, the doctors were not hopeful. I returned home, temporarily shelving my future plans to help Mom and Dad out. Mom accepted what was coming with her usual grace, but it was killing Dad. Already in his late seventies, he seemed to age a year with each passing week that saw Mom slipping away.
Just before the end, I was sitting with her, reading her the latest potboiler by her favorite author – even holding a book was wearying to her. She stopped me and asked, “John, is your father asleep?” I nodded, knowing that most days now, he spent most of his time on his favorite sofa, napping away – sleep his only way to escape the sudden decline of his wife.
“Son, up in the top of the closet,” she raised a finger weakly to point at the closet across the room. “Up there, you’ll find a red metal box. Be a dear and get it down for me.”
I hurried to obey her, reaching up on tiptoe to retrieve what looked like a small red tackle box. It was light and if it hadn’t made a soft rustling noise as I brought it down, I would have assumed it was empty.
I brought it to her, setting it carefully on her lap as she pulled herself up to a sitting position in her bed. “What’s up, Mom?” I asked, a bit mystified by the box.
Mom stroked her fingers slowly over the red metal and sighed before answering. “This stays between us, son. Your father forbad me from doing something many years ago and well, I went ahead and did it anyway.” She undid the latch and opened the box up. Inside were many envelopes and what appeared to be a few greeting cards.
“You got a boyfriend Dad doesn’t know about?” I asked, getting a frown from Mom in return.
“No, smart-mouth,” Mom replied. kadıköy escort She reached out and took my hand, my heart aching at how little strength seemed to remain in her withered fingers. “John, these are from your mother.”
For a moment, I was confused and it must have shown on my face as Mom shook her head and clarified, “Your real mother, John. Carlie Howard.”
I felt dizzy for a moment and managed to stutter, “M-my real m-mom?”
Mom nodded and said, “We’ve been corresponding now for about fifteen years. Your father forbad it, saying the past is the past and we needed to give you a complete clean break. I went ahead and wrote her anyway.”
Her fingers slipped into the mass of paper as if stirring up the past. “Maybe your father was right, but…mothers know…understand loss in a way that men folk never will and while I couldn’t do anything about Ken…your older brother, I thought staying in touch with your birth mother might ease the pain I know she feels everyday you’ve not been in her life.”
Mom looked up at me with tears in her eyes. “This is the only thing I’ve ever kept from your father, but I sleep better knowing that Carlie knows you are alive and well and happy.” She weakly squeezed my hand. “A mother needs to know these things.”
We sat there quietly for several minutes. I was at a complete loss for words, unable to identify the emotions Mom’s revelations stirred up inside me. It was as if a door stood ajar and behind it was something I both feared and desired to know. Finally, I asked, “Is…is she okay? I mean – she’s still in prison, right? Is she okay?”
Mom gave a little shrug. “I think she does the best she can – she was just a slip of a girl when she went to jail.” She caressed the letters again. “She’s very proud of you. I sent her pictures of you from time to time and newspaper clippings when you won the scholarship and when your baseball team went to the state finals. I sent her copies of report cards and some of your stories.” Mom looked away from me as if a little embarrassed at her enthusiasm to share my successes.
“Mom?” I gave her hand a gentle squeeze. “Are you okay?”
Mom turned back and took a deep breath, looking as serious as I’d ever seen her. “John, I’m dying. It won’t be long now. I know this won’t be easy, but you need to reach out to her…your real mom.”
My stomach did a flip. “I don’t know…you’re my mom! I don’t even know her!” I started to get up, but Mom took a firmer grip on my hand – far firmer than I would have thought possible and I stayed in place.
“Honey, I know this is hard to hear, but you need to listen. I’ll be gone soon and I don’t think Kent will be far behind me.” Again, my heart gave a lurch and though I wanted to get up and run, my legs wouldn’t cooperate. “John, we’ll soon be gone and your mother is all the family you have left!”
Mom gave a little sob and then a wheeze while her face began to turn red. As she began to cough, I hovered around her, almost ready to panic and call 911. Slowly, Mom recovered and then she reached out and took my hand again. “John, you’ve been a good son and we raised you right. Your mother has no one…no one! Please promise, John, you won’t let her be all alone in that awful place with no one caring if she lives or dies!” Mom pulled me close, her skin now going a deathly pale. “Promise me!”
Tears were flowing down both our faces as I nodded and said in a halting voice. “I promise you, Mom!”
Two weeks later, Mom passed away, her weak heart slowing down until it simply stopped. I lost Dad five months later. He became a virtual ghost, withering away day by day after we buried Mom. A week after he passed, the family lawyer broke down my inheritance – not a fortune, but enough to make life comfortable for a while and when I got home, a letter of acceptance from the University of Mississippi graduate school and an offer to be a graduate assistant in their literature program beginning in January of the New Year was in the mailbox. I would be able to pursue my masters and teach at the same time.
As I stood on the front porch of my childhood home, acceptance letter in hand, I leaned out and looked up into the clear blue sky and said, “You don’t have to hint, Mom. I’ll keep my promise!”
My birth mother and I stood there for a couple of minutes, just staring at each other, sizing each other up and not knowing what to say. Her escort gave us the evil eye until we both sat down, still unable to say anything of consequence.
Finally, I broke the silence. “How are you, Momma?” It struck me funny that from the moment I recognized her that it suddenly popped into my head that I’d called her Momma when I was real little instead of Mom or Mommy.
Momma kind of winced when I called her that and replied, “Reckon I’m all right.” Her accent was pure southern redneck and I found it kind of charming. “You look like your daddy.”
I didn’t know what to say to that. Certainly, like all adopted kids, I had wondered from time to time, but had simply put aside wondering maltepe escort bayan who I had inherited my unruly shock of sandy hair or my pug nose from. Try as I might, any images of my real father had faded quickly from my mind.
Momma looked at me and then tears were in her eyes and she said, “Donna’s dead, ain’t she?”
“Yeah. She…Mom died about six months ago.”
“I knowed it. She aint never went this long without writing me. She was a good woman.” Momma looked me up and down with a stare that had me squirming uncomfortably. “She raised you right for sure. You gonna keep going to school?”
I nodded and then said, “Yes, Momma. I’m going to be going to the University of Mississippi and working on my master’s degree.”
Momma grinned then and I saw for the first time more than a glimmer of the woman I’d known so long ago. “Shiiiit. Imagine that. Ain’t no-one in our family ever got past eighth grade excepting me and I bailed out when I was fifteen. My son’s a college graduate.”
There was both pride and amusement in her voice and I felt both pleased and a little annoyed without knowing why.
“Yeah, well – since I’ll be nearby, I thought maybe I could visit you and maybe we can get to know each other again.”
Momma’s face got a funny look on it and she looked down at the table as she said, “I ‘preciate that, John, but you’d best just forget about me and get on with your life.”
I wasn’t expecting that response and couldn’t hide the hurt in my voice as I responded with, “Why?”
Momma raised her head and looked at me like I was a fool and then waved her arms around. “Boy, I’m in prison. For life! Y’all don’t need a jailbird for a momma hanging around your neck, dragging you down. You got a education so use it. Get the hell out of Mississippi and have a fucking life, goddammit!” Her voice rose until she was almost yelling, causing the guards to look our way, frowning.
I was more than a bit thunderstruck. I guess I had figured we would have some sort of tearful, happy reunion and that she might actually be glad to see me. Part of me just wanted to get up and run out of there, but part of me wanted something more.
“Momma, we’re all each other have left. Mom and Da – my adoptive parents are gone and you’re the only family I have. Like it or not, you’re stuck with me. I remember loving you and missing you from when I was little and now seeing you again, I know I never stopped loving you.”
Momma’s mouth worked for a while, but nothing happened. Tears trailed down her face while she pulled herself together. Finally, she shook her head and said, her voice still too loud, “You think this can do any of us any good? Getting to spend a hour with you every month?”
“Girl, beats hell out of just another hour inside this place looking at a bunch a angry bitches, don’t it?” We both turned to see a small, stringy-haired blonde with blue tattoos running up and down her arms at the next table, a young boy squirming in her lap with a much older version of the woman sitting across from her. “Least you get to sit a spell with a good looking stud instead of fighting off some fuckin carpet eating butch dyke, Carlie!”
I just stared at the woman – realizing how out of place I felt. I thought I knew what she was talking about and damned if it didn’t trigger a little tingle in my crotch, making my cock twitch.
Momma stared hard at the other woman for a moment. Then she grinned and glancing back at me for a second, replied, “He is good looking, aint he?” She turned and the smile faded. “I’ve been here a long time, John. I aint got not clue how to be a momma anymore.” She leaned in and for some reason I noticed how her large bosom, straining against the khaki fabric seem to flow and rest on top of the table. She reached out slowly with her right hand and placed it atop mine. “But I never stopped loving you…son.” She said the word awkwardly as if she hadn’t said it in a very long time.
For some reason that seemed to break the ice and we talked – mostly me asking questions about her – our family, with her being evasive with lots of awkward pauses as we both tried to get used to the other. Eventually, an announcement was made by the guards that five minutes remained for visitation and we both fell silent again. As our first visit ended, we both stood up and looked at each other uncomfortably.
“Um…are we allowed to hug?” I asked, glancing around and seeing other inmates getting hugs and kisses from spouses and parents and children.
Momma looked around and then shrugged her shoulders and said, “I reckon so. Ain’t like I’ve had much visitors over the years.” She stepped up to me and both of us awkwardly and hesitatingly, put our arms around each other – Momma’s arms going around my neck. I could feel the tension in her and then with a quick intake of breath, she pulled me to her, hugging me tightly.
I wasn’t prepared for how she felt – warm and fleshy – the thin khaki dress doing nothing to hide the fact that she was very well…developed. My body reacted instinctively as I felt her hot breath against my neck and her breasts pressing and pillowing out against my chest. I felt my cock jerk and then begin to grow. By the time we broke the embrace, I could feel my face flaming with embarrassment. To my surprise, Momma’s face was red too.