Jett: The Art Gallery

Another excerpt from the story of Jett.  This one is more sentimental and I actually wrote it for Father’s Day. )

The exhibit was crowded when they walked in. Ashley had helped Jett pick out an appropriate outfit. She was wearing gray slacks and a black blouse with flat dress shoes. Her dad was wearing a pair of black slacks, with a red dress shirt and a matching black blazer. It didn’t take long for Ashley to find them. She had arrived shortly before they did. She was wearing a black skirt, white blouse and black jacket.

“Hey Little Chica,” she said and gave Jett a hug, “I got finished early and came straight out.” To Jett’s dad she said, “I can see why you chose this exhibit. Good call.”
Jett, her dad and Ashley walked around the exhibit and looked at some of the pieces. The theme of the exhibit was “Strong Black Women: Mothers, Leaders and Warriors.” The artist was a young African American artist and each piece depicted black women in various stages of life and in various situations. Some were simply portraits that portrayed strength of character and beauty. Jett’s eyes widened as she took them all in. She said nothing until she saw the one of a woman with a young girl on a busy sidewalk.

“That one reminds me of me and Mama, back in Baltimore. When we were homeless.” Ashley worried that it may trigger some difficult feelings in the girl and shot her dad a look. He waved her off and asked Jett, “Your mom took good care of you, didn’t she?”
“Yea, Mama did. It was hard though. She cried a lot.”
“She was a strong black woman, your mom.”
Jett nodded and looked at a few other paintings. Ashley took the girls hand and said, “Do you want something to drink? A soda or something? Or a snack? I’m about to get a glass of wine. Would you join me?”

“Okay,” Jett said, and went with Ashley to the refreshment room. Her dad, meanwhile, went looking for one particular painting he had seen in a picture advertising this exhibit. He hoped he wasn’t too late. By the time he found it, he also ran into the director of the gallery, who was an old friend of his.

“Whoa! Who is this guy?” he said excitedly, “It’s been years brother. Where’ve you been?”
“Hey!” Jett’s dad said, “Good to see you. I’ve been running the business, working late nights, solving cases and all; and raising a daughter.”
“You have a daughter?? No way! Didn’t see that coming,” he said.
“That’s her over there.”
“With the attractive Latina women?  That your girlfriend by the way?”
“Nah. Business partner and friend. And she’s good with my daughter.”
“That’s your daughter with her? You did good.”
“I got lucky to have a good kid. She does well. Speaking of, I need to talk to you about this painting. Who is the artist?”

With this he and his friend went off to an office and talked quietly a moment. The artist joined them and they talked momentarily as well. While they were talking, one of the volunteers placed a red sticker under the painting they were talking about, indicating that someone bought the painting.

When Jett and Ashley returned, Jett handed her dad a cup of coffee and they resumed looking at the paintings. The director of the gallery approached them and introduced himself.
“I hear you’re the daughter of this crazy guy here. It’s nice to meet you, Jett. I’m the director here. And you Ms Garcia.”
Jett and Ashley shook hands with the gray haired man. “You know my dad?” Jett said.
“Oh do I. We go way back. We used to run around downtown together in the same crowd when we were young. Your dad was quite the guitar player, you know. He used to sit right back there in that corner with his guitar, his amp and all of his gadgets and play some amazing guitar pieces during exhibits like this one. He was the man.”
“Cool,” Jett said, “he still plays. He taught me some guitar.”
“Well, he’s the guy to learn from. Haven’t seen him around in forever. Good to see him and really great to meet you Jett.”

As they walked Jett’s eyes widened and she walked quickly across the room to a particular painting. It was the same painting her dad was looking for earlier.
“What do you think of that painting Jett?” her dad asked. Jett just stared at it. In the painting, a young girl, about Jett’s age, was holding a book in her hand. Around her were several books surrounding her, some open, some closed, and musical instruments, a microscope, and other items indicating the arts, science, literature, etc. The girl was looking to the upper left though, day dreaming. In the upper left was an older woman dressed as an Amazon warrior. She looked confident and strong, her eyes were bright and she had a fierce look on her face. She stared off into the horizon as well.

“It’s awesome. I want to be her so bad.” Jett said.
Her dad’s friend, the director, touched his arm and said, “I’ll be right back,” and smiled as he walked off.
The painting was called “The Fierce Warrior.” Ashley put her arm around Jett’s shoulders and said, “She’s beautiful like you.”
“More like you. You’re a fierce warrior,” Jett said.
“I wish Little Chica. But thank you,” Ashley said.

“Jett,” her dad said, “I brought you here today because I wanted you to see these paintings of strong black women. It’s because you are growing into an amazing young lady and one day you are going to grow up and be a strong black woman yourself. I want you to see this so you can know how amazing you are, not just through my eyes, but through your own as well. You’ve had to deal with so much adversity that I thought this would inspire you. When I saw this painting, I saw you. You’re the girl in this picture and you are going to grow into the woman in the picture. You’re going to be a Fierce Warrior one day. You’re going to be a strong, beautiful and intelligent woman just like the women in these paintings. You’re going to accomplish so much that you don’t know yet. It seems the world has so many ways to push people down that I want you to always be reminded of who you really are and who you are going to grow into.”

Jett’s lip quivered as her dad spoke and she started crying. She reached over and hugged her dad as he spoke. When he finished she said, “hormones,” and laughed through the tears. “Thanks dad. I love you,” She said next.

Allen and the Single Mom

“ Hey. . .I thought I would call and ask a qu. . yea I know you’re busy but its about your kids. . . No.. . they’re fine. . really, they’re fine. . Well, the little one had an allergic reaction last night and we had to go to the ER. . .no, I’m not asking you to pay. . . I haven’t even gotten the bill. . . would you listen. . . I can’t call tonight. . We have dance at 6:00pm, then one of the boys has a ga. . I’m not ASKING you to come to the damn game. . .I know you’re busy. . . ok. . ok. . . I covered that. . . It was hard but I made it happen. . . I always make it happen you know that. Btw. . nice motorcycle. . . when did you get that? The credit union? Wow. . I’m surprised they gave you a loan. . .No I’m not being a bi.. . But you ARE behind on child support. Yes Allen. . I know you work hard. We all do. . So do. . . I know. . .I know. . I know. . Ok. . I’m very busy can I get to why I called? Anyway, I have a question. . . Whe. . Yes Allen, your son plays football. I told you this. He plays free safety. . He was third string last year but he worked out hard all summer with the weights and the running. His favorite team is the Cowboys and Byron Jones is his hero. Not just because of football but because he was also an academic all American. Your son makes straight A’s Allen. He’s smart and determined. You’re surprised? Why are you surprised. .You should be proud, not surprised. . .I’m telling you this because you DON’T KNOW YOUR KIDS! Your daughter wants to be a dancer. She’s clumsy but she tries so hard. You should come see her perform. I’m not PRESSURING you Allen, I’m just telling you. You should also come to your son’s game. It would mean so much to him if you were there for once. . yes . .yes. .ok. .I’m sorry for the for once but you should co. . .I know you’re busy. New wife, step kids, promotion. . I get it Allen. Yes. . you’ve moved on and we are all so fucking proud of how you’ve moved on.. .Maybe I should do the same? Are you fucking kidding me? I’m raising our kids Allen. While you were out partying and getting laid I was going to Little League and Dance and helping them with homework and talking to teachers. .and NO. .you will not interrupt me again Allen. I’ve been crying with them and encouraging them. I’ve been punishing them when they deserve it and rewarding them when they achieve. I’m the one who worries all night about whether or not I’m a good enough parent. I’m the one who tries to teach them to have values. I’m the one at every game cheering them on while trying not to take over. I’m the one letting them make their own mistakes and feeling the heartbreak every time I can’t just fix everything. I’m the one who is shaping the lives and minds and hearts and souls of these little people that we created while you are getting on with your life. THIS IS MY LIFE ALLEN!!! This is what I do. Sure, you show up about once every two months, you know. . when you have time, and go do something fun. They get all excited to see you. They are happy for any scrap of attention you can give them while I’m over here doing the work. But that’s ok. . I’ll give you a break on the visitation. . I’ll even give you a break on the child support (even though you bought a fucking motorcycle). . . Just come to freaking game for once and give your son some encouragement, watch your daughter dance in the recital. . . and let me tell you about them so you will know what they are talking about when you see them. Now. . I have a question.
Can I ask my fucking question now?
What’s your mom’s phone number? They want to see their grandmother this weekend. They are really great kids.. .
Ok. .thanks. . sorry for the rant.
Oh. .and Allen. . .Pay your fucking child support.