There are things that we all take to the grave, secrets and lies. But what if those things follow us to the next life, disrupting us forever until we face them head on.
The massive blizzard brought the traffic to a grinding halt.
“They said it was going to be bad, but this is crazy for this time of year in LA. You know.”
“Mother nature is fed up with us, I really think she is. It’s not surprising to me. It’s long overdue and there’s more to come.“ Linika said matter of fact. Her perspective was credible given she was a meteorologist for the weather channel.
“I appreciate you coming with me to this funeral. Your support means a lot.”
“No problem, I needed an escape or better yet a dose of reality.” Stephan said empathetically.
“I love being a camera man but it can wear you down.”
“Now we're stuck in this traffic, I’m hungry and need to use the bathroom. Mother nature showing it’s power once again. Out of all the times to pee. Sheesh.”
“Dam, You’re going to have to hold it, I don’t need you christening my new truck.” Stephan said jokingly. “You can always walk to the gas station down the freeway. We are not moving for a while.” Stephan stopped snickering abruptly as he felt Linika’s gaze burn into his head.
“Ha ha, very funny.” She started unzipping her pants.
“Hold up now?”
“What, I got to go, look the other way.” Linika said with certainty.
The two paused and shared a laugh.
“You guys can just whip it out and pee in a bottle or something. Sometimes I wish I was a man. You guys have it easy.” Linika shook her head with subtle jealousy.
“Well, this is true. Can’t disagree with you there. But we have other issues to deal with. Especially being a black male in America you can’t even understand. And I couldn’t begin to explain it.” Stephan touched her shoulder.
“I am first generation Indian, so I have some understanding of what you mean.”
Stephan decided this wasn’t the time to have this discussion. He adjusted himself in the plush leather seat and unbuckled his safety restraint. He leaned forward to look thru the storm. It was like looking at a mirage.
“Anyway. I hope I don’t run out of gas.”
“What do you mean anyway? Anytime we start to have real conversations you shut down.” Linika said with some pent up frustration.
“This is why we would never work, you don’t communicate.” She whispered as she looked out the window into the white haze.
“Honestly, I didn’t know you were into black guys. I always got the feeling we were friends because you were scared of my blackness.”
“What? What are you talking about? Scared of your blackness. I don’t even know what you’re saying.”
“I’m just saying, you seem uncomfortable when I play my music, or when we’re in groups with other black people. I kinda felt you were low key racist, but I was a ‘good one’. Just sayin’. I get it.“
Linika’s mouth was wide open, then a short laugh blurted out of her mouth. Releasing all the air in her lungs.“Stephan, after 7 years of working together you really don’t know me. This is crazy. Stephan, my dad is black and my mom is Indian. I’m half black fool!”
“Really?” Stephan’s eyes popped out of his head. “I always wondered where you got all that badonk from.” But you don’t really express any of your black roots. I never hear you talk about nothing but Indian culture; Holi this and Tikka Masala that.”
“Stop. That’s just disrespectful.” They laughed in unison.
Linika peered thru the window. “It’s so beautiful out there, but dangerous at the same time.”
“So, where’s your biological dad from?”
“I don’t know, he left when I was five.”
“Oh OK. I get it. It’s making sense now.” He touched her thigh as reassurance.
“Have you tried to look him up, reach out ?”
“No, I don’t really want to know this man that abandoned us.”
“Linika, I know it sounds cliché but he is your father and you don’t know the circumstances. Just a conversation can change your perspective, the lens that you see your life. History matters.”
“I won’t accept that. He left me, forget my mom, she was a grown woman. He left me, a child.” Linika’s eyes welled up but not enough to form a tear.
Stephan sensing the tension, quickly jumped to another page. “Is your stepdad cool ?”
She took a minute to answer. “I love him soo much. By the way he’s black and from Haiti. ”
“Really. You know they say you marry your father. I’m Haitian.” Stephan said with pride and a twinkle in his eyes.
“Yes Stephan, I know and I love you for it.” She blew him a kiss and mushed his head.
“There is something I need to tell you though. I have a daughter?”
“You do. I had no idea. “
“I don’t talk about her. Me and her mom didn’t work out, so I haven’t seen her since she was 1.”
“What, are you serious? Stephan, that’s crazy. Go see your daughter.”
“Well, it’s not that simple you know. I ‘m not sure she’s even mine, her mom was seeing other guys when we were together. She doesn’t even think it’s mine. But you know, it’s something that is sitting in the back of my mind. Festering, wondering if I’m ditching my kid. The only reason I’m bringing this up is to show you how relationships can be complicated.” Stephan’s eyes glistened.
“Well, it’s too late for me. He’s gone and it’s all good. The End.”
“Obviously not, you still feel some kind of way about it. I hope you don’t flip out once you see his lifeless body. Funerals have a tendency to dig up buried emotions.”
“The way this snowstorm is going I don’t think we’re even going to make it to the funeral.”
“Would you be interested in seeing him, having one conversation, you know for closure?”
“What do you mean?” Linika said with confusion. “I don’t have any regrets if that’s what you’re asking.”
“No, I mean.” Stephan paused. “Talk to him now.”
“What kind of hoodoo shit are you talking. I hope you’re not saying what I think you’re saying. I can’t even run if I wanted to with this storm.” Linika laughed as she pretended to escape the truck.
Stephan looked into the rearview, his eyes widened and his mouth agape. He couldn’t say a word.
“Ummm, can you do me a favor, I think Im losing my mind.
He came in close but gave her some breathing space.
“Take a look around, tell me what you see?”
Linika paused and got closer to the windshield straining to see anything but white wind.
“I can’t really see anything.”
“OK. Look in the rearview mirror.”
Linika’s face froze as she saw her dead father in the back seat. She closed her eyes for a few seconds and looked again. She saw a young girl sitting next to him. She tried to frantically open the door but it wouldn’t budge.
“We’re dead Linika, we were in an accident a few miles back, but we are here NOW. Think about it.”
Linika rubbed her face vigorously attempting to wake up her senses. “I don’t know if this is a dream or a nightmare. Jesus Christ.” The images of the truck flipping over and colliding with the side of the mountain came in a flash of light. “We are dead.”
“We haven’t moved a foot in the last 4 hours.”
Stephan sat back in his seat, “what the fuck.”
He took off his gloves and felt his arm and forehead. He was ice cold and stiff.
“We have these unresolved relationships that need closure. ” His eyes locked on the two forms behind him. “I get the feeling we can’t go on without doing this.” They both looked at each other with apprehension of what was next. They were already dead what could be worse.