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By Georgia Bentz










I look around the apartment helplessly. Mama has been gone

from me less then a week. I couldn't get to the funeral on

time eitha. I feel so bad, but that Stockwell guy is to

blame. I pound my fist into my palm in anger. Nurse

Sampson, a nurse at the Chicago Memorial Hospital has said

it'd been painless. But I wish I could have got here

faster, I couldn't though, cause Stockwell kept me at the

mansion, til word had reached him somehow that she'd gone,

and been buried.


"OH MAMA". Was that said out loud? I'm so glad the guys ain't here to see me bawlin' like a baby. I need to pack up her stuff. Where do I start? How do I begin to pack up things from my past, and to jus' shut off a legacy like my Mama? At leas' a legacy in my own min'. I stumble ta her bedroom, an' spy a cardboard box, that says "SCOOTER" in bold letters on the side of it. Fact the word Scooter's all over the box. Never could get her ta understan' that I ain' Scooter no more. I tear it open, and

there's a letter inside. I open it up:


Dear Scooter,

Hi Baby. Just a little note to tell you that I'm thinking of you. You are very important to me. When you get home next time, I'll probably not be living anymore. I know these are harsh words, but I need to get it out in the open. I always taught you to be honest. Not that I wasn't honest the last time you came to visit, it's just that I didn't want to worry you about my illness. Cancer. Can you believe it? After all these years, and your mama's dying from cancer. Don't cry Baby. It's not your fault at all. I never believed for an instant that you were guilty. But I guess you knew that. Didn't you Baby? I love you very much. If you're reading this it means I've passed on. But don't worry I'm here in your heart, just like your Daddy was always in yours and my heart as well. Your daddy died in a plane crash. I don't know if you remember what had happened. But I do. Poor Rodney thought I'd bust his face in. Ah what a temper I have!!!! I'm afraid I passed that frightful temper on to you. Now don't laugh. Having an awful temper, takes one's time and energy to control. I should know. But when them guys came to the apartment building and broke my arm, I actually threatened them. They of course laughed, but not for long. Not after my big strong Scooter showed up. I knew you weren't the leader of the A-Team. I never let on I knew, I just let you play your game. It meant alot to you so I just played along. How is Hannibal anyway? And Murdock? You'd better not be too hard on him Baby. He needs your attention. Oh and Face. Poor baby he needs someone to look after him. That's why I take over whenever you all come to visit me on occasion. Well I guess I've said enough. Goodbye for now Baby. I love you Scooter, and no matter what happens I'll always love you.

Signed your ever lovin',



I sniff loudly and rummage through the box again. My old

truck I used to 'scoot' 'round the 'partment. It's a little

battered, but Mama saved it just for me. There's also a

cassette tape in here. I take it out and I put it in the

cassette player, in the living room. Unconsciously I take

the box with me. It's a song about a man reminiscing about

his own mama. It's sad. But it about sums up my life with

my own mama.....


Here's how it goes:




First day of recess they all laughed at me, when I fell off

the swing set and scraped up my knee. The nurse called my

Mama to say I'd be late. When she gave me the phone I could

hear Mama say, "I'm so sorry Son, oh I think you're so

brave." She was smiling when she said, "When you come home

no matter how far, run through the door and into my arms,

it's where you are loved it's where you belong. I will be

here when you come home." I waved goodbye through the

window as I boarded the plane. First job in Houston was

waiting for me. I found a letter from Mama tucked in my

coat, as I flew down the runway I smiled when she wrote:

"I'll miss you Son, you'll be so far away, I'll be waiting

for the day when you come home, no matter how far run

through the door and into my arms. It's where you are loved

it's where you belong. I will be here when you come home."

"I don't think she can hear you now. The doctor told me.

Your mother is fading it's best that you leave." So I

whispered "I love you." Then turned away. But I stopped at

the door, when I heard Mama say, "I love you Son, but

they're callin' me away, promise me before I go, when you

come home no matter how far, run through the door and into

my arms, it's where you are loved, it's where you belong. I

will be here when you come home. When you come





The song ends and I lean against a wall, not noticing my

body is shaking with spasms of grief. I moan too. Not

caring if anybody hears me or not. Tears trickle down my

face. I hear a noise. Footsteps enter in the living room,

I don't react. Too lost in my grief to care. Someone holds

me in their arms, at least I think someone holds me. At

first I don't 'knowledge them. I am too stricken with

grief. I unconsciously whisper. "I'm home Mama. But I

ain' got no arms to run inta. I miss ya Mama. Why'd you

have to go? Why couldn't you stay alive forever? I still

need you Mama. You ain' supposed ta die. You my rock my

anchor. OH MAMA...."


I try to compose myself, but I can't get past the emotions welling up in me. Where is that Crazy Foo' who try ta analyze things? Where is Hann'bal who thinks up them crazy plans? Or even Faceman? I could stand all them chatterin' but this silence...This silence ain' supposed ta be here. It's supposed to be filled with good things cookin', and my Mama's rose water fragrance. I slide down the wall til I'm crouchin' and I bury my face in my

hands. My gold jingles a little, but not much. It all sounds like bells jinglin'. What was that quote 'bout angels an' bells? Ah well I don' 'membah. The arms still hold me, and I unbury my face to look at my hugger. It's Nurse Sampson.


She's like my surrogate Mama. I grew up with her. She does her best to ease my pain as best as she can. She smiles, and asks if I need help packin' up. I nod. "But first let me make you something to eat." She says. I nod again, not being able to do much of anything. Mama's death and funeral had been quick. Good thing the death had been painless. Again I rummage through the cardboard box. The box that seems to have ended up in the living room with me. I pull out my football jersey, my old football, a little deflated but all in all good shape. Another jersey comes out of the box. This time a baseball jersey. Now a picture comes out of me and Mama. Posing for an unknown photographer.


My baseball cap's pulled over my eyes so you see only a shadow where the bill ends over my eyebrows. I hold up a small trophy. We'd won it seems. Yep. Here's the trophy, it was in the box too. It's mall all right, but just the right size to fit in my little hand. I put it back in the box.


Soon Nurse Sampson calls me into the kitchen for lunch. I don't eat much, just drink my milk. I soon go back to the chore of packin' up. I found Mama's special cedar chest, the one she kept all her memories in. My baby book, her weddin' album. Daddy's

picture, everything. Most folks don't know that my Daddy was an airplane pilot. He died when I was six. I never really knew him, but Mama raised me by herself. I never knew her to have a quick temper. She always said that Daddy was the most laid back of us all. But I did see her part of her temper, when the guys and me came to rescue her from the scum that had invaded the 'partment building. They broke her arm.


I couldn't believe it. Nobody was allowed to treat my Mama like that. And I let the scum know it too. "If only I can see you one more time, just one more time. Have you hug me 'steada Nurse Sampson." But as I suspect nothin' happens. Nurse Sampson helps me a little, but she soon has to go to tend to her own family. I sigh again. Packing up box after box, I can't bear to just throw these things away.


Or give them to GoodWill. I can't bear to part with them. Maybe I oughtta take 'em with Me? No I can't. I'll just call the storage people, rent a moving truck, and put her stuff in storage. I can't believe I'm doin' this. Gettin' ridda Mama's stuff like this. Finally the apartment is empty.


It actually didn't take that long, it being a small apartment and all. I won't call the moving truck til tomorra. Tonight I'll just sleep, an' call 'em in the mornin'. As I head to bed, in my old bedroom, I hear a whisper. A voice calling my name. I sit up in bed, "Mama that you?" Only it don't answer back. It only says, "I love you Scooter. I'm proud of you Scooter...." It says

the same thing over and over. Finally it's gone, and I'm

left with feeling that finally things are complete. It'll

still be hard seein' Mama's things packed up, but at least

she knows that I care for her, and I love her. "I love you

too Mama. See you later Mama...." I murmur, then fall fast

asleep, with a grin on my face. Knowin' that Mama is

watchin' over me.






WHERE YOU BELONG by Georgia Bentz



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