Charlie felt his heart playing the drums again,
but this time he decided to vibe with the beat. “I was really worried about coming home today, but I’m glad I did. When I wasn’t here I went to David’s, and then I slept under Mama’s pagoda. I was tired of the stuff happening at school, and you were always mad and sad. I just wanted to feel like I belonged somewhere. I wanted to be a part of something, but what I’m a part of is bigger than me. I’m part of a family.”
“Charlie I’m so sorry. I know the absence of truth played a part in you feeling that way, and it’s my fault,” Donna sympathized. “I love you.” “I love you too Mama,” Charlie told her. “Do I hear hugs and kisses?” Bix asked as he approached the living room doorway. Charlie and Donna just smiled at each other. “Well the kitchen’s clean, everything is put away, and I’m headed to the store for ice cream. Anyone want anything besides vanilla bean?” “Are those your brownies I smell?” Charlie asked. “Why didn’t you call me so I could lick the spoon?” “Yes they are,” Bix answered. “You guys cool with vanilla bean though?”
“I’m cool. Mama you cool?” replied Charlie. Donna nodded her head in agreement. “Cool. Vanilla bean it is,” Bix confirmed. “Hey Bix!” Charlie called after him. “Can you make these for my; I mean, our birthdays next week? You know you’re the baker and Mama’s the candlestick maker. Or is that you too ‘cause you can design buildings and stuff?” “Boy you’re a mess!” Donna laughed. “Yeah Charlie I got you,” Bix assured him on his way out the door.
“Mama. Can I invite Mr. Charles to the diner for our diner party next week? I want you to meet him,” Charlie insisted. “Sure, that’s cool,” Donna replied. “Today was pretty cool after all,” Charlie said with a sigh. “Indeed it was baby,” Donna said as she kissed Charlie’s forehead. “Cooler than all the fireworks on the fourth of July.” “I don’t know about all that,” Charlie teased. “Shut up!” Donna laughed and gave him a shove. “See, there you go.” The two of them still laughing at each other, got up off the couch. They grabbed their drinks and walked to the kitchen to check on the brownies.
The next day Charlie couldn’t wait to get to the park. He was feeling pretty proud of himself; he’d actually stayed in school all day. One their walk home, Charlie told David what had happened in his house the night before. “Damn, man that must have been intense. I’m happy for you though. Maybe now you can chill out some,” David responded. “Very funny dog. My bad though, for real. I should have text you I wasn’t coming over last night. Bix came over and made brownies and stuff,” Charlie replied.
“It’s all good man. I ain’t no girl. I’m not getting bent out of shape over a text. You had a lot going on for real. I’m good,” said David. “Hold up. You said Bix made brownies? The real chocolatey ones with the pecans? Shoot, now you really got me feeling like a jealous female.” Charlie laughed and shook his head at his friend, “don’t worry. He’s making some for the diner party.” “Very cool,” said David as he sauntered like a Cosby Kid. David suddenly put his hand to his temple. “Mybba heabba hurt. Aren’t men supposed to be made out of steel or something,” he groaned. Charlie continued to laugh. “That’s what you get when you skip lunch for science labs.” David was laughing with him now. “I can’t be Einstein if I don’t stay on top of my game.” “I’m pretty sure Einstein dropped out,” Charlie teased. “Shut up. See, there you go,” David answered; pushing Charlie on the grass.
“If I was younger and dumber you would’ve got your ass beat for that. I used to be scared of grass you know,” Charlie taunted. “Man please; you faded Allen and jetted. All you got for somebody to be scared of is your weak ass jumper,” David affirmed. “Whatever man. I’m bout to make ‘em scared of this power dribble I’ve been working on,” Charlie shot back. “You wanna see it?” “If you say so,” said David. “When you’re done trying to show off, we’re going back to your house for left overs.” “For sure,” Charlie concluded. “Prepare to get your lights knocked out.”
The boys did one of their handshakes before making their way to the basketball court. Charlie began to feel like he was forgetting something. He looked around, and looked around again. Where was Mr. Charles? Charlie hoped nothing had happened to him. He was always at the park. “You ever notice this ball is always here?” David asked. “We never even think about bringing one anymore, ‘cause this one is always in its spot; right inside the fence.” “Yeah,” Charlie answered. David noticed the strange look on his face. “You thinking about last night still? Yo, you good Chuck?” “Nah man it ain’t that. I thought I left something at school. You know I’m trying to get my shit together that’s all.” Charlie shook off the worry. Maybe Mr. Charles went home earlier.
“You sure? You look funny all of a sudden,” David persisted. Charlie kneeled down. He bounced the basketball off the ground with just the slap of his hand. Charlie turned and smiled at David. “You ready? Come on let’s play!” He left no time for David to react. Charlie dribbled down the left side of the opposite court. As he approached the paint’s first block he 1,2 stepped right up to the backboard. The ball came through the net; Charlie grabbing its rebound. He put the ball down and began to dance. Charlie danced and yelled to David, “Ay yo! Who’s Dougie’n now?!”
What’s going on? What do you think happened to Charles?
Will Charlie get to invite him to the diner party?