Updated Nov, 13th 2012
Thanks so much Grace!!! I'm sorry that I didn't post my drafts but here is my story. Please feel free to slice and dice it because it's a little longer than 500 words.
He steps out of Mercedes truck with his 5 foot 10 “girlfriend” in tow. With a sweet potato pie in one hand and a hand attached to 70 inches of foine in the other, they both saunter up to his mother’s door like they’re walking the red carpet.
The carefree feeling of going home is a mix of being the hometown kid who turned into an international basketball star that’s coming over for Thanksgiving dinner to be worshipped and adored by parents, siblings, cousins, aunts/uncles, first cousins, and fifth cousins; and being totally oblivious to where he’s coming up short – despite being 6 foot 9.
A few seconds after he rings the bell, he greeted by Ma, who hugs, kisses, and then immediately rebukes him for being late just like millions of other moms do on this day in November.
Before he steps in the door to greet his family (or should we say his fans) and make each of their days/years, Ma looks at the other long figure at the door and asks, “And who is this one?”
Not knowing whether to be more upset or confused by the matriarch’s question, Miss Lady looks at Mr. Man incredulously, looks back at his mom and after he realizes that this is a. Ma really said that and b. the “and what? ”looks on both of their faces was an indication that no one is going to do anything to make her feel more comfortable, she decides to vigorously yet ever so sweetly introduce herself. Pleased with the amount of “bridge tax” that Miss Lady has paid Ma allows them both to enter.
“My son is home!” Ma announces lovingly to the rest of the family without a trace of the sternness of a sentry she showed at the door.
Expecting the usual stampede of people young, old, skinny, not so skinny, hood, and bougie- that resemble his public more than his family- he was just greeted with faceless “Heys” that came from the family room in unison that almost felt rehearsed.
After being taken aback by this and by swearing that he just saw a tumbleweed blow though the foyer, he went into the living room to make the rounds. He introduced Miss Lady to each family member who each smiled, nodded, and politely said, “Nice to meet you” even though their eyes totally said, “Oh no, not again.”
“Soup’s on!” Ma sweetly proclaimed. The bumrush that Mr. Man expected to see about an hour earlier finally took effect and made him feel like the second most popular turkey in the house.
Once everyone took their seats, prayers were shared, the turkey was carved by Dad, and everyone settled into their first plates, the attention then shifted to Man.
One of his uncles kicked off the Q&A portion of the Dinner Press Conference unofficially sponsored by Butterball by asking Man about his recent retirement. He couldn’t believe Man would leave $25 million on the table “just like that.” His cousins then followed suit with the aplomb of celebrity bloggers by coming up with rumors and half-baked conspiracy theories to explain to the uncles why he was hangin’ em up. A phantom knee injury, the leaking of some compromising photos, and his role his retirement plays in the scripted NBA storyline, were just a few that were bandied about.
After Ma squashed all of the b-ball talk, his aunts jumped into the fray and with their usual tact and diplomacy. They started to ask Miss Lady what she did for a living, if she has already procreated, how she paid for the shiny tennis bracelet that was on her wrist, and what were intentions with man in rapid-fire succession. Her answers, which she spit out without missing a beat- model, yes (a daughter), Man bought it, and security, sent the women into a group tissy-fit! They did everything but call for Lady’s head by telling both her and Man the Top 25 reasons they weren’t right for each other, which surprised
Man more than faceless hellos.
Looking to Ma for reassurance and a saving rescue, he asked her what SHE thought.
Looking at Man with genuine love in her eyes, she put down her mac and cheese-laden fork…and then proceeded to let him have it! She told him that she was tired of him bringing narcissistic “models” without any ambition home to her; told him that she wanted another grandchild or three and that she’s been noticing for the last couple of Thanksgivings that his child-producing hips and quads have been becoming a little flabby; that she was relieved his career was over so that he wouldn’t meet any more Ladies in hotel lobbies, but instead meet a Woman who can throw down in the kitchen and bedroom, properly support and be properly supported by Man to settle down and have a family with.
The interview now turned into a lecture, and Man’s basketball career and all of its trappings was now OFFICIALLY over. After sitting through the rest of the dinner and the post-dinner football game recovering from what the heck just happened, he realized that his life has and will make a drastic change.
As he escorted Lady to the Mercedes, he suddenly longed for the courage to call her a cab and to take that darned bracelet back! As he contemplated whether he could take the bracelet back to his jeweler or if he would have to hock it on eBay, Lady turned to him and said, “Umm…Aren’t you going to get my door?”
Once she said that he snapped out of it, dialed her a cab, waited with her for it, and when it arrived, repossessed the bracelet, all in a span of 600 seconds.
As the cab sped off, a large roar came from Ma’s house- a roar he hadn’t heard since his last game. Now the stampede he was supposed to be greeted with a few hours ago finally approached him and his truck.
He realized that they weren’t disappointed in him retiring but they were waiting for him to really retire from the game.