Mrs. Weathers turned and went back into the kitchen, Jordan obediently followed. The kitchen hadn’t changed either. The eggshell colored cabinets with the shining silver handles, the sink faucet that rose and drooped over like a walking cane, the sea of dishes that was shuffled around every once in a while in the sink, and there was the fridge. “Sorry about the dishes” she said. “I was going to put them up but I thought ‘what the hell’ it’s Jordan, he’d probably rather see the place they way he’s used to it. Cluttered and messy.”
“You were right. It feels like I should be graduating high school soon.” Jordan said with his eyes stuck on the fridge. There wasn’t much to it, one crinkled photo of an adolescent Mrs. Weathers next to one of an infant Mr. Weathers, a Mickey Mouse magnet clasping onto a ticket stub from a Bruce Springsteen concert, a photo booth roll from Disney World, and right at Jordan’s eye level was a photo of himself and a chestnut haired young man, both of them draped in blue graduation robes and multicolored ropes. Mrs. Weathers kept her eyes on Jordan as she lightly twirled her wrist, swishing the wine in circles.
“When did you last talk to him?” She asked.
“Oh, about a week and a half ago.” Jordan clicked his tongue. “Maybe more like two weeks.”
“Did he tell you he’s not coming home for his spring break?”
“He said he wasn’t sure yet.”
“I think he’s pretty sure now. You’re on your break right now aren’t you?” Jordan’s gaze broke away from the fridge and shifted to Mrs. Weathers.
“Yeah” he said quietly. “Yeah I am.”
“Well, thank you for spending one of your evenings here with little old me. I’m sure you could be off partying and carrying on or whatever college kids are doing for fun nowadays.”
“I don’t think college kids do anything different from how they always have.” He said glancing back at the graduation photo.
“I assume he’s told you about Jazz right?” She asked.
“Steph. He’s talked about that girl, Jazz?”
“Oh yeah, he mentioned her a lot when I talked to him.”
Mrs. Weathers smacked her lips. “I don’t like that girl.” She said as she grabbed the wine bottle on the counter, sauntered to the kitchen table, and sat in one of the wooden chairs.
“Have you met her?” Jordan asked.
“No, and while I shouldn’t judge my son’s friends without meeting them in person I can just tell that I’m not gonna like this one.” She sipped her wine to punctuate the statement.
“From what Steph’s told me she sounds pretty cool.”
“She’s majoring in singing. I’m all for the arts honey, you know that, but majoring in singing? In college? That just sounds like a waste of money. You think Freddie Mercury majored in singing? No. Stevie Wonder? No.”
“I don’t think Stevie Wonder went to college.”
Mrs. Weathers smirked. “You know what I mean though, don’t you? Also just her name. It’s not bad enough that it’s Jasmine to begin with but that she goes by Jazz. It sounds like something that a toddler dumped a bucket of glitter all over.”
“Her name is kind of questionable, yeah.” Jordan chuckled. He took a sip of wine, it was strong and bold and left a bitter taste in his mouth. Mrs. Weathers took a gulp of hers, leaving a miniscule puddle of red at the bottom of the glass. Behind her pale head was a series of square windows split apart by white frames. Even with the pitch black of night behind the windows, the square directly behind her head stood out. The window was a shade of light purple and was one of the more recent additions to the house after a nine-year old Steph shattered the original window with a baseball he had thrown over Jordan’s head. To that day, Steph claimed that Jordan could’ve caught the ball had he given his jump more of an effort. The square in the light shade of purple was the only piece of glass Mrs. Weathers could find in the right size. And she thought the purple window added a little character to the kitchen.
“So you’ve gotta fill me in.” She said. “I didn’t invite you over here just to talk about Steph, you’re my boy too. Tell me what’s going on. Classes, friends, girlfriends, shitty professors, the whole shebang.”
Jordan chuckled again. “No girlfriend, that’s for sure.”
Mrs. Weathers poured herself another glass. “Those girls don’t know what they’re missing out on.” She said lightly shaking her head. Jordan raised an eyebrow but shrugged off her comment and kept on with his memorized college summary.
“Classes are fine; I’m having to take a math class right now so that kind of sucks but otherwise I like all of my classes enough.”
“What else are you taking?” She said at the end of a swallow.
“Uh, Journalism 101, Latin American History, African-American Studies…”
“African-American Studies? How’s that going?”
“It’s good, I’m the only white person in there and one of the football players cheated off of me on a test.”
“Nope, I don’t think he cared about the irony of it. He got a ninety-eight and I got a ninety.”
The two of them laughed, Mrs. Weathers a few decibels higher.
“You’re such a clever kid Jordy, you really are.” She said, trying to stifle the end of her laugh.
“I’m really not. I didn’t realize just how smart people my age can be until I got to college.”
“But you really are something. You remember back when you and Steph used to play Trivial Pursuit against each other and you always kicked his ass?”
“Oh of course.” He said. “But it was Simpsons Trivial Pursuit, that doesn’t mean I’m clever it just means I watch too much TV.”
“He was always so determined to beat you at that game. When you would leave the morning after you spent the night he would always drop his head down and let out this big sigh and I’d ask him, ‘Steph baby, what’s wrong?’ And he would always say, without picking his head up, ‘For once I just wanna be smarter than Jordan.’”
“Well he always beat me at basketball. And he was better than me when we played baseball in middle school. And he always, always got more dates.” Jordan’s last memory prompted a long sip of his wine. “He showed me up in a lot of ways that counted for more than knowing Homer Simpson’s middle name.”
Mrs. Weathers smirked through her nose. “You guys weren’t in a competition with each other. You two are best buds, that’s all there is to it.”
Jordan squeezed his lips together, nodded slowly and took another sip. “So uh…” he started. “Where’s Mr. Weathers?”
She sighed heavily. “He’s on a business trip in Philly. And you know he doesn’t like you calling him ‘Mr. Weathers’, he’s Jeff to you. Just like how I don’t like you calling me ‘Mrs. Weathers’, which I noticed you’re still doing even though I told you stop years ago.”
“No no no no no, not ‘Christine’ either.”
“Then what am I supposed to call you now?”
“Friends call me Chrissie.”
Alex is currently a junior majoring in English with a concentration in Creative Writing and a minor in Film Studies. He is a Charleston native and attended The Charleston County School of the Arts in high school. He is also a feature writer for CisternYard News and is into Edgar Wright movies, basketball, hiking, traveling, comic books, music journalism, milkshakes, and songs with fuzzy guitars.