It all started last night. I had to take Evelyn to her sleep study so she could be in bed and ready for the test by 9:00 PM. I would be back by 6:30 the following morning. She was undergoing tests to see if the cause of her hallucinations, talking out loud, and migraines could be determined.
I got back home between 9:30 – 10:00 PM and headed right to bed (well, after checking my “evening routine” list – empty the ice bin, run the Dispos-All, walk the dog, etc.). I knew I’d have to get up no later than 5:30 the next morning if I were going to be properly prepared to leave the house and make the drive to the sleep center.
The next thing I knew, the phone rang. It was 12:15 AM! It was Karlyn. She had left the house in the early afternoon to have her hair done. If you know anything about Black women’s hair, you know that it takes literally hours for a treatment, so that’s why she was on her way home so late. She was calling from the Royal Farms gas station just ½-mile down the street from our home.
“Daddy?” she asked somewhat sheepishly.
“Ye-ee-es, dear,” I answered.
“Can you do me a favor?”
I made sure that there was a moment of silence so she could get the point that I was thinking about my answer. “What’s that?” I asked.
“Can you bring me a dollar? I put gas in my car, and I wanted to get something to eat, but my card is a dollar short. I have four quarters [in the console between the two front seats], but they’re ‘stuck.’”
“OK, but I want you to stay in the building until I get there. I don’t want to have to change from my pajamas just to run down the street and back.” It was a plan. And, yes, I was equally concerned for her safety at that hour of the night, but I also didn’t want to have to appear in public in my PJ’s.
So I arrived at the Royal Farms. Karlyn was standing in the doorway so she could come out as soon as I pulled up. I rolled the window down and handed her the dollar. She thanked me profusely. Then she said, “This really nice man gave me the dollar to pay for my food, but I wanted to pay him back. But he said that a lot of people had done nice things for him, and he didn’t want me to pay him.”
Where can I find a wall to bang my head against? I tried very hard not to get angry, although at that hour, and under those circumstances, it was really hard not to.
The P. S. to the story is that as Karlyn was leaving for work this afternoon, she realized that she couldn’t find her purse. We pretty much tore the house apart looking for it when I asked her if she could have left it at Royal Farms last night.
And that, my friends, is merely a glimpse into life with Karlyn.