Laura was an only child who always wanted brothers and sisters, so she collected people. One of the people she collected was Youngest Son's teacher, Lenora. The two of them were thick as thieves, you could always find them with their heads together planning something (usually involving me as regarding my plans for the weekends).
One of the things they planned, unbeknownst to me, were her funeral arrangements. She rightly figured that I would be completely lost, so when that time came all the plans had been made and Lenora carried them out. All I had to do was keep breathing...which at times was harder than it sounds...and make it through to tomorrow.
This creates a bond, going far beyond friendship and into family territory, which is why I have a black woman 15 years my senior who I call Sis. We do for each other, as family does, and we hang together as family is supposed to, and many times I don't know how I would have managed things without her help (especially where Youngest Son is concerned).
Yesterday I got a chance to pay a little of that back.
A week ago Thursday I got a frantic text message at work saying Tyrant was dead and she was dropping Youngest Son off at the house. Very confusing, to say the least, so as soon as I could I called her back. "Tyrant" was an autocorrection of TyRahn, her grandson. He was 22. She was on her way to Goldsboro to get his mother (who understandably was a complete wreck) and then she was going to Winston-Salem where his dad's family lived.
Details are somewhat sketchy and the investigation is ongoing, but apparently he was at some girl's house, he managed to make her mad about something and she made a phone call. A little later on there was a knock at the door, she told him to answer it and when he did he got a chest full of lead for his troubles. Now she's gone on the lam, his best friend (who was there with him and caught a bullet as well) is in the hospital, and he's in the ground.
Throughout last week we traded phone calls and texts (funny little segue here, if not for Lenora adding her insistence to Laura's I would not even have a cell phone because I am a complete Luddite and also I don't like leashes) in which arrangements were made and plans were finalized, which is how I found myself at the funeral with a speaking part.
This did not sit well with his father's family (because my skin tone has a definite pallor), but fuck them, I was there for Sis the way she had been - and always has been - there for me. After all was said and done I made more friends with the rest of the family by taking her home instead of leaving her there to be the answer to all of their pathetic little problems.
Sis is now home and hopefully getting some rest. I told her if she answered the phone in the next 3 days I was coming over there to gather them all up and take them away, and if needs be I will break out the Saiga and patrol the perimeter to keep everyone away. Plenty of time to play Atlas later, I told her, and she's promised to relax for the next three days.
I give her 24 hours before she's out trying to save the world again.