“Um…hello!…excuse me…what’s her name…I forgot.”
My dad had something to tell the woman I hired to help me do some cleaning around the house. He was calling from upstairs and he had forgotten her name.
But what really was her name? I called her “Bull’s mom”. Of course that
wasn’t her real name, but I insisted on calling her that for the sheer pleasure of watching her eyes light up and a broad smile flicker across her face. I could tell by a “sixth sense” that she was truly delighted to be addressed as “Bull mom”.
Her real name was Renita. But I had to find a way to explain that to get on the best side of this woman, you should call her “Bull’s mom.”. But who was Bull, and why did he have such a strong bearing on her life?
My first experiences with Bull started when I stopped with my bike to purchase gas at the nearby gas station. He initiated several trivial conversations with me and since then started calling me his “friend”. And of course, he didn’t hesitate to capitalize on that title of being my “friend.” He showed up time and again at my house, at work, the moment I stepped out of a car, to tell me one sad story after the other about work, his home, his family, his new born baby, and of his wife leaving him alone with the child. And every time I peeled out a couple of dollars hoping that it would take him to the nearby grocery to feed himself and family instead of the nearby “block” to feed his crack addiction. I got to understand that he did the latter more often that not. He was on drugs and it was getting progressively worse. He stole everything he could get his hands on, from slippers to ducks and fowls. Everyone advised me to keep him away from my premises and to call the police on him.
Then one day Bull didn’t show up. He didn’t show up several days in fact. He didn’t show for several weeks. But his mother did. His mother came to meet me. She told me that she just spoken to Bull. She told me he that he is in the lock up and he asked her to contact me, his friend, and ask me to please loan him the required bail money.
On that day, Bull mom also asked if I had any sort of work to give her. She said her husband works at the estate, and her smallest son works in a store. She told me they live “comfortably” in the family but would still like some work to supplement her family income.
In the weeks and months to follow, Bull’s mother would do the laundry, pack the clothes in the wardrobe and clean whatever she could in the house. She would work one day per week and four hours per day.
One day, her son, Bull, came to visit her at my house while she was working. It so happened that one of the neighbors wanted something from the nearby grocery, but insisted it was not convenient for them to go for it themselves. So they called upon Bull, the guy that chanced to ride by the streets that day, and gave him the money to buy the groceries. Of course, Bull never returned. Well he returned, but from the nearby “block” with his pockets full of white powder.
The woman that sent her was the wife of a policeman. They were very annoyed. They would lock Bull up for sure. There was no way he could escape jail. But his mother pleaded and made them a deal that she would repay the money if they give her a couple of weeks.
The neighbors complained time and time again to me that Bull’s mother wouldn’t repay them.
Then one day, Bull’s mom didn’t show up to work. I checked by her house and her daughter in law told me she was not at home. She was at the police station filing a report against Bull. He had stolen all her gold jewelry and blew it into black burnt ashes through a tiny glass pipe…white powder.
Bull would spent quite some time in prison for that offence. And there was nothing his mother could do about it.
Bull was what many people would term the “black sheep” of the family. He was a dope addict, a thief, a prison escapee. The entire gamut of society despised the sound of Bull’s name.
But all the while that Bull was in prison, nothing brought a broader smile or brighter eyes on Aunt Renita’s face than the sound her being addressed as “Bull’s mommy!”.