The Easter Coupon
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Poverty sometimes sparks creativity, such being the case in Jeremiah’s single-parent home alongside his four siblings, Easter arriving three weeks after the welfare check and therefore ensuring no chocolate bunnies, yellow peeps and colorful baskets with artificial grass. The tradition in this family was for mom to wake up a little earlier than the kids and strategically place throughout their small two bedroom apartment the plastic eggs they had been using year after year , one egg per child, the contents of hatching upon which would be a few homemade coupons.
‘Good for one extra dessert’
‘Good for one hour of staying up past your bedtime’
‘Good for one day of no chores’
‘Good for one sleepover’
‘Good for one stay-home-from-school day’
That second to last of the half-dozen coupons was the most prized among them all, usually being used by Jeremiah and his siblings within a week of receiving it. But on Jeremiah’s tenth year, which ironically turned out to be the last year of the Easter coupons, his favorite was the sixth and final one…
‘Good for one YES coupon’
After learning what it meant, that no matter the situation or circumstance, mom would have to say yes, Jeremiah now saw this one as a true golden ticket. As in years past his brothers and sister used it up quite quickly, usually as a kind of get-out-of-trouble free card, but for Jeremiah this year was different. He had grown up under his mother’s abusive hand and tongue, either bearing witness to or feeling the brute force of unspeakable violence and humiliating language every day from as far back as he could remember. And now that he was ten years old the combination of wisdom and experience gave birth to the thought, the knowing that he would somehow one day need this homemade coupon for his future self.
And so Jeremiah kept it hidden away in the plastic blue egg from which it had originated, accepting the beating for having supposedly lost it, accepting the responsibility of keeping it as his deepest secret year after year.
It should come as no surprise that as each of the children reached the age of adulthood they not only left their nest to go out into the world on their own but sprinted to do so, Jeremiah being the second of five to spread those wings of freedom and never look back. But never was a word that never seemed to truly come about, for he couldn’t help but circle back around every now and then given the fact that he still had three younger siblings living the hell within the lionesses lair. And so he would check in as big brother, assuring the younger ones to remain strong while threatening the ever aging beast to stop with the torment or she’d be reported and eventually end up dying alone.
Once all had found freedom revisiting the negative nest was as rare as one might expect, usually only coming together for Thanksgiving. But amongst the turkey, dressings and reminiscing dear mother’s negative nature would never fail of rearing its ugly head, the family forever destined to separate under the angst of anger.
That is until Jeremiah was about to become the kind of person he had never had in his own life; a father. In an age where technology informed everyone everyone else’s doings he couldn’t help but keep the news from his mother, her positive messages and claims of change falling on deaf ears for life had taught him nothing could be further from the truth, a brief conversation with his dear mother proving within seconds a poisoned perspective is not cured by time alone. That rage, that wrath appearing within a blink of an eye when faced with the truth from Jeremiah’s lips. That in order for his child to have a true chance of breaking the cycle, of building the foundation of a positive upbringing the grandmother-to-be would have no place other than virtual within the sacred circle of family.
The exchange had been heated, nearing a downright inferno as the beast poured out in objection, the facts of past and present only adding fuel to the intense fires of protest she retaliated with.
With no reasoning, no understanding through wiser eyes, no means to an and Jeremiah brought forth that ol’ plastic blue egg, cracked it open and withdrew the coupon he had been saving for the past twenty-four years. While doing so dear mother’s flames of fury began to shrink down as memories of past arose, but it wasn’t until Jeremiah handed her the coupon that full realization doused the flames once and for all.
‘Good for one YES coupon’
For once in her life, for once in their lives she was able to see truth without shrinking, shielding, retreating from it, those memories of yesterday exploding like atomic bombs, the mushroom clouds of suffering she had caused her children dissipating all ego, the view left behind that of her pure and precious grandbaby, along with the knowledge of now understanding that the only way this child would remain such was if she were to turn and walk away.
And so she did.