• mariokiefer

Bougie Chronicles - Episode 4

“You are most certainly going to college!” Cali Kerry exclaimed.

Bougie Becky, who was dining with Fancy Fiona, looked over to Kerry’s table then back to her own food. A woman and her child at another table did the same.

Kerry realized that she spoke perhaps a little too loudly as she noticed these diners turn from their own conversations to look at her. She lowered her voice, then said to her son, “What kind of a job do you think you will find without an education?”

Kerry wanted only the best for her child. What parent doesn’t? Even before her Johnny was born, she read all of the parenting books. She was bound and determined that this child would be raised better than she. Her child was going to eat only the best so that he would be big and strong. Her child was going to be involved in sports so that he would have a good physique. Her child was going to be well-educated so that he had a good mind. Kerry resolved that she would teach her child the difference between right and wrong. He would know how bad it is to judge other people based on race, creed, color, national origin, gender, or sexual orientation. She would raise her son to be a good steward of the environment, to think of others before himself. She would teach her son to be mindful of his words, discriminate in his judgment, and refined in his taste. Her child was going to be a good person. But being good person takes discipline and right-thinking. That right-thinking came from education. From the moment that she first learned of the new life that she carried inside her, she vowed that her child would be special. There was nothing that she would not do to ensure his success in this world.

The waiter walked up to their table and asked if everything was okay. Kerry looked down at her nearly empty glass of Louis Jadot Chassagne-Montrachet, then back to the waiter and said, “Another glass of wine, please,” as she waved him away.

“I just don’t think that college is the right path for me,” Johnny explained.

“What do you mean? There is no job out there worth having that doesn’t require college.”

Kerry noticed the woman at the table next to her roll her eyes.

“I want to do something with my hands. I enjoy being outside. I like working on machinery. I like building things.”

“Then get an engineering or architectural degree so that you can design those things.”

“I don’t want to design them,” Johnny interjected. “I want to build them using my own two hands.”

Kerry pursed her lips and turned slightly away as her eyes sought support from the diners around her silently pleading, I don’t understand. I have given him everything. He never needed or wanted for anything. And this is how he repays me? She caught glances of sympathy from some of those diners. From others, she saw something else.

Her thoughts wandered back to the days when her Johnny was still a baby. She gave all of herself to him, even hiring a nanny to take care of those menial tasks that she didn’t want to take on so that she could spend only quality time with her son.

Kerry recalled those awkward middle school years when she went to each and every one of his school functions always ensuring that she was there for him. She encouraged him to be and do his best.

She remembered arguing with his high school football coach so that Johnny would be able to play on the team. Her mind flashed to that argument with the coach when he said that Johnny simply was not good enough, but through threats and intimidation she had gotten Johnny that spot on the team. He deserved it no matter what his coach said. He was her son and deserved only the best.

The waiter returned and placed the glass of wine on the table in front of her. “I am told that your meal will be out momentarily,” he said.

“Thank you,” Kerry said momentarily glancing at the server then turning her attention away from him and back to her son in a way that told the waiter he was dismissed.

“I like making things,” Johnny said with a little shrug.

Kerry and her husband had worked very hard to ensure that Johnny never went without. They had a full-time housekeeper so that Johnny didn’t have to worry about mundane things like cleaning. They had gardeners to keep the yard trim so that Johnny could play in it. The pool service kept the pool pristine so that her son could stay cool on those hot, summer days. And this is how he planned to repay her for all those years of sacrifice?

“You don’t need to make the things. You design them and let others build them for you. You won’t be successful working for another man. If you want success, you have to work for yourself.”

“Building something is working for myself,” Johnny interjected. “I don’t want to rely on others to make it for me.”

“I raised you better than that. I raised you to be your own man. I didn’t raise you be someone who works for someone else.”

“I don’t care who designs it,” Johnny replied. “I am interested in being able to make it; to know that I did that.”

“Do you want to spend your life working for someone else? Do you want to be a servant to others? Don’t you have any ambitions beyond being . . . the help?”

The waiter who had returned with a tray carrying their food paused for only the tiniest of moments and silently winced at her description. Then set down the plates in front of them.

“Will there be anything else?” he asked.

“No, thank you,” Kerry said curtly. Why was this man constantly interrupting? Didn’t he realize they were having an important discussion here?

As the waiter walked away, Kerry decided to take a new tack. She turned to her son and said, “Do you want to be like him?” She nodded toward the waiter. “You see him over there. Do you want to be the one serving other people? If you don’t get an education, that’s what you will become. You’ll end up like him.”

Kerry overheard a harrumph from the woman at the next table as that woman turned to her daughter and said, “Do you see that man over there, the waiter?”

Kerry quietly listened in.

“That man has a job and pays his bills. He takes care of himself and is not relying on other people to take care of him. Maybe he didn’t have all of the advantages that others had, but he is doing far more with his life and contributing more to society than that judgmental bitch at the table next to us will ever do with her fancy Liberal Arts degree.”

Kerry’s eyes widened in shock as her son, Johnny, snickered at the comment.

At the other table, Bougie Becky turned to Fancy Fiona and said, “Amazing isn’t it. One teaches her child to judge the help, while the other teaches her child to call people names.”

Then all eyes in the dining room turned to Becky who wondered if, perhaps, she should have said nothing at all.

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