Season 1 Episode 3 —” The Torture Chamber of Nadine Henderson – final chapter ”
After I got her car out of the shop, Nadine seemed to settle down somewhat. Her phone calls became less and less frequent, and she didn’t just pop in out of the blue. I began to think that she finally got the message. I kept in touch with J.D., and over time we began to become “friendemies”, not that it was a word back in the eighties. But I guess it best described our relationship. I found out that he wasn’t the ogre’ she made him out to be, in fact, I think we might have been friends if we had met under different circumstances. He wasn’t a very well-educated fellow, but he was street wise, and he turned out to be a hard worker. Which in my set of values, is a plus for anyone. About a week before Nadine’s due date, J.D. called me and said the she threw him out of their apartment, at the behest of her mother, Mrs. Henderson. Now, I have never been one to sit around and listen to gossip. It’s just not my cup of tea. But this time I listened, mainly because Mrs. Henderson had accused J.D. of stealing money out of her purse. My short exposure to him, let me know right away that there was something wrong here. As I have said, J.D. was a hard worker and a bad liar. The truth would always spill out of him, if you pressed him for details. It’s something that would cause him to lose a poker game, with a winning hand, because he simply couldn’t hold on to a bluff. You could read his hand, just by looking at his face. He went with Nadine to her mom’s house, after they had been there twenty minutes or so, Mrs. Henderson came out saying that some money was missing out of her purse, he was the first to say that he didn’t take it. Nadine said that it wasn’t her, that she knew better than that. After five minutes of accusing J.D., she told him to get out of her house. J.D. waited for Nadine to say something, when she didn’t he left. He saw Mrs. Henderson’s hand bag locked up in her car as he was walking past her Ford Tempo. He said that he started to turn around and go back and confront her with this new evidence, but that he thought better of it. How was he supposed to steal from a purse in a locked car? He said that he just kept walking and went back to their place. Nadine came home later and told him that he needed to move out, so he left and has not seen her since.
Mrs. Henderson called me on the due date, asking me to come sit with Nadine while she picked up her daughter from school. I asked immediately “Where was J.D.?” She hesitated a moment and then said, “They had a fight and he left. She said that she ain’t seen him since last week. I don’t know where he is. But my Grand daughter gets out at 3:30 and I need to go pick her up.” I saw an angle being worked out, Mrs. Henderson had no idea that I had just talked to J. D. the day before yesterday. It was raining that day and we couldn’t work in the mud, to many bad things happen on construction sites in the rain. Truck drivers get stuck on those muddy roads leading into the gravel pits, you could get stuck down so far, that they can’t dig you out with an earth hauler. So I told her that I’d be there. I went to John Peter Smith Hospital, and found them in labor and delivery. Mrs. Henderson said that she had a couple of other errands that she needed to address and if I don’t mind she would be back around six p.m. . I told her that’s fine, just come back after you’re done.
As I waited there with Nadine, she was her usual talkative self, until her contractions became closer. She was taken to delivery while I was still there. An older Black nurse asked me ” Are you going to the delivery room with your wife? In my mind I was Captain Kirk, commanding the U.S.S. Enterprise. Surrounded by hostile alien starships, the helm reports “No power to the weapons or the shields, Captain! I dramatically turned to her, as if I were Kirk turning to face the enemy on the main view-screen. A resolute “No!” came from my lips. I further said “I am not her husband, and that is not my baby! Then she said “Okay, I know this is a scary thing for young men, but sometimes you have to do things that make you uncomfortable. You can wait in the room outside of Delivery.” She went out and went with the others, as they took Nadine to birthing. After she had her baby and I sat outside in the waiting area chain-smoking, (in the 1980’s you could still smoke in the hospital ) a nurse tapped on the window with Nadine’s tiny baby boy. I went over and saw him all wrapped up in hospital blankets and wailing to beat the band. I remember thinking “Kid, if you knew what you’ve fell into, you would start to climb back up right now!” Nadine’s mother returned shortly after the baby was born, but not before the old nurse came back with a form for me. She place the clipboard down and asked me to write a name on the baby’s birth certificate, and sign in the father’s slot. I told her again that I was not the father. (I think that Maury Povich got the famous line for his show, from me.) After my second refusal, she took the form and went back to her station.
Mrs. Henderson returned with her granddaughter, and that form that the old nurse had tried to get me to sign. She looked it over while I brought her up to speed, at one point she asked me to read it, because she couldn’t see it very well in the hospital lights. I informed her what it was, and she nodded that she understood. Then she said “ How come you didn’t sign it? You know that child is going to need someone stable in his life. ” Without another word, I walked out of the hospital. I never had any further communication with Nadine or Mrs. Henderson again. My education was now complete.
Next time on “As the Ghetto Turns” We visit the thought that people in the African-American community should own the businesses that serve the Black community. But many feel that other Blacks will not patronize Black business. In episode 4 “The White Man’s Ice is Colder”