"Hi, your total is 269.54" The cashier said after they were done ringing up the items and bagging them.
Looking up, Ava smiled and put the last bag into the buggy. The smile faded when she recognized the lady who was staring her down at the nail shop three months ago. As she stared, she didn't know whether her mind was playing a trick on her or what.
"I'm sorry to ask but— What is your name?" The women asked squinting her eyes.
The woman's eyes instantly became watery as she looked at her grown daughter. "Ava... it's me," she said placing her hand on her chest. "oh my god!"
"Um, is she crazy?" Vanessa whispered.
Ava's eyes scanned the woman name tag. "Ramona?" She read, softly. She looked up into her eyes, "momma?"
Ramona smiled as tear cascaded down her cheeks. She knew she wasn't tripping when she saw her daughter at the nail shop. "You are so beautiful." She mumbled placing both of her hands over her mouth.
Ava didn't dare blink. She was afraid that if she closed her eyes, Ramona would disappear. Instead she found herself asking why questions. "Why now? Why do you show up now?" Her voice wasn't higher than a whisper.
Ramona's face still looked beautiful from the pictures Alonzo showed Ava from when she was a little kid. The only difference was the bags under her drowsy eyes and her mid length wavy hair. Her body wasn't the same hourglass figure she had when she was younger but she still had that curvy shape.
Clean for seven years, Ramona was hoping that one day she'll finally meet her oldest child and after all these years, here she was. There were times when Ramona would go out to look for Ava in The Bronx, but she didn't have a clue that Alonzo passed away and moved Ava in with Sam.
After finally hearing the bad news she gave up her search for Ava thinking that she'll never find her and moved to New York City. But this all happened five years ago.
As much as Ramona wanted to see Ava, she was scared of the hate Ava might've had towards her. She didn't want Ava to disown her for walking out on her when she was only a baby.
Brainwashed in love, feeling alone and depressed in her own home, tired of the continuous arguments day and night with Alonzo. Looking back, Ramona regretted it all.
The day she went out on the streets, she began searching every corner for drugs, hoping that it would ease her mind because she knew that Alonzo wouldn't give it to her.
She ran into the wrong guy and he gave it to her, took advantage of her and got her hooked on crack immediately. It got to the point where she forgot she even had a kid or husband for a long while.
During that time, she was hustling the streets and getting pimped out by different dudes in exchange for money and crack.
And then one day, after being gone for three years, she seen who was once her husband and her three year old daughter walking hand in hand into a gas station that was across the street she hustled on. She remembered Ava's hair. The hair that caused the biggest controversy between her and Alonzo. It had grown and was wild and curly as she jumped around excitedly for no reason.
Right then and there, Ramona knew it was her child.
She tried calling out his name remembering that he was once the love of her life.
"Hey! A-Alonzo!?" Ramona cried out, watching as he hopped out of signature black Cadillac from the corner she stood on. Her heart pumped hard against her chest seeing that he was still the same from three years ago.