No, God obviously intended quite the opposite for me. Even my name had to be extraordinary. Fancy. Little Fancy Jenkins from Millen, Georgia. No middle name. Just Fancy.
Yeah, Big Ma took one look at me, three hours old and thought Fancy would be the perfect moniker for the baby girl of her baby girl. I guess Suzanne or Michelle just wouldn’t have been enough of a name for the little one that had stolen the last breath from her child. Plus the sandy blonde hair, green eyes and honey beige skin I was born with guaranteed that I would never be ordinary in her eyes.
Yeah, if I would have had it my way, I definitely would not have chosen my name. Shoot I had actually planned to change it when I grew up. But that would have killed Big Ma.
I have always wanted a simple, common name. More ordinary. Something that would not draw unwanted attention to me. Lord knows I have been trying to dodge it since I was born. But like I said, God never intended ordinary for me.
Ordinary definitely could not explain this mad dash down I-95 at 2 a.m. I have being doing eighty…eighty-five since I left Raleigh at 11:45 p.m. I am about 30 minutes from the I-20 exchange. In a couple of hours, I should be entering the city limits of my humble beginnings. Okay, the size of Millen is the only thing that makes it humble. Man, my growing up there had been one adventure after the next. Even my birth was a big hoopla.
I can’t claim to be tired yet. Well, I did stop at that truck stop near Rocky Mount for an emergency potty break. In my rush to get on the road, I forgot to use the bathroom. Big Ma would have a hissy fit if she knew that I had used a public restroom that wasn’t at a five-star establishment. While there, I figured I’d grabbed some caffeine. Amazingly they had a cappuccino machine in that old dusty place. I have never been able to stand the taste of plain coffee… no matter how much sugar or creamer you added. But flavored cappuccino always hit the spot. Guess that’s another signal that ordinary and me don’t agree.
I don’t remember throwing anything in the overnight bag or jumping in my Tahoe before I left my townhome in Raleigh. Actually most of everything after I picked up the phone at 10:20 is hazy. I just remember Wilson screaming through the phone.
“Yo’ Big Ma had a stroke!”
Those words sent colossal shock waves through me.
Fancy pulled into the parking garage at warp speed. She needed to make up the time she had wasted driving all the way to Millen. Wilson, in his haste to inform Fancy about her Big Ma’s stroke, had forgotten to mention that Big Ma had been transferred to MCG in Augusta. She did not find that out until she was greeted at the front door by Uncle Chauncey, who thought Fancy was there to deliver bad news about his oldest sibling. After calming and ensuring him that she had just arrived from Raleigh, he told her that she would have to head back in the opposite direction. Fancy covered the forty-five minute drive in record time.
It was still quite early in the morning, so the booth at the entrance of the parking garage was unattended and the security arm was upright. Fancy found a space near the elevator. Barely putting the truck in park, she jumped out and grabbed her purse. She didn’t even take the time to arm the alarm.
Fancy entered the automatic doors to the front of the hospital and noted immediately how cold it was. It chilled her to her very bones and goose bumps sprang up on her arms. Damn, she thought, I really should have grabbed a jacket from Big Ma’s house. She had not packed one before she left Raleigh.
The front lobby to the hospital was really empty. Fancy quickly approached the information desk. A young man sat behind the counter looking as if he was quite ready for his shift to be over.
“Hi, I need to find out where my grandmother is located,” Fancy said after getting his attention. “She was transferred here earlier from Jenkins County Hospital after suffering a stroke.”
The young man looked at Fancy intensely before asking, “What’s the patient’s name?”
“Inez Frances Jenkins,” Fancy replied.
“Okay, ma’am…let’s see if we can locate her,” he replied. He squinted his eyes as he stared at the computer monitor. “Alright, do you know her date of birth?”
“Yes sir, it is December 9, 1943.”
“And you are?” he asked.
“I am her granddaughter Fancy.”
“Okay, it seems Ms. Jenkins has been admitted to the Neurological ICU. Per our system notes, the doctors are actually awaiting your arrival. A Mr. Wilson Jamison told them that you were driving in.”
He then pulled out a piece of paper and handed it to her. “This here is a map of the seventh floor where the unit resides,” he said. He then circled a block of rooms. “Right here is the unit. Once you exit the elevator, you should head to your left and stop at the nurses’ station. Just take the bank of elevators around this corner on your right.”
“Thank you,” Fancy said before heading away.
“Excuse me ma’am,” the young man called after her. Fancy paused. “By any chance would you be the Fancy Jenkins, the model and fiancée of Drew Hawkins who plays for the Washington Nationals?”
No wonder he was studying me so intently earlier, Fancy thought. She often forgot how recognizable she was.
“Yes, I am Fancy Jenkins and for the record, Mr. Hawkins and I have not been engaged for quite some time,” Fancy responded.
“Oh, I am so sorry,” he said. “I thought I recognized you. Who wouldn’t? You are beautiful.”
Fancy blushed without realizing it. Glancing at his name tag, she discovered his name was Charles. “Charles… I’m sorry,” she paused. “Do you mind if I call you Charles?”
“That’s no problem, Miss Jenkins.”
“Okay, well Charles, I am here to take care of my sick grandmother. I would rather not deal with the unwanted attention of media right now. How can I make arrangements to ensure that our family can focus on what is really important right now?”
“Miss Jenkins, I can promise you that our staff will take careful measures to ensure your family’s privacy during your grandmother’s stay with us,” Charles replied. “In fact, I will contact the nurses’ station to let them know you are heading up and notify our public relations department that they should have a representative meet with you to discuss any information release stipulations you might have.”
“Thank you very much Charles,” Fancy said. “I really appreciate that.” She turned to walk toward the elevators, but stopped short. “Hey, as a treat, how about a picture with me. Do you have your mobile with you?”
“Sure do,” Charles said as he reached to grab the phone from the holster that sat at his waist.
“Okay, come around the counter and we will take that pic right here,” Fancy said. “Sorry, but under the circumstances, I do not look red carpet ready.”
“That is not a problem,” Charles beamed. “I am just thrilled that you offered to do this.”
Charles came around the counter and stood next to Fancy. He appeared a little nervous.
“Come on Charles, lean in close so you can take a close up of us,” Fancy teased. “You will never get a great picture standing over there.”
That said, Fancy leaned in close to the young man and placed her arm around his waist and touched her cheek to his. That caused a wide smile to appear on his face.
“Are you ready?” Charles asked.
Fancy nodded yes just before he snapped the shot.
“Well Charles, I certainly appreciate your help. And I guess I should check the social media sites soon since I know that pic is gonna end up there.”
“Not at all Miss Jenkins,” he replied. “This one is for my eyes only.”
Yeah right, Fancy thought. She knew that he and all of his Facebook fans would have comments about the photo for sure. Fancy smiled at him again before heading toward the elevators.
She could tell that the hospital was not that busy at that early hour because the elevator door opened as soon as she pressed the up button. Stepping inside, she pressed the button for the seventh floor. As the elevator began its climb, her stomach did its usual flutter in response. She leaned against the cool wall and closed her eyes.
She had no clue what to expect when she arrived on the floor. All of a sudden, she was struck by a strong urge to pray. “Lord,” she began. “It’s been awhile since I have asked you for anything. I have no clue what is in store. I have always had Big Ma to rely on. She is always the one that has taken care of us. So I need you now Lord to help me. Help me deal with this, whatever it is. I know I haven’t always been worthy, but Lord I know you love me. You have kept me from the day I was born and I trust you because I know you hold me in the palms of your hand. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Fancy had been so absorbed in her praying that she had not realized the elevator had reached its destination. After she wiped tears away, she opened her eyes. A nurse stood just outside the open door.
“Miss Jenkins,” the nurse began. “We have been expecting you.”