I’m driving in my car. I have no idea where I am, but Chico is in the passenger’s seat. If you know me, I try to be a careful driver. This stems from years of driving a corporate car for Kraft. All of the highway signs are indicating that we are in Canada. We must have crossed the bridge from Detroit. Everything in this country is so different yet the same. I exit the highway and start to press my on the brakes for the exit’s light. The brakes don’t work!!! In fact, it feels as if the car has taken control of itself. The new BMW’s don’t come with the emergency brake lift. I am whizzing around cars and trying to avoid an accident. I can’t seem to find a good spot to run into in order to help stop the car without hurting anyone. I look at the speedometer and it is reading 92. Chico hasn’t said a word, which is weird. I am yelling at him to help me. It is as if he doesn’t hear me. I am scared and still whizzing around cars yelling and blowing the horn to get them out of my way. All of a sudden I hit a phone pole. Chico is ejected from the passenger seat and goes through the windshield. Blood is everywhere. I don’t have a scratch. The airbags didn’t deploy. Half of his body is still in the car, the other half is laying on the hood. What have I done!!! Oh my God! I get out of the car and I run to the other side. Chico’s eyes are wide open and he is none responsive. My God!!! I yell and scream. There are people standing around us, but no one seems to want to help. I am yelling for someone to call an ambulance. No one seems to be moving. “Chic, baby wake up!!!” He isn’t moving and those eyes are piercing at me as if to say “I told you so and this is your fault”. Chic is dead.
I couldn’t get much sleep last night so I decided to go to the gym. I am glad that they are open 24 hours. It was quiet and no one was around, so I had the gym all to myself. I hadn’t really had a good workout since we came to Atlanta from Tampa. This was my favorite pass time and I was really enjoying doing something that seemed normal for a change. I have my earphones in and the trap music is perfect for my workout. All of a sudden, the trap music stops and my phone is ringing. Who in the hell would be calling at 5:00 a.m.? I see that it is Joseph. “Hello” From the yelling and screaming in the background, I can already tell that something is up with Cint. Joseph wants to know where I am and he tells me that I should get back to the house as soon as possible. I hear the sense of urgency in his voice but I also hear fear. I know that he is in over his head. I rush out of the gym and now I am speeding towards the house.
I heard screams coming from the other room. I am always up around 3:00 a.m. or 4:00 a.m. Old work habits are hard to break. I was always working on Taiwanese time. So even in my retirement, I am wide awake this time of morning. I thought that I had heard some moving around earlier, I just thought that maybe someone was up using the bathroom. But now I am hearing screams and those screams are definitely coming from Jacinta. I go to their bedroom and when I open the door, I don’t see Chico or Jacinta. I still hear the screams, but no one is around. Their master bedroom takes up the entire half of their house. It is huge. Their bathroom is the size of my guest room. Their closet is another room all in itself. I look for Jacinta in the bathroom. I don’t see her. I look for her in the closet, which is a “safe” place for her. I don’t see her. Baylor is starting to bark on the side of the bed. If it weren’t for him doing so, I wouldn’t have know that she was on the floor on the side of the bed. She is laying in a fetal position and in crying uncontrollably.
“Jacinta, baby what’s wrong?” She is steady screaming and hollering. I don’t know if she is in any physical pain or what. I look her over and from what I can tell she has sweated out her nightshirt. Her hair is soak and wet. She is sweating and crying. I touch her head to see if she has a fever. She is warm, but I don’t think she has a fever. Maybe she got overheated or something. I leave her for a moment so that I can go and get my phone. I yell through the house for Chico and I don’t get a response. I check the garage and his car is gone. I dial his number and ask him to come home quickly. I hang up. I didn’t have time to explain what was going on. In fact, I didn’t know what was really going on myself. I get back to Jacinta and even though she is still crying and screaming, she now realizes that I am here and sitting on the floor next to her. “Daddy!!! I killed him!!! He is dead and it is all my fault!!! I didn’t mean to do it!!! I didn’t mean to do it!!!” Jacinta is steady screaming and I have no idea what she is talking about. “Baby, calm down!!! What are you talking about? Who did you kill?” This makes her scream more and louder. “I killed Chico Daddy!!! I killed Chico!!!” I know that I just got off the phone with Chico. He seemed to be ok. In fact, he isn’t even here. I tell Jacinta to calm down and I hope that Chico can walk through this door so that I can help calm her down. She must be hallucinating again.
Denise is rattling off questions a mile a minute. Most of the questions that she has, I truly don’t know the answer myself. I explain to her all of the information that Ms. Burris has given me. Part of me feels crazy even having this conversation with my own child. She is in college and at some point, she will have to understand what happens out here in the real world. Denise is sensitive. I can tell that this is somewhat overwhelming for her. “Momma, I don’t know what is going on with Julianna. I just can’t imagine leaving those two babies at the house by themselves. I am sure that if Joseph was in town, we wouldn’t be getting this phone call from Ms. Burris. He has to be out of town Momma! I know it. Julianna is just acting wild. I don’t get it.” I look over at my daughter and for the life of me, even right now, I find myself getting emotional. There is no way that I could ever abandon her. Denise is starting to tear up and I see the tears falling from her face.
Denise has had to give me directions to Julianna’s house. I have never been there. I see that we are in a new neighborhood. Extremely nice homes. I pull into the driveway and before we can even ring the door bell, Ms. Burris is already opening the door. “Ms. Garrett! I am so glad that you are here. I have no idea what to do!” Denise speaks to Ms. Burris and walks pass her to go and find the kids. I truly don’t believe my eyes. I look around and the house is a complete disaster. I can see why Ms. Burris is in over her head. I would be charging double if I was her. The house is really pretty and different. If I had a house like this, there would be no way I would mess it up like it is. We go through the foyer and into the den. Jacinta is crying and so is Jordan. Denise is holding Jordan and Jacinta is leaning on Denise. Denise is crying, but she is telling them that everything is going to be alright. I step over all of the trash that is scattered all over the floor. That is when I notice that there are a few lines of what appears to be cocaine on the glass coffee table. Lord, we are definitely going to need your help with this one.
Knock!!! There is rarely a knock on the door of the physics lab that I work in on the USS John F Kennedy. We have been in international waters off the coast of Morocco. There is a Chief Petty Officer at the door with an envelope. “Sir, this is a telegram that has been sent to you.” He salutes me and dismisses himself from the lab. I get the envelope. I hope all is ok. It must be something from my company. They are the only ones that know what ship I am working on. I am not Navy. I design missile launchers for the Navy. We are on a secret testing mission. We have been out here for three weeks already and I have at least another four weeks to go. I open the envelope which has “confidential” stamped on the front. I really thought that this would be a message from my boss. Instead I read “Please call home. It’s urgent!”