Ms. Burris has asked that we take her home before we go to Social Services. I don’t quite blame her there. Tidewater Park is not necessarily the place you are trying to walk through at night. I don’t have a car seat, so I tell Denise that she needs to hold onto Jordan as best she can in her seatbelt. Jacinta seems to have calmed down a bit and I believe the drive has soothed her into a sleep. I am sure that she is absolutely exhausted. A three year old, should never have to go through what she has been through. I am sure her emotions and thought process is all over the place. I pray that all is well with Julianna. I don’t know where she is or why she would leave her children and her house in the conditions that she did. Something must be really wrong. As much as I have a strong dislike for her mother, I do not ever wish that on any of the children. These circumstances are not their fault. They are simply caught in the middle. Denise is truly concerned and I can tell that she loves these little girls as if they were her own.
Ms. Burris is overwhelmed and exhausted as well. I am sure that she didn’t wake up this morning thinking that she was going to walk into what she did. She has had her hand on her head the entire ride. I decide to break the silence. “Ms. Burris, you did the right thing. Don’t feel bad about anything. If anything this family owes you the world. No telling how worse this situation could have been had your not come in today. These kids will be fine and I am sure that we will be able to help them get to the right people.” She lets out a huge sigh. “I’m sure that you know what you are doing Ms. Garrett. I honestly applaud you for stepping up to the plate and taking charge of the situation. Most people would have hung up on me had I presented this situation to them. I know their real grandmamma did. Its a damn shame. And Ms. Julianna…. I don’t know what has gotten into her.”
I finally pull into Tidewater Park. Ms. Burris is gathering her things. Before she gets out of the car, she grabs my hand. “Ms. Garrett, please make sure nothing happens to these babies. Mr. Joseph is a good husband and a good father. I know he will fix this. Don’t let them strangers take them away from him.” I nod and a tear falls down my face. I don’t know what I would have done if someone tried to take Denise away from me. Even though she is already a grown woman, she is still my baby. “Ms. Burris, I promise I will do everything I can to keep these kids safe and to help get them back to their father. I promise you that.” I squeeze her hand in acknowledgement and she finally closes the car door. I wait and watch her walk until she is finally in her apartment. God knows he can send angels. As she was walking through the courtyard, all of the kids playing run up to her and help her with her bags. It is as if she is the grandmother of the projects. She is most respected. Even the hoodlums speak and offer to help her into the house. Having seen this, I began to back out of the parking space and head down to Princess Anne.
The bus has run it’s few errands in the city and now I am finally getting dropped off at the airport in Casa Blanca. It took an additional two hours out of the way. I wish that they could have just dropped me off first, but beggars can’t be choosers. I locate the Pan Am ticket counter and I stand in the somewhat long line. All of the announcements are in either Farsi or French. So far, no English. This should be interesting. I finally get to the ticket counter and a beautiful Moroccan woman greets me at the counter, speaking French of course. “English?” In a thick accent, she responds. “Yes Sir, what can I do for you today?” I explain my itinerary which makes her have several faces of ‘wow”. “Ma’am, I am just trying to get home as soon as I can. Can you help me?” She looks through several sheets of what I think are flight schedules. She looks at the clock behind her on the wall and then back to the flight schedules. “Ok, so there is a flight leaving for Paris in another hour. However, if you can run, there is a flight leaving for Rome, Italy in the next 20 minutes. The gate is not that far. It will allow you to transfer flights in Rome and then from Rome to New York. It is a longer flight, but it will get you back to the U.S. faster than the route you requested.” I tell her to book it.
“Pocket! You don’t understand. My kids are gone! They are not here!” I am still running through the house screaming their names. “Well hell, it seems to me as if we don’t have any problems. If they aren’t here, then we don’t need to do anything. I thought you said, you were coming here to get some money. Where is the money? Let’s get that and then we can split.” He clearly doesn’t understand the severity of this situation. I can’t think clearly and tears are rolling from my face. What in the hell happened to my babies. I have fucked up big time. This house is a mess! My kids are missing! My husband is out at sea! He has no idea about my partying. He is going to lose it if I call him. I have got to find my kids. Pocket is still trying to get me to get some money and leave with him. “Julianna!! I am not going to ask your ass again. Get the money and let’s split!!” I don’t want another back hand. I get a few things. I grab a change of clothes and I go into my walk in closet. Joseph keeps extra cash in a few of his dress socks. I grab a few pairs of “money socks”. I don’t want to leave, but I don’t have a choice.
The police station in Princess Anne is cold. Not just temperature cold, but it gives me chills. Jordan has fallen asleep and Denise is carrying her. I am holding Jacinta’s hand. She is still sleepy herself. I reach the information counter and I tell the officer sitting there that I am there to meet a social worker. He tells us to have a seat on the wooden bench. We sit on the bench and the bench itself confirms the coldness. “Momma, what are these people going to do about the kids? Do you think they may make them stay here? If they stay here, they are going to be more scared than what they were when they were in that closet. Can’t we just keep them until Joseph calls and gets his mother to help?” At this moment, looking around this station, I totally agree with Denise. I don’t want to leave these kids here. I just want to let the authorities know that these kids are in my care until the real parents or guardians become present. I call myself trying to do the right thing. You just can’t walk off with other people’s children, even if they did abandon them. Before I can respond to Denise, I hear someone call my name. “Ms. Garrett!” I stand up and tell Denise to come on. At this point God is going to have to let his will be done. We can request as much as we can and I will. I just don’t know if these folks are going to be that understanding.
I am steady dialing the phone number that Ms. Burris gave me for Mignon Garrett. When Ms. Burris told me who Ms. Garrett was, I was in shock. She must be an angel. Aint no way I could have been in her position. Taking care of the grandchildren of the woman who stole your man. The phone continues to ring. I finally hang up. What I do know is that this woman has my grandchildren. From what I understand, she is a good person. I don’t feel like being in this hotel room. I call the front desk. “Yes, this is Susan Jones in room 317. I need a cab….