Joan is steady sipping on her cocktail and puffing on a Newport. I have a Virginia Slim hanging from my mouth as well. I can tell that Joan is in heavy thought. She is not just my first cousin, but my best friend, my sister. There aren’t any secrets between the two of us. If I am in a situation, I know that I am not in it by myself. I will always have Joan. The silence is broken by Chance’s barking. From his bark, we can tell that someone is coming to the door. Joan looks out of the kitchen window and tells me that Pocket is approaching. I am sure that Pocket is ready to go. I am not. This may be a bigger issue than it needs to be. At this point, I need to focus on finding my children. They have nothing to do with all of my wild shenanigans. I try to hide my tears and yet they roll down my face anyway. Just on cue, Pocket starts knocking on the door and even though I expected this knock, I jump as if it has startled me.
Joan shuffles herself to the front door and Pocket doesn’t even bother to ask if he can come in, he just walks in as if he owns this place too. Joan doesn’t trip. She just puffs on her cigarette a little longer than normal. Joan has a breaking point, but for now, she is being strategic in keeping her cool. It doesn’t make sense to argue with a fool. Pocket is for sure the fool in question. “Julianna!!!” Pocket yells. “I’m in the kitchen”, I yell back. Pocket comes to the kitchen table Joan following him. “Look, it is time to roll. I have things we need to do.” I shoot a glance at Joan looking for help. She jumps in just as I hope she would. “Pocket, we need to go and find Julianna’s kids. Why don’t you go and handle your business. I will take Julianna back to the house to see what’s going on and then once we find the kids, I will watch them for you guys and I will bring Julianna to meet you.” Pocket decides to take a cigarette out of Joan’s Newport pack. He lights it up and puffs a smoke. Neither one of us really knows what Pocket is thinking. Hopefully, he will do as Joan suggests and let me go look for the kids.
“Joan, them kids probably sleep some damn where. Why bother?” I can tell that this answer is unacceptable to Joan, but she plays it cool anyway. “Pocket, that younger one needs milk. At the least, let us go find and feed the kids. I already told you that I would keep them once we get them. You already got the work. I am sure that you really don’t need Julianna all night. Let me help her with the kids getting situated and then we will be back in a short.” Pocket decides to put the cigarette out. He gets up and as he walks out of the door he says, “Whatever”. Saved by Joan again. At the same time, as much as I know Joan has my back, I know that she is somewhat disappointed in me. I mean, how in the hell do you lose your kids on purpose? “Joan, I really didn’t mean to leave the kids alone. I truly thought that we were still at my house. When I woke up we were at Pinky’s. I must have been high out of my mind. You know how Pocket lets me have the good stuff….” Joan hasn’t still said anything and from her face, I still can’t tell that she is judging me or not. “I am about to put on some clothes. Let’s go find the kids, Julianna.” I have a sigh of relief.
The social worker said that we had to let the kids ride in her car with the appropriate car seats. Denise begged if she could ride with them. She was afraid that the kids wouldn’t recognize the social worker and act out if someone wasn’t there that they knew. The social worker allowed her and I followed them to Virginia Beach General in my car. My mind had a thousand thoughts. However, there was no turning back now. We had to get things going. We finally get to the emergency room and there were very few people in the waiting room. I am hoping that this is a sign that we won’t be here too long. Wrong! The medical exam that has to be performed can take hours per child. I guess I need to prepare myself for a long night, that has already seemed to go on forever.
Joan is finally ready to go. We get into her car and we start to cruise through Norfolk and then onto Virginia Beach. I told Joan that the kids weren’t at the house. I have no idea who would have taken them or where would they have taken them. She suggests the most horrid of ideas and decides to drive to my mother’s house. Hell, I was probably better off going with Pocket. But I got to get my kids back. My mother is and has never been a “loving” sort of mother or grandmother. It would be hard to believe that my children are with her. She is on husband number five. It takes us a minute to get from Lake Edward to Mirror Lake. This subdivision is new and far out the beach. As we near the house, we hear the jet noise from the fighter jets taking off from Damn Neck Naval Air Station.
Why mother decided to move this far out is beyond me. I am sure that the neighborhood being new and on what most people would consider to be little water is the reason why. My mother has a knack to upgrade herself after each divorce. Her current husband is a dentist and he hates small children. I can’t imagine him saying it would be ok to watch my kids. Joan turns her 280z onto Mirror Lake Drive. She pulls in front of my mother’s house and just as I thought all of the lights are off. There is no sign that she nor her husband are awake. Joan turns the ignition off and we sit there. “Julianna, who else would have access to the house? Who else was at the party? You have got to think! It’s not like we can call the police and tell them exactly what happened.” She is so right. In addition, it is not like I can call Joseph and say, “Hi hun, I lost the kids are they with you?” Let’s face it. I’m fucked up.
I hold my face with my hands. “Joan, I have no fucking clue as to what happened. I just remember waking up at Pinky’s.” Joan thinks. Her next big idea is to go to her emergency go to…. Mother Grand…. Her mother…. My mother’s sister. Here we go.