I feel the tapping on my arm. I can also feel the sunlight that is trying to creep through the blinds of my bedroom window. I allow myself to snooze some more only to have my arm tapped on again. My eyes start to flutter and I am focusing on the silhouette that is standing on the side of my bed. Her figure is robust and the tapping on my skin is so soft and delicate. Once my eyes focus, I see that Goodmomma is waiting for me to get up. “Hey momma, what’s going on? How did you get here?” Instead of answering my question she pulls at my arm to get up and she is clearly ready to go downstairs. I look over and Chico is snoring softly. Maybe this is why she isn’t saying anything. Once we are in the kitchen, Goodmomma starts her rituals. “Ok baby, what are we cooking today?” I know that I am hungry, but at the same time, I have no idea as to what I have a taste for. I tell Momma to just fix whatever she felt like fixing.
“So baby, here is the thing. I need you to be strong and do something for me.” Goodmomma should already know that I would do anything, so there is no need to set up a pitching conversation. “You name it and I got you.” She starts sifting flour which lets me know that some kind of cake will be made today. “Jacinta, I need you to bury me again.” My heart sinks. Why would she want me to bury her, when she is so needed here. If God wanted her in heaven, he would have seen to it that she was buried properly. “Momma, I think that you are mistaken. If you are alive then there is no need to bury you. Aren’t you fine here with us?” I can tell that she is pondering my question. “I know that this sounds confusing and strange, but I need to be put to rest. I need you to understand that I have to go and be with the Lord. So I ask you to please set up my funeral arrangements. I really don’t want any talk back.” Tears flood my eyes. Why she would want to leave me again is beyond me. I was heartbroken the first time and I truly believe that my heart won’t allow me to attend another funeral with her being in a casket. It is just not something that I want to do. It is something that I can’t do.
I hear some stirring around downstairs and that alerts me that someone is up. I have been up since about 4:00 this morning. Even though I am retired, my body is still on Taiwanese time. I slip on a pair of jogging pants and stat my trek down to the kitchen. I am ready for a hot cup of coffee. I get hallway to the bottom of the stairs and it is happening again. Jacinta has all of the pots and pans on the counter. The mixer is turning with nothing in it. The only difference this time is that flour is all over the kitchen counter and parts of the floor. I don’t want to startle her, so I decide to make a little noise to alert her of my presence. “Good morning baby, you ok? You look like you have been crying.” She starts to weep again and I grab my child to hold her. “Daddy, why she keep asking me to bury her? I can’t understand why she would want to leave us again. It doesn’t make any sense. Instead of telling her that she is having an episode, I just continue to rub her head and let her cry it out. “Baby, I just need you to know that Daddy is here. I got your back. Always have and always will.”
It saddens me to see her going through this. How much can a person grieve? How much pressure should a person have on them about a deceased love one? Why is my child feeling responsible for taking care of my mother? My head starts to spin with all of the things that is going on now and I simply just don’t know what to do. I think about what my mother would do if she were here in real life. It takes me back to when we were in the hospital with those children. Momma insisted that if the children were required to stay there, then we were required to stay there too. I truly believe that this is why we won over the social worker. It was Momma’s insistence and dedication that held us together during that time. I would give anything for her to be right here right now so that she could help us again. But that is thinking selfishly. We have to learn how to fly on our own, no matter how old we are.
“Excuse me Mr. Jones, may I have a word with you in private?” Ms. Gardner is gesturing me to step outside into the hallway so that we can have a conversation. My mother is now holding Jordan and Jacinta has gone back to coloring in her coloring book. I feel relieved knowing that she is there. At the same time, she is watching me like a hawk and ear hustling like it is no tomorrow. “I can see how much you love these kids Mr. Jones, and I really want to work on helping you get them back.” Again, this woman is trying me by telling me that I won’t possibly have my kids going forward. My brows start to meet in the middle of my forehead indicating my disapproval of her statement. “Ms. Gardner, let me stop you right there. There is no way in hell that I am leaving my children. There is no way in hell that I am about to let the state take my children. Now, I realize that you have a job to do, but keeping my kids from me is not the right thing to do. It just isn’t!” She gives me another sympathetic look and sighs. “Listen, I understand your concern, but again it is not left up to me to allow these children to leave with you. I just wanted to tell you that I have already submitted my report and I have asked if we can expedite a custody hearing as soon as possible. I will tell you that Social Services will be conducting a thorough investigation. This will include interviewing your neighbors, school teachers, the housekeeper, etc. In addition, a Social Worker will be coming to your house to review the conditions of the home. The children will more than likely have to report into Social Services on a daily basis and will be monitored by Social Services going forward. I just wanted to let you know what you are facing.” My hands are on my hips and my brows are still stuck together. “Ms. Gardner, given everything that you just told me, what would you do if you were me?” I don’t care that this woman is seeing the tears roll down my face. I need her to have a heart and understand that I can’t allow anything else to happen to the children and they damn sure need to understand that there is no way that I am leaving them.
I take some mental notes of what I overhear between Joseph and Ms. Gardner. To Joseph’s point, he is right. How are they going to hold this situation against him if he was away at work. This wrong doing is not on him. It is all on Julianna. I find myself frustrated. Jordan must sense this and starts to whine. I slowly rock her in my arms and she is back to cooing. I look deep into those big brown eyes and for the life of me, I can’t understand why someone would hurt these precious angels. Moreover, I don’t understand why Ms. Garret is here and not Angeline. Angeline should be here too to help us convince this Social Worker that we need our kids back. I always knew she didn’t give a damn. I will be dealing with her ass sooner versus later. Especially if what Ms. Garret has told me pans out to be true. There is no way in hell someone would call me and tell me that my grandchildren were left abandoned in a home and I not be there within minutes. The devil is a lie!
Again I know that Joan knows something and isn’t saying anything. I watch her finish her half eaten breakfast. “Big Daddy, I am going to go home and get ready for my shift. I will call you when I am on my break to see if any progress has been made.” I kiss her on her forehead and she leaves. I hear my wife stirring around upstairs. I am sure she has tried on her third outfit for the day and still hasn’t made her decision. I’m distracted in my thoughts when I hear the telephone on the wall ringing. I answer and it is Books calling me back. “Mr. Mosely, I don’t know much about the party situation that you asked me about. I did some digging and there were a couple of guys that had gone over to your niece’s house a few days ago. They admit that there was a party, but they don’t recall seeing or hearing any kids in the house. I was able to get Pocket’s home phone number for you if you want to call him.” I thank Books and tell him that I appreciate him following up back with me. I don’t need Pocket’s phone number. Hell, I know where he stays. With that thought in mind, I put my cap on and I am out the door and cranking up my Cadillac. I guess I should just face this shit head on and get some answers out of Pocket. I swear if he has done anything to hurt those kids, it will be his ass.
Ms. Gardner and I are still going back and forth about the next steps regarding the kids. It is like she gets it and she understands, but she is not helping me. She just keeps saying that I won’t be able to take my kids with me from this hospital. “Mr. Jones, you asked me if this was me, what would I do? I would find myself the best family lawyer that money could buy. You are going to need it….”