Even with the air condition on, the air in Big Daddy’s El Dorado is heavy and thick. I am sure that the conversation between him and Pocket wasn’t the most pleasant. Big Daddy is not like most father’s. For one, he isn’t my father, although he treats me as if I am one of his own. Secondly, he has a way of getting his point across without you really understanding that you’ve been got. Its like he loves you, but his disappointment is beyond any kind of punishment. Growing up, his disappointment in you was the worst. I was beginning to believe that his wrath was about to be in my very near future. I start to look around to see what direction we were headed and it appeared as if we were going back to Big Daddy’s and Mother Grand’s house. We rode in silence for the entire ride.
The smell of coffee allow my eyes to flutter open. Not sure how long I had been asleep, but Momma was rocking Jordan in a hospital rocking chair. Jacinta on the other hand was picking over some fruit that had been put on a tray before her for breakfast. This hospital clearly didn’t understand that my child was more of a “sausage biscuit” kind of baby. I lean up and Jacinta abandons her tray of food and comes to sit in my lap. This little girl meant the world to me. You could tell that there was a an obvious change of attitude with the kids. Jordan was in her usual spoiled heaven with Momma and Jacinta was sitting with her daddy. Both were at ease. Even being in this awful situation, this moment could have lasted as long as it could. I didn’t want it to end or be altered in any way. I just wanted them to feel safe and to be at peace. It is times like this that you can not take for granted. Always cherish times like these with your kids. You will never know when someone will come behind you and take that benefit away from you.
Speaking of the devil, Ms. Gardner approaches us. Her face is pleasant, but it still insinuates that she isn’t the bearer of good news. “Good Morning Mr. Jones, the hospital staff informed me that you and your mother stayed with the children throughout the night.” I mean, what does it look like? We have been sitting in the same position, with the same clothes on since she left us here last night. Neither here nor there. “Yes, Ms. Gardner, were you able to get us any updates on when we will be able to take the kids home?” She sighs as if she is also tired of repeating herself to me. “Mr. Jones, like I said before, we will have to go through the process of providing the court with the appropriate evidence that these children will be protected and provided for properly in your care. I suggest that today, you use your time to find a family lawyer that can help you get the process started and possibly expedited.” I thank Ms. Gardner for her patience and understanding.
Ms. Gardner takes it upon herself to speak to my mother and the children. “Good Morning everyone! How are we doing this morning?” My mother doesn’t say a word. She is neither mean or nice, just attentive and stoic. Jordan doesn’t move from her position with my mother. Jacinta on the other hand is cheerful and friendly. “Good Morning, they don’t have sausage biscuits here at this hotel. My Goodmomma said that this was a special hotel for good children. If we are good, why don’t they give us sausage biscuits or pancakes?” I chuckle and so does Ms. Gardner. “Well, I will be sure to let the hotel know that they need to do better about the breakfast. Do you girls feel like going with me to play with some toys and color?” Jacinta has a smart mouth and looks at Ms. Gardner as if she is from Mars. “Ms. Lady, Jordan is too little to color. I think we will just stay right here with Goodmomma. I am going to get my Daddy to buy us a television so that we can watch “Fat Albert”. I find myself chuckling again. Ms. Gardner has her hands full and it’s by a three year old.
As we pull into the driveway. Mother Grand is standing at the front door with smoking a cigarette. I am not sure if I should be more frightened by her or Big Daddy. Either way, a storm has been brewing and it is obvious that they know something that I don’t. With her teeth gritted, she hisses to me. “Get your ass in the house right now!” I do as I am told. Never mind the fact that I am twenty-seven years old. I head to the kitchen table and I sit. At this point, there is no need to speak. I just need to take this good ole fashion ass whipping like a woman. It is Mother Grand that speaks first. “Big Daddy, you wouldn’t believe who I just got off the phone with.” Without Big Daddy even asking her who she continues. “I just had the pleasure of speaking with my sister Angeline. And would you know that she had the audacity to say that her housekeeper, Ms. Burris went over to clean Julianna’s house only to find Jacinta and Jordan locked in their bedroom closet?!!!” As soon as these words flow from her mouth it all becomes clear to me again. I did. I put the kids in the closet and told them not to come up out until Mommy came to get them. I have no idea how long those kids had been in that closet since I told them not to come out. Ms. Burris cleans our house every Tuesday. I am the most fucked up mother in the world. My kids had been in that closet for three days straight. What kind of mother am I . I hold my head in pity and tears are an understatement. I feel as though I can’t breathe.
Big Daddy gets to his knees so that he is eye level with me. “Julianna, look at me! At least someone was able to find the kids. This is better than someone taking the kids!” Big Daddy stands back up and starts to ask Mother Grand a series of questions that make my head twirl. I hear something about Ms. Minion being called and had taken the kids with her. With that bit of information I am running out of the door. Mother Grand runs after me yelling for me to come back there this instant. I can’t. I have to get back to my children. Little did I know that they were indeed taken.
The office of Shuttleworth and Mahoney, Attorneys at Law was buzzing when I walked into their plush lobby. There were well dressed people moving all about the floor of the nice office building. I was greeted by a receptionist who wanted to know how she could help me. “Uhh… Yes, my name is Joseph Jones, I am in need of the best lawyer you have in this office that can help me with a family custody matter.” The woman with the bright red lipstick fluttered her very long lashes at me and looked as if she had pity on me. I wasn’t necessarily dressed as if I meant business. I still had the clothes on from when I left the ship a few days back, which also meant that I haven’t had a shower or shave for that matter. I am quite sure that I didn’t have the best impression of being able to afford their best attorney. “Sir, why don’t you have a seat and someone will be with you shortly.” As I head to the seating area of the lobby, I notice that the receptionist I just spoke with was whispering something to the other receptionist who had also taken note of my appearance.
A few minutes had passed by and I was starting to get irritated. I was beginning to think that I was being played just because of my appearance. I decided to get up and leave. As I started to walk towards the elevator bank, I hear someone call out my name. “Mr. Jones! Is there a Mr. Joseph Jones here?!” I stopped in my tracks and turned toward the woman that was calling my name. In some fashion, she reminded me of myself at the present moment. She had a stack of unshuffled folders and she clearly didn’t have a sense of style. But who was I to judge. “Hi I am Amy Goldberg. I hear that you are in need of a family attorney?” I replied yes, and at that moment, I was hoping that she would show me the way to Attorney Shuttleworth’s or Attorney Mahoney’s office. I did request the best. Instead she shuffled me into an office which had paperwork and file cases all over the place. On the door of her office was a sign that said “Amy Goldberg, Esquire”. She asks me to have a seat. I had to get this straight before we could move any further. I didn’t want the impression of me not looking the part to get me a less affordable attorney. “No offense Ms. Goldberg, but I requested a ‘seasoned’ family attorney.” She adjusted her glasses on her face and looked me straight in my eyes. “I’m sorry if there was some sort of mix up. I was told that you were looking for the ‘best’ family attorney at this firm. The best would be me sir…..”