I stood there. Chewing on the inside of my cheek, as I was watched my father, slouched over in handcuffs, being taken away by two police officers above from my bedroom window. The cops were both a head shorter than my dad, even with his incriminating posture. My dad was quite militant about our postures. Shoulders up. Chest out. But I guess, at this moment, it wasn’t important to stand up straight. They escorted him down our hardened gravel driveway into one of the seven police cars along our house. An older, overweight officer was readily standing there. He opened up the back seat door, and guided him inside. My dad did not glance up to my window to look for me, to tell me that everything was going to be okay with a nod or a reassuring squint. Rather his head was down. His face seemed tight with anger. The fat officer closed the car door. Then they drove off. And just like that my dad was gone…
Should I have done something? I probably should have tried to stop them. I should have ran out the front door and shouted, “Stop! Stop! NOOOOOOOOO! Where are you taking my dad? Don’t take my dad away from me! DAAAAAAAAAAAD!” And then a police officer would have to hold me back as I would furiously squirm and hit him. “Let me gooo!” I would scream. And then another police officer would have to come and help the other one. So then two forcible cops would grab me and try to hold me down. But I would defiantly push them away. Then, I would collapse to the ground and cry hysterically, rocking myself back and forth. Cue the rain.
But I didn’t do that. Instead, I remained in my bedroom like a spineless lump.
I heard booming male voices downstairs that I assumed were the police. I knew my older brother, Evan, was home. I wanted to see him. Be next to him. Find out what the hell was going on. In order to open up my bedroom door, I had to shove the door with my whole body. Our house was rapidly falling apart with mildew and neglect. A lot of the wood was warped due to floods from hurricanes and the humid heat. The door made a noise as I opened it… SQUEEEEEEEEEK. Ugh. I was trying to be discreet. We lived in a 2 story, 4 bedroom house, so I don’t think anyone heard me. Still, I disappointedly shook my head.
I tip toed barefoot down the hallway, habitually brushing my fingertips against the white wall. My throat was tightening, and I could hear my heart beat. I felt my blood pulse though my veins and even down to my vagina. Thump. Thump. As soon as I got to the top of the stairs, I locked eyes with my brother. He was standing downstairs in the chaos. I could tell he was in as much shock as I was. A bald cop in his 40s was standing next to him. He looked up at me.
"Hi there, I’m Officer Landry. Everything is going to be okay. No need to worry.”
I swallowed my lips. Obviously things were not okay. There were at least half a dozen police officers tramping around, making squeaking and shuffling noises with their belts and guns. I was worried. In fact, I was terrified.
I walked down our open staircase. I automatically became conscious of my body because of all the uniformed men. Well, I was 15 years old, so I was always conscious of my body. But still, these men with guns didn’t help as they observed me moving down the stairs as if there was a spotlight directed only on me. I was trying not to let my boy gym shorts hike up between my thighs. But they were. I decided to shake them out once I got to the bottom of the stairs. I was wearing a stripped shirt from The Limited. It was one of my favorites, so I felt good about that. But I wasn’t wearing a bra, and I was constantly embarrassed of my little breasts. It was too late for me to go back upstairs and put on a bra, change outfits and brush my hair. Right? Right. I should have checked a mirror before I left my room. I was sure my eye make-up was smeared underneath my glasses. I often looked like I had two black eyes. I had just started to wear eyeliner this school year. I had an eyeball phobia (call me crazy, but I don’t like to stick things in my eye). So it was difficult to get the pencil close to the eye ball. I still attempted though. I was determined to be like other girls. The ones who the boys liked. The ones who knew how to wear make-up. The ones who had mothers.
Now police officers were marching upstairs to my dad’s bedroom. Some stayed downstairs with me and Evan. A couple others were outside on the door steps, hanging out like stray dogs.
“Found the revolver. Make that two revolvers. Loaded,” an officer announced downstairs in my dad’s “office.” My dad was a hoarder, so really it was a room filled with newspapers, dirty magazines, and family photographs and nude photographs of women that he had taken. It was a common thing for my dad to mix the homemade porn in with the home movies. Sometimes on the same tape.
I watched Officer Landry’s head move all around the room, his gaze noting different objects. To him my house was a wreckage. To me, it was home.
In walked my stepmother, Patrice, with a police officer I had not seen before. She was weeping and sniffling. Her eyes were puffy and red. I was relieved to see Patrice. Seeing a familiar face was like a warm touch on the shoulder. We didn’t have the best relationship or really, any relationship. She wasn’t like a stepmother you’d see in movies or television. She never ironed my clothes or showed me the ways of womanhood. She was basically my dad’s sex slave who drove me to school for the past 8 years. My dad, at best, would treat her like an incompetent employee. At worst, well, I wasn’t sure. They had two kids together. Charlie and Spencer, 3 and 5 years old. I don’t think Patrice liked me that much. Okay, I didn’t like her, either. We both weren’t nice to each other. It wasn’t always like that. But these last couple of years, it got worse. Still, at this moment, I was happy to see her. She avoided eye contact. She knew I was standing there, but I was a ghost from her nightmare past.
I noticed the officer was holding an empty black garbage bag.
Holy Shit. Patrice was finally leaving my dad.
(To be continued…)