Bodega Bay by Nick
“Grandma, Grandpa!” I yelled as I ran up to them when they walked into the house, happy to finally see a pair of familiar faces. Up until that moment I had no idea how starved I was for the touch of someone I loved and who loved me. When they wrapped their arms around me and hugged me it was like taking my vitamins. Something as trivial as a hug brought me so much comfort in that instant that I almost forgot about my troubles.
My grandparents had worked their whole lives to care for all five of their children. One of those five was my dad, who I always thought was just like them. Of course, I was starting to have my doubts, but I knew that my dad just needed to hear the truth and things would be alright. Once I explained to him that it was all a mistake he would change his mind and take me back. Maybe I could even get my grandparents to talk to him. He had to listen.
The scene at Patricia and George’s house had been chaotic to say the least all morning. The first person to arrive was a man wearing shorts and a tee shirt, and I could tell he was someone George and Patricia knew. They talked privately for a few minutes, then they came back to the living room and sat down with me.
“Kevin, this is Ron,” George said. “He has a few questions for you and he wants to help you talk to the police.” I timidly reached out for the handshake he had offered me, then I swallowed hard and nervously waited for him to talk. He took a long, drawn out breath, then he exhaled just as slowly, then he smiled and spoke.
“Kevin,” he started. “I need you to please answer all of my questions as honestly as possible, okay?”
I slowly nodded my reply, then he spoke again.
“Kevin, I know this is going to be hard,” he said. “But I need you to tell me everything. I want you to start from the beginning, just like you did with George and Trisha. This is really important, okay?”
It was hard to tell George and Patricia everything. In fact, it took everything I had just to be able to get it all out. Talking about it with them was like reliving it all over again, and now I was going to have to talk about it with someone else. Someone who, just like George and Patricia, I had just met. Someone who was about to find out my deepest, darkest secret. My legs felt so shaky and rubbery that if I were standing up, I might have collapsed at that very moment.
Still, I knew what I had to do. So I did. I told Ron everything. From the very beginning to the very end. His eyes actually moistened as he listened, and I suddenly felt like I could trust him. I wasn’t scared to tell him anymore. As I got to the end, I felt totally at ease. When I finished, he gave me a long, sad look and patted me on the shoulder.
“Kevin, I’m going to be your council today,” he said. “Do you understand what that means?” I shook my head no, and he smiled warmly at me as he explained himself.
“I would appreciate it if you would let me speak to the police for you,” he said. “They’re going to have a lot of questions when they get here, and I want to make sure you understand them all before you answer them. Do you think you can do that?”
“I can,” I answered in a small voice, feeling almost grateful to have some help. I had a feeling that George and Patricia were worried about what was going to happen. I guess I hadn’t stopped to consider that by picking me up and bringing me to Concord, Patricia could be in big trouble.
George’s reaction earlier that morning opened my eyes to that fact, though, and I was more than a little worried about what wold happen. I didn’t want to see anything bad happen to either one of them. They weren’t kidnappers, and they hadn’t hurt me in any way. In fact, they seemed like the most responsible adults I had come across in the last couple of days.
I was pretty scared when the cops came. They knocked loudly at the door, and Ron told George and Patricia to wait while he answered. He walked back to the living room with two police officers, chuckling about something with them, and I relaxed a little. They all sat down and I was a little shocked when the officers addressed Patricia and George first.
Patricia answered all of their questions and they didn’t seem phased by what she told them. They simply took notes and smiled. They only had a few questions for George, which he answered. The whole thing was going a lot easier than I ever dreamed it would.
The only questions they had for me was whether or not I was okay, who had abused me at home, and what Billy’s full name was. Ron told them that my grandparents lived in Pittsburg, and they asked for their phone number. They didn’t call though. Instead, we sat together and waited for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, the doorbell rang again.
Ron got up and answered the door, just like he had before, and when he returned, he had a lady with him in normal clothes. She had a note book with her and a zipped up binder. She walked right up to me and knelt down in front of the couch so that she was at eye level with me.
“Hello, Kevin,” she said softly. “I’m Jackie, and I’m from social services. Can you tell me how you’re doing?”
“I’m doing good,” I answered quietly, trying to absorb everything that was happening around me.
“I’m glad to hear that,” she said with a warm smile. “I know you’ve been through a lot, dear, and we want you to be alright. Do you understand that you aren’t in any trouble?”
I nodded my head and looked down, suddenly feeling a little ashamed of myself. I wasn’t used to anyone being able to see my pain and misery. While I sat there, my mind wandered back. Not just over the last few months, but over my whole dysfunctional life.
I thought about all of my mothers crazy quirks and how she had always made me feel ashamed of who I was. I mean, sure she loved me, but she had a way of making me feel bad about the way she treated me, as if it were my fault. We didn’t have a lot, and she would always accuse me of being a snob when I wanted something as simple as a candy bar. Other times, though, she would let me have whatever I asked for without so much as a word.
Sometimes I would lay in my bed and wonder if my dad wasn’t justified in leaving her. I would silently wish that I could go back in time and somehow help my dad when he had kidnaped me as a baby. I could try to find a good place to hide from her and he wouldn’t have met my stepmom. It would just be the two of us and I wouldn’t have to deal with the woes life seemed to send my way.
But all of that was private. It was a part of me that I was able to keep suppressed from the outside world while I projected the image of a happy child. I soaked up the compliments from adults, who were stunned by my mild manner and politeness. I learned early on that the best attention to get was good attention. The kind of attention that was rare from my mother, but that I could get easily from others. It was the kind of attention that I craved, but could never get from the one woman I loved most in the world.
After what seemed like hours, my grandparents had finally arrived. I wasn’t even aware that someone had contacted them, but I was so grateful they had. I needed the company of people I knew, people who loved me and people who cared about me. They both seemed shaken up as they walked up, but nothing could have prepared them for what they were about to hear.
I sat quietly in the living room with Steel and one of the police officers while everyone else moved to the kitchen. I leaned over and stole a few glances of my grandparents, and the shaken up looks on their faces seemed to turn to disgust in a hurry. By the time they were finished in the kitchen, my grandfather was shaking with fury and my grandmother seemed nervous and outraged.
I kept my eyes on George and Patricia, too, wondering if I would ever see them again. Although it had only been hours that I had known them, I felt strangely attached to the both of them, and even Steel. Ron explained earlier that as my council, he would be at any court hearing pertaining to me or to what happened.
When they all moved back to the living room, my grandparents both sat next to me, one on each side, and feeling their hands kneading my shoulders and the back of my neck was soothing. I knew somehow that they were going to make things better. I wasn’t sure how, but I knew they would. Not a word was spoken to me about my mom or Billy, either. Instead, Jackie told them that she’d need them to take me home and that I wasn’t to have any contact with my mom or Billy, and that they were going to investigate why my father hadn’t stepped in once he was made aware of my situation.
I felt a little weepy when I had to say goodbye to George, Patricia and Steel. We hugged and they walked us out to the street, where my grandparent’s were parked. I knew their car as soon as I saw it. A Honda Silver Accord. It was older, but my grandfather always bragged about the gas milage and the fact that it never broke down on him. It was the same car they’d owned since before I was born. My grandfather swore that he was never going to part with it and so far, he had been right.
The drive from Concord to Pittsburg wasn’t too bad. We drove over what seemed like a mountain that everyone called Kirkerpass Hill. Going up the hill, we seemed to slow down and going down, we picked up a lot of speed. I thought to myself that I would have loved to ride my bike down it to see how fast I could go.
That’s when it hit me...my bike. We had left it at George and Patricia’s.
“Grandpa,” I called out from the back seat.
“Yeah buddy,” he said with a sad smile in the rearview mirror.
“We didn’t bring my bike,” I said, hoping we could turn around and go back.
“Buddy, we’ll have to do that later, okay?” he said. “Right now, we need to get home so I can call your daddy and tell him what happened. I promise we’ll go get it.”
“Okay,” I said, then I relaxed. If my grandpa said we were going back, I trusted him. Besides, I wanted him to call my dad and tell him what was happening. I wanted him to know what I had been through and to know that I needed him to be there for me. I needed him to know that I never did any of those things he thought I had done to my stepbrother. I needed him to want me to come live with him.
Driving through Pittsburg brought back a flood of memories for me. My dad had brought me there so many times to visit with my grandparents, and we always went together at the end of our visits to the same ice cream parlor. When we drove past it, I got emotional, thinking about the last time I was there with my dad. I tried not to let on that I was crying, but my grandma had turned in her seat to say something to me and spotted my tears.
When we pulled into their driveway, my grandparents both got out and almost as if they had preplanned it, they both got in the back seat with me and consoled me. It felt good to feel their hugs and kisses, but I was still devastated. I wanted my dad to come and see me, and I wanted him to tell me that we were going to be okay.
The smell of the cypress tree in their front yard stirred up so many memories for me. When I was five I tied a rope from one of the lower hanging branches and tried to swing like Tarzan, but the only thing I managed to do was plant myself face first into the tree and I wound up with a bloody nose. I started toward the house, crying loudly, and my dad came running outside in a panic. He acted as if it were the worst thing that could have happened, and he kept me in his lap for the rest of the time we were there. I could feel the love radiating down on me from him, and I just knew in my heart that it was always going to be that way between us.
But things weren’t that way anymore. I hadn’t seem my dad in months. He didn’t call to see how I was. He didn’t go to my school for open house anymore. I didn’t get to show off my report card to him and hear how proud he was of me anymore. All of it was gone, and I wasn’t too sure f I would ever get it back.
The steady stream of visitors that day was exhausting. All of my aunts and uncles came to see me and make sure I was alright. Some of my cousins came too. They all doted on me and told me that everything was going to be fine, but I could hear the doubt in their voices. It wasn’t lost on me that both of my grandparents pleaded with my dad to come see me and he still hadn’t shown up. I told myself that it was a long drive from Modesto to Pittsburg, and that he just needed some time to get their. But deep down, I knew he wasn’t coming. Maybe his wife told him not too. Or maybe he was really through being my dad.
The betrayal I felt was so deep that I could never begin to describe it. I couldn’t understand how he could think that I would be able to do anything as sick as that to anyone. To do to someone what Billy had done to me.
Before Billy made me his victim, I had no idea what sex was even about. I didn’t think about it in the least. I was more worried about how I was going to save money so I could buy my own bus when I grew up and start my own bus route. I was going to have the nicest, newest busses in all of Modesto, and everyone was going to want to ride them. Sex was something I hadn’t given a first thought too, much less a second thought.
But now I was being punished for something I didn’t do, and I felt like I had paid the ultimate price. I lost my innocence. I needed my dad to protect me, and he wasn’t there for me. So I had to give up a part of me that wasn’t ready to be given to anyone. Not to a man. Not to a woman. It was mine, and it was stolen from me. I wanted my dad to help me get some of it back, but he didn’t. He wouldn’t.
That evening, as things started to calm down and everyone left, I got ready for bed. When I got out of the shower, I could hear yelling coming from the kitchen. Startled, I quickly put my pajama’s on and made my way out to the dining area so I could get a better idea of what was happening.
“Son, I want you to stop and think about what you’re saying,” I heard my grandpa say. “He’s your flesh and blood! You can’t just throw him away like this!”
I turned on my heals and ran back to the bathroom, where I closed the door and sat down on the toilet seat so I could cry in private. It was true. My dad wasn’t coming. He really didn’t want me anymore. I pulled my knees up to my chest and sobbed as quietly as I could as I contemplated my future, realizing that I was going to have to find a way to navigate through the rest of my life without my parents.