19 months later nightmares revealed (when you make a promise you have to keep it)

Beginning / It is 2 am. His palms are sweating clutching at my hands. He is crying into my shoulder. A mousetrap sits directly behind him and I keep holding him so that he won’t set it off. I am determined not to be afraid. “What did you say bitch!” We hear the screams. We jump in time to the beating. He puts his arms around me and squeezes. I am determined not to be afraid.

It is hot in this closet. No fresh air has made its way in here since before Nixon resigned. In a flannel nightdress my back is soaked with sweat. I shush him. He closes his eyes when he knows I will not let go. My voice not even a whisper, I sing, “Jesus is the answer for the world today…above him there’s no other…Jesus is the way…”

Forward / It is 2 am. I cannot find him. I have walked these streets for hours. My hands are shaky. My temper rises. I am determined not to be afraid. People get dead in these streets around midnight. This ain’t no way to live. Knocking on unwelcome doors. No one offers admittance or information. I am determined not to be afraid.

“Pretty girls ought not be walking streets, this time of night,” comes from the shadows. There is a knife in my pocket and mace in my hands. Wherever he is I will find him. Wherever he is I will find him. Then there will be hell to pay.

Denouement / It’s 2 am. I know where he is. I set him up in his very own room. There is tv and a refrigerator and I told him he could order what he wanted. The game is tomorrow. He’s excited to go. He couldn’t stay here with me. There wasn’t any room. I force myself to sleep. I am determined not to be afraid. Everything is okay. I pray. Everything is okay.

“Why you calling me so late?” he asks. Just checking to make sure everything’s fine. I worry about him even when he’s alright. I pace the floor and consider moving him here or moving there. Don’t need no cases of mistaken identity. Don’t need no mess.

Resolution / It’s 2 am. She’s never called me this late. “I’m sorry,” she says. I crumble and fall there is no way I can stand. It’s 2 am and she doesn’t know where he is. It’s 2 am and she hasn’t seen him in days? It’s 2 am, I am determined not to be afraid.

We find him in the projects on the 19th floor. We find him in the projects naked and afraid. He tells me they left him for dead. He tells me how scared he was, how many times he called my name. He tells me he waited for me.  I ask for a blanket it’s flannel and warm. He snuggles into it and dies in my arms. I am determined to never let go.


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