I’m running from my demons and when I find out she’s trying to escape her past, I know what I have to do.
One broken cop. One woman fighting for her life. A fragile love.
Sinister secrets that threaten to tear them apart.
They’ve been to hell. The hard part will be finding their way back together.
pull up in my driveway looking over at the house. What I see pisses me off.
she is in a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, hat and glasses pushing a brand new
make sure I check my temper before I walk over.
Right before I cross the street the little girl on the front porch stops
me mid step.
looks like just like her mother, just a smaller version. She is sitting on a plastic little table,
that they probably just bought, coloring.
make my way over to her right when the lawn mower goes off
told you I would cut the grass.” I try
to sound casual, but the blood in me is boiling, it must be ninety-five degrees
outside, and she’s wearing enough clothes for
a trek across the frozen tundra.
looks up “I also said I got it, and I would be doing it myself.” The little
girl from the porch makes it to her mother and hides behind her, yanking on her
fearful look that she gives me is just like her mother’s. I crouch down, getting eye-to-eye with her
and say “Hey there, beautiful. What’s your name?” She doesn’t reply, and
instead she lowers her gaze so she is looking at her feet. “I’m Jackson,” I
reach out my hand, but drop it when I know she won’t take it. I gesture behind me, as I say “I live in that
house right over there. I used to know
your great grandma.” I’m trying to draw
her into a conversation with me, but nothing I say engages her.
ok baby, you can tell him your name. Nan
used to make him cookies, so you know what that means, she must have really
liked him.” She rubs her daughters
Lilah,” she says in barely a whisper.
is the most beautiful name in the whole wide world. You’re lucky to have such a beautiful
name.” She smiles at me, right as a car
back fires. She yells and puts her hands to her ears.
things happen at the same time, her mother grabs her and runs toward the house,
and I vow to protect them.
I rush after them and make it right to the door before it’s closed in my
face. I stand there inside the house and
watch them rushing to the corner and hide.
broken girls protecting each other against some monster of the outside
world. I walk up to them “It’s ok, it’s
just a car, it was nothing but a car.”
baby it’s ok, it’s ok. I’m here. It’s ok baby girl, were safe.” She is trying
to comfort the little girl who is sobbing quietly in her mother arms. “No one is here baby.”
looks over at me, our eyes meeting for one minute before she lowers them again.
it’s ok, it’s just Jackson. There is no
one here, baby.” She rocks Lilah back
and forth. Her back against the wall while she soothes her baby girl whose sobs
are slowly stopping, her eyes closing.
can I do?” I’m now sitting in front of
her not sure how to even start to dissect this.
you can’t do anything for us,” she kisses Lilah’s head. “No one can.”
ignore that last part not sure how to talk about this now.
going to go outside and finish cutting the grass, then I’m going to go pick up
some food for us. Does she like pizza?”
I don’t know what relationship you had with my grandmother, but I don’t need
your help. We will be fine. Please, it’s ok, you can leave.” She rests
her head on the the wall closing her eyes, the defeat of the day leaving her
going to go outside and finish mowing the lawn so Lilah doesn’t have to go
outside anymore today. Then I’m going to
pick up pizza for myself. You won’t have
time to cook, so I’m going to pick one up for you. I want to eat with you guys, but I’m not
pushing myself on you either after today.
Now I don’t want to fight with you or even discuss this, so just nod
that you understand?”
looks into my eyes, but nods yes.
can pay you for the pizza? I have money.
I don’t need a hand out,” she says while trying to push herself up to go get
she weren’t so scared of things I would punch the fuck out of something right
now. “I don’t want your money, now or
ever. I have no doubt you can take care
of yourself. Consider this a
housewarming present.” I get up going to the door not even giving her a chance
to say anything else.
never had pizza before, so can you just get us plain cheese.”
don’t say anything afraid of what will come out of my mouth. I nod and walk out the door, closing it
quietly so as not to wake Lilah.
close my eyes exhaling the breath that I didn’t even realize I was holding.
barely holding on while fighting for her life.
She has demons, they both do. Whatever
happened to them, it’s in there deep. The
both of them are so scared, you can practically see the fear coming off of
them.” I look over at Brenda who is on
her porch watering her plants. “Tread lightly, Jackson, or better yet walk away
if you aren’t going to do anything about it.”
don’t have a chance to respond she walks into her house closing her front door
softly, leaving me fighting my own demons.