Between the Lines – Part Two

Part Two

     I knew Kamia would be asleep so it came as no surprise when she still hadn’t answered after the 5th call. It was nearly 4 in the morning, and from the looks of things my only option was to drive out there and bang on the door until Maya, her friend’s mother answered. I started to pull out of the parking lot and that’s when I remembered… Kia’s body.
“Shit,” I whispered as if anyone was around to hear me. The trunk was the only place I could think to put the shell that my sister’s soul once resided in. I switched the gear to drive and made my way to the abandoned motel I had passed hours ago. Parking my car out of the view of the main road, I knew I needed to be quick.

     My sister and I shared many of the same physical characteristics but we had one distinct difference. Our body shapes. We both stood at 5’4 but while I was curvy she was slimmer than slim jims. I knew getting her out of the passenger seat and into the trunk would be no problem. After dragging her body, picking it up, and tossing it into the trunk. I slammed it shut.
As soon as I got back into my car my phone began to vibrate. It was Kamia.
“Mama? What’s wrong?” she questioned, half asleep.
“I know you’re sleeping but I’m about to come to pick you up. There’s been a family emergency and we have to leave quickly,” I lied.
“Family emergency?” She sounded alarmed.
“I’ll explain everything in person, be there in about an hour,” I say.
We hang up.
  Breathe Kim. I start up the car and like that, I’m off. 30 minutes into the drive I pass a gas station, and the sign reads “Good Gas”.

Here come the flashbacks;
  16 years ago, I had just gotten out of class and I stopped at this gas station to buy a pack of cigarettes. I developed a smoking habit at the age of 15 and for the next four years, I lit a cigarette whenever I was stressed.
  As I was paying I heard the most beautiful voice. I turned.
  “I’d hate to see someone as beautiful as yourself smoking.” I was embarrassed as I admired this god-like figure standing before me. I finally snapped out of my fantasy when he stuck out his hand.
  “Devin Cummings.”
  I extended my arm and as our hands met, I knew.
  “Kim Kirk, nice to meet you.” We chatted for about 10 minutes before he asked me to dinner the following evening. I played cool because this was a grown-ass man so I assumed he was mature. More mature than the guys my age. I accepted the date and he took down my number. I was ecstatic and couldn’t wait to tell Kia. Immediately I began to dream of how he’d be in bed. Not that I was willing to give it up after the first date. Don’t get me wrong, that man was fine but I had yet to give all of me to anyone.
  To my surprise, Devin called that night and we talked for hours. The only reason I ended the conversation was that my battery was low.
  “Well, I guess I’ll let you get some rest. I must admit that I’m looking forward to seeing your gorgeous smile tomorrow. Goodnight, beautiful.” His words were smooth as butter.
  “Goodnight Devin,” I smiled.
  The next day seemed to drag by. Likely due to me watching the clock while I worked. I couldn’t wait to get home and prepare for my date and when 4:30 PM hit, I scurried out to my car. Once home, I checked to see if Kia was there then went to run a bubble bath. It was just what I needed after the long, boring day I had. I soaked in the tub for an hour which left me with 2 hours to get ready and you better believe it took me every minute of those 2 hours to make sure I looked presentable.

  It was 7:55 PM, and as Kia was snapping pictures of me the doorbell rang. We exchanged glances and raced to open the door. Beating me there, she unlocked and swung it open.
  “You must be Devin!” She exclaimed.
  He did a double-take.
  “There’s two of you?” He questioned, trying to mask his smile. Then quickly turned his attention to me.
  “You look lovely.”
  I grinned, “Thank you handsome.” And we were off.
  After our first date, I was certain I wanted to be with Devin. I was 19 and he was 26, and as the months grew so did our relationship. The age difference brought about judgment and we had people looking down on us. I’m sure it’d have been a different story had I been in my 20s and the age gap was still present. I was barely out of high school but what set me apart from the others my age is I had it together. I knew this played a pivotal role in why Devin chose me out of all the women who would have dropped down to their knees, begging for just one moment of his time.
  We became inseparable and officially declared ourselves a couple within a few months of meeting one another. I had also decided I was ready to share another piece of myself with him…

  I pull into the Brown’s driveway and hop out of my car, leaving it running. I make my way up the walkway and just as I’m balling my fist up to knock the door flies open.
“Kim?” It’s Maya. She looks shocked.
More lying.
“We have a family emergency and have to leave town. I called Kamia to let her know I was on my way to come to pick her up. I should have called your cell to let you know as well,” I apologize.
“Is everything alright?” She raises a brow.
“It will be.”
She looks past me and I’m assuming it’s to see if Devin is in the car. Thankfully Kamia comes jogging down the stairs.
“Hey, mama.” She yawns.
She nods her head.
I turn back to Maya. “Thank you for letting her stay.” The three of us say our goodbyes and for a second I’m filled with guilt as I realize I’m about to tear my daughter away from all she knows.
“Where’s dad?” Is her first question once we get in the car.
“Over your uncle’s house.”
“So, what’s going on?” More questions I still wasn’t prepared for.
I sigh, gripping the steering wheel as I prepare to lie my ass off.
“He left.” My voice trembles.
“Left?” I could tell she was taking time to process the news.
“When I got home I started cooking dinner and noticed a letter stuck to the freezer. He’s gone.”
“Mama, what did the letter say?” She tears up.
I’m silent. Kamia grabs my hand and it feels as though we’ve switched roles.
“I’d rather not discuss what the letter entails, Kamia.”
“Stop joking around mama. She pulls out her cell phone, I’m calling dad.”
“No!” I snatch the phone from her. I realize we’re still sitting in the Brown’s driveway and start the car.
Devin and Kia broke my heart but seeing the confused expression on my child’s face and hearing her sobs, was a different kind of pain. One I wished on no one.
We rode in silence until we reached the house. I was relieved as I pulled out my garage door opener, pressed the “open” symbol, and saw that Devin’s car wasn’t in the garage. I faced Kamia. If she wasn’t convinced then, she now believed her father had left us.
Left her.
“When we get in here I want you to pack as much as you can into your suitcase and duffel bag. Take whatever you deem important. I’ll replace the rest.”
She was silent.
“Do you understand?”
“Yes, mama.”

  I had no idea what time Devin would be back so we were on a time limit. We needed to be in and out within an hour. We parted ways at the top of the stairs and got to work. Kamia may have been young but dumb was not in her DNA. She knew without her father present I couldn’t afford the house or this fancy lifestyle he provided.
After I packed my first bag I glanced over at the clock sitting on top of the nightstand by my side of the bed. The red digits read 6:30 AM. Next to the clock was a picture of the three of us. We looked happy. Hell, we were happy. I still remember the day we took that photo…

  Kamias 13th birthday.

    She was officially a teen and Devin went all out for her special day. I was scheduled to go into the office that day. I had just started my new job working under a well-known attorney as a Paralegal. He took her out to breakfast. IHOP. I still had the picture she’d sent me.
“All-you-can-eat pancakes!!” Was the message she sent along with the photo. I giggled as I saw 50 pancakes spread across the table. I laughed even harder because I knew they’d fight over the very last one.
  He took her shopping buying her what seemed like a lifetime supply of clothes and shoes. Spoiled was an understatement but I wasn’t complaining. I was his queen and she was his princess.
    At 4:00 PM I was finally off work and on my way home. I couldn’t wait to get all dolled up. We had spent two months planning a surprise party for Kamia. See, she thought we were going to pick up her friend Emily so that the four of us could go have dinner. Afterward, they’d go see a movie while her dad and I browsed the mall. Lastly, they would get dropped off at Emily’s for the night. But what was going down was that we were on our way over to her friend’s house because that’s where the party was being thrown.
    Arriving at the party, I was nervous because of the cars parked along both sides of the street. What if this gives it all away? Even if it had, Kamia’s jaw still dropped when we were greeted at the door by Maya, Emily’s mom, brought into the family room, and everyone yelled, “Surprise!” She couldn’t suppress her excitement as she checked out the scenery. Pink was everywhere. There was a double-layered strawberry cake that sat on the dining room table. It had two enormous number one and number three candles. She had gold balloons that were also in the shape of numbers one and three. Devin felt like these were tacky but I convinced him she’d love them, and she did.
    Another table sat near the entrance of the kitchen. On it were gifts and once Kamia spotted those she forgot about everyone and everything.
    The photo was taken an hour later. Kamia, Devin, and I were sitting at the table in the kitchen, feasting. Maya came in insisting we smile for the camera. So, we scooted our chairs closer and did.   There was no “wait, let me go fix my hair” There was no, “do I have anything on my mouth or in my teeth?” No double-checking to make sure we were camera ready. And as she showed us the photo we nearly died of laughter. Kamia had icing and crumbs around her mouth, Devin had barbecue stains on his white t-shirt, and I had blinked my eyes just as the flash was going off. But I loved the picture because it showed my family at our best.
We were perfect in my eyes.
  Knock knock. My thoughts are interrupted.
“I’m ready mama,” Kamia walks in.
“Okay. Give me a few more minutes and we’ll head out,” I reply.
“Where are we going?”
I didn’t know.
To grandmas,” I hesitated.
She turned and walked away leaving me to soak in all my sorrow. I scramble hurrying to finish packing. I look at the picture sitting on the nightstand again. Where did I go wrong? What did I do to make him stop loving me?
I pick the frame up and place it on top of the clothes in my last bag. As I’m zipping it up I receive a text. Then another and another.
Devin: Kim, where are you? Please answer me.
Devin: Please. Just give me a chance to explain.
Devin: I’ll do anything…
I felt anger boiling within me. The water was dripping from my pot and I was ready to explode. My teary eyes stared at the phone. It took another 10 minutes for me to decide whether to reply. Finally, I chose.
Kim: I have to go into the office today. We can meet after work, I’ll send you the address later.

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