I drove back home with mixed feelings. I was in a dour mood and I had never felt so inadequate and helpless. Everything in my life officially tanked.
“God, I need a clue on what to do here,” I said as I pulled into my driveway.
I checked my emails hoping to see a notification for another interview but unfortunately interviews seemed hard to come by these days.
I watched a kiddie show with Anna not that she could understand most of it yet but it was good for me to see the happy smiles on her face from watching. At least someone around me was happy. As I got up to go to the kitchen to prepare diner, the doorbell rang. It was Christy. I sighed.
“Did I come at a bad time?” she asked hesitantly.
I shook my head.
After the day I had had, I needed some company. Something to take my mind off the issues I could do nothing about.
“No dear, come in.” I said
Supper could wait. Not that I had much energy for it anyway.
“I actually came back earlier but you were not around. That was after I went to our new neighbor’s house Titi to just check on her because I haven’t seen her since that time we went to visit. I was ringing the doorbell when I saw one of her neighbors who said she had gone to the hospital. Did you know she was in the hospital Chi?”
I bit my lip. I did hope Christy had not come here to get some information from me. How much of it could I reveal?
“Er yes. Actually that’s where I went. She had a nasty fall and needed to have some stitches. She fell down the stairs.” More like pushed, I thought to myself.
“Oh,” Christy said. “That’s terrible. I do hope she’s ok.”
“Yes, she’s fine.” Physically, at least.
“It’s nice that you guys have gotten so close,” Christy idly remarked. “I thought you just met her barely a month ago.”
“Yeah, it’s nice,” I said unwilling to volunteer more.
Christy sighed. Then she did something unexpected and reached over and took my hands.
“Why won’t you trust me Chi? I know something is bothering you.”
I tried to loosen my hands from her warm grip. “I’m fine Christy.”
“Let’s talk about something else.”
“You’re not fine,” she said softly. And then I wanted to swallow the lump in my throat. I really wasn’t fine, not fine at all.
“You can tell me,” Christy prodded gently.
Suddenly before I could stop it, the dam burst open and tears began to fall. Uncontrollable sobs. They racked my body and Christy held me and I was unable to speak.
Minutes later, I assume about fifteen minutes later while she was still letting me cry it out, the doorbell rang. I tried to clean my face up and went to open the door. It was Ike with an anxious look on his face. He didn’t seem too pleased to see Christy either.
As if sensing she was unwelcome, she took her cue to leave and gave me a meaningful look. I knew she would want to know what issue or issues I had that was responsible for my outburst.
As soon as she was out of earshot, Ike turned to face me. “Did you tell her anything?” his eyes blazing
“No, of course not,” I said, grateful that I had not.
“But it looked like you were crying,” he said still suspicious.
“We were talking about something else.”
He sighed and put his arms around me. “I’m sorry Chi but the last thing we need is someone going around the estate telling people our business.”
I nodded, although I was beginning to doubt whether Christy would do that to me. For a moment, she had seemed rather genuine.
“What happened Ike? You seemed worried when you came in,” I asked, searching his face.
He sat down heavily on the bed. “I had a discussion with the lawyer today and I asked him to give me the best and worst case scenario if I was convicted.”
“And what did he say?” I asked joining him on the bed.
“He said two years for best case scenario and fifteen for worst case scenario.”
I nearly fell off the bed. “Bu-t that’s impossible!” I spat out. At this point I was no longer worried or scared, just angry at the injustice of it all.“People who steal far much more in this country do not even go to prison at all. You didn’t even steal. Why would they do that to you?”
Ike put his head in his hands. “I asked him that too but he told me that such people had clout. That such people were politicians and I on the other hand was a nobody. He said the judiciary would want to use my case as an example to show that they were prosecuting fraud.”
I shook my head determinedly. “No, Ike. Enough is enough. You will not be convicted. You will not go to prison. We will not lose this house or everything we have worked for,” I said in a bold strong voice, hardly recognizing myself.
Ike looked at me in amazement. “How can you be so sure?”
I smiled. “I just know.”
He hugged me tightly as if trying to absorb my new found strength. I honestly did not know where it came from but I knew it was time to stop the pity party. And then it hit me with sudden clarity. I now knew what to do about Titi.