“No! No! Please don’t take him from us! Please, please! I love you!”
(Yelling from the distance)
“I will be back for you. Junior take care of your mother and siblings for me!”
“Yes papa,” the boy cried.
I sat in my doorway crying hysterically. “Joshua take you brother and sister to get washed up for dinner.” I could hear the screams echoing throughout the streets of the women who were feeling the same pain. Here I was living in the middle of South Park with three children and no job. How will I be able to feed my children? My boys will have to grow up without a father. My daughter will never know how it feels to be loved by her father. Joseph and Janae will only have vague memories. But Joshua will be hurt the most. He watched his father get abducted and didn’t get to say bye. We didn’t get a chance to give him a hug or kiss. He said he’ll be back for us. But I know he won’t. They never return. My husband was taken by some savage people. Will this pain ever be able to go away?
“Mama, will papa join us for dinner,” Joseph asked?
“Not tonight sweetie. Eat up so we can get to bed. Who wants to go to the water park tomorrow?”
“Me, me, I do,” replied the children.
There was complete silence throughout my house that night. I didn’t hear the sound of water dripping from the faucet. There were no creaks in the floor. No beds squeaking. Just silence. We all slept in the same bed. I didn’t want to be alone and I didn’t want them sleeping alone. Will I be able to protect them? I felt lost. There was going to be the time for them to come take my boys. Joshua is almost 16. What if they returned tomorrow for him? I can not handle losing my children.
The next morning, I tried to follow my same routine. I made two cups of tea and fixed 5 plates instead of 4. I couldn’t bring myself to change things. Joshua had a look of hate and anger in his eyes. What do I say to him? He loved his father more than anything.
It has been a week since I witnessed my husband being taken away. The pain is still fresh. The awkward silence was still there at night. It was almost time to pay the bills. We only have $300 left. We needed this week’s check to manage. I had to think of something quick.
I decided to clean the house. Maybe if I got rid of some things, we could start to move on with our lives. I cried at every item of his I touched. His scent was taking over. There was an envelope hidden in his shirt drawer. It was sealed with Joshua’s name on it. Not sure what it was. I opened it and started to read:
If you’re reading this, then it means it was my time to go. I just hope that I taught you enough to be a good man. I need you to be strong for your mother and siblings. Joseph needs you to be the best role model. Protect Janae, so she will never settle for a low life male. Your mother will be hurt. But if you help her, she can make it through. You’re my junior. I know you will be great in whatever you choose. I don’t want you to focus on the day they will come for you or Joseph. You have to focus on success. Like I’ve always told you, to have true success, you must help your people stay ahead. To have true happiness, always stay true to yourself. Knowledge is key. Don’t let anyone tell you any different. I love you junior. ~Pops
I wonder what do all these numbers mean that he has written along the margins. 10, 8, 12, 7, 5. Or is it supposed to be 5, 7, 12…? He never mentioned any of these numbers so what could they be. Maybe Joshua would know what the numbers were for.
The children were finally back in school. Things seemed as if they would be ok. I was able to pay our bills. But we had nothing left, so I decided to sell some things for extra cash. Josh always told me I need to sell my paintings. If I knew I could make this much money, I would’ve done it years ago. It’s amazing how much people will pay for art decor. I was thankful for every dime.
(Front door slams shut)
“Mama, mama, Joshua got into a fight today,” Joseph spoke with excitement.
“Shut up, you always running you mouth,” Joshua yelled to his brother!
“Hey, hey, calm down both of you. What happened Josh?”
“My name is Joshua. You only call papa Josh. I don’t want you to call me Josh. My name is Joshua.”
Every ounce of me wanted to breakdown. But I had to hold it together because I knew he was speaking out of hurt and anger. “Joshua, tell me what is going on.”
“I can’t do this anymore. It isn’t fair that we should have to live like this. What did he do to get taken away? We were happy. We had a wonderful life. Now it’s all destroyed. I hate those people, I hate my school, I hate this house, I hate everything,” Joshua cried.
Our life had fallen apart. My children wanted their father. I wanted my husband. “It’s going to be ok son. I promise you.”
“Don’t make promises you can’t keep mama.”
“Joseph, take your sister to the room while I talk to your brother.”
“Yes mama. I love you mama.” (Joseph kissed her on the cheek)
“I love you more.”
“Joshua, last week when I was cleaning, I found a letter from your father for you. I want you to read it.”
“What do these numbers mean” he asked?
“I was hoping you could help me with that.”
“Whenever we would go out, papa would always talk about success and helping our people. These numbers are from our daily routes. We always took the 12 train to 10th Street to get a slice of pizza. Then we would walk to 8th Street to laugh it off. We ended up at Mrs. Davis bakery. The address to her building is 875. I need to go to the bakery and talk to her. Maybe she knows what papa is trying to tell us,” Joshua told his mama.
The next morning, Joshua headed over to the bakery, taking the same route he and his father would take.
“Good morning son. Aren’t you suppose to be in school,” Mrs. Davis asked?
“No school today ma’am. I actually came over to ask you about me papa. He left me a letter and there were numbers that added up to your address. Do you know why me papa would want me to come here?”
“Oh Junior. You are just like you papa. He would be so happy that you came to me. A few years ago, yo papa asked if he could store some things in my basement. I didn’t hesitate. I knew he was planning for his departure and wanted to make sure you and your family would be secure once he left. Com, I’ll show you.”
Opening the boxes, he found all kinds of papers and pictures of different places and people. “Who are these people madame?”
“Those are some of the people your father helped change their lives around. These papers are contracts. You father was running a small organization for women and children who lost their husbands the same way he was taken. These women lost everything. Take these boxes and sort through them with you mother. I’m here for your family if you need anything Junior.”
“Mama, mama, Mrs. Davis gave me these boxes to sort through. She said papa stored them in her basement.”
We sorted through all the papers. I couldn’t believe my husband kept this hidden for years. I thought we were broke. From the looks of things, we were sitting on a lot of money and land. Josh left instructions on everything I needed to do for us to have a successful future.
It’s been roughly three months now. The children are happy and I’m more focus. I’ll be attending my first committee as the head speaker. Nerves were taking over. But I know these women are depending on me. It was up to me to carry on what my husband started.
“Before we head to the committee, there’s something I have to show you mama,” Joshua stated.
The four of us headed to the subway Josh would take for his early morning commute. Joshua took us down the rails to what looked like something from that turtles movie. We found a bag full of money and passports. People ask you what’s your biggest fear. Or what’s your main goal in life. I never really have an answer. But I would always tell Josh that as long as my bills are paid and I can travel freely, then I was good. We never got to travel living paycheck to paycheck and no one to watch the children. How was he able to get us all passports? I took the bag and we hurried to the meeting.
“Thank you all for coming out this evening. These past months have been rough for majority of us here. We live in a world where they think it’s ok to come in your home without permission. Break up your families because they feel like it. Leave us with indescribable pains. We are left with nothing but unanswered questions from our babies. The look in their eyes as they have to witness their fathers being abducted. The image will continue to play in their minds. We must not be afraid. ‘Do not kill your children out of poverty; We will provide for you and them,’ [Quran 6:151]. They feel no pain, no sympathy for us. They think we’ll riot for justice. But I’m here to say ‘It’s Just Us’. We don’t need them. I will die trying to make sure my beautiful women and children are happy.”
(Applause from the crowd)
“For those of you who knew my husband, know he was a true definition of a strong man. He has left us but will never be forgotten. I have a list of all the women he was able to save. I thank you Queens for staying strong. You are the ones who will help our new sisters survive. We will not focus on our boys being taken away. Together we can make it through.”
(The crowd cheers with excitement)
“In July 2018, we are expected to have a total of 20 housing complex and three schools for our babies. For now, I want you all to continue attending your classes at the centers. We can not escape them but we can build a future for ourselves. Thank you all. Be safe and have a wonderful night.”
If you’re not confident, they will have doubts. I wanted to save my people. Most people think to be rich, you have to have a lot of money. ‘Richness is not in the quantity of possessions (that one has); rather, true richness is the richness of one’s self (or contentment).’ (Saheeh Al-Bukhari) We have land and we can travel. We have our children and we have our health. Their futures are what matters. Women who are rich off life will remain happy. Money can’t buy happiness. We must have knowledge of self. Beware of our surroundings. We are at war because they want what we are. If we keep our bond strong, no one will be able to tear us down. “Wealth and children are the adornments of the life of this world. But the permanent righteous deeds are better in your Lord’s Sight (to attain) rewards, and better in respect of hope.” (Qur’an 18:46)
Happy Born day from the 4 of us:6/30