Angelites - Body of Persons Empowered

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Chapter 18

Everyone volunteered to help, but Sienna insisted that she would handle the clean-up alone. Therefore, Raul and his daughters strolled out to the backyard and stretched out on the lawn chairs, gazing at the twinkling night sky. Security and comfort never felt stronger for Gina. However, Matthew Goode weighed heavy on her mind. Hopefully, he’ll have answers to the dozens of questions she’s dying to ask.

“Hey,” Alex whispered, nudging her sister’s arm. “Now’s the perfect time to talk to Mom.”

“Nah, she’s busy,’ said Gina. “Maybe I’ll wait until she’s done. Besides, I

don’t know what to say.”

I missed you – I’m glad to be home – I loved your cooking – I hated your cooking. Something. Anything. Just talk to her.” As Gina hesitantly got to her feet, Alex dragged over a small lawn table and challenged her father to a game of Gin Rummy.

She entered the kitchen through the back door and spotted her mother shimmying to Salsa tunes on her small tabletop radio while washing the dishes. From the corner of her eye, Sienna saw Gina standing by the stack of wet plates near the sink, holding a dry towel. “No, mija,” Sienna disputed. “Go back out there and relax. I’ll join you in a minute.”

“C’mon Mom,” said Gina. “This is supposed to be my homecoming, right? Well, treat me like I’m back home and give me some chores to do. Please?”

Sienna sighed before allowing her daughter to dry the dishes. Gina showed a bright smile but was still nervous inside. Her mind went blank. Why was she so nervy? If problems can’t be brought to their parents, then children would be lost in the storm. Enough. Blurt out the first thought that comes to mind. “Love the new house. Cozy and comfortable for you guys.”

“Eh, I miss our old place,” Sienna shrugged. “It may sound silly, but that’s where you and your sister were raised, ya know? Originally, I wanted to leave the house to one of you so you could spend your retirement years in comfort, without worrying about mortgage payments and all that.”

“Thanks for the thought Mom, but you know Al and I will be okay.”

“Yes, I know. Times change. People change. And you two, being so talented and hardworking, will probably have enough money to buy two homes when

you get to be my age.” Gina giggled. “So, your Daddy managed to find a buyer

who made us a great offer. And here we are.”

“I think it’s perfect. I love it. How’s your downstairs tenant?”

“Such a nice guy. He works the night shift for the MTA so we hardly see him. However, his rent check comes on time, every time. No complaints here. Are you planning to stay the night?”

“I’d love to, but I already told Allie I’d stay with her. Cook another meal like this tomorrow night and I might change my accommodations.”

“Then you should leave your bag here,” Sienna laughed. “None of y’all are ready for what I’m making tomorrow night!”

They spoke about how Alex had grown into a beautiful woman, conversed about her childhood, and even shared wild police stories. But neither of them wanted to be the first to mention the big elephant in the room: why now? Five years is a long time not to hear from anyone. It’s even longer when it’s your kids. Gina sighed and chose to be the first to drop the bomb.

“I was selfish Mom... I shouldn’t have run away. From you. Daddy. Alex. I let my shame cloud my judgment and couldn’t bear to look at you without feeling like I let you all down. The pain never went away, Mom. It got worst year after year, and I regretted leaving you every day since. I’m so sorry Mom. I’m… so…sorry.”

As she began to sob, Sienna cradled her in her arms and rocked back and forth. “Never blame yourself for what happened,” she said, caressing the back of Gina’s red hair. “We were the selfish ones. Thinking you would forget about that night was the wrong way for us to behave. We all had different ideas on how you should move on with your life. None of us bothered to ask what you wanted to do.”

“But I should’ve stayed and worked it out with you.”

“No. We couldn’t eradicate those demons you carried inside. Only you could. And you needed your space to figure out how. It took me some time to accept that, but finally, I did. And I’m glad you were brave enough to do what you did. Saying you regret it? I’m looking at you and I’ve never seen you in better shape. More beautiful than ever.”

“What about Daddy? I didn’t see him again after the trial. Was he disappointed?”

“Yes. At himself. He used his ailing condition as an excuse for not visiting, but we both know your father is as healthy as an ox. Just the thought of

seeing you in a prison jumpsuit broke his heart. That same tenacity that lasted throughout his boxing career now lives inside of you and he blamed himself for not teaching you how to control it.”

Gina was saddened to hear her father had taken fault for her mistake. Sienna cupped her daughter’s face in her hands. “He’ll never admit this, but your departure was the main reason he wanted to sell the house. Memories made it hurt too much for him to stay, fearing we’ll never get them back. Then one day, he told me about a dream he had:

“You were in an open field. Graceful. Elegant. Standing like a gladiator. Surrounded by a golden glow. A gathering of angels flew overhead, blowing trumpets. He said it felt so real that after waking up, he got down on his knees and talked to God for the first time since your arrest. He then woke me up with excitement, saying you’d be coming home soon. That’s why he’s so calm right now. He knew you’d be back.”

Gina grew awkwardly numb. Her father had a dream involving her in

such a profound manner. Glowing in gold. She wondered if his dream included zombies, too. “Umm...what were you thinking when he told you about his dream?” she curiously asked.

“It’s complicated. I was thrilled at the idea of you coming home...but it frightened me to hear you portrayed with angels. So many thoughts came over me.”

“Like what?”

Sienna motioned her lips to say something but then held back suddenly. “It’s too long to explain. Another time I promise.”

Continuing to dry the dishes, Gina looked around at the newly lavished kitchen. Something beautifully designed above the doorway to the living room had grabbed her eye’s attention: a hand-carved wooden cross highly detailed with vines, leaves and infinity symbols. It looked as if it took several months to complete. “Where did you get that cross?” she asked.

“OH! A week ago, Pastor Goode came over for dinner.” Sienna recalled. Hearing his name made Gina nearly fumble a dish into the sink. “…


“You don’t remember Matthew?! How many pictures have you seen him in? He was at my wedding, your christening, Allie’s christening, Grandma’s passing

– he’s practically family.”

Gina composed herself from fainting. Does this man truly have a divine connection or just an insane amount of luck? “Oh yeah! I remember the pastor! Always smiling, even during the crappiest of days. I remember him like it was yesterday. So... how is he?”

“Great! He called from out of nowhere and asked if I’d heard from you lately. After I told him about your father’s dream, he asked to come over for a visit. Naturally, I invited him to dinner, and he gave me that cross as a thank you gift, saying it’ll provide comfort for our household.”

“Did you tell him where I was?”

“How could I? I had no idea where you were living. Alex said she didn’t know either, but I knew she was lying. Anyway, you needed time alone so I was okay with not knowing, for the time being. But if you were in trouble, I

would drop everything to help you - then strangle the heck out of both of you for keeping secrets from me.”

“This is very strange because...umm...Pastor Goode recently came to see me, too.” Then Gina spilled the beans about everything, including the reason why she came home. “Only two people came to see me in the hospital: Alex and Pastor Goode. If you didn’t tell him where I was then how did he know I’d be there that night? Can you explain that to me Mom?”

Sienna didn’t move. Gina called out to her and asked if she was okay. Immediately, her mother reached for a pen and tore off a page from the Reminder pad on the counter. Her sorrowful look spoke volumes. She knew more about her daughter’s dilemma than wanting to admit. She handed her

the paper. “That’s where you’ll find Pastor Goode. Believe me, he can explain

everything to you better than I can.” “What do you mean?”

“I hoped to God nothing like this would’ve happened to you, especially

with the pain you’ve endured already. Just remember while you’re talking to him that you do have a choice. Follow your heart and see where it leads you. That’ll decide how you’ll live the rest of your days.”

“Wait...what are you not telling me?”

“Trust me, mija. Matthew can answer your questions. I know that because... he helped me...when it was my turn.” Gina was stunned. “There’s a reason why

I was such a great cop and an even greater attorney. Choices. We make them every day. What we believe to be true. Knowing what’s right.”

“…What’s happened to me, Mom?”

“Shh…be patient sweetie. Please talk to Matthew tomorrow and I promise he’ll tell you everything you want to know. Keep an open mind. Follow your heart.”

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