Youth

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Chapter 43

“I’ll go get your present right now,” Lukas gets up off my couch and gives me a long, well-needed hug before leaving my apartment.

“You only have two more visitors today,” Carol says in a monotonous tone. I look at her and nod subtly. I keep my eyes trained on her badge. The gold plated metal must mean so much to her. I’ve never met anyone who’s been so invested in their job as a guard, it’s probably the lowest level of being an officer.

A knock sounds at the front door and Carol opens it. Lukas hands her the present and waves to me before turning around and leaving. Carol sets the gift on the counter and goes to shut the door.

“Wait, don’t close the door,” An oddly familiar voice says, one I can’t place exactly.

I get a flash of blonde hair and see her sharp brown eyes when Carol steps back from the doorway.

“Name?”

She keeps her composure, stating her name in the calmest way possible,“Madeline Parisi.”

Never in a million years would I think she would visit me. We weren’t even friends, so why is she here?

“Your business?” Carol asks, her attitude not passing with Madeline.

“I’m here to visit, why else would I be here? Also, if you don’t clean up your act I can easily make a few phone calls and have you kicked right off this case.” I raise my eyebrows at Madeline’s comeback and even Carol was taken aback.

Carol recomposes herself and stands up straight, “And what is an itty-bitty teenager going to do?”

Madeline walks in and shuts the door, “If you really want to know I can show you the amount of power this ‘itty-bitty teenager’ has,” Carol finally shuts her trap and furrows her eyebrows in thought. After a few more seconds, she silently leaves the room and goes onto the patio, “Now that’s she’s gone, you need to spill the truth. All of these boys are sticking their neck out for you and I want to know the reason why.”

“I honestly don’t even know why. The day I got released from prison they were there and ready to go. But the one thing I can tell you is I didn’t do any of this. I promise if you want the full story of how I’m ‘connected’ to these murders I’ll give it to you.”

“That would be nice,” She crosses her legs and leans on her thigh.

By the end of my storytelling, she sits there, an expressionless look on her face. I think she’s trying to process it but I’d understand if she’s having trouble. I even have trouble processing it sometimes.

“Well, we’re all getting together for Christmas and my house tonight and I’ll make sure everyone knows you said hello,” Madeline stands and leaves the apartment. I furrow my eyebrows and stand up off the couch.

I make my way into the kitchen and start on a dinner. The last few years I’ve been making a soup for Christmas, I call it ‘Christmas Soup’, creative name, I know.

In an hour, the soup is done and Carol still hasn’t come back inside. If I can’t get her to like me right now, then maybe I should try to earn her respect.

I grab two glass bowls from the cupboard and fill them both up with soup. I set them both across from each other and set napkins and spoons next to the bowls.

When she finally comes in, I’m taking my first sip of my soup.

“I’ve made dinner,” I refer to the bowl and she just looks at it. Without saying anything, she walks right by and goes into the living room. I groan quietly, leaning over the steam that floats up into my face. My eyes instinctively close and I take a deep breath.

I get up and without a second thought, walk into my bedroom. Locking the door, I give myself some type of privacy. Some type of peace from the outside world that always so inviting but always so prying.

I lay under my comforter and catch staring at the ceiling. It’s almost like a blank canvas that I can paint my feelings on. I can see everything bad in my life on the ceiling, almost like it’s a whiteboard and my brain is the projector.

I close my eyes and the same thing happens to my eyelids. They’re like a mini movie theater, replaying my worst memories up until now. It seems nobody can ever revisit their good memories when they need them. Right about now would be an amazing time to see some amazing memories but they’re just not coming to my mind.

My brain also makes up the scenarios of how and why I got taken away from my mother. The look on her face when she woke up, when she asked the nurses where I was, when she had to leave the hospital without the daughter she had given birth to only a few hours earlier.

One is where she doesn’t care and once she gets out, she shoots up. Another is where she’s screaming and crying about me. There’s really no other reactions I could think of.

Also, who’s my dad? I’ve never heard of him, there’s no record of him, nothing. I mean I have to have a dad right? It’s not even possible to have a baby without a dude. So who’s the dude that got my mom pregnant? When I look at myself in the mirror, my complexion makes me assume I’m some type of Mexican but my hair and facial features say I’m Black.

Lukas and Adrian haven’t shown me a picture of my mom yet so I’m hoping at some point they’ll get me a photo of her. I want to know what she looks like.

I wonder who I look like the most. I feel like I look more like my dad.

It’s just a gut feeling though.

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