A Promise In The Universe's Tears

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The Last Thing Expected

Milagros goes into her small to fair sized kitchen and gets him a glass of water. After a couple of moments she comes back out of the kitchen. She walks over to him. She pauses for a moments while she hands Sam the water and he anxiously takes the opportunity to steal a kiss. Once their lips touch Sam realizes that his theft was actually an inside job. She hands him the water and he takes it as she sits down next to him.

She looks concerned as she sits up on the couch pulling on the end of her skirt. Sam glares disapprovingly, but he really likes to see her looking even better than she usually does if it is possible… and getting attention. "I know you don’t like me dressing like this, but it’s not too often that I get to be sexy outside of a back pack, or Chef jacket." Milagros said. Sam sits ups and he takes her hands in his and she withdraws them. "Look I’m not stupid and I know you’re seeing other people, but I have to tell you this…" Milagros said inconclusively.

She looks him straight in the eye. "When I met you in the Jazz kitchen…I knew you were the opportunity that I needed to escape my arranged marriage to Devon … The more I taught you how to Salsa the more I got to know you and everything changed. The morning we made love when he went to work I couldn’t believe you were taking the chances you were and then you did it again the next morning and the next one.

When we had sex I felt passion that I knew would be in my life for the rest of it. I wanted to lose myself in you. When the fairy tale ended and Devon found out about you he did things to me. Eventually we moved and I was pregnant…Look Sam D is your daughter period. I know that we’ve just recently been back in touch these past couple of months, but I want us to be a family…I love you and I don’t even know why…I don’t even know if you’re worth loving, but I do." Milagros said and Sam is stupefied.

Milagros is hurt and she gets up and she goes into her room and looks out the window for the limo. She goes into the kitchen and tries to go through the motions of acting like she is doing something. Sam is in an unreal place. All his plans are shot to hell. He gets up and he slowly comes into the kitchen where Milagros looks like she is preparing something to eat, but when Sam gets close to her she is silently sobbing. Sam backs away.

Sam swallows his pride and digs into the deep dark diary of his regrets and guilt. "Yeah my life and all of this is a lie. I’ve been seeing someone and I will tell you everything…just let me tell you a story. A little while after Devon start calling my mother’s house after he found out about us…I use to ask Enrique the guy I use to come to the Jazz Kitchen with about you because he still went. He told me stories of how you came with and entourage of men to protect you.

Years went by and every now and then I would come past your house on Sylvan Rd. then one day it hit me that you had my child. I remember I wrote a letter and I had brought it and stuffed it in the mailbox. I came back day after day until finally the new homeowners told me that you were gone. I realized that I loved you and it was too late. You were so beautiful to me and it was like I fit perfectly into you even when we could not understand anything we were saying to each other. I'm not just talking about the sex." Sam said.

The limo honks the horn out front and Milagros breaks down in tears while she goes into her silverware draw. Sam braces himself and backs up a little. She fishes out the letter Sam had written. " I can't do this anymore. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I’ve been lying to Mi Amore." Milagros said. Sam is confused and she comes over to him and hugs him. He wipes away her tears as she kisses him hard and deep.

She abruptly breaks there kiss…like she is getting up the nerve to do something that she know that she has to do. She takes him by the hand and leads him outside. She grabs her purse. She locks her door behind her and they proceed outside. Sam comes down the stairs and D waits on him expectantly. She hugs him tight almost taking his breath and without having to think, or try to find his way in this moment he hugs her back…he always wanted a daughter…always. Sam feels he failed with his estranged son and all the Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus baby momma bull shit. He always told himself that girls always need and love there Pops. D proved that fact to him today.

Even though Sam had felt like less than a man all the years he walked around with the heart murmur not having his son created in him. All the years his son’s mother ran him down and how he had to relive that through his son….his son that he was supposed to learn how to be a father from and his son that was supposed to learn what it meant to be a son from him. He had a daughter and even though she could not replace his son he could begin to live again where his life stopped. With so many burned bridges in his life and so many dead ends it is more than divine intervention that he has a chance to take hold of the one thing he’s needed so much after take it for granted…family.

D lets him go and she steps back. She extends her hand. "My name is Milagros Gerri Hawkins. I can go put on a shawl if you want me to…pops." Milagros Gerri Hawkins said. Sam soaks up the moment. She searches his eyes as she looks into them and decided to go throw on a pair of jeans and a "Father Sensitive" spaghetti strap shirt. They climb into the limo.

Milagros sits opposite of Sam in the Limo and she watches him quietly as he is clearly elsewhere. She desperately wants to know what is on his mind. Sam is in a place where Jeezy’s song "Way To Gone’ is playing in his mind. How could he go back? How could he face his family…how could he be about the truth…when the reality of it is being broke and living in his momma’s house?

How could he go back to the gutter with a dining table set with a steaming 30 year old vomit, a fork and spoon? He has a daughter now…he finally had a woman that loved him. He still had the pain, but now there is a light at the end of the tunnel…now he can hear more than then the clamor of his long chains that he drags across the ground and the million miles he’s faced in his life. Milagros Gerri Hawkins comes back and climbs into the limo. She closes the door behind her and the limo driver pulls off. They all head to Milagros’s surprise for Sam.

Sam is in a daydreams like state fighting for his life…his sanity…his peace, which has never been his own, but God’s. The only peace that proved to last through all the seasons of winter within the black dawn’s in the gutter. This should be the happiest moment of his life.

This should be the time he should be wondering how he the marriage dream he had when he was in Westville Correctional Facility to be married at Rainbow Falls Hawaii at the base of the water fall would look like. This would be the time he should be getting on his daughter’s nerves and see how much of himself he can see in her from her response to him. He should be thinking about all the sexual things he wanted to do to Milagros and how good she looked…how good she always looks. Despite all of this he is numb, disconnected and afraid.

They drive until they hit Oceanside Ave and they head through Brooklyn and they continue for quite some time until they reach Manhattan.

So many questions… even if the money was mediocre…how could he give it up? How could he give up the wardrobe up? Sam remembers the main course at his mother’s house was Pork and Beans and on a good day Bush beans. Yeah she very much put food on the table, but everything he put in his mouth was basically him tearing a strip of meat off of her shoulders. He remembers sleeping in abandon buildings…washing up in the gas station bathrooms. He remembers getting mercy thanksgiving plates from drug addicts in Country Squire Apartments. He remembers that his family is his greatest gift and his greatest curse.

At any given time they would speak both life, and death over him, over anything that looked like his underground railroad out of the cotton fields of the nothingness that stretched out in his life further than the eye could see. Sam could Al Green’s song "I’m so tired being alone" playing in his head. He hears "How can you mend a broken heart" by Al Green playing in his mind.

Nell texts Sam and the application on his tablet is synced with his cell phone and to indicate it a whistling sound seasons the air. "So what happens if I break de rules and I call ya right now?" Nell texted. Sam is in auto pilot and he fishes his phone out of his pocket and vaguely glances at it, but he never minds it.

He puts his phone back in his pocket. The whistling indicator sounds off again and he doesn’t budge whatsoever as the sound repeats itself a few times and Sam already knows who it is…Punta Cana Andrea. Sam is still in deep contemplation. He still wonders…he always knew that because of some of the things he had done that he would never have what Milagros has shown him is on his plate and what she is trying to add to it.

Sam gets chills that run down his spine as "Dollar & Never" from Sacrface’s Made Album plays in his mind at the same time while the "Thrill is gone’ by B.B. King whispers in the background. Sam surmises that there is no going back. He pulls on his collar and straightens out his cuffs. He looks at Milagros across from him and he smiles a painful and subtle smile to himself. Sam doesn’t know if his life will finally lead to Satan being right in Sam would prove that he so belonged in Hell.

He didn’t know if there would be any forgiveness for him after this last sabbatical of running through the world’s cardinal candy shop delights…Sam feels like ha has to live it and he knows very well that after it all falls down that he very much will have to pay for it. Sam does not know if he wants to cry, kill himself, or someone else. The pain is unending, but he wrestles it all underneath his stone mask while h seals it shut and locks it. The sound of the lock slams into place like his prison door at Wabash Valley Correctional use to when he was in a level 3 20-22 hour a day lock down every day…for probation violations.

He looks over at Milagros and she swallows hard like she is in the presence of someone that frightens her…someone that she does not know. Milagros has always kept sight of the fact that even though she did not know Sam that they really connected from the first time that he ran into her again. A connection that cannot be faked, or manufactured. She could see into Sam somehow.

Like a the hallways light shining into a room with a child sitting with his knees hugged to his chest just within reach of that light. She respected Sam as a man and she loved him and she hated him. The very things that Sam himself said is the only way that the people who do love him can embrace a thing like him. Except the difference is for other people Sam is that intolerable thing, but for her he is that tolerable thing…and the more she is around him she needs him. Sam coldly stares at her and in silence he tries to say everything that he cannot say.

He tries to tell her to get out while she can. He tries to tell her that he is not the same man. He tries to tell her that his love destroys whatever it has touched and to add one more thing to feel guilty about is just more weight on the chain.

Sam feels like he is not wroth loving. Somewhere inside of him the rebellion that he was relished in has died. For a long time he has believed what everyone said about him…that he was a failure… that the judge should have given him the sentence he deserved…that he was a snake…a liar…crazy…a boy…slow…dumb…couldn’t take care of himself…delusional and a quitter. Milagros tears up as if she can almost hear him and even though his soul bleeds and his heart breaks…in this moment Sam has no tears to cry.

Milagros Gerri Hawkins looks back and forth between them and she feels like that there is something that she has to do, but she does not understand where her mother and her father are right now. Her mother lip quivers and she begins to cry. He turns to Milagros Gerri Hawkins that has found the same thing her mother has and her gaze is fastened on him.

Sam turns to her. "Don’t go playing misty for me. The limo has stopped." Sam gets out and in his mind this is the red carpet. Eve Longboria comes from inside the doors of the restaurant holding her date’s hand. She sees Milagros and Milagros Gerri Hawkins. She lets go of her date’s hand and proceeds toward Milagros. More and more Camera’s flash. Paparazzi’s seemingly come out of nowhere. In this moment while Sam sees camera’s flashing along with all the people that are really there to see Milagros and Eve…he finds five minutes of fame not so famously appealing.

He soaks it all up like a sponge. He wrings it out and lets the little puddle of his moment reflect something that looks like "shine". Without looking back at her he reaches back to Milagros and she takes his hand while she tries to wipe away the tears that threaten to never stop. After Milagros Gerri Hawkins who is going through the same gets out their gaze is fastened on Sam. Sam begins to walk and he glances down as he sees that there is no sides on this red carpet. He can only see a sea of suffering, fire, dismembered and a carnival of horrific tortures.

Eve Longboria reaches Milagros and Milagros Gerri Hawkins. "Hey! congratulations…is this him? Have you been crying?" Eve asked, but her question falls on deaf ears. Eve looks concerned as she empathetically tries to read the situation. "Hi Eve…" Milagros Gerri Hawkins said. Eve responds affectionately. She looks at Milagros and she just follows Milagros’s lead. Eve just walks with Milagros talking to her about recent happening in their shared project in Nicaragua.

Eve knows that this is not like Milagros. Eve continues to try and assess the situation between the three of them. She looks at Sam with disdain and she wants to confront him. "She knows he is a felon and a loser when she took this whole project relationship thing on…I’m all for fairy tale romances, happy beginnings and second chances, but this guy…" Eve thought to herself and she makes up her mind to keep her mouth shut. Milagros is divided and she tries to listen, but she is consumed in her penetrating gaze on Sam.

For a second Sam loses his breath and his hands are cold. He can hear the cries of millions upon, upon billions and trillions upon trillions of people screaming in sheer horrific agony. Milagros and Milagros Gerri Hawkins follow his line of sight….to a blank expression staring at the ground. They look at each other not knowing what to do. They gently try to pull Sam onward. He snaps out of his day dream and he is with them. They pass Eve’s chaperone and he conveys a "what is going on?" concern in his body language to Eve. She catches it and this along with everything else means that she should give Milagros some room. This is despite the fact that everything in her is not really unanimous in this choice.

They come into the lavish surroundings of the restaurant. Sam glances around and he almost plays hop scotch into his old culinary dream, but he doesn’t. They come to the host. Milagros still looks at Sam with a penetrating gaze and now it is shaping into an expression of anger. "Reservation for three…Hawkins." Milagros said. The host recognizes Milagros and he cheerfully shuffles about and he speed walks in the vicinity trying to find someone to take the three of them to their table.

"Hey Eve…sorry…it’s just…thanks for coming out. After all you’ve done for me and with me you have been an exceptional friend and mentor…Sam I know you got a lot on your mind, but I kind of need you to stay in the moment. I am not going to see you for a minute and with how you do it…maybe a few weeks, or never again…I mean you haven’t said anything since I dropped all this on you!" Milagros said and she tries to calm down. Eve skeptically examines Sam’s disposition. "I am sorry, but he is not good enough for you! You should not have to raise a man! How does that speak to your legacy and everything you have been through and as far as you have come?" Eve said. Sam stares straight head and never minds everything in what she just implied.

Sam thinks to himself that he should be used to being disapproved of after all that he has been through, but somehow the sting of it always finds a way to make that first and deepest cut all over again. Sam notices how engrossed Milagros is in what Eve had to say and had no tact in saying what she did. He surmises that this influence was going to be a problem for him.

At the same time winning Eve’s approval is just allowing her just as much power over him and for what? He had been through this same scenario enough in similar situations in his life and he arrives at the reality that he refuses to bow down. He refuses and if Milagros didn’t like it she could go ahead and find her something to do elsewhere with someone else indefinitely. "Are you serious Milagros? Sorry? You’re my friend and an inspiration to me! What’s all this what I’ve done for you and I’m your mentor…you know it’s the give and take. You encourage me. After what I went through with Tony it’s hard for me to trust a man. I wish I had what you have in you…to be able to be to trust and fight for true love….despite the flaws of the copilot our heart chooses. In a lot of ways I aspire to have the drive you do…You are brave and I try to see myself in who you are…you’re my hero." Eve said warmly.

Eve decides that the three of them need time to themselves. "Call me if you need anything…I mean anything." Eve said while she glares disapprovingly at Sam. She proceeds back outside where the valet has just pulled up in her car.

He laughs to himself and shakes his head in equal disapproval. Sam looks at her amusingly while Milagros Gerri Hawkins is up on him like she has beef and is waiting for him to make one false move so she can put together a couple of punches upside his head. Sam uses his other’s old peripheral vision and she sees his daughter’s animated behavior out of the corner of his eye while he stares straight ahead.

"Everything is cool. I’m just soaking it up. I just got my mind on my little food service event in Indianapolis…I’m trying to get something to shake on the money tip…my publisher is on my head for the non-fiction short story I agreed to give him in a contract …even though I have given him 3 short stories for every fiction one I failed to comply with in my contract…I haven’t’ seen my sweet General Puddin…and you know how I think you do have some idea of how I feel about my momma oh and let’s not forget that you basically asked me to move in with you and marry you and not to mention that I was sexually attracted to a girl that now turns out to be my daughter…did I cover everything? What’s wrong not feeling me anymore? What’s wrong aren’t we supposed to be sharing feelings…" Sam said inconclusively. Milagros wants to put her hands on Sam and he smiles. "Alright…there it is…boom whatcha going to do?" Sam said amusingly.

The host comes back and the tension that cut not be cut with a machete stops him in his tracks. He clears his throat. "Your table is ready.’ The host said. "In one of these five star joints aren’t you supposed to tell us your name?" Sam asked. Milagros is ready to throw down on Sam right here and now. Milagros Gerri Hawkins notices this.

"I got it ma!" Milagros Gerri Hawkins said. She quickly steps to the side and gives Sam a sharp slap on one side of his face and with fluent motion she tries to slap the other side…Sam smacks her hand away. Sam nurses his face and he laughs to himself. "Now… Now dear. Mommy can slap your Pops on her own…General Puddin…momma would love you." Sam said inconclusively. The host doesn’t ask any questions and he leads them to their table.

They all have a seat. Milagros and Milagros Gerri Hawkins is still angry with Sam and his comfort despite the fact that they are angry is making is adding fuel to the fire. To Sam this moment is as close to normal that he has known. He pays them no mind while he checks his messages on his electronic tablet.

He looks up and he sees the hard mean mug of them both. He shakes his head and he fishes his ear buds out of his pocket. He pops them in and goes to Slacker Radio. He listens to Norah Jones "Come Away With Me Into The Night". Sam disconnects.

Even though Sam does not know Milagros that well or really at all…he doesn’t know that she is not one to go through the motions. She is very passionate, emotional and she has a very bad temper that has been kept bridled for a long time, because of her relationship with God.

The trauma she experienced within the potholes of her journey…being homeless after the man that came to her country when she was just a little over 18 and legally, or maybe even illegally purchased her put her out in the streets when he found out that she was pregnant with Milagros Gerri Hawkins.

A waiter begins to brings out some salads. He attentively carries them on a tray that he holds his flat palm underneath. There is tray holder already set up nearby and the waiter sets it on top of it. Keeping his thumbs out of the plates he holds the three of them all together. He proceeds to the table. He consciously serves them from the proper side as to not disturb them. Milagros reaches over and pulls tugs on the wire of Sam’s ear bud’s. They come out of his ears and he sighs while he expectantly looks up at her. Sam glances up at the waiter who is gone just as fast as he came.

Milagros Gerri Hawkins glares hard at Sam and so does her mother. "I don’t know what you, or you want from me. Why did you think that I was just going to be all for this Brady Bunch, or Little House On The Prairie thing the both of you have in your heads?" Sam. "Nobody wants nothing from you that you do not want and desperately need yourself. Just be a man…stop perpetrating like your whole living the high life trash is not straight see through." Milagros said before her daughter could speak up.

"Be a man…where have I heard that before. So being a man in your mind is just conforming to what you say and accepting however you have chosen to dish out the truth and in light of these facts…I’m the one perpetrating? How are you any different than my first child’s mother…here I am and that’s not enough. I have to be what you imagine me to be and if I did that…sooner than later that wouldn’t be enough. You would never be satisfied and it would go on and on. Then I would be the damn bad guy again, because I do not want to tear up the very small life I have and trust. YOU and my daughter are disrespecting me, because I am fighting the battle against the imagination you have in your mind!" Sam exclaimed while he points his finger in Milagros Gerri Hawkins face. He points so hard that it seems like he is going to poke her in the eyeball, but he only touches the tips of her eye lashes.

Milagros and Milagros Gerri Hawkins are at a loss of words. There is a lot of truth to what Sam has said. "So what you’re done already? At a loss for words? Don’t like my attitude, because I do not fit whatever you had in your head? You had it bad I get that. I am not a good person. I am a feeble, small and selfish guy in remission. I am everything you are thinking that I am right now and everything anybody that has ever known me says about me. I’m that unlovable thing and you thought you were so different. That you wouldn’t love me and hate me and find out that who I am is the intolerable in-between. If my own mother feels this way and she is powered by God…how would the two of you be any different?" Sam asked.

Milagros reflects for a moment and she patiently takes the slice of lemon out of her water glass. She throws the water in Sam’s face. He sighs heavily and wipes it out of his eyes and face. He tries to dry his electronic tablet off. "You know why it is different! You almost had me convinced, but it’s called recognition. You see it just like I do, but you are afraid to commit to the truth of it, because it would mean that God has stepped on all the tepee’s that provide a residence for all the excuses you have for not accepting what you prayed and begged for! I’m tired of doing all of this by myself and you are going to help me, or I am sorry, but I am going to get even more ignorant and aggressive until I am satisfied…even after the police come!" Milagros exclaimed.

The people in the restaurant are looking intently. This does not matter to Milagros, Milagros Gerri Hawkins, or to Sam because each of them are exactly alike…locked up in this moment. The manager comes into their section of the restaurant and he surveys the situation shrewdly.

Sam does not make eye contact with either one of them. He calmly takes the napkin off the table and tries to dry himself. He sets his electronic tablet on the table, which is now ruined. It won’t turn on and the touch screen is unresponsive. Sam thinks to himself. All his life he’s been the guy to be picked out to be picked on.

For so long he has to deal with women and all the colorful shades of attitude and the potholes of their personalities. He dealt with this for so long. He took it and took it and took it some more and he smiles as he realizes that today is no different. To Sam Milagros and her take it, or leave it aggressive disposition is trying to dictate to Sam something that he is now not willing to do in any shape, or form…to give up the stage to be a Mr. Belvedere in her one woman and mini me show. Sam smiles and he sits down.

He smoothly throws his water into Milagros face and he points a stringent finger into Milagros Gerri Hawkins. "This is not a game. Don’t you ever put your damn hands on me again! Ever! Ever…do you get it…ever! Do you hear me! Huh?! Answer me!" Sam exclaimed. Sam is livid. His eyes are blood shot red and his hands are shaking. He is a patient person in the sense of what he takes from people, but he’s been taking it for a long time. Sam refused to be sired by a woman. He refused to listen to all the justifications and the threats. To Sam Milagros is just another Nigga trying to impose her will and trying to bully him into being something she is leaving him no room to step back and take a look at.

Milagros wipes the water out of her face and she watches quietly. Milagros Gerri Hawkins is afraid and she submits under the blinding anger of her father. She looks into Sam’s face and it is like looking in the mirror. She knows that blank look means that the lines are bleeding together. She has never had to face her own anger management issues until right now and she knows that she is getting off lightly.

"I won’t…Okay?" Milagros Gerri Hawkins said timidly, but with a hint of attitude. Sam shakes his head and massages the bridge of his nose. Milagros just watched Sam be a father for the first time in her life. It was everything she expected it to be and everything she hoped it would never be again. She feels like he handled himself wonderfully and even though she over dramatized this whole situation meshed together with the no win scenario of her expectations… he did not lose control. Most of all he did not get up and leave…so to Milagros this means that something is at work here.

Sam does not know what to think right now. He is angry and he just wants to make his way to the airport. Suddenly he is tired and drained like he has been walking all day in 90 degree weather. Sam reasons to himself that he has to make it through this free meal and then he is done and at this point he did not really care how Milagros, or his daughter felt about it.

To Sam he does not have it in him to go through this…just to be left alone at the end of a story he has seen in his own life and in the life of other people he knows. He could be a deadbeat and all the names…it didn’t matter. None of it mattered. Andrea, the lies, the book deal with Ronnie…the dessert venture and the trap game web of deceit he freshly wove on Andrea’s life and mind every day.

Suddenly Sam just wants to go away, but here is nowhere to go. Suddenly Sam just wants to go home back to his mother’s house and do what he feels everyone has wanted him to…die. "I’m going to the bar and get a drink…I’ll be back after a while. Thanks for the meal." Sam said and he gets up. He takes his blazer off and sets it on the back of the chair. He grabs his electronic tablet. Milagros Gerri Hawkins reaches for his hand and he quickly snatches it away. He looks at her scolding glare. "I’m sorry." Milagros Gerri Hawkins said.

His disposition softens into pity…thinking of how many times he’s been sorry and what his father said to him on his death bed about Sam being sorry for all the things he’d done. He heads through the restaurant to the bar and throws the electronic tablet in the trash along the way. "You’re pushing him way to hard. Did you see him before he got up? He’s gonna cave if you keep pressing him!" Milagros Gerri Hawkins exclaimed. Milagros is hurting because she knows her daughter is telling the truth. She is crying on the inside, because she knows that she is hurting Sam. She fights back the tears and she turns toward her daughter and takes her hands in her own.

"You have to trust me. I’m afraid of losing him just as much as you are. You shouldn’t have told him you were sorry." Milagros said. "It is what I was supposed to do and trust is a two way street." Milagros Gerri Hawkins said. Milagros smiles proudly and she lovingly caresses her daughter’s face. She stares at her a moment and she sees Sam and herself in her perfectly split down the middle.

She goes into her purse and she fishes something out of it that she clenches tightly in her fist. Milagros Gerri Hawkins knows what it is inside her mother’s tightly clenched fist and her eyes grow wide. "Yo this is crazy! You are going to do this now!" Milagros Gerri Hawkins said. Milagros shakes her head in agreement and the have a little cry together while Milagros exhales and gets her nerve up.

Milagros Gerri Hawkins takes off her flats and her mother is already in sync with what her daughter is thinking. She puts on her daughter’s flats. Milagros Gerri Hawkins puts on her mother’s hoses like she had just scratched a winning lottery ticket. She pulls out her cell phone and texts someone that responds almost instantly and tells her that they’re in the lobby.

Milagros Gerri Hawkins meets her middle aged and handsome visitor and they walk in silence. They head through the restaurant until they reach the men’s bathroom. She gets up and heads toward the bar where Sam stares at the glass of Cognac he has not touched. He looks at this glass and knows this is part of what killed his father and what he is more than just lucky to make it out of the grips of. He remembers all the times he woke up the next morning is strange people’s homes, apartments and cars not knowing how he got there.

He remembers blowing what he and his peers called Indo, Hydro and Dough…which the modern generation calls "Loud Packs" and drinking Remy Martin V.S.O.P, or Grey Goose all day long while a guy… that used to be his friend rode around in his Navy blue Suburban running his paper route delivering crack…Milagros stops where she is and she watches him fight what is going on inside of him.

He remembers how this friendship came full circle the same way it did with that place he called his neighborhood as a whole. There was a time when the few he knew and grew up with had love, but that love turned into a soup kitchen and finally into a lifelong separation. One that was long overdue. Sam pushes the drink away from him and he heads for the bathroom. Milagros heart flutters. She knows that if she is going to do this the time is now. She takes off her 2 carat diamond earrings and drops them in a nearby plant as she passes it. She marches to the men’s bathroom that Sam has just disappeared through the door way of. She stands there for a second and an invisible pair of reassuring hands rest on her shoulders.

She goes into the restroom and Sam is just going into one of the stalls. A few guys that are at the sinks washing their hands see her and she urgently gestures for them to be quiet as she presses her index finger against her lips. They all look at each other and after they have finished up they recklessly eyeball Milagros sin her tight fitting dress as they go out. She locks the door behind the last guy.

Sam goes into the stall and he closes the door. He puts the lid down and he sits down. He prays. There is a tap at the door and Milagros knows that it is time. She proceeds to the stall where Sam is. She knocks on the stall door. "Occupied." Sam said. "Open the door Sam!" Milagros said. Sam is not surprised, but he still shakes his head in disbelief. "This is the men’s bathroom…whatever you are getting ready to get started about can at least wait until I come out…now go on somewhere." Sam said

Milagros tries to open the door, but it is locked. She goes into the stall next to his. She puts the lid down and she climbs up onto the top of the toilet. She gets on her tippy toes. Sam has come out of the stall and he comes into the stall watching her quietly and amusingly while Milagros is consumed with trying to see over this stall wall. He does not want to scare her, because she might fall.

She finally gets a bird’s eye view over the stall wall and he is not there. Sam quietly walks up and instinctively Milagros reacts with a Martial arts kick that Sam quickly closes the gap between them before she cam fully execute it. He looks up at her fondly. "Even if you would have made that kick all your business would have been in full view…" Sam said. Milagros is a little shamed and she pulls on the end her dress. Sam helps her down and for a moment they are close.

Milagros steps back. "I need to do this while I have the nerve to do it." Milagros said. "What might that be?" Sam said. Milagros tries to get on a bended knee and Sam sees that her dress is too short for her to do it. He thinks for a second of what he just prayed for and now he understands. He understands that ll of this is not about looking for the answer that he wanted, but seeing the answer for what it is. "Wait…" Sam said inconclusively.

Milagros looks at him pleadingly. "No…I won’t. I know this is right just give me and …" Milagros said inconclusively and Sam gingerly places her index finger against her lips. "You have to trust me and trust is a two way street." Sam said and Milagros begins to cry. He waits expectantly and she opens her hands. Milagros Gerri Hawkins and a Priest commissioned for a wedding is with her. They step into he door way of the stall where Sam and Milagros are seemingly in their own world.

He gasp at the sight of a pair of custom made wedding bands. One for a man and one for a woman. Sam picks the rings up and he is led to an engraving inside the band…"Love never fails." Sam said. The lies are finally divided. In Sam’s mind he can see the base of the waterfall in Rainbow Falls Hawaii.

He can smell the salt of the water and feel the mist of the water on his face. Sam finds something that he has lost for a long time. He finds faith. He gets on bended knee while Milagros cries. He looks up at her. "I really don’t know what to say. I never thought that I would get to have this in my life because of all the things I have chosen, done and failed in. I was wrong and I realize that you are that one person in my life that my love cannot destroy and I am afraid, but I would be even more afraid of the emptiness I would face for the rest of my life if I did not accept that God has given you to me and me to you. I love you Milagros…will you marry me?" Sam asked and she pulls him up and he reciprocates.

Milagros Gerri Hawkins is crying more than her mother and she hugs the Priest. Sam turns to them. He looks at the Priest. "I have to renew my matrimonial vows will you pray with me?" Sam asked and the Priest agreed. The Priest, Milagros, Sam and Milagros Gerri Hawkins get face down on their knees. "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me…In Christ Jesus name I ask this Amen." Sam said.

They get back to their feet. Sam looks at Milagros. "I know you want to get married in Rainbow…Falls Hawaii…at the base of the Waterfall right?" Milagros asked and Sam smiles a big and joyful smile. "One accord…yeah, but I would rather marry you right now in this bathroom then to go another second…" Sam said inconclusively while he wipes away Milagros tears. She nods in agreement.

Milagros Gerri Hawkins abruptly hugs them both and they take her in and they all fit perfectly together. "Right here and right now If you do not mind Priest." Sam said. "It’s my honor Mr. Hawkins. We’ve been waiting for this for a while haven’t we?" The Priest said. "Sam begins to cry, but he holds the disposition of a weary soldier that has finally made it back to his commanding officer. He lifts his head, but not in pride, but in the embrace of a special confidence this Priest knows very well.

"All of Heaven rejoices over you Sam. Can you hear your marching song?" The Priest asked. "I can…when you go back you tell him I said thank you thank you for everything." Sam said and he and the Priest understand each other.

The Priest marries them in the bathroom while people knock on the door complaining. "In the presence of God and his entire faithful Host…you may kiss your bride." The Priest said. Sam and Milagros kiss deep, hard and passionately. Milagros Gerri Hawkins is standing guard at the door that restaurant management has now opened. They are trying to get in, but despite her petite build she is proving to be more than formidable to get past. The restaurant management fierce, but fruitless efforts soften once he is brought up to speed that they have just been married. In the excitement of the restaurant staff and some of the customers that have gathered around the men’s bathroom door…only three of them come out of the bathroom. The Priest is gone.

Milagros Gerri Hawkins makes her way through the crowd. She goes and grabs Sam’s blazer jacket, her mother’s purse and she heads back over to them. She takes Sam’s blazer and she drapes it over her mother who willingly agrees. She agrees that this isn’t the moment for this dress. The small crowd that has gathered around the men’s bathroom is cheering like the fans in a baseball stadium during a N.Y. Yankees game.

Now the lime light that Sam once selfishly basked in earlier today is a spotlight he shares with his family. Sam’s life is riddled with broken relationships and burned bridges. It’s filled with people that have watched him fail and who have went as far as they could with him…trying to find a way to get the torn rope that reaches into the dark hole he’s in to be able to support his weight. Everyone failed, but finally after packing the dirt underneath his feet and passing out in the process…he finally is living his Cinderella Man fairy tale.

Finally his imagination did not fail him, or disassociate him from reality. For him he has the hottest chick in NYC and the world on his arm. Right now he has the love of his daughter that he did not work for, but that her mother taught her to have and that God installed in them both to give to him. Now he had a life.

Now he had the chance that no other human being, scheme, or gimmick could give him. In this moment he is a broken man that has been finally mended for the last time. No more begins, bartering, or trying to fulfill the expectations of other people that look at his situation from the outside in. No more chasing that dragon for that 310,000,000 moment, because the moment he stands in exceeds a 1,000,000,000 one. Now he is somebody.

The three of them soak it up together and a couple of pictures leak out onto the internet and onto blogs. The restaurant manager waves off the bill and Milagros calls a driver service. The moment is surreal. They barely know each other, but they have known each other all their lives. Through broken dreams and strangled promises.

Through the potholes of the street from her ghetto in Nicaragua and into his and into right now…here they stand together… a man and wife and daughter…a family. They head toward the lobby through the applause and congratulatory whistling of the customers and staff, which follows them all the way to the lobby and out the front doors. The car Milagros pulls up. They file into the car and Sam begins to contemplate something and Milagros seems to pick thoughts from inside of his head. "Do you need to go anywhere somewhere? Anywhere you need to go and no matter what it is we will wait for you." Milagros said. Sam tears up. Honesty is hard, but it’s Sam’s bread and meat from now on and he cannot defer away from any tackler no matter how big and fit they are.

"Yeah I need to go to the airport." Sam said and even before he has finished his request the driver is already plotted out this course and is in motion. They ride in silence and the same revelations that Sam has gotten is true for Milagros. Now that all the smoke is gone and the victory has finally been won and long kiss goodnight to her marred history she has to keep it real. Milagros Gerri Hawkins expectantly looks at her mother and she quickly gets irritable and impatient.

"Yo Ma you need to run the truth…like now, or I will." Milagros Gerri Hawkins said. Sam hardly pays them attention as he wonders how he is going to break this off with Punta Cana Andrea. "Come on ma you know how this is going to look to him…" Milagros Gerri Hawkins said inconclusively.

"Just stop pushing…I am going to!" Milagros said. Milagros Gerri Hawkins does not back off. "Well… what’s taking you so long?" Milagros Gerri Hawkins said. Milagros throws her daughter a hard glance that does not scare her, but pleads with her to trust her. Sam smells a rat and he knows that something is up. The energy in amongst them is off, but he has come too far to be surprised, but he was vulnerable enough right now to take that beating like Rocky did in Rocky 3 at the hands of Clubber Lang…reality that’s always working out to work Sam over at any opportune time.

It dawns on Sam and without even looking at either of them he knows. "They’re hiding something from me… a lie…no…lies…a subtle web of manipulation." Sam said, but mumble to himself. His pessimistic nature continues to act like Spider Man's Spidey sense.

Milagros Gerri Hawkins glances at her mother with a "I told you so" expression and she just looks out the window of the car as they ride. Milagros glares at Sam who purposely fastens his gaze out the window and he tries to brace himself for whatever is about to come his way. Sam know that he has gotten himself caught up in some kind of bullshit that like always he is the last to know about.

They ride in silence all the way to the airport. Sam guides the driver all the way in, but he’s a little bit ahead of the play by play directions that he is giving him and in this a fear that is crawling into his chest desperately begins to strangle his new found hope, love and sanctity of marriage and family. The driver pulls up and Sam comes gets out the limousine and heads into the airport and goes through an entrance that is closest to the gate of his flight to Indianapolis. Punta Cana Andrea meets him with a sort of sad look on her face and when he reaches her she starts to cry. She’s holding the plane tickets to Indianapolis in her hand. Sam has been through it enough to know crocodile tears when he sees them. "If you’re crying then you have been lying and hiding…" Sam inconclusively.

"You’re right I have been lying, but before I tell you everything just listen to me." Punta Cana Andrea said. "Nah I don’t have no time for long stories…just go ahead and run the truth. Want me to start…" Sam said inconclusively. Sam holds up his hand and makes his wedding band clear and visible. Punta Cana Andrea does not appear to be surprised and Sam’s sneaking suspicion takes a new twist. Sam turns around and Milagros and Milagros Gerri Hawkins are a few feet short of reaching him. He turns back to Punta Cana Andrea. She runs her fingers through her hair. "Don’t be mad at her. Me and you…we used each other, but she is the one who really loves you. I hope you can forgive me, but most of all…" Punta Cana said and she tries to sentimentally reach out to caress Sam’s face. He steps back.

Milagros and Milagros Gerri Hawkins reach Sam. All four of them stand together. Sam looks in the face of each of them and he knows that they are all in this together. He turns to Milagros. "This all started when you were still in Indianapolis at you mother’s house. Somewhere around the time my ex-husband put me out when I was pregnant I felt that same pull to you, which drove you to look for me and write that letter. That is why I kept your letter all these years. The guy that you thought was a hacker was a guy I found on craigslist. I planted the information you thought that he fished from Facebook and the I.P. address from Andrea’s yahoo account. "Milagros said.

"Punta Cana Andrea is a character that I and Eve created. Her sister is a woman that is in ma’s culinary training program. The family is really Andrea’s…it had to be convincing, but they do not know it was all a lie. We led you to the dance Loise and let you do all the scratching and saving from the change you had gotten from the blood bank. We planted our own dance instructor’s and kept the money you paid and put it into a fund." Milagros Gerri Hawkins said. "I have been the trustee of your funds that have been used to pay your rent and what you paid every month and the money you used to get from me all went back into the fund." Punta Cana Andrea said.

"Ronnie is really an actor that is a groupie of Eve’s. Our daughter has been editing and publishing all your books. We have kept them in your name and the money has gone into the fund. We have used some of the money to set up our daughter’s college trust fund and our daughter has faithfully pushed your dessert blogs that has close to 750,000 hits a week… to get your dessert venture to where you thought your manipulation of Punta Cana Andrea got you.

I and our daughter have been sharing the work load of the customers that have placed orders on the blog and we trickled the little that you have down to you." Milagros said. "I’m also a Chef and a writer… the job that you thought that Punta Cana Andrea had at the New York Times At The Lime is really my job. The car she is driving is mine…well I mean you paid for it. I gave her a part time job as my assistant editor and creative director. So we have spent a lot of time hatching this." Milagros Gerri Hawkins said.

Sam sarcastically and irritably applauds while he turns to each of them. "What an award winning performance. I have to admit you had me fooled. Let me guess…wifey you had to see If I was worth it with all the games and once you saw that I was trapped and nothing without the liberation of your love…that is when divine intervention found you to help me. Very good! You beat me. You beat me good." Sam said hurtfully.

Milagros Gerri Hawkins looks down at the ground. She knew that Sam would take this hard. Sam turns to Andrea. "What’s your name…why ask it doesn’t matter. You read me like a book huh? Then you know how much this hurts me…and the ego of it you know how sweet it was to think that I finally had the velvet…that Alpaca.. that platinum tongue my Pops had, but I’m just same old fool…filling myself up with that same old false hope.

I have to say thanks to all of you for composing such a Swan Song. I paid my debt for what I did to you…getting you pregnant and ruining your life with the dude that bought you…we’re even! I haven’t gotten this much attention in years.

Here’s something that might surprise you though…not that I was getting none of it anyway, but you keep that money…all of it. We’re even…were even. I don’t want anything from any of you. Say it! We’re even!" Sam exclaimed while he looks at Andrea, Milagros and Milagros Gerri Hawkins.

"Were even…I’m sorry I hurt you." Punta Cana Andrea said sympathetically. Sam expectantly stares Milagros in her face. She looks back at him with blood shot red eyes. She knew when she first planned this that there was always the chance that she would lose it all. Like Sam gambled time after time with Andrea. She gambled and after a long uninterrupted winning streak she lost it all. She pleadingly studies Sam’s expression.

She knows it does not matter how much he loves her, because now that love has turned into pain. The same pain she suffered from and caused others before all of this started. She tries not to cry, but she can’t hold it back. Sam shows no remorse, or sympathy. He promises himself that this is the last time he would lie, or lie to other people. He said this a lot of times, but now he will have a good reminder. He’ll have a daughter he will never know. He’ll have another hole in his soul…a hole from a son and now a growing hole from a daughter.

"We’re even…We’re even. I love you and I always will. I had to test you. I had to know if you really loved me, or if you would just take on a role and walk into financially successful life. I had to push this to the limits. We are the same and I know you understand. You chose me. So I don't care about you sleeping with her and all the things that you have done with her. Don't you see I did this all for us." Milagros said, but it falls on deaf ears.

He rashly grabs her by the throat and she does not resist. He catches himself and quickly let’s go while he smiles sarcastically. He turns to Milagros Gerri Hawkins. She is full of attitude and anger. She was raised on what kind of man her father is.

She was told how he would love her and that one day he would come back. She was told how he was a good man going through hard and harder times just like they were. She was raised and nurtured on this and her mother’s plan. She fought with everything in her to be obedient to her mother’s plan that seemed so right, but as she grew older she knew it was wrong.

They argued night after night…until Milagros Gerri Hawkins went and had her last name legally changed to his and did whatever she had to do to get his name on her birth certificate. She was just as much to blame as her mother. She followed the plan, but she also cultivated it.

"Nah we’re not even and I’m not going to let you walk away! Yo! Do you hear me! I love you! You are my pops and whatever beef you have with ma I understand, but yo that’s crazy just don’t cut me off! I know you love me! I know you love me!" Milagros Gerri Hawkins said. "

We'll be just like my son...one more hole in my heart that I will have to learn to live with. Yeah I do love you and I will always have that pain as a reminder that my love and what any kind of love that comes from me does to me…just like it has done to others all my life. I always wondered what it felt like…what I did to other people for them to despise and hate me so much. Now I know. I’ll always have it. You’re grown now anyway and more than that I have nowhere to go when I get back home, but back to my mother’s house. I cannot accept any of that money and neither can my mother. What am I saying you’re probably not even my kid!" Sam exclaimed irritably. He brashly disentangles himself from her.

He takes off his designer shoes, his collared shirt and he drops it in the middle of them in a pile. He takes out his cell phone and the keys to his apartment in Bedford Stuyvesant Brooklyn and he drops them into the pile. He goes into his pocket and fishes out his wallet and he takes a loose fifty cents out of it and he drops the wallet into the pile. " Gotta have pants.The bills just got paid on your apartment…so I’m sure you have that under control." Sam said.

He pauses for a moment while he looks at his wedding band. "This is the last call for flight number 221 nonstop to Indianapolis Indiana." An announcement said over the Airport P.A. system. "Well look at the time I have to be going ladies and I can honestly say this was interesting." Sam said. He snatches the Airline ticket he needs out of Punta Cana Andrea’s hand and he grabs the designer dress shoes.

He proceeds toward the gate of his flight and along the way he stops and notices a guy wearing ear buds that wears about the same size shoe as he does. The guy is wearing a very worn pair of shell toe Adidas. Sam stands there for a moment and the guy looks up. Sam holds up the designer pair of shoes. "I’ll trade you." Sam said and the guy looks at him very suspiciously. "Yo son what are you like the bomb in the under wear type of guy, or something? "The guy asked. "Nah I’m just a sucker that’s been played living a fool’s gold dream and now I’m headed back to my mother’s house…to be nothing. No string want the shoes, or not?" Sam asked.

The guy understands and he takes them and he smiles big. "Word son…Gucci yeah I’ll take that kind of foolishness any day. Have a good flight sucker. Nah I’m just joking son." The guy said. Sam puts on the Adidas. He heads toward the gate and he pauses for a second. He looks at his wedding band. He begins to cry and he takes it off and drops it where he stands. He looks down at it for a moment while the airport staff urge him to keep moving. He shakes his head and keeps going.

Milagros is emotionally paralyzed. She was so sure that it would work. For the first time in her life she doesn't know what to do, or even where to start. She just watches Sam disappear. Milagros Gerri Hawkins is livid, emotional and very angry. She rocks side to side trying to contain herself. "So this is your big plan to push him, manipulate him, to lie to his face and you know good and well we didn’t plan all of this! You’re just going to let him walk away! Do something!?!

So I lose…and you think the dough you played him for is worth this to me! You don’t get to decide that for me! I wanted and needed a father and you took that away!" Milagros Gerri Hawkins slaps Milagros and Andrea winces. Milagros Gerri Hawkins is horrified by what she just did. She waits for her mother to respond, but she doesn’t. She nurses where she was hit and her eyes are fastened on Sam’s outgoing path.

Milagros Gerri Hawkins snatches the other plane ticket out of Andrea’s hand and she runs to the gate of the flight. She stops and ferociously wrestles Sam’s wedding band out of the hand of an airport staff member and punches him a few times. She boards just as airport staff conclude final boarding.

Sam is in his first cLois seat staring out the window and in his own world. After going out and trying to make a life for himself…he didn’t have to worry about explaining to his mother how he had failed this time. It did not matter how profound the story was…it was now just the same to his mother as it was to him…just more of the same. In Sam’s mind he faces the facts that he would be in his mother’s house and he would either watch her die, or she would find him dead in his room and in her house…where he has been all his life.

Milagros Gerri Hawkins sits in the seat next to him. He sighs with aggravation, because he knows that it is her. She just didn’t get it…she just doesn’t get it the same way he didn’t get it when his dad told him that he was finished being his father…after all the things he done to him. The only difference is that Leroy Hawkins sr suffered 100 fold more from Sam…than Milagros Gerri Hawkins could ever muster.

Milagros Gerri Hawkins doesn’t try and strike up conversation. She just sits quietly in her seat The preflight instructions sound off on the P.A. system of the plane. A

Stewardess stands in the middle of the isle giving instructions and emergency evacuation instructions. Sam just shuts it all out. He would listen to Slacker Radio on his electronic tablet, but Milagros ruined any notion of that for him. Sam tells himself that he should have made her pay for it. The 747 jumbo jet begins to go through the motions of take-off. After carefully tracing the run way and momentarily waiting for other planes to proceed into departure they finally get into the late stages of take-off. After they are in the air for a couple of hours, or so Milagros turns to Sam. "Aren’t you even curious of how much money is in the fund? I mean it’s yours and there’s no reason to go back to your mother’s house…unless we’re just going to be visiting." Milagros Gerri Hawkins said.

Sam reclines back in his seat. "There will only be a "we" after we have gotten a paternity test that I don’t have the money to pay for." Sam said with his eyes closed. Milagros Gerri Hawkins is cut by his statement, but she presses forward. "You said that a while back…the boom there it is…whatcha going to do thing…did your dad use to say that, or something? I know your mom didn’t, because when I met her…she is more like me. Anyway it is kind of lame pops you should consider modernizing it. One thing I can say about you is that you dress yourself very well. It must have been hard to give up that wardrobe…you had like 100,000 worth of Gucci, Levi's, Armani, Louis Vuitton and uh…you know what you had." Milagros Gerri Hawkins said. Sam does miss his wardrobe and the sting of what she says lingers for a several moments.

Milagros stares at Sam like a tenacious child waiting for him to respond. Sam knows that she not going to stop and he sees himself there. He laughs to himself amidst his agitation. Sam remembers something his mother said to him a long time ago about his birth mark. He opens his eyes and looks at Milagros Gearldine Hawkins who stares at him expectantly. "It’s okay as soon as you get over yourself…you can talk to me. I’m not going anywhere and it’s like a bonding experience for me…because I act the same way that you are acting now. So I’ll wait." Milagros Gerri Hawkins said.

"Do you have a birthmark?" Sam asked. Milagros Gerri Hawkins shakes her head no. "Yes you do…your birth mark is the same as mine…aggravation and you thoroughly enjoy it don’t you?" Sam asked and she fondly agrees. "It’ll destroy a lot of relationships in your life if you do not learn how to manage it… not to mention your sarcasm. It makes you come off condescending, arrogant and stand offish.


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