"I hereby sentence you, Mr David Johnson, to twenty-five years of jail term for being accused and found guilty of the following crimes; rape, battery and possession of drugs." Judge Mathews announced, his face set firm and hard in a final decision and I slumped in my seat, all the fight leaving my body in a whiff of defeat.
All the sounds around me drowned out, muting to a silent and wordless display of action as my head slumped downwards. I felt the tears silently drop onto the thin material of my Walmart jeans and touch my skin but I didn't register it. I felt numb...aloof.
"At least let me say goodbye to my daughter!" I heard a shout and I snapped back to reality, my tear filled eyes snapping up to take in my dad's angry and saddened expression. I got up, all the sounds rushing back in like the mute button was turned off.
"Daddy!" I screamed, sniffling and pushing through the crowds to get to him. I ran, my legs hitting metal chair after metal chair, but that didn't deter me. I watched my dad's lips quiver, his face hardening with the struggle to hold back his emotions and I lunged myself at him, unable to be strong like him.
"Hey, hey look at me," he whispered, unable to hug me back due to the handcuffs holding his hands behind his back. I removed my head from his chest and looked up, my heart breaking at how gaunt and thin he was already looking. Or maybe it was just me, but his eyes were so dark and deep and full of emotions that I ended up crying even more.
"Khee look at me," he whispered again, his voice cracking at the end of his sentence and I sniffed back the rest of my tears, holding my lips between my teeth to keep the trembling at bay. I looked straight into my dad's dark brown eyes, memorizing the permanent wrinkle that had formed underneath his lids with time, the bend of his nose with dark skin stretching across his cheeks smoothly. The velvety finesse of the curve of his lips that seemed to be in a permanent frown right then, the scruffy beards dotted with small white's here and there that had accumulated over the stressful time of court hearings across his jawline, and then I looked back into his eyes, my heart clenching painfully in my chest. I could never forget what those eyes held.
How could I?
"Dad--" my voice broke and a sob choked out, my teeth freeing my lips as they resumed their work of trembling with little sobs escaping through. "I'm sorry. I-I'm so sorry..." I apologized, hurt filling me like a dysphoric wave of cold breeze.
"You don't need to apologize, Khee. Just listen to me." I saw the urgency in his eyes now and I saw the officers' patience wearing thin as he shifted from foot to foot, so I cast my emotions aside, trying hard to bar the tears from falling. "In my study, there's a shelf close to the curtain. You know that shelf I don't use anymore?" His voice was low and frantic and I nodded as I leaned closer to catch every bit of it even though all I wanted to do was hug him through the last minutes we had together.
"Move that shelf and pull up the carpet, there's--"
"Sir, we have to get going now!" The officer behind him spoke up, his voice deep and threatening as he regarded me through cold eyes, his white skin dull and pale looking around his grey eyes.
"Please, just a minute more." Dad pleaded but they were already pulling him away roughly, dragging him like he was an animal being taken away to the zoo. I forgot about the important thing he was about to say and broke into tears again, full on wailing now.
"No wait! Dad! Daddy!" I screamed, my heart breaking even more as I watched a tear roll down his cheek, then the officer rounded the corner until all I saw was his back, handcuffs restraining his hands behind.
Those hands...those hands that have braided my hair for as long as I can remember. Those--
"Its okay now Kheeana, he got what he deserves. You don't have to worry about anything happening to you and your sister anymore," a sickly sweet voice called from behind, soft hands stroking my hair as a soft flowery cologne filled the atmosphere. My hands balled into fists and I sucked in a deep breath and slowly turned around to face her.
"Stop touching my hair," I said through gritted teeth, hate and anger slowly taking over me as I stared at her beautiful face, not a single hair out of place on her blonde head. And beside her, stood the devil's very own offspring. Both blonde's with sickly pale skin that looked like it never saw the sun. They both smiled at me; sweet innocent smiles and my stomach churned and burned with anger brewing hot and fast in its pits.
"You need to rest, honey. Let's go home now. Aren't you happy the law has finally caught up with him? Such a bad father and a vile human being!" Lola continued, her face twisting in disgust and I was shaking by now, my whole body trembling with waves of anger rolling through me like an angry ocean on a stormy night. She came closer and pulled me into a hug and I stiffened, wanting to lift one of the stupid chairs in the court room and bash her head with it until she was dead and unmoving on the stupid pristine floors. But I couldn't.
"My poor Olivia is free now!" She sobbed, fake tears soaking into my hair as she pulled her stupid daughter, Olivia to join the hug. I knew what they were doing, the little bitches! Making an emotional scene in front of the judge so he would see how much the "offender" being put behind bars relived us--them.
I couldn't help but cry along with them, my emotions lacking control as my eyes let everything out. The only difference was that we had different reasons behind our tears.
I knew the people who'd come to the final hearing to support my dad would think weird things about that fact that I was crying with them, but at that moment, the hurt flowing through me was beyond reasoning and I just let Lola and her daughter hold me like a happy family sharing their grieve and relief together.
When all I really wanted was to stab them both repeatedly and then hang their heads on the basketball court in the neighborhood.