Is This My Punishment?

Judge Janet Washington took a sip of her coffee as she read the messages that were starting to pile up on her desk. Since the murder of her son, she wasn’t on top of her game. She wasn’t returning calls in a timely manner. She missed a few important meetings entirely and arrived late at others. People who felt her compassion in the past, now felt her discontent. She wasn’t sleeping well and had gained ten pounds from eating junk food throughout the night. People gave her a pass due to feeling sorry for her losing her only child, but she knew it was only a matter of time before that grace period was over.

Janet was waiting for Detective Richardson to arrive so that she could get an update on the case. She sat her coffee cup down, walked to the mirror on the wall and took a good look at herself. Her short reddish-brown afro framed her tan oval-shaped face. Some people said she looked like Angela Davis, others said she was handsome, which meant she wasn’t pretty and had manly facial features. She stood five feet, ten inches tall and was usually the tallest woman in the room. Her eyes were bloodshot, not from drinking, but from crying on and off throughout the day and night. She looked and felt weary and worn out.

Booker T’s funeral arrangements with Diehl-Whittaker Funeral home had been hard on her. She remembered the funerals of her family members that Diehl-Whittaker had performed, including her grandparents, parents, aunts, and favorite cousin. Now instead of just attending a funeral after being told the arrangements, she was the one making the arrangements for her son. Her only child. Her baby boy.

As she made the plans for the funeral arrangements, she thought about the child that she didn’t plan for in the past. The child she lost to death due to her own hands. Well, not her hands per se but by the abortionist hands. She was twenty-two years old, in her first year of law school and pregnant. She got pregnant from a date rape on campus from a senior who took her to a drive-in movie. He was a gentleman during the movie, so she trusted him and let her guard down when he took her home, parked and then proceeded to aggressively sexually assault her.

Afterwards, he leaned across from her, opened the passenger door and told her to get out and keep her mouth shut if she knew what was good for her. She got out. Kept her mouth shut. And got an abortion. Now she wondered if losing her living son to death from the hands of another was punishment in a way for her killing her first child. She had put the thoughts of her abortion out of her mind as soon as it was done so that she could keep sane. Now with no child, at all, the thoughts came rushing back and she felt her sanity was in danger once again.

To make matters worse, Booker T’s father, George Washington, arrived and proceeded to take over, treating her like she was incapable of handling it. It didn’t matter that she had made all of the arrangements and paid for the funeral service without any assistance or offer from him to help pay the bills. What mattered was that he showed up as “the man” after the fact. He and his new wife were staying at her home, as a courtesy, to help with the many calls, messages and visitors that came in at a steady stream since the murder of their son a week ago, today.

The services were three days away and there had been no arrests. Janet needed answers and wanted this case closed as soon as possible and the person responsible for the death of her son punished. There was a soft knock on her door and her secretary entered.

“Judge Washington, Detective Richardson is here to see you.”

“Thank you, Ms. Smith, give me a couple of minutes and then let him in, please.”
Judge Washington walked back to her desk and sat down. She picked up the eight by ten picture of Booker T. in a silver frame that was on her desk and kissed it. Then she turned it to face her door as it opened.

“Good morning, Judge Washington” Richardson said as he entered the room.

“Good morning, have a seat and update me on your progress with my son’s case. Coffee?”

“No thanks, I already had two cups.” Richardson sat down, took out his notebook and began his report with the eyes of Smooth facing him and watching.