We finally made it to my house. Jean and I had to convince Annie to keep walking with us because she kept trying to turn back towards her house. I saw Mr. Jimmy’s cab as we approached the front of the house. The first thought that came to my mind was that this was gonna be a problem. The goal was to get Annie to our bedroom to hide until he came home. Now I had to figure out how to sneak her into the house without her father seeing her. We wanted Annie to see him first and then decide if she wanted to speak with him. Difficult but not impossible.

“Hold on a minute.” I stopped and turned to face Annie. “That’s your father’s cab in front of our house. He may be in the living room or kitchen.”

Jean scoffed “What’s he doing here? He’s supposed to be at work.”

“Well, he’s not, as you can plainly see, good grief! Focus!” I shook my head at Jean and turned back to Annie who was looking at the cab.

“That’s his cab? I see that cab and the other ones all the time. I didn’t know my father drove one.” Annie said in wonder.

Your daddy don’t drive that cab, he owns that cab and all the other ones. It’s his cab company.” I told Annie quietly.

She looked at me, still in wonder and then back to the cab. “All this time and he was right here, blocks from where I live. Driving around the city in a cab and I didn’t know it.”

All I could do was nod my head yes. Not Jean. “Yeah girl, your daddy got some money. Although you wouldn’t know it from looking at him and the way he dress and the way he…”

I cut her off in mid-sentence, “Shut up! Shut your mouth right now before I shut it for you! This is serious. Annie, ignore Jean. Now listen. I don’t think we should go in the front door until we check out where Mr. Jimmy and Mom is in the house. I’m gonna look in the front window and the kitchen window first. OK?”

“What are we supposed to do?” asked Jean.

“Follow me, if you can keep your mouth shut. I’ll check the front window and if the living room is clear, you wait in front as I check out the back. If all clear, I’ll motion for you Jean, to rush Annie into the front door to our bedroom. Got it?” They both nodded their heads yes and we started walking slowly towards the house.

As we got to the front window, I motioned for them to fall back, give me some space and to be quiet. I looked into the window and the living room was empty. No Shelia or Mr. Jimmy. Good, I motioned for them to wait as I went to check out the back kitchen window. I went to the backyard and peeked in one of the kitchen windows. At first, I didn’t see anything from this window because the kitchen table wasn’t in full view, so I moved to the second window with a better angle. Shelia and Mr. Jimmy were sitting at the table. I saw Mom’s back and couldn’t see Mr. Jimmy clearly, just his head ‘cause he was taller than Mom. Something didn’t seem right. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first and then it hit me. Mom seemed to be calm while Mr. Jimmy seemed to be agitated. I couldn’t clearly hear what he was saying, but the tone was loud, hard, rough, unlike him, especially with Shelia. Why was she sitting so calmly while he spoke to her in that way? Something wasn’t right.

As I started to go back to the front of the house Mom stood up and then I saw Mr. Jimmy point a gun at her and she sat back down. I couldn’t believe my eyes! My first instinct was to go rushing through the kitchen door to save her, but I told myself to calm down. What if I burst through the door and he got scared and shot Mom! My second instinct was to bang on the window to get their attention. No that might bring the same result. Calling the police didn’t cross my mind because they always came late if they came at all, which would waste valuable time. Ok, calm down, I told myself. Calm down.

While I was trying to figure out what to do next, Jean and Annie came rushing back to me. “Be quiet! Duck down!” I ordered and they both looked at me like I was crazy “Do it! Now!”

They ducked down with me under the window. “I told you to wait for me in the front Jean.”

“I know, but there is a black and white that just pulled up with two cops in it.” Jean seemed scared. “Why are they here?”

“I don’t know, but we need them.” Jean looked confused at my statement. When did Black people need the police in this neighborhood, was the look she gave me. “Listen to me. Mr. Jimmy has a gun on Mom in the kitchen.”

“What!” Jean attempted to jump up, but I held her down.

“Be quiet! You wanna get Mom killed?” Annie was just looking at us in horror, speechless. I held Jean in a tight grip. “We have to be calm Jean. We have to think.” Jean finally stopped trying to get out of my grip and I let her go.

I turned to look at Annie and she had moved to the kitchen door while I was handling Jean. Her hand was on the doorknob and before I could stop her, she opened the door. “Wait!” I yelled and jumped up to run to the door. But I was too late. Annie walked into the kitchen. I followed yelling at Mr. Jimmy to not shoot my Mother. Jean came rushing in behind me. Both Mom and Mr. Jimmy jumped up from their chairs startled by our presence. Mr. Jimmy looked at Annie in shock.

They both were motionless, finally Annie spoke. “Hello Daddy. I’m Annie. Remember?” Mr. Jimmy’s eyes started to tear up, but he was still pointing that gun at my mother.

Shelia looked at Jean and I with a look that said, “It’s going to be alright.” The same look she gave us at our daddy’s funeral. It immediately calmed us both down because we trusted and believed in her wholeheartedly.

“I know who you are Annie. You are my daughter. The daughter I love and have missed,” Jimmy finally croaked out. “I don’t believe you have missed me. Did you try to find me? I live just a few blocks away from this house. Go to East High School in this neighborhood. I’ve never seen you. How many years is it now? Five, four, three, two, one? Is that love. Never seeing someone that you love, you call that love.” Annie shook her head that it wasn’t love to her. “I tried to call you. Many times, Annie. But I was a coward who hung up every time I heard your voice. I just didn’t know what to say to you. I’m so ashamed of how you last saw me that it has paralyzed my ability to face you. Even now.”

“So you deserted me and found a new family with my best friend. And the gun is for what?” Annie pointed to the gun in her father’s hand.

Jimmy looked at the gun as if he had forgotten he was holding it, pointing it at Shelia. “This, this is the gun I used to kill that snake in the grass, Smooth.” Shelia hadn’t said a word until she heard this confession.

“What! You killed Smooth. Why? Why would you do that? For me, you must be crazy than a bat out of hell if you think we had a chance to be together.”

Jimmy laughed softly, “No. Not for you Shelia. I did it for your girls. For my girl. My daughter, Annie. Your so-called man smoothed himself a little too much with my daughter.” Annie gasped as Jimmy continued, “Yes Annie, I know what he did to you. I know he raped you.”

Shelia jumped back up “That’s a lie! Smooth didn’t have to rape a child.”

“Oh, but he did, didn’t he Annie? Tell them the truth. That’s why I killed him, Shelia. Because of what he did to my daughter and what he would have done to your daughters, given time. And you were just too blind with love to see it, to protect your babies, so I did it for you. You should be thanking me.”

Just then there was a loud bang on the front door. “Open up. We have a warrant to search the house and arrest Mr. Jimmy Brown.” Detective Richardson yelled and banged on the door again. Mr. Jimmy got scared and his eyes started darting back and forth on each of us in the room with the gun still pointed at my mother. “Open the door, last chance.” Richardson yelled again and banged on the door louder.

I don’t know what made me do it, but just as the police busted through the door, I rushed at Mr. Jimmy yelling for him to drop his gun. I tried to push his arm down towards the ground, but he resisted and pushed me off of him to the floor. Shelia yelled at him that she was gonna kill him for touching me, the police saw the gun and pulled out theirs and yelled for Mr. Jimmy to drop his gun. Mr. Jimmy fired the gun and the police fired theirs, too many times for me to count. Jimmy’s bullet hit the wall, the cops’ bullets hit Jimmy and he fell to the floor, landing on top of me.

I was frozen with fear as I looked into Mr. Jimmy’s dying eyes as he laid on top of me, his blood draining onto my clothes and body. I pushed him off of me and he rolled over onto his back, looking at Annie. “I’m sorry Annie. I really am and I love you.” That was Mr. Jimmy’s last words. He closed his eyes and died.

I looked down at the bloodstains on my hands. The blood from a man that I loved and respected. Blood from a man that showed his love for his daughter by spilling the blood of another that harmed her. Blood from a man that wanted to protect me and my family. Blood that ran through the veins of my best friend.

As I said in the beginning of this story. It was like no other day in my life. I would end this day with stains of blood on my hands. Stains of life on my soul and heart, stains of sorrow and pain like no other known or would be known by me in my lifetime. The wrong color of stain on my hands caused me pain. Bloodstains that last forever.

The End