Here’s the short conclusion to Seven. If you haven’t read Part 1 go to the previous entry. Enjoy.
“Hello!” I almost chewed a hole in the side of my mouth, I was so nervous.
“Chelsea. It’s me, Rocky. I’m sorry,” she sobbed on the other end.
Panic filled my mind. I didn’t recognize her voice. Gone were her sharp tongue and sarcastic tone. The lonely voice on the other line cried for help in a way I’d never heard before.
“What happened, Rocky? Where are you?”
“I’m in …” Her voice trailed off and I couldn’t decipher what she was saying.
“Listen, where ever you are, just let me know so I can come get you.”
“Hello. Miss McDougal. Your daughter was arrested for shoplifting. I need for you or your
husband to come to…”
The rest of the conversation was a blur. The officer on the other end had informed me that Rocky had been caught at Saks with two guys shoplifting and this was her third offense so she couldn’t be let off with another warning. I had to go down to get her.
I didn’t understand why she’d do such a thing. She had more money than she could ever spend at her disposal. Maybe she did it for the rush. Whatever the reason, I had to get her home. But how? I couldn’t call Sam because he reported all our comings and goings to her parents so I walked out of the building in grey sweats and black Uggs and spent twenty minutes on Google Maps and another fifteen hailing a cab.
I arrived at the building marked New York Department of Juvenile Justice and paid the cabbie. I’m sure my hair was a mess but my main concern was getting Rocky out of that place. After waiting forty-five minutes to speak with an officer and signing too many forms, I had to go up three floors so they would release her into my custody.
“Racquel McDougal. Get out here,” barked the burly correction officer. “Now, I don’t want to see you down here again. You won’t be sixteen forever.”
I had no idea who I had been living with for the past six months. I wondered if her parents knew. Everything was clearing up to me. I was number seven because this girl was out of control. Rocky walked out of the holding area with her head hung low. A pretty criminal. Something in me was touched to see her face so solemn. For once, she looked innocent and childlike. She didn’t give any orders or say anything as we rode the elevator three floors to the ground level.
Inside the cab, she slept and I thought of a plan to save us both. Truth be told, I really liked New York. It was something new for me. For her, it meant freedom then success. For me, a new chapter and a break from the norm.
The yellow cab stopped us two blocks from our building and I nudged Rocky to wake up. We got
home around three o’clock that morning. She dragged herself into the elevator without looking at me. We both entered the apartment. I took off my shoes and Rocky went to her room. I cooked plantains and listened to Joe Pass as she showered away the anguish.
“Rocky, come eat when you’re done,” I said, peeking my head in her room.
We chewed silently. No conversation. Between bites of roasted pork, plantains and collard greens, I thought about how much I’d have to run in the morning. All in all, everything would be okay.
The next day, I was awakened by the sounds of some rapper telling a girl she could have her heart’s desires. It was booming through the entire apartment. Before I exploded in anger my fuzzy vision focused to the right side of my bed. On a breakfast tray there were bagels, cream cheese and orange juice; a sunflower and a handwritten note.
don’t tell my mom. i know i’m being selfish. i’m so , so, so, sorry for yesterday and being mean and stuff. i’ve never had someone be so nice to me when i’m so mean to them. not even my own mom. you’re kinda cool, too. i know i pick on ya ‘fro and thrift store clothes, but the truth is: i’m jealous . i wish i could live life so free!!! i’ve been mad because i just can’t figure out how to say thanks. there. i did it. don’t think we’re friends or anything but try and understand me a little better.
p.s. – please, please, please don’t tell my parents. i promise it won’t happen again.
January 30 2008 I still read that letter on days when those hideously arched eyebrows raise too high or when she screeches out demands. I read it and remember that I decided to take the job that six other people had and lost because unlike me, they got fired by a sixteen year old. I guess I really am lucky number seven.