Where's Eduardo?

My momma had told me the story of my father so many times, I already knew it by heart. She met him when she was young, they married soon after she was twenty-one, and how he tried to make a living for her but could never make it. When he found out that she was pregnant with me, after she had my brother and my two sisters, he said he found a job. He would be only a couple of days and then we would have lots of money. She let him go against her better thoughts. She wouldn’t see him again for awhile.

“Faith, hurry up sweetie. We’re gonna be late for school.”
I grabbed my book bag and ran down the stairs to meet up with my siblings.
My brother, Edward, is seventeen and in his last year of high school. My oldest sister, Alejandra, is sixteen and a junior in high school. My older sister, Jade, is fourteen and in eighth grade. I am thirteen and I am in seventh grade.
My mom stood at the door in her business suit, holding lunch money.
“Remember that we’re going to see your Nana today. So I need you home right after school today. No playing around.”
“Why are we going over there today?”
“Your brother’s graduation is coming up and she is helping me pay for the celebration. Plus she said she had a surprise for all of us. Don’t ask me what it is. I have no idea.”
“Meet you here or at work?”
“Actually, meet me at work. We’ll go over there when I get off.”
We headed out the door and Mom waited until the school bus had picked us up before she got in the car and left for work.
My mom has done well for herself. She had to after Dad left. My Nana watched all of us as she went to night school. She earned her degree and became a paralegal. While she was going to school she worked at Wal-Mart as a cashier. She was there for every birthday, holiday, and even planned several family reunions after great-grandma passed away.
It wasn’t until two years ago that we realized how truly alone our mother was. A nasty car accident took both her mom and her step-dad. She didn’t cry until later, when she was alone. Her brother still does not speak to her to this day.
I love my mom very much. I couldn’t imagine where we would all be without her. I wish she would give up the idea of my father coming back and move on. But I know she never will.
This is insane. While I sit here in school and try to study, my mom is out there busting butt so we can sit here and study.
School seems to drag on and on. I wanted to know the news that my Nana had to tell us.
We met at the bus stop and rode the bus to my mom’s work. We went to her office and sat down.
She looked up at us and smiled.
“How was school?”
“Fine,” all of us chimed in.
“Give me a minute to wrap all of this up and then we’ll head out.”
Did I also mention my mom serves on the PTA? She is so involved in our lives it’s not funny sometimes. But she also doesn’t like surprises. She sends money monthly to a young lady in Texas that came looking for Dad. When I asked her why she did that all mom would say is that “Your father would want me to.”
We are still waiting for a DNA test for another child that she swears up and down is not Dad’s kid. So I hope whatever Nana has to tell us, it doesn’t involve any more kids.
“Alright. You guys ready?”
Alejandra climbed in front with Mom and the rest of us piled in the back. Edward is so tall, he barely fits back there. Jade and Alejandra are the shortest, but taller than Mom. I’m a couple of inches shy of 6 feet.
We drove silently to Nana’s. Alejandra was working on some homework that she had. Edward was listening to his ipod. Jade was making a list of art supplies that she needed for her class and new project. I sat there just staring out the window.
We pulled up to Nana’s home. She was outside waiting for us. We climbed out of the car and walked over to her.
“Hi, mom,” Momma said.
Nana hugged her and she walked in the house. All four of us hugged her and walked in.
When we were all in the door, we saw Uncle Dennis sitting on the couch. We each took a turn and said hello.
“Dodie, Dennis has some news for you. He drove all this way to tell you himself.”
“You might want to sit down for this,” Dennis said calmly.
Mom sat down and Dennis handed her some photographs and an envelope. She too them carefully and looked at the photos.
“This is a joke, right? Please tell me that this is an imposter.”
“I’m afraid not. He’s been hiding. The letter will explain it. He’s alive.”
Mom almost looked like a wilted flower. She handed me the letter to read. I felt like I was invading a huge secret.

“My dear,
It has been a long time since I’ve held you. Not a day has gone by that I have not thought about you or the kids. Enclose is what I promised you thirteen years ago. I’m sorry for the lateness of it.
I had to take to hiding because I found something out during that supposed two day job. I couldn’t get you and the kids involved, so I stayed away.
Let this satisfy your need to know what happened to me and let me go. You and the kids are all that I have left. Keep them safe and let them know every day that I love them.

Love Me.”

I opened the envelope again and saw several thousands of dollars.
Mom was crying and Uncle Dennis was comforting her.
“He would have been better off dead than not being able to come home. Where is he?”
“He told me not to say, Dodie.”
“Tell me where he is. I have that right.”
“He hid out in plain view. He’s in El Paso. You’ll know where.”
“Let’s go and pack a bag, you guys. We’ve got to go and bring someone home.”
We said goodbye to Nana and Uncle Dennis. Still not fully understanding what was about to take place, we climbed into the car. Nana walked Mom out.
“Don’t do anything stupid, Dodie.”
“He has a right to come home. Thirteen years is enough.”
“May God be with you.”
She hugged Mom and then went back inside. Mom got in the car and drove away.
“Only pack enough for one day. We’re bringing your father home.”
She drove quickly back to the house and we all went to our rooms and packed an overnight bag. We hurried back to the living room and waited for mom to finish packing.
She came rushing out of her room with her bag over her shoulder. She ushered us out of the door, she locked the door, set the alarm, and headed for the car. She loaded all of our bags into the trunk and hurried us in.
We strapped ourselves in and she pulled out quickly. We stopped at the store and got drinks and munchies for the ride there. That way she didn’t have to stop too much. She even bought toilet paper in case we had to go to the bathroom and there was no where to stop.
We headed south on I-25 towards Texas. Mom was determined to get there by early morning. She drove all night. I stayed up with her to keep her company.
“Why couldn’t Dad have stayed here and just got a job?”
“Holding a permanent job wasn’t exactly your father’s style. See you father is a one of a kind man. He was the one that taught me how to care for you children. How I took care of you is what I learned from taking care of your brother and sisters.”
“So he was like the mom and you were the dad?”
“In the normal role aspects, yes, I guess you could say that. I went to work and brought the money home. Your father stayed home, took care of your brother and sisters, cooked, cleaned, and cared for me.”
“I just don’t understand why he would take a job that he knew could be potentially dangerous.”
“He found the job through his brother. So he thought the job was okay and legit.”
“Is that why you don’t really talk to Uncle Dennis? Do you blame him that Dad never came home?”
“A part of me, yes, did blame your uncle Dennis for your dad never returning. Then your aunt Kristen passed away and I stepped in to help with the kids.”
“What is Dad like?”
“When I knew him, he was funny but blunt. You couldn’t be mad at him for the world. He wouldn’t let you.”
Mom sighed, “You should get some sleep. You’re going to meet your Dad for the first time tomorrow. You need to be awake.”
“Alright. Love you, mom.”
“I love you too, Faith.”
I closed my eyes in anticipation of meeting the man that my brother and my sister, Alejandra, were the only ones, fortunate, to remember.

When I woke up, we were in the car outside of a restaurant named ‘Whataburger’. Mom wasn’t in the car. She was talking to someone at the counter. She slipped him something and he passed her back a piece of paper. She walked out to the car and got in.
“Good morning.”
“What was that about?”
“Your father’s next shift and his address. He works again in a couple of hours. Let’s go see if an old friend of mine is still in town.”
We drove off and she went to this old house. Obviously she wasn’t going to go in because there was a sign in the yard saying it was condemned.
“There goes that idea.”
Mom drove to the closest hotel and got us a room. We all piled in and showered and changed. Alejandra, Jade, and I were crowded around the mirror putting on our make up and doing our hair. Mom got dressed quickly and Edward was waiting on the bed.
After we were done, we piled into the car again and drove over to that same restaurant. We waited five minutes before mom’s eyes lit up. There was a man that walked into the doors, sad, about to go to work again.
She smiled and then looked at us.
“Okay, Faith here’s ten dollars. Go in and order your food. Order it for here. Wait and we’ll join you one by one.”
I took the ten and went inside. The man got behind the register to take my order.
“May I take your order miss?”
“Yes. I would like a number one with no onion and can you please add ketchup?”
He looked up at me and then looked quickly down at his register. He put in my order and then asked, “Is that for here or to go.”
“Here please.”
“Your order number is 6.”
I took my receipt and my cup and went to go get my drink. Then I saw Jade come in. She went to the counter and the man looked at her the same way he did me. Like he knew us, but couldn’t place us. He took her order and she joined me over at the table after she got her drink.
Alejandra turned heads when she walked in. She had the bronze skin with reddish blonde hair and flashing green eyes. The man almost melted when he saw her.
“Do I know you?”
“Don’t know.”
“What’s your name?”
“My name is Alejandra Lynn. Yours?”
“My brother and Daddy has that name. Neat. What’s good here?”
He told her and she made her order. She got her drink and joined Jade and I at our table. That’s when we saw Edward come in.
The man behind the counter, Eddie, stopped and stared. He knew then who we must be. Edward was the spitting image of Dad. Mom always told us that. She wasn’t joking.
“I actually go by Eddie Jr. I started not too long ago after my grandfather died.”
“I am sorry to hear that. Where’s your mother?”
“She’ll be in shortly. She wanted to make sure we got our food first.”
Edward made his order and got his drink. He flashed his pearly white smile at us as he walked over to sit down.
“That’s Dad alright.”
“Why did mom tell me to tell him my name was Alejandra Lynn?”
“You used to tell everyone your first and middle name when you introduced yourself. You were still doing it when Dad left.”
“Oh. Wow, I was a lame child.”
We turned our heads as we smelt our mom’s shampoo scent walk in the door. That’s when we saw the man want to cry. They talked too low for us to hear. He looked upset and happy at the same time. She slipped him a piece of paper that was almost unnoticeable. She got a drink and came and sat down with us.
“Hopefully, he will come home with us.”
When we were done with our lunch, we went out to the car. Mom had me sit in the back. I was about to question her when I saw why. Dad was coming up quickly to get in the front.
“I asked you not to do this, dodie.”
“I don’t care. You’re coming home”
She pulled out quickly and drove to the motel. We packed all of our stuff and got back into the car. She returned the key and we got back on I-25 heading north.

The last few months has been hard for all of us to adjust. Dad stays home and enjoys being with us while mom is at work.
Nana comes over more often since Dad’s return.
We don’t ask why he left or why he stayed. Like I said, we know the story all too well.

Where's Eduardo?


Joined January 2008

  • Artist

Artist's Description

What would you do if someone you loved was gone for thirteen years? Would you let them go or would you go bring them home?

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