The Sight of a Scared and Suffering Parent had Become Unbearable.
The missing girl's mother sat in a chair directly across from Nathan Chamber's desk. She was rocking the chair back and forth, but she stopped it and returned it to all fours.
“We don't know if we could get your daughter back safely,” Chambers started. “But we will try. I understand she is your only child.”
“Why would someone take her,” she whimpered. “She's a good girl.”
Chambers nodded somberly.
“She was a smart girl.”
Again he nodded.
“Why did she go to that damn mall?”
Chambers breathed deeply at her as she started to rub her hands. He hadn't realized it, but he was methodically rocking his chair and only realized it when he hit the back wall. He tilted his head and stopped it immediately.
“I washed her clothes and I folded them nice and neat,” she said.”I want her to have nice and fresh clothes when she comes home.”
“I don't blame you,” he said absently. “ Listen to me carefully. We're going to try to get your daughter back to you safely. I need you to also prepare for the worse. I'm sorry I'm the one telling you this but, I don't want you to get your hopes up. What I want you to do is to be strong. Can you be strong for your daughter?”
“I don't understand,” she looked confused.
He sighed for a moment. “I don't want to paint pretty pictures when we know your daughter is in a terrible place. We don't know what to expect.”
“No,” she said softly. “I won't think of the worst, not yet, only after we find out what happened to her when we find her. I can't think of the worse. It'll be unbearable for me.”
She rested her chin on her chest and she wanted to cry. Someone knocked on the door, and Chambers said loudly, “Just a minute.”
“Our street is so busy,” she sniffled. “If she would have stayed home, someone would have saw her and they would have stopped the abduction.”
“James Street is always covered in cops,” she continued. “She would have been safe.”
Nathan Chambers understood the facts. James Street had a Bodega on every block with people sitting in front of them blasting rap music out into the street, and there were several nail salons there too where Latin music came in a large variety. James Street was full of people and traffic, she would have probably been safe.
Chambers then snapped into a different reality. James Street was a block that had run down houses, and the only homes that looked decent were getting ready to be slummed out. Some houses were missing as landlords took their losses and allowed the houses to be torn down and made into parking lots occupied by homeless people and their fire barrels used to keep them warm in the winter.
So many brand name stores disappeared, but the names still remained covered in bird waste and the remains of nests. The other stores that stayed opened looked more like fortresses. The liquor stores had wood and steel covering the windows, the 24 hour laundry mat barred with iron gratings and policed by security guards. The small gas station slash convenient stores were manned by brave Indians who kept one hand under the counter at all times.
“She didn't do anything wrong,” she added.
“I think you should go home now,” Chambers suggested. “Let us do our job.”
Her stomach ached and her hands shook, but she tried to stay firm. “I think you're right.”
He half smiled.
She stood and paused for a moment, then she walked to the corner of his office and started crying uncontrollably. Chambers watched her head sink, and her shoulders sag. She covered her eyes with the palms of her hands and sobbed very loudly.
Though Chambers seen it many times before, the sight of a scared and suffering parent had become unbearable. He had no words of encouragement and only offered a helpless shrug. She then fell into a sitting position and continued sobbing and fighting to catch her breath.
Detective Nathan Chambers walked over and sat down next to her and wrapped his arms around the weeping mother. Then, he couldn't keep from crying.
© 2015 Frank Atanacio
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