"I don't know if I should " , I stammered to the two uniformed cops standing in front of me . My Mother stood behind me with her hand on my shoulder , not saying anything . perhaps waiting for them to convince me to go. I was twelve , and had witnessed the hit and run drunk driver and car that had killed my eight year old brother.
Eddie , we need to talk to you for a few miniutes , I promise it won't take very long and we'll have you right back here " , I turned and looked at my mother and seeing tears come to her eyes once again , I decided , I had better go with them .
I remember the smell of the cruiser even now , and the equipment of thier profession , a radio squawking a couple of times , the shotgun , bracketted upright to the dash board , In the ten minuite drive it took us to do a drive by of a house with a car in the back yard, I became a little more comfortable in the car, I carefully looked up when the cruiser stopped. One of the officers turned around to face me and said.
As we pulled into this driveway the officer riding said.
" Please just stay in your seat and look at the vehicle in front of us and tell me , does this look like the car that left the scene of the 'accident '? The cop on the passenger side asked me . I looked at the vehicle in an open garage behind the big appartment building ,
and knew even at my age , the year and make of the car.
" Yes that looks like the same car" I said , and the officer again turned to me .
" Now ed , Look at the rear of the car very carefully , and this is very important "
A few minitues went by and he said to me .
" Eddie , I need you to do us a favor , I need you to keep this between the three of us , now you can't tell anyone that we brought you here , nor can you tell what it was we were showing you!" I felt a numbness go through my young mind and they must have guessed what I was thinking because now he said".
" You cannot , under any circumstances, tell your father especially what you have seen here today or where we brought you." And once again the officer turned to me with a stern look on his face . As I nodded my head , I thought , Oh no , I can't even tell anyone what I've seen.
An hour later the cruiser pulled into my parents driveway and stopped . I got out of the police car and said something to the officers . I don't remember what I said now though. Just that my fathers truck was now in the driveway and he stood there waiting at the door of the woodshed between the garage and the house. Probably one of the first times in my life that the conflictions of the concience crossed before the eyes of my mind,
As the cruiser backed out of the driveway I looked to my father , for what, I'm not sure,
and as I walked towards the house and met him there , I remember watching my fathers face looking at the police car driving off and the returning glance of the cop.
" Hey ", my father said.
" Hi Dad"
And then what I knew somehow was coming next .
" Where did they take you ?"
" You're not going to tell me ?
I dropped my eye's to the dirt driveway , a hot feeling of guilt came over me then and remained for a very long time. Looking up at my father , he was looking intensly away from me and down the road to where the cruiser had gone and then his eye's moved slowly back to the edge of the road where the 'accident' took place right in front of our house. My father spit in the dirt in front of his feet and turned to go out around the corner of the house.
It's funny , the ways of the memory , the mind , all of the memories as they return years later, have a way of shifting themselves , of clearifying themselves into pictures , even moving pictures , as if somehow you're watching an old movie . Though even now , I can detect the scents of mid summer , of the odors of the weeds growing in the roadside ditches , the roses by the edge of the fields, the creosote on the wooden guard rail posts along the road that still today haunts me . The long hot summer of sun in the fields and the beginning growth of goldenrod weeds . The warm sticky flow of the evening river mists in our back yard even now, even now , as the same odors , the scents of beautiful wildflowers . All of these things today remind me of chilhood days , good and bad , but remind me they do .