Dear Lord, up there above, if you’re listening. Please give him strength and power and everything you can. Please let me take him home tonight.
“What’re you in for?” The man beside me murmured. We were the only two left, standing in the otherwise empty police station. I sat in my chair, hands clasped to my chest to keep it from shaking with worry. I knew my face was still, perhaps looking even expressionless, but it said nothing of the rampaging emotions in my mind.
“I’m waiting for someone.” I responded in a raspy voice, rubbing my hands on my knees.
“Oh. Me too.” He said. He was standing next to my chair, scratching at his nails. He wasn’t as good as hiding his emotions like I was. His brows were evidently furrowed, eyes bloodshot red either from tears or drugs. From the way he smelt, I’d guess the latter. “Bail?” He asked afterwards, voice a little shaky.
I looked up at him, slightly concerned. “No…” I murmured. “He was just arrested. We were out by a park. I was in the car and he was just throwing our empty cans in the garbage.”
He was supposed to come right back and we were going to go visit my sister. She just had a baby.
“The...The park on Centennial?” He asked, bringing two quivering hands up to his face like he was cold.
I nodded slow. I glanced up at the clock on the wall, but my brain just wasn’t working right to read those little numbers and hands. I snatched my phone up from my lap. 11:53 PM. Sheila was probably worried sick. I didn’t want to do that to her, cause her that stress after she just had a child. Her hair was probably falling out already. I groaned, a sigh hitching loud in my throat, and leaned back against the chair. Please, Lord. “He was just tossing out our trash,” I whispered, throat starting to burn. “Then these shots went off and there were these two guys running past him. Next thing I know, he’s being detained. He wasn’t even supposed to be there.” I swallowed thickly.
“Is that him on your phone screen?” He asked. I glanced down at it where it was in my lap, screen still bright from the last time I’d checked the time.
I looked down at the picture of us. We were standing in front of a snowy hill in Quebec, his face bright and happy, cheeks tinted from the cold, holding my hand tightly in his. I still remember how they felt, soft and warm despite the chill, and how he'd gripped mine so tight because he knew I was shivering.
Trying to distract myself, I glanced up at the man and asked him, “What about you?”
And then the man started to laugh. It was almost maniacal, head thrown forward, hands on his knees. He looked relieved. “Sir? Are you alright?” I moved as far away as I could in my chair, staring up at him with wide eyes. “Hey, it’s going to be okay.” I tried, thinking he was perhaps just drained from the wait.
“I know!” He said, suddenly standing up straight. “It’s all going to be okay.” He looked me in my eyes. We stared at each other, and I was trying desperately to make sense of it all. And then his face fell just a little, smile still wide but faltered, and his shoulders dropped. “Oh,” he sighed through a smile. “I am sorry, though.”
“For what?” I asked, panic starting to set in. He just smiled to himself, shaking his head, and returned to leaning against the wall. My brows furrowed. I felt my face starting to heat up. But I couldn’t freak out in a police station, especially not now. “What are you sorry for?” I asked again, pleaded.
The man looked at me. His eyes were still red, face bursting with mirth. “Did you get a look at those guy’s faces?” He said instead of answering, smile fading away this time. A grimace was starting to make its way onto my face. I clenched my jaw and shook my head. His snickers started up again in short little huffs of breath, albeit quieter than the first round. “I’m so sorry,” he said, chest shaking with raucous laughter.
Down the hall, one of the doors opened loudly. My heart filled with desperation, standing up straight, sweater and phone clutched to my chest. I didn’t need to check the time to know it was midnight, and we still weren’t home. Oh please, Lord, please. “Oh, sit down.” The man behind me said. “We both know it’s not yours.”
I wanted to ignore him, but I couldn’t. Part of me knew exactly what he was talking about. A silent, submitting part that was too desperate for approval in a world full of people just like him. And we both watched, horror and agony breaking over my face and thirsty pride splitting his, as a man in dark blue hoodie was walked out of the interrogation room with a shocked and hefty smile on his face, hands free of chains, shoulders free of worry, skin free of charge. And it wasn’t my black husband.
The man in the hoodie greeted his friend. They hugged tightly, disgusting smiles on their faces. “What’d you tell them, man?” He murmured to him.
“I’ll explain in the car.” He said, that hearty laugh still in his voice.
“Officer,” I asked, ignoring their banter, reaching out to the police man who was starting to turn away. “Where is my husband? It’s been three hours and you haven’t said a thing to me. He didn’t do anything, I swear it, I swear to God.”
“Ma’am, there've been some complications with your husband's story.” He explained with no kindness. “You two have a safe night. Keep out of trouble.” He said to the two men behind me.
They nodded at him. “Thank you,” one of them said.
“When can I see my husband?” I asked a little loudly, finally causing the officer to look me in the eye.
“We’re going to keep him here overnight to understand the charges.” He finally said, his tone struck with malice.
“Charges?” I gawked, eyes wide. “What charges?”
“We think he’s been involved in the event that just occurred, meaning unlicensed use of a weapon, illegal drug possession,” The officer started to list things, each charge hitting me out of the park. Then it all started to click together, and his voice drowned out. I felt like I'd just fallen underwater. Grief rose in my chest, anger and betrayal falling under. I couldn't be angry with this much sorrow in me.
I turned eerily to watch the two men hurry for the door.
Before he left free, the man with the bloodshot eyes looked at me and winked.