There was something going on with the neighbors 3 doors away on our floor. There was too much traffic at night in and out of that apartment. People were entering and exiting the apartment within a 2 minute spam. I also found an empty zip-lock bag with some white “rock” residue near the stairs. I am sure it was crack cocaine.
It was interesting to watch the drug deals unfold. There was a clear pattern. The head of the household was a single mother with 3 children, a son and two daughters. Based on my brief encounters with her, I heard accent. It was not one that I recognized. It could be from the Caribbean but I was not sure. I was very familiar with Haitian, Trinidadian, Bahamian and Barbadian (Bajan). It was none of those accents.
The mother was a nurse and seemed to work some very irregular hours. This played a key role when the drug deals went down. The 2 girls seem to either work or go to school. The young man, who was about 19 years old, was at home all the time. He was the drug dealer. He would deal when his mother was at work. There would be a heavy traffic of people going in and out of the apartment throughout the day. There were people from “all different walks of life”.
There were white people, black people, Hispanic people, women, men, young people and old people. Friday evening the busiest day. I attribute that to payday when people were getting their “fix” for the weekend. They were in and out of the apartment in less than five minutes. I had a close-up look at many of these people as they entered the apartment building. They did not look like your typical drug addict. They were “normal” looking people. Some were friendly. Some did not want to talk. Some looked like people you work with and people you meet every day as you go about life.
I remember one day, surprising an older white gentleman who was counting his
money to buy his drugs. He was getting ready to knock on the “dealers” apartment door and I was on my way to my apartment. He quickly tried to hide his money.
The dealer had a plan B when his mother came home. He would leave the house with a back pack (knap sack) on a bicycle. He would meet his ‘clients’ in other places. He was quite friendly and would ask how your day was going. He even spoke to me about his love for dancehall music.
It bothered me that there was a drug dealer in the apartment building. The fact that they were immigrants made me even more uneasy. I did not need anyone around me that could lead immigration to me even if the apartment was 3 doors away.
I was helpless in the situation. If I called the authorities I may compromise my own situation as an illegal alien. If I leave the situation as it is I could also be in trouble if the police question me about the situation. I was not sure what to do. Then I remembered one of my main rules as an illegal alien. Do nothing to draw attention to myself.
One of the other neighbors asked me if we were going to do anything. She was scared. She was a Bahamian nurse who lived alone. Sue did not like her. She was disappointed in her because she had a boyfriend who was a married man. I never saw her boyfriend before but Sue said it was true. She claimed to have seen him out and about with his wife and 2 children at the mall. I was less judgmental. Sue was especially upset with her because she believed the man was just there for the “ride”. It was a case of the kettle calling the pot black as Sue was with a married man even though he was separated from his wife.
Another neighbor also had some concern. The funny thing is that he was a security guard. If anyone should know what to do it should be him. I was hoping he would do something.
Rosa was acting strange. She seemed distant like there was something on her mind. At first I thought it was her internship but her behavior was very odd. Even when she was stressed she did not seem distant. It was almost like she was blaming me for something.
I had to get it off my chest. We had a rare occasion where we actually had a Saturday date. We were driving to the movie theatres at the boardwalk in Hollywood beach.
“What’s going on Mama?” I asked.
“Nothing “, she replied
I was driving but I glanced at her eyes. Something was clearly wrong.
“You sure”, I pressed.
“Yes”, she replied.
“These past few days you seem so distant”
“Why do you say that?” she asked.
“You have been really quiet around me. You are not your usual talkative self”
“There is a lot on my mind”
We were now heading somewhere.
“Like what?” I asked.
She was silent.
“Tell me”, I asked again.
“Baby please tell me. If we are going to be married we have to share everything?”, I pleaded while “dropping” a guilt trip on her.
She looked at me and looked away.
I had to pay attention as I was driving. I put my hand on her hand.
Then she said it.
“I missed my period. It has been 2 weeks now.”
I almost stepped on the brake. I was caught off guard but was indifferent. I loved children. In fact it would probably speed up our marriage plans.
“Are you sure?”
I asked the wrong question.
“What do you mean if I am sure?” she snapped back.
We had scares before. I was the one who “wore” the contraception. There were times I went “bare” just before using contraception. But normally after a week her period would come. The first time it happened we panicked. The second time we panicked less. After the third time we were okay. It was no big deal. We would joke about it. We would bet if it was a girl or boy. This took the edge off the waiting and also made it fun. This time it could be real.
“I am not ready for a baby, yet. I have worked too hard to get this far. My attention is on one thing right now.” she proclaimed.
She said it with distain. She said it in a tone I had never heard before. The tone blamed me for taking her attention off her goal. Did she think I did this to speed the marriage up and get my green card?
The tone was one that told me she would do anything to not have a baby mess with her life right now. During our relationship we never spoke about how long after marriage we would have children. I always assumed a year. I may have been wrong.
We barely talked the rest of that evening. She was upset with me and having a baby.
On my way home I could not help but think of what she could do. Would she have an abortion. She had the “know-how” and “means” being that she was a doctor in training. I tried to put the thoughts out of my mind.
I wondered if I should call her tomorrow to see if it “came”. I would do that in the past but she seemed so distant this time that it may aggravate her.
The next day was Sunday. I had a day off. I watched the phone. Which one of us would call first? Sue knew something was up because every time the phone rang I picked up.
“Are you expecting a call?”
I wanted to say something to her. Thelast time I had a “situation” like
this we spoke. I think she would be excited. Then I realized it was not confirmed and did not make sense to even tell her anything. It would get back to Rosa.
“They have me on call. I may have to go in today. I would not mind the hours”, I replied to her. There is nothing that could get by her so it made sense that I come up with something believable.
I did not call her for the next 2 days. She did not call me either.
That week I came home to find cops everywhere. They were parked around my building. There were news vans from channel 7 and channel 6. At first I was going to park to see what was happening, but then I saw an INS vehicle amongst all the police cars. If I came out they could ask me questions. I did not want to bring any added attention to myself so I drove by the apartment and headed to Rosa’s house. I still had a key to her place. She would understand if I dropped by unannounced in this situation. I had a good excuse. I also wanted to see her. I was dying to know what happened.
She was not home. I turned the TV on to watch the news to see what was going on at the apartment. I put it on Channel 7 as it was a sure bet to find local news. They always knew what is happening and broke the news first.
The local news was on but there was nothing about what was happening at my apartment. I was tempted to switch to Channel 6 but kept it on. Suddenly they interrupted for breaking news. The cameras were at my apartment. There was a drug bust and the police found a lot of cocaine in an apartment in my building. They had pictures of the police leading my drug dealer neighbor out of his apartment. I was happy. It was finally over.
I was away from the TV for a minute as I went to the bathroom. As I walked back into the room I heard a familiar voice.
It was Sue. The news team from Channel 7 was interviewing her. She was all smiles and putting on her best “American accent”. She said she thought there was something unusual about the traffic of people going in and out of that apartment.
“What is she doing”, I thought to myself. Why is she drawing attention to us? It was not a long clip but I was not happy with the idea of her being on TV. If this guy gets bail he could come after us. I sat there for a while. Then I called the apartment to talk to Sue.
“What the he** you think you are doing?”
“What “, she replied like she did nothing wrong.
I just saw you on TV. I replied.
“Ooooh you mean that”, she said innocently.
“Yes that”, I responded.
“How did I look” she asked. I could not believe she was asking that.
“I don’t care how you looked. We don’t need to draw attention to us. You know my situation”
“Oooh. I forgot. I just wanted to be on TV”, she said innocently not realizing the ramifications of her actions.
I was about to “blast” her but I stopped. I understood her she wanted to be in the lights. I understood she was not in my situation. She was on a student visa so she could leave the country and come back at anytime. She did not have to watch her back or worry about immigration. She sometimes forgets about my situation until I bring it up or when she realizes her time may come when her student visa expires. I can’t hold it against her.
“What happened”, I asked trying to change to tone.
She started to tell me about the police take down. Apparently they had someone pretend to be a buyer. They had been watching him for a while. She said the cars swarmed down in the parking lot early afternoon and arrested the drug dealer. They took boxes from the house. His mother came and was crying. Sue said she pleaded with the authorities to let her son go.
After my conversation with Sue my thoughts turned to Rosa. She should have been home by now. I wondered if something was wrong. I wondered if I should leave a note for her.
I was not going to wait on her. I was ready to go home. It was at that point a thought crossed my mind.
I went to the bathroom and checked the garbage can. I checked the garbage can in the kitchen. There were no empty maxi-pad wrappers anywhere. Her period had not come…
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