Two weeks became a month. Ritchie’s plan was to eventually go to Atlanta, but Sue would not let him go. She kept insisting that he stay another week. I could not protest. The guilt of Ritchie helping me overweighed the risk I was taking having him at the house. We had some rules he had to follow while he was there, don’t answer the phone or the door!
The term “know mi an live wid me is two different tings” became a reality for me. As they say in Jamaican, Ritchie was “nasty”. He was worse than Uncle Teddy. He walked around in his briefs and left clothes everywhere. He was home all day and did not lift a finger to do anything to keep the place clean. I would get home and he would be on the sofa watching TV. Sue did everything for him. When he was watching TV she would serve him like he was a king. He reminded me of Al Bundy in married with Children. She definitely was not Peggy Bundy as she catered to his every need. The light bill for that month was very high.
Ritchie was also taking advantage of Rosa as she kept the place clean and cooked before I came home. She was the nicest person so when she started to complain I knew it was bad. She still kept hinting at an engagement and wedding. My mother called her from Jamaica every week.
The home situation, the pressure to get engaged and school were taking its toll on me. I was not use to school pressure but I was now in my sophomore year and things were getting harder. The struggle between work and school was too much. Even though Rosa and I were close I missed having a friend I could talk to without pretense. We were lovers but not friends.
Things were going to get worse.
In the 3rd week of Ritchie living at the house, I noticed a car with 2 men parked down the road. It was the type of unmarked police car you saw on TV. For the next few days there was a different car parked with 2 shadows behind the tint. I was convinced they were watching the apartment. They had to be looking for Ritchie.
After 3 days of observing this I told him about it. He was not surprised. He put his hands on his head and quietly said “I have to leave”.
It was the words I wanted to hear. I did not want to get mixed up in his problems.
Sue was sitting beside him. She started to cry and ran in her room.
Ritchie followed her. I could hear them talking.
She was trying to convince him to stay because he did nothing wrong. I wanted to tell her how stupid it was for her to think it was okay for him to stay. I think her love for Ritchie was stopping her from thinking rationally.
She was screaming at him asking him not to leave.
I could her him whispering saying he had to go.
Then there was silence.
I left with Rosa that night to a movie. I did not want to disturb them as I figured they needed the time. Rosa could sense there was something happening.
“What’s up Mi Amor”
“Nothing” I replied.
“Stop lying to me baby”
I had to tell her something because she was close to Sue. She would eventually find out.
“I am worried about Sue and Ritchie as they are going through some things” I replied. I gave her enough to stop asking and it was not a lie.
Through the whole movie my mind was on what was going on at home.
That night I came home and Ritchie was gone. Sue bedroom door was closed.
“Yuh okay” I asked.
No response. I could hear her crying behind the door.
“Can I come in?”
No response. What was I to do? I was happy that Ritchie was gone because of the trouble it may have gotten us in but it hurt to hear my sister crying. I could not go to bed and leave her like that.
I opened the door. She was curled up in the fetal position on the bed. She had not changed since I saw her that evening.
“Leave me alone” she barked at me.
I was not sure what to do.
“Where is Ritchie?” I asked.
“He left, just like you wanted him to!!!” she responded.
She was angry.
“I never wanted him to leave”, I was lying. ‘but people were watching the house”.
“I saw those black cars, they may have been watching someone else” she responded still crying.
“I did not want to take that chance” I was now sitting on the bed.
She suddenly jumped and hugged me.
“It hurts so bad”
She was squeezing me tightly. I was not sure what to do but I embraced her back.
“Did he break up with you” I asked
“No, but it feels like it.”
“Where did he go?”
“He did not want to tell me. He just said he would call” she started to cry again.
I hugged her back and tried to console her as best I could. It was difficult seeing my sister like this. Since I have lived with her in the USA I watched her turn into a woman. She was now my baby sister again.
She fell asleep in my arms and I went to my room.
The next morning she did not want to get up and go to school. I had use a “guilt trip” to get her to go. I told her that she would lose her student visa if she did not get good grades and go to school.
Every day I got home she would be studying and sitting by the phone. As soon as it rang she would grab it. Ritchie did not call.
The black car was still there. It worried me. I tried to explain it away. Maybe the still thought Ritchie was there. Could I have been wrong and they were watching someone else.
Sue may have noticed it but did not say anything. Since that night we had a new connection. She listened to me. I was big brother again. I think she did not want to question me. I knew however that it would not last forever if the “black car” continued to be parked along the road. She would eventually blame me. Was I right about the car? Two days later I found out.
There was a knock on the door. It was after 10:00 pm. Sue and I were watching the Channel 7 news. It happened so fast. I got up to answer the door when I hear a tug. The door flew open and it came down. A man flashed what look like a badge. There were 4 masked men in black clothing entering the apartment. I vaguely remember seeing DEA on their shirts.
“Get on the floor, police”.
It happened in such a flash. The next thing I remember was I was face down on the carpet beside Sue. We were both in handcuffs. There were boots walking around us everywhere. They were searching the house. They were looking for Ritchie.
As I lay on the carpet I was “sweating bricks”. Were they going to take Sue and I to jail? Was I going to be taken to Immigration detention center called Krome and then deported? I had heard stories about jail and did not want to go there. It was strange but I was thinking that my parents would kill us. What were the neighbors in the other apartments thinking about of us?
Being handcuffed on the ground is one of the most uncomfortable positions. You are helpless. The handcuffs were tight and not matter how I tried to relax it felt like it was cutting against my skin.
“Where is he?” One of the men asked.
“Sir, we don’t know” My response was muffled as I tried to raise my head off the carpet. The police had stopped Ritchie and I before for speeding and he always said I should address them as “Sir”.
“You do know” he responded firmly and loudly.
“Sir, I don’t”. He left here a week ago. “He did not say where he was going”
“You are not telling the truth”, he replied.
This went back and forth for about 20 minutes.
They lifted Sue and I off the carpet and put us on the couch.
I was now staring at masked man. I could see that he was white and he had green eyes.
He kept asking the same questions. Sue started to cry.
“Sir, we don’t know where he is. We are telling the truth”
They put us back on the carpet and continued to search the house. I had a good view of the front door.
Suddenly we started to see boots going to the front door. Next I felt the handcuffs coming off.
“Do not get up until we leave”
The door closed.
I think we were in shock. We did not get up until 10 minutes later. We sat on the couch in silence trying to make sense of what just happened. Sue had stopped crying. I was relieved that I was not taken away.
I was scared but could not show it. I looked over at Sue. Her face was swollen for all the crying she was doing through the whole ordeal. She curled up next to me again in a fetal position like she did a week ago. This time I hugged her.
“It’s okay. It is done”
She was shaking. I felt I let her down as a big brother. I should have said no to Ritchie coming to stay with us? I should have known something was going to happen with the type of business Ritchie’s father was in. I failed to protect her.
I was angry. Why did they have to put us in handcuffs if we were not under arrest? I felt humiliated. There were so many questions racing in my mind. Were these really police or DEA? I remember seeing a news report about criminal dressing as law enforcement to break in homes. In one case they broke into the home of a drug dealer to steal his money. Was this the case with us? Were they looking for information from Ritchie about his fathers “juggling” business? I could call the police and try to find out but as an illegal alien I risk being deported. I wanted to know but I have no “real” rights to ask questions. The fear of getting deported is always the first thing I have to think about before taking any action.
It was on that day that I vowed to myself that I would get a green card by any means. If it meant marrying Rosa then I would do it. I can grow to love her. Most importantly I never want to feel this way again.
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