Footsie Pajamas

Coming Home... A True Story

I jump up in bed, heart pounding; I hear heavy knocks sound on the front door. I know that sound, that heart wrenching thunder that has been a constant in my young life. They were at the door again, causing panic as I hear my father getting up in the other room. ‘What’s going on now?’ is all I can think as I hear my little sisters calling out to me in the darkness of our room.

Getting up, I flick on the bathroom light and calm down two of my younger sisters and pick up my youngest. She’s not used to the noise like we are, so I stroke her back and wipe away a few tears of from her eyes. Holding Kaya close, I hear the deep voice of our father coming from the living room and turn my head to look at our closed door. 

“Who’s here?” Kaya asks, looking up at me with large brown eyes still lined with unshed tears. I smile down at her and lift my shoulders. 

“Not sure, baby girl,” I say, but I know who’s at the door.

Putting her down, I move to leave, to see what was going on; but as I reach the door I feel my sister’s tiny hand clutching leg. Looking down, I realize I have no choice but to take her out with me. Walking out of our bedroom my eyes move over the bar counter of our kitchen and land on two uniformed police officers. While I know it had to be the cops, confusion washes over me. Why were they here? Today had been a good day, no fighting, no screaming; and since my older sister had left, taking my beloved nephew with her, there hadn’t been much malice.

The last time the cops had shown up was after that awful fight between mother and eldest daughter. My sister had come home after a long absence demanding her son, high on god only knew what. I had to hide with my infant nephew, David, in my arms behind a unlock-able bathroom door. I still remember how hard I tried to hold her back before she bit my arm and stole David from the house. The image of my sister jumping the wall to our patio with him in her arms is forever burned in my memory.

As the officer noticed me, I quickly looked away not wanting to make eye contact. Too often I have seen scorn or pity from the eyes of uniformed men; and I just couldn’t deal with that at this moment. As my eyes move I finally take in the tears in my mother’s eyes, and the way her hands are clutched to her chest as if trying to keep them at bay. I can’t help but to wonder what was wrong as I feel my baby sister’s hands let go of my leg. Looking down I watch as she moves towards my mother; I reach for her, but before I could catch her I hear a tiny little squeal as she rushes between my parents. Walking up behind them I watch as Kaya embraces David who has wrapped his arms tightly around her.

There in his footsie pajamas, the same ones that he had been taken in, was my nephew and as I looked at him I could feel tears washing over my own eyes. They both looked so happy, and at that moment, when I was at such a lost for words, the officer who was talking with my parents says the one sentence that will always stay with me. “Looks like we brought the little man to the right place; this must be home.”

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Footsie Pajamas
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