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Robbed

By , berlin, NJ
A guard dressed in a faded navy uniform slid the steel door. The alarm echoed and he politely nodded us inside. Three rectangular tables furnished the small room that smelled of orangey pine sol and bleach. Joey and Frankie clung to my damp hands on either side. Their palms only able to grip my pinky and ring finger as I nudged them toward the table at the far right.

The buttons on their pants clanged as they scooted along the bench, which was bolted to the floor. The table too. They faced the wall patiently, “Here boys, you can color while we wait.” I slipped my black purse from my shoulder and onto the table. It landed with an unexpected, noisy thud in the silent room.

Frankie reached into my bag but accidently poured a rainbow of markers. Each one landing on the bench with a heavy, metallic bang before reaching the floor and rolling in different directions. They sounded like a fly in your ear. But louder, and in unison as they spread.

Metal hinges grinded and the barred door on the opposite side of the room slid open. A navy arm guided him into the doorway. Chains jingled against the smooth concrete floor until the navy arm removed them altogether. He gently halted a red marker with his left foot.

The boys jumped to their feet, and then into his neon orange shoulders. He looked from side to side at both their faces, “Look how big you boys have gotten!” he said while repeatedly kissing their tar colored hair.

He looked as he always did. His now salt and pepper hair slicked back and sharply outlined by his wrinkled, olive skin. A fresh haircut, I suspected. Calvin Klein’s Obession drifted towards me. I inhaled the familiar, stale fragrance and gently closed my eyes. Letting the smell trigger memories that pacified my current trepidation.

With his rough hands swallowing Frankie and Joeys, they walked towards me. The room seemed to get brighter. The caged neon lights suspended above each table seemed overly bright. Like I could feel the heat radiating from them and I wondered why they also needed bars to lock them in place. I rest my palm against the cool metal, leaning against it.

“Hello my little angel, how are you?” He said, now right in front of me.
I straightened up, removing my hand. A foggy outline of my fingers remained as I reached to give him a hug.
“Hi dad.”



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