A Mother’s Sin…No Forgiveness
by Deno Sandz
I remember it like it was yesterday. It was on the third day of winter and the ground was covered in white snow. Our parents gathered us up, we dressed, and all eight of us piled up in the family car.
None of the children knew where we were going. My father made a stop at the local sports store and, fifteen minutes later, he placed a large bag in the trunk of the car. I knew it was probably something for us, because when my father got in the car he looked at my mother and smiled. We were going to have fun, I thought, as we hit the expressway.
Our ages varied but were very close. I was 12, my brother Jamal was one year under me, my sister Cheyenne was nine, Jasmine was eight, Samuel was four, and my baby brother Tyrey was 11 months old. We exited the Dan Ryan expressway fifteen miles from the west side of Chicago where we lived, turned right down 87th street, headed west. We all peered out the window as we came upon Dan Ryan Woods, an outside recreational Family Park with hills that rose high from its flat plains.
My father pulled into the parking lot and cut the car off.
“All out,” he said, as he exited the driver’s side. My mother was on my left side letting my other siblings out as my father opened the trunk of the car pulling out not one but two red Rosebud traditional old school snow sleds, the ones with the metal blades, leather reigns, and a wood seat with a red painted arrow on it . We smiled with glee, and even my baby brother clapped his knitted gloves together. We tracked up a hill and at the top there were several children with their parents. We found a place to start our fun and my father laid down the sleds.
“Who’s first?” he asked as he kneeled down at the back of the sleds. Cheyenne ran up and said she would go first and then my sister Jasmine took the other sled. My mother stood behind the stroller, watching my baby brother. I was not in such a hurry to ride. I was the big brother, so I let the little ones go first. Jamal stood next to our two sisters as daddy gave them a push, and then Jamal ran right behind them down that hill.
Falling, rolling, and getting back up with a snow covered face and laughing, as he continued on to the bottom of the hill with our sisters. Samuel couldn’t wait to get his turn; he jumped up and down as our sisters and brother walked back up the hill. When they arrived, my mother could not wait to give them all a hug, brushing the snow from their coats and hats.
“All right Samuel,” said my father as Samuel moved closer to the sled.
“Come ride with me, Pupil,” Samuel insisted, as he grabbed the reigns to his sled. I gladly walked over to the other sled and got on. My father pushed Samuel and away he went. I was old enough to give myself a push, so off I went. Samuel had a head start but in the middle of the hill I took first place. I beat Samuel to the bottom and waited for him to get down. We both walked back up the hill to our family, as I brushed the snow off of Samuel.
“Mom and Dad, it’s your turn. I’ll watch Tyrey,” I said, and my other siblings agreed. My father helped my mother on her sled and she waited for him to hop on his. Jamal counted to three and said go. Off they went down the hill as we looked on with happiness. We all turned away from my baby brother for a moment to get a little closer to the hill’s edge, to see our parents better. As my parents finished their ride and were on their way back up the hill. We greeted them.
“Where’s Tyrey?” my mother asked.
“Right there,” I replied.
“Right where, Pupil?” Mom asked again, as we all turned to look at the empty stroller.
“Where’s your brother?!” Father yelled, as he began to walk around in circles looking for Tyrey. Mother walked over to everyone on that hill to ask them if they saw her son, our brother. No one knew anything. My father used his cell phone to call the police and soon the entire forest reserve was filled with police cars and an ambulance.
As we sat in the car, I saw my mother’s fears progress into hysteria. My father could not calm her down and seconds later she passed out.
The paramedics checked on her, laid her down on a stretcher and took her away in the ambulance. All my father could do was put his hands over his face, with his back turned to us, trying not to let us see his pain and to assure us that everything would be alright.
But it wasn’t. Tyrey was gone without a trace. All that was left was one of his mittens laying flat in the snow.
My father began to walk towards the car where we were all crying for our lost brother. I felt that it was my responsibility while they were gone to watch after my brother. I felt that if I hadn’t asked them to go for a ride, my brother would still be here.
My father dropped us off at my aunt’s house, my mother’s sister and was going to the hospital to check on my mother. When my aunt opened door, her face was wet with tears. She must have been one of the people my mother called before the police arrived. My father watched us as we walked into my aunt’s house.
When I looked around at him, it was the first time in my life that I saw fear on my father’s face, and I saw a single tear roll down his cheek. He stared at me, as if he was telling me it was not my fault and smiled at me even though he was sad.
At that moment, I wanted to be the man my father was.
The next day my father and mother arrived at our aunt’s house. Father gathered us all up in the living room and sat us down. My mother sat down beside us all, while my father walked around in little circles, gathering what strength he had to tell us about our brother. Mom sat there with her hands around her mouth, while our aunt rubbed her shoulders.
Father started by saying that something had happened to Tyrey. I know what happened to Tyrey. I knew the difference between running away and being kidnapped. But the others cried as my father explained the situation. My mother couldn’t stand it any longer so she got up, walked into the kitchen, and my aunt followed her.
When our father finished telling us my other siblings ran into the kitchen to be with my mother, but I lingered. My father sat down in a chair close to the beautiful decorated Christmas tree with a shimmering angel on the top and stared out into space. Even being the oldest, I broke down and sat down next to my father on the floor, placing my head on his knee. I don’t think my father ever knew how much I loved him, but I knew how much he loved me.
A few minutes had passed while my mother, Aunt Vel, and siblings were still in the kitchen.
Suddenly, my father placed his hand on my head, bent down and gave me a kiss on the top of my head. And for the first time in my life my father said, “Thank you son, for being so strong.” We stayed over my aunt’s house until around 12 that afternoon and made a stop at the police station, where my father went in to talk to the officers. Mom never said much to us that day, not even when we got home.
But around 1:00 am, I was awakened by screams coming from my parent’s room. Easing down the hallway towards their room, I heard my mother telling my father that it was his fault that Tyrey was gone, that she didn’t love my father anymore, and she wanted a divorce.
Evidently, the marriage was not going well at all. But what really hurt was when she told my father that she wasn’t taking any kids with her. I couldn’t understand. As I turned to walk back to my room, my mother came out into the hallway and saw me. She just stared at me, until my father walked out of the room, and then they both stared.
Finally, my mother walked away, as my father again, stood looking into my eyes. I went back to my room and as of the next morning, she was gone. We never saw our mother again. My father still continued to take care of all, as he did before. But it was much harder since my mom was gone.
Things went on as usual — school, homework, dinner, family time, and sleep. This went on for years and not a word from our mother. But my father had heard from her about a year after she abandoned us, when he received divorce papers. My father didn’t want to show up in court so he just signed the papers, and sent them back. It was like he could never forgive her for what she had done to us — just out of the blue, up and leaving us.
Curiously, the police had stopped looking for our brother a year after my mother left us also. There was never a letter in the mail for us from her — not even a telephone call. Aunt Vel had mysteriously moved away without telling us, about two years after my mother left. I guess this is what sisters do. However, it was strange for Aunt Vel not to say good-bye to us and give us her address and phone number.
It’s been ten years now since my brother Tyrey disappeared and ten years since I’ve seen my mother. My brother Samuel is 14 now, enrolled in one of the best high schools in Chicago, Cheyenne is 19 and is attending Spellman College, and Jamal is 21 working as a bus driver with two kids and a wife. Jasmine is 18 and attending a beauty college in the suburbs, living with her boyfriend. Me, I’m 22 years old with no steady woman, no kids, and a job that pays me very well, living on the Gold Coast. Tyrey would be 10 years old today and would probably be very handsome. I’ve tried to forget all that has happened to my family and me. But today, I’m writing about it.
Now, my father watched us as we grew. He had a few women off and on; I guess he needed loving too. But he was getting old sitting in that house. He had a stroke when I was around 19 and that put him on disability. But he still saw after us, our schooling and things. Samuel still lives at home, and my sister Cheyenne comes home on holidays to visit him and Jasmine stops by a lot to check on him. Samuel makes sure he has something to eat in the house and gets his hair cut.
I watch over them all, as I have for years. Even Tyrey, who I keep a picture of in my wallet from when he was a baby and a picture in my mind of what he probably looks like today; because I know my brother is not dead, I know where my mother is, and I know why she forsake my father and us, and I know what blood flows through Tyrey’s veins.
I found out about a year ago when out of the blue, my Aunt Vel called me, and we talked and talked for long time about the past, the present, and more about the past. I never told anyone what we talked about. My father and I were and are very close, and it would have hurt him to ever know what we talked about.
I could have asked to speak to my mother that day, because my Aunt was calling from her house — the house where my brother lived.
But I didn’t ask. I couldn’t ask.
Sometimes I truly do miss my mother, with her smooth voice and soft skin. But some things just do not work out. I will forgive her when I see her, but I will never forget what she’s done whether I see her or not. She hampered my spirit of happiness. To continue having love for her, the secret I must hold that could harm my father, and the truth that I must hide that would confine my mother for life.
My mother’s affair about 10 years ago produced a baby, whom my father named Tyrey. My mother never said anything to my father and if she did he probably would have raised Tyrey still. This is not misinformation, this was told to me by my Aunt Vel, a true source, because she was in on it too. She knew of my mother’s infidelities and even condoned it, because my mother filled her subconscious with lies about how bad our father was.
Funny, I never saw any of that… just a man who got up in the morning, went to work, smiled when he came home, loved us unconditionally, and truly loved my mother, when she was at home. This is why I said I’ve been watching over everyone for years.
My mother could never stop loving Tyrey’s real daddy, she was head over heels for him, his money, his cars and his house. Even though, she had five kids with my father. I think my mother left us because she never knew what a good man was. Her father was an alcoholic and abused her mother. But I guess that’s how it is sometimes.
My Aunt told me that the entire kidnapping was my mother’s idea, along with Tyrey’s biological father. It was because she didn’t want to be with my father any longer, she knew that Tyrey was not his son. And, of course, there was money, too.
We were not well off by any means, we struggled a lot. So mom found another way out, which was cruel and unloving. But it worked.
I remember all of us standing out there that day in the cold of winter, recognizing that a part of us was missing. While we worried and prayed, “Big Jake,” my mother’s lover and Tyrey’s father, was driving to a hotel to await my mother with Tyrey in his car. I have always thought about Tyrey, my mother, and how they were living. Aunt Vel said that Tyrey and my mother were doing fine; however, Big Jake had abandoned her for another woman about five years ago, and left her broke. So she had to get a job to support Tyrey and herself.
Mom had allowed Big Jake to change Tyrey’s name when they arrived in North Carolina 10 years ago. He goes by the name of Jerusalem now, because his biological father was some kind of religious fanatic, an alcoholic who capitalized off of women and slept around on my mother. Well, a black boy born in the ‘hood named Jerusalem, go figure.
I always loved Tyrey’s name. Our father named him.
I probably will see Tyrey — I mean, Jerusalem — one day. Maybe when it’s my mother’s time to be judged and I stand across the coffin and throw my red rose on top it while everyone looks at me. I am hoping then my brother Tyrey, whom I’ve loved all my life, will walk up to me and say, “Pupil, it’s been a long time… since I disappeared in the snow.”