The plan was to meet The Ex at Denny’s at 6:00. I would give him some money, and he would allow me to see the baby. At this point I was willing to do whatever it took to see my baby. The legal system turned out to be a great disappointment. I did not have much of a choice but to play by his rules.
The four of us were sitting at a booth/table combo. Christin, Alphonso, T and I were sitting in the booth side by side. Each one of us had our eye on the door, not knowing who would enter next.
I was so nervous. How much time was The Ex going to give me with my baby? Was he going to stay and monitor everything or would he leave? Did I have enough money? Would he ask for more?
Christin, Alphonso and T were trying to distract me in their own way. I could not concentrate. My mind was consumed with the “what ifs.” It was one of those moments were I would rather be anywhere else, yet there was no other place I rather be.
About five minutes before the agreed upon time, Christin, Alphonso and T thought it be best if T leaves the table, but watches from a safe distance. They did not want The Ex to be intimidated in any way, and in turn I would lose my chance to see my baby, whom I had not seen in about two months.
Someone decided it be best if T were to hide in the restroom. It was close to the entrance, yet he would not be able to be seen by anyone who did not know he was there.
I know they were all worried for me. In these moments, we all came together as one. There was no tension, there was no abuse, there was no judgement. The four of us were on the same side, with the same goal in mind. My victory would be theirs.
The Ex was late. We figured he either saw T or he just decided to not come. A part of me knew better. I knew he needed money and nothing was going to stop him from getting the money.
I was sitting there biting my nails, playing with my hair, a habit that I always had when I am nervous or overwhelmed.
And then it happened.
The Ex came in with a woman. Someone who I recognized as his cousin. I saw him before he saw us. I felt like I was going to throw up. I just needed my baby. The Ex did not care anything about him. I went through the pregnancy alone. I was alone in the hospital when I had him. I took care of him, fed him, changed his diapers and loved him all on my own. This was just a power ploy The Ex was doing. He wanted the Welfare benefits. Plain and simple.
As he spotted me, I made my way over to him while digging 100.00 cash out of my jacket. It was all I had. Six days before pay-day and I was giving him everything I had just to have a moment with my son.
“I am running to Walmart for a six-pack, you have thirty minutes.”
The Ex handed me the baby carrier, diaper bag, and left.
I started to cry.
Christin and Alphonso helped make room on the table so I could put the baby carrier on top. T made his way back to the table and there we were. A white as can be bald hair baby and three misfits.
Vinnie, at four months old, was looking at each one of us. His big brown eyes were taking it all in. I immediately picked him up and hugged my baby for the first time in months. He was skinny. Too skinny.
Everyone wanted to hold him, yet everyone was very cautious as to not overwhelm him.
And then, everything changed.
“Jen, we need to leave.”
“This is your moment”
“You don’t have much time.”
“Take him, what’s going to happen? Turn the tables on him.”
“We will help you.”
“We can do this.”
“If we don’t do this, you may never see Vinnie again.”
Those are the words I needed to hear. I am doing this. We are doing this.
Just like that, the plan was set into motion.
Christin and Alphonso left first. They were going to make sure none of us were being followed.
T and I made a dash to the car. I sat in the back seat with the baby, and he drove as if he was being followed and was trying to lose someone.
Our apartment was only five minutes up the road, yet the drive seemed as if it went on for hours.
I had my son back. I was sitting next to him in the back seat of an old 1974 Camero.
Such of rush of feelings. I had my baby. I need to call work and tell them I am not going to be in tomorrow. I have to call Red, he wanted an update. I have to buy things. Bottles, formula, diapers, clothes.
Did I seriously just kidnap my own baby back?
Hell yeah I did!
Christin, Alphonso, T and I all got back to the apartment around the same time.
And then, just like we were all expecting, the phone call came.
“You Bitch, you took him. You fucking Bitch, I will get you for this.”