They kicked me out the day I turned eighteen.
Hard to blame them.
My mom and her sister-in-law got over my dad’s disappearance years before. Seems they determined one day just to move on.
Wasn’t so easy for me.
Daddy disappeared on a Friday, exactly three weeks before my last day of fourth grade. At the sassy age of nine, I already thought New Orleans cops were a big pile of callous fools. I figured they wouldn’t give a damn about some man from Tremé who had gone missing.
Three months later, my suspicions were confirmed by a sweaty, pink-cheeked and prematurely balding detective who sat hunched on the too-small rickety white chair in our narrow living room. That man told my mom and aunt the case was cold. He sounded like he was reading from a tired old script as he muttered that there were a lot of other cases with more promise… So sorry he didn’t have better news… There was nothing more he could do… He’d be sure to call if anything new happened to come up.
That’s when I determined this hollow, depleted man didn’t deserve the title of Detective. Finding the truth takes grit. Tenacity.
That’s when I knew I would have to assume his job if we were to get any answers.
Mamma and Aunt Ella figured my detective preoccupation was an expression of my mourning; a phase I would outgrow and something that would eventually wear down. Instead, my persistent stream of questions and latest theories became unwanted intrusions, unrelenting reminders of their heartbreak. Eventually, I wore them down.
Turns out, they underestimated my stubbornness.
They wouldn’t be the last to do so.