My Family

I have six sisters and seven brothers, and then there’s me. The youngest is four years old. His name is Vinece. The last time I saw him was the summer of 2007. He came from Jamaica with my Grandma Clarinza. When I played with him, it was automatically like my whole world had changed in just a few moments. To hear him laugh, to see him smile was oh so heartwarming. I took him to parks. He was so excited and confused because he was so used to being in Jamaica. He asked me what the spinny thing is. I couldn’t tell him because I honestly didn’t even know the answer. I let him play on my mother’s laptop even though she said not to, but I did anyway because it was new to him.

At night when I tucked him in to sleep he asked me to lay with him, so I did. Right before he fell asleep, he said, “I miss being with you and Mommy.” It was kind of like a stab in the heart because it was mine and my mom’s choice to leave Jamaica, to get away from all the bad. We just left my brothers and sisters there with my useless dad.

The last day of their visit, I just couldn’t say goodbye. So my mom bought me a plane ticket. And there I went back to Jamaica. When I got there, I was truly scared. I was reunited with the family I left. I thought they would all hate me for what me and my mother did. They welcomed me back with open arms. We had a welcome home party even though I wasn’t staying long and in the middle of it, I realized my dad was gone. I went off looking for him and found him down the street. He was in a house. My younger siblings said that’s where the bad guy lived. I heard my father’s voice so I went around back. There he was lying with a knife in his back. I wanted to scream, but I couldn’t, I was in shock, so I ran home. I told my Uncle Ki that Dad was in trouble. It looked as if he knew why. The word spread around the party quick and then we heard gunshots coming from outside. People were shooting at our home.

My oldest brother, Zieto, came and rallied us all up. He took us in the basement. The little ones were crying, they didn’t know what was happening or why it was happening. We did our best to comfort them. We sang happy songs and played silly games. It was like we were a little family again, just without our parents. That night, us kids all stayed in the basement. We all slept together all cuddled up. I was cuddled with Vinece because I treated him like my little baby. I sang to him as he was falling asleep until he told me, “This is why I miss you and Mommy.”

I talked to Zieto the next morning. He said he didn’t understand how this happened, and he didn’t know why.