He walked on, pensive.
“What did you buy Shawn and Patty Girl with the hundred dollars?” I asked.
“Clothes they needed.”
“See? It was a good thing, then. Why shouldn’t they have what they need? Why shouldn’t all of us, you and me included?”
“I don’t know,” he said.
“Well, I do, Del. We should and we will.”
He said nothing. We paused at the bus stop.
“We can take a taxicab,” I reminded him.
“The bus is good enough.”
“Don’t be so afraid to use my money. You’ll get home faster, Del. It’s better that you get home faster, isn’t it?”
He looked up the street. There was no sign of a bus yet, and the street looked desolate and dark. Then he turned back to me. I knew it was painful for him to say it, to admit it, but he did.
“Yes. It’s better I get home faster.”
“But listen to me, Teal. You can’t buy love. That’s just something that happens on its own. It takes time sometimes.”
“I’ll wait,” I said, smiling. “You’re worth it. We’re both worth it.”
He shook his head again and then smiled.
“Okay, we’ll see,” he finally relented.
To me it was like being promised a life of rainbows.
We made our way to a taxi stand and left for his house. The moment we arrived, Del knew something was very wrong. The front door was wide open.
We paid the cab driver. Del hesitated after he got out.
“You should stay in the taxi and go right home,”
Del told me, his eyes fixed on the open door. “You don’t want to get involved in anything now, not after all the trouble you got yourself in before.”
“It’s all right. Let me be sure you and the children are okay first.”
Slowly, we both approached the front entrance. We heard some laughter and Del’s shoulders relaxed.
“It’s just her and her sick girlfriend LaShay Monroe. She’s bad news,” he told me. “She’s connected to some Jamaican drug king and gets my mother smoking pot and doing other things,” he revealed. Although he didn’t go into detail, I could see from his face that the other things were better not mentioned in any detail.
We walked into the house and looked through the living room doorway. His mother and a tall, thin Jamaican woman were sprawled on the floor with their backs to the sofa. The room reeked of marijuana.
“What are you doing?” Del asked.
They both stopped laughing and looked up at us.
“Uh-oh, it’s the voice of my conscience,” his mother said, and they both laughed again.