“Because you wanted it to be true so much, Del. Don’t blame yourself for trying to be hopeful.”
“You’re right. I guess when you’re desperate, you’re most vulnerable to fairy tales,” he said, and then widened his eyes with curiosity. “How did you get out to come here? What’s happening with you now?”
“It’s terrible,” I said, flopping in the seat across from him. “I bet people in prison have more freedom than I have.”
“But you’re here,” he noted.
“I snuck out, stole the keys, and came when I heard you were having troubles.”
“Oh, no, not that again. The police will be at my door and that will bring the social workers here faster,” he complained. “You had better get back.”
“I don’t want to go home again, Del.”
“What are you talking about? Where are you going to go? What would you do?”
“What we decided. This is the best time to do it,” I told him, my excitement returning.
“Oh. And how are we supposed to do that, Teal? You and I haven’t enough money to travel and settle in somewhere else with two young children.”
I stared at him and then smiled.
“What?” he said, his lips softening.
“I can get us thousands of dollars,” I said. “And tonight, right now.”
“I just know where there is a lot of money, and the beauty of it is, no one wants anyone else to know about it.”
He shook his head.
“You’re not making any sense, Teal.”
“Never mind. If I return with ten thousand dollars, will you leave with me now? Will you, Del?”
The reality of what I was saying sank slowly but firmly into his consciousness. I could see his eyes changing, hope replacing defeat and sadness, as what we thought of as dreams and illusion suddenly began to slide into possibility.
“But where would we go?”
“There’s that cousin of yours you mentioned in California, the one you’ve spoken with about your going out there.”
“Yeah, but that was to be by myself, not with two little kids.”
“It won’t matter. He’ll help you, help us. You’ll get work right away and I’ll look after Shawn and Patty Girl until we get them into a school.”
“You just don’t enroll kids in a school, Teal. There are legal papers, guardianships, all that.”
“We’ll figure all that out when we get there, Del. The main thing is, we don’t want to stay here. For you it means losing them anyway, and for me it means walking about in shackles soon.”
He smiled, and then he shook his head.
“It sounds great, but I don’t know.”
“Money will make the difference, Del. It always does,” I said firmly. “The only thing is, we have to decide immediately. I have to do all this now, before they realize I’ve taken it and the car and I’m gone. We need the head start,” I urged.
“I don’t know,” he said, but I could see his resistance weakening.