If you have not read part 1, please do so now. You can find it -> HERE <-.
When the doorbell rang the first time, neither Donna nor Daniel heard it. She was on a conference call, and he was taking a nap with his headphones on.
By the third, unanswered ring, Officer Powell figured that no one was home, called the precinct, and asked for the phone number the Cobwebs left on file.
“Would you like me to connect you to them?” the lovely Rebecca asked in her sweeter-than-sugar voice. “They don’t need to have your personal cell number,” she added.
“You always think of everything,” Mike answered, smiling. “Yes, please,” he added.
“Please hold,” Rebecca said before a nondescript melody came through the receiver.
Tapping his foot to the rhythm, Officer Powell turned around and headed towards his squad car.
“Officer!” came a call from behind him. Donna Cobweb was standing in the doorway, waving.
“They’re home. They just didn’t hear the bell. They will -” Rebecca’s voice came on the line.
“I know. She’s here,” Mike said before disconnecting the call and making his way back to the door.
“Is it about Delilah?” Donna asked as he got closer.
“No, I just stopped by because I was bored and wanted to talk to you about fashion,” Mike thought to himself, hoping that Mrs. Cobweb did not notice the eye roll. “Yes. I’ve got good news. May I come in?” he asked.
“Please, have a seat,” Donna said when they entered the living room. “Make yourself at home while I go get my husband,” she added with a smile.
As she left the room, Mike looked around. Three of the living room walls were a shade of green. “Pistachio,” he seemed to remember Rebecca calling that dress he once complimented. The fourth wall was light purple. “No idea,” he thought dismissively, never having seen his administrative assistant wear anything of that color. Multiple paintings adorned each wall. No matter how much Mike tilted his head and to which side, he could not figure out what they were supposed to illustrate. It looked like someone didn’t know what to paint, so they spilled some random paint over the canvas and then just smeared it all around. Sitting down on the plush, sky-blue sofa, Mike imagined he looked out of place. Unlike him, the couch looked sophisticated. “Unsophisticated” was what Gloria called him before breaking up with him. The Yucca trees in the corner made Mike think about the tropics. “Maybe one day I will go and take Rebecca with me,” he mused as he stood up and looked out the window.
“I found him. He was busy sleeping,” Mrs. Cobweb announced as she entered the room.
“Wow, this woman is fake,” Officer Powell thought, putting together her sarcasm with her smile and body language. “We found Delilah,” he said as soon as Mr. Cobweb joined them in the living room.
“Well, where is she?” Daniel asked, looking around the room as if the girl was hiding behind one of the plants.
“She’s at school. She’s been there all day,” Mike announced.
“She what?” Donna asked. Her smile disappeared from her face. “We were crazy worried about her, and she was at school?” she said, stressing the last word and folding her arms.
“Yes. She should be back home any – ” Officer Powell began before the front door opened.
“Hey,” a girl around 13 years old said halfheartedly as she took off her shoes and jacket.
“Wash your hands and then come in here, young lady,” Mrs. Cobweb said, her jaw muscles visibly spasming.
“I’m sure Mr. Policeman here doesn’t have all the time in the world to hang out with us. Come in here first, Delilah,” Mr. Cobweb said and swallowed hard.
“Bathroom. Now,” Donna ordered her daughter, pointing in the direction of a door across the hall.
“Actually, I am on a rather tight schedule,” Mike said, wanting to avoid a family quarrel. “It will just take a moment,” he added, beckoning Delilah with his index finger.
“Delilah, honey, we’ve been looking all over for you,” Donna said, standing in the middle of the living room with her arms still crossed.
“I spent the weekend with Kaila, and we went to school straight from her house this morning,” Delilah said, looking at the floor.
“Why didn’t you tell us?” Daniel asked, stroking his daughter’s head.
“I didn’t want to interrupt your weekend work, so I left you a note,” Delilah explained.
“There was no note,” Donna said, shaking her head.
“I left it on my desk,” Delilah replied.
Officer Powell looked at the Cobwebs, unsure whether to believe them or the girl. “Can I see your room?” he asked.
Delilah nodded and walked out of the living room. Donna ushered the policeman to go in front of her. A chill enveloped Mike as soon as he entered the girl’s room.
“I must have forgotten to close the window,” Donna uttered apologetically. “I left the note on the desk right here,” she pointed towards a black oak desk in front of the window. “I bet the wind just…” she started, dropped down onto her knees, and looked underneath the bed. “Ah! Here it is,” Delilah said proudly as she pulled out a piece of paper from under the bed. It stated that she was going over to Kaila’s and wasn’t going to be back until Monday afternoon.
The Cobwebs bought the story, blaming one another for not finding the note before, but Mike knew better. He saw Delilah reach into her pocket and pull out that very same note that she presented to her parents as if from under the bed. “Kids,” he thought to himself and shook his head, remembering the times when he would sneak out to meet with his childhood friends or crushes.
“Missing child found. Case close,” Mike said enthusiastically, eager to get out of the house. Donna’s constant yelling was becoming unbearable.
“I’m so sorry for all the trouble, Officer,” Mrs. Cobweb said, heading towards the front door.
“No trouble at all. I’m happy your kid is home safe. Any parent would have done the same,” Mike Powell said before bidding the Cobwebs Goodbye and exiting the house.
“We were worried sick about you,” Daniel said to his daughter as he hugged her.
“Maybe you should finally let me have a phone,” Delilah said, looking at her mother.
“Did she orchestrate all that just to ask for a phone?” Donna wondered to herself. “You know what I think about cameras, right? she asked, looking at her daughter still embracing her dad.
“You think it steals your soul or something,” Delilah replied and rolled her eyes.
“Don’t you roll your eyes at me!” Donna raised her voice and took a step towards her daughter.
“She’s tired. Cut her some slack,” Daniel said, letting go of his daughter. “Only because our ancestors hundreds or even thousands of years ago believed it doesn’t mean that we must do so as well. It’s the 21st century,” he added.
“I am proud to be a Mayan. Are you not?” Donna asked, and both Daniel and Delilah nodded in agreement. “Remember Paco? He was four when Dale snapped a photo of him without Matilde’s knowledge. A week later, Paco’s health started deteriorating. He was pretty much a vegetable before he died at 21,” Donna added.
“Yes, I know that you think his soul left his body and could never find his way,” Daniel explained, taking a deep breath. He wanted the conversation to be over so he could go back to his nap.
“Without a mirror nearby, the soul does not know to which body it should come back,” Donna said, massaging her temples.
“I’m sorry,” Delilah whispered as she inched towards her room. Now that her mother’s focus shifted from her to her father, she could retreat.
Donna and Daniel argued about a lot of things, often making it impossible for Delilah to focus on her studies. Donna enjoyed yelling at her husband for being lazy and too lenient with Delilah, and he enjoyed blaming her for his affairs.
“If you weren’t such a controlling bitch,” Daniel would say to his wife. “You’re never happy. I’m tired of never amounting to anything in your eyes,” he’d add.
“Don’t blame me for your self-esteem issues. Maybe if you weren’t such a sloth and a slob, I’d be more attracted to you,” Donna would reply.
Delilah knew these lines by heart. Although she loved her parents very much, she often wished to have different ones. She wanted a mom that would hug her every day before and after school. She wanted a father who would not give up on life. No matter how much she tried, she could not will Donna and Daniel to change. They were her reality. But not for long.
As I wrote part 2, it took on a life of its own. There will be part 3 next week. I think it will be the last installment, but I cannot be 100% sure. Stay tuned! I hope to see you here next week.
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