Not My Baby Part 4 by: Henny Daniels

There are times– though not very often– when relatively “good” people do horrid things. In those instances, guilt becomes more punishing than any possible form of vengeance or retaliation; in a sense, it slowly and excruciatingly transforms into a heaping serving of karma. Chucky was no exception. In a fleeting moment, his life had been permanently altered after carelessly speeding into an elderly residential neighborhood while texting.

Though releasing a young soul from her teeny body with over a ton of shiny new steel was not his intent, Chucky had done just that, and replayed the scene in his mind over and over again; that day haunted him like he expected the ghost of the child to– waking him up at night drenched in cold sweat with Trinity’s angelic face lingering in his mind. The worst element of the trauma was not the actual accident, but his conscious decision to flee the scene– leaving Star, the mother, in the worst emotional state of her difficult life.

Not only did Chucky painfully keep this secret, but he also woke from his murderous nightmares with Star by his side, rarely sleeping. Each time she would attempt to comfort him in hopes of discussing the source of his consistent sleep disruptions– he never would. Instead he’d contrive some lie in a forced groggy voice and pretend to immediately return to sleep; the couple would lay with their eyes wide open in the resounding darkness– not knowing the other still lay awake, stiff with torment.

Today when Star awoke, Chucky wasn’t next to her. At first, she didn’t think anything of it; sometimes he would wake before her to assault the bathroom whilst everyone else remained sleeping. But after a lengthy search of her home and a survey of the parking lot, Star realized that Chucky had left. After calling several times with no response, Star abandoned the search; she didn’t have the time, energy or emotion these days to be chasing behind a man that clearly did not truly care for her as he claimed.

Entering the kitchen, Star began to prepare for a new work day by starting a pot of gourmet coffee. Prior to her latest loss, she had never even tasted it– let alone used a coffee maker. But due to her minimal sleeping hours, it had become a vital necessity in her life– it was actually almost the only thing she felt she needed daily.

As she waited for the pot to fill with her gourmet energy, Star checked her phone for any missed messages or calls. Her notification screen indicated that she had received an e-mail from her old roommate, Mariah, last night. The message read:

Hey Star!

I just wanted to thank you once again for helping me find Mia. I know that you said you didn’t do any work, but you have no idea how frantically I had been searching! I imagined the worst possibilities and let those thoughts torture and distract me. I hope this isn’t rude or insensitive to say, but I thought I would never see her again, and that would have surely ruined me. I think I experienced a small fragment of your pain that day. And once again, I am so sorry for your loss. Trinity was an amazing little ball of joy.

With that being said, I hope you know that I have absolutely no ill feelings toward you, and that if you ever need something– even just to vent– please don’t hesitate to call! I know we’ve had a bumpy relationship, but I want you to know that I am forever grateful to you, and despite what happened; you have a true friend in me.

Sincerely, Mariah

Rolling her eyes in disgust, Star put the phone down with an aggressive slam. Why would she even say something so stupid? Trying to compare our situations like I was careless enough to lose my baby. No, dummy! My baby’s LIFE was STOLEN.

Letting out a deep, calming breath, Star resumed her morning ritual. Since an incident had occured while on the clock at the hospital, Star had not yet returned to work. But today, she was ready– she would be working the day shift for the first time since starting there. In the back of her mind, she had been progressively curious about the strange events she’d witnessed at Shands late that night. To her, it looked as if two of the other hospital employees had taken outside dead bodies into the hospital mortuary and hid them with fake identities– one of those identities being her own deceased child. At this point, nothing but God himself could deter her from unveiling what was really taking place behind the scenes at that hospital. But, she knew she had to be calculated and discreet; one of the gentleman had found her snooping and was sure to be on the lookout.

The plan was to work day shifts from now on, and then come back later at night and spy. That would mean her daughters would be seeing much less of her from now on, but she figured it was best this way; Star had nothing left inside that desired to be a mother– not if there was no Trinity there for motivation.

Upon arrival to work, Star slid her badge beneath a scanner to clock-in, but for some reason, it wouldn’t go through. After wiping the card on her pant leg and trying several more times, Star began to grow frustrated and irritable– she marched to human resources and entered the room without knocking.

Sharon, the head of HR, had a strange look on her face after making eye-contact with Star. It was almost as if she was scared or intimidated by Star’s sudden appearance.

“Hi Ms. Sharon. My badge ain’t working again. Can you fix it for me please?”

Sharon sat at her desk, writing. She didn’t dare raise her head to make eye-contact as she spoke, “Well, I’m sorry sweetie, but I won’t be able to fix it for you this time.” She glanced in her direction briefly. “Unfortunately, I’ve been directed to inform you that you have been let go– effective immediately.”

Star almost choked on her chewing gum. “What did you just say? I’m FIRED?”

Rubbing her brow and releasing an uncomfortable sigh she added, “Yes ma’am. You heard me correctly. I was also told to say that you are banned indefinitely from returning to the premises; even in an emergency situation.” She extended her arm with an open palm. “Your ID badge, please.”

“My badge. What the– why am I fired? I didn’t do anything wrong!”

Star’s increased volume was enough to make Sharon feel unsafe. “Look, I’m just doing my job here. I am not personally firing you, I was just assigned the task. If you want answers, write a letter. But like I said, you are not allowed to be here any longer. Now please–” she grabbed the receiver of her desk phone. “Exit calmly before I have to call security.”

Without another word, Star stormed out. She couldn’t risk saying anything else and losing her temper. Lord knows that poor white lady wouldn’t be prepared for the wrath of emotions Star was filled with, ready to erupt at a moment’s notice. No, jail would not be among her destinations today. But now she knew for sure she’d witnessed something monumental previously; she felt she obligated to uncover the truth. But how could she without even being allowed to return to the building?

Just then, Star’s phone vibrated from a text message notification. As she made the embarrassing walk back to her vehicle– now unemployed– Star read the message; it was from Mariah.

Hi Star! Did you get my email? I would really like to come over to see you and the girls one of these days. You know, to catch up. How does that sound?

Star tapped the bottom of her chin, pondering her request– and then she thought of the perfect idea. She texted back:

Yeah, ok. Come over tomorrow night. I got a favor to ask you.

Next Star sat down in her car and made a list of tools she would need. Finally, she had a reason to look forward to something– anything. She looked to the sky and whispered, “This one’s for you baby. They think they’re gonna fire your momma for no reason; they got another thing comin’.”


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