October 8, 1992

Location: Westchester County, New York.

 

In this cool autumn night, a young man comes between the crossroads of his life. Sitting on his couch, reliving the events of the last few years of his life, and even his childhood, he takes a swig of his whiskey, followed by the look of disdain in his face. He never really liked alcohol, but for what he was about to do, for himself and the benefit of the rest of his family, a little liquid courage was necessary.

His places his shot glass down, prepares himself another fix, and takes another great swig, unable to down the entire portion; it dribbles to through the corners of his mouth. The man wipes it away cautiously as he looks at his many awards on his wall and his degrees from his University, he smiles, as he knows he is about to do the right thing. His career as a math professor had just fallen through and he is the joy and pride of his family. A frown places itself upon his face and the agony of his mistakes get the better of him, a small tear falls from his bloodshot eyes and his grip on the whiskey bottle he was holding tightens. He places it on the coffee table and stands up, afraid, but determined. Saddened but it was the only way to go in his situation, he wasn’t left with much of a choice, he has made his decision to help better secure his future, it may come with a high price, but sacrifices in some cases, can be made if it is made with a better purpose.

The man hesitates, step by step, as he walks toward the brightly lit room, the light has been on for a while as the man was distracted by his own thoughts of regret and flashbacks of what has happened and predictions of what may or may not happen. But finally he has made his way towards the brightly lit room, the door fully open, the house in a dead silence, in fact the only thing that can be heard is the creaking of his footsteps, and some minor whimpering but other than that, nothing and nobody else was around to make a sound that could break him out of his trance or his steps, and so he continued to walk toward the door, and he entered, aggressively at first, then he made his movement softer, not to alarm or startle what was in front of him.

He stares, lifelessly onward; he takes a deep breath as he reaches the climax of his journey in that brightly lit room, with nobody but her. Not quite understanding what was going on, she looks at him, helplessly and scared. She cannot react, her body was already numb, she can’t even lift her hand up in protest, it would not change anything, what was done was done and what was about to happen, will happen, how can she be expected to do anything but observe in terror and confusion, especially when it was an unfamiliar look on a very familiar face.

Despite the coldness, she felt, she did not shiver, he glared her in her entirety but still no movement came from her shell-shocked body, no question of pleads escaped from her mouth, barely even a breath. But she can see his breath, it was deep and heaving, and it heated up the air between them, her nose caught the stench of the whiskey, which was uncommon since she knew this man wasn’t a drinker, but that was the only clear thought she could muster up in this whole disaster. Then his hands reached forward, toward her, and his mouth opened simultaneously with the widening of her eyes. He notices this, and backs off, and for a second she can see the dilemma he was facing, for a second, her ears twitched at the sound of his strangely calm voice, when on the inside, she was anything but calm.

 

 

“I am truly sorry, I could have never expected this to happen, but you see I have worked so hard, so hard to become what I am today, gotten past so many obstacles, climbed the ladder as you may say. You may think that I deserve for this to be revealed, and that very well may be true, but… I can’t let it happen. I won’t be the only one to suffer you see, there is so much more to this situation then you can imagine, so much unraveling too many people’s lives will go down the drain. No pun intended my Darling. I wish I could make you understand, I wish I could make you see why I did what I did, I also wish it would have never happened in the first place. I just wanted so badly to live a normal life, and I never got the help I so badly needed, but you see the alternative would be so much worse, do you really think if you came out and revealed our secret, they would help me?, no angel they wouldn’t they would put me away and things would never change, it is better this way and I promise, after you I will never do this to anyone else again.”

That was the last thing this fearful father had to say to his daughter before pushing down her drugged up body into the full bathtub, the image of her father becoming more and more distorted the further down she was being pushed. She could feel the back of her head hit the bottom of the bathtub, the wavering image before now turning dark, and fast. She finally feels the water seeping into her and her eyesight slowly coming to an end, she closes her eyelids, hoping the process will speed up. She started to think that her father wanted the same, or else he wouldn’t have drugged up a 6-year-old girl, it wasn’t like she was a match for him anyhow.

Very faintly, before slipping into the unconscious, she hears a booming sound.

It must be my brain exploding. She thinks to herself, she isn’t quite sure what is supposed to happen before death but she could think of nothing else.

The last thing she feels is her father’s hands letting her go abruptly. Her head jerking then slowly floating with the rest of her body, and then darkness swallows her up.

One, two, three…One, two, three…

Come on sweetheart, you can do it, come on and breath

One, two, three

-Oh, my God, is going to be alright

-I’m trying ma’am, I’m trying

One, two, three

-I can’t believe he did this to her, I always thought he was a good father

-One, two, three breath sweetheart breath

One, two, three

Water erupted from the little girl’s mouth, it got on the paramedic that was resuscitating her as well as a weeping elderly woman next to the young paramedic.

“Oh, thank the heavens”

The paramedic stared at the child in astonishment, his face pale and sickly looking, he may have been a rookie, there was no way to tell for sure, but judging by his heavy sighs of relief and scared expression, having a little girl almost die in front of you wasn’t a common thing for him. The little girl widens her eyes, she still couldn’t move very much and it was very, very painful to breath, loud chattering and yelling surrounds her tiny ears, it feels like chaos in her house. The elderly woman places a hand on her wet head but it only serves to shock her and she flinches. Two other paramedics lift the tiny body up on a stretcher and from the stretcher she sees a better view of the room.

There are policeman everywhere in the house, some are searching the rooms, and others are shaking their heads with some sort of notepad in their hands, interviewing what the little girl recognizes to be neighbors. The elderly woman who placed her hand on her head is by her side, rubbing her arm. She smiles with tears constantly flowing from her eyes.

“Desiree, dear are you alright”

The little girl cannot speak and so she nods her head faintly, her eyes roll around the room, searching for the one who almost drowned, searching for her father, but she does not see him, instead she hears him, screaming.

“You don’t understand, she would have ruined me, you don’t understand”

Her father is screaming from the floor in her living room. His desperate pleas go unheard and the police officer arresting him swings him up to stance and pushes him hard toward the door.

“Please you don’t understand” The father screams one more time.

The elderly woman next to the little girl turns red with anger and stomps towards the father, no police officer stops her and she delivers a hard slap to the arrested drunken man.

“Jonathan Banks you monster, you should rot in hell for what you did to your own daughter, you will rot in hell I tell you”

The elderly woman’s thick Irish accent penetrates the room, the father, Jonathan Banks, could hardly stand up, his head hangs down low, he does not speak, in fact he hardly reacts as the officers drag him outside the suburban home.    The rest of the paramedics come in and take the little girl, Desiree, out as well and into the ambulance.

One of the police officers go up to the elderly woman.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name Ma’am”

“My name is Gwyneth O’Dell”

The elderly woman somberly replies, she fixes her glasses revealing her tear stained face to the officer, who then offers her a tissue which she refuses.

“Well, Mrs. O’Dell do you know where the girl’s mother is”

“I believe she in the hospital, sick, Oh God someone has to call her”

Mrs. O’Dell rushes to the nearby telephone on the wall but the officer stops her in her frantic tracks.

“It’s alright we will send some officers over to hospital to tell her, it will be better that way”

Mrs. O’Dell agrees and walks past her other neighbors, who are just as perplexed as she is. One of the neighbors, Mr. Greenwood a middle-aged man who lived across the street from the Banks residence stops her.

“Greta what happened”

Mrs. O’Dell rubs her head and starts to cry, Mr. Greenwood holds her and consoles the sadden woman.

“I was walking home from my community church meeting, when I got home I had a message on my answering machine, it was Cristina Banks, she was still in the hospital she wanted to know if I could check up on Mr. Banks and the little one, apparently, she was trying to call the home to no answer for about 2 hours and was worried. As I walk to the front porch I hear screams coming from the inside, I walk up and look through the crack of the window I see him carrying her, but she looked as if she was falling asleep, but a second ago I heard her screaming, I walk to the door and knock on it, it seems like he takes ages to answer but when he does, he’s drunk and it looked as if he had been crying, I just knew that he had done something too that girl, just knew it and so I tell him that I was sorry to bother him and I just wanted to let him know his wife wanted him to call the hospital, he tells me okay and shuts the door. I wait a couple of seconds after he closes the door and I walk to the other side of the house, I try to peak to through another window and I see him carrying Desire to their bathroom, and I knew it was the bathroom because I have been in that home before, the child was still sleeping, why would he bring her to the bathroom, I knew he was about to do harm to her and so I rushed back to my house and called the police”

Mrs. O’Dell lets go of Mr. Greenwood and goes back to the same officer who was questioning her, he is one of the few officers who has not left yet.

“Excuse me but is there anyway I can go in the ambulance with her”

The officer leads Mrs. O’Dell to the ambulance and escorts her inside.    She strokes the side of Desiree’s clammy face and touches the tubes connected to her mouth and sees that it leads to a machine. The Officer who escorted, climbs in the ambulance with her. The paramedic who resuscitated Desiree is also in there.

“That will be it boys”

The officer motions for the ambulance doors to be closed, in a couple of seconds the van starts to move. Desiree feels the motion slightly and is frightened, she can see Mrs. O’Dell, the officer, and the paramedic who saved her, all talking over, all seemingly distressed.

“Mrs. O’Dell let me just introduce myself again, I am Officer Deeds and I want to thank you for calling this in and all the information you’ve provided concerning young Desiree and the incident”

Officer Deeds takes out his hand and softly shakes Mrs. O’Dell’s. She gives a firm handshake in return.

Her exterior seemed tough, even if she was just an elderly woman, her personality was anything but fragile, from the way she gripped the officer’s hand, to the way she scolded and belittled Jonathan Banks, Greta O’Dell was a tough cookie, Desiree smiled as she saw the shamrock bracelet jingle from Mrs. O’Dell’s wrist. She couldn’t bring herself to say anything because it hurt too much to even breathe, but she wanted so desperately to thank her for helping her. When she thought, no one would.

“No need to thank me, I thank you both for saving her life”

The young paramedic blushes, he looks at Desiree with great concern in his eyes. Then he looks up at Officer Deeds and Mrs. O’Dell.

“What exactly happened to her father, did he just go crazy”

Officer Deeds shook his head.

“No motive yet”

“What motive can there be, the man tried to kill his daughter, no excuse in the world could be given, he is the devil”

Mrs. O’Dell’s yells, she shakes her fist at the officer, who gently presses it down.

“I understand Ma’am and you’re right, but we may need to wait until we get to the station to further discuss this”

Officer Deeds points at Desiree, and she realizes her eyes are completely open. Mrs. O’Dell and the paramedic steer their heads Desiree’s way. Desiree can feel Mrs. O’Dell’s hand grip hers, and she could see the tears welling up behind her thick framed glasses, and though she desperately wants to, Desiree cannot squeeze her hand back, she blinks in conjunction with her painfully slow breathes, she can feel her eyelids getting heavier and heavier by the moment.

As she is lying in the stretcher, Desiree replays in her mind the way her father looked when he came to her bedside, and handed her the warm milk with an unexpected ingredient, the face he wore as she drank it, the smile he gave her. It wasn’t unusual for Jonathan Banks to have looked so relaxed, she couldn’t have known anything was or could be wrong. But his facial expression did not change, even has she felt the feeling in her feet and then legs start to go away, even as she shrieked and tugged at his shirt as he lifted her slightly limp body out her bed. It was like he was just taking out the trash, he gave no warning, he gave no sign of disturbance or expressed that he was mad, nothing that he was doing seemed to trouble him.

Even as he dropped her into the cool water, knowing that her eyes were still open, knowing that she was completely numb by know and could not struggle, even as the water began to rise, she could still see that no worrisome look came from him, even as she stared at every sweating pore in his face to the image becoming distorted and rippled, she could still sense no remorse, no regret coming from him. Her father felt nothing. Desiree could feel the tears streaming down the sides of her face, coming to the realization that to her father, it was just as simple as taking out the garbage.

The more the she recalled her attempted drowning in her head, the heavier her eyelids drooped and her breathing felt paced. She felt release from this world was to be soon. Her vision was getting blurry again, gradually she doesn’t see Mrs. O’Dell or the paramedic or the Officer, the smell of her wet clothes, the officer’s cigarette breath and Mrs. O’Dell’s strong Elizabeth Taylor perfume is getting faint and the ambulance is getting darker and darker. She closes her eyes for a final time and the last thing she feels is her stretcher being lifted and carried out, the motion of someone frantically pushing it through heavy doors, a quick flash of her father’s calm composure with his hands around her neck, pushing her down to the bottom of the tub, and then nothing.

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