Latasha got home and heard all about John and Leah’s adventure. Her mama could not stop hugging them all, and even Leon said he was glad everyone was safe and sound. James, of course was in basic training in another state. Darren was missing.
After the incident in the parking garage, Darren spent twenty-four hours in jail before he was bonded out. He disappeared immediately, and no one knew if he was alive or dead. There were rumors in the family that he went to New Orleans and was hiding with relatives there, but there was no confirmation of that.
This was the first time Latasha thought about Darren in a while, and that brought the whole incident back, and she wondered. Whatever happened to Carlos and his two thugs? It occurred to her that Carlos was one, and maybe the only one in her life who had a grudge against her. Lisa had said plainly that Principal Wearing was not the intended victim of the bomb, despite what he thought. That bomb was not the work of some disgruntled high school student. It was a professional work, and if it had been a little stronger, that whole end of the school would have collapsed.
Latasha called Detective Lisa the first chance she got and mouthed her suspicions. Lisa said she would check into it, and that was all she could expect for the moment.
Latasha came downstairs in her robe and slippers when Keisha and Janet came by after school. Walking was hard, but not as painful as it had been. Lisa said she should heal quickly and as deep as some of those splinters went, she should start to feel like herself after only a day or two. She could not wait. For the first time in her life, she was concerned about missing school. She really wanted to keep up in her classes. She really wanted to do something with her life, something more than just having a bunch of kids.
Latasha looked at her mama while the woman puttered around in the kitchen and she wondered what her mama might have done with her life if she did not have Leon at such a young age. She asked, and Mama stopped to eye Latasha and her friends.
“I honestly don’t know, sweetheart. My only dream when I was sixteen was to have a baby and be a mama. I am glad I had that dream.”
“But didn’t you have any goals for your life?” Latasha had to ask.
Mama shook her head. “Honey, I was always told there was no point in having those kind of dreams because a black person could never make it in a white world. I don’t know. Maybe it was true back then, but you and James have shown me that it might not be true now. Have I ever told you how proud I am of you?” She hugged Latasha and went upstairs to check on the little ones before Latasha could ask any more questions. Latasha turned to her friends.
“Me?” Keisha was on the spot. “Maybe a nurse. Nursing would be a good thing.”
“I thought you couldn’t stand the sight of blood,” Janet interjected.
“My blood,” Keisha explained. “I don’t mind other people’s blood.” And they looked at Janet.
“Well, when I grow up, I want to be grown up.” That was all they could get out of her.