Here’s the next story, based loosely on some news I heard on the radio last week.
By Laura McHale Holland
Myrna sits on the steps of an abandoned library building across from the police station. Crime fighters amble in and out, their badges, guns and clubs properly affixed. They laugh, slap each other on the back, sip coffee. Myrna stares. They do not look her way.
If she weren’t a mother, she’d go on a hunger strike, but she can’t put her children at risk; she’s the only parent they have now. So she sits on the cracked stairs and waits while her twins tumble and climb the morning away in preschool.
It’s been six weeks since her husband, Edward Sanchez, was killed at home, right at their front door. She and the twins were at the park just minutes away when it happened. She remembers the glow of the sun on her children’s skin as she pushed them in the swings, the perfection of their little feet pattering through the sand after they jumped out and wiggled to the wading pool. Then later, all the blood just inside their front door and Edward in an ambulance unconscious, and the muscled arms that held her back, the voices that said she could not ride with him. And her babies crying.
This time last year Edward was in Iraq. Only two months ago he’d passed the exam to become a fire fighter, passed with flying colors, a battalion chief who lived nearby had told him.
The officers who shot him swear Edward brandished a gun when he opened the door. They say he cocked it and refused to put it down. Myrna knows he had no gun. Edward was through with war, through with violence of any kind.
Meanwhile, another Edward Sanchez counts his money in a different part of town. He runs a gang with crews selling drugs in all the nearby communities. A lawyer who might take up Myrna’s cause says the officers paid a visit on the wrong Edward Sanchez. The police aren’t talking. They haven’t even released Edward’s body.
So Myrna waits on the steps, because right now, that’s all she can do.