The next few days are a blur of work and talking on the phone with Lyle and Paris. Despite what he said, Paris is grateful that Lyle made the trip to Memphis, even if it means Lyle staying at a nearby Holiday Inn. Mr. and Mrs. Jenson refuse to allow Lyle to stay in their house which pisses Paris off no end. Lyle is the one who calmed Paris down, making him see that it wasn’t the time nor the place for a hissy-fit. The funeral is set for Wednesday. It will be a quiet, family affair, and there is a battle raging on whether Lyle will be allowed to attend or not. Paris has already threatened not to go if Lyle is barred from the proceedings. Half of me is glad that I escaped the drama while the other half is sorry that I can’t be there to support Paris and Lyle. When I’m not on the phone with them, I’m worried about them. For all the good I’m doing the agency where I work, I might as well have made the trip South.
Tuesday, I’m keyed up for group. I don’t want to be the cops’ spy, but I don’t have much choice. I drink cup after cup of coffee at work to get through the day after a terrible night of not sleeping. It discourages me that I am regressing back into the land of nightmares after I thought I had put it behind me forever. I have four nightmares Monday night, each scary enough to wake me with a pounding heart and dry mouth. It takes a half hour to fall back asleep after each one. Needless to say, when the alarm finally rings in the morning, I don’t greet the day with enthusiasm. In fact, I seriously consider skipping work, but as I said, my cred at the agency has maxed out.
“Hello, everyone.” Carol is smiling her usual smile, but it’s frayed around the edges. Even she is finding it difficult to keep up her soothing therapy voice in the midst of the drama that is our group. “I hope you’ve all had a restful week.” The group members are stealing looks at each other, but no one is saying anything. Carol has her ubiquitous notebook out, which doesn’t help the confidences flow. Carol sighs but tries again like a good facilitator. “I think we need to clear the air before we can get back to what this group is really about. Who wants to talk about what’s on her mind?”
“I will,” Sharise says, thrusting her chin out defiantly. “It be hard to think about what we here for what with all this murder business going on. I come here thinking, ‘Am I going to be next?’ I be looking over my shoulder all the time, waiting to get KO’d, you know what I’m saying? I’m thinking this be my last time here.” She sits back, folding her arms across her chest.
“Ok, Sharise. I’m glad you’re being open. That’s what the group is for, after all.” Carol nods encouragingly. “I’d like to remind you that you were against shutting down the group last week. What changed your mind?”