It wasn’t even an hour after the phone call before a black SUV rolled up to the apartment complex. It was hazy at this time, the fog making the SUV look rather… suspicious. People watched through the windows as two men, who were also dressed in all black walked into the apartment building. People peeked out from their doors, watching the men in suits walk up stairs and down halls.
The knock on the apartment door was unheard of to Dana, but the knock on her bedroom by her grandmother made her jump. Her grandmother poked her head in, her eyes somehow looking sorrowful, as if she wasn’t just shaming her granddaughter mere hours ago.
“There are some men here to see you. They’re in the living room waiting for you.”
Dana nodded and grabbed her duffel bag and suitcase, looking around the room she had lived in for 5 years before shutting off the light and walking out.
Then men were talking quietly to each other, enjoying a small cup of water that was given to them by her grandmother. The stood when Dana walked into the room, smiling at her.
“Good evening,” one said, bowing to her.
“Shall I take your things?” the other one asked, making his way to her.
“Uh… Sure,” she said, handing over her suitcase. She kept her duffel on her person.
The men headed out, with Dana almost right behind them.
“Wait!” Her grandmother called out. The men were already out the door, but Dana stopped and turned to her. Dana’s face looked unbothered.
Her grandmother wrung her hands together, staring at the floor.
“I… I’m sorry.”
Dana smiled, before turning away.
“A little too late for that,” she said, closing the apartment door.
She sat in the back of the SUV, staring out the window. It started to rain, the haze turning into a thick fog. The man sitting in the passenger’s seat, a black man with a lochawk, glanced back at her.
“So, this school you go to–”
“What about it?”
“How do the credits transfer over from other schools? My husband is thinking about going back to finish his double Master’s in childcare and child psychology, but North’s university doesn’t have one of the classes he needs?”
“Damn, a double Master’s? How long has he been going to school?”
“Oh, about 20 years now. His mother was a doula, so he’s been very interested in making sure children are mentally and emotionally are okay.”
“And North doesn’t have one of the classes he’s looking for???”
“That’s what I said! So, he’s going to have to go to Heiwa and stay there for another 3 years, again, so that he can come back and teach that class.”
Dana stared at the man in awe.
“Your husband must be a very smart man.”
The man smiled and laughed.
“He is. Which means he’s stubborn. He’s had to work so hard. His father was an Asian man. He loved Dary but he had died in an accident. Dary doesn’t think it was, though. He’s lived in North a good chunk of his life and now the people there are starting to… What’s the word I want to say…”
“Like him?” the driver said, who was Asian.
“…Yeah, I just didn’t want to-”
“Zee, I keep telling you, I know what you’re talking about and I’m doing my best to shut that shit down. You and Dary saw what happened at dinner the other day.”
“But, yes, they are starting to like him now. He teaches black doulas how to spot signs in children for abuse and neglect, how to handle children who aren’t verbal. The doulas then go out and do their thing ya know. And the doulas who help the Asian women are referred to and they take his teachings onto them. It’s really neat to watch him. He says he doesn’t help male doulas because they’ll “sully the art of child rearing” as he says.”
Dana nodded and smiled.
“I’m glad he’s doing big things.”
“Me, too and I feel like such a bum compared to him.”
The driver playfully punched Zee.
“He told you you don’t have to work.”
Dana tuned out of their conversation, staring into her phone. She was typing at light speed in a group chat.
“omw to this beta testing. imma let yall know how it goes”
“Chiiiile, I heard that people don’t come outta that place.”
“yes! they still ain’t find that one lady.”
“Her name is Yetunde.”
“That’s so pretty. I hope they find her.”
“WHO IS THIS NIGGA TYPING?!”
“oh my fault, y’all.”
Dana had fall asleep in the backseat when the SUV had finally stopped. Zee had shaken her awake. She groaned and slowly got out. She held her hand to her face, a bright light shining directly at her.
“Yo, turn that shit off,” she groaned, but Zee ushered her into a building, where the lights were dim. The low lights on the floor lead to an elevator. As they moved up the floors, Dana kept dozing off. When she finally woke up, she was laying in a bed a size that was too big for just her in a room that was the color of a late sunset on the beach. She stared around the room, noticing a desk with a card on it. She pushed the blankets off of her and slowly made her way to the desk. She reached for the card.
Good morning, Dana.
Dr. Dekinai will be seeing you at 1:45 PM. Please be on time.