May 21 had been marked off on my mental calendar for almost three months. I always knew I was getting my daughter back so I was never worried about that. After all that I’d been through since between the pregnancy, cancer, and moving around; this chapter could finally close and Timile could rest in peace. I didn’t want to go back to Virginia nor could I wait to get on the bus to finally be done with all of this unnecessary drama.
I left for Virginia the night of the 2oth. Greyhound messed up royally stating that my bus was leaving for Hapmton from 34th and 8th in Manhattan. After waiting around for three hours and a phone call to my lawyer telling him I may not make it to court due to my bus I called up Greyhound and they told me that the bus was leaving from the Port Authority Bus Terminal which was a train stop away. Not wanting to risk missing the last bus waiting for the train, I walked the eight blocks. When I got there, all I could think about was May 2007, when I met Timile there because she took the bus from Hampton to New York. I still think about that every time I’m at the Port Authority. I didn’t sleep the whole eight hours. I was up thinking about my last two years: moving from Atlanta, to New York, to Buffalo, to Virginia, back to New York all in fourteen months; the nights on that couch in our quiet apartment in Newport News that Timile never saw and everything. I didn’t go over my plans for court because I didn’t feel like I needed to.
I got in around 6 AM. One of Timile’s best friends and her boyfriend picked me up. I stayed at her boyfriend’s house until it was time to go to court a few hours later. For once, I actually had a suit with me so I ironed my suit and got ready. While doing so, we all talked about how things had been going, reflected on Timile a little bit, and then we left.
When I got to the courthouse, only Timile’s father was there. As opposed to the arrogant and smug demeanor he had before, he said hello and asked how Cydney was doing. I responded by saying “She’s fine. She’s talking,” and kept it moving. When we got in front of the judge, Timile’s parents and lawyer had dropped their request for custody because they could and would have never won that. The rest of the hearing was a negotiation in which I cannot go into detail about just yet. We were in front of the judge for about a half hour and that was it. I was able to walk out of court knowing that this was over. No more judges, lawyers, or court.
When I rode back to where I was staying we talked about all that went on in court and right as I was dropped back off at the bus station, we said goodbye. They said they understood me not wanting to come back to Virginia for a long time if not at all. That they were right about. I hated Hampton, Virginia. I liked it as a place, but only once had I been there and it not be some drama so I was more than okay with the idea of not coming back. I still hate the idea of setting foot in Virginia. When I’m visiting friends in the DC Metro area, I get uncomfortable about going to Fairfax county and seeing the signs that say “Welcome To Virginia.” One day, I will return with Cydney. At this point in life, the only reason to do so is to finally visit Timile’s grave site and to eat at Tommy’s on Mercury Boulevard.
When the bus pulled out, I took pictures of Hampton Colosseum and in my head I said goodbye to Timile because her body rests there. I wasn’t just saying goodbye to Hampton, though. I really was saying goodbye to Timile coming to grips with her being gone and beginning to move on with Cydney and my life. I thought about how I would continue to raise her how we had planned and in my mind said “I will do right by her and you.”
By midnight, I was back in New York. It was figuratively and literally a new day. It was May 22; six months has passed since I turned twenty-six and felt like it was an appropriate turning point for the second half of my year. A year later, I have transformed a lot. I am still doing my best with Cydney. I have accepted being single, began to date again not just to do so but if it came up, really able to have feelings for someone else and all. And I began telling my story to you guys out there which has been both cathartic and solidified my purpose in helping others along the way. While some things are up in the air, the one thing that I began to have since leaving Virginia that last time was peace.