| Ashes introduces Tom and I to her father, Chuck Lincoln. Ashes father says we can call him Chuck instead of Mr. Lincoln. Chuck is about six feet two inches in height and well built. Chuck has black hair that is cut military school and he has green eyes. Ashes seems to be very proud of her father. We all climb into Chuck’s rental car. Ashes and Tom sit in the backseat and I sit up front with Chuck. We drive down to the boardwalk and park in the large parking lot.
We enter Mermaids and we are seated at a window seat overlooking the beach. We order our drinks and look over the menus. When the waitress returns we place our orders and she disappears. Ashes and Tom discuss school as Chuck and I chat away. I find out that he is an emergency room doctor at the famous Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas. I say that I am an EMT and I worked for Boston EMS. Tom and Ashes just roll their eyes as Chuck and I talk about the medical field.
Then the subject of our parents come up again.
Chuck wonders where our parents are and I say, “They are back in South Boston.”
Chuck asks, “So you both are out here by yourselves?”
I say, “Yes.”
Chuck asks, “Where did you get that gash above your right eye?”
Shit, I forgot about that, and I honestly say, “We aren’t out here on vacation.”
Chuck asks, “Why are you here?”
I reply, “Victor, our father, is an extremely violent man. I got into a fight with him.”
Chuck asks, “You mean he abuses you and your brother?”
I reply, “Yes.”
Chuck replies, “I’m really sorry about that.”
I say, “Please don’t say anything. We escaped the abuse and we are never returning to that situation.”
Chuck asks, “Have you ever been treated at the emergency room?”
Tom pipes up, “Many times.”
Chuck asks, “And they didn’t do anything for you?”
I reply, “The doctors would call the Department of Child Welfare but they couldn’t do much more than that.”
Chuck asks, “What did the DCW do for you guys?”
I reply, “Absolutely nothing.”
Chuck asks, “You’re kidding right?”
Tom says, “We think Victor and Gwen were bribing them with drugs or money or both.”
I add, “They closed our case back in March.”
Chuck asks, “What was the reasoning for closing your case?”
I say, “If I remember correctly they stated that there was no obvious signs of abuse and that was it.”
Chuck says, “I am so sorry guys. How long was the DCW involved in your lives?”
Tom says, “About five or six years.”
I say, “I think it was closer to six years.”
Chuck asks, “How did it make you feel when you read that your case had been closed?”
I say, “Depressed. It was like nobody was trying to help us and then I got angry.”
Tom says, “I was just depressed.”
Chuck says, “That sounds normal.”
Dinner arrives and the portions are huge. As we eat we talk about what there is to do around Brant. Tom says we are taking a few days off just to relax by the pool for our drive across country took a lot out of us. Chuck asks if we took any breaks and Tom says no we did not take any breaks. Chuck says that is why we are so tired and he also says we deserve a break after all we have been through.
After we finish dinner and we split the bill we walk along the beach for a while. Tom and Ashes walk ahead of Chuck and I. Tom is cute, he reaches out and takes Ashes hand, but this act also concerns me. I do not want him getting to attached for I know his heart will break when Ashes leaves. But Ashes takes Tom’s hand and they walk hand in hand. I glance up at Chuck to see if this concerns him but it does not seem to so I let it go.