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“Now, you understand,” Lonnie cautioned, “this is just information. I got no details with this here report.” He pulled out the papers and laid them on the table, slowly pushing them toward Alva with his index finger.

She looked at Lonnie’s eyes, trying to read something there, trying to get a clue about how he thought she was going to feel when she saw what he had found. She looked from Lonnie to Raoul, who was standing straight as a rod by her side, holding the coffee pot in one hand and with the other stroking his jaw along the side, not knowing what to say or do in this situation.

Finally Alva said, “I don’t want to read about my boy in no report. You tell me. Tell me whatchoo found out.” She pushed the papers back at Lonnie without taking her eyes off him.

He sighed. It had been a long day. He’d only gotten the final facts the day before and he’d spent Thanksgiving day writing them up so he could give them to her and be finished. He was thinking about a bottle of scotch he had stashed in his kitchen cupboard. That’s what he had planned on doing tonight. Yet, even though he had been living for himself alone all these years, he had a feeling for Alva. It wasn’t the usual peek and poke he was usually hired by divorce lawyers to do.

“All right,” he said. “Here’s what I got. Your boy’s been living right here in Brooklyn almost ever since you give him up. And he still lives here. Not far neither. He’s married and he’s got three kids. Two boys and a girl. She’s the oldest. His wife’s a teacher. He’s a firefighter with the city. Well, with the Borough of Brooklyn, anyways. From everything I could get, seems like he’s a good guy and nothing outstanding on him. Got a mortgage and some credit card debt but nothing to get worked up over. Lives in a nice house on a nice block. Kids go to school. All go to church. Just a family guy. That’s all.”

Alva stopped listening when she heard he had been in Brooklyn all these long years. Her mind was racing. She started shaking all over, her hands fluttering and her chest heaving. She felt she couldn’t catch her breath and she started to slide out of the booth but she was so overcome she couldn’t make her legs move.

“Alva, you got to calm down, girl,” Raoul said, leaning over her, patting her back to get her attention.

“No,” she said. “No lemme outta here. I got to think. I got to go. I got to … ”

Raoul took her arm and helped her out of the booth. She went towards the door, as if in a daze of some kind, as if she had been struck and her mind was stumbling. Raoul followed and grabbed her arm. He led her back to the booth and gently but firmly pushed her to sit down again.

“Calm down, lady,” he said to her. “It’ll be all right. You ain’t in no danger. He’s fine. Your boy is fine. That’s good news. Very good news.”

Alva Part 2, Episode Seventeen

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