Thursday, January 6, 2011
If you're new to my site or this story you need to begin with part one to catch up. You'll be hooked!
|Port Isabel, Texas. Our house is marked by the red pin.|
The kids and I were generally on our own. Karli and I would put chubby baby Cole in his stroller and take long walks exploring all corners of this little South Texas vacation destination, Port Isabel. There were lagoons and state parks, colorful corner markets and a “festive” cemetery. The people we met were friendly and helpful and there were children everywhere. "The perfect place for my kids" I thought.
We began to make friends and the kids would play for hours in the street with the neighbor children. Karli's 4th birthday was nearing so we planned a big party. We hand made the invitations and took them to all the children on the block. We threw ourselves into planning the party.
The large backyard of our home would be the perfect place for a children's party. I hadn't been out there since Eric helped us move in. Although I didn't really put any stock in what he had to say about the guest house, I stayed away from it just in case. I cut the overgrown grass and took the weed eater to trim around the house and the guest house. We picked up the fallen fruit and found a great place for a piñata. As the day of the party neared we still had not heard back from anyone we’d invited.
We went to the children's homes one by one to make sure they received the invitations and to get a head count of those that would be attending. The first home we came to was a little orange stucco house. The door behind the screen door was open and we could smell the heavenly scent of that evening's dinner being prepared. We knocked on the purple screen door frame and were greeted by the grandmother.
Her little round face showed signs of nervousness as she saw us. We asked her about the party and I sensed the anxiety in her voice when she politely declined. "The children had plans" she told us. She smiled politely but in her eyes there was fear. She backed away from the screen door, closed the wooden one and locked it.
At the next two houses we had the same experience. I wasn't sure what was happening except that there wouldn't be any children at Karli's party besides my own. With our invitations declined we took Karli to dinner to celebrate her day.
Our wedding anniversary was the same week as Karli's birthday. Ed and I had planned dinner at a cute little place on the beach to be followed by a night of dancing. We had been making calls to girls that his co-workers had suggested for babysitters. One by one we were turned down as soon as they learned where we lived. This was beginning to get a little strange. I know that we were the new people in this close-knit, small town, but this was weird.
Finally we found a girl that said yes. We asked her to be at the house at 7 the following evening. 7 came and went with no girl and no phone call. Finally around 7:45 there was a knock at the door. The girl was finally there. She was a beautiful girl, about 21. She was Mexican with huge brown eyes framed by thick, dark lashes. Her hair was long, black and shiny. She had it pulled back with a bow. She seemed very shy.
She listened intently as we explained about our children, their bedtimes and where we would be. When we were finished she asked us a unsettling question.
"Is this a scary house?"
"What?" I asked her trying to understand what she was talking about.
"You mean you don't know what happened here?"