Robins Family- 07:42 A.M.

Sofia got on the highway that was 3 miles from Emmanual’s school– she worked 10 miles from his school and 8 miles from their home– her shift starts at 8 A.M but as usual, highway 9 was backed up. She was only able to make it a mile and half down the highway after entering. She tapped her finger on her leg, in absolute disbelief of her morning. She turned the radio up to ease her nerves. The song she was singing that morning came on and her mood began to lift as she sang along.


Havana, ooh na-na

Half of my heart is in Havana, ooh-na-na”

Sofia got so into the song that she didn’t see the object soaring down from the sky miles in front of her car. The sound was loud and hollow as it came crashing down. Her head yanked up when she heard the loud bang. Cars, concrete, and body parts went flying everywhere. A huge block of concrete came soaring towards the window of her car, and instinctively she ducked her head down.

“A bomb! A BOMB!”

Her head was spinning, ears ringing, as she struggled to regain consciousness. She heard people yelling, crying, and screaming– “we’re being attacked.” She lifted her hand to feel what was dripping down her face and began panicking when she saw red on her fingers. Her pupils widened and she began to hyperventilate. The blood wasn’t hers– it came from a body that landed on her car. It was ripped apart by the concrete that tore the hood of her car off. She yanked on her seatbelt, struggling to get it unlatched. After failed attempts, she pulled herself from under the seatbelt, climbed out of the place where the hood of her car was supposed to be and began running towards the opposite direction of the explosion.

While running, her eyes darted around seeing the bodies laid over all the cars. In the distance, there were gunshots ringing and helicopters circling the sky. Sofia heard none of it, as the only thing that was on her mind was Emmanual. Running towards the direction he was at, she passed a car that was still intact. The driver was gone but there was music playing loudly from the car still…


Havana, ooh na-na

Half of my heart is in Havana, ooh-na-na

He took me back to East Atlanta, na-na-na.”

Robins Family- 07:00 A.M.

“Emmanual let’s go before you’re late to school”

Emmanual came running to the front door. “I’m ready.”

“Do you have everything?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Okay, let’s go.”

They headed out the front door to the driveway. Sofia opened the passenger side, back door and Emmanuel bounced inside the car. Sofia trotted to the driverside, backing out the driveway after settling in.

It was still dark out, but you could see the sun trying to making its way over the horizon. The roads were surprisingly clear and were hollow. Not a single person was on the road, but Sofia paid no mind to it as she was distracted by a conversation with her son. They were discussing his science project. Emmanual spent all night coloring and gluing together his ocean replica– his project was a model of a seafloor spreading using oats. He was beyond excited about the project because his favorite food was oatmeal and he loved the ocean.

By the time they reached the school, he finished explaining to Sofia how the ocean floor expands. Sofia put the car in park after stopping in front of the school. Emmanual unbuckled his seatbelt, bent into the front of the car and kissed his mom on the cheek. After collecting his bookbag and science project, Emmanual ran into the school. Sofia’s face beamed at the sight of her son, then drove away from the school.

Robins Family- 6:45 A.M.

She went to the restroom, pulled her pants down, and sat while humming the song “Havana” by Camilla Cabello—


Havana, ooh na-na

Half of my heart is in Havana, ooh-na-na

He took me back to East Atlanta, na-na-na”

She heard it playing two days prior to the news broadcaster announcing the third government shut down.

“Mommy, can I have some cap’n crunch before school?” yelled Emmanuel Robins.

“Yes baby boy, Is your daddy up?”

“No, he’s still sleeping.”

“Okay, here I come.”

Sofia cleaned herself up, and in the middle of pulling her pants up, the light flickered on and off three times. Her hand stretched to the lever, pushing it down to flush it and the light flickered off the fourth time but didn’t flicker back on.

“Ay-yai-yai, he forgot to pay this bill again.” She became furious but internalized it.


“It’s okay baby, here I come.”

She took a moment to curse and pant to herself but had no choice to pull herself together before going to the kitchen with her son.

I mean, how was she going to explain to her 7-year-old son why the lights were off again? It’s a parents job to provide for their child and she felt her and her husband was doing poorly at it compared to the other parents at the school. Her husband and she enrolled their son in the best private school in the city. Sofia didn’t want Emmanuel to attend the school in the crappy neighborhood they live in, though in moments like these, she regrets putting all of their money into a private school.

Nether-less she tucked away her regrets and frustrations and waltzed into the kitchen to her baby boy.

“Why are the lights not working?”

Smiling while pouring cereal. “Oh, they’ll be back on when you get home from school sweetie. Daddy just forgot to pay the people.”

“Why’d he forget?”

“Well because he works really hard to take care of you and me, so he forgot because he was so sleepy.”

“Oh okay.”

Emmanuel stopped with the questions and cheerfully ate his cereal.

Seeing her son happy despite the darkness, lightened up her mood but she still had it set in her mind to go fuss at Malik. When she went into the bedroom, he was spread out over the bed, snoring ferociously. Though she was eager to let him know how upset she was with him over the lights being off again, her anger dispersed— she couldn’t be upset with a man who’s working tirelessly to keep things afloat.

She found a smile on her face, backed out of the room and closed the bedroom door.