He grabbed us both by hands and dragged us back to our apartment. It had to be close to two in the morning by then. That didn’t stop Julio from pounding on the door hard. When Dad answered he had such confusion and anger on his face.
“I found them down in the laundry room after it was locked. I thought I should make sure they got home safe.” Julio lied, but why? He also spoke in a way that seemed warm and friendly. Dad seemed to like him. To this day, I have no idea why. Eventually, Julio became a trusted person by our parents. So, when he offered us jobs helping him in his junk dealing business, and to our amazement, Mom and Dad agreed to let us work for him.
In that job, we learned a lot about running a basic business. Setting up meetings, showing people around our mini-warehouse, accepting money from customers, and even general book keeping. And Jill? Jill was hooked on the junk. She’d always ask about what all this stuff was. He told us, but we’d never heard of the stuff before or after that job. I can’t even tell you what one of those pieces of junk were called. I mean, it was twelve years ago. But that junk got Jill interested in technology. Not just computers, cars, too. When she got older she started teaching herself about car engines and learning about the software that controlled modern cars. She said she got started with an online video. Eventually, she went to college after getting a scholarship. She didn’t finish because she started getting job offers halfway through. She took one with a government contractor and shortly after that, stopped replying to our emails. It’s been over five years since we’ve seen or heard from her. She missed Dad’s funeral completely. She missed Mom’s sixtieth birthday completely. She missed my college graduation (I also got a scholarship) and every Christmas since 2005, I think.
Now that I think about it, it was that job working for Uncle Julio that eventually drove her away from us.
I wish I knew where she was. I wish I knew that she was OK. She must be OK.