It had only been another month or so before after that when the fateful day had come. We miraculously had made it back to our secret spot and had let ourselves recover physically and emotionally from the last shooting. Mama had a limp now that made it almost impossible for her to run if she needed too.
Mama and Daddy had been planning on driving back to Texas to visit their folks, but it seemed like Daddy wasn't wanting too. I had been kept a secret from even my parent's folks, normally staying with W.D. when they visited. Daddy claimed it to be "too much of a risk" for me to come along. But I think they knew if my grandparents knew of me, they would want to take me away from my parents.
Knowing then, I cried at the possibility of being separated from my parents. Knowing now, it would have been in my best interest if I had been set with my grandparents or aunts and uncles from the get go. Being a kid, life on the run was all I knew. Endless hours in the car, people getting shot, and stealing was the way of life. Cops were bad, other people were bad. But it was the way it was, and I was supplied with not only the necessities and a caseload of luxury at times, but an abundance of love from both my parents.
But things seemed different now. Daddy was angry a lot, and him and Mama fought it seemed every night. Sometimes my name was thrown into the mix, but I didn't understand why. W.D and a few guys came by and I was glad to have more support in the house, but even they were in and out.
The day before Mama was set to leave for Texas, she was in the tub. I was out walking the area with Daddy and checking our animal traps. Once we made it back to the house, I walked up the stairs to find Mama. We had caught a hare in one of the traps, and Daddy, who was the main cook of the house, was making a stew.
I entered shyly, knowing she was bathing.
"Hey Mama...we got a hare! Daddy is gonna make us a stew for dinner…"
She smiled sweetly at me and outreached her arm towards me. I made a crooked smile and walked towards her, letting her hand tousle my hair. As I tried to explain what I saw and what we did, Mama would "hmm" and nod accordingly as she unbutton and unlaced my dress. I finally grimaced and attempted to pull away from her, but she was as stubborn as I was.
Let me add, that I hate baths. Even more so when I was a kid. While I had clean parents, I still don't see the point in it being a weekly or semi-weekly thing. I never felt that I was ever THAT dirty. But Mama felt otherwise.
"Beau Barrow, stop squirmin from your Mama."
"I don't want a bath...tomorrow, please?"
She held on tight, still trying to wrangle off my clothes. "Nice try little missy. We are leaving tomorrow and I want all of us to be clean."
"But only you and Daddy are visitin'...why do I gotta be clean?"
"Well...we was thinking that you would come with us this time…" That stops me immediately and it gives Mama reign to finish undressing me and slip into the tub with her. And suddenly there are tears.
"Whoa baby...it's going to be quick...it's just some soap and water." Mama sort of laughed, wiping the downpour of tears that were mixing in with the tub water.
"I don't want grandma to take me away…" I said in between sobs.
"Take you away? Beau, sweetheart, what are you talking about? Why would she take you away?" Mama leaned in real close now, her face near mine to keep eye contact with me.
"Daddy says that if I come, then they will take me away. I don't waaannna gggoooo." I cried, hiding my face in my hands. "Don't make me go, Mama...I'll be good…"
Mama immediately scooped me up and helped me close to her face, letting her cheek rest on my head. She stayed silent, letting me get what I needed. She finally tilted my chin up to look at her.
"Beau...we are just visitin…. it's about time you meant all your grandparents and other side of the family...and... you know, if anything ever happened to me and your daddy, you know...you'd be safe"
"I wanna be with you...and Daddy."
Mama took a long look at me, her eyes glassy and thinking' hard. Her lips moved some, but no words would come out. She finally pushed me close to her again.
"Alright baby...you'll stay with us."
It wouldn't be until many years later that I would question if my mother, Bonnie Elizabeth Parker, really meant what she said before she died. Was I ever really destined to stay with my extended family, or die alongside Bonnie and Clyde?
I don't remember much the night we left for West Dallas. I remember my folks left in a good mood, I was tucked in the backseat, Mama's arms on Daddy, laying her head on his shoulder. We didn't make it far before gunshots were fired.
From what I had gathered, is we were going to stay at a man's house that my folks had known, and had hosted them before to stay the night before continuing to Texas. We were on the open back roads, close to where the said man's house was. A car was parked alongside the road, looking as if he was having car troubles. Mama mentioned that he looked like the host's father, and we pulled over. I hunched in the back seat to not be seen.
They talked awhile without getting out of their seats, until I saw the shadow of the man hurry away fast from the car, while we sat in confusion. That was before the gunshot was fired.
Everything felt real slow, but so fast. The bullet had pierced Daddy's head, and he now was slumped over the wheel and the car was now moving forward on it's own. Mama looked at Daddy, but did nothing to try and save him. I thought that to be strange and I wanted to lunge forward and stop his bleeding. But Mama turned around, and opened the back door.
"Jump." She told me. And I did. It seemed minutes, but within a matter of seconds I had jumped willingly out of the car, expecting my parents to join me. I tucked and rolled, even though the car wasn't moving very fast and ran to the side of the road where long grass could easily cover my small body. I was almost in the safe before more gunshots were fired.
There were more shots than I ever remember in my short young life, coming from either side. They were all directed at the car, but stray bullets had come my way and hit my shoulder. I let out a howl of pain, but it couldn't be heard over what seemed hundreds of bullets. I made it to the grass and laid very still on my back, as flat as I could make myself. Finally, the bullets stopped. It was very quiet; some faint feet shuffling was all I could hear. Once I felt they were far enough way, I turned over and eyed our car. It was stopped now, with all the tires popped and windows broken. Bullet holes covered every other inch of it.
I pressed a ripped shred of my dress to the shot, and watched the car for what seemed forever. Lots of people came to look and the police took lots of pictures. I hadn't seen them take out my parents and haul them to jail. I knew of the other outcome, but I couldn't believe it. I continued to wait.
It wasn't until hours and hours later, maybe even a day later, I had fallen asleep off and on, that I had managed to crawl out of my hiding spot, at the sound of a familiar voice.
"Just like that…. they gone."
I recognized the voice. W.D was fixing on coming with us to Dallas, to visit his folks as well but had decided on waiting and taking another car for whatever reason a little after we had left.
"Dee-Dee…" I croaked out. He turns around, a few other men of the Barrow Gang with him. Eyes widened and he quickly looks me over before picking me up.
"How did you manage to not get killed? I thought they had gotten you..."
I started crying then. I knew they were dead. They had gone without me, and I figure now it was supposed to be that way. I think Mama could sense the cops, and opened my door at the very last second; to give me second chance at life.
Little did he know, my second chance at a normal life wouldn't come so soon. In the eyes of the public, I didn't even exist.