Felix and Giovanni never really had the opportunity to get to know their Dad, let alone form a relationship with him. As the older of the two brothers, Felix had some fuzzy memories of their Dad, but mostly they involved a lot of sleeping, yelling and promising to do things that they never ended up doing. When he took off one day, never to be heard from again, the brothers moved into their grandmother’s house with their Mom. Shortly after that, their Mom started going out at night and coming home really late, or not at all. Sometimes she was gone for days at a time, and nobody knew where she was. The boys could see how sad it made their grandma. One day, they went to the court house with her and a judge spoke to all of them in a gigantic room. Felix and Giovanni didn’t understand everything that was going on, but they did meet a nice man, a bit older than their dad’s age, who introduced himself as a CASA. His name was Floyd, and he wanted to come to their grandmother’s and visit them sometime. They were both a little hesitant to engage with a stranger, but they agreed.

Over the next year, Floyd picked the boys up every two weeks and they went on an outing. Sometimes they went to the park, sometimes for ice cream, sometimes, if Felix hadn’t said any bad words that week, Floyd would take him and his brother to Carl Jr’s. Floyd never yelled, and if he said he was going to pick them up at 2 pm, he was always there by 1:45. He emphasized the importance of supporting each other as brothers, and of being patient with their grandmothers, and of avoiding video games with excessive violence. When their Mom went to jail, he assured them that it wasn’t their fault, and that she did love them very much. The boys looked forward to their visits, and sometimes late at night, they talked about how lucky they were that they had someone like Floyd.

When they visited the judge again one day, he told them that they would be living with their grandma permanently, and that she would be making sure they were safe and that all of their needs were met. There was a lot of applause in the big room, and Floyd was there with balloons. He assured them that their special lunches at Carl Jr.’s would continue, even though his CASA job had ended. They both believed him, because he had never given them reason not to.