A soul-mate is someone who is not afraid, nor ashamed to love us.
Whenever we run into anyone being identified as potential suitor we must remember this one important thing before we proceed…
Their are a lot of cowards roaming the earth.
“Daddy” the forthcoming novel by five-time self published Author G D Grace (spring 2013
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Author G. D. Grace reserves all rights and reproduction without written permission is not permitted. If found, legal action will be taken against the person(s) or company(s) that have cut or pasted (Plagiarized) any portion of this written document. Author, G. D. Grace; Published © 2013 January
The week following my ex-wife’s funeral introduced me to a new challenge that I wasn’t quite prepared for, raising a thirteen year old. Harlem’s presence in the home prior to his mother’s untimely death was sporadic, because he was living with her and Jensen on the other side of town. His visits weren’t a choice for him; they were assignments by the court, and because of that he always had an attitude when he arrived every other Friday to stay until Sunday evening.
It was a painful dilemma for me too, because I knew that the only thing I could do, as his father, and an adult, was to be patient and understanding – after all he was only a child in the middle of a tug of war between the two of them and me. It’s hard to reach a child who is being given every material thing he asks for by a trifling mother and a crooked ass boyfriend, but I didn’t let their irresponsible actions sway me from trying to instill in him the morals that my parents had instilled in me.
Any respectable caring parent wants their offspring to have a better chance at life than they and their parents had, and me being the product of ones who wove this moralistic fiber into my mind as they raised me is why I couldn’t submit and go along with Natalie and Jensen’s method of give more and expect less. Some of the most heated discussions and arguments she and I had were about Harlem.
“Natalie, by the time he gets into his teens he will be uncontrollable at the rate things are going,” I’d tell her.
“You’re just too damn old fashioned, Jackson Young!” She’d spout off, using my first and last name as a way of assuring me that she was not pleased with my questioning of her parenting skills.
“There’s nothing old fashioned about wanting our child to be a better man than that fowl ass motherfucker you decided to leave me for and shack up with,” I’d say, reminding her that her that Jensen was no role model.
“Jackson, miss me with all of that outdated bullshit you’re talking. There is nothing wrong with a young boy having the finer things in life; hell, what the fuck can you do for him, huh? Sit him on your knee and tell him about Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, or Malcom X? Well, in case you didn’t get to read the headlines, all of those heroic ‘nee-grows’ are deceased,” she said, during this particular argument.
If I was ever going to hit a woman, it would’ve been right there at that moment. The way she discounted those three Civil Rights pioneers without batting an eye had me wondering if she was on drugs or something. How in the hell could any black person turn their noses up and speak in such a disrespectful way about the African Americans who risked their lives and lost their lives in the battle for equality.
I’m telling you something right now, and I know that this might sound cruel, but with Natalie out of the way, perhaps I can undo the damage that she and Jensen had already done to my son. I knew it was going to take a lot of patience and time to correct Harlem’s thinking, but he was worth every ounce of effort I could muster. There were already too many black men selling drugs, smoking blunts, fathering children that they aren’t taking care of, sitting in correctional institutions by the numbers, and I didn’t want that future for my seed.
No way, not my son.
Being a man has nothing to do with how many women you screwed, or how many professional sport statistics you could rattle off, or how much liquor you ccould consume, no, it has more to do with character and your willingness to be a positive role model for the children you helped bring into this world. Jensen has at least five children by three different women already, children that he buys things for all the time, but none of those purchases included things to elevate their young minds.
I mean, give me a break, why do children need cell phones and video systems that cost hundreds of dollars? What about giving them some time? What about encouraging them to get involved in activities at school and after school that will benefit them in life? What about participating in their educational development, and discussing with them their plans for college and life after school?
Natalie Barnes was a whiz in mathematics at school, and she excelled in just about every subject she took, so I didn’t understand why she felt compelled to forfeit the scholarship she qualified for and skip collage. She always had this sassiness about her in school, and because of that hour glass figure she had, even back then, she was pretty popular with her male classmates, but she never gave them the time of day. She was always about getting to class on time, and studying.
What the fuck happened?
“Daddy,” Harlem said, interrupting my reflective thoughts.
“Yes, son, what is it?” I said, as I hit the mute button on the cable television remote.
“Some of my friends are going to hang out at the mall, and I was wondering if it would be alright if I went?” He asked, looking at me sheepishly, with his hands tucked inside the pockets of a pair of black, sagging jeans he had on.
“Harlem, how many times do I have to ask you to put a belt on and to pull your pants up over the back of your ass, son?” I asked him, flaring my nostrils. I always flared my nostrils whenever I was agitated.
Because he had just lost his mother, I edited what I would normally say to keep the peace for as long as I could. I told myself that these bad behaviors weren’t learned overnight and they weren’t going to be resolved over night, so I was giving him a bit of a grace period before I became the strict disciplinarian that I’d become if necessary. As a parent, you sometimes have to step back a bit and use corrective directives several times before a child got it, but if he continued to disobey me, then he would see the other side of me.
“Damn!” He uttered under his breath.
Okay, he was really testing me, but I remained calm and asked him if I heard him say what I had just heard him say. After asking the question, I rose up from the plush, ivory-colored leather couch, and walked over towards him in a non threatening manner. When I reached him, I crossed my arms, then looked down into his eyes, waiting for a response.
“I said, shoot…that’s all I said,” was his response, and lie was plastered all over his face.
I snickered in a disappointed tone. I remember getting some of the worst whippings from my father and mother for lying and now here I was standing in those same shoes they were standing in. Instead of calling him a liar, I bit my bottom lip lightly to keep from saying what I wanted to say, turned around and walked back over to the couch without saying a word.
When I sat back down onto the couch, I un-muted the television, and started watching the baseball game that was on. He stood there for about a minute before he turned and walked away, disappearing down the hallway walking towards his room. He just didn’t know how bad I wanted to let him go with his friends, but with that attitude he had, he’d be missing several more outings if he didn’t straighten the hell up.
When he slammed the door to his room it startled me, and caused me to jump up from the couch swiftly. If his little spoiled ass didn’t come to the light soon, I was going to do what should have been done long time ago…
WHIP HIS YOUNG ASS!
Instead of giving into my anger, I punched the air and let out a humongous sigh. Looking upward I said in a hushed tone, “Father, please give me the patience and understanding to deal with my son…” I prayed, then added “…and Natalie, I rest assure you, he will be something in this life, you can count on that! Rest in peace, Ms. Barnes (Her maiden name), rest in peace,” I said.
“Jackson, Jensen is at the front door to see, he says that he still wants Harlem to live with him,” My mother said, wiping her hands on the front of the apron she had on.
I had almost forgotten that she was here, and when she said that bastard’s name, I got back up off of the couch and left the den on a mission to make it clear to Jensen Adams that his parental services were no longer required.
By the time I made it to the front door, Harlem had already made it there before me. Jensen had him in a fatherly embrace, but you know something, he wasn’t Harlem’s father, I was. When I got to where they were, I grabbed my son by the hood of his navy blue sweat jacket, and yanked him out of Jensen’s arms.
“Harlem, get your ass back into your damn room, now!” I said, looking back over my shoulder.
“Dad..” he said, but I cut him off.
“Now would be the time for you to not undermine my request, little nigga,” I said, using the N-word out of sheer anger.
Without another peep, he exited and did as he was told.
Jensen stood there with this sheepish grin on his face, shaking his head the same way he did at the funeral when they pulled me off him, but this wasn’t the funeral, and there were no ushers to stop me from getting off into his ass.
“Jackson, whatever it is you got on your mind, I’ve got one reason right here in my inner pocket that says, don’t be a fool,” He said, patting his chest area, where his steel courage was obviously positioned.
I was angry, but I wasn’t a fool.
“Get the fuck outta my fucking house, and stay away from my son you son of a bitch!” I said, snarling like a rabid dog.
“Oh, don’t worry, he’ll come to me, I won’t have to come to him,” he said, tipping his hat, before turning to leave.
The devil has many disciples roaming this earth, and one had just left my house. I knew that he was trying to recruit my son for his own reasons, but that wasn’t going to happen. Before I allowed Jensen to turn my son out, I would kill his ass and go to prison for doing so, but rather than using brute force, I decided to beat the devil at his own game.
My younger brother, Quincy Young, knew the streets very well, and had many connections he associated with. Instead of doing something rash like murdering Jensen, I was going go another route so that my son wouldn’t lose his father too.
“Baby, what is going through your mind?” My mother asked, with a concerned look on her face.
“Mom, please let me handle this,” I told her, giving her a warm hug.
“Jackson, give it to God, son, give it to God…” She said, burying her face into my chest, lovingly.
No, not this time mom, I love God and I love my son too, I said to myself, squeezing her tightly. When faced with this type of adversity, you can go to church on Sunday, but after services let out, you had to deal with the real world on its terms.
I was going to do just that.
Author G. D. Grace reserves all rights and reproduction without written permission is not permitted. If found, legal action will be taken against the person(s) or company(s) that have cut or pasted (Plagiarized) any portion of this written document. Author, G. D. Grace; Published © 2010 October
I listened intuitively as the stout, almond colored, African-American, officer of the law, broke down the morbid details of the horrific accident that claimed the life of thirty-three year old, Natalie Barnes, the mother of my one and only child. I hadn’t spoken to her in over three months, and I remembered how heated the discussion became, but in spite of how much I detested her loose behavior and obnoxious demeanor; there was this certain place in my heart that I had saved for her.
After all, she was the mother of my thirteen year old son, Harlem Young.
I’m sure that the befuddled, distraught, expression on my face was baffling to the officer, and that he was probably wondering why I wasn’t wrought with grief, hearing about how twisted and mangled the vehicle she was riding in was but, the reality of things were pretty much as cold as the world we all live in; the end of her life marked the beginning of mine. I know how insensitive that must sound, but I’m just being real with my feelings.
Natalie Barnes’ life ceased being worth more than those expensive stilettos she wore without fail the day she locked arms with, Jensen Adams, the notorious, neighborhood, illegal pharmaceutical distributor. That was four years ago, when Harlem was only 13 years old and, needless to say, I was beyond pissed when I discovered that she had my seed in the company of dangerous individuals who didn’t have any respect for life. When my cousin, Mina Harper, dropped the news on me I immediately left the office and high tailed it over to Jensen’s house to retrieve my impressionable kid.
By the time I made it up the walkway that ran through the immaculately kept lawn, I was steaming like a kettle that had been on the fire long after the water had started boiling. I could literally feel the blood vessels bulging through my arms and across my head; her trifling, irresponsible antics were borderline neglect. How could a woman who had a child calling her mother be so callous about her responsibilities as one?
Our periodic reconciliations were only about fulfilling our lustful desires and nothing else, so it really didn’t surprise me that she wound up indulging in drugs and becoming part of the seedy underworld with all of its glamour and gloss. Natalie always wanted to live the high life, and because I was a lowly nine-to-five worker, her boredom with a simple life with me eventually caused her to stray. I saw it happening when Harlem was just five years old, but there wasn’t anything I could do.
The more I tried telling her that we’d have the house, the nice car, the money to do nice thing with eventually, the more she’d balk and throw tantrums. For her, later was taking too long and patience was one thing that she never possessed. It was a noticeable flaw in the beginning; how I thought that I could ever retain her affections and keep her satisfied when she wanted so much is beyond me, but the confrontation that day pretty much solidified the end.
I’m telling you, when there is a gun pointed at your temple it changes your entire perspective on things. Jensen pretty much warned me once that if I ever came around him, his woman, or his house again, that he would splatter my brains across his front yard without batting an eye. It was the only warning that I ever needed, and whenever I wanted to spend time with Harlem, she’d meet me in the parking lot of a shopping center to drop him off.
Whenever she showed up she was always made up like a common whore; her face was packed full of makeup, her attire was usually revealing, and she had enough karats on her fingers to cause a riot at a rabbit farm. The black, S Series Benz she drove was an announcement to the world that she had money, was about money, and didn’t want to know you if you didn’t have any money. The troubling part of all is that, Harlem was falling into the same train of thought as her; he wanted the same glitz and shine that his mother had, to him I was broke-ass-dad.
“Sir…sir…” the officer called, trying to snap me out of my painful moment of reminisce.
“Yes, man, I heard you,” I weakly said, as a lone tear streamed down my right cheek. You see, even though we were at odds with one another, I still loved her for carrying and delivering my son.
“There was a young man in the car as well, someone who witnessed the accident gave us your address and said that we should contact you about this young man, named Harlem Young,” he said, with calmness in his voice.
“Harlem! Is he okay? He didn’t die too, did he?” I asked, in a panic, praying that my son was okay.
“No, the young man survived the accident with a few minor scrapes and bruises, we have him in back of the squad car right now, we just wanted to make sure that the witness had all of her facts straight,” he said, turning from me, and giving a thumbs up to his partner who was standing outside the black and white police car.
Without ever thinking about it, I dashed past the officer who was talking to me, cutting him off mid-sentence. Whatever else he needed to say had to wait, the only thing that concerned me now was consoling my son. When he emerged from the backseat of the car, his facial expressions assured me that he was overwhelmed with sadness and, in that he was my son, my only son, that sadness filled me up as well. When we finally embraced, we both broke down and cried.
“She’s gone, dad, she’s gone…” he sobbed.
“It’s going to be alright, son, I’m here, Daddy is here…”
A life lived recklessly with just the desire for material things is one as warped as a plastic bottle over a fire. Soon it melts into a distorted image of what it used to be, and that it is how distorted the mother of my only child, Natalie Barnes, became. Her mission in life was to acquire as much wealth as possible; regardless of who she had to step on to get it. She was my first love and my first heartbreak.
It’s disheartening to watch someone you love transform into someone you hardly know right before your eyes, but Natalie did just that. Her parents used to always ask me why I was so patient with her and I’d tell them it’s because I knew her heart; I knew the core of who she was and that I had enough love within me to keep her grounded – I knew she loved me because no one could look anyone in the eyes the way she looked into mine – so deeply and lovingly.
Well, I must have been on Fantasy Island with the old gray-haired Mexican man, and his midget companion who wore the white suits, because we weren’t married a good two months before she began her ambitious quest to get the car, the clothes, and the money she so desperately craved. She went after material things like a crack head going after that crystallized white rock. The front door of our home was like a revolving door at Macy’s.
“You’re running the streets like a common whore…that’s no way for a wife, a pregnant wife, to be conducting herself! What about the welfare of our baby, you tramp ass bitch!” I yelled, as she passed by me with her middle finger held up with a smug smirk on her face.
It was one of a hundred times that I had to remind her of her delicate condition, but did that ever stop her from repulsive behavior? Hell no, she took what I said with a grain of salt and would always pack up more clothes for her two, three, or four day stays. I had no idea where she stayed until one of my friends hipped me onto her whereabouts.
“Brother, I don’t mean to get into you and your wife’s business, but I hate to see a brother being played,” Rodney Franklin, said to me on the low. He lived directly across the street from where we stayed and his wife, Cynthia, had the dirt on any and everyone.
“Look, my man, you’ve said this much, so go ahead on and tell me what you know – or should I say, what your wife told you. I know Cynthia is the one who tipped you off,” I told him, with my arms crossed tightly.
He looked around to make sure none of the other neighbors were in ear shot, and once he was certain no one was paying attention to us he started filling up my ears with everything he knew. The longer he talked, the angrier I got. It’s no wonder so many “good” black men wind up with high blood pressure – dealing with certain black women would put you in the grave quicker than a diet of pork and beef.
Instead of putting myself into harm’s way by confronting her in front of the brother who was filling her head with dreams of grandeur, and obliviously keeping her purse fat with green, I decided to sit and wait until she came home to get dead in her ass. It took three days, three long days of waiting before I heard her pull up in the driveway and when I opened the door my mouth dropped wide open.
“Bitch, where in the fuck did you get that Benz from…?” I asked her, walking toward her with a fury building up inside of me that I had to contain. Even though this was just a memory, the rage inside of me still had a kick to it.
It was a moment that I would never forget as long as I lived – I knew I had lost her, because there was no way, on my salary, that I could ever afford the diamonds she wore around her neck, or the S Series Mercedes she was sporting now. Needless to say, my world changed that day. I held onto a small piece of hope, thinking that the birth of our first child would snap her back to her senses.
That tiny piece of hope vanished as I was standing at the nursery window, thirteen years ago, looking at my son, because who did I see coming up the hospital corridor out the corner of my eyes on that blessed day? No soap opera writer could have ever written something as cold as that encounter at the hospital.
With a bunch of congratulatory balloons in one hand, and a large, black ass teddy bear, beneath his arms, Jensen Adams, the sucka who she had been spending her time with showed up looking every bit like the callous bastard he was, grinning like a demon and dressed like a baller. He had more ice around his neck than a damn polar bear in one of the poles, and a flashy designer suit that reeked of blood money.
“What’s happening, blue-collar brotha…pardon me while I go check in on my lady and the little one,” he said, chuckling like a wicked clown in a horror movie.
Her parents and my parents looked at me in disgust.
But that was then, and this was now.
Her funeral service was packed with relatives, friends, and that same hustler I encountered at the hospital. He was sitting in the front pew of the church with the family and that is when I did what I should’ve have done at the hospital. I leaped over her mother and father and grabbed him around the throat. There were screams of horror as I went after him like a crazed animal – I wanted to choke the life out of him for ruining my family.
“Daddy…what are you doing,” I heard my son say in the cloud of rage I was in.
“Harlem, son, this motherfucker is the reason why your mother is dead. If she would have been at home where she belonged, she would have never been in that car where she…where she…” I started sobbing uncontrollably. I suppose, regardless of how she had done me, I still loved her, but death ruled out any reconciliation.
“Motherfucker, you don’t know who you just put your hands on, you’ll be dead before the end of this day!” He said, straightening out the collar of his silk shirt.
“Whatever you’re going to do, do it now you slick ass fucker…do it in front of all of these witnesses so that they can haul your ass off to that cell you will eventually wind up in soon,” I said, gritting my teeth, wiping away the tears of anger and sadness.
He chuckled triumphantly.
“There’s a funeral service going on…what kind of idiot are you to desecrate the observance of someone’s passing?” He scoffed, shaking his head in pity.
“Baby, now is not the time for all of that…sit down, you’re making a fool of yourself, and disrespecting her family,” my mother said, in a hushed tone, pulling me backwards towards her and my father.
“How could you, Daddy?” My son said, with pain etched on his face, and sorrow in his eyes.
It was another moment I had to stifle because it was the wrong place at the wrong time. The world had been throwing me some serious curve balls, and the only good thing I had out of that marriage to her was my son, Harlem, and based on his reaction I wasn’t sure how much of him I still had. To keep the peace I sat silent throughout the rest of the service, and held onto him as if I were holding on to dear life – and I was at that point.
Author G. D. Grace reserves all rights and reproduction without written permission is not permitted. If found, legal action will be taken against the person(s) or company(s) that have cut or pasted (Plagiarized) any portion of this written document. Author, G. D. Grace; Published © 2010 September