“Daddy” Excerpt

Excerpt from “Daddy” the forthcoming novel by five-time self-published Author G D Grace (spring 2013)

IMG_1023[1]Jackson Young pauses, carefully choosing his words as he speaks at the funeral of his deceased estranged wife.

“Did I love Natalie? Yes, with ever fiber that runs throughout my body; however, loving someone means nothing if those feelings are not mutual.”

He pauses again, struggling to maintain his composure as he stood in a dignified manner, gripping the upper-ledge of the center podium.

Scanning the room, he focused on familiar faces seated in various locations throughout the crowded church. He smiles wickedly, as if preparing to tell a dirty joke.

Then, he spoke.

“She loved money. Money was her God… I hope she can spend it in hell!” He sneered, as he shot a pained glance at the coffin.

The entire sanctuary gasped in unison. Without a second thought to respect, he ended his moment with an out of place truth he could not take back.

“Dad, how dare you disrespect my mother at her own funeral!” Harlem cried out in anger.

“Fuck that slut!” He uttered, tossing a gold dollar piece in the direction of the coffin.

“Here’s one for the road,” he growled, as he exited up the center isle in haste.

All hell broke loose.
Excerpt from “Daddy” the forthcoming novel by five-time self-published Author G D Grace (spring 2013)

Author G D Grace 10-23-2012

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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 February

“Daddy” the forthcoming novel from Author G D Grace (spring 2013)

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

 

Author G D Grace 10-23-2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author & Producer G D Grace Literary Links:

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Barnes & Noble

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Apple i-Store:

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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

“Daddy” – what inspired my sixth novel, Author G D Grace

GD Grace Headshot 12-9-10I finally figured out why I was inspired to write a theme that deals with fatherhood in my forthcoming novel “Daddy.”

I’ve concluded that the relationship between the father, Jackson Young, and his son, Harlem, allows me to re-create similar breakdowns in the relationship between me and my father, and help me better understand it, to reach a deeper level of peace about it.

I define the relationship I have with my father to be an understanding. It is understood that I love and respect him as my father, and he loves and respects me as a son. That’s about as deep as it has ever been. This is why I decided to explore the father and son theme; it is a proactive exercise for me to reexamine things.

“Daddy,” is 100% fiction, and beyond the emotional aspect has no similarities outside of the father son disconnect.

I hope it assists someone else in their quest for resolution and understanding. If it inspires someone to pursue their own journey, then I’ll feel I have done alright writing this novel,

On a final note, my dad is alive an retired, enjoying his life. I’ll be talking to him soon. ~GD

“Daddy” the forthcoming novel from five-time self-published Author, G D Grace (spring 2013)

IMG_1023[1]

Author & Producer G D Grace Literary Links:

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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

Excerpt from the forthcoming novel, “Daddy,” by 5 times, self-published Author G. D. Grace.

IMG_1023[1]

There were a few weeds around his seed that needed eradicating, and he was determined to rid his garden of them.

His deed his seed;

“Daddy,” the forthcoming novel from 5 times self-published Author G D Grace

Spring 2013

Excerpt from the forthcoming novel, “Daddy,” by 5 times, self-published Author G. D. Grace.

“Harlem, son, what is so intriguing about those streets out there?” I asked, in a heartbroken tone that seemed to pull a little more of my soul out of me.

He just glared at me with defiant sixteen year old eyes that pierced my confidence with each passing second.

What was he thinking?

Why couldn’t he see that I only wanted the best for him?

Why did he love the slick and sly, Jensen, and not me, the father who adored him? I remembered that one brief moment when he referred to me as, “Daddy”…

When did the connection we had get broken?

I stayed intentionally still, waiting for him to respond, but the longer I waited the fuller his eyes watered, almost spilling the tears that he tried holding back.

Then, when I had almost given up hope, he spoke above a whisper and said something that practically finished me off.

He said…

“You killed her with your weakness. If you were strong enough she would have never left you for him. A real man protects his woman, his home, his son…”

Then, finally, they spilled, the tears. His tears. My only son’s tears. His words were harsh, but they were an opening into his heart, because I finally understood how he perceived me. He saw me as a weak man, something I was far from being.

“Son, I’m going to teach you what being a real man is all about…”
A tiny bit of me kept being chipped away as his words of resentment sunk deeper and deeper into the core of me. They penetrated my skin’s surface like hot coals atop a block of ice, but rather than allowing them to reach that depth that would burn, I emptied a truth about the vile Jensen Adams to shatter the prestige image Harlem had of him.
A drug dealer was a fatal scar on the face of humanity that offered nothing but death and hopelessness to life, and Harlem needed to see exactly what he was capable of.
This gamble I was about to take was one of the riskiest ones I might ever be taking in life, but my life would mean nothing if I lost my only son.

“Son, you see him as a warrior when he is nothing more than a gangster, a coward hiding behind a menacing image and a gun. What you don’t know is that he would cut out his own mother’s heart if she stepped in between him and his money,” I told him, thwarting the rage inside of me.

“You don’t know h…”

I cut him off, before he had a chance to complete his juvenile assumption.

“I do know him, Harlem! I’m going to prove to you that he will put a bullet in your forehead without blinking an eye. Now, you trust me just a little, and allow me the opportunity to save you from yourself, okay, son?” I asked with renewed vigor.

I promised myself right then and there that I would save my son even if I had to pay the ultimate price.

Harlem at his mother’s grave-site:

“Mom, you died without giving me a chance to say goodbye,” he tearfully said, gazing down at the black/gray iron and granite gravesite marker.

Natalie Barns
Beloved Wife & Mother
Born: 12/24/1972
Died: 5/24/2012

“Mom, I turned 16 and he bought me these cheap ass pair of tennis shoes. He made me wear them to school. I was humiliated mom,” he sobbed, burying his face into his hands to muffle the sound.

“I miss you so much, and all I can think about was you laying in a coffin beneath all this dirt in that pretty white dress that, Jensen, bought you from that boutique on Rodeo Dr.
It cost $3000, mom. That’s how come I love him, because he treated you like the queen you were,” he said with pride, as he knelt down on the soft mixture of soil and grass.

He leaned down then forward to lightly kiss the cold, dusty marker. Once he finished, he rose up slowly from off his knees, and then he stood in silence; immersed in his lone mourning of the mother he cherished so. A mother who was now deceased.

“Mama, I can’t make it without you! If I have to go back there I’ll kill myself! I hate him! He’s a square ass, weak ass, punk! I can’t stand his old know- it-all mama either. She…” Before completing his sentence, he paused and thought about.

“Naw, Grandma is cool, and so is his brother, uncle Quincy, but I cannot stand him! He told me he had something to show me about, Jensen, something that would…”

“Something that would what, Harlem?” the familiar baritone voice asked from behind, startling him.

His heart skipped a few beats because of the sudden snatch from private thoughts, but it quickly regained the rhythm once he identified who it was.

“My real father!” He said, smiling broadly without ever turning around.

Why did he have to?

He was safe.

Jensen had his back.

Nobody would ever mess with him again.

Jackson Young might’ve dropped the nut that brought him into the world, but Jensen Adams was his father. Blood was only a plasma that had to be shed sometimes to put people in check. Invoking fear made his young tree rock hard, and that’s why he was loyal to Jensen, because…

He had the money..,

The honeys…

And the respect.

He wasn’t interested in any life with a struggling warehouse worker with a bad back and civil rights stories. Like his mother always said, fuck all them dead ass Negros.

“She was the finest in my stable, Harlem,” he solemnly said, tossing two white roses on top of the gravesite.

Harlem looked back at him puzzled, and said, “Two?”

“The other is for your baby sister,” he said nonchalantly.

“Baby sister?” He asked without really asking.

“I’ll explain that later. Lets go, son, ” he said, pausing to look around.

“I don’t like spending too much time at a cemetery,” he announced, rubbing his large hands together.
“Where in the hell do you think you’re going with my son? Jackson Young asked, hastily exiting the car that he had just slammed the brakes on to a screeching halt.  He was seething with wrought anger, seeing his son with someone he despised like an attack of spring allergies.

With each of the extended spaced strides he took, the more intense his rage grew.  “Harlem, you bring your ass over here right now, or I’ll drag your ass all the way back to that car!  What the hell are you doing out at this ‘got-dayum’ graveyard anyway?!  You were supposed to have taken your little ass home immediately after school!” He growled, stepping to Jensen with bottled agitation and fury.

Harlem instantly grew afraid about the looming confrontation about to take place.  Uncertainty and fear swooped around his entire spirit like the circular winds of an n F5 twister.  It was then that he realized just how much Jackson loved him, and the guilt he felt inside grabbed a hold of his senses and shook all the prior foolishness from the rafters of his self-centered thoughts.  He had never seen his father’s eyes so convincingly raw and, one proverbial brick at a time, the wall he had built around his heart was being taken down.

What had he done?

In his tunneled focus to reach for Harlem’s arm, he missed the combative reactions of a cunning foe, and it was a costly error on his part.  Without being given a second to avoid and respond, he felt the cold thud of the butt of a gun strike him across the side of his face with the force of a downward micro burst, and it sent  him spiraling down to the ground.  Jensen’s calculated and accurate move was one of his most personalized responses to adversity.  Jackson slid out and quickly back into consciousness out of necessity, but by the time he regained composure, he caught a glimpse of his screaming son being thrown into the backseat of a black, sported out, Range Rover.

“Daddy…!” Harlem cried out.

“Harlem…!” Jackson yelled, as he staggered helplessly, trying to find that certain footing, but the blunt blow to the side of his face had affected his sense of direction.
“Keep your ass away from this little motherfucker, Jackson, or I’ll put your ass in the ground with that whore I took from you!  I’m done playing middle-class papa with you!” Jensen yelled, ducking inside of the waiting vehicle.

“Harlem…!” he screamed frantically.

“Harlem…!” he desperately called out again.

By the time he regained his balance, it was too late.  He watched the vehicle with his son inside; make a right turn at nearby inner-streets within the cemetery, and his heart sunk.  What just happened?  Was everything that Harlem said true?  Was he weak and incapable of taking care of his own?  He turned around in anger to view the final resting place of his deceased wife, and he did a double take when he saw the additional name and details of a child on the grave maker who was obviously buried with Natalie.

Jeanette Sade Adams
Beloved Daughter
Born:  5/24/2010
Died: 5/26/2012

“What the…?”

Natalie had another child??????

 

********

 

The shocking revelation at the gravesite further rattled his already frayed nerves.  Who in the hell was this child buried with her and why didn’t he know about her? He came to the realization that, Natalie Barnes, was definitely one trifling constriction in life and now in death.   He also finally accepted what his wise old mother had insinuated a few days prior – he had been infatuated with Natalie, and he had confused that infatuation with love.  Love; she never loved him, but she did have an extremely fond appreciation for a marriage that saved her from a life under the moralistic foot of an overbearing religious fanatic.

Reverend Cecil Barnes, her father, was one of the most powerful and respected ministers in the region.  His influence extended far and wide, so there was no way she could escape his control without being married; in fact, her father’s irrational actions sometimes paralleled those taken by many czars in the underground economy.  She had heard rumors that dear old dad could rough’em up with the best of them, and he held Jensen in a very high regard.  As a matter of fact, Pastor Barnes treated, Jensen, more like a son – the son he always wanted and never had.

As he drove, Jackson’s temperament chilled then heated uncontrollably.  There were times he had to correct his steering to avoid sideswiping other vehicles on the road.  During one of those near misses, he came within inches of tangling his vehicle up with another’s and that driver of that vehicle blew a gasket.

“You fucking moron, where in the hell did you learn to drive, China!!!” the angry driver asked, clearly hostile and poised to throw some punches.

“Fuck you, trailer trash!  You had better take your country ass back to that double wide you’ve got parked on hillbilly acres,” Jackson screamed back, as he braked to avoid slamming into the back of a Lexus SUV.

With traffic at a standstill, it created the perfect setting for a road rage confrontation in the middle of the gridlocked highway, and the guy he had just insulted wasted no time opening the door and step out of his big red F150.  When Jackson caught a glimpse of how tall, wide, and buffed the man was, an imaginary white line raced down his back, but he was through with being a pussy for overbearing dicks. If this bearded Neanderthal wanted a dose of two-by-four, he was going to get a full dosage.

He had picked the wrong day to fuck with, Jackson Joseph Young.

“Today is your lucky day, you irresponsible coon. I’m going to smash your nose into the back of your…”

WHACK!

Jackson laid the two-by-four dead center of the unruly white man’s head.

THUD!

When he hit the ground and settled, Jackson stood over him still brandishing the wooden sleep ease, and said “You hick ass mountain goon, who smashed whose what!”

The violent scene caught the attention of the occupants of a local news van stopped a few lanes over, and you know how the media is when it comes to breaking stories.   The three people inside filed out like kindergartners at a fire drill, and joining them were nosiness, his brothers, sisters, cousins and other relatives.  They were all looking for an extended show.  The sad part about all of it was that no one tried to stop him from taking it further and making it a deeper mistake than it already was.  Fortunately for him, he managed to inhale, relate, release.

“He got knocked the fuck out,” One youngster said, surrounded by his hooting and hollering cronies.  They were in instigator mode as if they were watching a heavyweight boxing match.

“I know. I bet that motherfucker is seeing sheep jumping over his damn skull right about now,” the chunkier of all of them said.

“Sir, what happened,” the well-dressed anchor woman asked, holding the microphone towards Jackson’s mouth.

“Didn’t you hear what I just said, ho, he got knocked the fuck out!” the first young guy who made the previous comment said.

The woman shot him an annoyed look.

“What baby?  You need a little something to ease that tension,” one of the other three asked.

“Now that’s disrespectful,” her colleague carrying the camera told him.

“Now that’s just disrespectful,” the young guy said, mimicking the cameraman.

“Sit your comb over down before I take that two-by-four and crack your ass over the head too,” the rotund guy in the crew threatened, walking towards the news crew.

“That won’t be necessary,” the woman said nervously.

“Youngsters like you give our people a bad name,” Jackson said, turning toward the young group of hecklers.

“Young people like us?  Excuse me, OG, but aren’t you the one standing there with a two-by-four on your esteemed person?” The young guy sang, slapping five with his each member of his crew.

Damn!

He was right.

What had he done?

He was slipping over to the dark side.

Was it ego and obsession, or was it really about Harlem?

With the police approaching him he felt that he would have plenty of time to think about it, but one thing appeared very visible through all that commotion he found himself immersed in…

Who was going to look after him now?

Author G. D. Grace

IMG_1018[1]

Author & Producer G D Grace Literary Links:

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Barnes & Noble

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Apple i-Store:

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Blogs & Miscellaneous Author G. D. Grace Info

http://author2be.wordpress.com/

http://authorgdgrace.blogspot.com/

http://www.stage32.com/profile/59806/author-g-d-grace

http://authorgdgrace.tumblr.com/

EMAILauthorgdgrace@gmail.com

“A Touch of Grace” Blog Talk Radio Show:

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CALL IN NUMBER TO SHOW: (347) 215-6245

(Psalms 30:5)

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

“Daddy” – new excerpt from the 6th and forthcoming novel by Author G D Grace

Tentative Daddy CoverDamn it!” I said loudly. My frustration echoed throughout the house. It pierced the silence like a knife.

“Daddy,” he said, in a timid whisper.

“What?” I answered, in annoyance.

“I’m sorry. I know what I did was wrong,” he said, in a tone of fearful remorse.

“You have no idea how worried you had us. I don’t get you, son. What could you possibly be looking for out there in them streets? There are only two choices; right and wrong. You seem to only be interested in wrong. A gun? And then your flagrant disobedience.  You violated trust, and without trust we have nothing.” I said, without editing my tone. I was so angry I wanted to spit acid. I wanted to beat his ass.

“You can trust me,” he said, in a wimpy tone.

“You must be kidding. Harlem, go to sleep, I’m done talking to you for the night.” was my unamused response.

I watched him lower his head in silence, walk away, and disappear down the hall in silence. The breach of faith weighed on optimism like a lifeless body. I wanted to believe in my son, but he had left me with nothing but doubt.  I couldn’t detect a bit of sincerity in his apology. He spoke the words, but the emptiness behind them were transparent and frail. The pulse of the street ran through his veins like a wayward train off it’s track.

Even though I wasn’t part of the element, I was familiar with the vile smell of its stench. Harlem’s spirit had been infected with the spirit of manipulation and monetary ambition. His mother’s influence still had a tight grasp on his soul, even from the grave. How was I going to alter the path she had placed him on sixteen years ago? His desires mimicked a hustler’s.  The intense craving he had for fast living and quick money presented me with challenges that exceeded my tolerance.

When I closed the door to my room, I was alone with my reservations and thoughts. I had no idea how I was going to be able to influence my seed facing so many incredible odds. How could I compete with the allure of easy cash and the excitement of the life he had been introduced at such an early age? My blood ran through his body, but that cold mentality he possessed was born outside the walls of my home. He was my son, but his mind had been tampered with, and it was up to me to undo what had been done. Damn you Natalie! Damn you for what you did to our son.

The sanctity of slumber was no escape from worry.  My dreams were plagued with the possibility of what failure would cost me. If I didn’t win, the life of my son is what I would lose. I never wanted to win any battle like the one facing me. I held his fate in my hands, and I didn’t want to fuck it up. I was some place way beyond my comfort zone, and it felt like I was suffocating. I knew ambition, but it never involved another’s. Everything I aspired to be had been comprised of what I wanted and hoped for.

The night following my restless sleep offered no solace. By the time I awakened, Harlem had already left for school. My mother informed me that I had missed him by thirty minutes. In a way, I was relieved because I didn’t know what I would’ve said after last night’s interaction.  Outside of saying good morning, I chose silence over discussion, but I knew my mother wouldn’t allow me to stay in retreat too long.

“So, what’s on your mind son?” she asked, never turning around from her position in front of the kitchen sink.

Reluctantly, I answered. “Nothing,” I said. Short and sweet was best, but I knew she would pry.  That was her way. She was a big advocate of communication.

“Nothing? Jackson, don’t you dare sit there and tell me nothing when you know I know you better than that. I had a chance to speak with Harlem before he left for school,” she said, in a matter of fact tone, wiping down the stove.

“You mean he actually spoke to you?” I asked ,sarcastically.

“Yes, he did. And he would speak to you too if you didn’t treat him like a burden or a project,” she said, setting me up for one of her scoldings.

“A burden or or a project? What are talking about,” I asked, thoroughly pissed by her insinuation.

“Yes, that’s what I said. You talk to him like he’s stupid. Have you ever asked him how he feels?” she asked, catching me off guard.

“How he feels? What kind of question is that? I know how he feels,” I shot back.

“How do you know how someone else feels? Son, that is the most foolish, simple minded thing I’ve ever heard. Just like adults, children have feelings too. He’s hurting, and he’s confused. Being here is new to him. He’s not used to all of your rules, but you would never know this because you’re too busy trying to be an adult,” she said, tossing the dish towel into the sink.

“Being an adult? Mom, please don’t try to blame me for his actions. All he wants to do is run the streets, and I’m not having it.” I said, keeping my volume at a respectable level.

“Who’s blaming you? That’s your problem,” she said shooting me a disapproving glare. “It isn’t all about you anymore, son. You have a teenager now who’s looking to you for comfort and guidance.  He was in a tug of war all his life. Not by his choice. You have the opportunity you’ve been waiting for ever since he was born, and you act like you don’t know what to do with it.”

“Can’t you see I’m trying? I’ve been trying ever since he was born, but the courts gave him to them!” I said, in a tone slightly disrespectful.

“So, that’s what this is all about? Your disappointment and anger with the judicial system? That wasn’t his fault. You can’t take it out on him. Natalie used him, and so did you.  He has been an escape boat  for the both of you. Neither of you ever dealt with the breakup. All you did was lash out at each other and you put him in the middle.” She said, crossing her legs lady-like.

Her accusation caused me to get defensive. “That’s not true! I never put him in the middle. It was her, not me,” I told her.

“Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt. Being an outsider looking in you get to see a lot. You worshipped her, but she never loved you, Jackson. Natalie accepted your proposal to get away from her parents, and you knew that. You used her just as much as she used you. Now, tell me I’m lying?” she said, with a warm grin.

Was she lying? As much as I’d like to stay in the safety of my own reality I could not. Everything she said was exact and  on point, like an arrow hitting it’s target dead center.  She was perfection in her role as archer, and I was a spectator watching from the sidelines. Had she been any straighter she would have been an interstate without curves.

My instincts were dull and listless without direction. I was in the bowels of confusing trying to feel my way through a foreign darkness, unfamiliar with my next move. I had offended the one person who was in the same predicament as I was unintentionally, and I needed to make contact with him and get him to understand that I was not trying to pass judgement about his lifestyle. My inquiry was merely an attempt to identify a root cause for both our son’s behavior. I thought Ricardo might have been reacting to his father’s homosexuality. To me, it was pretty blatant, but what did I know? He sure did sound pissed?

“Jackson, are you trying to avoid this discussion,” she asked, interrupting  my concentration. I did not want to agree with what she suggested even though I knew it was the truth.

Silence.

“Don’t you dare ignore me. It’s the truth whether you want to admit it or not, and I told you this before you trotted down the isle into what you prayed would be  marital bliss. You knew it was all a lie. When you told me she would learn to love you, my hands were tied. You didn’t want to face the truth because you were to infatuated with an idea of how things were supposed to be.” she said, in an insistent, no-nonsense tone.

“That’s not true!” was my stubborn, unbelievable response. Sincerity might have been in it, but there was nothing sound about it.

“A lie will always be a lie no matter how perfect it gets presented. That girl was chasing money, and had no interest in starting a family. Then you got her pregnant!” she said, sticking the knife deeper into the wound.

“Shut up! I don’t have to listen to this! I won’t listen! She did live me, and I don’t care what you say! We had a life together, and dreams! Nobody understood our relationship! None of you wanted to see us together! You sabotaged it! All of you!” I shouted.

“It was doomed from the beginning because it was built on a lie,” she screamed back.

“I’m leaving,” I yelled, grabbing my coat off the back of the chair.

“Yeah, that’s right, run away! You were always good doing that, son,” she said, relentless in her badgering.

Slam!

Once the door was closed, relief swept over me like a mighty wave. I was suffocating in that house. Every word she spoke tightened the noose around my neck. She was my mother, how could she say those hateful things? I hated her at that very moment, she was as distant to me as a night’s star.  I was angry at everybody, including my rebelliousson. I wanted to run far away from everything and everyone I knew. Nobody understood what I was going through, and nobody ever could.

Before stepping off the porch, I looked up and down the street observing the neighborhood where I lived. How could she have not wanted this life I was building for she and I? Nobody knew about the intimate discussions we shared behind closed doors. She had confessed to everything my mother was saying, but then she told me how content and at peace she was being my wife. Her original reason might have been to get away from her father’s rule, but my love had won her over.

My mother was wrong. I wasn’t challenging her wisdom but, contrary to what I had been taught, elders aren’t always right. Age does not make you an expert on life. Some older people get set in their ways and dismiss the opinions of younger people just because they are young, but that philosophy was as outdated as plastic covering on living room furniture. As a child I always remained in my place and rarely disobeyed my parents, but as a man I had to trust my own intuitions. Harlem’s mentality was a direct result of what he had learned living in excess with Natalie and Jensen. His values, his ambition, and his inconsiderate behaviors are characteristics he learned being raised in an environment that glorified materialism. Money was God, and life’s simplicities were ideologies embraced by the poor and weak.

Natalie’s attitude change wasn’t an instantaneous event, it occurred within the passage. I knew she craved the finer things in life, so I worked overtime whenever I could, and tried to give her all the things she desired, but my meager salary was not enough to meet the demands of a mortgage, utility bills,  life’s everyday expenses, and my wife’s expensive taste. If there wasn’t a designer name associated with it,  it never made it out the store. Whenever I brought home a gift for her, it was grounds for an argument. In her eyes I became a cheap, penny-pinching weakling incapable of making her happy.

“I cannot even believe you brought this tacky ass shit home. Jackson, when God handed out good taste, you were standing in the wrong line. What the hell is your problem,” is what she said numerous times.

I eventually became someone she despised, and the harder I tried to meet her exquisite expectations, the more I failed. The life I gave her wasn’t enough, and as she slipped further and further away, I felt my heart breaking bit by bit. She met Jensen one night at an industry party thrown by one of her childhood friends who worked at a well-known PR company in San Francisco.  Both of us were invited, but after working 12 hours, I was too exhausted to attend.

“But I want to go! We never do anything fun! We are young adults, but you act like an old man, Jackson. You always talk about being hip, but you wouldn’t know cool if it bit you aon the ass! I left one prison and wound up in another one. I don’t give a damn what you say, I’m going,” she screamed. It was the beginning of the end.

Everything I cherished started falling to pieces. All of my dreams included her, and without her I was the perfect example of nothing. Her absences started slowly; a day here and a day there. We’d argue, and she’d stay gone for a week. She was my wife, but she was no longer loyal to my needs or the marriage. The pregnancy slowed her pace, but it didn’t stop her.

After three months I had had enough. The climax arrived when she came home after being gone for two weeks. I was drunk with rage. She was not conducting herself like a pregnant woman, and I was infuriated. How could a woman carrying a child be so reckless and careless. She was conducting herself like a common tramp and there was no way I would allow her to jeopardize the well being of my child. I wanted to strangle her, but I wasn’t a killer.  Mending a broken heart took time, and being that it had just occurred I was in confines of the beginnings with pure, raw emotions. I couldn’t feel anything except betrayal and deceit.  Whoever she was before was far from who she was at that moment. The only thing we had in common was the child she was carriage in her womb.

Those memories. Those unforgettable instances that placed all odds against me tested my endurance and faith. My spirituality had always fueled my courage with optimism, but my belief in living life had been rattled. My mother always told me to keep the faith, but it was as foreign as the mysteries of space. All I saw was blackness without the stars, and there wasn’t a hint of beauty. Without her how was I going to proceed forward? The look of detest she had in her eyes singed the rest of everything I had left.

Incredible and vivid as those memories were, they were only reminders of the unrelenting pain that lingered on  long after she was gone. So, now I still had a part of  her that would forever remind me of her. Every time I looked at Harlem I saw Natalie’s face. He had some of my features, but he looked more like his mother. He even had her chocolate skin color, and he even had some of her mannerisms. I couldn’t help wondering if I had an animosity towards him because he favored her so much.

Figuring it all out was going to require some in depth  thought. I also needed to straighten out things between Eternal and I. I had hurt his feelings unintentionally, and I needed to redeem myself, but I had no idea how I was going to do it. His sexuality was confusing to me, but I didn’t want my insecurity about it to interfere with our friendship.  I wondered if he would even take my call, because he sounded so angry when he hung up on me.  His friendship was important to me, but how was I going to fix  it?

Fix it.  It. What is it? A friendship with a broken connection? Something without a definitive description at this early stage? Gay or straight. Does it really matter? Aren’t we all deserving of love? All of us? None of us have sole ownership over judgement, so why do so many claim to have it? In the eyes of God we all fall short, and in my soul I believe goodness is shown in the actions of another. Eternal is a kind, caring, loving human being, and I had hurt him deeply. I violated a trust we had established earlier, and I needed to find a way to repair what my mindless insinuation had severed. I could only pray he’d give me the opportunity to prove to him that I wasn’t a homophobe.

When I stepped off the porch  I entered into a new realm of existence. Behind me were old thoughts about life.  I realized I faced insurmountable odds raising a sixteen year old in this era, but I needed  clarity as an adversity to be an effective force in reshaping his life. Undoing what had been done. Reprogramming what had been programmed. Giving him enough reasons why an honest life is a better way of existing. Proving to him that fast money isn’t the key to happiness, but how was I going to get him to see this?

I couldn’t relate to their music. I didn’t understand their style of dress, nor their concept of the world. I was several generations behind them and, although we shared some similarities, none of them were tangible enough to even matter.  To him I was an outdated relic that had no relevance in their culture. I was as useless as an umbrella after the rain. I looked at life on a simplistic level, and  he viewed it as an opportunity to be acquired and conquered. The vulnerable and weak were agile targets to mind fuck and control.

Reprogramming his mind would require methodical strategy. Getting him to embrace morals opposite of those that had been planted at the beginning of his life was a difficult assignment. The weight of the world rested on my shoulders in the form of a sixteen year old son I barely knew. Our one communality was the bloodline we shared, but outside of it we had nothing. Understanding seemed as distant as that first lone star that appeared in the sky just after dusk. It shinned brighter than all the rest, and I always wondered why. It’s unique hue was as mysterious as it had been since its first sighting. A father’s intuition wasn’t instantly amassed the moment a child arrived. No. It evolved as the years passed, and mine was void of depth because of the little time we had spent together. Quality and quantity were spared thanks to a court order that granted her custody. I was a court appointed mainstay for sixteen years. I knew very little about him, and he knew even less about me. I was the catalyst that participated in the conception, but beyond that I was a stranger to him. I was a father figure in title only. The bond formed between father and son from infancy to teenager was lost after his mother yanked him from me when he was an infant…

(This bonus excerpt is to assure readers that a release is imminent) 

Between ICON and “Daddy” I’ve been at this crazy crossroads trying to figure out which to release, and until the release I sure won’t know which one, but many of you readers have been so patient with me, anticipating this release.  Some have even been asking for the next installment of my “Ripped & Ready” series.   I promise to get with the program sooner than later.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this excerpt.   I just wanted you to know that I am still working at hit.

~GD

Author G D Grace 10-23-2012

 

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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 © 2012 December

 

 

 

 

 

“DADDY” – the last excerpt I’ll be posting from my forthcoming novel (Tentative release date: TBD)

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.

SLAM!

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

 

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“DADDY” Excerpt from the forthcoming novel by Author, G. D. Grace

Chapter 1

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…”

Chapter 2

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

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