Chapter 9 “She is, but he ain’t” (A short story by Dara Nichole)
“What baby, tell me what you are thinking?” At that moment I knew I had to let go. I couldn’t hold on to what I was saying. It wasn’t for anyone else, but me.
“Joshua, I, I just can’t do this.” Tears started to roll down my eyes and I sat back on the couch realizing that I was truly in my heart, letting go of Joshua.
“But baby, why?” He looked at me with the face of desperation again. He scooted closer to me on the couch and tried to hold me but I pulled away.
“Joshua, these last four years have been hell for me. You have done so much to break me as a woman, and I honestly can’t trust you right now.” I couldn’t believe the words that were coming out of my mouth. All this time I was telling people he could change, and now when he decided he was going to I rejected him. He stood up and flung his arms open.
“Baby, I’m a changed man! I am here for you! You think if I didn’t care would I be here cryin’ and sobbin’ all over your couch? Do you think I would be calling you all times of the day and night, leaving messages and telling you how much I love you? Embarrassing myself in front of your neighbors and friends?”
“Well Joshua, I have been embarrassed for the past four years standing by your side and dealing with your mess! Does that count for anything? All those times you stood me up, talked to me like I wasn’t nothing, and made me feel as if it was my fault that you cheated? Do you count the times I had to see the girls you were cheating with in public and they would laugh in my face? What about the days I would come home crying to my mother or Jasmine about all the hurtful things you were doing to me? What about me!” I stood up angry and teary eyed. Joshua had never seen this side of me before. He put his arms down and backed up.
“Look, calm down Bri, you right, and I’m trying to make things right between us, but you pushin’ me away? I can’t do anything about the past, all I can do is try to fix the future so that we can start to enjoy life together.”
I folded my arms and rolled my eyes. Well Joshua, the only future you have to worry about is fixing your own. I forgive you for everything you have done to me, but I can’t trust you right now. I need to learn who I am again. I need to figure out what I want and my needs and desires. I can’t be with you right now. I need a break. I love you, but for me to grow, I need some space.” This time it was with so much more confidence, and he couldn’t do anything but look at me. For some reason, in his eyes seemed to be a different look. It seemed as if, for the first time in four years, he respected me, and my decision.
He slowly backed up, grabbed his keys out of his pocket, and headed toward the front door. As I followed behind him I was really starting to realize this would be the last time this man would be in my house.
“Bri, I’mma always love you man, don’t let no other man treat you the way I did. You a queen.” I smiled and we hugged. I closed the door behind him and leaned on it, feeling sad because I was done with that chapter in my life, but excited for everything that was going to happen in the future.
After he pulled off I ran upstairs, turned off the lights and laid in the bed with my eyes wide open.
I knew that God had heard my prayer. I felt happiness inside of me. For some reason, even though I knew on the outside I was done with him, I knew that there would be something else out there better for me.
“God, hi. Thank you for giving me the strength to walk away. My granny told me to trust you and believe that my latter days will be greater, and I am trusting that even though I really, really wanted to be with Joshua, that you will bless me because I let him go. I couldn’t deal with the pain, and I couldn’t trust him God. I knew that you wouldn’t want me to be in a relationship like that, so I had to walk away, and I feel better. I’m gonna go to church on Sunday, but I can’t say whether it will be a every Sunday thing. I just want to try to learn you, and learn myself God, so I figure that’s step number 1. I love you, and thank you again for strength. Good night.”
I slept like a baby the whole night. I woke up without setting my alarm right on time. Things were working out already and the day had just begun. I got dressed, did my hair and was off to work. By the time I got there I opened my door and there were two roses sitting on my desk with another card.
“To the most beautiful, intelligent, woman in the world,
Have a wonderful day at work, and enjoy the beauty
Of the flowers”
Hope to hear from you soon,
Ellington, your secret admirer J
I laughed when I saw his name as if anyone else would send me flowers. I placed them in a vase and got to work. Today was going to be a long day, but I was actually looking forward to church this weekend.
Sunday morning I woke up groggy and ready to go back sleep. I had decided I was going to 10am, which meant I needed to be up at 8:45 to get my life together. I rolled out of bed, got dressed and was headed toward the door when my mom called me.
“Abrielle, where you goin?” She was in the kitchen making some oatmeal.
“I’m going to church ma, I’ll see you when I get back.” She looked at me confused, and then smiled.
“Alright honey.” I walked out of the door, jumped in the car and pulled off. I had so many different thoughts running through my head. Were they gonna make me stand up? Was it going to be all day? Would I know anyone there? Why did everyone look at me like I was crazy when I said I was going to church? I pulled into the parking lot and followed the parking attendants hand signals until I ended up in the right parking spot. I got out of the car and dug through my car trunk to see if I had a bible in there.
“I thought I had-, here it is.” I wiped the dust and dirt off of the bible I found and headed towards the door. From a few feet away I could hear the music from the choir. The music soothed me on the inside. As I walked in the doors of the church I felt so much peace. I calm feeling rushed over me, and all I could do was smile. I felt as if I was supposed to be here at this time and at this moment.
The usher guided me to a seat closer to the front of the sanctuary. It was beautiful in here. It kind of looked like the mix between a television set and a church. There were T.V’s on each side of the sanctuary and a camera that was positioned in the back but swooped over the whole congregation. The front of the sanctuary had a usual pulpit, with a choir area, and an area for the band to play. As we were singing the worship songs Pastor and First lady Wilkins walked in the door. He was a very tall chocolate man. His wife, was considerably shorter, I would say about 5’4 and very fair skinned. What I loved about this church was that it was always said Pastor Wilkins grew up, got married, and went to school in this neighborhood. He was so familiar with everyone, and so approachable.
I looked over and saw one of the girls that was at the networking event, she looked over and waived, and I waived back. That made me feel a little more comfortable. We prayed, sat down, listened to announcements, heard the choir sing a few more times, and took up an offering. Finally it was time for Pastor Wilkins to get up.
“Good morning.” First Lady Wilkins came up to the pulpit instead of Pastor.
“Goodmorning.” The congregation replied.
“Today, I will be ministering instead of Pastor; I believe God has given me a word specifically for this day and time.” The church went quiet in anticipation of what she was going to talk about.
“Everyone, today I am going to talk about having confidence in God, knowing that even if you have been rejected, talked about, lied on, mistreated or physically or mentally abused God can heal you.” I sat up in my seat as she started to dig deeper into her message.
“I know as women, we go through so many changes. We feel as if we should look like the models on television, we’re compared to one another by men on a daily basis, and sometimes we really don’t have people telling us that we are beautiful.” I felt as if she was talking to me specifically.
“Today, God is saying that he is ready and willing to restore. He wants us to love ourselves, and not believe what other people have told us, you are not stupid, ugly, dumb or crazy. You are beautiful and unique and loved by God!” I started to cry once again, and I felt the presence, or what seemed to be, the presence of God all over me.
“Men have no say in whom you are created to be, that is between you and God, let him tell you how wonderful you are!” Women started to stand up and lift their hands in praise and worship. There were people crying out for God to restore them from abusive relationships, from past hurts, pains, and rejection. There were people asking God why they were going through the things they were going through, and people thanking God for his infinite love.
“You are not a failure, you are not a screw up, if you stay close to him, he will heal you and show you which way to go.” She stood up and said a few other things, but most of it was drowned out by my tears and cries to the Lord.
“Everyone, man or woman, if you have ever been told you couldn’t do it, you were a failure, you’ll never be successful, that nobody wants you, that you’re a screw up, come to the front.” Almost half the church, teary eyed and all, came to the altar with their hands raised, including me.
“Pastor Wilkins is going to pray over you, and after that we will have a confession, and the message.” Pastor Wilkins took off his suit jacket and rolled up his sleeves, he came to the pulpit and grabbed the microphone from his wife.
“Thank you Lord for restoration in the hearts and minds of your people Lord. I thank you Lord that everyone here comes into the understanding that they are beautifully and wonderfully made. I know you want them to know, that they are not alone, that they are loved, cherished, protected, gifted and talented. Lord I pray for the peace that passeth all understanding in their hearts and that their minds are renewed in you and knowing that they are created for a purpose that you want them to walk into. I thank you for all these things Lord, In Jesus Name, Amen.” People immediately started to line up to get hands laid on them and First lady Wilkins grabbed the Microphone again.
“Ok, congregation, repeat after me. I am created to serve God, he loves me, I am his child, he gave his son to die for me so that I can have eternal life. There is no one on this earth like me. I am created to do wonderful things, I am created for a purpose, I am important to God. His love is everlasting, and I have a place in his kingdom. I like me, I love me, I accept and embrace myself for who I am. Now turn to your neighbor and tell them that you love them, and that you accept them for who they are.” We did exactly as she asked and everyone was filled with warmth and love.
I had so much peace after walking out of the sanctuary. I decided to go into the bookstore to maybe research some things about the bible, and bumped right into Mr. Wonderful.
“Ellington?” I looked confused.
“Hey Abrielle, what are you doing here?” He smiled his big beautiful smile and put his arms behind his back.
“I came to service, what are you doing here?”
“Oh, well, uh Pastor Wilkins, that’s my uncle.” I folded my arms and rolled my eyes.
“Bri, I have no reason to lie about that.” He threw his arms up and smiled.
“He is my mom’s brother in law, so it’s by marriage, if that makes you feel any better.” We chuckled as we walked toward the counter to pay for the items we had picked up.
“So I didn’t know you went to this church, how long you been going here?” He noticed me put my tattered bible in my purse.
“Uh, today was probably my third time being here, but first time voluntarily.”
“So, what did you think?” He grabbed my bag after I paid for it, and continued to walk me to my car.
“I really enjoyed it, I mean, I feel so much better about my life, and about what’s going on with me.”
I unlocked my door and slowly put my bag inside hoping he would ask to go to lunch, or maybe even do dinner that night. I didn’t want to rush into another relationship so fast, but I also didn’t want to lose him to someone else.
“Good, I’m glad you liked it. Well, I’ve gotta run, I’ll give you a call ok?” He gave me a hug and walked away. What was going on? Usually he would be begging to spend time with me, now it was as if we were just friends. Well, I guess I did say I didn’t want to rush into anything. At any rate, God was good, and I was totally gonna be here next Sunday.