Intolerance and Resolution

Synopsis: Jillian 'Jill' Folks has been happily married for a few years to her loyal husband Nathan. They have a son, Peter, who is the apple of their eye and everything is coming up roses until Jill is unexpectedly raped. Typically, Jill is anti-abortion but her husband, who's a staunch pro-life personality, is against it and she decides to give birth to a multiracial son they name Russell. Russell decides later in life to rebel and become a terrorist. Nathan divorces Jill, and Jill moves out with Peter. Will reconciliation ever be possible for this fractured family ?

"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things are passed away, behold, the new has come."--2nd Corinthians 5:17

Chapter 1--Nightmarish Fate

Jillian and Nathan had spent many pleasant years together as a happily married couple. They had given birth to a gorgeous, bouncy baby boy named Peter, who immediately became the apple of the newlywed's eyes. Not only were Jill and Nathan magnificent friends, but they were stupendous parents and loyal, devoted lovers to one another. All seemed to be going splendidly until one wretched night began to tear the Folks family apart, limb by limb.

It had been a typical evening and Jill thought nothing about how strangely dark it had been all day. It was spring, and dreary skies were part of the season changing and the earth renewing itself. She didn't think not to go down a different alleyway than she usually had. As she was heading toward her car, a towering Arabic man cornered her and attacked her suddenly. She tried everything in her power to fight back but it was simply no use. The physically fit man brutally raped her and threatened her,

"If you tell anyone of what happened, I will come back and kill you." The wild eyes of her assailant, she never forgot. Despite of his abominable words, she went ahead with testing and the man had been discovered to have been a serial rapist. With the clear-cut testimony she had given, this rapist was going to be found and finally be locked away where he belonged. Yet, Jill's nightmare had only begun.

Before going to bed, Jill told her husband everything that had happened.

"I want you to get an abortion immediately. Go to the clinic and get rid of that thing !", Nathan said, enraged. She had never seen him so furious before.

"No. It's a child. He has a right to live as much as any other being on this planet.", Jill began.

"It is life, my dear, but not a child, yet. If you are indeed pregnant and go through with the pregnancy, I'm leaving. I don't want a multiracial kid running around the house. What will the neighbors say ? They'll begin to suspect you of cheating on me! Those kinds of rumors are better left for The Enquirer. NOT for our family.", Nathan hollered, his tone becoming louder and louder as he spoke. Peter was about seven years of age, and he had been asleep in his bed until he heard shouting.

"Mommy, what's going on ?", Peter inquired, rubbing sleep from his eyes. The Folks had never fought before so hearing them shout at one another was foreign to Peter.

"We're having a grown-up discussion. Mommy's pregnant…", Jill began. Peter was confused. Usually having a baby was an ecstatic occasion, but he could tell that his father wasn't pleased.

"The baby isn't hers !", Nathan roared. Peter clutched himself for protection, afraid he was going to be hit, though Nathan had never been violent to him.

"He doesn't understand !", Jill turned to him, her blue eyes filled with tears and her rosy lips quivering.

"He's old enough to, Jill. I am going to tell him everything. If you are still so damned determined to have this…mixed race kid…I am leaving. And that is final.", Nathan said. Peter began to weep, but Nathan commanded him to stop. Nathan told Peter everything, although Peter was far too young to understand the adult nature of what his father was saying. With the story told, Nathan gathered what little things he could in a suitcase and left them, slamming the door behind him.

"What just happened, mom ?", Peter asked, crying into his mother's breast softly. "The end of what we knew, and perhaps the beginning of something better.", Jill said, kissing her son lovingly upon the forehead.

Chapter 2--Russell Folks

Russell soon came into the world and immediately was adored by his elder brother, who promised to protect him and look after him no matter what happened.

Even though the Folks family had been broken apart, Russell was seen as a ray of hope to keep them together. However, as Russell grew, that optimism soon diminished.

Despite Jill and Peter's best efforts to turn Russell's defiant ways around, he couldn't be changed. He had become a bully at an early age, beating up smaller children on the playground for money and earning the nickname "The Rustler" for his ability to use a jump rope to tie kids up and hold them much like calves that were about to be branded for the ranch until they begged for mercy. Matters only became worse as he grew older and although Russell had gotten counseling, none of it ever had any effect.

As soon as Russell turned 18, he turned away from the family completely and began following Islam. But it wasn't just any form of Islam. It was fundamentalism which would lead to Russell changing his identity completely and renouncing everything good that his mother and brother stood for. It wasn't certain whether he had become an insurgent for Al Qaeda but Jill still had hope that he would return to her as he once had been, as unlikely as that possibility was.

Chapter 3--Repentance

It had been 5 years since Jill had seen Nathan. Their divorce had never been finalized and he wanted to see her again. Unlike the other times Jill had interacted with him, he seemed to be more mellow and somber. He even wanted to make amends.

"Honey, I realize that what I did so long ago was wrong. I now know that I can't possibly live without you in my life. I tried dating other women but they weren't even close to the perfection I have found in you.", Nathan said. Jill was surprised, as was Peter, who had come home to visit with his fiancée, Megan.

"What are you saying, dad ?", Peter inquired, raising an eyebrow in puzzlement.

"What I am saying, son, is that I want to be back in your mother's life. I love her. I have always loved her, and I will always love her.", Nathan said, grasping his wife's hands from across the table. She was overjoyed, but felt a heavy burden upon her heart because without Russell, her life felt devastatingly empty. She didn't need to say a word about him since he had been in the news under a different name, Khalil Hashimir Mohammed. "Khalil" had been captured only recently for conspiracy to blow up a tour bus as a suicide bomber. She shook her head and nearly sobbed as Peter, Megan and Nathan did their best to comfort her.

"He's been sentenced to life without parole you know. I tried to everything to turn him back on the right track.", Jill fumed, angrily. Peter patted her shoulder.

"We did everything in our power to try to make him repent but he simply wouldn't listen to reason. There really isn't much we can do for him now that he is in jail. I'm sure a visit from us would probably do him some good and provide some semblance of comfort. That is, if he remembers us.", Nathan said, kissing her cheek soothingly. Jill sniffled, feeling utterly worthless, but her husband's faith had refilled her spirit and confidence. "It's settled then. We will visit him tomorrow.", Jill said, with a glimmer of hope in her brilliant blue eyes.

Chapter 4--Always Connected

Everyone's nerves were on edge when they visited the high security penitentiary in the city, curious about how Russell had changed and if he even resembled the Russell that the Folks had come to know and love (and even despise at times) over the years.

Megan did not know Russell officially, but she had heard plenty of tales of his antics during his difficult years of adolescence right up to the time he decided to 'cut the umbilical chord' and venture into the wild, dangerous, uncertain world for himself.

Behind the glass, Russell looked the same as he always had, only he wore a traditional white skull cap and had grown a full beard. The beard made him look strangely more Arabic than usual, but his family members still loved him despite the fact that it had been racial discrimination and dogma that had kept them separate for years.

"Mom ? Dad ? Peter ?", Russell said pleadingly through the glass. His dark eyes filled with regretful tears. He wished he could take back all the hurtful things he had said to them and every criminal act he had engaged in, even if he was only an accomplice. Here he was, locked away behind steel bars, only to die behind them. He would have no family of his own, no one to hold him close as he slipped away to die. The thought made his blood run cold but an epiphany arose to him immediately. He wouldn't be alone at all. His family loved him and cared for him immensely, in spite of all the wrongs he had committed. He wasn't a jihadist any longer, but a simple Muslim man trying to make penance for his sins. He didn't know whether he would see his loving family in heaven when it came for them all to be 'called home', but such matters didn't matter at this juncture.

Although it was a short moment of time that the Folks were reunited, the family had to return home. It was a bittersweet reunion, but it was evidence that the original Russell had returned to the family.

"Forgiveness brought us all together again. Even though some of the fractures can't be repaired, we are still a family and our love binds us.", Peter said wisely.

"It seems I'm marrying a philosopher.", Megan said, jokingly, adding some levity to the whole scenario. The family chuckled lightheartedly as they left the penitentiary far behind, knowing that it wouldn't be their last visit there.

Chapter 5--A Miracle of Sorts

Though happier times were being had by the Folks family, some sadness still lingered over Russell's fate. However, since he had been in prison he had really turned himself around and he was demonstrating to the others that he had changed his ways completely. He was doing community service and taking jobs that other prisoners wouldn't dare to do. There were some prisoners that felt he was brown nosing the wardens and the security guards who were keeping the facility locked down tightly.

A court hearing was held for Russell, trying to deliberate whether he should be released on good behavior or if the ruling of 'incarceration without parole' would still stand. It had been heard that Russell's leader had been executed back in Iraq with the other members that made their terrorist cell. This had occurred long after Russell had fled to America and began to renounce his fundamentalist ways.

The hearing wasn't public, considering that many people had known about Russell's past and would more than likely want a rehearing if Russell was allowed to be set free. However, everything in this appeal was legit. He had proven to be a good worker and made a public confession that he had learned from his past mistakes and would never be going down that pathway ever again. Though the hearing lasted for many days, eventually Russell was allowed to return home and the first thing he did when he returned, besides shave and cut his hair was hug and kiss his family members until they couldn't take any more.

Chapter 6--Begin Anew

It had been unbelievable that Russell had such grand fortune to have gotten let go just because of being honest and repaying his debt through community service. One thing was certain, though, Russell had never been so glad to see a house or eat a home cooked meal.

"I am sorry it took so long for me to return to you. At last we're whole again.", Russell stated, with joyful tears in his chocolate eyes.

"You're right. We are a family once more.", Nathan said, hugging him close. It was ironic how the man that once loathed him so intensely was gathering him into his arms for a gentle embrace, reassuring him that he had never hated him to begin with. It was simply his misunderstanding and his close-minded nature that had caused him to act in such a way long ago. Thankfully that had all changed. Nathan was more malleable and had been able to 'shake the dust off' his wingtips to begin anew.

Russell had found a job working as a mechanic, something he had always wanted to pursue since his youth. He was an expert at what he did, but it wasn't the only job that he had. He also built replica models from leftover 'trash' and his work was becoming recognized by the community as unique and beautiful. Thanks to his flair in art, he met a fellow artist by the name of Natalie and they began dating. Happily, Russell felt his heart become full, fuller than it had ever been since his innocence.

Epilogue

Peter and Megan were married after having dated each other for about 3 ½ years, and Russell had been selected to be Peter's best man. Russell hadn't expected this after having been estranged from the Folks for such a long time, but their forgiveness had mended his heart and reestablished his trust in them forever.

Currently, the Folks are living a rather blissful existence. There are times where the family does have tiffs now and then but nothing that can't be resolved with playful jabs and the entire family collapsing into paroxysms of laughter. Russell is still currently dating Natalie and the two couldn't be more euphoric in each other's company. Russell has even become a magnificent Uncle to Peter's son, PJ, who is the exact likeness of his father, but with some overtones of his beautiful mother. Russell adores little PJ and even laughs how PJ sometimes wants to imitate his Uncle, particularly in his speech.

No one is to say how the future will pan out for the Folks, but seeing as their lives are enveloped in happiness now, I doubt they could ask for more.

The End