Chapter 5: Big Mouth on the Little Man
Thanks for reading. Thanks for the support. Thanks for the constructive criticism to come! Do what You are famous for. "What's the point of all this, if you're not going to let it change your life?" (Jake v.)
The officers exchanged horrified glances, and one officer stayed with me, while the other officer rushed up the steps. I heard some struggling and bumping. The officer who stayed with me, put his hand on my shoulder reassuringly.
"It's gonna be okay young man."
"No it won't. He's gonna kill me now."
The cop chuckled and looked me in the eye.
"He will never lay a hand on you again. Stay here."
I closed the door and sat the couch. For some reason I had the urge to pray. Uncle Jonah was sitting next to me. He smiled at me and gave me a nod of approval., as if I had done the right thing. I wasnt sure I had. He was there one second, and gone the next. I closed my eyes and clasped my hands together.
"I dont know if You're real or not, but Uncle Jonah would say that You make a way out of no way. Are You helping me? Can You hear me? Where are You? I need Your help. I need to know if I made the right decision. I dont come to You, but I promise to come to You more if You give me some kind of answer, a sign, anything!" I prayed.
The officers were slowly coming down the steps with my dad in tow. He was cursing up a storm, while being read his rights. My mom stood at the top of the steps sobbing. The other officer walked right over to me, as my dad was being led to the police car. He was too busy ranting to see me in the dark living room.
"Your mom's been through the ringer buddy. She's going to need you more around here. Can you handle that, big guy?" the officer asked.
"C'mon man, speak up! You're the man of the house now," the officer said, nudging me slightly with his elbow. "You did the right thing."
I unsuccessfully fought back a smile.
"Yeah, I can handle it." I said, confidently.
"Good. Glad to hear it," he said, turning to my mom. "You have a brave son, ma'am. You're raising him right."
"Apparently, it's not enough," she muttered, sourly between sobs.
He shook his head sadly, told my mom they would be in touch, and to lock the door behind him. I did. I was about to head back up to bed, when there came a knock at the door. It was more of a banging.
It was Anthony. My mom had called him. She was still sitting at the top of the steps, muttering to herself. Anthony looked tired and worried, as I opened the door and let him in. He closed the door behind him and looked up at my mom.
"What's wrong? Why did mom call me?" Anthony asked, looking down at me, concerned.
"Dad just got arrested. Someone called the cops before I could. Dad was beating on mom again." I said, not looking up at him.
"Yeah, it was Ms. Davis, the widow from next door. She said she could see dad hitting mom from her bedroom window. Are you okay, mom?" Anthony asked.
"It was none of her business!" our mom shrieked.
"Dad made it the whole neighborhood's business, mom. The whole reason they didn't call earlier was because people were scared, and didn't want to see Mikey put in a foster home." Anthony explained.
"Like you care, now that you're a big shot at the grocery store! What have you two done, but been ungrateful to your father and I? You poisoned my baby, Anthony. Take him with you. He's no good to me. Neither of you are." she snapped bitterly.
"Mom don't say that. We're family." Anthony pleaded, hurt in his voice.
"Then go get your father out of jail." she replied coldly.
"No," Anthony said quietly. "He needs to face what he did to us."
"You're not a man. You're a coward, and you turned my baby into a coward too!" she said, as she began to sob again.
"He's not a man, mom. Look at what he did to you, and what he did to Mike! We don't deserve his contempt and neither do you. We don't have to have to live in a prison anymore. Dad is not our warden! It's time for us to heal, and to face the truth. Dad is a monster." Anthony snapped defiantly.
"He's still your father! Don't you dare disrespect his name in this house! You want to do that? Don't come back! How dare you take that tone with me? Do you think you're better than us? Who showed you how to talk to girls or fill out an application? You're nothing without your father!" she yelled.
"He doesn't define us." I said quietly, looking at my mom.
Anthony just looked at me, a look of surprise on his face.
"What did you just say?" our mom asked, slowly getting to her feet.
"Uncle Jonah would tell me that, when he would take me to church. 'Your old man doesn't define you. God does.' I didn't know what it meant then, but I do now." I said, trying my best to sound respectful.
"All your dad tried to do Mike, was make you a man." Mom said, gently shaking her head.
"Beating on me doesn't make me a man. It tears down my self-esteem. It makes me want to kill myself." I said calmly, and noticed Anthony starting to pace.
Mom gasped and sobs broke her silence.
"Why didn't you ever tell me?"
"I didn't tell anybody, Mom."
"Why not? Your father wasn't perfect, but he loved you! You believe he loved you, don't you baby?"
Anthony sighed and shook his head, hearing the hope in her voice.
"He hated my weakness mom. It was killing him. That's why he beat me. He was punishing himself. Everything ugly in him, he saw in me. He couldn't love me, because he couldn't love himself."
Mom slowly came down the steps.
"Why now? WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS NOW?!" she yelled.
"It's because I'm worth loving mom."
My words crumpled her face like a balled up piece of paper. She slumped on the steps and sobbed uncontrollably. Anthony apologized and tried to put his arm around her, but she pushed him away. I also tried, but she embraced me tightly, and then pushed me away. Then she screamed at us to get out. She screamed for us to pack up our stuff and get out. Anthony and I made our way past her, up the steps, and to my room.
"Dude, you need to talk more." Anthony teased, nudging me.
"I hate seeing you and mom fight."
"Yeah, well mom is as unstable as dad."
"She's still our mom, bro."
"What's your point, Mike?"
"She deserves our respect, no matter what."
He sighed and nodded.
"Pack up some stuff. We'll come back for the rest."
"Do you have room?" I asked.
"We'll make room." Anthony insisted.
He sat down on my bed, as I started packing my duffel bag.
"You must have wanted to call so many times. Why didn't you?" he asked.
"I was scared."
"What were you scared of?"
"I was scared dad would kill mom. His dad killed his mom."
"What? How do you know that?"
"Uncle Jonah showed me."
"He showed you?"
"Yeah. They were having dinner, and everything seemed to be going fine. Then their mom and dad got into it over God and the pastor. Their mom went into the living room, and the dad hurried after her. He choked her to death."
"Dad said grandpa died in jail. He never said why he was in there."
"He was ashamed, just like we are of him."
"So, what did he and Uncle Jonah do?"
"Dad rushed his dad, and Uncle Jonah called the cops."
Anthony laughed and shook his head.
"What?" I asked.
"I actually believe you saw him." Anthony said, half to me, and half to himself.
"How's Ealie?" I asked, once I was almost done packing.
"He's in better condition than he was. That fool is stubborn. For some reason, he's determined to live." Anthony sighed, a relieved look coming over his face.
"Maybe I misjudged him..." I muttered, joining him on my bed.
"It's okay, Mike. When you get older you learn that people are complicated." Anthony said, putting his arm around my shoulder.
"Complicated?" I asked.
"Yeah, we all have layers upon layers upon layers." Anthony said, with an amused look on his face.
"I guess onions are complicated too." I joked.
"How so?" Anthony asked.
"They have a lot of deep layers too!"
We both laughed together. When we came down the steps, Mom was passed out on the couch. I hurried over and kissed her on the forehead. Anthony shook his head and smiled. I blushed, as we left out, silently closing the door behind us. I used my key to lock the door.
By the time we got to Anthony's apartment, I was sleep. He nudged me awake and we headed in. I was surprised to see a wheelchair in the living room. I started to ask Anthony about it, but he seemed to be thinking hard about something else. I saw wedding photos of Anthony and his wife. This was the first time I had been over to their apartment. I didn't see any pictures of Mom or Dad or myself at first. I always assumed Anthony was ashamed of us, and his past. I sat down on the couch, while he disappeared into the back.
I spotted a picture of me on the table. It was one of me when I was in the first grade. I had a bright smile, and there seemed to be an eternal fire burning in me. My face was bright, my smile was wide, and I looked like life was the best thing that had ever happened to me. What happened to that boy? When did my light get so dim?
I don't know where the tears came from, but from the way they felt, they had been waiting to fall for some time. I thought it would stop there. I was wrong. It wasn't long before I was choking up sobs. Then I was laughing, angry, and sad all at the same . I wasn't sure what was happening to me!
"God is setting you free," Anthony whispered.
I looked up at him, embarrassed. I started to wipe my eyes, but he quickly grabbed my hands.
"Here, you don't have to be embarrassed or ashamed to be you, Mikey. You don't have to hide anymore, or wish for death. You can live, because Jesus died so that little boy could live!" Anthony whispered.
"He died for me?"
"Yeah. He died for me too."
"What about mom and dad?"
Anthony sighed heavily
"Yeah, he died for them too."
"We can't give up on them, then!"
"I've been praying for them longer than I've been praying for you or Ealie. They just don't get it."
"You don't have to pray for them alone. I can pray for them too."
"They're damaged goods, Mike."
"What good is a Savior, who can't save everyone?"
Anthony chuckled and sat next to me on the couch.
"Do you remember the story of Noah's ark?" he asked.
"What does that have to do with this?" I asked, confused.
"It has more to do with it than you know. Do you remember the story, Mike?" Anthony replied, smiling.
"Yeah. God told Noah to build an ark for people and for animals. He preached to the people to turn from their ways, but they called him crazy. They made fun of him. They wouldn't listen to his warning, because they couldn't see what was coming." I gave in, smiling as I remembered mom reading the story to me.
"Neither could Noah," Anthony explained. "He trusted that God's word was true, and had faith in Him. Mike, the ark represents Jesus. He is the only way to be saved. The world was distracted then, and it is distracted now. Like the people who refused to listen to Noah, and those who refused to listen to Jesus, the world's without hope, unless they listen."
"You make it sound so urgent. You sound scared."
"I am Mike. I'm scared for all those who don't believe in Jesus."
"He's coming back, Mike. Do you remember what happened to the people who didn't get on the ark?"
"They drowned and perished...would God let that happen to mom and dad?"
"No, they're doing that to themselves. Time is not here to waste, Mike. It's His mercy and patience. He's calling his children home."
"How much time do they have?"
"I don't know. No one knows. Not even Jesus knows. Only God knows."
"If there's no time to waste-"
"This is bigger than all of us, Mike."
"I believe God wants to save them." I said, defiantly.
"Yeah, He does," Anthony said, staring off in the distance. "The other choice is theirs. The door to the ark is still open..."