Title: Love Pour Over Me
Publisher: Chistell Publishing
A father and son's estranged relationship threatens to destroy the son's only chance at real love. But is a painful childhood enough to choke a young man's promising future? Love will find and heal the most broken hearted, disappointed, abused and ashamed. Love has come. There is no turning back
It was eight o’clock. Raymond told himself not to but he turned partway and glanced over his shoulder. It was as if he’d suddenly been plagued with dementia, because he forgot the years of abuse heaped upon him with Malcolm’s calloused hands. He wanted Malcolm to walk through the convention center doors sober and real proud like. He wanted Malcolm to be glad to call him his son.
“To the students, as I call out your name, please stand and make your way onto the stage.” Principal Jones flipped through a stack of stapled papers then he pushed his mouth close to the microphone and said slowly, “Sharon Appleseed.”
A loud round of applause, whistling and “way to gos” pierced the air. It went on like that for more than an hour, until all but two students had received a diploma – Raymond and Janice Thompson, a bright sixteen year old who sat in a wheelchair due to spina bifida.
Principal Jones sang Janice’s praises. Hers had been a stellar academic career right from the start. “She’s earned her way onto the Honor Roll every year since the Seventh Grade. She was voted to Girls State by our finest instructors. She has won three presidential academic citations. And,” Principal Jones laughed, “I’m sure her parents appreciate this most. She has earned a full scholarship to Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia.” Principal Jones’ hand went out. “Ladies and gentlemen,” he beamed, “Please stand and congratulate the Class of 1984’s Salutatorian, Janice Thompson.”
Janice pushed the wheelchair toward the stage and everyone stood and applauded wildly. Amid the swell of noise and the sea of people, Raymond looked over his shoulder and searched every face for Malcolm. His gaze darted in a crazed fashion.
Then he felt a tap on his shoulder. It was his friend, Paul. They sat next to each other. “Yo, Man, is your pops coming?”
Raymond turned away from Paul, faced the stage and stood tall, head up, shoulders back.
When Paul tapped him again, he jerked his shoulders hard and shrugged him off.
The auditorium grew quiet.
“And now, it’s time for us to bestow the top honor.” Principal Jones smiled before he said, “This young man has earned high commendations academically and athletically.”
In short intervals, Paul, several members of the track team and Raymond’s high school track coach turned and looked to the back of the auditorium toward the entrance doors. They prayed for Malcolm to show.
“Damn,” Paul muttered when he turned around and faced the stage for the eighth time. He bumped shoulders with the guy who stood next to him. “That asshole ain’t coming.” He lowered his head and his voice. “Ray’s pops ain’t coming.”
“This young man has earned All-City, All-County, All-State and top national honors in cross-country and track and field. In fact, twice he’s been listed as the top high school miler in the country by Sports Illustrated and Track and Field News. He has earned four Presidential academic citations. He’s been on the Honor Roll since the Seventh Grade.” Principal Jones scanned the auditorium for Malcolm. When he didn’t see him, he spoke slower and started to make things up in the hopes that time would become Raymond’s friend.
“I remember when he first came to Baker. He was a scared young man, but not anymore.” He pursed his lips and gave Raymond a nod. “He’s ready to take advantage of the full scholarship his achievements have gained him.” Principal Jones glanced at the doors.
A few students and several parents squirmed in their seats. Some people glanced at their watches as if to say “Come on”.
“He has maintained a 4.0 grade point average since the ninth grade. He hasn’t missed a day of school since the third grade.” The doors demanded his attention again, but no one came through them.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, please congratulate Baker High School’s Class of 1984 Valedictorian, Raymond Clarke.”
Paul clapped until his hands stung. A few students stood in their seats and hollered out, “Go, Ray!” Before long a chant went up. All the students pumped their fists in the air and shouted, “Ray-mond! Ray-mond!”
Raymond’s heart beat wildly in his chest. He clamped his teeth down against his bottom lip and jailed the rising emotion. He extended his hand when he neared Principal Jones’ side.
“Well done,” Principal Jones told him as he handed him his diploma. He patted Raymond’s back. “You did a fine job, Son.” He shook his head, “A fine job.”
The chain lock was on the front door when Raymond got home that night. He jiggled the chain and tried to get it to slide open. When that didn’t work he walked to the back of the house and tried to open the rear door, the one leading to the backyard. He cursed as he realized a chain lock was on the back door as well. Then he looked for an opening. He was in luck. The kitchen window was ajar just enough to allow him entry. He grunted and pushed up. The screen didn’t even bang when it landed in the sink. He crawled through the window like a thief.
When he reached the stairs, he saw a flicker of light coming from the second floor. “Dad,” he called out softly, then louder as he made his way up the stairs. “Dad.”
A newly pressed blue striped suit coat hung across the chair in the corner of his father’s bedroom. The television was turned down so low it sounded like it was humming.
The bed was empty, covers bunched together near the foot. The shade to the room’s one lamp was tilted as if someone had punched it.
Raymond walked across the hall. He started to scream. “Dad?” He ran back down the stairs. “Dad?” he screamed as he made his way through the house.
He saw the shadow, curled and bent like an old man, at his bed’s edge. Silence was his escort into his own room.
Malcolm stood slowly. His body leaned right, from his shoulders to his ankles. His hands were clenched. His eyes were slits. “Why didn’t you tell me?” he demanded. His hands, then his arms and legs quaked. He took heavy Frankenstein-like steps toward Raymond. “Why didn’t you tell me? Why didn’t you tell me?”
When no more than a few inches separated them, Raymond saw the red in his father’s eyes.
Malcolm stepped forward again, and this time, Raymond stepped back. He prepared to duck. “Tell you what?” he stammered. Fear had gone into his body. He felt like, instead of blood, electricity was coursing through his veins.
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“What? What, Dad?” Raymond screamed. “Tell you what?”
Denise Turney is a professional writer who brings more than thirty-two years of book, newspaper, magazine, radio and business writing to a project. She is the author of the books Portia, Love Has Many Faces, Spiral, Rosetta’s Great Adventure, Long Walk Up and Love Pour Over Me. Denise Turney is an internationally celebrated author who is listed in various entertainment and business directories, including industry leaders such as Who’s Who, 100 Most Admired African American Women and Crosswalk. Denise Turney’s works have appeared in Parade, Essence, Ebony, Madame Noire, The Pittsburgh Quarterly and Obsidian II.
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Happy, sad, romantic, and charming are all words that describe this story. Raymond has a terrible home life with his alcoholic abusive father until the day he leaves home without a word and moved far away to go to college. He meets and falls in love with Brenda, finds a relationship with God, and makes true friends. His life is going well… until it’s not. But that is the rest of the story and I’ll not give any spoilers here.
I give this story 4 out of 5 clouds.
This product or book may have been distributed for review; this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.