Write Now Literary is pleased to be coordinating a blog tour for Sheryl Grace, author of King, Duke & Prince. Book a tour here. Genre: Contemporary Fiction Publication Date: July 1, 2018 About The Book author’s website About The Author Website | Facebook Excerpt from Chapter 6
Mental health awareness is on the rise, which is a great thing. In a society that expects everyone to keep on a happy face or a "mask", it's a relief that it's finally becoming acceptable to not be okay. I myself battle depression, and over ten years in, I'm still trying to find the "cure" or symptom relief that's best for me. For years, I just wanted meds, without professional therapy, but one doesn't work without the other, for most people.
The point in this post... there is absolutely no shame in getting help.
See this article from BlackDoctor.Org about gospel artist, Michelle Williams, quest for help.
Even gospel artist and first lady, Erica Campbell, admits to attempting suicide as a child.
A great resource that has helped me tremendously is therapy via video chat, there's even one that you can try for free called Maven. Check them out. They cover all types of health and wellness care, specializing in care for women. Use my referral code UVNDZ.
Whatever you need, know that help is available... just speak up. It is really okay, to not be okay!
Give Love At Christmas
A His-Love.Com Short Story
Allyson M. Deese
As told to Isaiah David Paul
Copyright 2018 – Allyson M. Deese
“I don’t care for Christmas parties,” Aja said as she tossed the invitation with the sparkling Christmas tree on top of the pile of papers on her desk that she had to sort through.
The pile seemed to get bigger with an abundance of Christmas and Kwanza cards scattered in one section. Folders with clients’ tax information in a neatly stacked pile were in place on the opposite side of the desk. CD inserts of Mary Mary, Deitrick Haddon and Yolanda Adams were almost lost under some of the devotionals and Bibles she gave out—or used to counsel coworkers in distress. She convicted herself of her slothfulness and promised God for the fourth time today that she was going to get her mess together.
“Aww come on,” her co-worker, Majorie said as she slid her swivel chair into Aja’s work space. The Sofia Vergara fragrance seemed to emit from her pores and overwhelmed the subtle natural scents that Aja had at the corner of her desk. “You know that Gotham throws the best Christmas parties around.”
“That may be true,” Aja said as she sharpened her pencil and resumed work on a client’s tax return whom she was anticipating meeting in the next thirty minutes, “but I don’t do parties.”
“Here we go,” Majorie complained as she parked her chair behind her.
“Yes, here we go,” Aja stared at the giddy young tax preparer that had been called in with her to help process the advances on the rapid anticipation loans so that the customers could have money to go shopping or pay bills. She and Majorie had the same pumpkin spice skin complexion but that was where their similarities ended. Aja’s medium length hair spiraled like bed spring coils, but they complimented her walnut-shaped eyes, sharp nose and full lips. Majorie, in contrast had thin—slanted eyes that concealed the light brown contacts she wore. Majorie had a full nose and thin lips. “I always find myself in some kind of trouble every time I go a party. That’s why I just send cards, I send presents then I go home.”
“Look, it’s not like you are going to go get knocked-up…” Majorie was playing and then she covered her lips. Her eyes grew big and pleaded with Aja not to slap her—for she had not fully thought out her words before she said them.
“Well, since you brought it up,” Aja said as she glanced at the photograph of the young girl who looked to be a younger version of her, “I won’t be getting knocked up at this Christmas party like I did the last party I went to.”
“That was eight years ago,” Majorie cautioned.
“And I was seventeen.” Aja responded shamefully. She glanced at her daughter’s picture again and then turned away. “I have no idea who her father is—I just remember that someone spiked the eggnog and that the mystery man, and I were doing God knows what by time Shayla’s mom came bursting in the den.”
The shame of it all fell upon her again—and the Spirit had to remind her she was forgiven. Aja accepted her forgiveness and tried to hear Marjorie out.
“Well—still come to the party,” Marjorie insisted. “We know you are a church-going-girl and we’ll make sure you don’t drink the eggnog if it’s spiked.” Marjorie grabbed a book with the updated tax laws from Aja’s desk—her way of asking if she could borrow it. “Besides, Gotham is not really that big into drinking and his brothers usually check the coats and the alcohol at the door.”
Aja knew this much to be true. Gotham had talked her into coming to his house for Thanksgiving and she had to admit, his brothers, Bruce and Wayne did what they could to make sure the parties were clean. Aja looked at the time and noticed she had fifteen minutes to finalize the return and have the client’s stuff in order for the check to be cut. Gotham’s party would have to be put on the backburner.
Terell was humming the words to “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” as he washed his hands in the sink. He made sure that the soap had lathered his hands and up to his elbows and that he rinsed off with water before he grabbed a paper towel and dried himself off and tossed the towel in the trash. He used another towel to turn the sink off.
“I can’t believe you hum that song to yourself every time you wash your hands.” Gotham said has he went to the same sink Terell used and began his own cleansing routine.
“You forget that I’m a Med Tech in a nursing facility,” Terell testified, “I always sing or hum the song, so I can make sure I’ve washed long enough. This is the winter time and the last thing I want is to catch a cold.”
“With those ugly Sesame Street scrubs, you got on, I’d be surprised if you didn’t catch something else.”
Terell looked down briefly at his yellow, Big Bird-themed scrub set he got on. He frowned, knowing that it was hard to find scrubs for men at reasonable prices and having to shop off of the discount rack often left him some immature and quite embarrassing pieces to wear. Fortunately for Terell, majority of his elderly clients preferred cartoons and Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood and other similar-themed shows and the clients also liked when the staff wore cartoon-themed scrubs to work.
“The only thing I plan to catch is a good Word from the pastor and some good food in a few days.” Terell said has he pushed the door open with his forearm and then grabbed the black Bible that waited on him in the chair next to the bathroom. He could hear “Chorus of the Bells” playing in the sanctuary.
Gotham hummed along as he followed Terell into one of the small classroom that was near the sanctuary. Both men were members of Guiding Light Ministry Center, which was about a mile from the campus of W. E. B. DuBois College in Asheville, North Carolina. The private HBCU was a couple of blocks from the University of North Carolina-Asheville not too far from Merrimon Avenue, one of the main streets in the city.
Guiding Light Ministry Center was a multi-cultural, non-denominational ministry that had sister churches in almost every major city in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia. The humble ministry was only four years old in Asheville and was the off-shoot of another street-based ministry that had begun in the city a few years back.
Terell grew up in Asheville, being baptized in a large, popular Baptist church and attending one of the many local elementary, middle and high schools. He left for Johnson C. Smith, a HBCU located in Charlotte where he remained up until last year when he had issues with an ex-girlfriend and her family. He’d been friends with Gotham Truss for as long as he could remember and been a staple at many of Gotham’s parties.
Just as Terell put the Bible under his arm, he could feel his shirt vibrating. He pulled out his black, iPhone 7 which was covered in a hard-shell protector. He saw the app for His-Love.com and noticed a red number one on the top right corner. He touched the app and was taken to his inbox where he read his latest message.
TaxTithress: It’s been another day at the office…I finally got my desk clean…see.
Terell clicked on the picture and smiled at how neatly her desk was arranged. He saw the Bibles, daily devotional and gospel CD’s lined up neatly against the right side of Toshiba PC. A picture of a little girl who appeared to be in elementary school was now on the right side. He tried to get a good look at the girl, but the picture wasn’t big enough for him to get a good view. On the left side of the computer, were a few tax and accounting books, along with a bin with various folders in it. The pile that he remembered that she identified earlier as being stacked with clients’ work had disappeared. He began to type back.
M.E.D.T.H.O.D Man: I see you cleaned up nicely. I have some of those CDs on my phone…will have to listen to one of the songs when Bible Study is over in about an hour. Due to client confidentiality I can’t take a picture of the med room I work in. I can tell you there are two cameras in the ceiling that watch everything I do. The medicine cabinets are like the cabinets in the kitchen except they have bins in them with the clients’ names and pictures on them and their medications inside.
I got to hurry up, meeting is about to start. Who is the little girl? Your niece? Talk to you later and God bless.
“Oh my gosh, please tell me you didn’t write her a novel.” Gotham said as he was busy peering over Terell’s shoulder.
“I didn’t send her a novel—and don’t you have a few messages you need to respond to?” Terell asked as he minimized the app and put the phone back into his pocket.
“I’ll get to them when I get to them. It’s not like the ‘ladies’ on His-Love.com are my speed anyway.”
“What is your speed, my brother?”
Terell and Gotham turned around to see Minister Stan Hammer walking behind them. He hadn’t changed from his black and gold polo shirt or loses fitting slacks that concealed his black Sketchers work boots. His company, Christian Cab Ministries was written in-script and in the center of the polo as if it were a major fashion logo. Normally, Minister Hammer wore a black suit, complete with a vest and a tie and a pair of wing-tipped dress shoes.
“My speed is the same speed that God is on.” Gotham responded quickly.
“Yes, lie to me like my clients’ do.” Minister Hammer grabbed Gotham and put him in a headlock and gave him a noogie. “Let’s get in here so Pastor can lead us in the word.”
“You still going to supply cars for the Christmas party aren’t you?” Gotham said as he straightened his shirt.
“I’ll be there.” Minister Hammer said as he stepped into the room. “Make sure no one spikes the punch this time.”
“Yes sir.” Gotham said as he and Terell followed Minister Hammer into the room to begin study of the word.
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