Tag Archives: Friendship

Who? Me? – Part 1

“It’s going to take a while but I am going to get there.” Melanie was forceful. Melanie was adamant but was she convincing?

“What are you waiting on?” Cynthia was oh too familiar with saying that phrase to her friend.

Melanie dropped her head looking for the imaginary fist that had just punched her in the gut. She pulled in a long…long, long breath through her nostrils before she projected her eyes on to her old friend.

Cynthia recognized the expression projected on to her and worked to decode it, piece by piece. “So you want ‘It’ right?

There was silence on the other end of the conversation. Only bright, round eyes fixed in her direction. “Um, Melanie. Are you in there girlfriend?”

Melanie took another slow breath before exiting her stupor. “Um…” Gulp! “Yeah…um yeah. Of course I want ‘It’.” Her eyes slipped from her friend’s face to the floor tracing the diagonal design of the tiling pattern.

Soon Melanie’s eyes was tracing the design of Cynthia’s shiny leather pumps. Her friend had snuck up on her without any warning. “Guess what Mel. ‘It’ is reachable. You see it, right?”

 

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Learning Anew: An Excerpt VI

“Okay, so I know that this may sound crazy.” His eyes dropped to his shoes and a light escaped from them. “Maybe just a little.” A loose chuckle rolled out of his belly. Johan tried to sound casual though he’d rehearsed this speech several times over in his head. Aniya peered at him, teeth gritted under her pressed lips. Johan’s lashes fluttered. Aniya didn’t make it easy for him but he had to get his words out. “But this isn’t just lip service. You’ve earned every single advance here.”

Aniya was silent. She allowed his words to sink in while she bore her eyes into Johan’s deep set green windows to his soul. She stared searching. Searching for truth. Searching for answers. Eventually she spoke. “Thank you. I should really get back to preparing that report for your fath…for Mr. Steinberg Sr. Excuse me.” Aniya spun around easily and quickly. One foot after the other, aiming for the door. Suddenly she heard footsteps behind her and she could feel Johan’s soft, warm breath on her neck. “One more thing. Am I forgiven?”

Time seemed to come to a screeching halt. Aniya reversed her direction slowly. She was face to face with Johan again. Even closer this time. Her round bright brown eyes grew, and grew till it formed a small protruding, shiny bulge. “Please Mr. Steinberg. Please.” 

Johan’s throat tightened. His heart drummed an energetic rhythm. He raised his hand in an attempt to cover it. Not again! He swore that his heart was on fire. He wanted to take her hand. He wanted to say he only wanted what was best for her. Instead he heard the soft, pleading tone of her voice. “I love this job too much.” She whipped around again and reached for the door handle. Aniya shot through the exit with force.

Johan was tempted to follow her. Tempted to spew every last detail lodged in his heart. But he couldn’t. Not yet anyway. There was too much at stake.

 LearningANewVI-1 (2)

 

 

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Messages From Beyond The Moon I: I’m All In It…

Hey you.

Yes, you.

I’ve been thinking about you.

Oh, you didn’t realize that I think about you? Well, it’s like all the time.

I think about how you try to be the picture of perfection working to hold everything together. Trying to prove your strength.

I think about your late night cries cause you think no one gets you…really gets you.

No one but Me.

I think about your desires to reach for the stars, that sometimes gets clouded by mists of anxiety.

I think about so much when it comes to you. But what I have been thinking about a lot lately is getting you too see and fully embrace just how much I want to walk through life with you.

How much I want to be in the midst of whatever you’re dealing with, working towards, or fighting against-inwardly or outwardly-to get you to where you’re supposed to be.

To get you to a sweet place of rest where you don’t just step forward but you soar.

Hey you. I’m closer than you think.

I’m all up in everything concerning you.

What you got? Bring it on. I can handle it.

Emotional? Physical? Financial? I got this. Seriously, I do!

Lay it on me. The whole gigantic pile of mess.

Let’s walk through it together.

And when you look into the mirror and everything isn’t picture perfect, please don’t be hard on yourself.

It’s a process you know?

Yeah. It. Is.

Even if you think you should be beyond this point. It is a process.

Lighten up.

Lean on me, and lighten up.

So what you got? I’m all in it.

~God.

ImAllUPInIt (2)

 

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Life Passages XXIV – Reality Check

“I’m not sure about this Devon. About being here.” Madeleine spoke in hush tones leaned in close to Devon’s ear. They warmed a couch at the edge of the room of Emmanuel’s parents basement. Emmanuel got the Agape youth group together for the monthly game night. Devon managed to convince Madeleine to join him and Samantha there, but he wasn’t as successful  with getting her to take part in any of the activities that was happening in the center of the room. Devon turned toward Madeleine only slightly. His eyes remained fixed on the intrigue encircling the friendly card game across the room. “Why not Mads? Don’t you like to have fun?” He whispered near her ear jokingly.

Madeleine’s eyes shot back and forth nervously “I do…I do like to have fun but…but this isn’t my…” Madeleine’s words were broken in to by the shadow of a medium built, tall Emmanuel, trimmed with perfectly groomed facial hair. “Madeleine, right?” Madeleine’s head rose slowly, her apprehensive eyes cast on Emmanuel’s olive face. “Um…me? Ahem…Yes…ah yes I’m Madeleine.” Emmanuel’s smile was close to igniting the basement. His left hand quickly rose to motion a wave. “Hey Madeleine. I’m Emmanuel. Finally a proper introduction.” He chuckled and shot Devon a playful look but Devon was not so playful in that moment. “So, there’s a game of Pictionary that’s about to get started and it has your name all over it Madeleine.” His grin was infectious and Madeleine was affected. Her lips slowly curled upward. “Pictionary? Me?” Her mouth grew a full smile now.

Devon looked on, guarded. His eyes closely mapped the evolution of the dialogue taking place next to him. A splash of agitation filled his eyes. “Mads you know…you know you don’t have to if you don’t want to.” If ever there was the award for the best poker face of the year, Devon would be nominated for trying terribly hard to wear one just then. Emmanuel on the other hand remained a beacon of joy. It shouldn’t be possible but it appeared that his grin became even larger. “He’s right Madeleine. It’s up to you. But I have a strange feeling this is your game.” Madeleine was blinded by Emmanuel’s smile and she couldn’t help but form a larger one herself. She took a break from absorbing Emmanuel’s light to look at Devon. She couldn’t find any true identifiable expression there so she took a few more moments to read his face more closely. Soon she gave up, drew a deep breath then returned her attention to Emmanuel. Is this guy always this happy? Always this…this…I guess, nice? She chuckled softly and glanced at Devon again. Well Devon wants me to have fun, so what the heck!

“I’m in.” Madeleine locked eyes with Emmanuel. He reached for her hand  “Partners then, Madeleine?” She allowed him to take it and stood. “Alright.” Madeleine walked away leaving Devon on his feet, dumbfounded. His wide eyes bounced from Madeleine’s hand in Emmanuel’s to them meeting up with the rest of the Pictionary players, and Emmanuel making the introductions. Suddenly Samantha appeared next to Devon. She slapped him on the shoulder. “See? I told you Devon. This is what she needed.” Devon’s head slowly swiveled toward Samantha. He gazed at her speechless, for a long thirty seconds – or so  – before responding. “Um…ah…I guess…I guess so?” His voice trailed off into a whisper before Devon turned again to fix his stare on Madeleine and Emmanuel. Okay Lord. We need to talk.

LPRealityCheck2 (4)

 

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Life Passages XXIII – Truth Outspoken

“Devon this important!” Devon circled Samantha, each arm loaded up with boxes containing paraphernalia to re-stock the shelves at his Grandpa Solomon’s eclectic book and comic store. “Devon. Did you hear me? ”

Devon allowed one box to slip to the floor then laid the others down. He began unloading them but he still had not given Samantha any eye contact, though very aware of her presence. “Sam, I hear you. Really.” A soft chuckle levitated from his gut to his lips. “You do see that I am busy here, right?” Devon emptied his other arm and stood straight, facing Samantha with a playful grin. “What’s so urgent sista?”

“It’s Mads…I mean Madeleine…I don’t know. She doesn’t seem to care for me…We were shopping…she stomped off…” Samantha rattled on, pulling from her memory rapidly while trying to paint Devon an accurate picture. Devon’s eyes darted back and forth, and up and down trying to keep track with-what he interrupted as Samantha’s gibberish-and her energetic gestures. “Whoa! Slow down already. What the heck are you talking about?”

Samantha dropped to the wooden floor of the antiquated shop and crossed her legs. Devon’s eyes dropped down with her and began to fill with concern. Soon Devon was on the floor facing Samantha and sitting crossed legged like she was. “Okay Sam. Take a good deep breath and try again.” Samantha nodded at Devon then sat as straight as a needle to suck in a long hollow breath.

Samantha released it slowly. “Okay. So I asked Madeleine to go shopping with me today. I thought it would be good for her…” Devon spitted out a raucous laugh. “Good for her, or for you Sam? You d0 have a weakness you know.” Samantha was not amused by the comment.

“Not now Devon. Seriously.” Samantha’s eyes burrowed into Devon, almost burning right through his own. His shoulders tensed then straightened. Lighthearted Samantha was clearly burdened with her message. He leaned in again and dug his elbows into his crossed thighs. “Okay Sam. I’m all ears. What happened?”

A light puff of air slowly emitted from her nose and Samantha allowed herself to smile. Just a little. “Okay. So. I really thought Madeleine needed a friend…” Devon’s eyes grew to the size of tennis balls. Well almost. Samantha couldn’t hide the giggle that launched from her body. “Don’t be like that Devon.” Samantha pressed her lips together, puckered them out, then cocked her head to one side. “You don’t get to have absolute claim on  Madeleine you know. Especially when…” Samantha leaned back and contemplated her next words. Devon stared at her, anticipating the content of the thoughts churning in her head.

“Especially when what Sam? Just say it.” Devon leaned into Samantha’s personal space anxious to know her thoughts. She leaned away from him even further. “Okay. Okay. Chill a second. I’m not sure you’re ready to hear this.” Devon’s arms flew half-way into the air. “What? What does that mean? Isn’t this about Mads?”

Samantha fidgeted, adjusting her seating on the book store floor. She needed to be absolutely comfortable to deliver her next line. “Um…ahem…Devon…Devon I think you need to be very careful with Madeleine. She’s had enough happen to her. She doesn’t need you confusing her.”

Devon’s wide eyes matched his gapped mouth. “Wha…Serious…Samantha, are you for real? Confusing Mads? Me? How?” Samantha gave Devon the head tilt, puckered lips, complemented with piercing eyes this time. She looked at him. Staring. Bearing into his soul until she was satisfied that his heart was suitably prepared for her next round of candid deductions. “Devon, you’ve done a good thing. You’ve befriended someone who…who it looks like had given up on people. But you’ve got to be careful. Don’t ‘dine and dash’…”

Devon raised one hand and put his palm up near Samantha’s face. “Wait. Stop. Stop the madness. ‘dine and dash’? When have I done that?” Devon shook his head violently trying to make Samantha’s words make sense.

She reached over and gently placed her hand on Devon’s arm. “Calm down. All I’m saying is, be a friend. We’ve been just that for years. But if you’re thinking of being anything else…” Samantha  paused and took in a sharp breath. “…Madeleine can’t handle anymore disappointments, at the very least. Please be careful.”

Devon sat back, firmly on his tail bone. He crossed his arms and looked down at the polished wooden floor his grandfather waxed twice a week. His eyes traced every crease and crevice. Samantha sat patiently across from her friend, allowing him to mull over her words. Eventually Devon inhaled deeply then spoke. “Thanks Sam. I hear ya. I haven’t really thought about it to be honest, but I could tell…Well, I could tell she has a story.” Samantha nodded in agreement but doesn’t interject.

Devon slapped his thigh and laughed. “I can bet on you being brutally honest with me.” His smile fell off and a pensive expression took its place. “I am certainly going to pray about all of it.”

Samantha grinned and jumped to her feet. “Good! Cause there’s a real, live, breakable heart at stake here.” Devon was right behind her and on his feet too. His lips formed a warm smile. “Got it Sam!” Samantha smiled back and turned her attention to the boxes near Devon’s feet. “Need help?”  she asked. “Girl, do I? Come on.” Laughter exploded between them and they got to work.

LPSpokenTruth1 (3)

 

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Life Passages XXII – It Runs Deep

“What about this one?” Samantha pointed to a bright fuchsia dress with thick straps that wrapped over the front, with an uneven hem.  1-2-3-4—15 seconds later, Samantha still  heard no response. She turned her head in the opposite direction to face Madeleine and noted her gapped mouth, matching her wide-set stare. “What. What is it? You don’t like it?” rolled off Samantha’s tongue in rapid succession. She was fearful that she hadn’t gotten Madeleine’s approval.

Madeleine’s lips slowly came together and clasped close. Why does she even care what I think? She would look stunning in a paper bag. And why…why did she even ask me to come shopping with her? Madeleine eventually managed to forge a smile. “Ah…ah it’s pretty. I’m sure you…” Madeleine scratched the left edge of her forehead. “I’m sorry. Why do you even care what I think again?”

Madeleine’s honesty near toppled Samantha over and it shone through her eyes. “Wha…what do you mean why do I care?” Samantha swung the dress over her arm and slammed her hand against her hip. “Mads…” Madeleine’s eyes grew as large as dinner plates. No one other than Devon had called her that before. Well her parents on occasion but no one outside her home, and certainly not Samantha. Um, what did she call me?

Samantha broke into Madeleine’s thoughts. “Look Mads, are we cool? I thought we were cool.” Madeleine nodded. She actually appreciated Samantha being candid with her. “We’re cool. I mean, I am cool…being here is cool but…” Samantha was ready to get down to the crux of the matter. “Well what is it then?” she discharged anxiously. Madeleine swallowed so hard her larynx almost slid down into her stomach.  “Samantha, why exactly did you ask me to come shopping with you?” Madeleine took a half step back and with both hands pointed to her jeans, graphic t-shirt and generic grey and white running shoes. “I mean, I’m not exactly a fashionista.” Samantha began to chuckle then released a full belly laugh. What the heck? Madeleine looked around embarrassed about the commotion she was partly responsible for.

“What’s so funny Samantha?” Madeleine tried her best to whisper under the circumstances but it was a pure waste of time. Samantha couldn’t hear a thing over her own outpour of cackles. Madeleine’s face felt warm and began to turn a light shade of red. “I don’t think it’s very ‘Christian’ of you to laugh at the way I dress!” Samantha almost choked on her last snicker. “Ahem.” Samantha smiled, grabbed hold of Madeleine’s wrist and pulled her back toward the changing rooms. She frantically found one and hurriedly ushered Madeleine into it. Once they were in, Madeleine turned and looked at Samantha as though she was captured by a crazed serial killer. “What on God’s green earth is going on with you Sam…” Samantha put her both arms up in the air. “Hang on, hang on. I’m not crazy.” Samantha lit up the room with a wide grin. “Crazy fun, yes! But not just crazy.”

Madeleine didn’t see the humor in any of it. Instead, she was part angry and part scared “So what’s this all about?” Samantha allowed her face to settle into a sweet smile for a short moment then she took a deep breath. “Madeleine, I asked you to come shopping with me cause I ah, I mean, I like your style. I like your personality. I just like you.” Madeleine wasn’t won over just yet. More like a little weirded out instead. She scanned Samantha carefully. Every possible inch of her. Then she focused her attention on her eyes, trying to read them for any clues about Samantha’s authenicity…or not.

Soon enough Madeleine began to share her thoughts with Samantha. Thoughtfully and slowly “Look Samantha…” She did not dare call her Sam. Not today. “…I’m just going to be straight with you. Since I moved here with my family, I’ve met girls who’ve wanted to ‘chill'” Madeleine grew very animated with air quotation marks and all. “But I got burned. I’ve even been to jail.” Samantha’s mouth fell open. Madeleine continued. “Yes. Jail. Me.” Samantha lowered her head briefly, then leaned back against the dressing room partition and gave Madeleine her undivided attention again. “I was desperate to fit in then, but not anymore. Even my friendship with Devon has had major ups and downs.” Samantha slung a gigantic smile in Madeleine’s direction. “What. What’s that face for?” Madeleine became antsy. Samantha just continued to smile, but no words came from her end. “What Samantha? I mention Devon, and you light up like a Christmas tree. What’s that about?”

Samantha leaned off of the dressing room partition, stepped toward Madeleine and placed her hands gently on her shoulders. “Mads it’s nothing. Really. I mean no harm. Any friend of Devon’s is a friend of mine. I just wanted to shop.”

Madeleine stepped back until she bumped into the closed dressing room door behind her. She glared at Samantha for what appeared to be thirty minutes, to an hour but was closer to a minute in reality. “Trust is hard for me to cough up these days. So if you’re not going to be honest with me, I can’t trust you. I never will. Goodbye Samantha!” Madeleine flung open the dressing room door and stomped out like a thoroughbred out of the starting gates at the Kentucky Derby.

Samantha looked on, amazed at what she had just witnessed. “Sweet Jesus!” She breathed a loud whisper. “Her wounds run deep.” She dropped her head, defeated.

LPBreakdown4B

 

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Life Passages XXI – The Inevitable

“Um, thanks Mads…ah,thanks for agreeing to move the conversation outside the coffe shop. You know with Sam dropping in like that and all.” Devon displayed a wide, but nervous grin as he looked across at Madeleine sitting next to him on the bench at their familiar spot in the park. “This way, no more distractions, right?” His smile managed the impossible and widened even more.He nodded, expecting a response but Madeleine looked straight ahead. She didn’t smile. She couldn’t. Her stomach was a ball of knots. She knew the impending dialogue was inevitable but that didn’t make it any easier.

“O-kay-ay Mads. This can’t be good. You don’t want your face to get stuck like that do you?” Devon was partly joking and partly concerned. Madeleine finally broke free from her worrisome bubble. She turned to face Devon. “Huh…what? I missed something didn’t I? What?” Laughter came bubbling out of Devon. “You are one of the funniest…and ah…by that I mean one of the most interesting people I know Mads.” Devon pressed on his stomach with one hand and folded, almost all the way, over laughing. A puzzled look formed over Madeleine’s face. “I don’t get what’s so funny.” Madeleine watched Devon’s body energetically rock and shake for a moment. “Nope. Still don’t get it.”

Devon straightened up and worked to control his outburst. “Okay, okay. I guess I’ll just keep it to myself.” He sat still long enough to look into Madeleine’s eyes, searching them for some inkling of what was stirring in her mind. “Okay, so let’s talk. Really talk Mads.” Madeleine turned toward Devon and her eyes locked on to his. She sucked in a long, deep breath then released it slowly. “Okay Devon, let’s talk.” Devon nodded, not taking his eyes off of Madeleine.

“Ahem. Okay, let’s see. Where do I start?” Madeleine fidgeted with her clothes and sat up straight like a pin. ” You asked why I cut you off…or was avoiding you.” Madeleine fidgeted once more. “Ahem. Well, you see…um, the thing is…” Madeleine shook her head vigorously attempting to reset her thought pattern. “Breathe Mads. Breathe.” Devon leaned toward her. Madeleine looked up at the lean but muscularly built young man who sat slightly higher than she did. “I’m breathing. Really, I am.” She forced a smile. “You see the thing is, meeting you in our school library was a…well a blessing. I see that now. You were a lot nicer to me than the other kids I met when I started that school.” She looked down at her legs briefly and crossed them in an “X”. “Then all of a sudden I hang out with you, Samantha and your friends and I begin to feel all kinds of…ah, strange.”

Devon’s forehead wrinkled and his eyes drew closer together. “Strange? There’s that word again. Strange how?” Madeleine cleared her throat elaborately, delaying the rest of the talk. “Ahem, ahem, ahem. Well…well, I began to think that…that just maybe I was jealous of Sam…” Devon sat straight up. “Jealous? What ever the heck for? Samantha likes you…” Madeleine turned her entire body toward Devon and leaned slightly toward him. “I know! That’s the thing, she’s great! Friendly. And I can tell genuine. All your friends were  really.” Devon’s arms flap around as he becomes very animated. “So why are you jealous Mads?” Madeleine didn’t respond right away. She settled back into her side of the bench and looked straight ahead in silence for what seemed like an eternity. Devon stared at her from his end the entire time. Eventually he broke the silence. “Mads? The truth will set you free, you know.” He tried to joke.

“Are you and Samantha like…like a couple Devon?” Madeleine spitted it out then covered her mouth with one hand. Devon’s eyes widened and filled with trepidation. “Is that why you’re jealous? You think Samantha is my girlfriend?” Devon swiveled his upper body to sit straight ahead too. Both Madeleine and Devon sat in silence, staring straight ahead for a few moments. Devon decided to disturb the silence. “Um so…um, what do we do now? I mean…” Madeleine’s neck whipped around and her mouth dropped open. “What do you mean, what do we do now?” Devon turned slowly toward Madeleine again. “You’re jealous, you think Sam’s my girl…” Madeleine leaned in toward Devon and hurled the burning question. “So is she?”

Devon began to laugh so loudly that it’s guaranteed the occupants of all the neighboring homes around the park heard it. A large eyed Madeleine looked at Devon in horror. The more she looked, the more he laughed. Soon she bounced to her feet. “Great! Laugh on but I’m not going to stick around and be embarrased.” Devon’s laughter was immediately cut short. He jumped to his feet and tugged on Madeleine’s wrist, as gently as was possible, to prevent her from walking away. “Mads. Mads, come on. Sam is not my girlfriend. Old friends since almost birth. That’s all.” Madeleine slowly pulled her wrist out through Devon’s grasp and looked down at her beige ballet shoes. “Oh.”

Devon made one step forward but remained a polite distance from Madeleine. He looked down at his new friend who was still staring down at her shoes.” Mads believe me, if I ever have a girlfriend you will be the very first to know. Deal?” Madeleine allowed her head to rise slowly with a smile. “Deal.”

LPTheInevitable1 (2)

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