Wednesday, February 27, 2008

EXCERPT: This Thing Called Love

This Thing Called Love

by Linda Wattley

Leona Tillard has been told her whole life she have a serious calling to be a healer. But to Leona, she is still that damaged child molested by her father. As she comes to learn God is truly not a worldly experience but an experience beyond it, she ventures into realms of reality that her loved ones do not know anything about. To them, she is sleeping but there is much more going on than sleep. In the meantime, someone is taking advantage of Leona’s gift to heal. As a result, all hell breaks loose to bring her enemies to righteousness. The question of love always asks, should I stay or go. That is the private questioning of Leona’s heart as she witness her husband transform into a different person other than the person she married right before her eyes. It appeared some form of darkness took out his light. A family eventually explains why love was never enough.

This Thing Called Love reveals God manifesting in the heart of a molested angel and restoring the years of the locusts. He meets her right where she is. Her honest communication with Him opened the door for her to be set free from the demons of her past. Eloquently, the spirit of her being rises and transforms her total being to light and she welcomes fulfilling God’s dream in her life. The healing takes place when she learns God was there from the time she was born. She went looking for God to confront Him on how He does things; in the end, she fell in love with Him and wanted to share God with the world.

Chapter Twenty-Three

Sarah and I ended our conversation leaving me with a serious reality check about what made me who I am. As I lay stretched across the bed, my mind went back over our whole conversation. I still could not understand why she was so strong and I was so weak. That thing about trust consumed my mind as I searched for understanding of its significance in life. How could I so easily give my naked body to someone I didn’t trust?

When I was a child and I wanted to escape the world, I found a place in myself to go and be safe and at peace. That unseen and untouched world was my reality. I didn’t need anybody there. Coming back to the real world, I never identified myself with a body. It was only a means of being among other people. Trust was not an issue because I didn’t give my true self away. The world only received the self it made. That person was not valuable to me so I used her to make other people happy since that is what she was programmed to do by Bruce. He wanted her body especially her private parts and he got it. Her reward was a smile and a deep exhale because he was pleased.

The next morning, I woke up by the sun shinning through the bedroom window. I rolled over and there Sarah lay on the other side of the bed.

“Girl, when did you come in here?”

“Right after you fell asleep.”

“It has been a long time since I’ve slept next to someone I loved. I hope you didn’t mind.”

“It’s no big deal. Maybe that’s why I slept so well myself. Since Nate died I’ve slept alone. “

“What are we going to do today, Leona?”

“You know I got to get back to my son and my friend.”

“Speaking of her, I can’t believe she is Bruce’s daughter. You talk about a small world? What are the chances of something like that happening?”

“I know when I met her in the service; I felt it was something unusual about her. We hit it off pretty easy when we met. I don’t know if it was because we had the same name or what.”

“The good thing is she found her long lost father.”

“This is true. Unfortunately, it turned out to be Bruce,” I said as I began to remember his unlawful touches to my body.

“Are you ever going to tell her about our games with Bruce?” Sarah asked as she sat up on the bed.

“I don’t think so. Bruce seems to have changed over the years. I don’t want to be the one who turn her long search to find her father into a nightmare.”

“You’re right. I want to take you to breakfast before you go.”

“Alright, we can do that.”

Sarah and I got dressed and drove into the parking lot of Bob Evans restaurant. It was only 8:30 in the morning and the parking lot was filled with cars and several out of town church buses. Two of the buses were all the way from Mississippi. As I turned around after shutting the passenger door to Sarah’s car, someone walked up to me and shouted, “Hallelujah!”

“Amen!” I responded not knowing what else to say.

“I remember you! You’re that healer who healed my daughter.”

“Sorry, I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said trying to speed up my walk.

“Who is she, Leona? Is everything all right?” Sarah asked as she walked over to my side of the car.

“Yeah, she thinks she’s seen me before.”

“Honey come over here you’re not going to believe whose here!”

The next thing I knew a strange man was shaking my hand uncontrollably.

“Lord have mercy, it’s the healer. Thank you for healing our daughter.”

“Leona, what are they talking about?” Sarah asked.

“I kind of have this gift that’s all.”

By the time we opened the door to enter Bob Evans; the couple who recognized me had told everybody the healer was here. The crowd of churchgoers from Mississippi surrounded me and left me no space to move. Sarah was lost in the crowd as she tried to stay close to me.

Someone was standing behind me and put their arms around me and whispered in my ear.

“I love you.”

Immediately, I turned around and our eyes met. It just couldn’t be happening. In the mist of the crowd, praising God, Doug appeared with a smile from heaven. When I saw Doug I almost fainted as he caught me before I lost my balance.

“Doug, is it really you?”

“Yes, it’s me baby. How are you doing?”

“I don’t know. These people are treating me like I’m some kind of saint or something.”

“You healed a lot of people when you came to Mississippi. That is not something people forget.”

As I began to remember my experience in Mississippi my head started spending because it reminded me of losing Nate. Becoming fearful and out of touch with reality, I began to yell Sarah’s name.

“Sarah! Where are you?”

Sarah forced her way through the crowd of people and grabbed me by the hand and guided me out of the restaurant. Once we were back outside, I broke down and started crying. Sarah put her arms around me and led me to sit on the bench near the entrance of the restaurant.

“What’s the matter, Leona?”

“Did you see that man in there that was hugging me?”
“Yeah I saw him. What about him?”

“That’s Doug. We were going to get married but something happened. Then, I met Nate.”

“So why are you crying?”

“I don’t know. These people are from Mississippi and Nate died while we were down there. I can’t take anymore. I don’t want to see Doug right now. Take me to Najeè.”

“What are the chances of you seeing Doug again? Don’t you want to at least say good-bye?”

“I can’t go back in there. Would you tell him I’m not well and will call him later?”

“Ok, let me get you back to the car.”

Sarah went back into Bob Evans and found Doug in the mist of the crowd. She told him I wasn’t feeling well and told him good-bye. Doug followed Sarah to the car ignoring every word she said.

“Leona, it’s me Doug. You know I can’t let you go that easy.”

“Sorry Doug, but you are bringing back too many memories for me right now. I have to sort things out before I go crazy.”

“Calm down baby. I’m shocked too. When I saw you, I felt it was God answering my prayers.”

As I began to relax, Doug became more of a welcoming presence as I reached my arms out to embrace him. Sarah walked away from the car and turned her back towards us. Unexpectedly my eyes closed as my head dropped on his shoulder. Our embrace was renewing my strength and calming my thoughts.

“Leona, what are we going to do? I believe we are destined to be together.”

“I don’t know, Doug. I just know right now I feel so much better. I’m afraid you’ve caught me venerable.”

“That does not mean you can’t love me. Let’s not talk anymore. I’m going to let you go and hope you want me one day.”

“I never stopped loving you.”

Doug gently covered my lips with the tips of his fingers so I would not say another word and turned and walked away.

“Are you alright, Leona?”

“No, I want to go home.”

“What about our breakfast date?”

“Sorry Sarah, I don’t want to be around people right now.”

“I’m not people. I am Sarah.”

“I know.”

“Tell you what, I’ll cook us some breakfast and take you to Bruce’s house as soon as we’re done eating.”

“Ok, I can handle that.”

We had breakfast and arrived at Bruce’s house near noon. I put on my happy face because I didn’t want anybody to question me.

“Sarah it was so nice seeing you. You got to come to Indiana.”

“You mean that?”

“Of course, come spend time with Najeè and me. You have a pencil and paper in that mean purse of yours? Write down my number and address.”

“Ok, I have it.” Thanks, Leona.

Ok sis stay as you are.”

“I’m going to let you go.” Sarah said as her eyes began to become teary.

“Come here Sarah, give me a hug,” I said as I held her tightly with all the love I had for her.

“I love you.”

“I love you more,” I said as I waved good-bye.

Leona, Najeè and I gathered our belongings together and loaded up the car and headed back to Indiana. Leona looked a little sad leaving Bruce. Finally I see someone in his life yearning to be in his presence without judging him.

“Thanks for bringing me, Leona. I feel I can go on with my life. I believe my mom can rest in peace now.”

“That’s good. It was a good trip for me too. Looks like Najeè had a good time. He’s already sleep.”

“Sabrina and Najeè played together all day and most of the night. She is such a sweet little girl. She really loves Bruce.”

“Oh yeah, it doesn’t surprise me. Everybody loves Bruce.”

“Do you love him? You make me wonder if something happened between you two.”

“Why would you ask me something like that?”

“I don’t know. It just seems like you’re not that comfortable around him.”

“I love him. He was the only father I knew for a long time. When I found my real daddy, Bruce and I kind of grew apart. We’ve already talked about this. You act like I’m lying about something.”

“That’s not my feelings at all. Sorry if I made you think that. I just thought you would have been more comfortable around him, that’s all. I guess what I want to say is, if you don’t want to be around him I can plan to visit him again on my own without bothering you.”

“He is your father. That makes sense to me. Now that I’ve visited him, I will probably check on him more often.”

“Yeah, he’s my father. I don’t know when I will call him that. One day I will. I’m sure.”

As I drove down the street not far from home I began to feel a need to have Nate still in my life. The driving up the driveway almost made me cry. I just didn’t feel like crying so I forced my emotions to back down and leave me alone.

Leona stayed the night and left the next morning for home. That first night alone with Najeè in the house was very difficult. I doubled my blankets and rolled my body up in them and got Najeè in his blanket and watched television until he fell asleep.

About nine o’clock that night the phone rang. It was my parents calling me to see why we didn’t come to Columbus while we were in Ohio.


“Leona I can’t believe you didn’t at least call us while you were in Akron.”

“I was bringing Leona to meet Bruce. Najeè and I will be visiting again later.”

“That doesn’t tell me why you didn’t call or give us a chance to see you.”

“Mom, I guess I’m embarrassed.”

“Embarrassed about what?”

“When Nate was living, I let him keep me away from you. I’m sorry.” I cried.

“It’s ok. We understood more than you realized. Leona, don’t you ever think we are not here for you. If you need us, we will be there.”

“I don’t deserve it.”

“You are our child and will always be our baby. You and Najeè are not alone in this world. If you want to come back home, your daddy will come get you.”

I held the phone speechless. It was like the dawning of understanding love was coming to light. My heart warmed with feelings that made me feel special. My parents love me more than I ever understood.

“Are you all right?”

“Yes, Mom I’m ok. Thanks for loving me.”

“Always, baby and don’t you ever forget it.”

“How’s Daddy?”

“He’s been working hard as usual, but doing fine. How is my grandson?”

“Najeè is doing ok. He played with Sarah’s daughter while we were at Bruce’s house.”

“Oh, Sarah does have a child. I forgot about that”

“Yeah and she is a cute little girl.”

“Did she get married?”

“No, but she seems to be doing very well on her own,” I said.

“Leona a friend of mine has heard a lot about her. Do you know how she is managing to do so well?”

“She kind of told me she has older men who give her money.”

“That’s not all. She is a big time drug runner for the most powerful drug dealer in Akron and Cleveland.”

“That’s not true.”

“I wouldn’t lie to you.”

“Nobody called her or knocked on her door the whole time I was there.”

“You don’t get it. She must have sacrificed a lot spending time with you.”

“Mom, I’m sorry but I think there has to be some kind of mistake. Sarah isn’t that kind of person.”

“If you don’t want to believe it, you don’t have to believe it. I’m telling you because I don’t want you caught up in any mess.”

“She didn’t seem like she was worried about anything.”

“She probably wasn’t. You can’t worry about anything doing that kind of stuff. I hear she do drugs too, Leona.”

“No way does she do any drugs.”

“Yes, Leona, Sarah is a coke head.”

“Mom, she wasn’t doing any drugs while I was with her.”

“I told you now what you do with the information is on you.”

“You know your brother just had another baby.”

“No, he and Jennifer are still together?”

“Yeah, you know she loves her some Dennis.”

“How are they doing?”

“They live here in Columbus. They brought a nice house. He still has issues, but he is with his family.”

“Mom I’m sorry I questioned you about Sarah. I know you wouldn’t lie to me.”

“No I wouldn’t. I felt you had a right to know.”

“I really enjoyed her while I was there.”

“That’s nice. You just be careful in the future when you come to Akron.”

“I will. Love you, Mom.”

“Love you, too. Goodnight.”

“Goodnight Mom.”

I helped Najeè off the couch and got him in bed. I needed to pour me a glass of wine and go to my own room. So much was heard and my mind needed to place my rampant thoughts.

Of course Sarah was on my mind. As I visualized her presence in my mind, I now see why she appeared so strong. She wasn’t feeling too much of anything. Looking into her eyes now I see I was the only sign of emotional reactions to life Sarah had. Even when we would talk about her daughter she seemed estranged to the reality of bonding. Was I in fact the last love her heart ever felt?

This thing called love seem to demand meaning if we are to embrace one another. Even though I supposedly abandoned Sarah, she still loves me. My parents love me although I abandoned them to please Nate. Doug’s love for me has never reduced its fire not one degree over the years. Why do they love me? Better still, what is it that keeps me special in their lives? Trust does not seem to have anything to do with it. I’ve proven to let them down and cause them grief. Help me Lord to understand.

“Mommy, I want my daddy,” Najeè cried as he crawled into my bed.

“I want him too,” I said as the tears slowly flowed from eyes.

That night I held Najeè in my arms as we both fell asleep. Holding him close to me reminded me of how much I loved my son and as I felt the depth of that love I understood why I am so loved. When you love someone you accept that person has a place in your heart that external circumstances cannot move.

About twelve o’clock that night as I gently moved away from Najeè to stretch him out on Nate’s side of the bed, the phone rang. Through the darkness I managed to put my hand on the phone.



“Yes, this is Leona.”

“Do you know who this is?”

Laying in the dark hearing only the strong pounding of a racing heart and the suave voice on the phone, I was finally able to speak the name.


“Are you sure about that?”

“Yes. You know I could never forget you.

“I want you and Najeè to come home. I don’t want to live without you anymore.”

The words silenced me as I searched my heart to see how it felt. I didn’t know what to say. It was like a dream and I couldn’t speak.

“Leona, please talk to me.”

“I am trying so hard to answer you. I don’t know what to say.”

“Say you will marry me and make me the happiest man in the world.”

I heard a loud sound in the living room as my front door was kicked in. “Tony you have to call 911!”

Najeè went to the restroom and I had to get to him. As I ran into the living room, three men dressed in all black clothing and stockings pulled over their faces were throwing my furniture all over the room as though they were looking for something.

“Oh my God, please don’t hurt my son!” I yelled as I reached out for Najeè as he ran into my arms.

“We just want what’s ours.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Sarah was here and she has our stuff.”

“Sarah does not live here. She has never been to my house before.”

One of the men grabbed me by my arm and threw Najeè on the couch and held a gun to my face.

“You just told a lie. We followed her here last night. Either you tell us where she and our stuff are or your son will be missing a mother.”

“He just lost his father for Christ sake. I swear to you. Sarah has never been to my house.” I cried as I lost my balance and fell back on the couch. That’s when I heard a voice.

“Don’t hurt them. I’ll give you what you want.”

“Sarah, how did you get here?”

“I’ll explain everything later.”

One of them grabbed her by the arm. “You better have it all or you are a dead woman.”

“Here take it. Leave my family alone.”

Sarah handed the man a black briefcase. With tears in her eyes she turned away from me.

“Get in the car, Sarah. The Big Man wants to see you. You better be glad he likes you.”

“I’m not going back.”

“Sarah, you know you are. Stop being stupid!”

“I can’t live like this anymore.”

“You tell him yourself. I’m not dying for you.”

The other two men who hadn’t spoken a word grabbed Sarah and carried her out the house while the other man carried the briefcase.

“Sorry this is strictly our business. Here take this money and get your door fixed,” he said tossing me a stack of bills.

By then Najeè was crying and holding me so tight I couldn’t move to see what they doing with Sarah. Suddenly a train of police cars circled my house. Immediately, I had flashbacks when Sarah was shot in front of my mother’s yard. I couldn’t let it happen again.

“Najeè, Mommy will be right back. Sit right here until I come back.”

I ran outside and two of the men were standing with their hands in the air while the man that had done all the talking grabbed Sarah and pointed a gun to her head.

“Please don’t hurt her!” I cried.

As I ran towards Sarah, I tripped on something hidden in the grass. I hit the ground. All I could hear was Najeè crying for me.

“Put down the gun!”

“Get back or I will kill her!”

One of the men stood with both hands handcuffed next to a police officer. “Come on man, she ain’t worth it.”

“That’s right man. We ain’t come up here to kill anybody,” The man with the gun looked at Sarah and pushed her towards the police officer and dropped his gun.

“Leona, please be alright,” Sarah yelled as she kneeled down on the ground beside me.

I could hear her, but I couldn’t move. I tried to tell my mouth to move but the thoughts weren’t connecting. All I could do was lay there while Najeè and Sarah cried.

“Call an ambulance. This woman has a head injury.” the police officer yelled.

“Everybody get back!” the police officer yelled as he called the paramedics.

After hearing the sirens and gun shots, Maria and Jamar ran over to my home and found my lawn covered with police cruisers. They heard Najeè crying for me and followed his voice to find him. There he was down on bending knees crying for me to wake up. Jamar gently picked him up and carried him into the house while Maria stayed near me to find out what was going on.

“Officer, I am Leona’s best friend and neighbor. What can I do?”

“Does she have any family or anybody who has information about her medical history and insurance?”

“Her family lives in Ohio. I will get the information you need.”

Maria looked at Sarah and walked passed her not knowing who she was. She went into the house to find my purse and get my id and insurance information out of my purse. Before Maria went back outside she gave Jamar my address book and told him to call my parents. Meanwhile, I was placed on a stretcher and covered with a sheet. Oxygen was immediately given to me because I couldn’t breathe on my own.

News traveled fast because the Watkins had arrived and began taking over the situation. Maria handed the officers the information they asked for and ran back in the house to check on Najeè. She and Jamar agreed she should follow the ambulance to the hospital and he would take Najeè to their home before the Watkins takes him away from them.

“So we meet again, Leona,” Grandma said as she opened her arms to receive me.

“No Grandma, I can’t be dead!” I cried as I refused to embrace her.

“Come on, Leona, we don’t have much time,” Mark said as he motioned for me to receive Grandma’s embrace.

“I can’t leave Najeè. I won’t come.”

I turned and began running away from them. The more I tried to run, the more I was drawn closer to Grandma and Mark.

“Don’t make me do this. It ain’t fair!”

“Leona, come to me. It is ok. Our son will be alright.”


“Yes, baby it is me. We must hurry. Go to your family.”

I turned around and ran right into Grandma’s arms. While receiving her embrace, I turned back around to see Nate and he was gone.

“We will be back later.” Grandma said as I faded into the light of her being.

“Leona, it is time for you to deliver the message that will re-establish the foundation of the world.”


“That’s right, I have much to impart to you. Come daughter. Let us begin.”

The wave of light permeating in and out of God engulfed me and placed me into a room appearing to be the Bible illumined in a light I’ve never seen. There were other beings there protecting this book standing all around it. I walked into it without thought of whether I should or not. The deeper I went into the book, the lighter I felt as a robe of light was placed on me. After I received my robe, I was positioned in a chair with a desk. As soon as I sat down, the words from the book consumed my mind as I closed my eyes to be bathed in its glory.

Mixed Signal Syndrome is the disease that has infected Our Master’s people. It is the cause and the cure to a world dying in ignorance. Duality was supposed to put them in a state of choosing best. Due to being children of God, they have been given free will. This free will is their power to be children of God. Whether they know this or not, the power to be whatever you choose is making the world a state of chaos.

This Bible consists of an antidote that will begin the healing process of alleviating the affects of Mixed Signal Syndrome. Good and evil are powerful forces used to mature God’s children. A lack of knowledge has made these forces humanity’s enemy. The words contained here are transforming immediately upon conception. You being one of the keepers of its contents will be able to go to and fro at will to the dark places in consciousness and plant the seeds of healing.

The next step of being impregnated with this cure will begin now. You will not remember how this will take place but your heart, mind and body will be able to generate the cure without thought. You will know what to say and do at all times. Your reward is great. We thank you for joining us in bringing God’s plan to past.

After the last word was received, my chair turned into a bed of light and I remember nothing of the implantation.

“She’s been in a coma for over two weeks now. Dr. is there any hope of saving our daughter?”

“Miss, we have just never seen anything like this. Your daughter is not deteriorating. At any…”

“Dr., did you see that?”

“Yes, I did. Excuse me let me check her pulse.”

As the doctor came closer to shine his light in my eyes, my eyelids suddenly opened and startled him as he jumped back.

“Leona it is your mother. Thank God you are awake.”


“He’s fine. He has been with us and your friend Maria.”

“What am I doing here?”

“Leona, I am Dr. Logan. You are one lucky lady.”

“What happened?”

“You hit your head pretty hard when you fell to the ground. A sharp-edge brick was hidden in the grass. It didn’t do too much damage outside. It left you with a scare which is well hidden with your hair. The bad news, it knocked you unconscious for over two weeks.”

“I have to get out of here. There is so much I have to do.”

“Young lady, you have to calm down and let me take a complete look at you. After that, we will see what is best for you.”

“You don’t understand I have a lot to do.”

“Baby, let the doctor take care of you so you won’t have to come back in here.” Daddy said with a concerned look on his face that made me bow down every time.

“Okay, please bring Najeè to me.”

“We’ll call Maria and have her bring him to you,” Mom said as she reached for the phone on the stand.

“Leona, you are a patient I feel honored to have. I know you have a work for the Lord,” The doctor whispered as he left the room.

Maria and Jamar came to the hospital to see me and Najeè was with them. I felt great inside knowing there is so much more to life than meets the eyes.

“Mommy!” Najeè yelled as he ran into my arms.

“You have been with Jesus, Mommy?”

“Yes, I’ve been with Jesus. He let me come back home.”

“I love Jesus, Mommy and I love you, too.”

“Thanks for taking such good care of Najeè for me.”

“You are so welcome,” Maria said as she gave me a loving hug.

“It was nice having him around,” Jamar said as he hugged me.

“I have so much to do. I can’t wait to get out of here.”

Maria smiled. “Girl, you got to get your strength back.”

“Trust me I am very strong and ready to do the Will of God.”

“All right now, we are getting ready to have some church up in here!”

“Mom, these are Nate’s parents.”

They introduced each other and forced themselves into my room causing it to be extremely crowded. Jamar and Maria saw my room needed some space and volunteered to leave while Najeè stayed with me.

“We’ll be back. We’re going to have some breakfast.”

“Alright, I’ll be here. I’m not going anywhere,” I said joking with them.

“How are you doing?” Mrs. Watkins asked as she gave me a kiss on the cheek.

“I am fine. Thank you.”

“Leona, your Father and I will let you’ll be alone. Breakfast sounds like a good idea.”

“You want to come with us Little Man?” Daddy asked as he reached his hand out to see if he would grab it.

“Can I come back and be with my mommy?”

“You sure can. We won’t be gone long.”
The Watkins and I were now the only people left in the room. I surprisingly didn’t mind. I had no animosity towards them anymore. I could tell they were afraid of what I would say to them now we were alone. I just didn’t have anything harmful to say.

“Leona, we were scared to death when we heard what happened. Thank God you’re alive. The church members have been asking about you,” Minister Watkins said.

“I bet God is getting their hearts ready to receive me soon.”

“You mean you are coming to heal again?” Mrs. Watkins asked.

“Yes, it will be very soon. I need a piece of paper. Please, would you find me a pen or pencil?”

Mrs. Watkins pulled her small note pad out her purse and handed me a pen.

“Thanks, I really need to be alone right now. I have to write down a few things. Please don’t take it personally,” I said as I began to write without looking up to see if they were still there.

Mixed Signal Syndrome is also the crossing over of politics and religion. Tell my people, it is time to let go. I come to save the sick and the lost. I come to set the captive free. My ways are not your ways. Good an evil can no longer occupy their minds. Through my son Jesus Christ, the truth will set you free. No more mixed signals placing them mentally and emotionally into bondage. The day that thou hear my voice, harden not your hearts. There is a peace that the world can not give. It begins now.

I dropped the pen as I dosed off to sleep. I don’t know how long I was sleep but when I woke up, the Watkins was standing there looking at me like I was crazy.

“What in the heck is this jibber jabber you’ve wrote here?” Minister Watkins asked with disgust on his face.

“Very interesting, isn’t it I asked.

“You can’t go public with this. People will attack you,” Mrs. Watkins said.

“What people?”

“The people that is not ready for this kind of stuff.” he answered.

“You’re not talking about church people are you?” I asked with a smile on my face.

“I’m talking about everybody.”

“Oh well, it is time they got ready.”

“Don’t tell me you’re bringing this into your healing ministry.” Mr. Watkins asked.

“Mr. Watkins, I don’t feel like talking to the preacher in you right now. I want you to know it is too late to walk away from the truth. Once the truth is released, it transforms on its own. You will tell me about it soon.”

“It’s got to be the medication. I’m going to give you a chance to relax. You are doing some serious hallucinating.”

“Do you know how real God is, Mr. Watkins?”

“Of course I do, why do you think I preach?” he asked.

“I’m talking about God, the Creator of the Universe. I’m not talking about the God people have made as human as they are. This God is not a means of egotistic control over people. This God I speak of has principles and structure. Things do add up with this God.”

“Leona, what’s your point? You think we are misleading people about God?”

“Put it like this. Jesus was not that excited about the church institutions when he walked among us and I don’t believe he is that excited about it now. It is time to re-establish the foundation as God would have it be.”

“I’ll see you later, Leona. You’re not making any sense.”

“Take care,” I said as I turned my head towards the window.

When I was finally released from the hospital, Maria came to pick me up and let me know Sarah was still in town and had been staying at my house with Najeè. I couldn’t believe she wasn’t arrested with the other drug dealers who followed her to Indiana. As I went to unlock the door to my home, Sarah opened the door with tears in her eyes.

“Leona, please, you have to forgive me. I didn’t know what I was doing.”

“Can I come into the house?”

“Yes, let me help you.” Sarah said as she moved away from the door entrance for me to slowly walk in.

“Leona, Najee is with Jamar. I figured you and Sarah have some things to talk about. Call me when you are ready for him.

“Thanks, Maria I will do that.”

“I didn’t know they would find me. After you came to see me, I started thinking about what I was doing. I didn’t want to live like that anymore. Would you forgive me, Leona?” Sarah asked as she dropped to the floor on her knees before me.

“Sarah, how did you get in my house in the first place?”

“The door wasn’t lock. You had gone next door and I just came in and hid in the closet. I didn’t know how to tell you I wanted to be with you.”

“What do you want from me Sarah?”

“I want you to let me be your sister and start a new life. I need you, Leona.” Sarah cried.

“You don’t have to beg me. But you have to understand I am on a mission for God. I have a serious calling on my life. Do you think you can live with that?”

“Anything you say, Leona. I just need to be with you. I want to know this God you love so deeply. Would you help me know Him?”

“Come here, Sarah” I said as I reached my arms out to embrace her.

“I won’t let you down, Leona. I promise.”

“You have to go get your daughter. She deserves to have her mother.”

“Okay, I can do that.”

“I’m a little tired. Would you get Najeè for me? I’m going to rest a while.”

“Yes, thank you Leona. Everything is going to be alright. You watch and see.”

For several weeks, I experienced severe headaches from my head injury. Often times, my memory would fail me but I would manage to cover it up pretty well.

Sarah called Bruce and told him about her new life and how she would like to have full custody of their daughter, Sabrina. Bruce was reluctant about it but trusted her to do the right thing since she was living with me now. I had to admit it was pretty nice having someone in the house with Najee and me. It didn’t seem so big anymore. Bruce packed Sabrina’s things and drove to Indiana to bring her to Sarah. We kept looking out for him and Sabrina. While waiting for him, we gathered together in the living room to watch a movie.

Finally, the doorbell rang. When we opened the door, Sabrina was standing there with tears in her eyes as she pointed to the car parked in my driveway. Bruce was slumped over the steering wheel. I told Sarah to take care of Sabrina as I walked out the door to check on Bruce.

“Bruce, are you alright?” I asked.

“He’s not moving, Momma. I tried to wake him up.” Sabrina said as she stood on the porch looking on to see what was going on.

“Bruce, wake up!” I yelled as I attempted to lift him up off the steering wheel.

“Help me Sarah, he’s still breathing.”

We managed to get Bruce out of the car and walk him into the house. Gently we sat him down on the couch and elevated his feet.

“What happened? Where am I?” Bruce asked as he began to panic.

“It’s me, Daddy,” Sabrina said as she put her arms around her father.

“It’s ok Bruce, Sarah and me are here too. Are you alright?”

“My insulin is in the car. I need some sugar,” Bruce said as he began to weaken again.

“I got some candy Mom. I’ll go get it,” Najeè said as he ran into the kitchen and came back with some Hershey’s chocolate candy bars.

“Thank you, little man,” Bruce said as he motioned for me to open it for him.

“I’m going to get your medicine. Where did you put it?” Sarah asked as she tried to hide her fear of losing Bruce.

“It’s sitting in my glove box. Thank you.”

We finally managed to get Bruce’s sugar regulated and insisted that he stayed over night. He was reluctant about it at first but saw it was late and he didn’t see that well at night so he took our offer and stayed.

I pulled out the bed hidden in the couch and made it up real nice for him. Sabrina and Sarah stayed in my once guest room, now is their room. Najeè went to his room for the night. I was about to go to bed myself until I heard Bruce call my name.

“Leona, may I talk to you for a minute?”

“I was actually going to bed. Maybe we can talk tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow may be too late. I promise you I won’t keep you too late.”

“I hope that is all you want to do is talk, Bruce.”

“I am a changed man Leona. I wouldn’t dare put my hands on you. I just need to talk to you that’s all.”

I grabbed my quilt out of my closet and sat down on the far end of the bed and gave him my attention.

“Leona, I am sincerely sorry for what I took from you. But I want you to understand it was only out of love that I did it.”

“Please don’t mix love in that. There is no way you could have thought that was love.”

“Hear me out. I loved you, Leona and Sarah deeply. I didn’t know how to show you any other way. A man is taught so many things. You don’t question a lot of things. It was just so normal for a man to want his female children. It was accepted through so many generations. People never talked about it.”

“I hate what you did to me. I’ll never know who I would have been if it hadn’t happened to me,” I said as tears filled my eyes.

“Leona, baby, it was so hard for me to not love you as I did. It was so deep inside of me and I would even pray sometimes that God would take it away, especially after I saw how you hated me for it. But you know Leona, it didn’t change a thing.”

“How wonderful should I feel?”

“Wait a minute, you said Leona. You mean to tell me you played that game with her too while you were in Vietnam?”

“Yes, yes I did. It was the only love I knew. Her mother took her and ran from me. Before her mother died, she told me Leona had died of pneumonia and to not look for her.”

“Don’t you see? She didn’t want you no where near her child. I wonder if she will ever remember such a horrible thing.”

“I hope not. I don’t want her hating me too.”

“Don’t you feel any remorse at all?”

“It wasn’t until I started going back to my momma’s church that I began to question what I had done. But it still wasn’t piercing because that kind of love runs through the church too. See, Leona, my sisters and I was close like that. We didn’t see anything wrong with it.”

“But you’ll didn’t share it with the world. You kept it a secret. Didn’t that tell you something?”

“Not really. Our family along with most families back then thrived on secrets.”

“You got to understand, Bruce. It is wrong.”

“Only because it hurt you in the end, do I actually regret it. I stand on God knowing my heart and intentions. I have a right to do that.”

“What did I actually take away from you, Leona?”

“My virginity and you took my right to choose whether I wanted to have sex or not. You took my own first moment of understanding intimacy. And, Bruce you took my childhood and made me a woman without a foundation to understand it on.”

“Whoa, it was going to happen sooner or later. Wouldn’t you rather it is with someone you know and love you?”

“You made me a freak!”

“No way, are you a freak. Yes, I took your virginity. Yes, I took your right to decide when you would have sex but I gave you so much more. I gave you my love. Don’t that account for something?”

“Dang it Bruce, that is not love. That is taking something that is not yours. They call it molestation!”

“Maybe you would have been different if I had never touched you. But how do you know if you would have been worse off than you turned out to be?”

“That’s just it. I will never know. And, that is the most painful thing about it. I didn’t even know anything about trust. I trusted you with my life that you would protect and take care of me.”

“Baby, I did just that in my understanding. Didn’t you hear me?”

“I regret that it hurt you in the end. I am sorry for that. But loving you, I can’t be sorry for that,” Bruce said as he leaned his head back on his pillow.

“I love you Bruce. I’m going to trust God will use it for good.”

“I love you too, Leona.”

“You have to understand this thing called love has a lot of caves in it. The presence of it is so primitive that it can make people do some strange things, Leona.”

“Bruce, it is not so strange when God is in it. You just can not approach people without God.” I said as I began to understand without spirit, the world corrupts the power of love.

As I stood up to walk back to my room, Sarah ran into my arms. She had heard our conversation.

“If you can forgive Bruce, I can too as well as my father for the same thing.” She cried as she looked away from Bruce.

The next morning we awaken to Sabrina crying as she sat on the couch where her father slept the night before. Bruce had folded the sofa bed back to a couch and folded his bedding. There was a note sitting on the table. I picked up the note to read it.

Dear Leona and Sarah,

In this life, you can not say you have never been loved. I loved you with a love greater than any man will ever love you. You know why? My love is not of this world. As God is my witness, you will learn that one day. I apologize to you both for not understanding my love violated your space in this world. I will spend the rest of my life praying to God to restore all that was taken and lost. I feel the genuine intent of my prayers will bless your lives tremendously. I thank God you two were in my life. You two gave me a love I could not receive or find anywhere in this cold and stinking world. When I die, I can rest in knowing you loved and forgave me for altering your paths in life. One thing I’ve learned, the devil meant it for bad. I feel in my heart, God is going to use it for good.

Tell my daughter I love her and I will be back to see her soon.

Love, Bruce.

“Sabrina, your dad told me to tell you he loves you. He will be back soon to see you.”

“Can I read the letter?” Sarah asked

“Sure. I’m going to start cooking breakfast,” I said as I walked away as my eyes watered. Once again, I was caught up in mixed signals. But this time I know God is with me. For I walk in the spirit of His love not the fabricated love of the world.

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