The Spoken Word: Words of Life

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Chapter 3: Poetry Slam

Friday, May 14, 2010

Harmony was filled with the aroma of freshly brewed and blended coffee, cappuccinos, and frappuccinos. Biscottis laid on plates next to the variety of coffee-laden cups as the patrons listened to the spoken word participants. One by one, they stepped on the risen platform and overlooked the wide-eyed people.

Tonight’s “open mic” had a special theme attached to it. Every person who walked up on stage to give their best had to be a poet on “love” for that one night. Big Bryan announced the names as they clasped the microphone hoping to give a riveting performance. Poets such as Doc Red and Reason rapped about the love between a man and a woman with God in the center. Other poets, namely Shade and Miss T, rhymed words about the untainted agape love from God. Jeremiah had yet to perform. He was next.

Big Bryan introduced Jeremiah to the stage, one that felt like home to him. He decided to do a poem he had worked on earlier in the week, still hoping to save his best for the TSU Poetry Slam.

He opened with his usual line. “Thank you and God bless you all.” The crowd was smiling as he scanned for facial expressions and a feel for their warmth. It was definitely present. “For you tonight, I would like to do ‘Blinded Love’.”

Hidden

Well hidden

Are these feelings

I’ve been dealing

With

Feelings undeniable

But denied

Heart so blind

Can’t see from shuttered eyes.

But by grace

Another chance

To be a part of this dance

That I always dance from.

But why

Do I

Keep fighting love so close?

I may never understand

My own fears and hesitation

My bounded reservation

That keeps me away.

Do I?

Or do I not?

Follow the direction of the tug

When it is more than a nudge.

A tap on the heart

A speaker in my mind

That reverbs my denial

That I want to try.

But

Hidden

Well hidden

Are these feelings

Inside.

I continue to be blind

Yes, choose to be blind

Feelings so easy,

Yet so hard to find

Hidden

Well hidden

Are these feelings

Inside.

The crowd applauded. Jeremiah didn’t have a nickname like the rest, but he sure could lay down some lines. He had a gift that could not be denied. Yet in his humble heart, he always denied having that gift by his own power. He would always praise God for what was given to him.

That night, Darius wasn’t in the crowd. But Jeremiah knew he wouldn’t be, due to him putting in overtime hours at work so he could give attention to this new project. Jeremiah trusted his best friend would be at the slam though, so it was no big deal to him. Michelle was present, however. Incognito like a winter’s ghost, she slipped in and out without being noticed.

Jeremiah placed one foot in front of the other until he had reached the door. He decided to not stick around for the rest of the “open mic” night.

His intentions were not to be brash by leaving abruptly. Yet he wanted to get home to relax and rest his eyes and body for the next day. So he sat down behind the steering wheel of his car and headed to his house.

Jeremiah’s House

While roaming the two-story fanciness of his home, Jeremiah received a call on his cell phone. He picked up his Blackberry and hit the green “send” button to answer the call. His expression was that of shock. “Hello?” Breathing hard on the other end was Michelle.

“You was the first person I could think of to call. Please help me Jeremiah!” said Michelle in high alarm.

“What’s going on, Michelle? What’s wrong?” questioned Jeremiah.

That’s when Michelle broke down and cried as though she was a baby seeing the world for the first time. “He…He…” That was all she could manage to get out through every groan of despair.

“He what? Who?” asked Jeremiah, confused and unsure of this “he” Michelle spoke of. “Michelle, I need you to calm down for me! Breathe sweetie! I’m gonna come to you, ok? Are you at home?” Jeremiah was unsure of Michelle’s location because she called from her cell phone.

“Yes…” said Michelle, barely breathing and gasping for every drop of air she could find.

“Ok. I’ll be there as soon as I can. Don’t go anywhere and make sure your doors are locked!” Jeremiah ends the frantic call and jumps in his car. He speeds off into heavy traffic to hurriedly get to his friend.

Michelle’s Apartment

Jeremiah finally arrived at Michelle’s apartment after about fifteen minutes of driving and speeding. He ran up the stairs to 3B and knocked heavily on the door. Michelle peered through the peep hole and noticed who it was. She slowly opened the door to let Jeremiah in. There she stood. Face was wet from all the shed tears. Makeup had run so much that her face looked like a novice painter’s canvas…bad.

“What in the world is going on Michelle?” inquired Jeremiah.

Words were left unspoken. Michelle held on to Jeremiah tightly and wouldn’t let go. Jeremiah hugged her in return and the two stood in the foyer, embracing for what seemed to be an eternity.

After the moment of silence, Jeremiah and Michelle sat on her less-than-lavish couch. It was there that she told Jeremiah why she was in such frenzy.

“I had left Harmony tonight during your performance,” Michelle started. “You didn’t know I was there and I wanted to surprise you. I really wanted to stay for your whole poem, but I got a text message. It was from Khrystal and she wanted me to meet her at Crosswalk to talk about something important. So that’s when I left Harmony.”

Khrystal Davis was Michelle’s best friend and Crosswalk was a restaurant not too far from Harmony. It was the favorite eating spot of Michelle and Khrystal, just like Maxine’s was to Jeremiah and Darius. Michelle carried on:

“I go to my car so I can meet Khrystal. But this guy grabbed me from behind and I was so scared. I didn’t even notice anyone suspicious around.” Michelle paused to allow the flowing of tears once more. After an instant of hesitation, she resumed. “He took me around the side of the building and started feeling on me. I told him to stop and tried to squirm away, but couldn’t. His grip was too strong. I was devastated and didn’t know what to do. He looked at me and told me ‘don’t you move and don’t try to scream.’ He called me all kinds of names.”

The look on Jeremiah’s face said it all. He was furious and angry, but hurt had found its way into the mix of emotions as well. How could anyone do this? Why would anyone do this? Jeremiah had kept silent until he decided to ask, “Did you see what he looked like?”

“I couldn’t,” responded Michelle. “It was too dark. All I remember is his voice. It was harsh and raspy. Not at all pleasant. And he was strong. Very strong. I couldn’t break away. All I could do is pray to God. He kept telling me to shut up. But the more he threatened me, the more I prayed.” Michelle was still wiping away tears. They wouldn’t cease.

“Did he go any further? Did he hurt you Michelle?” posed Jeremiah.

“Not physically, but emotionally he did. But I finally escaped, ran to my car, and drove away as fast as I could.”

“How did you escape?”

“By the mercy of God, Jeremiah. That’s all I could tell you. I believe he was distracted by a couple of police officers in the area. I ran when he let go.”

“Why didn’t you flag the police down, Michelle?”

“I was scared, Jeremiah! When you’re fearing for your life, you lose all sense of being. You can’t even think straight. I just wanted to go home! But how do I know he doesn’t know where I live?”

“Don’t worry about that. I doubt he does. Just some random thug trying to hurt you. It’s going to be alright, Michelle. You need to go to the police.”

“How can I when I don’t even know what he looks like? I can’t go there and not be able to give a description. I’m too scared to even leave my house now, but I’m also scared to be here by myself.”

“It’s going to be alright sweetie. God’s protection is with you,” Jeremiah tried to reassure Michelle. “I’ll stay with you tonight. And I’ll sleep on the couch.”

It was against Jeremiah’s better judgment to spend the night with Michelle. All he could think about was what his grandmother taught him about not spending nights with a girl that wasn’t his wife. And definitely not “shacking” up with anyone. It was against the very thing God had established for a man and woman to share: the covenant and sanctity of marriage. Jeremiah was in conflict of the decision to make. But this was his good friend. He couldn’t abandon her in her time of need.

“I can’t ask you to do that Jeremiah. I’ll just take a chance on getting out tonight and go over to Khrystal’s for a couple of nights. At least until I can clear my head of all that went down. Let me call her.”

Michelle picked up her cell phone, but Jeremiah quickly grabbed it from her hand. “You can go to Khrystal’s tomorrow after the poetry slam. Just let me be here for you tonight.”

Still in a panic, Michelle responds, “But I have to be at work Sunday night and I just…”

Jeremiah keeps her from going any further. “I’ll come pick you up Sunday night and take you to work. I’ll pick you up from work and take you to Khrystal’s. Now are you going to let me be here for you tonight?”

In a hesitant tone, Michelle answered. “Yes. I truly thank you Jeremiah. From the bottom of my heart.”

At that time, Jeremiah held Michelle in his masculine arms and tenderly spoke to her. “You’ll be fine. God is going to watch over you and He is going to heal you from this. Remember, God is your strength, love. He is your covering and your protector.”

“Jeremiah, thank you. I don’t know what I would have done without you. I just don’t want a strange man taking away what is precious to me,” Michelle said, speaking of her virginity.

“I understand. I know it would be traumatizing to you. That’s a treasure to you that you want only the right person to open.”

“Yeah. But right now I’m just scared, Jeremiah.”

“Michelle, the enemy wants you to live your life in fear, but you have to overcome that. I understand you are shaken up, but you have to defeat the enemy by your trust in God. Psalm 27:1 says ‘Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?’ I know it’s not easy, but it’s doable.”

“No it’s not easy. I was violated, Jeremiah, and I won’t forget that. I know to trust in God, but I can’t help to think what might happen to me.”

“Well, what I know to do is pray for and over you.”

Jeremiah pulled Michelle closer to him, where her head met his chest. Her tears soaked his shirt as he rubbed the coal black hair that cascaded down her face. He prayed:

Dear Lord,

I sincerely come before you, knowing you to be God of all. The One who keeps us, protects us, and heals every hurt we may experience. I thank You and honor You, God. I lift up your child to you, asking you to keep watch over her. You know what she has been through in the past few hours. You know her fears right now. She’s hurting, Lord and I’m hurting with her. Please, God, touch her spirit and her emotions, along with her mind. Heal her and love her as only You can. And at the same time, use me Lord to be a comfort. We trust in You and we love you Lord.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Jeremiah had finished praying and gave Michelle a kiss on the forehead. Not one of those that meant anything romantic. But one that was to assure her that she would be safe.

Although her face was still a wreck and her eyes looked like two feather-down pillows, Michelle’s tears had dried. “I appreciate you, Jeremiah,” Michelle solemnly voiced.

“You’re welcome. Just rest your mind and relax sweetie.”

It only took a matter of minutes before Michelle drifted off to sleep in Jeremiah’s arms. Not wanting to leave her in that position, he scooped her up as thought he was cradling a child. He traveled to her bedroom and laid her down on the full size bed. He then dampened a wash cloth and wiped Michelle’s face until there were no more smudge marks from the makeup mudslide. She didn’t move a muscle. She was emotionally drained, as well as physically tired.

Jeremiah closed to door behind him quietly and ventured back in the living room. He sat on the couch still bewildered by what had happened to Michelle. He sat in the dark space only illuminated by the wine colored lamp on the side table and allowed his thoughts to have reign for a while.

After a moment of solitude, Jeremiah scanned to room for anything he could write on. His eyes had locked onto a blank piece of paper sitting on the coffee table. He had words nesting in his heart he needed to let escape. So he picked up the piece of paper and put pen to it. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, he begun to write:

Pain cloaks her

Chokes her

Emotions

She’s left hoping

For a door open.

Wanting to escape

The very weight

Heavy weight of hurt

Lifetime of scare

But the moment just a blur.

So she turns to God

In her place of despair

Trusting that He unequivocally cares

More than any human shares

For all burdens, God bears.

Hands clasped, praying

Crying.

Dying.

From the painful experience

But god is hearing us.

She screams out,

“Why God, why?”

To imply

Her disappointment

Not in God

But in man.

Yet god is her strength

Her spirits He shall lift

To heights of new

Thanks to a love tenderly true.

In front of God, she lays

So He may

Rid her of the pain

That hatched inside her this day.

He has spoken

His comfort as a token

To her being

As she sees the sadness fleeing.

Jeremiah let out a slight sigh and took one more glance at the art he had just created. He then put his signature of approval on the bottom, titled the poem “Rescue”, and laid the paper back down on the coffee table. He had prayed the words would penetrate Michelle’s heart for her healing, just as they had allowed any bit of anger Jeremiah felt diminish.

Jeremiah thought about turning on the television for a second, but quickly decided not to. He didn’t want to disturb Michelle. So he stretched long ways on the couch and kicked off his shoes. He covered up with the blanket draped over the arm of the couch and went to sleep to conclude the night.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Poetry Slam

The following morning, Jeremiah had woken up to the rustling of feet in the kitchen. He drew back the blanket, stepped on the carpeted floor, and walked toward the kitchen. There Michelle stood at the stove tending to what appeared to be pancakes. It was eight-thirty in the morning.

“I thought you would be sleeping in and getting some rest, Michelle?” Jeremiah asked.

“I couldn’t sleep any longer,” Michelle answered. “I guess with all that went on, I was super tired and slept hard through the night. By the way, I can’t thank you enough for staying with me. You are a wonderful friend! I know it was out of your comfort zone, but thank you.”

“You’re welcome. I just want to be here for you. I care about you a lot, Michelle and I hate seeing you hurt. My arms are always open.”

Michelle gave a heart-felt smile. Jeremiah smiled back as his eyes interlocked with hers. She then decided to give Jeremiah a warm hug and held on for a while. “Are you hungry?”

“Actually, I am.”

“I got pancakes and sausage. There is orange and apple juice in the fridge,” Michelle said to Jeremiah.

“Ok, sounds good!” Jeremiah was hesitant about bringing up last night again in fear of sparking emotions inside of Michelle. But he done it anyway. “So, how are you going to handle this situation from last night? Are you going to the police?” asked Jeremiah as he sat down at the kitchen table with his food in his hand.

“Like I said, how can I when I don’t even know what he looked like?”

“So you didn’t see anything? No distinctive marks? No tattoos? Anything?”

“No, Jeremiah. I told you it was too dark.” You could hear the frustration overcoming Michelle’s voice. “All I heard was his voice. And even that, I just want to get it out of my head. It was an awful sound. All I can think about is what could have happened.”

“But thank God it didn’t happen.”

“You’re right. Thank God. But what if it did happen? I just want to forget about it, but I know this is going to haunt me for a long time. Can we not talk about it anymore, please?” pleaded Michelle, sobbing.

“Ok. I’m sorry. I’ll leave it alone. I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” Jeremiah said, hugging Michelle, each ‘I’m sorry’ becoming fainter and fainter.

The two sat down at the small table and ate breakfast after praying over it, trying to shift the conversation. Jeremiah looked up at Michelle and started talking about the poetry slam. He then looked at the clock and realized he needed to get home, shower, and visit Mrs. Emma before heading to Centennial Park.

“Michelle, I’m sorry to rush off. But I’ve got to get going. I’ll see you at the slam later.”

“Ok, Jeremiah. I’ll be there front row and center. See you later.”

“See ya.” One last hug and Jeremiah was out the door. After he had left, Michelle found the poem that he had written.

Jeremiah went home long enough to shower and throw on fresh clothes. There was no time wasted in getting to Mrs. Emma’s house. It was then eleven o’clock and cutting it close. So he couldn’t stay long.

Mrs. Emma’s House

Jeremiah pulled into the driveway of Mrs. Emma’s House and walked inside as he always did without the need of ringing the door bell. It was around eighty-seven degrees outside, so Mrs. Emma had the front door open, her house exposed through the black screen door.

“Hey Granny,” Jeremiah greeted his grandmother with a kiss.

“Hi there baby! What’s wrong? You look troubled.” It didn’t take long for Mrs. Emma to notice the distress look on Jeremiah’s face.

“It’s Michelle. I’m concerned about her. Something awful happened last night. She told me about it and you could see pain written all over her.”

“My Lord!” exclaimed Mrs. Emma. “What happened Jeremiah?”

“She was nearly raped. I just feel so helpless right now. I mean, I prayed with her and over her. But I feel there’s more I can do.”

“Oh no,” Mrs. Emma said as a look of devastation overcame her. “Does she know who done it?”

“No. She was outside and said it was too dark to see. She’s so afraid, Granny. What do I do?” Jeremiah asked, not letting on that he had spent the night with Michelle.

“Well, son, you done great by her just by listening to her problem and praying with her. She needs a friend, Jeremiah. Not a superhero. God is going to rescue her.”

At that moment, Jeremiah snapped back to the poem he had written last night. At the same time, Michelle, who was still at her apartment, picked up that very same poem. She sat down on the couch and gazed at the words on the paper, breathing in everything that was said. She read until a tear dripped from her face unto the paper, smearing the ink.

As much as Jeremiah hated to admit it, Mrs. Emma was right. He couldn’t play superhero. “You’re right, Granny. I’m just afraid for her and want to be there for her.”

“I understand, Jeremiah. But she will be alright. I feel it in my spirit that she will be just fine.”

Jeremiah knew if he could trust anybody with a statement like that, it was his grandmother. When Mrs. Emma felt something in her spirit, it was usually dead on. It was like a sixth sense, or as she would say, just plain o’ discernment. Whatever it was, Jeremiah was thankful for it. “Thank you Granny for that. I feel better now. I’m going to check on her at the poetry slam. I wish you could come.”

“I better stay here and keep cool. Granny isn’t a young chicken anymore! But you go and have a great time. Is Darius going to be there?”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Well tell him I said hi. Tell Michelle too, baby.”

“Ok, I will.” Jeremiah grabbed a piece of sweet potato pie that was sitting on top of the stove, to go. “I will be back and see you after the slam, Granny.”

“Ok, baby. Do good and enjoy that pie!”

“Oh, I will, Granny! See you after a while. Love you!” Jeremiah leaned over and gave Mrs. Emma a kiss.

“See you later, Jeremiah. Love you too, baby!” Mrs. Emma responded.

Jeremiah headed out the door to his car so he could be on his way to the poetry slam.

TSU Poetry Slam – Centennial Park

A hefty size crowd gathered at Centennial Park, covering the grassy areas like ants on a Popsicle. Some sat in lawn chairs while others chose to stand. Refreshments were served, but most settle on bottle water. Music filled the radius of about one hundred people as they awaited the first poet to stand at the microphone. Art director and promoter, Mr. Hayden , came to the microphone to introduce the event.

“Welcome everyone to our first annual TSU Poetry Slam!” he shouted. The crowd applauded in excitement. “Let’s go over some rules before we get started. Keep everything clean, please. What you speak on is entirely up to you, but no vulgarities. Papers, journals, and notebooks are allowed to be read off of. The judges will score you on creativity, flow, word structure and audience response. Blessings to all the challengers! Let’s get started with poet number one, E Sharp!”

The crowd listened attentively to E Sharp as he belted out a poem entitled “Rights of Passage.” Jeremiah sat with the other challengers taking in every word of this fantastic poem. Darius and Michelle stood a little further back, enjoying the scenery and sounds. A little later, Michelle’s friends, Khrystal and Erica Richardson, met up with Michelle.

“Hey ladies!” called out Michelle.

“Hey Michelle! How are you feeling today?” asked Khrystal.

“I’m good. I’ll be ok. I’m going to come stay with you for a bit. Is that cool?” wondered Michelle.

“Girl, you know it’s cool. Come on over.”

Darius had no clue what had happened to Michelle the night before. Therefore, he was lost in the conversation shared among Michelle, Khrystal, and Erica. But he respected the conversation enough to not interrupt it, although he was perplexed.

Michelle continued, “Thanks Khrystal. I’m still so scared.” Michelle constantly looked over her shoulders, paranoid about someone dangerous coming her direction.

Finally, Darius couldn’t keep hush any longer. He pulled Michelle over to the side. “What’s going on with you, Michelle?”

“Darius, it’s a long story. This is not the right place to go into it. I just want to be able to enjoy the slam right now.”

“Ok. But you’re my friend Michelle. I’m here for you just like anybody else is.”

“Thank you Darius. But I’ll be ok after a while.”

“So, there’s nothing I can do for you?” Darius asked, giving Michelle one last chance.

“Well.” Then there was a slight pause. Michelle had to find any way she could to switch up the converstation. “You see me my girl Erica over there?”

Darius replied, “Yeah, I see her.” Erica was an attractive young lady, prettiness captured in a plus size frame. Her hair was done in a natural style and her caramel skin was smooth and lovely. She was a quiet spirit, but loved to mingle.

“I want you to ask her out, Darius,” instructed Michelle.

“I don’t know, Michelle. She’s pretty and all, but…”

“But what Darius? She’s not your type?”

“Well, not really. I’m sorry. I really don’t want to be negative. But I don’t know if me and her would work out.”

“All I’m asking is for one date with her, D. It’s not like I’m telling you to marry her or anything.”

“Well, ok. One date and that’s it. I’ll talk to her after the slam.”

“Thank you, Darius. That means a lot to me.”

“You’re welcome. But only for you,” Darius quickly let Michelle know.

“That’s good enough for me,” smiled Michelle.

At that time, the MC of the program called Shade to come up. Besides Jeremiah, Shade was one of the best in Nashville. He started being recognized by the name Shade, because of his mysterious persona. And the fact he always kept a cool attitude. He was odd, but people were drawn to him.

Shade clasped the microphone with his right hand and gave words permission to escape from his mouth. The work he performed was entitled “Inclusion”. He belted out from the bellow of his belly, in a low tone:

“Inclusion

Of this perceived illusion

Inside of my being

Make sure the people are seeing

The truth that is hidden

Uncovered by my admittance

That Christ is the one

From His bloodline, I come

Inclusion

Of this confusion

Of this hateful societal chaos

In my daily walk

But God is my strength

Already walked where I haven’t been

Keep me steady, keep me calm

Holy Spirit takes over

And the battle is won

Inclusion

Of this completion

That God gives me

The same as the “one are three.”

He gives substance to my life

Never leads me to walk blind

He gives meaning to my existence

He was the piece to my living

That was missing.

Inclusion

But no conclusion

Forever experiencing and growing

Wisdom continually flowing

From the One all-knowing.

Until life ends, spirit open

Hands clinched, always hoping

For tomorrow to be better today

In Jesus’ name, this I pray.”

The crowd applauded as Shade disappeared off the stage. Jeremiah was sitting in waiting. He was slotted to go after Shade. Jeremiah got up from his seat and calmly walked up to the microphone to the approval of the spectators.

“God bless you all. Today I want to perform a piece entitled ‘Protector’.”

“Protector

Under His wings eternal

Spread out to cover me

Shielding me

Hiding me

He is to be

My Protector.

Protector

In His shadow

I hide

His love supplied

In outstretched arms I abide

For He is my

Protector.

Protector

All evil away

The darts fall at my feet

Calm wind to cool the heat

My up when I feel defeat

All my needs

He will meet.

He is my protector.”

Mrs. Emma’s House

During Jeremiah’s performance, there was suspicious activity taking place at Mrs. Emma’s home.

Mrs. Emma was inside watching television when she heard the roaring noise of motorcycles outside of her house. She rose up from her recliner and walked towards the window. Her eyes were fixed on five guys in her driveway walking towards her door. They were of a variety of races—four black guys and one white guy—and a variety of statures. All of them had an intimidating look to them, with their faces primarily covered with bandanas. Mrs. Emma quickly stepped away from the window and made a decision to not answer any knock that may come. She was petrified.

The ring leader made it to the door and didn’t waste any time trying to break in. The sound of heavy hands cracking the lock with a crow bar. Mrs. Emma moved as fast as her legs and cane could take her to get to the phone to dial 911. But her fastest speed was still very slow, too slow. The big, burly man forcefully entered the home and Mrs. Emma panicked to the point of losing her breath.

In the haste of the moment, Mrs. Emma was knocked to the ground. The five intruders barged through the house and ransacked everything in sight. But why did they do this? Why did they target Mrs. Emma’s home? Was it something in particular they were looking for?

Mrs. Emma was still on the floor grasping for air, trying to let out a scream so someone could her here. But it was as though the neighborhood was empty and no one came to her rescue.

The group of thugs didn’t care anything about the elderly woman needing medical help as they paid her no attention. She was hyperventilation and her oxygen tube was knocked away from her face. All of a sudden, she grabbed her chest as though it was giving her pain. She gathered just enough strength to activate the alarm bracelet on her left wrist.

TSU Poetry Slam

At the poetry slam, Jeremiah wraps up his piece:

“Protector

All my fears die

A death of might

Day transformed from night

For He is the giver of life

Protector

Protector

Fighting my troubles

And all the clouds that hover

Come in so I can come up

From experienced hurt

My protector.

Protector

He is my battle ram

In Him, a weapon I have found

My defensive ground

When they try hard

To knock me down!

He is my protector.

Protector

God is my protector

And I shall never

Be afraid, of the terror

By night

Or the arrow

In flight

My protector.

Protector

He is my protector

And I shall praise Him

Forever.

Just when the last word escapes his mouth, his cell phone buzzes to a special tone. It was a call from Mrs. Emma. Her bracelet was linked to Jeremiah’s phone through a special program. Not only would it call out to emergency personnel, but to her grandson as well. He knew it was an emergency.

Jeremiah rushed off the stage and found Darius, Michelle, Khrystal, and Erica. “I’ve got to go!” Jeremiah said to the group with trembling excitement. “I’ve got to get to Granny!”

“We’ll come with you Jeremiah,” said Darius.

“Do whatever you want to do. But I’ve got to go…NOW!” cried out Jeremiah, nervously.

The group hopped in their respective vehicles and fled the scene. Jeremiah broke speed limit laws to get to Mrs. Emma. Fortunately, he made it there without any trouble….or an accident.

Jeremiah went inside were paramedics had arrived just minutes before. He came to his grandmother on a stretcher, surrounded by people who had been trying to revive her. But it was to no avail. They were too late getting to Mrs. Emma.

“Who are you?” asked one of the police officers. That officer was actually Detective Patton Gray of the Nashville Police Department.

“I’m her grandson, Jeremiah. Is she going to be ok? Tell me she’s going to be ok.”

“Son, she didn’t make it. They tried to get her back. They…”

“I don’t want to hear that! She’s still alive. I know she is!” interrupted Jeremiah, busting out in tears.

Sherriff Gray put his hand on Jeremiah’s left shoulder, gave him a light pat, and shook his head. “When you can, give me a call.” Detective Gray seemed callious and unconcerned about Jeremiah’s tears. He slipped Jeremiah his card and walked away.

At that time, Darius and the others pulled up. Jeremiah stormed outside, sat on the porch steps, and wept uncontrollably.

Darius walked up to him, but didn’t even question the situation. He just sat by Jeremiah, put his arm around his best friend. Michelle, Khrystal, and Erica surrounded Jeremiah in love and comfort.

Darius whispered these words of consolation to Jeremiah: “Beauty for ashes, joy for mourning, praise for despair…”


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