The Spoken Word: Words of Life

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Chapter 9: From Bitter to Better

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

It had been weeks since Jeremiah had been released from the hospital. He had been attending rehab sessions and made great progress. He even attempted a time or two to stand without the help of the cane. His strength wasn’t quite up to par to achieve that just yet. But the effort was surely there.

Jeremiah had taken his inherited money and paid off the $20,157 left on his Lexus. He placed an even $20,000 in the bank to cover his mortgage for the next several months. He tithed ten percent of it and stashed the rest in a savings account. This was to definitely take a burden off the shoulders of Jeremiah. He had been off of work since the accident, but he was being sustained by God. God was carrying him through all the way. Jerrel had been staying with Jeremiah, which had worked out well. But at this time, he was working a job cutting yards, so he wasn’t at home.

All in all, life had gotten better for Jeremiah. He had become a new(er) man and the negative that once embodied him seemed to had disappeared. A new found joy had overtaken him.

Jeremiah’s House

It was eight forty-five in the morning. Little to Jeremiah’s knowledge, today was going to be a packed day. It started with Jeremiah making a phone call to Darius. He dialed the number, hit send, and placed the phone to his ear.

“Hello?” answered Darius.

“D! Whatsup, bruh?” answered back Jeremiah.

“Whatsup, Jeremiah?! How’s it going?”

“Good, good. Can’t complain. How are you doing?”

“Man, I’m good. Just at work sketching out plans for the new project.”

“Cool. Hey, why don’t you meet me for lunch at twelve?”

“Maxine’s?” asked Darius.

“Maxine’s it is!”

“Cool. I’ll see you at twelve then!”

“Alright, man. Meet you there. Talk to you later.”

“Alright. See you later.”

Jeremiah hung up the phone with the thought of never saying goodbye as usual. But before he would put his Blackberry down, he dialed another number and sent it through.

“Detective Patton Gray speaking.”

“Hi Detective Gray. This is Jeremiah Washington.”

“Ah, yes. Mr. Washington. How are you feeling?”

“Better. I can say that much. I need to meet with you today.”

“Ok. Give me a time, Mr. Washington.”

“One-thirty?”

“One-thirty is fine. Come to the station and we’ll chat.”

“I appreciate it. I’ll see you then.”

“Very well. Goodbye Mr. Washington.”

Jeremiah hung up the phone and made a conscience decision to finish preparing for the day ahead. He was getting back into the habit of doing his daily devotionals and his morning prayer time. He cooked scrambled eggs, sausage patties, and biscuits, with mixed fruit on the side. Jeremiah washed it down with a tall glass of orange juice and preceded to dress himself in jeans and a polo shirt all while trying not to put pressure on that right leg.

After getting dressed and finishing up his routine, he limped out the door to meet up with Darius at Maxine’s. He sat behind the wheel of his car and took off down the road. Even though too much pressure couldn’t be applied to his leg, he was still capable of using his right foot to drive.

When Jeremiah had arrived at Maxine’s, Darius was waiting on him. Darius walked to Jeremiah’s driver side door, opened it up and helped Jeremiah exit the car.

“Umm, D. I’m limping a bit. I’m not totally helpless,” Jeremiah playfully said to his best friend. Darius just laughed it off.

The two entered in Maxine’s and the hostess seated them at a table. Maxine’s always had lunch specials, mostly sandwiches and light plates, such as catfish and fries.

That waitress, named Ashley, came to the table and took Jeremiah and Darius’ order. Jeremiah had a cheeseburger and fries. Darius ordered the catfish, fries, and hush puppies. Both decided to be content with a glass of water.

During the course of their lunch, the two friends struck up a conversation.

“Well, D,” started Jeremiah. “I’m meeting up with Detective Gray to talk to him about some things.”

“Oh yeah? What time?”

“One-thirty. I’m going to tell him it was Deacon who raided Granny’s house. I can’t be afraid anymore, D.”

“You know that Deacon is locked up, right? So you really don’t have to tell.”

“No, I wasn’t aware of that. When did he get arrested?”

“The way I understand it, it was the same night you got shot. Got him when he was about to rob the president of IBA. Charged him with attempted robbery and possession of drugs with the intent to distribute. He also has weapon charges, possession of a hand gun. Got him and his crew. Got that dude Tek on identity theft, hacking into folks’ bank accounts.”

“Yeah, it was going to be ugly, man. That’s when I decided to not be a part of it anymore. But how did you find out he was arrested?”

“Good move on your part. It was all on the news, man.”

“I missed it! Well, good! Glad he’s off the streets. I was dumb to even get in business with him.”

“You was just desperate. In the end, God came through for you though. Deacon’s gone, you got some cash flow, and you’re still alive. If that ain’t a blessing from heaven!”

“Yeah, I know, right?! But I still want to go see Detective Gray. You know, to clear my mind.”

“Man, I back you all the way. Do what you feel is necessary. I’m in until the end.”

“You’re a good friend, D.”

“Yeah, I know,” chuckled Darius. “But you’re going to think I’m an even better friend when I tell you this.”

“What is it?”

“Well, the accountant at Motions Intellect moved to another location in Texas and got promoted. So, they had been looking and I put in a good word to the head of administration department about you this morning. Mr. James Borwood is his name. He wants you to come in at eight o’clock tomorrow morning for an interview.”

“Man, you done this for me? How can I say thank you?”

“Yeah, just for you. We’re boys, right? And you can thank me by showing up tomorrow,” smiled Darius.

“I’ll be there! Wait…how did I get an interview without turning in a resume?”

“God! That’s how! All logic is out the window when it comes to God’s provisions. Just bring your resume with you tomorrow.”

“You’re right, D. You’re right. I really don’t know what to say, but praise God and thank you!”

“No need to thank me. God is in control!”

“True. He sure is! But to cap this wonderful lunch off, I’m inviting you to come to Harmony Friday night. I’m doing it, man! I’m getting back up there!”

“No joke?”

“No joke! I’m getting back to what I love…or use to love.”

“You know I’m in! Do you care if I bring Erica along?”

“Of course not. The more, the merrier. I’m going to invite Michelle and I’m sure she will bring Khrystal. And I’m going to bring Jerrel along.”

“Cool” Darius looked at his watch and seen what time it was. “Well, I need to get back to work.” The time was then twelve forty-five.

“Yeah, and I need to get to the station after a while,” Jeremiah said while reaching in his back pocket to pull out his wallet.

“What you doing? You don’t have to pay,” insisted Darius. “I’ll get it.”

“No, let me get it. You have blessed me, now let me bless you.”

“Well, I appreciated it, man!”

The two scooted from the table after paying for the meal, removed themselves, and left a tip. They hugged each other as that brotherly love resonated once again and parted ways.

NPD Police Station

Jeremiah had done a little driving around before pulling into the police station. He had been thinking about a lot, but was mainly reflecting on how good God had been to him the past few weeks, including today.

Once Jeremiah had parked in a spot near the door, he got out of the car and went into the station. The receptionist greeted him and buzzed for Detective Gray to make him aware he had a visitor.

“Hey Detective Gray,” spoke Jeremiah.

“Hello, Mr. Washington. It’s good to see you again. It seems you are doing well,” said Detective Gray.

“I am. I’m holding up just fine. I heard Deacon is behind bars and I’m happy about that. You know, he’s the one who shot me in the leg, right?”

“Yes, we know. CSI found the shell casing to the bullet in your leg on the ground in the warehouse. It matched the bullets in the gun we found on Deacon. It was just a matter of piecing it all together. We got him on possession of the firearm, possession of drugs, and attempted robbery.”

“Yeah, that’s what I heard.”

“My question to you is, why was you hanging around Deacon anyway?”

Jeremiah took a deep breath. Truth is, I lost my job and nearly lost my mind, detective. I cut a deal with Deacon to do some jobs for him and he would let me keep a portion of the cash. I really needed the money.”

“So you’re telling me you got involved in the prescription drug ring?”

“Yes. Am I in trouble?”

“You could be. Very much so. But since you was victimized, I will let you off the hook on one condition.”

“What’s that?”

“Get Deacon to confess.”

“Confess to what?”

“Confess to ransacking Mrs. Emma’s house. That’s what you was coming to me for, right? To tell me it was him who went through all of your grandmother’s belongings?”

“Well, yeah. But how did you know?” wondered a dumbfounded Jeremiah.

“I had an inclination. So, will you do it? You do and we will pretend that you was never involved. And we get Deacon on the charge of burglary to go along with the laundry list of stuff we already got him on.”

“Yes, I will do it.”

“Good. I will make a call and get him transferred down here a.s.a.p. We will put him in the interrogation room and let you have at it. No fear, Jeremiah.”

Jeremiah sat listless as Detective Gray made the phone call. Jeremiah was playing in his mind what he would even say to Deacon to get him to confess to the crime. The clock was ticking.

“It’s all done,” said Detective Gray. He will be here in thirty minutes. Would you like anything? Coffee? Water? Muffin?”

“No thank you,” Jeremiah quietly answered.

“Listen, Jeremiah. It will be fine. Detective Necarma and I will be standing outside the door. If anything goes down, we will come in.”

“Ok, I guess I’ll be ready for him.”

“Good. Now we just wait.”

Station Interrogation Room

At two thirty-nine p.m., Deacon showed up to the station, cuffed and escorted by police. They took him straight to interrogation where Detective Gray and Detective Necarma was awaiting his arrival.

“Well, hello Mr. Harrison,” greeted Detective Gray. “So glad you could be here. We’re going to put you in the company of someone to chat it up with.”

Deacon sat at the table, seemingly uninterested in what Detective Gray was saying. ‘Deacon. Mr. Harrison?’ Jeremiah thought to himself. ‘What is his first name?’

Jeremiah was motioned by Detective Gray to come in the room. As Jeremiah stepped in, the detectives stepped out to view and hear on the other side of the double window. Detective Gray patted Jeremiah on the shoulder to assure him it would be alright.

Deacon finally allowed words to be uttered after sitting quietly. “Jeremiah. What are you doing?”

“Deacon, what is your name?” asked Jeremiah.

“Elijah. Elijah Harrison. Why did you need to know that?”

“I just did. Elijah, you know, I could really hurt you for doing this to me. I am having to walk on a cane because of you!”

Deacon, or Elijah, went back into his despondent state, not responding to Jeremiah’s frustration. Jeremiah had to tell himself to calm down.

Jeremiah continued, “But what I really want to know is why did you do what you did to my grandmother?”

“Because at the time it felt good.”

“That’s not a good enough answer, Elijah! Why did you do it?”

“Because I had to!” fired back Elijah. “You, in your perfect world, would never understand.”

Detective Gray looked over to Detective Necarma. “We got him. That sounds like a confession to me.”

“I agree. Do we take him out of there now?” asked Detective Necarma.

“No let’s wait a minute,” responded Detective Gray.

But Jeremiah wasn’t done. Jeremiah, sitting on the other side of the table, leaned into Elijah’s space. “Try me.”

Elijah (Deacon) attempted to explain. “See, there’s something you don’t know about me, Jeremiah. I was a foster child my whole childhood, bouncing between homes. At the age of five, when you wasn’t even born, it was Mrs. Emma who took me in. I was separated from my twin brother who I haven’t seen since.”

“So what does that have to do with you robbing my grandmother?”

“Let me finish. Your grandmother allowed them to take me away from her. She didn’t put up a fight and I never understood why. She was so good to me. Took real good care of me. So why didn’t she let me stay when I wanted to? Later on , I chalked it up to her not loving me as much as she fronted she did. She threw me away like everyone else would do. Do you know what it feels like to be thrown away? Of course you don’t. I had to hustle at a young age just to survive.”

“So let me get this straight. You were taken in by Granny. She loved on you, fed you, clothed you, and everything else. Yet you feel she didn’t do enough because something happened beyond her control. And twenty-something years later, you decide to retaliate. Why wait so long?”

“Jeremiah, it’s all about timing. Everything we do in the streets is about timing. But honestly, I don’t feel good about what I did anymore.”

“Why should I believe you? You killed my grandmother!”

“I didn’t kill your grandmother!” snapped back Elijah (Deacon). “She died after we left. Yes, I steal. Yes, I sell. But I’m not a murderer! I wanted..!” Deacon yelled at first, but then calmed his voice. “I wanted to steal from her, because she stole from me any hope of a normal childhood. But these weeks in jail had me thinking. I was wrong in what I believed. I was wrong in what I done. You have to forgive me, Jeremiah.”

Jeremiah rolled his eyes and shook his head. Was the toughest man in the streets really showing a softer side? It was hard for Jeremiah to swallow all of this. But then he finally answered. “You know what? I can forgive you. But honestly, it will be hard to forget what happened.”

“That’s fine. I know I need to change. But I need help,” said Elijah looking down towards the table.

“Change ain’t easy, Elijah. It doesn’t come overnight. But I’ll be praying for you.”

Elijah gave Jeremiah a nod. No words, no smile. Just a nod.

The two detectives walked back in the room, along with the police escort. “Ok, Mr. Harrison, time to go. You know now we are going to add the charge of second degree burglary to your sheet, right?” asked Detective Gray.

Elijah was handcuffed and taken out of the room. But as he walked by Jeremiah, he took a five second glance, then dropped his head. Jeremiah looked back at him square in the eye and lipped “Jesus” to him. Elijah dropped his head again and stepped where the officer lead.

“Jeremiah, you done fine son,” said Detective Gray. “But this is not over. You may be asked to testify in court when his trial comes up.”

“I can do that. No fear, right detective?”

“Right. Go on home kid. We’ll see you another time.”

Jeremiah gave a slight smile, gathered his things, walked past the detectives and slipped out the room into obscurity. He had accomplished what he wanted to accomplish and he felt satisfied in that.

Cemetery

After Jeremiah left the station, he decided to pay Mrs. Emma a visit. Flowers in his hand, he parked the car and made his way to his grandmother’s tombstone. He took off his sunglasses and looked down at the gravesite. He wished he could kneel, but due to his bum leg, that was out of the question.

“Hi Granny,” Jeremiah started out as he placed the flowers on the tombstone. The wind was blowing slightly, just enough for a breeze. It was as though Mrs. Emma was coming through embracing Jeremiah ever so gently. “I miss you so much, but I know you’re smiling on me. Just wish you could have been here a little longer, but I guess God need you more.” Jeremiah took a breath. “Guess what? They got who broke into your house, Granny. They got him! Deacon is his nickname. Elijah Harrison. But why didn’t you tell me about him Granny? It doesn’t matter now though. I’m just glad they got him and his gang off the streets.”

Jeremiah focused on the absence of his grandmother’s voice. It hurt him to know she wouldn’t be able to talk back to him. He continued, “You wouldn’t be so proud of me in other ways. I fell off and got into some bad things, Granny. I put God on the back burner and when I done that, trouble came to the forefront, knocked on my door. But I did get away from that. I’m no longer doing that bad stuff, although it came with a price. Change for the good always costs. You taught me that, Granny.” Jeremiah smiled, but also felt tears come on.

The one-sided conversation continued to flow. “Oh and you won’t believe this. Michelle and I are a couple now! Yeah, funny, right? You said it would happen one of these days. And I surely didn’t believe you! But here we are!”

At that time, Michelle walked up and hugged Jeremiah from behind. It startled Jeremiah at first, but he turned around and hugged Michelle in return.

“I thought I would find you here,” said Michelle. “Went to your house and you wasn’t there. So I came here.”

“Yeah. Just talking to Granny. I miss her so much, Michelle,” Jeremiah said.

“I know you do, sweetheart. But always rest assure that she is in a place we envy to be. She’s well, but are you going to be ok?” The couple moved to a bench nearby.

“See you later Granny,” Jeremiah said as he moved away from the tombstone. “It’s going to take some time. But I will be ok. I’m sure of the fact that God will take care of me. At least one chapter has been closed.”

“What do you mean?” Michelle asked.

“I was asked by Detective Gray to get Deacon to confess to robbing Granny.”

“Did he confess?”

“Yeah, he did. I was glad he did, too. So he is going to have an extra charge on him now. Check this out: The crazy thing is Granny had taken Deacon in when he was five years old. Well, I found out his name is actually Elijah.”

“So he was living with Mrs. Emma at one time?”

“Yes. His rage was an act of retaliation. He felt that Granny abandoned him.”

“Oh, wow. What did you think about that?”

“It just didn’t make sense to me. Twenty-something years to retaliate? Plus I know Granny would never just abandon someone. Something was very wrong with that whole picture.”

“Well, at least he’s behind bars now.”

“Yeah. But he’s reaching his hand out for someone to take it and help him.”

“Goes to show you there’s always hope for people, regardless of their past.”

“You’re so right about that.” Jeremiah paused, then resumed his talking. “Oh, by the way, come to Harmony Friday night.”

“What’s going on Friday night?”

Jeremiah turned to Michelle and just smiled. This excited Michelle to no ends and was so happy Jeremiah was getting back on stage. “I love it! You know I will be there for you, Jeremiah!”

Jeremiah and Michelle locked in a hug and continued to talk while soaking up the beautiful day. Jeremiah was so engrossed in the conversation, he nearly lost track of time.

“Well, I need to get back home so I can be there when Jerrel gets home,” Jeremiah said.

“Ok. Call me tonight,” said Michelle.

“I will. See you later, sweetie.”

“See you later, Jeremiah.”

One final hug and Jeremiah went to his car and headed home. It had overall been a great day. Life had seemed to smile on Jeremiah once more. It had definitely shown signs of getting better.


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