Fourteen stitches across your face can have a lot to tell a child. Larry was a good man to all who knew him. His heart was always in the right place, at least his secrets never really surfaced openly in front of strangers. He worked through the downtown noon traffic as people moved about on their lunch break. “Never stop being you, young man! Who are you?” He had an eccentric Nubian look yet thuggish type feel and he came across as a free minded person in every way, it showed heavy in the way he carried himself. Silk was a rich mans material and he loved it. He spoke of changing his ways. “Never stop being you, young man!” You are a wonder boy. Who are you? Going to church and becoming a pastor or maybe a minister yet still there was those days when all in one single moment he would get caught up in the streets. Truly because of his taste in women and fighting he told me once. He had put those days behind him. His life went from doing torts of law on cases to jail time for Assault, Robbery and Cocaine Possession.
“Wait I should start at the beginning” Luther said, because he began the story to late. ”Students I must say in Hindsight my step father said this phase, “Never stop being you, young man!” You are a wonder boy. Who are you? Every time my step-father got drunk Who am I, I’m the product of love I’d like to think asking my Step- Father in his intoxicated state of being between the heaven and hell of wants, desires, doubts and delusions of perfected crack fatherhood. Fifth-teen years of lies hidden behind his smile, this truth always chased reality to fasten my heart on will I live or die just a poor young black man. So there has always been an inner journey of self discovery. My step-father never broke his promise he swore to my mother he would take care of me. I have been like a son to him. My mother and he were high school sweethearts in her mind. He wasn’t a man of great appeal to woman. Throughout the neighborhood it had been said that my mother must have been blind or seen what she thought was an angel inside his eyes. The scar on his face told a story without words.
A gambler whose game was poker who talked with a Detroit sang. In the height of his life he had been a business law lawyer working for Crane & Crane. A lot of times his lips would run loose with bragging about past relationships with wild women who paid for his time. I never thought we ever had much to talk about; he once described life as a car crash. “Never stop being you, young man! You are a wonder boy, you know this? Who are you?” My step-father said. As he turned up the volume of the radio station;
“Here is the NEWS in Downtown Los Angelis.
The Cali heats gone and it’s a wet wild mourning.
Governor Arnold Swizzinaggar says he will sign a
bill to recycle citizens’ sewer water for drinking water
in an effort to save water from 2008 until 2040.
Call us on the line if you have a song request”
A voice said inside the radio.
My step- father just looked deep at me, starving eyes pieced into me. The fear of the unknown tore at my heart as the conversation began to start, questions of what the hell happened. How could this happen to me? He yelled. My breath was snatched as his voice pattern started to get deeper and deeper. The bass of it was terrifying with its relentless questions. And he wouldn’t stop saying, “Never stop being you, young man! You are a wonder boy. Who are you? What the hell happened? Just look at me young man! Never stop being you, young man!” You are a wonder boy. Who are you?
I just sat there wanting him to stop. The music began to echo loud, as the songstress singing in whispers of words.
“Lord I surrender I give you all I am for all you are”.
Speak up! speak up! I told you! Speak up now baby boy. Never stop being you, young man! You are a wonder boy. Who are you? My step-father screamed in terror.
My mind chokes tears stream from my eyes needing him to stop, to just stop yelling at me. Never stop being you, young man! You are a wonder boy. Who are you?
Flashes of daddy’s desperate image marked my inner eye I can still see the whimpers of his broken words glazing the air, “Never stop being you, young man! You are a wonder boy. Who are you? ”, as he motioned for me to come closer and I grinded my teeth as I spoke to him, could you please just stop. He smiled and kind of laughed then went back to listening to the music.
“Never stop being you, young man! You are a wonder boy. Who are you? ” No, I thought to myself. I wanted to just get off this TV show “Your failed life”. I understand what you mean I replied. The stale smell of a week of dishes in the sink becomes my breakfast for the mourning. Than suddenly my step father jumped up out of the gray, blue, rocking chair, he had been setting, knife in hand aiming for my neck. Out of shock I awoke confused and dazed springing up out of bed.
My head twisting out of the enigma of covers, so I started walking into the hallway turned right into the front room. Struggling with lack of light I try hard to find the remote to turn on the television. For light, as I sat down on the couch still dazed. My eyes begin to come to focus glancing at the black book with golden letters, papers torn from their bindings. ‘Conversations with God’ the title said but this took on a new meaning this mourning. I parted my coated lips and said if you are real and you can help me please do because I need answers, I need help I can’t do this by myself I can’t change myself I surrender Lord, I surrender as a image appeared as I was opening my eyes and a tormented body moved across the floor asking what am I doing up so early again, I said praying.
Never stop being you, young man!
You are a wonder boy.
Who are you?
I said, who am I, I’m the product of love, I’d like to think.
By: Terrance L. Burton
Creative Writing / Fiction 2008
Music download at http://cdbaby.com/cd/birthrightx