A Spiritual Romance Novel.
On a breezy August morning in Atlanta, GA, Douglass (Doug) Banks, a twenty-one year old college student entering
his senior year, stumbles across what seems to be a large object wrapped in a blanket lying in the walkway of the
bank he works for. As attentive to detail as he is handsome, he always arrives extra early—at least forty-five
minutes—to open up and get things in order. Working for the bank three years now, he has earned that trust and
respect from his boss, Mr. Lake. Cautiously, he moves toward the blanket then stops. Now the adrenalin is
pumping. He wonders what’s inside; a dead animal, clothes, paper……a dead body? With that last thought, he
decides to call the police to let them handle it, but as he removes his cell phone from the inside pocket of the
lightweight overcoat he wear with his suit, he hears a moan. The sound startles him. He looks down at the blanket,
noticing whatever is inside is moving. Coming to the realization that there is a person inside the blanket, he pauses
to think. Could it be someone hiding to attempt a robbery? There hasn’t been a reported robbery in the area for
over two years, but he isn’t taking any chances.
He places his fingers on the phone keys, but is stopped once again by another noise; a sneeze. What if this
person is hurt or wounded or sick? he thinks. Going against everything in the bank’s manual on safety, he calms his
nerves and steps closer to the blanket. A solid 165 pounds and nicely built, he knows he can handle himself. At
least until the police arrive if there is trouble. Kneeling down, he gently touches what seems to be an arm. Once
contact is made, the mystery is revealed; it’s a person. A young lady who appears to be a bit on the malnourished
side. Her hair is scraggly and the dirt on her face covers her caramel-colored complexion.. She reeks of alcohol and
has an unpleasant body odor to match. She looks up at Doug, too drunk to even be startled.
“Are you okay?” he asks with concern and sincerity.
She coughs up some mucus, making him cover his nose. When she opens her mouth to yawn, the nausea sets in.
“Are you okay?” he inquires again. “Can you talk?”
“Where am I?” she weakly replies.
“You’re in front of a bank. Can I call you a cab to take you to your place of residence?”
The woman slowly sits up and pulls the blanket around her shoulders, trembling because of the windy air.
“If I had a home, I wouldn’t be sleeping here.”
“I’m sorry. That was a silly question.”
“No it wasn’t. At least you cared enough to ask.” She looks around the area. “You must work here.”
“Yes,” he hesitantly answers—not afraid, just cautious.
“Well, let me be moving on. Thank you for waking me up and caring enough to ask about me.”
The woman slowly rises to her feet and clutches the blanket a bit tighter. Seeing her body continually trembling,
Doug makes the assumption that she has nothing but that blanket to keep her warm.
“Hey, wait,” he says. He removes the items from the pockets of his overcoat and
takes it off. Once he places it around her, she stops trembling. Seeing her warm brings a smile to his face. The
woman dawns a look of humility.
“I thank you, kind sir, but I can’t take your coat,” she modestly says. “It must have cost you a lot of money.”
“It’s okay. I have another one.”
The woman looks him in the eyes and lowers her head, embarrassed. “Well, let me be moving on.”
She starts her way up the street. He watches her make it to the corner and then glances at his watch, seeing that he
has about twenty minutes before the bank opens. Other employees will be coming in to report to their stations at any
time. Still, he feels led to help the woman a bit more.
“Hey!” he yells, getting her attention. He runs over to her.
“Yes,” she answers.
Bearing the pleasant and warm smile that seems to be a fixture on him, he proceeds to extend his hand. “I don’t
mean to say “hey” to you, but I don’t know your name.”
A sincere, half-smile spreads across her face. She removes the blanket, letting it drop to the ground. “My name is
Tameka. You can call me Meka if you want to.”
“Tameka. That’s spelled T-a-m-i-k-a?”
She takes his hand, overwhelmed by his kindness. “Almost,” she giggles. “It’s spelled with an “e” instead of an “i.”
“Well, Ms. or Mrs. Tameka, my name is Douglass. My friends and family call me Doug. Are you hungry?”
It’s Ms. and yes, I am hungry.
“I have to open up the bank, but there is a small café around the corner from here. Are you familiar with it? I can’t
remember the name.”
“I can’t remember the name of it, either. Sometimes I can’t remember anything, but yes, I know the one you’re talking
about. It has the patio where you can sit outside, right?”
“Yes, that’s the one. If you will meet me there, I will make sure you get something to eat?”
“Come on, man……….”
“Doug. Please, call me Doug.”
“Come on, Doug. You’ve done enough just by giving me your coat. You don’t have to trouble yourself over me. I’m
“You are someone. You are a child of God.”
“Oh, I get it now, you want to lure me to get something to eat so you can preach to me and tell me how there is a
better way in the Lord. Thanks, but no thanks. I’ve heard it all before.”
“No, Ms. Tameka, my intention is to make sure you get something to eat. Jesus does love you and He can help you,
but I can’t force that on you. I just want you to get something hot in your stomach. Is that okay?”
Thinking for a moment. “You’re not going to preach to me?”
“I’m not a preacher.”
“You don’t have to do this. I have nothing to offer you in return.”
“How about just sitting with me and getting something to eat. Once you are finished, you can go just as easily as you
“Thank you, Doug.” Tears form in her eyes. “No one has ever been this kind to me.”
“My pleasure. I’ll meet you there in about thirty minutes.”
“You’d better be there.”
“If I’m not, you know where I work. You can come and get me.”
She heads off in the direction of the café. Doug returns to the bank.
Upon arriving at the café, Doug notices two of the employees arguing with Tameka. He hurries to the scene and
confronts both employees. Tameka turns away. He gently moves her to the side of him so that he is the focal point.
The well-dressed and clean-cut Doug commands their attention, unlike Tameka who they think is just a bum on their
premises trying to get a free meal.
“Is there a problem?” He sternly asks the two employees.
“It’s okay, Doug,” says Tameka.
“I will handle this,” he replies. The female employee eyeballs him, obviously liking what she sees. “What is the
problem?” he inquires.
“This hag……..” comments the male employee.
“Who are you calling a hag?” Doug interrupts. “You will not address my guest as a hag or any other vile name! Do
you understand me?”
“Yes,” nervously states the male employee. “We’re sorry, sir, we didn’t know she was a guest of yours.”
“May we have a table for two?”
“Inside or outside?” asks the female employee.
“Inside will be fine.”
“This way, sir and mam,” concludes the male employee.
Tameka is obviously embarrassed, keeping her head lowered. She follows Doug to their table. As they take a seat,
the male employee gives them both a menu.
“Your waiter will be with you shortly, sir,” he alerts.
“Thank you,” replies Doug.
Both employees exit Doug and Tameka’s presence; she doesn’t make eye contact with them.
“Tameka, let’s focus on getting something to eat,” sighs Doug.
She avoids looking directly at the menu, but admires the beauty of the café. “This is a nice place,” she comments.
“I’m told that it’s one of the best,” he replies.
The waiter arrives for their order. Doug instructs Tameka to order anything that she wants. He orders a moderate
size breakfast. Tameka, still not looking at the menu, begins to order things from memory, but that are not on the
menu. Each time the waiter informs her that they don’t have what she is asking for, it appears to make her more
uncomfortable. Doug picks up on it. Assuming that she may not be able to read, he steps in and orders for her—the
same as what he’s having.
“Thank you again, Doug,” she softly says, but not looking at him directly.
“You’re welcome again. What’s your last name, Tameka?”
“Jackson. And yours?”
“Banks working for a bank. That’s cool.”
“Do you have any family here, Tameka?”
“No natural family, but I do have my spiritual family at church.”
“You’re not from around here are you?”
“How can you tell?”
“I’ve come to love it here in Atlanta, but I’m originally from Michigan.”
“What brought you here?”
“That’s good. You should be proud.”
“It hasn’t been easy, but God has blessed me to get through three years thus far. Just one more year to go.
Classes start back up in a few weeks.”
“What are you going to do?”
“That’s great, Doug. We need more men like you.”
“That’s kind of you to say.”
“That’s the truth, man. You have something going for yourself. You are very attractive, nicely built for your, what,
five feet eight or nine inch frame. You have the most beautiful brown skin I’ve ever seen on a man. Your eyes are
captivating and alluring, you have the warmest smile, you’re approachable and on top of all that, you have something
going for yourself. You are obviously an intelligent person. Shoot, just look at how that girl was looking at you. You
are very well-mannered. Your parents must be proud.”
“I hope so. I give all the praise to God. Without Him, I would be nothing.”
“I’d guess that you are about twenty-one or twenty-two?”
“Twenty one. How old are you if you don’t mind me asking.”
“Take a guess.”
“I’d rather not guess. When you guess, there’s always the possibility that you can be wrong.”
“We can’t always be right.”
“True, but still, I’d rather not guess. Why don’t you tell me.”
The waiter arrives with their orders. As soon as he places Tameka’s plate before her, she digs in—as if she hasn’t
eaten in weeks. He turns up his nose at her and places Doug’s plate in front of him. Bowing his head to Doug, he
hurries from the table. Doug tries to concentrate on his food, but can’t help being distracted by Tameka’s animal-like
eating behavior. Seeing enough, he reaches over and touches her hand, breaking her rhythm. She lowers her
head, once again embarrassed.
“Hey, no need to be embarrassed,” softly states Doug. “Take your time and if you want more, you can have more.”
“Don’t you have better things to do than to hang out with a bum like me?” she asks with pain in her voice—
overwhelmed by the kindness she is receiving, but not knowing quite how to take it.
“Didn’t you get upset when that employee called you a bum?”
“It’s okay. It’s only true.”
“No it’s not true! Tameka, no matter what someone may think of you, you are somebody. And no, I don’t have
anything better to do. My post at work is covered for a while. Having breakfast with you is what’s important to me
Tears begin swelling up in her eyes. “No one has ever been this kind to me.”
“Where is your family, Tameka?”
“I don’t know where my father is. I have two older sisters, one is twenty-six and the other is twenty-seven. They both
stay with our mother.”
“Here in Atlanta?”
“Downtown in the projects.”
“I gather from the tone of your voice that you all aren’t close?”
“I’m sorry to hear that.”
“What about you, Doug? What’s your family like?”
“I’m an only child. My mother almost died giving birth. The good Lord pulled her through. My dad is my hero.”
“You and him have a good relationship?”
“We’ve been through some tough times as a family, but through it all, my dad always let the Lord lead him and God
always brought us through.”
As they finish their breakfast, Doug pulls out one of the church’s cards with the times and days of service on it.
Tameka drinks the last of her water and rises from the table. Doug signals the waiter for the bill. He pays him and
leaves a generous tip. He and Tameka exit the café. Tameka removes the coat he gave her and tries to hand it to
him, but he refuses to take it.
“Yes. Here, I want you to take this.”
He extends the card to her. She is reluctant at first then slowly lifts it from his hand.
“I told you I don’t need anyone to preach to me.”
“I know you did, Tameka. But, I want to invite you to church. I’m not going to try and force anything on you just as I
told you I wouldn’t. But, if you will be honest with yourself, it’s time for a change. I don’t know of anyone else who
can bring about a change in a person the way Jesus Christ can.”
“Why are you being so kind to me? I have nothing to offer you.”
He softly places both his hands on her cheeks and looks her straight in the eyes. “Because God loves you and so
do I. I’ve given you some information on how to get yourself some help. What you do with the information is up to
With that said, he bids her goodbye and walks away. Her saddened eyes watch him until they don’t see him
anymore. She looks at the card and then lifts her head to the sky. The wind blows, making her button the overcoat.
* * *
Weeks had passed by since Doug gave Tameka the invitation to come to church. In all honesty, he’d forgotten
about it. So, when she showed up on the steps of the church one evening—intoxicated and looking aweful—he was
surprised, but not ashamed to approach her. He arrived at the church early to get things set up for the mid-week
prayer service. The congregation that he belongs to is a moderate-sized one, 200 members or so. Membership is
continuing to grow and the love of the members never ceases from reaching out to those in need—spiritually and
He parks and quickly gets out of his car. He has two small, plastic shopping bags, both filled with toilet tissue and
paper towels. Tameka steps to him. The expression on her face is one of emotional and physical pain.
“Please help me,” she pleads.
“What is it Tameka?” he inquires. “What’s the matter?”
“I’m tired of living like this. I don’t want to live like this anymore! Please help me!”
“Don’t worry. You’ve come to the right place. Pastor should be here shortly. Come in and have a seat in the
“Thank you, Doug.”
“You are more than welcome. Come on in.”
He opens the church and leads her inside. She takes a seat in the very last pew. Within minutes she is asleep;
peacefully stretched out across the pew. He places the toilet tissue and paper towel in the men’s room and comes to
her side. She has on a faded, dingy t-shirt and a worn pair of stone-washed jeans that appear too big for her. Even
the overcoat that he gave her isn’t in the same condition it was when he gave it to her.
“Go ahead and sleep it off,” he whispers.
He begins to walk around the church, softly calling on the name of Jesus and praising God in behalf of her. He asks
God to break her addiction. While he is yet praying and praising God, the church mother, Barbra Hughes and Sister
Lori enter the sanctuary. They notice Tameka sleeping in the pew. Immediately, they know what to do; they join
Doug in prayer. Once they have prayed for several minutes or so, Mother Hughes and Sister Lori inquire from Doug
about Tameka. Mother Hughes is one of the most awesome women of God Doug has ever had the pleasure of
knowing. She is an elderly woman with a gracious supply of wisdom. Sister Lori is several years younger than
Mother Hughes, but is just as sweet and has a good supply of knowledge and wisdom as well. Neither woman
criticizes Tameka. They go to her and wake her; startling her. She immediately looks around, searching for Doug.
Once she sees him, her fears are set to rest.
“Where am I?” asks Tameka.
“You’re in the church,” replies Doug. “Don’t you remember?”
Tameka’s body begins to tremble from the effects of the alcohol. Mother Hughes and Sister Lori try and comfort her
but she swiftly rises from the pew and bolts out the door. Doug shakes his head side to side. Mother Hughes turns
to him and extends her arms, comforting him.
“Don’t worry, son, you did what the Lord put on your heart to do,” she says. “The rest is up to her.”
“I really though that she was seeking help,” says Doug.
“I’m sure she was, Douglass,” states Sister Lori. “But you know as well as I do, Doug, that God isn’t going to make
anyone come to Him. They have to see the condition that they are in and know that the only way for them to come
up out of sin and to get better is to accept Jesus into their life.”
“But what if she doesn’t see that she needs help?”
“She knows, Douglass. She knows, but the enemy is steering her.”
“Besides,” injects Mother Hughes, “the enemy has a thorn he has to deal with.”
“And what’s that?” inquires Doug.
“Well, from what I can see, you’re letting God use you and I’m just crazy enough to believe that God is going to use
you to reach this woman, just as He’s used you to reach others. She’ll be back.”
“I don’t understand.”
“When she woke, the first person she wanted to see was you.”
“Yea, but now she’s gone.”
“She’ll be back.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“You connected with her, son. She saw a glimpse of Jesus in you. When she is tired of kicking against the pricks,
she’ll come seeking help again.”
“What if it’s too late when she comes around?”
“Well, son, that’s up to the Creator. What you do is continue being a light for Jesus in this darkened world.”
Those words of wisdom bring a smile to Doug’s face. Sister Lori pats him on the back. They rise from the pew and
prepare to go into prayer.
Mother Hughes was right. Tameka popped up at the church several more times, drunk, but nonetheless, she would
stick her head in long enough to strike up a short conversation with Doug, then leave before anyone else got to the
Then she just stopped coming. He hadn’t seen or heard from her, but he continued to pray for her.
“You’re going to lock up?” asks Doug’s boss, Mr. Lake, a middle-aged, intelligent yuppie from Harvard’s Prestigious
School of Business.
“No problem,” replies Doug.
“Thanks, Doug. We really appreciate you around here.”
“It’s no problem, Sir. I love my job.”
“I know you do. How much longer before you graduate?”
“If I take a couple of classes next summer, I’ll be completed by next fall.”
“A few months before it’s time for you to graduate, I want you to let me know, okay.”
“You are an outstanding worker and just a good person overall. In fact, you are the best worker that we have had in
quite some time. I like the way you carry yourself as a man of God.”
Doug shakes his boss’ hand before he exits the office. His face glows with happiness. It was truly an honor for his
boss to recognize him above everyone else; he has only been working there for two years now. He thanks God,
giving Him all the glory because he knows that it’s only because of God that he is who he is.
He walks around the office, making sure that everything is in order before he leaves. All is well and it’s time to go
home. A satisfied stretch accompanied with a yawn and he turns off the lights and exits the office.
He locks the office door and steps to the elevator, pressing the button for the first floor. Once the elevator reaches
him and the doors open, he is surprised by who he sees. It’s Tameka, looking much worse than she ever has
before. Her clothes are filthy and ragged. She looks like she’s one step away from death. Her face carries streaks
of dirt that appear to have taken up permanent residence.
“Tameka, are you alright?” he asks.
She dashes into his arms before the doors to the elevator close, smelling like a giant keg of beer. He frowns and
turns his head away from her.
“Are you alright?” he again asks.
“Take me, Doug,” she says. “Take me right now.”
“No. I want you.”
She puckers her lips and tries to kiss him, but his reflexes are in line with his twenty-one years of age and he quickly
maneuvers out the way. That doesn’t stop her from trying again and then a few more times before his grip firmly
tightens on her arms, making her stop and lower her head in shame. There is brief silence between them. He thinks
to try and figure out what’s going on inside her head, but doesn’t bother because he knows that right now the only
thing talking to her is the alcohol.
He gently places his hand underneath her chin and lifts her head so that their eyes meet. She keeps her eyes
closed. He pauses for a moment then releases her face. She lowers her head back into a position of shame. He
presses the elevator button.
“Don’t worry, Tameka, I’m going to take you somewhere you can get some help.”
She doesn’t respond, but as soon as the elevator door opens, she shoves him away and quickly gets on the
elevator, constantly pressing the door-close button until the doors close, taking her to the first floor and leaving him
standing with a confused look on his face.
He doesn’t try to make sense of it. He presses the button and waits for the elevator to come back up. On the way
down, he says a prayer for her, “Dear Lord, I pray that You will touch her heart so that she will seek You and can be
delivered from the addictions and demons that have her bound. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.”
When the doors of the elevator open, there is no sign of Tameka in the lobby. He locks the outer doors and scans
the area; no sign of her around the building. He starts walking to his car in the adjacent parking ramp.
“Dear Lord,” he begins to pray again, “You saved me so I know You can do it for her and all those that are in
darkness because You said You have no respect of persons. Do it now, Lord. In Jesus name I pray these things
and all things. Amen.”
People begin to stare at Doug, but he doesn’t care. He starts humming one of those old tunes that he heard his
grandmother hum when he was young. Once inside his car, he places the key in the ignition, but doesn’t start up
right away. The tune invites an atmosphere of joy and peace that only God can give. He becomes so engulfed in
the tune that it goes from humming to vocal.
“Walk with me, Lord, walk with me,” he sings. “Walk with me, Lord, walk with me. While I’m on this tedious journey I
want Jesus to walk with me. Hold my hand, Lord. Hold my hand. Hold my hand, Lord. Hold my hand. While I’m on
this tedious journey I want Jesus to walk with me.”
He continues, each time becoming more engulfed with the Lord. On and on until he’s caught up in the memory of his
grandmother singing that song while rocking him to sleep in her arms.
As the memory fades, tears invade his eyes. The vocal fades back into a hum. He wipes the tears from his eyes
and removes his cellular phone from the inside pocket of his suit jacket. He accesses the address book section and
strolls down until he sees the icon of mom and dad. One touch from there and he’s connected to the sweet voice of
his mother, Mary.
“Hi, mom,” he faintly says, still a bit choked up from the song and memory of his grandmother.
“Hello, son,” she enthusiastically replies. “Is everything alright?” She notices the faintness of his voice.
“Everything is going well. I get tired sometimes, but God is good.”
“All the time, son!”
“I was sitting here thinking about grandma.”
“Walk with me, Lord, walk with me,” she begins to gently sing.
He joins in and before he realizes, he’s once again shedding tears of joy.
“I miss her, mom. Her and granddad.”
“I miss them to, son. Both your father and I were fortunate enough to have parents that brought us up in the way of
the Lord. I know you didn’t get a chance to meet your father’s parents, but I can tell you that you would have loved
them just as well.”
“Where is dad?”
“He went to the store.”
“Let me guess……chocolate chip cookies.”
“You got it,” she giggles.
“You’re addicted to those things, mom.”
“Well, son, guess what?”
“You’re right, but I don’t care.”
“How’s dad’s health holding up? Is he still trying to work although he’s supposed to be retired?”
“You know that your daddy can’t sit still. The only time he doesn’t talk about work is when we’re at church.”
“Have you found a nice young, Christian woman to marry yet, son?”
“I don’t have……..”
“……..Boy don’t you tell me you don’t have time. You are almost through your forth year of college. You are about
to graduate. Your father and I are not going to be here forever. We want some grandchildren running around here.”
“I know, mom.”
“Boy, don’t you wait too much longer. What’s the use of accomplishing all that you want to accomplish without
someone to share it with?”
“You’re right, mom. I’m waiting on the Lord to show her to me.”
“That’s my boy. Wait on God, but when He shows her to you, don’t you be hesitating.”
“I won’t. I love you and tell dad that I love him and to stop going to the store and getting those cookies.”
She giggles. “We love you too, son.”
“See you soon.”
He starts up his car and drives off.
Tameka: “Douglass Banks, my God-fearing, God-led, and God-loving man. It seems like the words “I love you” are not enough to express how I feel about you. You have won my heart and I trust it to you. The love you have shown me I will never forget. I will do to the best of my ability what I need to do to be the woman of God and wife that you so rightfully deserve. I love you with all my heart and I look forward to standing by your side for the rest of my life so that we can accomplish all that the good Lord will have us to do. Till death do us part. I love you.”
* * *
“Don’t baby me! I’m sick and tired of your ex’s always popping up!” He moves closer to her face. With rage in his eyes and lightly grinding his teeth, he continues his onslaught. “You still messing around, Tameka? Ha? You messing around on me? Ha? “You messing around?”
She shies away. With each step she takes back, he takes a step forward until she is backed into a corner. He moves even closer to her; only her tears separate the distance between them.