Deleted Scenes From "Later Days and Nights"
by Lawrence Christopher
"I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS"
FOR CHRISTMAS MINA AND I TAKE OFF THE ENTIRE WEEK. It would be our longest time vacationing together since we married. It's also the first trip to my parent's for Mina and Mercedes.
Saturday morning we set out to drive to Odelot, Ohio where my parents live. Being the morning person, I took the first leg of the eleven hour road trip up I-75 through Tennessee and Kentucky. Mina insists that we take her new car. It was fitting that she was behind the steering wheel for the first speeding ticket registered against the vehicle.
"I was not driving fast" she protested.
"Oh, I bet chu just loving this aren't chu?"
"Are you going to jail Mommy?" Mercedes asked.
"No Sweet Pea."
With Mina driving, I dosed off somewhere between Knoxville, Tennessee and Lexington, Kentucky. I awoke to Mina's yammering on her cell phone with one of her friends. It wasn't her noisy chattering that disturbed me as my vision cleared. It was her use of the cell phone without the use of a hands-free device. She has one hand holding the phone to her ear and one on the steering wheel.
This is a sore spot with me and Mina knows this. Often, I come home with a story to tell her of how I was almost hit by a driver who was one their phone. Atlanta isn't a pedestrian friendly city in the first place. Add the distraction of cell phone drivers and you're only asking for trouble. Now that texting has become all the rage, it estimated that distracted drivers are four times more likely to be in a car wreck. If there is one repeated agree-to-disagree argument that Mina and I have, it's this one.
"Ooo, I almost forgot." Mina announced as she pulled into the right hand shoulder lane heading for the next exit. She explained,
"I want to stop at Crackle Barrel's and get something for your mother." What was meant to be a quick stop, turned out to be an hour delay which included lunch and a shopping. The item Mina wanted to get was my mother's favorite candy, Old-Time Crunchy Peanut Butter Pillows Duets. They are a freshly ground peanut butter and crispy golden candy thinly layered formed into delicate satin pillows.
I had actually forgotten that as a child and when our family went on road trips, we would always make a stop at Crackle Barrel's. Moms would buy a single can of Duets and it would be a special treat during the long drive. Childhood memories are so rewarding.
"3:15 ANTE MERIDIEM"
"Matthew." Mina softly speaks just behind my ear. We've reversed our spoon position.
"Yeah babe, what'sup?" The LED clock displays that the time is a quarter after three in the morning.
"I want to talk."
"Do you want to have a baby with me?"
"Is this some sort of trickeration; because I told you if I were to have a baby or anything it is going to be with you?"
"But you know how I feel about this."
"Yes and I respect that. I might tease or joke with you, but that's all it is."
"What about your mother?"
"This isn't about her. She'll be alright."
"I don't want to come between you and her."
"Why?" Mina sat up on her elbows.
"You came between us the day you said 'I do.' And I accepted by saying 'I do' in return." She slips her hand beneath my shirt to have her warm hand next to my skin.
"I love you." A man doesn't need to hear those words every day, only when it matters.
"I had a dream. That's what woke me up." Mina informed.
"Was it a bad dream?"
"I don't think so."
"Do you want to talk about it?" Her fingers softly and slowly stroked me just below my navel.
"Well," Mina starts,
"I had a dream about a baby."
"It was weird because it looked about eight or nine months old, but it was talking to me."
"What was it saying?" Mina looked at me and was studying my face before she answered.
"It said that it was okay."
"Okay. What was okay?
"I, I don't know for sure."
"Was this our baby, I mean did it look like either of us?" She looked me directly in the eyes, to where I could sense her apprehension to answer.
"It was Tyriq's baby. The one I aborted."
"VICTORY OVER EVIL"
It was fortunate that Mina and I were on the pew of Word of Faith the morning Bishop Dale C. Bronner preached from the focal scripture of Ephesians 6:11-13; "11 Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."
On the ride home, we listened to the Reverend Lowdown's radio ministry program.
"Let go of disappointments, bad memories and anger. All things happen for a reason, even painful experiences. There are no accidents. Replace the pain with forgiveness. When you are driving a car, you can't move forward looking in the rear view mirror. Do you live your life looking in the rear view mirror? Past experiences are behind. They came to pass, not to stay.
"Have an open heart, be willing to forgive. At times, we hold on to old pain because it is safe to hide behind. It gives us reason not to move on. Nothing can hurt me unless I allow it. I release every disappointment.
"In prayer, I ask the Holy Spirit to help me practice forgiveness. The only person I am hurting by not forgiving is me. I release and live harmoniously with a renewed spirit of peace. I replace the seeming hurts with an inner calm. I allow God to be in the middle of every wound, replacing my old thinking with new vision and clarity. God has already healed the situation. I forgive, release and let go. Thanks, God. And so it is … and let there be no divisions among you; but be perfectly united in one mind and in one thought. Amen and amen." Concluded the pastor.
"Mina, we've been going through quite a bit here lately. It's like Bishop said, 'Whenever you begin to flow in favor, you will come under attack.'"
"What favor are we flowing in?" Mina challenged as she whipped around in the passenger seat.
"Our marriage and the love that we have for one another and Sadie."
"That ain't no favor."
"In itself it may not be, but the fact that we're still together and have managed to sustain our marriage is in God's favor."
"I love you and Sadie, that's it. God ain't got nothing to do with that."
Mina was sitting on the couch thumbing through the latest delivered subscription issue of her Essence magazine. Sadie was right by her side leaning on to her dosing off.
"Sadie, why don't you go lay down in your bed."
"I'm not sleepy."
"Yes you are. Go get in the bed."
"She's okay right here." Mina defended.
"She's going to sleep and I want to talk to you about something."
"Then why didn't you say that. Go ahead baby, go lay down."
"But . . ."
"Go." Under protest, Mercedes left the room.
"I want to talk to you about what you said earlier in the car, about God having nothing to do with our love for each other." I introduced.
"Look Matthew, I'm not feeling this right now."
"Not feeling what; us, God, what?"
"I'm not feeling very religious, that's all."
"Okay. That's understandable. Most of the time I don't feel religious. Religion is man's way of putting a formal approach to God; which is nothing more than ceremonial pomp and circumstance. I just won't to make sure you haven't lost your faith in God."