Countdown to 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans: Distractions

Antonio knows he shouldn’t be on Facebook. He doesn’t need to see his ex post another status update about waiting for her Boaz.

“Where’s my Ruth?” he asks his empty bedroom. What does Elise even know about a Boaz anyway? She’s never read the Book of Ruth, doesn’t even know where it is in the Bible. Hell, neither does he, but at least he’s trying—five days born again. Elise is only Christian when it’s convenient for her, when a meme quoting scripture out of context is reposted on her timeline, confirming what her closed mind has already decided, that she’s always right, and that he ain’t worth the shit that comes out her ass.

She’s so vulgar. How did he ever kiss that mouth? How did he ever love her? The last time he asked to keep Ryder for more than a weekend, more than the end of a Sunday afternoon, she told him to suck her dick. Her dick. And she wonders why she’s still alone. Wonders why the closest thing she ever had to a Boaz walked right out the door. Wonders why she’ll still be waiting for her imaginative Boaz when Jesus returns.

Wives, submit to your husbands . . .

Antonio thinks he hears someone speaking, though it’s not really a voice, more of a feeling, like a pocket of air in his chest. “Is that you, God?” he thinks to say, though his lips don’t move. He wants to ask Him about his future wife, the woman who will fit in the gash in his side where his rib once was. She’s out there somewhere, already alive, already waiting, not whoring herself on social media for the likes, probably at home reading her Bible right now, like he should be doing.

Mitchell says not to rush it, that Antonio should get himself right with Christ first before he tries to find a wife. Easy for Mitchell to say. He already has his Ruth. And Renee and Bryan weren’t even saved when they married. Bryan still isn’t, though Renee has been working on him all year. Sometimes Antonio feels like a third wheel around them. Their perfect relationships with each other, with God—even Bryan, whom, Antonio presumes, believes at least some of the word Mitchell and Renee preach daily. Of course, he’s not completely excluded when he’s with the group. There is Rita, but the broad’s a basket case. She only dates white boys anyway. Figures. She’s probably like Elise. Done dirty by the wrong nigga, now she thinks they’re all the same.

The head of every man is Christ . . .

He knows he’s getting off track. One step at a time. Step one: Build a relationship with Christ. He’ll start by looking for that verse. He’ll write it in his prayer journal, pray on the word. He opens the composition notebook, reaches for the thousand-page concordance of Bible verses that Mitchell loaned to him (after they prayed together for his salvation) to find the book and chapter.

But the touch screen on his phone is still lit, and he can’t help but to look again. Another post appears on his feed. He knows he should turn it off, find that secret place Mitchell’s always talking about, but it’s a picture of his son, clad in the ugliest Christmas onesie he’s ever seen, Santa Claus’ pink face in tiled mosaic across Ryder’s chest and stomach. And he loses it. He fucking loses it.

The phone is ringing before he realizes his actions.

Slow to anger . . . 

This time he knows it’s God speaking to him, but then Elise’s voice drowns Him out, and he feels his temples explode as the fury rises.

“What, nigga?”

“Take that gay ass shit off my son!”

“Mmm, Renee told me you got saved last Sunday. I hate to call her a liar.”

He hangs up before she can finish her mocking in that high-pitched country twang he hates so much. He hates her. He hates that she has custody of Ryder, that he always has to fight her just to see him, that she blasts him on Facebook like he’s a deadbeat dad, that she never admits to her faults, like why he needed to get a DNA test when Ryder was born.

Vengeance is mine, I will repay . . .

He closes his prayer journal, the first page left blank. He’ll start tomorrow. Right now, he needs a drink.


Part of Countdown to 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans
Previous: Alone with the Clouds
Next: Driving Down Memory Lane

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