Countdown to 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans: Sober Reluctance

Rita won’t go to Mother Goose’s. She doesn’t want to see the disappointed Mama look on Renee’s face, although Renee has no reason to judge. She and Natasha both know that Rita still drinks. It’s no secret that she’s the problem child of the group, everybody wanting to fix her. Meanwhile, neither one of them have had a drink since college. Tash quit when she started dating  holier-than-thou Mitchell.

Rita hates how he presents himself as the perfect imitation of Christ, thinking that he’s better than the rest of them—sinners. She would love to one day snatch that soap box right from under his feet, watch him fall flat on his ass, maybe knock his head against the back of something sharp. Who’s looking down their nose now, Mitch?

Wow, listen to herself, she can’t even call him the name she wants to call him. Renee’s really done a number on her. Or maybe it’s someone else’s doing. Someone higher up, who sees all and knows all. Who hears her thoughts and has the power change them if she just opens her mind up to it.

But she can’t lie in her bed and stare at those four white walls another second, waiting for a miracle to happen. So she’ll go to Rico’s. Rico’s has the best spiked apple cider for the holidays, and the cutest blond bartender who works Tuesday and Thursday nights. If he’s nice to her, which he always is, maybe she’ll slip him her number along with a very generous tip. She hopes he’s wearing that teal blue button down tonight. The one with the sleeves that loosely hug his biceps, flexing whenever he mixes up a cocktail, a subtle hint to how built he is underneath. How she would love to have his arms wrap around her, feel the weight of his body pressed down against hers, taste the salt and liquor on his lips when she takes them between her teeth.

She’s not even interested in fucking, which is strange coming from her. But she just wants that intimacy right now. To roll over and feel the warmth radiating from another body in her bed. To intertwine her legs with his under the sheets, touch and kiss different body parts. Maybe she’ll go down on him. Maybe he’ll stay longer than a few short hours. Damn, now she sounds like Natasha. Hopelessly romantic, dreaming for something she’ll probably never share with Mitch, not even after they’re married.

“God, please don’t send me a nigga like Mitchell.”

There, she did it. She prayed. Probably not a prayer Renee would be proud of, probably not even one God would be willing to hear, but at least she spoke to Him, and that’s gotta count for something, right?

Her phone buzzes in her pocket. It can only be Jerome, texting her a third time to go half on a dime. He’s the real reason she out on South Tatum at 10 PM—when all the weirdos come out—looking for this damn bar. It’s not that she’s jealous of Renee and Natasha enjoying a few drinks at their old college hangout on Tash’s last nights of freedom. It’s not that she wants to take that white bartender back home with her, although she does.

As much as she misses being high, she wants to see this fast through. She wants to see if it will change her for the better. She knows Jerome won’t stop at unanswered text messages. He’ll show up at her apartment next. And he has a key. Fuck! Why the hell did she give him a key? She guesses to make their transactions easy. Come in, leave the weed, take the money, and maybe some pussy if she’s drunk enough.

Damn, she sounds like a fucking addict prostitute. No wonder she’s always high. She’s a hot goddamn mess. Sober Rita, would’ve flung herself off a roof somewhere. Her passion for saving lives gone. When did things get this bad? Six years studying to be a nurse wasted. She works part-time at the front desk at an urgent care clinic in the projects because she can’t pass a random fucking drug test. How pathetic is that!

Rita swerves off South Tatum onto Market, just as Rico’s Bar comes into view, then hangs a left onto Elm. There’s a Home Depot around here somewhere. If she’s going back home sober—maybe have that appointment with Jesus that Renee’s scheduled her for—she won’t do it while staring at the sterile walls of her bedroom. Too clean, too evocative of the atmosphere of an inpatient rehab facility. No, her treatment will be spiritual, but first she needs to buy some fucking paint. Anything but white.

—Nortina


Part of Countdown to 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans
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Previous: There’s No Such Thing a Santa Claus
Next: Possibilities

Countdown to: 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans: Seeking Righteousness

Natasha still won’t answer the phone. Mitchell dials her number again for the twenty-seventh time. Or maybe this is the twenty-eighth. He’s lost count. He’s been calling since she left his house last night. He just wants to make sure that she’s alright, that she made it home safely, that she knows he’s not ashamed of her.

But he doesn’t want to lie.

Between phone calls, he gets on his knees and prays. “Father, please forgive me for giving into temptation. And forgive Natasha for the burden I’ve put on her shoulders by letting my flesh take over.” He swallows hard at this, as the memory of her deep mahogany skin, sweaty and pressing against his naked body, resurfaces. “Y-you s-said—” He stutters, shakes his head and tries again. “You said in Your word . . . that if we confess our sins, that You are faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” His eyes closed, he squeezes them tighter, unwilling to let the tears shed. “Lord, I do confess, and I ask You to forgive me and to wash me in your precious blood so that I am again white as snow, for my bride to be this Christmas, the birthday of the Lamb.”

His phone rings, but he doesn’t move. This is his secret place, his time to be alone in communion with the Father, even if the Father doesn’t respond—most times He doesn’t, and Mitchell falls asleep on the floor, waiting at His feet. However, there comes those rare occasions when Mitchell hears Him speak, clear and precise, as if He were kneeling right next to him. Mitchell heard Him when he rededicated his life—rejoicing in Heaven with the angels—and again when he proposed to Natasha. He yearns for that experience tonight.

The chill from the hardwood floor seeps through his jeans. The phone rings again. The thought arises that it could be Natasha, finally returning his calls, but the enemy would want him to think that, have him distracted worrying over Natasha and their one night of weakness when he should be listening for the voice of God, willing and ready to receive spiritual guidance from his Helper on the inside, his Counselor.

“Please, just give me a sign.” But what if the sign is the person on the other end of the phone? Ringing, now, for a third time. He tears himself from the Lord’s presence to answer.

“Tasha, is that you?”

“Sorry, bruh.”

“Antonio,” Mitchell sighs, but this could be a good thing. Antonio has been his assignment for the year. Their pastor, at The Revelation of Jesus Christ Christian Center, Reverend Murphy, has been preaching a series on discipling others for the Kingdom. In January, he instructed each member of the congregation to find someone the Lord draws them to evangelize.

Mitchell tries to remember who Natasha was assigned to disciple. She’s never talked about it, and he hasn’t seen her with anyone outside their group of friends. Maybe it’s Rita, but Renee’s working on Rita. It’s possible they both are. Rita could use all the help and praying power she can get, bless her heart.

“The harvest is ready, but the Lord needs workers,” Mitchell remembers Reverend Murphy saying. “Matthew twenty-eight and nineteens says, ‘Go out and make disciples of all nations.’ This is the one thing we won’t be able to do when we get to Heaven, which is why it is so important that we do it now!”

Antonio’s recent breakup with his son’s mother had him spiraling out of control, down the path toward destruction. All year Mitchell has been ministering to him, his ultimate goal to restore him to the path of righteousness. Antonio finally accepted the call to Christ on Sunday. Now the real work can begin.

“She just makes me so angry sometimes,” Antonio is saying.

“Who?” Mitchell realizes he hasn’t heard a word Antonio has said since answering the phone. Focus, he tells himself, try to get at least one thing right tonight. Maybe that’s what God needs to see.

“Elise, man. I don’t know why I let her get to me.”

“Have you prayed about it?”

“I can’t. I need to cool down.”

“That’s why you pray.”

There’s silence on the other end, and Mitchell checks his screen to make sure they haven’t disconnected. Then Antonio breathes a heavy sigh. “It’s hard, man.”

“Jesus never said it would be easy. In this life you will face trials and tribulations.” This is as much a testament to his own situation.

Antonio sighs again, the sound breaking, cracking, as if he’s blowing directly into the receiver. “Look, I actually didn’t call you to talk about my problems—”

“But I’m glad you did.”

“Have you talked to Tash today?”

Now it’s Mitchell’s turn to be silent over the phone.

“Hello?”

“Where is she?”

“Mother Goose’s. She’s on her third drink.”

—Nortina


Part of Countdown to 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans
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Previous: Driving Down Memory Lane
Next: Booze Induced

Sunday Morning Word Has a New Home!

Sunday Morning Word has moved to a new site! This is a project I’ve been working on for years now, both here, and on another blog. It’s come and gone over the years as I’ve repeatedly put it on the back burner for months at a time, wanting to focus on different things. But God continues to bring it back to the forefront, and I’ve come to accept that this is my assignment from Him—to teach His word and simplify it in a way that others will understand. But instead of bogging it down and having it get lost amid the content of my other blogs, I’ve created a dedicated blog for it. And no, I won’t only be posting on Sundays; there will be much more content to come.

So head over and read my first post about why bad things happen to good people, and feel free to follow!

Source: Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?