Writing

My Day as a Full-time Writer

So, you know how people tell you if you aren’t disciplined on your job then you won’t be disciplined working for yourself? I’m here to tell you that you should believe those people. My biggest struggle has been creating a schedule that would allow me to do everything I need and want to do within a day’s time. What exactly am I trying to accomplish in a day? Well, let’s see… writing episodes for Secrets From the Bayou, creating fresh, new content for my writing clients, writing my blog posts, writing my short story… which is turning out to be much longer than a short story, and I’m sure there’s more I just can’t think of it at the moment.

Today, I had a coaching session with a client, revised the script, wrote this blog post, and that’s about it. Why do I feel guilty if I don’t get it all done? Why can’t I be happy with what I’ve accomplished? Besides, the day isn’t even over yet. I may still get a chapter in there somewhere. 

Oh, wait! School’s out. That means children and nonstop chatter, so maybe I won’t get any more done today :). Balancing my to-do list is going to take time and work. I need to learn to do what I tell my clients and that’s to celebrate the small things. I didn’t go back to bed (which I really could’ve because I was tired), I didn’t sit around watching television (even though there are some really good shows on during the day. Why didn’t y’all tell me? :), and I didn’t stay on Facebook (that itself is worth celebrating for me LOL!)

This is a process and instead of nagging myself and stressing about what I didn’t do, I’m going to enjoy the journey and give myself a pat on the back for what I did do.

If any of my friends have figured out a system that works, please feel free to share it. I’m open to suggestions LOL!

Writing

How to Start Writing Your Book

I talk to people every day, all day long and this is what I hear more than anything else. So many people want to write but have no idea where or how to start. The two things I love are teaching and writing and combining those has brought me so much joy.

More than anything, I want to help more people write their books and the only way to write a bestselling book is by writing. I’m ready to help aspiring authors jump-start their writing by working with them through Chapter 1.

I have no doubt it’s going to light their creative fire and motivate them to keep writing the book they were always meant to write.

If this person is you, then I’d love for you to schedule a call so we can get to work :). If it’s not you then please tell others who may be interested.

Click the link to schedule your FREE JUMP START WRITING Call: https://lornalewiscoaching.as.me/

Uncategorized

My New Life: Chapter 1

God has blessed me to work at some of the best schools in East Baton Rouge Parish. I’ve met wonderful people, taught awesome children, and bonded with life-long friends. I loved every minute (well almost every minute) of my time there, but my time has come to an end. On June 11th I went to Westminster Elementary and cleaned out my office. I left there and drove to the school board office where I submitted my official resignation. 

I won’t lie and tell you I came to this decision with ease. I was so torn. There was so much to consider, money being the main thing. I felt an uneasiness in my spirit until my husband, my rock, asked me what I wanted to do. I told him, without a doubt, I want to write and coach writers. He then looked at me and gave me very simple instructions. He told me, “leave and don’t look back.” Apparently, those were the words I needed. I needed to know that he and I were on the same page. I moved forward and continued moving.

Some of you may know that this isn’t my first time leaving the system. I resigned in 2010, thinking it was my time to be a full-time writer. A few weeks after resigning I found I was pregnant with Kourtney. When I made my way back to the school system I used to say that I jumped too soon, but after Kourtney passed away, I realized it wasn’t that I jumped too soon, I’d just jump for a different reason than I thought. You see God knew I’d only have a short time with Kourtney and he also knew if I was still working she’d be going to daycare at 6-weeks just like AJ and Kirsten did. Leaving when I did gave me 7 months to bond and love on my baby girl. 

This time though there’s no baby (please Lord Jesus keep it that way because although I’m still youthful, my husband isn’t LOL!). This time I’m surer than ever I jumped to take full advantage of my purpose. I jumped because I’m a writer. I’m a creator of wonderful stories. In addition to that, I’m an educator. I help people write the stories that have been buried inside of them for far too long. It wasn’t until I left my job that I really realized the magnitude of what I do for those people and what they do for me in return. I’m way more than a writing coach, I make dreams come true. I motivate. I inspire. I help people bring purpose to their pain by sharing their stories and touching the lives of others. 

When I asked God to use me, I didn’t realize how hard that road would be. I didn’t realize I’d lose my mother at 13-years-old. I didn’t realize I’d sit on the front row grieving the loss of two children. I didn’t realize I’d have to say goodbye to my dad so soon. I didn’t know what God would use to prepare me for the life he has for me, but I can tell you this, even during all of that I never stopped trusting Him. I can’t say I was always happy with Him, but I trusted Him, just as I do right now.

I really didn’t mean to write all of this but sometimes my words have a way of taking over :). I wrote this to share my big news AND to warn you that you may eventually get tired of seeing me posting about my writing program and workshops on social media, but hey… a sistah gotta eat and pay bills LOL! So please bear with me as I continue to build and grow my coaching business and as I continue writing and filming my new series. 

I can tell you that ever since I made my decision to leave. To step out on faith and fully trust that God is carrying me in the direction that He wants me to go, things have been changing. Opportunities have been presenting themselves like never before. Ideas are flowing freely. I’m able to stand before more people and speak and this time I’m not just talking about the faith that I heard about, I’m talking about the faith that I’m living, right now today. 

So, I thank you for your support. I thank you for your prayers and I’m excited for you to see where this journey is about to take me and the people God is sending for me to help, and to help me :). Stay tuned… the best is truly yet to come.

Inspirational

Open the Box and Release the Gift

Fifteen years ago, I sat across from a principal who was interviewing me. He asked, “Where do you see yourself 15 years from now?” I didn’t hesitate at all when I answered that question. I knew the answer because it was the only one I had. I proudly stated, “I see myself right where I am today, in the classroom teaching.” That’s what I saw and that’s what I meant. I couldn’t see anything else for me other than what I saw growing up, so it made sense that that’s the life I would have too, right? WRONG!

Years later, something happened. I wish I could tell you exactly when it happened and what caused it to happen, but all I know is it happened and my life hasn’t been the same since. One day, the walls were removed and I was able to visualize a life for myself outside of the classroom. Maybe it was when I was promoted to Reading Coach. Maybe it was that move that showed me there’s more to my life than being in the classroom. It took me a while, but I soon discovered that the classroom was actually my clutch. It was my comfort zone. I wanted to stay there forever because that’s where I felt safe. The children didn’t judge or critique me. In their eyes, I knew everything. Whatever I gave that day was good enough for them, but once I stepped out I realized there was so much more I needed to learn, to do, to see, and experience, and I was ready for it all.

In 2009, I wrote my first novel, “Dirty Little Secrets.” It’s amazing how you start out doing one thing, and just when you think you finally know what God’s calling you to do, BAM something happens that takes you on a whole new turn. When I was in the classroom I thought, This is it. This is what I’m supposed to do for the rest of my life. Then I published Dirty Little Secrets and I thought, No the classroom wasn’t it. This is it. Writing novels is what I’m supposed to do for the rest of my life. So, at that moment I decided this is what I want to do. I want to spend my time writing and selling novels.

Well, that was all good for a while, but then something happened. God gave me the idea and the name to start this blog. Initially, if you ever feel like scrolling back to the beginning, you’ll see that it started off with general, motivational posts that then turned into a blog series. Secrets From the Bayou was supposed to be a weekly blog series. I thought I was supposed to write and publish these weekly posts and something amazing would happen from them. When I thought something amazing, I was really thinking more like, I’d gain more readers AMAZING, not I’m filming based on my blog AMAZING!

Some days it still doesn’t feel real. I can’t even begin to describe the feeling I get seeing others acting out the words I’d once held in my head. Very few people get to see their words come to life and I don’t take that for granted at all. 

I thought this is it! I want to write and produce films for the rest of my life. This is what I’m supposed to do, but then…. something happened again. I found myself coaching more and more people through writing their novels. I LOVED it! I love everything about teaching, motivating, and writing so I guess it made sense for me to love teaching writing. I invested in myself and signed up for a coaching program that would help start my own program. I had the teaching part down pat, Southern University and EBR Parish School System, prepared me for that part, but the business side was different. I needed help. I finally understood that if I wanted it, I had to be willing to sacrifice and pay the price. 

Today, I’m still filming, still writing, and now about to launch my coaching program. Throughout this journey I found myself doing the same thing I did all those years ago as I sat across from that principal. I was placing myself in a box. I thought novels was it, I thought filming was it, but then coaching came along and I realized I deserve to use all my skills. I’m not saying what’s it. I’m opening myself to whatever new adventure God brings my way. 

Where do I see myself in 15 years? Exactly where God needs me to be!

Inspirational

A Life Worth Living

There’s so much I could say about this lady… my friend… my writing partner… my Sissy! One week ago today, God held out his hand and she took hold and allowed Him to lead her back home. A place where she no longer has to suffer. She no longer has to worry about doctor visits or bad reports. She is free to live with her Master. The God who created her and the God she spent her life serving. If you know nothing else about Tanishia Pearson-Jones, you know that she was a faithful believer and there was nothing anyone could say that would cause her to doubt God’s love for her. When the pain increased, so did her faith.

I spoke to her the day after she’d taken the picture above. She said, “Sissy, I got my report and it doesn’t look good.” Before I could respond she continued. “The tumors are back and it’s inoperable. I was having a rough day, but I decided to go ahead with my photo shoot. My body was full of cancer, but I didn’t want to show it. I wanted people to see the God in me and the God in me don’t look like cancer.”

We hear people say all the time, “I’m so glad I don’t look like what I’ve BEEN through,” but it’s a lot different to say “I’m so glad I don’t look like what I’m GOING through.” The picture above is a true example of a child of God, who was deteremined not to look like the diagnosis she’d just received. She looked beautiful, flawless, peaceful, joyful… everything a child a God should look like. Tanishia was handed a death sentence. We all know that inoperable means there’s nothing more we can do to help you. How can someone who knows that death is a great possibility sooner than later, still get up, get dressed, pose in front of a camera and smile like nothing’s wrong? I know the answer to that million dollar question…GOD. 

You’d have to know God the way Tanishia knew God to be able to do that. The walk she walked, the trials she endured, the pain she suffered, wasn’t for the weak or the mild, it was only for the strong and I can tell you with great assurance that Tanishia Pearson-Jones was one of the strongest women I’d ever met. She was young, just turned 36 on October 19th, but she had an old soul. She reminded me so much of my grandmother who’d take in anyone in need. Tanishia gave birth to two children, but she was a mother to many. Someone posted that she made everyone feel as though they were her best friend and that’s so true. We’d only had a few conversations before she started calling me “sissy.” She knew that term would make me feel special like I played a major role in her life, I know she played a big role in mine. 

 

I believe there are two big lessons we can learn from Tanishia, way more than two actually, but for the sake of your time and the length of this blog, I’ll keep it at two:)

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1. Always trust God. No matter what. Trust His decisions and His timing. Trust that even when the answer is no, it’s still for your good.  As you can see from our inbox message, Tanishia made it clear she knew how to fight. She fought with prayer and the word of God. 

2.  Stop talking and start working. Tanishia worked hard at her house, in her church, in her community, and in the literary world. She was always doing something, but the one thing she really wanted was to write her own book. So many days we laughed about doing everything except what we should be doing…writing! She thought she had time. She was going to finish her book and start speaking about her journey. Those were her plans, but God’s plans were different. Thankfully, Tanishia did finish writing, and as she requested, Joyce and I will carry the torch to the finish line. You’ll get to read about her journey in her words. 

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Tanishia sent this to me. We had plans. But so did God. 

James 4:14-15 

14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.    
15 For that ye ought to sayIf the Lord will*, we shall liveand do this, or that. 

 

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We thought we had time. I’m sure you’re thinking the same thing too. The truth is,  as the scripture clearly points out, none of us know.

Do what you can do while you can do it. 

Inspirational

When Did You Die?

For the record, no I haven’t lost my mind. No, I didn’t make a mistake. Yes, I meant to ask that question, and yes I really want an answer. Do you know when it happened? Was it all of a sudden or gradually? 

For me, I’d say it happened gradually over time. One day, I looked around and realized I wasn’t living, and as far as I know, the opposite of life is death. Now, of course, I don’t mean death in the physical sense but more in the mental sense. The fun died. The excitement died. Your life, like mine, felt like it was on constant rewind. Today felt the same as yesterday. 

I wake up, go to work, come home, cook, help with homework, go to bed and wake up again and do it all over. Sounds exciting right? Well, it wasn’t, but it was routine, and it was comfortable because I knew exactly, or at least had a close idea, of what the next day would bring. Some things, of course, I couldn’t predict, but what I could control remained the same. 

Do you know when I realized I’d died mentally? When I started writing my novel Dirty Little Secrets. This novel was about a schoolteacher, which I was then, but when I was planning the novel, the thought came that she had to have something going on in her life. Her life COULD NOT be like mine because, let’s face it, who wants to read about me teaching, cooking, and sleeping. I know I wouldn’t want to read that. However, just to be clear, I also don’t wish for the life of Holly James either, the main character in my book. She had more drama than this little country girl could handle LOL!

So, plotting the book showed me that my comfortable life was quite boring, but that wasn’t all. Writing that book gave me a new feeling. I was stepping into unfamiliar territory, and it was scary, yet very exciting. My mind was experiencing something new and different, and though there was some push back and hesitation in the beginning, that changed the more I wrote. Before I knew it, I’d finished the book and found myself agreeing to do book signings and speaking at different events. I went from no calendar at all to a full calendar of events for ME, not for my husband and not things I needed to do with the children, but something I enjoyed. 

Standing in front of a crowd of people was something else that was new for me. Up until then, my audience consisted of little people all under the age of 10. In their eyes I was smart, sometimes funny, most of the times mean, but they loved me anyway :). They were my comfort, but they weren’t the people I was talking to about Dirty Little Secrets. No, these were grown people…my peers. People who could judge me and talk about me if I messed up. I was sooooo scared, but again soooooo excited. 

I guess what I’m trying to say in this very long blog is that it’s time that you evaluate your life, and if you’re on constant rewind, then do something different. Something scary. Something exciting. Something that reminds you that you’re not dead. You’re very much ALIVE, so start LIVING!

Inspirational

Tired of the Lies!

I’m tired of the lies I’ve been feeding myself all these years! “I don’t have time” “I don’t have the money” “I don’t know enough” “People are going to question my ability.” ALL LIES! At least some of them are lies. People may question my ability but WHO CARES? As long as I believe in me.

This summer has been a summer of transformation for me. I’ve stretched myself in my business and personal life to uncover the lies I’ve told myself. I’ve worked through most of them, and still working through some of them, to reveal the me that God designed me to be. The new me understands the importance of pushing past the excuses to get the results I desire.

Let’s face it, there’s always going to be a million reasons why we shouldn’t step into something new. I now know that there’s a logical explanation to our thinking.  I’ve learned that the brain is trained to keep us in a comfortable place. Once we try something new, or think about trying something new, the brain says “Hold up! What’s this new thing you’re trying to get me to do? Oh no! We don’t have time for that!” (In my brain speaking voice).

It’s up to us to recognize that the brain is simply doing it’s job to keep us safe and comfortable. The only problem is that growth doesn’t happen during comfort. We have to push ourselves until the brain starts to work with us instead of against us. Have you heard of people who once hated working out, but they kept doing it anyway? Before long they found that what they once dreaded they now crave. That’s how the brain works. It realize that this new thing isn’t so bad after all.

Now, it’s your job to let go of the excuses and get to work. Even if you don’t feel like it…do it anyway! Push past the mental lies until your brain and your body are working together to get you where you deserve to be!

 

Uncategorized

Update: Secrets From the Bayou

Heyyyyy Y’all!!!!! (don’t you just love that country twang 🙂 I know it’s been a minute, but believe me I think of you all every Tuesday. We’re bonded by the Bayou for life :)! My son told me I need to post something or you all may forget that I’m writing. You haven’t forgotten that I’m working on something big have you? I sure hope not, but being the great listener that I am, I decided to take heed to my child’s advice (he’s wise beyond his years) and tell you all what’s going on so far.

Well, we’ve finish casting all our roles for the Secrets From the Bayou web series, well not quite all but all the ones I need so far. I’m finding the plot continues to thicken the more I write, which means more roles to cast…but not right now. Anyway, back to my point, the actors/actresses are better than anything I could’ve expected or asked for. These people are talented beyond belief and I’m not just saying that, it’s the truth. Many of them aren’t new to film. They’ve been a part of some major drama series, and to know that they see something in my work that makes them want to be a part of it too, is simply amazing.

I have to say, when I dove into this journey I had no idea the amount of work (and I mean WORK) that goes on behind the scenes before production even begins. It’s a lot, but I’m enjoying every minute of this learning process. It’s hard to describe how it feels seeing your words and the images in your head, being displayed for all to see. Every day that I work on this series feels like a dream. I’ve prepared for this moment without really knowing. I’ve taken script writing workshops and studied scripts as I’ve watched the shows, but I did all of that to improve my writing as an author. Sure, I knew one day I wanted my books to be turned into movies (who wouldn’t?), but I figured someone else would be doing it. I thought my job was done after I wrote the books. I had no idea that was just a small piece of the puzzle God had planned for my life.

I know this is from Him because all the help had to come from him. The doors that were opened had to be opened by him. People are willing, able, and oh so ready to do whatever it takes to help me get this show rolling and I know, without shadow of a doubt, that’s from HIM!

I could literally go on and on about this project and how much I’m loving it, but because you all have a life outside of reading this blog, I’ll go ahead and bring it to an end. Did I mention how much I miss you all? I really do. You made me laugh each week with your comments about the story lines and the characters. All I can say is if you like the blog, you’re going to LOVE the web series. Seriously! I’m not just saying that because I wrote it. It’s reallyyyyy good :).

Okay, I promised to end so here goes. (Read this part really fast so I can be true to my word…ending now 🙂 Thank you all for all your continued support! Don’t forget I do have a new book out, Double Down and Dirty by L.A. Lewis. Check it out if you hadn’t had a chance to read it. It’s available anywhere books are sold online.

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LOVE YOU GUYS!!!!!

Blog Series

Blog #10: Back Down Memory Lane

Robert

I watched the woman I loved with everything in me, the same woman who made me forget who I was and where I’d come from. Nadia brought out a  part of me I never knew existed. Up until our reunion I was always known as the diffuser…the voice of reason… the one people flocked to for comfort and understanding. All those good qualities vanished when she re-entered my world. When we dated in high school, I understood my role very well. I was the filler. I knew that and I accepted it because even being the filler was fulfilling for me, at least for a while. Eventually, that got old. Being her go-to person when she had nothing better to do. Yeah, after a month of playing that role I wanted more. I’d planned to tell her everything the day she called me to the woods. I was going to pour my soul out to her and hoped she’d say she felt the same way, but when I arrived, and saw her lying in the dirt, all my words fell to the ground. I nearly fainted when I saw all the blood that covered her clothes. This is why she called me. She needed me. I picked her up,took her to my truck and drove like a bat out of hell to the hospital. She was very weak, but still able to talk. I hung onto each word and nearly crashed into the car in front of me when she told me what she did. My heart shattered and I didn’t know if I wanted to stop and push her out or keep driving and save her life. The girl  I loved was no longer the girl I knew. As soon as we made it to the hospital and I contacted her grandmother, I left. It took a while for forgiveness to set in, but eventually it did. 

When Nadia came to me over a year ago, professing her love and declaring how much she wanted to start a new life with me, I dropped everything to make sure that happened. I never told her how much I gave up for this union to happen. She didn’t know my life was on an upward path and I gave it all away just to be with her. If she’d known, maybe she’d understand the rage, but it’s too late now. She’d made it clear that her feelings were the only ones that mattered to her. I loved Nadia, but right now…in this moment…I loved me more.

Nadia

“I better get going.”  I looked back expecting Karen to be standing at the door watching Tasha and me as she normally did.

“You sure you don’t wanna come in and eat?” Tasha offered. “You know it’s Thanksgiving around here.” She laughed.

“Ohhhh, it is isn’t it.”

For as long as I could remember, Tasha and her mom never celebrated holidays on the actual day. One, if not both, of them were always working so their tradition had been to celebrate as close to the holiday as possible.

“I’m sorry. I forgot. I didn’t mean to interrupt your time with your mom.”

Tasha’s eyes narrowed. “Really? You think interrupting my time with her is a bad thing?” She laughed again.

“Say what you want, but you love that woman.” I lightly pushed my body into hers.

Her smile vanished and was replaced with sadness.

“What’s wrong?” I leaned forward to get a better look at her face.

Tasha looked behind her. I’m sure it was for the same reason I’d looked just a moment before, to make sure Karen wasn’t there. She took a deep breath.

“Don’t tell me you have more bad news. I really can’t take anymore right now.” I warned her.

“No, not bad news. Not good news either.” She said softly.

“Then what is it?” I questioned again.

“I’m tired, Nadia. I’m tired of this life. I’m tired of living in this house and working this dead end job. I’m tired of being the responsible one, having to look after a woman who should be looking out for me. I’m ready for more.”

I crossed my arms over my chest and stared at her.

“What?” She asked with attitude.

She knew me well enough to know exactly what I was thinking behind my lifted brow and poked lips. I didn’t say a word.

“I know you’re tired of hearing this same ol’ story, but I’m for real this time. I want more.”

“Then do more. Stop whining and complaining about wanting something then settling back into this life. I’ve heard this too many times and until you’re ready to make a move, it’s just talk.”

Her facial features dropped and I knew I’d hurt her feelings, but I didn’t’t do pity parties and she knew that. She’d always known that.

Tasha stood and dusted the dirt from her pants. “You’re right. I should get back inside to Mama.”

“I’m right or you’re angry? Which one is it?”

She stared at her feet then locked her eyes on me. “I’m angry.”

“Why because I won’t tell you what you already knew?”

“No, because you don’t ever tell me what I need to hear. You know I wanted you to tell me that I should do it, I’m capable of moving away from here and living life on my own, but you never say it and I know why.” Her sad eyes turned angry.

“What are you talking about? I always tell you that. I’ve said it too much over the years. If you want to move, then move but stop talking about it and do it.”

“That’s easy for you to say.”

“And it’s easy for you to do.” I stopped before she could go into my life versus hers. She always went there.

“No it’s not. Not when I have someone depending on me to be here. I know it was easy for you to walk away and live your life but it’s not that simple for me.”

“Well, what the hell do you want me to say? No matter what, you’re not leaving Bayou. You’re never leaving Bayou so why do we keep having this conversation? It’s pointless.”

The moisture in her eyes made me regret telling the truth. I hadn’t learned that sometimes people don’t want to hear what you really think, even though they pretend to want your input.

“Throughout high school you talked nonstop about moving away and I always told you that you could do it. When your dad died you talked about it even more and I listened and continued to encourage you.”

“In high school, Tasha. High school. We’re thirty year-old grown women, not teenagers. We no longer have time to talk. Either do it or be content, but stop whining about it.”

“Bye Nadia. Enjoy the rest of your stay.”

She was behind the door before I could blink. I looked around before walking to my car. Every since I’d arrived I had a strange feeling. Not sure what it was, but I didn’t like it. Normally when I have this feeling it’s followed by something bad. I had this very feeling the night my dad died. It had occurred a couple more times throughout the years and it was always on point. I didn’t know what it was or who it was for, but something bad was about to happen in Bayou and I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was very close to home.

THE END!!!!

Written by: L.A. Lewis

Edited by: Gina Phillips Johnson

A note from Nadia: Thank you for allowing me to share a piece of my overly dramatic life with you every week. Since you’ve enjoyed reading about me, I have no doubt you’ll love watching my very eventful life play out on film. As you can imagine writing the blogs and working on the scripts can sometimes get a bit confusing for L.A. Lewis. Because of this, she’s made the executive decision to discontinue the weekly blogs and pour all her energy into the scripts. Don’t worry, we won’t leave you hanging. You’ll get to see, up close and personal, as ALL the Bayou secrets are exposed :). 

Blog Series

Blog #9: Hidden Agenda

Tasha

 

I sat at the table across from my mother yet another Thanksgiving. Just the two of us. The way it had been ever since my grandmother passed last year. I really wanted to call Nadia and check on her, but hearing from me may have only made matters worse. I couldn’t believe my best friend was finally home for a holiday and I wouldn’t be able to spend it with her. This day sucked like no other.

“What’s that look about?” My mother was looking at me like I was crazy. Here I was being blinded by her bright orange pants, and the big rhinestone turkey on her sweater, and she had the nerve to look at me like I’d lost it.

“Nothing.” I pushed the food around on my plate. I loved holiday food and my mother’s a really good cook, but I couldn’t enjoy it today. I couldn’t stop thinking about Nadia. About my plan to move to Atlanta with her. She’d been trying to get me to come for years, and just when I was ready to kiss this dead end town goodbye, my mother had to go and open her big mouth. I’d just lost the only real friend I’d ever had and my chance to escape this place.

“You need to eat if we gone make it to the store in time. You know Black Friday starts earlier now.”

Yipeeee Black Friday. A time to go and spend money I don’t have on things I don’t need.

“I got my plan all mapped out. When you’re done I’ll tell you so you can be ready. I don’t need you slowing me down.”

“I won’t slow you down because I’m not going.”

Her eyes looked like they were ready to pop out of the sockets. “Not going! What da’ you mean you not going?”

I hate when she asks what do I mean about obvious statements. Isn’t “I’m not going” self-explanatory?

“You have to go. I can’t pull this off without you,” she continued.

“Mama, you and Sheila are gonna have to battle it out alone this year.”

Every year, my mother and her coworker Shelia Johnson always compete to see who can get the best items during Black Friday. It’s ridiculous if you ask me.

“Ohhhhh, I know what this is about.” She leaned back in her chair. “You mad because I told Nadia, huh?”

I broke off a piece of my roll and stuck it in my mouth, all while looking at my mother,the one who ruins everything. Always had and now that I was stuck here, she always would.

“Look, I done told you that girl needed to know. Her mama and grandma should be ashamed keeping her in the dark this long. Shoot, everybody should be thanking me.”

“Thanking you? Did you really just say that?”

“I shole in the hell did. Now that it’s out, we can all start living the truth. Ain’t you tired of hiding? Tired of pretending we don’t belong? Hell, we’re just as much a Freeman as the rest of them and it’s time for everyone to know.”

“Why now? You told me years ago and said not to say a word and I didn’t. You told me it would hurt Nadia if she knew, and yet, you told her. Just tell me why you did it?”

“Because I have nothing to lose. I was quiet and I told you to stay quiet because that’s what Mama wanted. People in this town had finally started showing her some respect. For as long as I can remember, she hated to leave the house because everyone would stare at us and whisper behind our backs. Mama’s life was hell here, but she couldn’t afford to leave. My daddy couldn’t be a father in the open, but he was in private and he took good care of us. Truth is, Mama wouldn’t have left even if she could. She loved that man, even if she could only have a piece of him. She wanted that piece.”

My mom stared as if she’d gone back to those days in her mind. Sometimes I wished I could see what she saw. Maybe that would help me understand her better. She always had a need to be seen. She said things to hurt people and she didn’t care. She was nothing like my grandmother who worked overtime to be accepted by people in this community.

“Well, she’s gone now and I’m tired of living like this.” She waved her hands around. “While they’re up there in that big house that should be ours.”

My mother has officially lost her mind.

“Just because you’re his child doesn’t mean you automatically get what he left behind. You  should know that better than anyone.”

“What the hell that’s supposed to mean?”

Why did she always have to play the naive role. That drives me insane!

“When Grandma died what did Aunt Kate get?”

I knew that would pinch a nerve, but it was the truth.

“What did Aunt Kate get? Hell, what does Aunt Kate need? What does she do for us? What did she do for your grandmother when she was alive? She barely made it home before she died.”

My aunt is Katherine Matthews…The Katherine Matthews, but she’s Aunt Kate to me. Aunt Kate left Bayou many years ago to pursue her acting and modeling career. She was determined to be a success and her determination paid off big time. She lived all over the world. She now called Paris home. In my mother’s eyes, Aunt Kate’s success was a constant reminder of her own failure. My mom once had dreams too, but unlike Aunt Kate, she never acted on them. Instead, she stayed behind with my grandmother, much like I’m doing now. My grandmother robbed my mother of the life she could’ve had, and my mother was robbing me of mine. Guess it’s a family curse that skipped Aunt Kate and landed on me.

The knock on the door was a welcomed distraction.

“I’ll get it.” I was up and out of the kitchen in no time.

When I opened the door and saw Nadia on the other side, my heart came alive. I had no idea why she was there, but even if it was just to argue, at least she was here.

“Can I talk to you?” Nadia stayed on the porch.

“Sure, you wanna come in?” I opened the door wider.

Nadia shook her head. “I’d rather talk out here if you don’t mind.” She peeped around me and into the house.

I opened the closet and grabbed my sweater. I joined Nadia on the front porch.

“You okay?” I stepped around to face her.

Nadia stared at me with eyes that showed no emotion at all.

“What’s wrong?” I asked, putting my hand on her shoulder.

“I probably shouldn’t be here, but you’re the only person I can talk to.”

“You can always come to me. You know that.”

Nadia took a deep breath. “Rachel’s here.”

“Oh no. Did you talk?”

Nadia sat on the first step of the porch and replied, “We did.”

I joined her on the first step, and tried to read an expression that just wouldn’t come. Nadia was good at not showing her true feelings. You never really knew how she felt unless she told you, or on those rare occasions when she’d break the wall and let it all out.

“And?”

“And nothing. She came. We talked. And that’s that.”

“Okay.” I knew when to stop asking questions. Pressuring her for answers only caused her to run away.

“But that’s not why I’m here.”

I swallowed hard and waited for her to tell me why she was here. I waited to hear her say that we couldn’t be friends any longer. That now that she knew the truth, she had to side with her family. I braced myself for the impact of her words.

“Robert’s here too.” She announced.

“Robert? Here in Bayou?”

She nodded her head.

“Nadia, I promise I didn’t say a word about you being here.”

“I know you didn’t. His grandmother told him.”

“I can’t imagine that went well at all.”

She looked at me. This time I detected a hint of sadness in her eyes.

“Oh no.” I placed my hand over my chest. “Does he know why you left?”

She was silent. I hated silence.

“No, but he’s refusing to let me go. I told him why I went back to him. I almost told him everything, but he blew up as he always does when things don’t go his way.”

“When you say everything does that include…” I didn’t want to say it out loud just in case my nosey mother was lurking behind the door.

“I thought about it. I really did. Being here these last few days has shown me that secrets never stay buried long. If he finds out what I did he may follow through on his til death do us part threat.”

“So, what are you gonna do?” I asked.

“Nothing. I’m going to stay here with Grandma Hazel a while longer, then I’ll figure out where I’m going next.”

“You’re not going back to Atlanta?” I was kind of disappointed in a selfish kinda way. My best friend had a problem and I was thinking about myself.

“I can’t go back there. I need a fresh start and the only way to get it is to move.”

“He’s going to find you again you know. He’ll never stop looking for you.”

“Then I’ll keep running. Robert wants what I’m not capable of giving. I’ve run out of love and as bad as I wish I could love him the way he deserves… I just can’t.”

Robert

Stalking had never been my ideal hobby, but when it came to my wife I had no choice. Three months ago, Nadia fled in the middle of the night, leaving nothing but questions behind. I knew she was hiding something from me and I would find out what it is. Judging from the intensity on her face as she was talking with Tasha, I’m guessing whatever she’d done was pretty serious. I’d find out what it was. She knows I don’t give up until I get what I want. No matter who I have to use to get it.

Written By: L.A. Lewis

Edited By: Gina Phillips Johnson