The Battle is Not Yours!
by Chris L. Wright
Somebody was knocking at my door and Lord knows didn’t want to get up to answer it because it was Thursday the day that Reese was supposed to call me, and let me know if he was finally coming home. He’d never missed a call home in nine months overseas and I anxiously awaited his smooth toned, “Hello” on the other end of the line just to calm my raging nerves. Yet, there was still the persistent knocking at my front door. Three loud thuds again. I didn’t want to be rude so I hastily ran down the hall into th e foreyor to answer it. I opened the door slowly and there it was the uniform. A rich red strip ascending on black freshly creased pants adorned with shiny black midnight polished shoes. Without looking at his face I quickly threw my arms around him shouting, “Oh baby your home! What a surprise!”
But there was something wrong, something strange, and cold natured about our embrace. I let my arms withdraw from around his neck as my eyes fast fell upon the red, white, and blue flag tucked neatly underneath his right arm. In a few seconds the following words came from the soldier’s lips with him looking me straight in the eyes. “Mam I so sorry to inform you but…”
Before he could even finish his next words I felt my knees go weak. My legs gave in on each other like collapsing Twin Towers. Speechless, I plummeted to the floor. His arms caught me just before my head struck the wooden floor. My vision was rapidly going black. The last thought I never dreamed of was becoming a reality. I grabbed my heart as the breaths quickened in my chest and I realized that my husband wasn’t ever coming back again.
Three months later after his funeral it seemed that my daughter and I were living life again and gaining a little bit of normalcy back in our lives. I had just finishing packing her lunch pail when I heard the bus engine coming a block away.
“Daysia hurry up and finish brushing your teeth or you’re going to miss the bus girl.” I could hear the patter of her little feet rushing down the hall. “I’m ready mom,” she replied.
“Come on babygirl I’ll walk you out to the bus,” I said as I took her by the hand walking out the front door. We stood at the end of the driveway and watched as the yellow bluebird bus made its way around the bend turning onto our street. I leaned down and put my arms around her shoulders and said, “You make me proud today at school ok!”
“I will, she replied smiling.”
Then I watched her make her way up the stairs onto the bus to her seat behind the bus driver. She waived at me and I waived back as the bus drove off. I glanced my watch to see what the hour was. It was now 7:30 am. I rushed back into the house to get ready for work. I laid my clothes out on the bed and plugged in the iron when the lights unexpectedly flickered. I paused for a few seconds then continued about ironing my pantsuit when the lights flickered once again. All at once the power shut off completely . The room went pitch black dark. Carefully making my steps I made my way to the window to open the blinds for some sunlight. “God this couldn’t be happening to me, not today!” I ran to the phone to report the power outage to Georgia Power. The phone rang and a woman picked up saying, “Thank you for calling Georgia Power how may I help you?”
“Yes, this is Mrs. Williams at 1207 Lee St and I want to report that my electricity is out.”
“Ok Mrs. Williams we’re sending out a crew to check on it, but it may take awhile for them to get the power back up in your area.”
“Alright thanks,” I said as I hung up the phone remorsefully. I quickly glance the red digits on the alarm clock on my dresser. The time was now 7:45 am. I had only thirty minutes left to get to work with absolutely no power to finish ironing my clothes or curl my hair. This was just great because our regional manager was supposed to be on site today for an office audit. I took the wrinkled pant suit and blouse and put them on as they were, wrapping a scarf around my hair and put on my leather black coat to try to cover my awful appearance. This was the worse I’d ever looked going to work but I was going to wing it. I grabbed my keys, locked the door, and hopped into the car.
At 8:15 I was pulling into my job’s parking lot in the nick of time. Whew I had made it just in time avoiding three red lights on the way by driving like a bat out of hell. I speed walked up to the office by the dock. As I entered I swiped my badge and sat down at my desk cubicle to begin logging onto my computer. I could hear the voice of my supervisor fill the room.
“Goodmorning, I will need all of you stop what you’re doing in two minutes and give all of your attention to Mr. John Fleck our regional district manager.” By the time I was finishing logging onto the mainframe two minutes had elapsed. Everyone in the office was standing at attentively at their feet and I slowly stood up to join them. As I looked around the office I could see that all my co-workers were professionally dressed in their black and white attire. I looked down at my self to see nothing but miles of wrinkles and lint everywhere.
A voice in the second row behind me said lowly, “Who in the world comes to work with a scarf wrapped around their head. Who does she think she is, Harriet Tubman!” A few chuckles could be heard following the nasty comment. I felt a frown drawing out across my face just like an old western cowboy’s pistol coming up out of his holster getting ready to shoot. I still kept my head up and did my best to smile despite the circumstances.
Soon after, a short stubby stock bald headed man with glasses came to the forefront of the office. He began talking,
“Good morning, I think you are all a bunch of great people and I really appreciate your efforts to do your job to the best of your ability to aid our company in becoming an industry leader. I will be here for the next couple of days observing you and if you have any questions please feel free to ask me. Thank you for your time and you may be seated again.” As he finished addressing the office I sat down only to feel him stare right through me like a hot iron searing through paper. I sat back in my seat trying to get comfortable and began typing. I had just completed two waybills when I heard my supervisor call.
“Mrs. Williams I need to see you at once.”
I rose out of my chair and went to her office door. “Yes Mam,” I said. I could see the regional manager, John Fleck, standing by her side.
“Come in Mrs. Williams and have a seat Mr. Fleck would like to speak with you.”
I reluctantly stepped through the door and took a seat. I could feel a tension in the room so thick that I felt as though I could almost reach out and knead it in my hands like cornbread. Mrs. Doris my boss immediately got up giving her seat to Mr. Fleck. As she left out the door swiftly closed beside me. He sighed deeply and began to speak.
“Mrs. Williams your performance is astounding! No errors, perfect attendance and your doing up to some thirty bills per hour.”
“Thank you,” sir I replied.
“However, I am concerned with the way you present yourself. You do understand that our dress code is business casual at all times and that what you’re wearing is totally unacceptable. I would think a woman of your standing would take better care of herself. Honestly I’ve seen hogs that looked cleaner on my family’s farm and we can’t have our company making this kind of grotesque impression our customers.”
My heart began to drown in my throat as I listened to him slaughter my spirit.
“Oh no sir! You don’t understand, see my power at home went out this morning and I had no way of ironing my clothes or doing my hair.” Instantaneously he interrupted me.
“I‘m sorry, but I have zero tolerance for excuses. Next time Mrs. William’s I suggest you tell a better lie!”
I began to tremble as I lost control of my emotions screaming at the top of my vocal cords, “Please just listen to me sir, I’m telling you the truth!”
He shook head, “Give it up Mrs. Williams, You’re terminated.”
“I’m what!” I yelled. You can’t do this to me!”
I watched as he picked up the dull black phone on the desk.
“Mrs. Williams you have exactly one minute to leave or I calling the sheriff to escort you out.” With tears flooding my cheeks I ran to my desk, grabbing my purse and left. All my coworkers standing and watching in awe as I exited.
When I made it to the car I leaned over the hot steering wheel trying to catch my breath and get a hold of myself. “God I don’t deserve this,” I screamed, “Why was this happening to me.” I had already lost my husband and now I had lost my job.
Confused and angry I just drove aimlessly for the next five hours around town trying to figure out my next move. How I was going to pay the bills and put food on the table for my daughter. The clouds in the sky drew darker as all logic soon escaped me. A thought of revenge was birthed, arose and entered into me. I pressed the gas petal all the way to the floor. The tires squealing out as I made a u turn in the middle of the highway. I was speeding something I’d never done before, doing eighty-five in a 55 zone all the way back to the house. Other drivers along the looked on as if I was a physco road raving maniac. They must have thought I was some woman out of control having a bad day and Yes, I was exactly that. Out of control and I wasn’t going to take it any longer.
I pulled up into my driveway and went rampaging into the house. I went straight to my husband’s old office and pulled out the center drawer where there was an orange case resting. I picked it up and popped the locks on it. Inside laid a black 45-millimeter handgun. I removed it and held it in my hands letting the cold steel warm in my palms as I pointed it towards the mirror.
Imagining at that very moment that Mr. Fleck was on his knees praying for me not to shoot him dead.
Soon I was drowning in my own adrenaline. My teeth grinding the enamel off as I clinched them tightly together. This was it; I was going to do it. I went back to the kitchen to grab my purse to get ready to back to the job when I heard the engine of the bus pull up into the driveway. The door creaked open.
“Mom I’m home,” Daysia said as she threw her backpack on the sofa.
I could feel her presence coming up behind me and I slid the pistol behind my back.
“Daysia go to your room right now and get started on your homework. I have to go back to work to take care of something.”
“But mom I don’t have any homework today.”
“Didn’t you hear me girl? Go to your room!”
Despite my orders and strong tone, she still stood there. Before I knew it my right hand and sharp nails slashed across her face. She fell right on the floor. A stream of a blood gushed from the side little mouth and then her tears came raining down. She screamed, “Mama why?”
Her scream was ear deafening, but I continued to put the pistol in my purse, get my keys out and head for the car until a voice behind me said, “Mama wait.”
“Do you remember what daddy used to say?”
I halted and turned around. “No, it does matter anymore he’s dead and never coming back,” I said as I turned back around. Then I heard a loud shout say,
“He used to say when things get bad remember the battle isn’t yours! It’s the Lords.” I stopped cold in my tracks. What she had just said struck my heart down like a bolt of lighting and that very instant the evil that was in me was binded down. My arms shook and I let the purse and pistol fall to the concrete. Turning back around to her I kneeled putting my arms around her as we both shed tears on the concrete
“Please forgive me I’m so sorry baby. Oh you and daddy were so right! This battle is not mine alone it is truly the Lords.” For the next few minutes we just held each other close. With my daughter in my arms I began praying. Thanking God for not letting me be a fool and not letting the devil steal the last piece of joy I had left on this earth.