Publisher: Urban Christian
Release Date: October 1, 2014 (Available for Pre-order now)
“Thanks, Barbara, for letting Keith and James come over,” Cynthia said as soon as Barbara Dillinger opened the front door of her brownstone. “Marvin got tied up at work.” Lying, Cynthia fidgeted nervously on the stoop while waiting for the boys to come out.
“Looks like he’s not the only one that got tied up,” Barbara said her hazel eyes filled with horror. She pointed at the welts Marvin’s hands had left around Cynthia’s neck. “Why don’t you come in and relax for a moment?” Barbara opened the door wide enough for Cynthia to slide through. “The boys are upstairs playing—karate chopping and body slamming each other. A few more minutes of play isn’t going to hurt them.”
Barbara took Cynthia’s black, leather jacket from her and escorted her from the steps of her brownstone into the living room.
“I’m sorry it took me so long to get over here—I walked,” Cynthia said, soaking up the place. In the two years that the boys had taken karate with Sean, Barbara’s son, the two women had never actually been inside of each other’s homes. Pickups and dropoffs were usually relegated to a switch at the doorstep of the parent supervising the play date or a meeting at the subway station.
“Please have a seat.” Barbara swept her arm around the room inviting Cynthia to take a seat.
Cynthia looked to her left and then her right, trying to decide whether she wanted to take a seat on the mustard quilted leather sofa or the spoon-shaped zebra-print chair that faced the picture window.
“Would you like a cup of coffee or tea?” Barbara offered.
“Barbara, there’s really no need in going through all of that trouble,” Cynthia said settling herself into the spoon shaped chair.
“And there’s no need for you to go through all of that trouble either,” Barbara chirped pointing at Cynthia’s neck.
“Barbara, I’d rather not discuss this.” Cynthia craned her neck toward the spiral staircase and called for her sons. “Keith…James,” she shouted into the air
“But I want to discuss it. Come here.” Barbara grabbed Cynthia’s hand and dragged her over to the full-length mirror that rested against an exposed brick wall near the window. “Look at yourself.” Barbara gathered Cynthia’s burgundy shoulder-length hair back as if she was about to put it into a ponytail. “This isn’t right, Cynthia,” she said, tracing the welts on Cynthia’s neck with her French-manicured fingernails.
“Marvin is just going through something right now. He’s trying to open his own business; he has me and the boys. It’s a lot for him to handle.” Cynthia fingered the welts herself wishing she’d tied a scarf around her neck.
“I don’t think he’s dealing with more than you are. You don’t have to go home if you don’t want to. You and the boys can stay here,” Barbara offered, releasing Cynthia’s hair.
Cynthia massaged her face with her hands. “We can’t…I mean, I can’t.”
“You can’t stay there either,” Barbara interjected. “I know we don’t know each other well, so this might seem strange or feel a weebit uncomfortable, but if you won’t stay here, at least let me take you to a shelter,” Barbara begged Cynthia earnestly.
“And this might seem strange to you because we don’t know each other well but I took a vow, for better or worse. Now there’s a reason those vows say for better or for worse—some days are going to be better and some days are going to worse. It just so happens that today was one of the worst.” Recalling the days when Marvin was sweeter, gentler, romantic even, Cynthia massaged the welts around her throat. “Marvin isn’t all bad, and I’m not all good, so it would be wrong of me to turn my back on my husband. I’m going to fight for this marriage until we get back to better days when we held hands and slow danced to Marvin’s old records.” Cynthia’s high cheekbones rose as she smiled, lost in the memories of the days when the phrase I love you did not come after a bloody lip or bruised eye. “He wasn’t always like this.”
Cynthia touched the princess-cut diamond of her engagement ring, which rested over a simple gold band. She could still hear Marvin say in his rich baritone as he presented her the ring while they were seated by the waterfall in Harlem’s historic Morningside Park, “A simple ring for the woman I simply want to spend my life with.”
Cynthia held onto that memory as Barbara presented her with reality of her situation.
“So how long do you plan on suffering through this? What about you? What about Cynthia? What do you want for your life? Forget your marriage. I mean you. What do you want?” Barbara cocked her head to the side and stared at Cynthia’s reflection in the mirror. Her hazel eyes felt like acid searing right through her skin. It seemed like she could see Cynthia’s thoughts.
From the Author
Born at Dawn was first conceived in mind seven years ago and much like the protagonist I had to figure out what I wanted to get out of this life in order to complete this book and see it through to publication. Now seven years later I am about to see my destiny manifested and I am delighted to share this with you. Born at Dawn is not just a book about abuse it is about loss and gain, it is about growth, finding light in a dark place, and it is about how we minister to those in pain. One of the most poignant comments I received from a participant in my readers group came from poet, M. Skye Holly, who said to me, “Nigeria, although I’d never experienced any of these things I couldn’t help, but wonder how is it that I minister to someone who has. How do I tell them there is a God who is good despite all the bad they have seen?” In today’s world where tragedy and trauma is so closely woven into people’s lives it is important for us to think about how we would share the gospel of Jesus Christ with those in pain.
“This has to be the most unpredictable story I have read in quite sometime. Each character has their own clear vocie and are so engaging.” BLESSEDselling Author, E.N. Joy
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