Waking up in the hospital, Faith discovers she had undergone an emergency Caesarean section and is now a new mother to a baby girl, whom she names Destiny. Her troubles are far from over as she lapses into a coma from a brain injury suffered during the fall. Once released from the hospital, Faith relies on a few friends for support.
Faith evolves as a mother, and her love for her daughter never waivers; she will protect Destiny at any cost. Faith fears her attacker will return, but because she didn't see his face, she doesn't know where the danger lies. He could be closer than she thinks.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)|
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By Oquendo Taylor
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2010 "Q" Taylor
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"And you stay out of this!" Eunique, who was a middle-aged mother by the nickname of Butter, screamed at the top of her lungs, telling off her teenaged daughter Faith, who was on the verge of entering full womanhood. Eunique's body swayed like a thin flower in the wind, and her core temperature reached a boiling point that instantly produced beads of sweat on her face. Naked underneath a dingy old white bathrobe decorated in patterns of red, pink, and violet flowers, Eunique Hopkins could barely hold her housecoat closed with one hand. Wobbling about, she pointed drunkenly at the top of the stairs with the other hand.
"Momma, y'all don't need to be arguing like this, why are you trying to fight? No one's trying to fight you," Faith explained, glancing into her mother's stressed, depressed, and tired eyes. Standing nobly between her mother and her equally red-eyed stepfather Richard, she tries her best to mediate the situation. Of medium height and fair complexion, Faith boldly stood in a small-breasted frame, like a referee between two boxers. "Y'all have been together for too long now, Momma," she raised her voice to sound more powerful.
"Shut up, you liar! You're my daughter, but you don't act like it! You don't know nothing about us; all you know is what I taught you!" Eunique yells and turns around, pushing and shoving both of them. With an even darker skin tone than that of her daughter's, her glassy red bloodshot pupils angrily gazed deeper into Faiths good soul. Veins bulged and pulsated from her neck and temple, and the hot heat from her mouth reeked out a horrid smell of cheap beer and liquor. Once again, after drinking, she had turned into that other person that always saddened the ones around her. Pointing her index finger into the skin of Faith's forehead and then into her right cheek, Eunique frowned with great anger and frustration. Creating creases between both her eyes and above her sweating brows, she smacked her watering mouth to speak. "Just get away from me before I kill you!"
"Momma ... Momma, stop, because see ... you don't really mean that." Faith inches backward, trying to laugh it off as her eyes begin to water in disbelief of her mother's choice of words and sudden actions. Her mother's anger always seemed to worsen when she drank, but never had it escalated to this extremity. "How can you talk to us like this, and me? I'm your only daughter, Momma!"
"Butter, you need to stop this mess right now! You done had too much drinking, let's end this right now, baby. Come on back in the room and sleep it off, come on now," Richard interrupts, as the smell of liquor rolls out of his mouth and reeks from the pores of his body as well. As Eunique maneuvered around her daughter, she catches him on the chin and face with two swift, consecutive womanly blows of the open hand. Richard launches back into the arms of Faith's brother, Juni, as the sight of him ignites Eunique's drunken rage even more.
"You ain't nothing, you no-good bastard! You ain't never done nothing for me, you bastard!" Eunique curses at the top of her lungs.
"Momma ... stop it, just cut it out! Please?" Juni, Faith's now-teenaged bother, blurts out as he steps in front of his reeking stepfather. Young and of a tone between his mother and sister's, he stepped into the argument as his small pink lips quivered with emotion.
"What, no, you ain't getting in my face! No, you ain't ... you, you thief!" Eunique shouted nonsensically and begins to swing uncontrollably on her son.
"Quit, Momma—stop it!" Faith grabs her mother from behind. "Juni, leave, go on and get out of here! Go outside or something; you ain't making this any easier—hurry up," his big sister hollers, trying her best to calm down her mother at the same time.
"Gone, boy," a low voice enters Juni's ears from behind. "I ain't about to let nothing too serious happen, now go on. You ain't doing nothing but making her madder," Richard whispers as Juni dashes back down the stairs from which he came.
With her arms around her mother's shoulders and her mother's fist balled tightly shut inside Richard's two palms, Faith carefully keeps an eye on her footing as they inch closer and closer toward the edge of the old creaking steps.
"Come on, Butter, Eunique, baby, your daughter's dropping a load, a bundle of joy. She don't need any of this, baby. She don't need this mess!" Richard speaks in a calm, loving, concerned voice as she begins to kick, trying to free her hands from her husband's grip.
"You ain't no ... no better than my thieving son! All of y'all steal from me!" Butter screams out. "I'm tired of y'all hurt'n' me!"
"Momma?" Faith's voice rises above the chatter. "Cut it out now; you know that you don't mean that. Don't talk to us like that! Please don't talk like that! I love you, and so does Juni. Why would we hurt you? Why would we do something like that to you, Momma?"
"Liar, you don't love me; you don't know love!" Eunique screams at the top of her lungs. "All that you've given me is misery! Misery—little girl!"
"You're losing it, Mom, what are you talking about? You know that I love you. I've given you misery? How can you say that? I do love you, Momma, and you know that! Is me telling you that not enough for you? Is that what your problem is? All I've ever done is try my best to please you! I'd tell you every second of every day that I love you if I had to Momma, every day, until you knew for sure that we all loved you! Were a family ... and you just had a little bit too much tonight, Momma! See, that's why you're acting crazy right now!" Faith appeared to be getting through to her mother for a brief moment as tears start to seep from her eyes. Letting loose one arm from around her mother, she touches her bulging stomach. Feeling a slight surprising bit of movement but nothing unusual, she continues to hold back the slight nauseated sensation received from being on her feet. As Richard slowly let go of her mother's hands, Eunique turns around and faces her beautifully mature, pregnant daughter. "Momma, I wish that I could spend time with you all day, for the rest of my life, but now it's my turn to be a mother. Momma, I don't need this, and you don't either. We've got enough problems to worry about right now, Momma." Teardrops burst into intense streams down her cheeks, rolling down her neck like waterfalls. "If you haven't noticed, Momma, I'm the one with the stress right now ... I'm the one with the pain! I'm having the baby, Momma. I'm having a baby, and I could give birth any day now! Just sober up and stop drinking for once, Momma, for me," Faith sobs, holding her now-aching belly.
"You whore!" Eunique blurts out, still angered by the pregnancy. Launching a swift and powerful smack to the side of her daughter's face, she takes another swing but stops in midmotion. "I never told you to go out at night! You didn't get raped ... you got you some being fast, trying to be grown!" Faith's mother bellows until her voice begins to crack and go hoarse. Planting another blow swiftly from the back of her small bony hand onto the left side of her daughter's jaw and temple, Faith's head snaps to the right and back, instantly, sending her frail body arching backward over the edge of the stairs.
Unbalanced on the edge of the steps, Faith reaches for the stair's banister to successfully miss the rail. In an unforeseen twist of the body, she stumbles down the carpeted old wooden staircase.
Watching motionlessly in shock, Richard freezes in his own silence as the ongoing foul words from his spouse's mouth are tuned out. Bucking his eyes, his mouth drops widely open in a nightmarish daze as Faith crashes into the wall at the bottom of the steps. Her limp body flips and slides down the last three remaining stairs as half of her upper body glides across the surface of the ground floor. Juni runs to the loud sound of the thud only to find his big sister at his feet, bleeding from the crotch and from out of her ears, unconscious. "Faith?" he cried out in disbelief and horror as his first instinct led him to peer at the top of the steps at his raging mother. "What did you do, Momma? Faith ... oh my god ... what's wrong with my sister? Faith! Wake up! Wake up! Fa ..." She appeared not to be breathing. "Richard, call 911! Call 911!" Juni screamed at Richard, causing him to awaken from his state of shock as he rushes into the back room to place the call. "You wrong, Momma, you wrong ... you just stay back! You just stay back from my sister! What did she do? Fai ... th, wake up ... big sister, no." Juni huddled around his sister's uncertain dead body and rocked back and forth in panic and fear. Lifting up her head, he slightly props his hand up behind her neck and felt a small breath of warm air against his face. "What did y'all do to her? You're crazy ... I hate you; I hate you so much for this, Momma!" He continued to curse his drunken mother as she crouched nervously into a ball at the top of the stairs with nothing else to say.
Tears of hopelessness and self-pity wet Eunique's eyes and ran all the way down to her robe's collar. Wiping her mouth with her hand, she rubs her temple in small circles. "What did I do to your sister? You hate me? It's your fault! You helped my little angel to get hurt!" she says in a whiny voice as a string of saliva dribbles down between her thin legs onto the floor. "You should have been there, you ain't never there! Just like your damn daddy! Call the police, Richard! Call the police! I'm tired of you anyway, you ain't no man," Eunique harped out, yet to regret her words. Continuing to curse back at her son, her daughter, Faith, barely able to open her eyes, passes in and out in the clutches of her brother's small warm arms.
Awakening to bright lights and sirens, Faith is rolled past her mother and Richard on a stretcher. Escorted by police and firemen, she exits the front door and passes out again. Opening her eyes minutes later to the sight of paramedics asking questions that she couldn't even make out, she glances over at the police who were placing her brother in cuffs. Her mother appeared to be accusing him of something traumatic while waving some type of documents in her hand. Crowds of people from the neighborhood gathered around them quickly as a tall thin man in a black hat and suit puts down his newspaper and grins directly at her. Starring into the man's bushy, thick white eyebrows and freckled face, thoughts of her brother bombard her mind. "Juni!" Faith tries to yell, only to hear her voice come out in some kind of dry, drained whisper. Barely able to hear her mother's loud screaming over a muffled ringing inside of her head, a loud commotion suddenly pierced her right eardrum as she overheard the accusation of her brother stealing money. "No ... Juni!" she called out to him a second time and then closed her eyes and fell into a deep uncontrollable sleep.
Quick flashes of sunny days and her father's face were the only things that Faith mainly dreamed about. Feelings of her grandmother's care and premonitions of her mother's pain were all that she felt as she heard her grandmother's pleasant voice speak. "Every princess has to have a little faith ..." Opening her eyes to nothing more than a blurred vision, she touched her arm and then her face. Pulling out a long and slender breathing tube from under a wide strip of surgical tape, she uncovered her right nostril. Awakening to motherhood, her pale green-and-yellow-patched newborn daughter lay bundled warmly in her arms. Rubbing a pounding head of bandages, drowsily, she peers down at her success. As her terribly fogged vision slowly dissipates, Nodia, her best friend, quickly catches her attention.
"Girl, it's about time you woke up! Ooh, you pulled that thing right out of your nose, didn't you? Be careful, girl, you'll never know what those things might be connected too!" Nodia, a lifelong sister figure in Faith's life, smiled while walking out of the doorway of the small hospital bathroom. Taking a seat in one of the visitor chairs, she scooted closer to the bed. Giving Faith a big hug and a kiss on the cheek, she lounges back in the black leather reclining seat, covering herself with a small jacket in the brisk air. "They gutted you open like a fish!" She shows ivory, laughing even more. "I'm happy to see that you made it; I was worried there for a minute! How are you feeling?"
"Mmm, oh shoot ... ! My, my ... baby?" Faith spoke in a daze, questioning herself. Glancing at some sort of equipment beside the bed, she notices plastic lines webbing from behind the device. Following the lines with her eyes, slowly they became wires that connected to both sides of her temple. As a long transparent IV line ran in her arm, she placed one hand on her half-naked forehead and fingered for her small growing dreads, which were all covered. Despite her extreme exhaustion and grogginess, she took half of a deep breath and began to sit up right and slowly gather herself together.
"Yep, that's your baby! You woke up a little while ago, and they brought her out to you. You went back to sleep right after the nurse walked out. Here, let me help you out." Nodia assisted with adjusting the bed and cushion behind Faith's head. Helping her to securely hold her baby, she looks into Faith's drifting eyes and smiled. "What's her name? She's gorgeous," asked Nodia as Faith glanced up at her shiny brown complexion. Nodia's short styled reflective black hair complemented her round, full face as a small circular black mole sat sexily yet distinctively upon the top left corner of her upper lip.
"Ugh ... my stomach hurts! Ouch ... my head, my back and oh, my arms? It feels like I was in a train wreck," Faith groans as she tries to sit up slightly. "What's her name?" Nodia asked. She hesitates to answer, still trying to gather her thoughts and the details about what happened together. Looking up at the ceiling, she places one hand on top of her ripped-apart-feeling stomach. "Ow! Juni? My ... my little brother, what happened? I can barely remember. What happened to me? What happened to my brother?"
"Dang, Faith, you really are out of it, aren't you?" Nodia stepped back and tilted her head to the side. Crossing her arms, she began, "Well, your momma had your little brother Juni sent to that juvenile detention center for teenagers ..."
"The juvenile center?" Faith interrupts, dropping her mouth in disbelief as she gains 75 percent consciousness.
"Yeah, girl, he called me this morning and explained everything! Mm-hmm, you know how your mother accidentally knocked you down the steps? You know, the stairs inside your own house? Well, so she say so, but I would hardly call that an accident though, but Imma let you handle it! Sike, I'm just playing; she knows that she was on that drunk stuff. That's a shame!" Nodia shook her head with a look of concern for her best friend. Gazing upon the bed, she twists her lips. "I don't really think that she meant to do it on purpose though, you know ... a lot of people get like that, I don't know why." She grinned and wrinkled her nose playfully while her eyes held a tone of seriousness to them at the same time. "She feels extra bad since you were put in the hospital. She doesn't say it, but she really shows it."
"Knocked down the steps, what steps ... my mother? Nah, she couldn't have, now wait ... it's all coming back to me now." Faith fell into a deep silence as her memory began to emerge from deepest depths of her brain. "She was drinking and arguing over nothing, and I tried to calm her down. Juni came in and tried to help, but he only made her more furious. She smacked me, and I was so shocked ... all I remember from then are the ceiling and darkness. I still can't believe that she smacked me. Hmm, that's funny! I know she didn't mean for me to fall, but she shouldn't have hit me. She's stressed out right now, and she drinks way too much," Faith gives her analysis and looks down at her new child.
"Whatever, girl, y'all need to come and stay with me for a while or at least until you can get on your feet and situated. That baby doesn't need to be around all of that drama right now, and neither do you!" Nodia suggested as a huge part of her worried about her friend's wellbeing and the baby.
"I know! Now quiet, I'm a mother!" Faith's eyes tear as a sharp pain causes her to clench her belly as she notices Nodia covering her mouth, laughing. "Oh! Girl, it's not funny, don't make me laugh! What did they do to me?" She peeks up under the sheet to the sight of blood-dampened bandages taped to her stomach. "Yuck!" She closes the cover as the sight of her own gore sends a deep streaking chill up her spine. "Ugh, is that ...?"
Excerpted from FAITH'S DESTINY by Oquendo Taylor. Copyright © 2010 "Q" Taylor. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc..
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book was more than I expected from the young Q Taylor. I look forward toreading more of his work. This is a book that I wilkl pass on to my friends. Loved the book.
I've read Destiny twice and every time I read it book I love it more and more. It is raw in its emotional power and leaves you feeling like you've understood, if only momentarily, the coy dance between free will and destiny. It's also impeccably written, with magical realism so real it can scare, love, humor, and most of all, humanity. Thanks for bringing these characters to life! Robin Smith