Raising the Crown

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 4 (v.1) - An Interesting Turn of Events.

Submitted: June 21, 2019

Reads: 131

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Submitted: June 21, 2019

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I was used to sleeping in strange places, but it was hard for me to sleep in this house. In fact, I got no sleep whatsoever. All I could think about was that monster who came to see me in upstate New York after one of my solo performances. Who in the hell does that kind of thing? Does he think this is a game? I knew there was something about him that I didn’t like when I shook his hand during his introduction. Good God, I can’t believe I even accepted his handshake. It takes a really sick, twisted, and perverted individual to pull the kind of move he did that night.

Before I knew it, my mind had taken me back to the morning that Camila had left me. Camila was noted for always leaving my apartment earlier than when the sun rose in the morning, so she could avoid the paparazzi that would crowd around my secured apartment building, but she never left a note or letter for me. That’s why I had a sense of dread when I saw that letter on her pillow that morning ten years ago. I remembered going over to my parents’ house later that afternoon to confront my mother. Until now, that has been the only other time in my life that I was absolutely livid with my mother.

What did you say to her yesterday, mother?” I asked as I was in my mother’s face in the kitchen.
“I didn’t say anything to her!” my mother exclaimed as the ends of her curly dark locks whipped me in the nose and chin while she turned around and walked away from me to finish cooking dad’s lunch on the stove. “We just talked about some lab work that she’s recently had done, that’s all.”

“C’mon, mama, you and I both know that’s a lie! Cami wouldn’t just up and leave me! I saw the tear stains on this letter she wrote,” I told her as I tried to show her the letter Camila left to me, but my mother swiped my hand out of her face. “She told me in her letter she couldn’t be with me, because you don’t approve of her, and you never will! I have done everything you’ve ever asked of me. I’ve done every audition, played in every show and every movie you wanted me to, and I even gave you and dad every dollar I ever made until I turned eighteen! Why can’t you just give me this one thing, this one thing called freedom to love who I want to love? Why!?”

“Oh, alright, Giovanni, calm down!” she yelled back as she met my angry glare with her own chestnut brown eyes, and then she put her right hand on her hip, and looked me straight in the eyes. “Do you really think her family is going to accept her being married to an Italian? I sure as hell know our family won’t accept her being a volmen!”

My mother did not just call Camila by the derogatory name of her own Xudian culture!

“That’s it, I’m done with you!” I shouted back to her as I now turned around and grabbed my car keys off the kitchen table.
“Giovanni, I’m only looking out for your best interests!”

I turned around as quick as I could and gazed hard into my mother’s eyes.

“If you were looking out for my best interests, you wouldn’t be doing this to me!” I shouted. “You would see that your hatred for the love of my life and her culture is tearing me apart!”

I knew my mother saw that the tears of devastation had threatened to slip from my hold, but she didn’t care about how much this hurt me.

“You were bullied for most of our time in Brooklyn, called a wop every single day by whites, blacks, even Spanish when you went to school, and you cried every day when you came home from school. If you don’t think that marrying a Xudian and mixing your blood with hers in children would make things worse for your children, then you better remind yourself of what you went through with such racism against you. It’s hard enough struggling to honor and protect your heritage and be proud of it while simultaneously dealing with racism and trying to live the American dream! Why do you want to make it more difficult for your future children? That is what I told Camila yesterday, and she knows that I’m right!”

I had tears in my eyes. It was hard for me to see my mother in this light, but now I understood why she felt the way she did. It hurt more to hear it from her, but I could tell she was honest in her statement.

“She’s volmen, Giovanni.”

And there it was. My mother, who was a devout Catholic and follower of Jesus, just confirmed to me that she was really a racist. Calling Camila a dirty thief in her own Xudian language was a derogatory term for their culture. Camila once told me it had everything to do with the history between Italy and Xudia. I couldn’t believe my mother actually used this word twice now in this same argument!

“C’mon, mother, this is 2009! Society has come a long way from the days of the old, so who in the hell do you think you are, calling Camila volmen when you’re supposed to be this God-fearing person who tries to follow Christ? You may go to church every week, but you’re certainly no Christian if you’re racist against any other culture!” I shouted as my blood boiled in a rage I had never known before. “I’m done with you!”
“Giovanni!” she started, but I pounded both of my fists hard on the kitchen table, which shut her up real quick.

“You’re a hypocrite, mother, and I don’t want anything to do with you or any of our racist family ever again! If being an Italian means being a racist and a hypocrite, then I as far as I’m concerned, I’m an American and that’s it! Screw heritage and screw you!” I saw tears build up in my mother’s eyes, but I didn’t care, because it was about time she felt some kind of pain that she brought on to me. “I’m done with you! I’m done with you trying to control me and control who comes in and out of my life! I don’t ever want to see you or hear from you ever again!”

“How dare you speak to me like that?!” she started to say, but this time I walked away from the kitchen table and pointed my right dominant index finger in her face.
“No, mother! How dare
you? How dare you try to tell me who I can and cannot love? How dare you treat Camila the way you've been treating her ever since I introduced you to her? I'm actually ashamed of you, and you should be ashamed of yourself. I hope you rot in hell for this!

My mother couldn’t say anything to my last statement. She just cried as I turned around and walked out. A year and a half would pass before she and I spoke again, and we only spoke again because of Gloria. I don’t know what conversation those two had when Gloria and I had gotten engaged, but Gloria somehow got my mother to apologize first. Then I apologized, because my mother wasn’t the only one who did and said things in that argument that shouldn’t have been said and done.

Now that I recall that fight, it was easy to see that the signs were there. I was just so angry with my mother that I missed what she said about Camila’s lab work and talking about a future family. How could I have missed that? If I wouldn’t have let my anger get the best of me that afternoon, I would have connected the dots, and I would have immediately come down here to North Carolina and chased after Camila. I never would have let her go if I knew she was pregnant. Had I connected the dots that day and chased her down here, she never would have married the monster she did, because she wouldn’t have met him. God, if I would have only chased after her ten years ago, she would still be alive today.

Now I knew why I couldn’t sleep. Tears instantly filled my eyes, and threatened to fall, and I couldn’t hold them back. I couldn’t sit upright, but I couldn’t lie down anymore either, so I just rolled to my left side and slipped off the sofa in the darkness of the den as the sobs escaped uncontrollably. In one move as I glided off the couch, I was able to at least turn my body to face the sofa, and I was soon on my knees with my forehead buried into the edge of couch. The guilt, the shame, it overwhelmed me into such despair.

“Oh, God!” I exclaimed in the start of my first official prayer in a decade.

After that last fight with my mother over Camila leaving me, I had walked away from the church, and turned my back on God. I wondered a lot these last few years if He even actually existed, but now I’m faced with the thoughts of what happens after death. Is this the end for Camila? It can’t be! There has to be a good place, a Heaven for truly good people like my Cami, even if I never made it there myself.

“Please . . . hear me! Forgive me of every sin, of every sin . . . transgression . . . and iniquity that I have committed.” I slowly, but gradually brought my hands above my forehead on the sofa. “I’m sorry . . . that I turned my back on You! This . . . what happened to her . . . I know . . . that I’m to blame, but please forgive me for not chasing her  . . . for not standing by her side when she needed me to protect her . . . please . . . send me a sign that she didn’t suffer in her death, that she came to You in peace . . . please!”

I couldn’t finish my prayer with the usual ending, because I couldn’t find the courage to speak anymore due to the overpowering guilt and shame I now had on my back. I was wholly consumed by my anguish and just couldn’t find the strength to fight it, so I just let it all out.

“Oh, Father in Heaven, please hear my prayer.”

What the . . . how did he get down here without my knowledge? I had perfect hearing! His words were just so comforting to hear that it gradually quieted my soul, which in turn stilled my sorrow, for I somehow knew I needed to hear more of that soothing voice of my son, which was music to my ears right now.

“Please replace my abbo’s guilt and shame with everlasting peace. Show Your presence to him and bring him comfort, for the pain he is in is great, and he needs You now more than ever. I will help him too.”

He even sounded like he was right next to me on my left. I turned on the lights, and confirmed my suspicion on his position near me, but stayed quiet as I listened to his sweet prayer. He was so different from his brothers.

“I know now what it is that You want me to say to him, and I understand why, so by Your will, it will be done, but please wrap Your loving arms around him for all the comfort and peace and strength he needs to get through this. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

This kid . . . was incredible! I could sense a great fire in him for the love of God and Christ that it had me in tears. I don’t even know what to say to him, except . . .

“Amen.”

I watched as he made the sign of the cross on his forehead, chest, and his shoulders, a telltale sign that Camila had him practicing his faith through Catholicism. I turned around and sat down on the floor with my back to the front of the sofa, but my eyes met his, and silence filled the air. We both stayed quiet until I was able to bring myself together again. I must have looked stupid and weak to him, but he didn't look like he judged me. He just sat there for a good ten minutes, and waited for me to say something, until I wanted to ask him something when I was ready to speak again.

“How long have you been down there?” I asked as I placed my right arm on couch, and stretched it over the edge while I brought my left knee up to my chest, and hung my left arm over my left knee.

He was quiet for a moment as our eyes remain locked. I could tell he had something on his mind.

“I came down here when you were listening to music with those buds in your ears. Mommy once told me I have perfect hearing, like you, so I knew I needed to be super quiet.”

That was probably about a couple hours ago. He’s been down here that long? Why didn't I notice him before and why did he stay hidden in the shadows?

“I couldn’t sleep . . . and knowing you’re here in the house . . .” he continued as he used this opportunity to turn around, sit himself down beside me on my right, and then he continued to stare into my eyes as he rested the back of his neck and head against my right arm. “I just wanted to be close to you.”

I . . . don’t know what to say to that. I just stayed silent and basked in the fact that he wanted to be close. Man, do I wish I could have seen him grow from such a tiny miracle at birth to this amazing kid sitting beside me! Eric wasn’t very affectionate, but when he was, he was usually snuggled up to Gloria. Kris was super affectionate, and he was all over me all the time. It was this kid before me that I wasn’t too sure of yet. I knew that I had to be careful with him, because I didn’t want his wires to get crossed between the abuse he endured from his stepfather and the genuine fatherly love and guidance that I would give him. It was a given that he was a big hugger, and though I can't relate to him on being abused, because I had never personally known or experienced abuse of any kind in my own life, I didn’t ever want Luca to think I would be abusive to him like his stepfather was, because what that monster did was just wrong on all sorts of levels.

“I have personally overheard the police officers telling my nana and pappy about the accident. Mommy died on impact.” My breath shook at those words and I felt the sting of tears in my eyes again, but I kept my gaze on Luca, and he mirrored my tears as well. “She didn’t suffer, not for one second, and she is experiencing the greatest peace she can know. She is home in Heaven and in joy over the fact that you and I are finally together. I know this in my heart. I can feel it.”

I had to nod in agreement to this.

“You did not commit any sin or transgression or iniquity against mommy or myself by not being there for us. I don’t know if you can feel it, but something profound is happening in our lives right now. Everything happens for a reason, and it is my firm belief that you just simply were not meant to be in mine and mommy’s lives these past ten years, because you were meant to be with Gloria. You were meant to have the kids you have, including the one that is on her way.” Wait . . . did he just say her? “God has written our lives long before any of us were ever born, which means He has never been and never will be caught off guard, because He knows exactly what happens, how it happens, and why.”

Wow. This kid was definitely on to something, and he was very perceptive. I can see why Camila had raised him the way she did. This kid had a serious destiny ahead of him. He will make a great leader someday.

Please don’t blame yourself for what happened to mommy, because it wasn’t your fault. You are not to blame, and you never will be. Remember this phrase: ‘Be still and know that I am God.’”

I nodded in acknowledgment.

“I am,” I replied.
“No, abbo, I don’t think you understand,” Luca answered, which confused me. How was a ten-year-old kid telling me that I don’t understand what ‘being still’ meant? “In original Hebrew, ‘to be still’ actually means ‘to let go.’ Let go of your fears, your guilt, your shame, and your stress. Let go of all of that while knowing who God is and what He has done for you, and what He will do for you. He is mighty, abbo, and He will take you further in your faith and strength and courage and confidence than you ever thought possible, if you only give to Him by letting go of what holds you back.”

Wow. Just . . . wow. Talk about being mind blown!

“I don’t blame you for not being there, because in truth, you have been there for me every day.” Wait . . . what? “You were there for me through your shows, and your movies, and through your music. You just didn’t know it . . . until now, that is. I love you, abbo.”

Aw. I was so touched by his words. I didn’t even know what to say to him, except for the obvious with a smile . . .

“I love you too, kiddo.”

Once I said those words, I could see how the light in my son’s eyes brightened up with so much joy, even much more than what I saw when I first put him to bed. Before I knew it, he had wrapped his arms around my waist, and instinctively I returned the gesture of love. I wrapped both my arms around him, and as he rested his head on my right shoulder, I rested my head on top of his. This was sure an interesting turn of events. We talked throughout the morning about all sorts of stuff, and of course used this opportunity to get to know each other until the sun came up, and I absolutely enjoyed every moment of it.


© Copyright 2019 Jenah Pierce. All rights reserved.

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