Here’s the scoop;
‘A Divided Love: Chelsea and Jamal’s Story has been out for just over 6 months now. Being honest, I don’t think this book is getting the credit it deserves. To be even more honest, it’s my favorite. We all love Norma Nudle and her quirky antics, (she even makes a guest appearance in ‘A Divided Love’) but sometimes we need to read a good drama.
That said, ‘A Divided Love’ shows the more serious side of life with a happy and hopeful ending. Does it describe some harsh topics? Absolutely. Are the topics relevant to today’s society? One hundred percent yes. The book is Christian themed and realizing that not everybody is Christian, note that it doesn’t pull away from the story.
Within the body of this email I am going to include an excerpt from ‘A Divided Love’ followed by the link to the book. The book is designed for people of all ages and has characters of each generation to relate with. Thanks for reading and enjoy!
Remember, if you’ve picked the book up and liked it, please tell your friends!
‘A Divided Love: Chelsea and Jamal’s Story’
He kissed her goodnight; that was his first mistake. He knew it was a bad idea the minute he found himself gazing at her pink, heart-shaped lips. He tried to convince himself not to, however, it was like the more he stared, the more his mouth seemed to do a thing of its own. It was as if a magnetic force pulled him toward her. The more he fought the closer he found himself to her. As soon as he tasted the strawberry lip gloss, he realized he had gone too far. He regretted the situation immediately, but for whatever reason he couldn’t pull himself away. Perhaps he really liked the flavor of strawberry? Perhaps the lip gloss was made out of some glue material and their lips were stuck together? It was more likely that he really liked the girl wearing the lip gloss and a part of him was able to forget about the corruption that had recently entered their small community. At least forget about it for a moment. Jamal’s second mistake was when he called his friend, Jake. It only made him feel worse.
“Hello?” Jake answered, questioning why Jamal was calling him so late on a school night.
“Man, I messed up.” Jamal spoke softly into the phone. He didn’t want his mother to hear him if she were home. God knows he didn’t need the extra drama at that particular moment in time.
“Jam, I know you’re on the fence about going to USC, but listen man, it’s after 12 and I gotta get to school early for jazz band…”
“This ain’t about school, man. I really messed up.” Jamal’s heart started to beat faster as he thought about the kiss he just experienced. Mistake or not, if the circumstances were different he knew in an instant he would do it again. “I kissed Chelsea.” Jamal swallowed hard. Hearing himself say those words caused his blood to rush through his veins. The thought of him making that mistake made his throat dry and hoarse.
“You did what?!?” Jake sighed into the phone. “How could you… Jamal out of all people, Chelsea?!?”
“I know, man! It just happened, I didn’t mean for it to.” Jamal was subconsciously wrapping one of his long dreads around his finger. He could still feel the stickiness of Chelsea’s lip balm. He rubbed his lips together, once again tasting the strawberry flavor. He felt his heart skip in his chest. It was as if it was dancing to a Latin beat. Jamal glanced at the phone when his friend started to speak.
“What are you gonna do about it, Jam?” Jake asked, concerned for his friend, but subconsciously yawning while he was talking.
“I have no idea. I really like her though- I guess I always have… Dang, this sucks.” Jamal plopped down on the bed. He nervously picked at a loose thread on his blue comforter. After he kicked his shoes off, he gazed out his bedroom window, barely taking notice to the homeless man shuffling down the street. He wasn’t looking at anything in particular, but something was tight in his chest and he knew the mistake he made was going to be a costly one.
“Her family is gonna freak. You know that, right?” Jake said, interrupting Jamal’s thoughts.
“I know.” Jamal sighed into the phone. Leaning his head against the bed frame, while looking up at the ceiling. This was a time that Jamal knew he needed to ask God for a special favor. This was a mistake he had a hunch was going to haunt him forever. Jamal closed his eyes, holding the phone tightly in his hand, he envisioned Chelsea’s thick brown hair between his fingers. He could still smell her next to him; heck he could still taste her. His stomach flip-flopped inside of him. “What am I going to do?” He said out loud, half way forgetting that Jake was on the other end wondering the very same thing.
Chelsea perched herself onto her bench in front of her mirror. She took a long, good look at herself, her eyes stopping at her lips. Her stomach fluttered as she replayed what had just happened moments before. Slowly she pressed her lips firmly together and then inhaled her shirt, hoping to catch a glimpse of Jamal’s sweet scent. Her mind wouldn’t stop going over their kiss, the moment that lead to the kiss, and then the awkward silence afterword. As giddy as she felt, she couldn’t help but feel a little confused about Jamal’s mood afterword. He seemed a bit off. Chelsea shrugged her shoulders, maybe she was just reading too much into things. She’s known Jamal for years, he’s always been very honest with her. If something was wrong, he would have told her. She couldn’t shake that strange feeling though.
Chelsea pulled her sweater over her head, catching a glimpse of her naked body staring back at her. She blushed as she envisioned Jamal seeing her now. She did a little dance in front of the mirror, wondering if he would be attracted to her or if he would think she was weird. She decided he would think she was strange, and she quickly pulled her tee-shirt over her head covering herself up, she then pulled her long brown hair into a ponytail. Chelsea jumped onto her bed not sure if she was tired enough to sleep or not. As she leaned over to turn on the lamp, she noticed the homeless man waddling down the street. Chelsea silently wished him good-night and then said her prayers.
The homeless man was walking down the street with a smirk on his face. He couldn’t help but feel that a change was coming soon. Perhaps it was because of the early spring tulips just starting to bloom, but he had a good hunch that it was much more than that. He stopped his shopping cart and bent over to feel the long blades of grass between his brown, calloused fingers. There was a twinkle in his eyes. This was the first time since his mother’s passing that he felt so good. He giggled at the thought of those two teenagers kissing underneath the street light. Young love was a very exciting time, he just knew that he was going to have to stay close by so neither one of them get hurt. There was a sinking feeling in his stomach about the possibility of that. Unfortunately, he knew it was something that was going to have to happen in order for change to occur. He shook his head at the thought, but even that couldn’t damper his spirit. Something inside of him just felt hopeful. He took a deep breath as he continued to push the cart down the road.
Kate walked into the house happy to be out of work. She was tired of working double shifts. One of her coworkers was out on maternity leave and her boss was too cheap to hire a temp to fill the position. Kate, and her friend, Samantha, were stuck picking up the slack. Since Kate lost her job at the church, she was in no position to argue about the long hours now. In a strange way, she was grateful for them. She hated the hours, but her family desperately needed the money. She tossed her jacket onto the chair and kicked her shoes off at the door. The house smelled of food and she was grateful she could count on her son, Jamal, to help her out so much around the house. She was proud of him, but she also knew that he was going through some hard times lately. She quickly changed her clothes and hurried in to her children’s rooms to wish them good night.
“Good night, Tonya.” Kate said quietly, just in case Tonya was sleeping.
“Night, ma.” Tonya gurgled. Kate looked around the room. She was disappointed to see that it was messy. Tonya didn’t typically keep a messy room. Kate realized Tonya must be depressed again. She made a mental note to take Tonya to see her biological mother soon. As much as Kate worked, she knew it was just as important to her children’s lives that she spends quality time with them. Sometimes the balance was difficult.
She walked into Jamal’s room. She wasn’t overly surprised to see that Jamal was still wide awake. “What are you thinking about?” Kate asked him.
Jamal shrugged his shoulders. “Everything, I guess.” He finally answered.
Kate nodded, understandingly. “Anything I can do to help?” She asked, knowing already what the answer would be.
“No. I’ll be okay.” Jamal answered, glancing away from her. He was hoping nothing about earlier that night would tip her off to what he was feeling.
“Do you want to see your mom this weekend?” She asked, picking at the loose thread that Jamal was just playing with earlier.
Jamal shrugged his shoulders. “It doesn’t matter to me. You’re more my mom than she is.” This time he was looking at her directly in the eyes. Jamal loves and respects Kate. He always strives to make sure she knows that.
“Jamal, I know how you feel, but she does love you.” Kate broke the string off the comforter. She then absentmindedly rubbed the indentation the string left on her forefinger. When her finger turned from white to red, she started to twist the string around her finger over and over again and then untwisted it, each time rubbing the indentations from the thread.
“I know.” He said. “I love her too, but I still feel that you’re more my mom.” Jamal had felt that way for years. It was Kate that went to all his basketball games, it was Kate that paid for him to get his sports physicals even when she didn’t have the money, Kate also was the one to sit up with him at night when he was injured or ill. Kate’s been there for him for pretty much his whole life. He could tell her anything and she never even raised her voice at him. She taught him everything he knows. He feels so bad for her right now because she lost her job because of him. That hurts him because he only wants for her to be happy. Jamal always tried to pick up after he and his sister, but even that is minor compared to what Kate’s done for the two of them.
Kate couldn’t stand seeing her son like this. She loves him and only wants what is best for him. Kate thought about how weird it is that Jamal remembers living with his mom and Tonya doesn’t, however, Tonya is closer to their mom than Jamal is. Kate’s had Jamal and Tonya for 12 years now. Tonya is 13 years old. Jamal, 17. He clearly remembers the day his mom was taken to prison. He remembers the struggles they went through and the hard times. Jamal also remembers how close he and his mother were. Tonya has no recollection of their mom before prison at all. When Kate got them, Tanya couldn’t even talk yet.
“This coming weekend is prom weekend, isn’t it?” Kate asked, breaking the silence.
“Yeah.” Jamal said, noticing the sickening feeling in his stomach at the idea of prom.
“Are you going?” Kate asked, encouragingly.
“Mom-Kate, who would I possibly go with?” Jamal asked, sounding defeated.
“I don’t know. I guess I would assume there’s some girl out there that you like.” She nudged her son lovingly.
“Not really.” He lied. “And even if I did, would it matter? Mom-Kate, I’m the only person there that looks like me. Last year it didn’t matter. This year is a whole different story. It’s… just… hard.” Jamal looked as if he were deep in thought, or perhaps ready to cry.
“It is hard.” Kate said. “I wish it weren’t.” She added, knowingly.
Jamal looked at his mother, disappointed in himself that he added more stress to her day. He knew that she loved them. He was glad for her and how she took such good care of them, regardless of the circumstances. He sat up and gave her a hug. “I’ll be okay. Who knows, maybe I will find a prom date.” He smiled as she hugged him back.
Robert was bent over his desk with his glasses sitting at the end of his nose. It was late in the afternoon. His hair fell just above his eyelids and looked as if it needed to be cut. His Bible was spread out in front of him, old coffee was sitting on his left. Notes and clutter were spread all around him. Kate walked into the room, unannounced. She paused for a moment to take in the scene. She noticed that Robert’s head was becoming more visible under his graying hair. She thought he was doing pretty good for being 52. She assumed she would probably be fully gray if she quit dying her hair and she was only 43. Kate let out a small sigh to get his attention. She could feel her stomach cramp with anxiety. It terrified her that just a few short days ago, she was in love with this man. Now, she can hardly stand him.
“Kate, I didn’t expect you. How are you doing?” Robert asked, a smile spreading across his thin lips as he stood up to greet her.
“I’m okay.” She lied. She gestured for him to sit back down as she grabbed the chair on the other side of the large mahogany desk. “Look Robert, Jamal’s really struggling and Tonya’s not even straightening her room or eating. You know my kids, if they aren’t eating, something is going on!” Kate looked at him steadily, trying to read what he was feeling.
Robert took his seat at his desk, pulling his glasses off and rubbing the bridge of his nose. Kate realized he must have been studying for a long time because he had a big red dent on both sides of his nose where the glasses were sitting. He only wore his glasses when he read. She silently hoped he got something from his studies, but knowing him it all went in one ear and out the other so-to-speak.
“That’s unfortunate.” Robert said, as he shrugged his shoulders, clasping his hands in front of him.
“You know you’re the cause of all this.” Kate stated, abruptly, feeling her emotions starting to get out of control.
“Kate, I’ve told you before, I don’t bend on my beliefs. What do you want me to do- stand in the pulpit and simply change my mind, because your feelings are hurt? Isn’t that what conviction is about? Sometimes feelings get hurt. That’s what motivates people to change.” Robert stated as he crossed his leg over his knee. He locked his fingers on his knee and bounced his foot up and down as he spoke.
Kate’s bottom lip trembled. “How in the hell can you be so dumb?” She asked glancing up at the painting of Jesus at the last supper and feeling just a little guilty for saying “hell” in the pastor’s office.
“I beg your pardon?” Robert asked arrogantly. “Kate, I have a doctorate in Divinity. I went to school for 10 years, dedicated my life to researching God’s word. Do you really want to get into this argument?” At this moment he was leaning over and pointing to a diploma framed on his wall.
“Hell yes!” Kate answered, standing up and pointing her finger. “I don’t care how long you went to school. You are an idiot! Your beliefs are ignorant and cannot be proven; and if the Bible supports anything you believe, then I don’t want to be a Christian! I wouldn’t believe in a God that loves to hate!” Kate’s hands went up in her hair in pure frustration. She scrunched it as she pulled her hands through it, almost as if she were pulling it out, however, she wasn’t.
“Kate, just because I said black people have evolved from monkeys and white people are made in God’s image, does not mean that God loves hate. You are jumping to conclusions again.” Robert smiled smugly as he crossed his hands back over his knee.
“How can you believe something so blatantly ignorant? The Garden of Eden was somewhere near Ethiopia. That means that Adam and Eve were black. They were made in God’s image. Robert, an elementary student could figure this out. Even Jesus himself hid in Egypt. That means, Jesus was dark, not light! This entire conversation is ludicrous!” Kate’s hands were clenched. She grabbed the scissors off Robert’s desk and pointed them at him. “I think it’s time you act like a Christian instead of a… a… a hater!” She fumbled for the right words, not coming up with any good ones. She hates that she gets so flustered when she’s upset. She can always go home and think of the perfect comebacks, however, in the heat of the moment she has nothing. It’s like her brain gets frazzled.
Robert smiled at her. “You’re so cute when you’re mad.”
Kate threw the scissors across the room. They hit the wall and landed on a picture of the two of them together, conveniently cracking the frame in half, symbolically splitting the two of them apart. Kate couldn’t believe she was dumb enough to consider marrying him. What’s worse, was the thought that so many morons believed him and the crap he stood for. She left the office slamming the door behind her.