Posts by Xavier D'Leau

#XD30 – Ten – Here

…picking back up where we left off…

“You have to be real cool, Dad. Don’t tell her any of those corny jokes you tell us.”

“They made you laugh, right?”

Alexander continued to fix his father’s tie before he went to pick up Diana for dinner and dancing. Vann had watched nothing but movies with Billy Dee Williams in it to ensure he could impress and woo the object of his affection.

On the way to Diana’s house, Vann picks up a bouquet of lillies. He heard through the grapevine at church that those were her favorite. Well, not really the grapevine. She kept a fresh bouquet of them on her desk in the pastor’s office.

 

He pulled up to the house, and parked the car. He smelled that smell again.

He smiled.

He then rang the doorbell.

 

#XD30 – Eight – In This Bed [a poem]

Note: This is completely separate and a departure from the previous story I was writing. I’ll eventually come back to that story, maybe.

 

in this bed

you are home to me

you greet me, complete me

in this bed

you remake me, study me

in this bed

you spoil me, excite me

in this bed

you breathe me, see me

you betrayed me, hurt me.

in our bed

that we shared.

#XD30 – Six – Diana

After 16 years of being single and mourning his late wife, Vann decided it was time to find love again. The only thing was that he had forgotten how. He hadn’t picked up a woman since the early 80s. He figured the best way to find a woman was in church, because he needed to be sure that his next relationship was washed in the blood of the lamb.

“You know Sis. Stokes always had a thing for you, Dad.” Vann Jr. made sure to call his father and brother every Wednesday and Sunday evening while he was away at UCLA. He was there on an academic scholarship studying Applied Mathematics.

“Yeah?”

Diana Stokes was the church secretary. She was 5’9″ and smelled like tulips. Vann designed all of the furniture in her home.  Vann heard a beeping noise on the line.

“Hold on, son. I got another call.”

“Hello, Vann? This is Diana.”

#XD30 – Five – Different

This Sunday was different. It wasn’t an Easter Sunday. It wasn’t Mother’s Day. It wasn’t Father’s Day. It wasn’t the start of Vacation Bible School. It wasn’t those things at all.

Vann made it a point to make sure his two boys were rooted and grounded in The Word. Vann would make sure Vann Jr. and Alexander dressed up in their finest creased slacks, dress shirts with no collar (because Joe Sr. said collars were for the white man) and black loafers. Vann always wore a suit — nothing more, nothing less. He always encouraged the boys to become active in the church, and they did so. Vann Jr. played the drums and Alexander sang in the choir. It made Vann happy to know that his now teenage boys had a strong foundation and constitution, even though the past 16 years his was weak.

This Sunday was different.

Alexander began to sing.

Afterwhile, afterwhile
This too shall pass
Afterwhile
Scars will heal, you’ll love again
It won’t hurt you afterwhile
It won’t hurt afterwhile

Vann walked up to the altar, and rededicated his life to Christ.

Pastor Johnson whispered in his ear, “It won’t hurt afterwhile.”

Vann burst into tears and for the first time in 16 years, he breathed.

This Sunday was different.

 

#XD30 – Four – Pin

Vann was a nerd. He had thick coke bottle glasses, but he always stayed in a fly adidas track suit and the freshest sneakers. He was known as the “Flyest Kid in Wood Shop” at Dunbar High School. He also had the crush on the the pretty girl with cocoa skin in home room. Sarah Cunningham had shoulder length hair and was always seemed to float across campus. Vann was enamored with just the thought of her. He would always get the urge to speak, but everyone would tease him about his nervousness and he would just shy away.

In the 10th grade, Vann opened his lunch and found a note.

Just tell her hi. – Love, Dad.

Vann sucked it up, walked over to the table where she was sitting and said, ” Hi, I’m Vann. I think you’re really pretty and I wanted to know if you wanted to go with me to get a burger and the record store after school today.” His palms were drenched with sweat and just as he began to turn green, Sarah smiled.

“It depends. Where are we getting the burgers from?”

“Arthur’s. Where else?”

Vann studied and knew the object of my affection more than anyone and before he ever had a conversation with.

“Alright. Deal.”

Vann walked away with the hugest smile on his surprisingly acne free face, and went to class. Wood Shop. Vann made a pin fashioned into a shape of a rose to give to Sarah on their impending date in a few hours.

She wore the pin on their wedding day.

She wore the pin at her funeral.

#XD30 – Three – Breakfast

Two bag lunches sat on the kitchen table with a note inside each.

Tell her “Hi” – Love, Dad.

Don’t trade your sandwich for an extra pudding pack again. – Love, Dad.

Vann packed his kids lunch and made them breakfast every morning before they went to school. Vann, jr. was old enough to make his own breakfast and lunch, but Vann found joy in doing so. Vann Jr liked his eggs sunny side up with grits and a slice of wheat toast — a simple meal for a growing 12 year old. Alexander liked his eggs scrambled with cheese and toast because that’s the way they ate breakfast on The Fairy Godparents. It was hard pleasing an 8 year old.

Vann watched his kids get on the bus for school before going to work out in the wood shed. Vann Wilson was the top furniture designer in the Carolinas and business was in demand more than ever. He was pressured to sell, but that required more work and less time away from the boys. The boys already lost one parent, there was no need to have them lose another.

On the way to the shed, Vann smelled a familiar smell. A smell he smelled every morning on his way to work for the past 8 years. He closed his eyes, inhaled, exhaled, and smiled.

“Good Morning to you too, Sarah.”

 

#XD30 – Two – Need

There was soft chatter throughout the house. You could hear forks scraping against plates and creaking of wood as the Wilson clan walked around and greeted those they hadn’t seen in years. “I should go check on him,” Elaine whispered to Joe. Elaine walked up the stairs slowly and with each step she whispered a prayer under her breath.

“Lord, give me the strength. Give him the strength. Give us the strength.” 

Vann was sitting on his bed, fully clothed, with a blank face. He had only showered and shaved for the first time in 8 days today to bury is wife.

“Vann, dear?”

Vann remained silent. Vann remained frozen. Vann remained numb.

Elaine sat next to him and put her arm around her first-born, and tears began to stream down his face.

“Mama, I’ve sat here for days trying to understand. I don’t do anything to hurt anyone. We go to church every Sunday. I prayed, no, I pray for her more than I pray for myself. I built this house with my bare hands for our family. I’ve never cheated. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I do everything right. I know we never know God’s plan and I know I’m supposed to trust in Him, but..Lord, I– Mama I have two little boys. They need their mama just like me and Joe, Jr. needed you.”

“Well I–”

Vann continued to speak and Elaine held her son tighter. “You know? We had plans. We were going to retire out in Charleston by the water. She loved the beach, you know.”

“Yes, I know,” as Elaine rubbed his back.

“The boys were gonna grow up and be somebody. We were gonna have another. A girl. Mama, I know– I can’t do this.”

“Can’t do what, son?”

Vann stood up and began pacing with his head down. It was something his father did when he was troubled.

“I cannot go through life without my wife. I need her to survive. I ne..”

Vann fell to his knees and began to sob uncontrollably. Elaine held her baby on the floor and continued to pray with him throughout the night.

 

read yesterday’s post here

#XD30 – One – Birth

“That’s it honey! Push! Push! You’re doing great, honey,” Vann exclaimed to his wife Sarah. He coached his wife through their first pregnancy and passed with flying colors so this was a no brainer. Beads of sweat rolled down Sarah’s brow as she gave one final push.

“Ahhh,” Sarah screamed with the power of a thousand suns and her beautiful brown son was announced to the world.

Alexander James Wilson, 8lbs, 7oz. Black hair. Brown eyes. 10 fingers. 10 toes. 5:40am September 23rd, 1986.

It was the last time Sarah and Alexander saw one another.

Sarah Evelyn Wilson. Time of Death 5:58am.