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Long Time Wounds, Part Three continued
by Lauren Alan
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One week later, it was a week before Thanksgiving. LaToya was quite furious with her parents now, even more furious than when they'd told her that the Williames were coming over for Thanksgiving. She had tried one last time to dissuade them from keeping their invitation to Charles and Angie open, and when they refused to cancel the invitation, LaToya told her parents she was looking for another place to live. She decided to go to a community park in downtown Selma where she could be alone as she looked for an apartment in the newspaper. LaToya knew she was breaking her parents' hearts by moving out of the house in anger and by refusing to come home on Thanksgiving, but she was too upset to care. She felt totally betrayed by her family. How could they be friends with the couple she held responsible for her brother's death?

That same day after Jeremiah was done with school for the day, Angie took him to the downtown park in Selma to feed the ducks and play on the playground. While she was watching her son go down the slide, she didn't realize LaToya was sitting on a nearby bench. She wouldn't have recognized her, anyway. Neither woman noticed the other until Angie yelled, "Go down on your bottom, Jeremiah!"

Jeremiah? thought LaToya as she looked up. Seeing a white blonde woman and a little black boy, she thought, Why, that's the wench who's responsible for Ty's death! I'm going to let her know right now that she has a lot of nerve walking into my parents' home after her relationship with Ty's so-called best friend, Charles, killed my brother. She walked up to Angie and tapped her on the shoulder. When Angie turned around, LaToya screamed in her face: "So, you're the witch who's the reason my brother's dead!"

"What are you talking about?!" Angie exploded angrily. Then it dawned on her. "Oh, you must be Ty's sister, LaToya."

"Oh, so you DO have a brain after all!" LaToya snarled.

Angie ignored LaToya's nasty comment and instead tried to reason with her. "Look, LaToya, Charles and I feel just as bad about Ty's death as you do. Charles and Ty were like brothers."

"Oh," snapped LaToya, "and I can see he cared so much about my brother that he married into the Ku Klux Klan!"

Angie bit her lip to control her anger. She wanted to rip this woman's hair out for calling her part of the Klan, but she had to obey God and not lose her temper. The Book of Proverbs says it is foolish to respond to a hot-headed person by losing your temper. She needed to set a Biblical example for her son, especially since she and Charles had taught Jeremiah that Jesus doesn't want us to get even. "LaToya," she said, "I am not of the Klan--my father was."

"What difference does that make?" snapped LaToya.

"A big one!" Angie's voice went slightly up. "LaToya, if I were part of the Klan, do you think I would have helped fight for desegregation? I hated everything my father stood for, and I still do. And this bitternes that's inside you--what is that, a classified section in the local newspaper you've got there?"

"None of your business! You don't control my life!" snapped LaToya.

"No, but your bitternes does right now. You're so angry at me and Charles for being together and hold us responsible for your brother's death so much that your bitterness is consuming you! You're moving out of your folks' house and breaking their hearts just because you're mad at them for welcoming my husband and me into their house! Your bitterness is hurting your relationship with your family!"

"Shut up, you wench!" screamed LaToya, a vein sticking out of her forehead. "Stop trying to preach to me and trying to get my thinking straightened out! I'll do what I want and feel what I wan and feel what I want, so just butt out!" With that, LaToya stormed away.

Angie's eyes welled with tears. LaToya's insults hurt her feelings, but even more so, her heart ached for the Miller family, who was being torn apart by anger and bitterness. All she could do was pray for them. That was all anyone could do.

That night as Angie lay in bed reading her Bible, she thought about LaToya again. "Charles," she called to her husband, who was in the master bathroom.

Charles, whose mouth was full of mouthwash, came out of the bathroom and held up his left index finger, motioning for her to wait. He went back into the bathroom, and Angie could hear him gargling, spitting, and then rinsing the sink out. When he came back to the bed, he asked, "What is it, baby?"

Angie sighed. "It's LaToya Miller, Ty's sister. I saw her at the park today when I took Jeremiah. She's moving out of her parents' house."

"What?" Charles asked, sitting down beside her. "When did she decide to do that?"

Angie shrugged. "I don't know. All I know is she still blames Ty's death on us being together. She's still furious at her parents for inviting us over. She said some words to me, that's for sure. She made it clear that she hates me."

Charles put his arms around her and tucked her head onto his shoulder. "Oh, baby, I'm sorry." He sighed. "Well, LaToya's been known to be hot-headed. I know it's difficult not to take her personally, but when she's angry, she often holds a grudge for some time. Trying to reason with her is like trying to reason with a pit bull at times."

Angie laughed a little. "I don't think this is just a fleeting grudge. After all, her brother is dead, and she blames us for it."

"You're right," Charles agreed. "You have a point. At this point, all we can do is pray for her."

Angie nodded. "I did after that little run-in with her."

Charles held her a little more tightly and said, "Let's pray together right now." Husband and wife closed their eyes, and Charles prayed: "Heavenly Father, we come before You and ask You to soften LaToya's heart so she will realize how her bitterness is destroying her and her relationship wth her fsmily and be reconciled to them and to us, with no bitterness. We love You, Jesus, and we ask these things in Your name. Amen."

After his prayer, Charles opened his eyes and kissed Angie. "Don't let LaToya get to you, baby. No matter what anyone thinks, there's no one else I'd rather be with. God did bring us together, Angie." He kissed her on the forehead.

"I know," Angie agreed. "I never doubt that." She wrapped her arms around Charles's neck and held tightly to him.

"I love you so much," Charles whispered.

"I love you, too."

After the hug, Charles said, "Come on, let's get some sleep." He and Angie turned off their lamps and then cuddled together for a good night's sleep.

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