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Call Anytime
by Tammy McConnell
01/23/06
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Why is it so hard for these people to trust? Can’t they see, I’m only trying to help them? She had been doing social work for 10 years now. Donna already knew the answers to her own questions, but asked anyway. “Why do I still do this?” she thought. Unwilling to let her mind go down that philosophical path for the umpteenth time, her tired feet led her up the front steps of the run-down apartment building. Passing the much-loved (beat up) old tricycle and a plastic baseball bat for the third time in as many months, gave her cause to wonder if the children were still here. It seemed logical to her that if they were here, they would have played with them and they’d have been moved…at least a little bit.

Cindy yanked open the door and peeked out through the crack, chain still in place. “Charlie’s car ain’t out there, is it?” “No, I checked.” “Well…c’mon in then.” The apartment smelled like cigarettes and stale beer. Cindy had done a pretty good job of trying to keep the place presentable, but a broken window was evidence of a recent scuffle. Donna had learned not to whip open her notebook and start scribbling immediately upon her arrival. It always made them shut right down. Once that happened, you couldn’t get anywhere with them.

Four-year-old Jesse peeked out from behind the door jamb in the hallway. Shedding all shyness upon recognition of her “confidante”, she scurried as fast as her little legs would carry her to embrace Donna. “Well, hi there Sweety! What are you up to today?” “Just playin’ in my room. Charlie said I was s’pos ta not go outside today. I got a bump, see?” Shoving her curly blonde bangs up, she showed Donna a big purple mark on her forehead. It looked fresh. A discrete look aimed in Cindy’s direction was the only response she was able to muster. Cindy looked embarrassed, but offered no excuses. Why doesn’t she just leave? Can’t she see how bad this environment is for her kids? She obviously loves them to pieces; it shows. They trust her. They’re so little…why? Why doesn’t she leave? I can see why she wouldn’t do it for herself, but why not for the kids?

Brandon, clad only in a diaper, crawls into the living room; his chubby little knees scraping on the carpet as he enters; pacifier dangling from his mouth. His gorgeous smile makes it fall out onto the floor. “Grandma’s having a birthday party for him this weekend.” “Ain’t she darlin’?” Cindy coos at her baby as she picks him up and plants him on her lap. Brandon starts playing with her necklace. “Dah!”

Now it’s time to get down to business. Donna has always hated this part. First a little small talk, “Has Charlie found work yet?” “No, Joe at the hardware store said he might have somthin’ for him startin’ in a week or two.” “Okay, did you get the kids in for their checkups this month?” “Yeah, Doc Farley says I’m gonna need to bring Jesse back for a closer look at her xrays. He thinks maybe her leg didn’t heal straight.” “Donna! Wanna see my cast? It's off now! Remember? It’s pink!” “I’d love to Honey.” She felt sick to her stomach as she realized things weren’t going to get any better for this little girl unless her mama started making some hard choices. There won’t be too many more visits. Either she’ll have to muster some courage to leave or the State will come in and take the kids away.

Making sure all i’s are dotted and t’s crossed, Donna closes her binder and slips her pen into her purse. She only needs to look Cindy in the face and make eye contact. Cindy already knows what Donna is thinking. “I know…b-but he’ll kill me if I leave.” I don’t have anywhere to go! You have no idea…” Cindy puts the baby down and walks over to the broken window. Not much of a view, but it’s the best she can do. “Two kids and no job won’t get ‘ya a room at the Ritz”, she drawls as she stares out at her bleak prospects.

“Cindy ... Jesse and the baby…” Donna searches Cindy’s face for some rationale. All she finds there is a broken woman. “Don’t you think I’d leave if I could? This is all I can do! I know they deserve better.”

“Here’s my home number. Call me anytime, day or night…please?” Cindy shrugs as Donna gathers her purse and binder and starts toward the door. Jesse bolts across the living room to hug Donna “Goodbye”, her little pink cast dragging behind her. “See? Ain’t it pretty?” Donna chokes back tears and manages, “very pretty honey.” “When are you comin’ again?” “Next month…maybe you can ask your Mama to bring you by sometime. There's a little playground just across the street from my house. My Becky would just love you and your little brother right to pieces.”

As she descends the front steps, Donna prays under her breath. “Lord, please get these kids and their Mama out of this place. They don’t deserve this. Cindy thinks she’s trapped and can’t see a way out. Won’t you please help her…like you helped me?”

It's starting to rain now, and Donna hurries to her car. Jesse is waving from the front door window, but Donna doesn’t see her as she drives away. She’s finally able to let the tears fall.

“Lord, help me get out. I really do want to go. Make a way. Please?” The kids were all tucked in and Charlie was due home any minute. He always got home from the pool hall around 9:00. Sometimes, a few of his buddies came along. Cindy liked that. At least on those nights, he left her alone. Oh, good! It looks like he has somebody with him tonight. She could see two figures coming up the stairs. But … wait! One of them is a woman!

“Cind-eeee!” “Pack my bags, I’m leavin’!” Cindy could hardly believe what she was hearing. Could this be an answer to her prayers? “Darla here wants me to come live with her. You ain’t good enough to shine my boots. What’ er you waitin’ for? I said PACK MY BAGS!”

Cindy shuddered with excitement. He thought she was scared, but oh was he wrong! Grabbing the old duffle bag from the bedroom closet, she even packed things that belonged to her, but knew he would fight her for. Better to just give them up. She’ll replace them somehow later.

“I wish I could say it’s been great, but…” He shot her a look that told her he expected a response. She just put her head down. ‘This is not a time to argue…keep your head down. He’ll leave faster.’ “Well, would ‘ya look at her? Cat got yer tongue?” “Tell those little brats of yours, no more Charlie. It’s all your fault. You shoulda treated me nicer.” With an air of smugness, he turned on the heels of his cowboy boots…and was gone.

Cindy raced to the window. Was he really going to leave her this time? Oh, this couldn’t have happened any better. She pinched herself; she looked at the ceiling. Thank you!

“Mama, where’s Charlie goin’?” “Oh honey, he wants to go live somewhere else. Okay?” Without missing a beat, almost in a whisper, Jesse asked, “Can we go see Donna tomorrow? It’s Saturday.” “Yeah Honey. Let’s go see Donna. Now, get back to bed.”

For the first time in her adult life, Cindy felt resolve wash over her. She wouldn’t let this happen again. Donna will help her stay strong. God had sent her an angel.

“Hello…Donna? I know it’s late…but you said I could call any time. Charlie left.”





If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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Member Comments
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Joyce Poet 26 Jan 2006
:::sigh::: Sis, I don't even know where to start. But I can tell you this... I sat down to read this morning (for more than a few minutes the first time this week as I've been so busy) and I did so with great expectations, fully expecting the Lord to minister to me at my point of need. You can't begin to know... But God knows. And He's faithful... so faithful. Day-by-day, another link in a very old chain is shattered... but the effects of the old chains still show their ugly faces in the lives of my daughters and I wonder, sometimes, if I was a couple of decades too late. Surely not. Surely, surely not.
Joyce Poet 26 Jan 2006
:::sigh::: Sis, I don't even know where to start. But I can tell you this... I sat down to read this morning (for more than a few minutes the first time this week as I've been so busy) and I did so with great expectations, fully expecting the Lord to minister to me at my point of need. You can't begin to know... But God knows. And He's faithful... so faithful. Day-by-day, another link in a very old chain is shattered... but the effects of the old chains still show their ugly faces in the lives of my daughters and I wonder, sometimes, if I was a couple of decades too late. Surely not. Surely, surely not.




TRUST JESUS TODAY














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