Sneak Peek: The Pride

Copyright© 2011, Faydra D. Fields. All rights reserved.

Typos have been fixed in the final version of the book. Keep in mind that some of this information may have changed in the final version, as well. The changes were made to make the story flow better.

Installment #3

The Alpha Male

Emmanuel

What can I say?

I love children and I love women…

in that order.

I live for my children, and I don’t have enough of them yet. I’m thinking about stopping at 20 or 21…

children, that is.

I’m 35. I figure I want to get them all “made” before I turn 40 and then spend the next 40 to 50 years watching them, and all my grands and great-grands, and probably my great-great-grands, grow up. I think I have time on my side. All my grandparents are still alive. So are both my parents. Barring a tragic accident, I should be able to make it into my 90s before I leave this bad, old world…knock on wood.

You should see my babies.

Every one of them looks just like me. I couldn’t deny any of them if I wanted to, and I never would. The only thing they got from their mothers is skin tone. They’re all shades; from the mellowest yellow to the deepest brown and every shade in between.

They are so beautiful.

I have pictures of every one of them plastered everywhere in my cubicle at work. People who don’t know think some of them are my nieces and nephews. They’re floored when I tell them they’re all mine. I get the usual silly questions:

Do they all have the same mother?”

You starting a little league team?”

Did you start making babies when you were 9?”

Which one is your favorite?

How can you afford all these kids?”

I bet you do more with the boys than the girls, don’t you?”

Can I borrow a few of them at tax time?”

It doesn’t matter to me what people say or think. I love my children, I take care of my children, and I know and spend time with all my children. I was at every birth, my name is on every birth certificate, and they all have my last name. I’ve been to every play, athletic event, recital and preschool, kindergarten, sixth- and eighth-grade graduation that I have physically been able to attend. When it’s necessary, and many times when it’s not, I take them and pick them up from their schools, doctors’ appointments and practices. It’s not a burden or any trouble. You make time for the things you want to make time for, and my children come before anything or anyone else. My parents taught me that. My parents are the reason I’ve always wanted a big family.

See, I’m an only child, but my mother and father both had lots of brothers and sisters. Interestingly enough, they’re both from the same itty, bitty town and they’re both the oldest of all their sisters and brothers. I actually have aunts and uncles who are about the same age as me. The entire time I was growing up, one aunt or uncle from either my mother’s side of the family or my father’s side of the family moved in with us, stayed awhile and then moved on. When that aunt or uncle left, it seemed like another one took his/her place. The best times for me were when an aunt or uncle brought their sons or daughters with them. Then I had live-in playmates.

Being an only child, I enjoyed having other children to play with. My parents were very protective, and they didn’t allow me to go to other people’s houses and no one could come in our house. I played with a few neighborhood kids in our front yard, but they wouldn’t stick around for long. There was only so much you could do in one tiny front yard, and they opted to go ride bikes and play at the nearby park, which I wasn’t allowed to do unless my mother and father were able to go with me.

My mother would get so frustrated with me, because I’d be so desperate for playmates that I’d give away any toy a “friend” requested thinking that would get him or her to come back and play with me. As an only, protected and doted-upon child, my parents bought me every toy I wanted, and constantly replaced the toys I gave away. It never occurred to me that the children were only coming back to be given more toys. I mean, I think they liked me at first, but my neediness for friendship drove many of them away.

At first, my mother lauded me for being willing to share my toys with my playmates, but then she discerned there was more going on than just childhood generosity. She realized she needed to strike a balance between my sharing and my bribes. She didn’t want me to become selfish, but she didn’t want me thinking the only way to have friends was to buy them.

Since I wasn’t allowed to go into anyone else’s house, and no one was allowed to come into my house, my mother decided to start choosing which toys I was allowed to take into the front yard. She developed a system of “inside” toys and “outside” toys. I still gave away whatever toys my playmates asked for, but the hit to my parents’ pockets was far less damaging than before. Haha.

My best memories of childhood were the six weeks in the summer where I’d get to go to my grandparents’ homes. I’d spend three weeks with my mother’s parents and three weeks with my father’s parents. My paternal and maternal grandparents lived so close to one another that the only thing that changed from the first three weeks and the second three weeks was where I slept. There’d be cousins and aunts and uncles everywhere, and we’d somehow all eventually meet in the middle throughout the days and nights. We children would get up at o’dark:30 to do chores on the farms, and then we’d play until the sun was simply a crescent on the horizon.

I wasn’t restricted to a patch of grass in the front yard when I visited my grandparents. We children went everywhere; all over the farms, the creek, the woods, the store across the railroad tracks, the movie theatre in town, everywhere! At dinner, the whole family, and often nearby neighbors, would sit around the long table and eat and talk and laugh and just have a good time being together. We had our fusses and fights, too, but they were nothing compared to the good times we had. I’d go into a state of depression whenever it neared the time for me to go back to my patch of grass in my tiny front yard.

One summer, right after dinner, and the day before my parents were supposed to come get me, I ran deep into the woods and climbed a huge tree. I resolved in my young mind that they weren’t going to take me home, where I had no one to play with. I was young and dumb enough to believe that my parents would come, look around for a while and then simply leave without me. Instead, everyone panicked when they realized I wasn’t sitting in the living room watching television with all the other children. From my perch, I heard voices yelling my name from every direction.

At first, the voices were faint and then they grew louder. I remember my chest rising and falling quicker and quicker. When two of my uncles were so close to my hiding place that it sounded like they were shouting in each of my ears, I put my hand over my mouth to keep from yelling out. Their fear and panic, and the strained and panicked voices of everyone else, caused me to begin to get frantic, even though I was well aware of where I was and that I was fine.

My two uncles passed on by my tree and some more aunts and uncles and all four of my grandparents walked swiftly passed, going here, there and everywhere trying to find me. No one thought to look up, and that’s how I overheard from two of my aunts why my parents were so protective of me. After everyone stopped searching in the area where I actually was, that bit of information is what made me get out of the tree and go back to my father’s parents’ home.

On top of the shock of what I’d overheard, I had so many people yelling at me and smacking me upside my head and shaking my shoulders, I didn’t know how to react.

Boy, is you crazy?!?! Do you know what yo’ momma would’a done if she got here and couldn’t find you?!?”

Thank you, Jesus! Thank you for bringing my nephew back to us.”

Manny, I ought to whip your rump for scaring us all like that! Don’t you ever, ever, ever do something like that again!!”

I’m so glad you came on home, son. Yo’ grandma and me was powerful worried about you, powerful!”

Lord, Jesus, just take me now!”

Where were you, boy?!?!”

Is you hungry, baby? Is you cold?”

You keep this up, and I’ll be dog-gone if you come back here, boy! You ain’t gone have yo’ daddy trying to kill me for your foolishness!”

I just sat in a chair…

in the middle of the room…

and let all their panic, stress and relief wash over me.

I’d just learned the worst thing anyone could have told me, and I couldn’t tell any of them what I’d overheard.

Copyright© 2011, Faydra D. Fields. All rights reserved.


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