THE TEARS I SHED
- A Novel Written by -
KIMBERLY A. MORRIS
Copyright © 2014 by Kim Morris
Published by Kim Morris JAAE Publications
Facebook: Kim Morris
This novel is a work of fiction. Any resemblances to actual events, real people, living or dead, organization, establishments, locales are products of the author’s imagination. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are used fictitiously.
Cover Model: Kanisha Campbell
(Author Photo) Photographer: J. Campbell
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by information storage and retrieval system without the written permission from the publisher and writer.
Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any Web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid.
The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.
I thank God for blessing me with a marvelous gift to speak through the artistry of words.
Next, I would like to thank my children Erik, Kanisha, Khiry and Fred Jr., who are the loves of my life and kisses to my beautiful grandchildren Jamarius, Jaydien, Kaydien, Jeremiah, Khamiryn and Erik II.
I also like to thank my very supportive family, my mother, Veora Williams, my sisters, Canara Banister and Frenika Wade, my brother, Mario Rogers, my cousin Renisa Williams and a very special aunt, Carolyn Williams and my goddaughter, Shakelia Duncan-Smith. I truly appreciate my baby sis Frenika, who over the many years have listened to my ideas, read and critiqued my work.
Oh, last but not least, thanks to my cousin Joe Morris, you’ve been my rock for as long as I can remember. And my late love and friend Tyrone Burwell, his encouragement and having me read to him everything I wrote, plus his constructive, yet loving criticism got me through many days. RIL, you are truly missed.
And heartfelt thanks to the people in my hometown of Elaine, Arkansas, who’ve help mold and shape me into the person I am today. Your support is truly appreciated. Thanks to my mentor and friend Mrs. Herschel Gaines and also thanks to a few very important educators in my life, Mrs. Shirley Moss-Larry, Mrs. Loretta Franklin (RIL), Mrs. Carolyn Boone, Dr. Thomas Williams (English Dept. Chair, Morehead State University) and Dr. Janelle Collins (English Dept. Chair, Arkansas State University) that always believed in me and supported me.
Dedicated to the memory of my father Elton Morris, my grandparents, Josephine and Albert Morris, Ernest Jackson and Aline Williams.
Table of Contents
Today, Thomas and Kayla are celebrating their fifteenth wedding anniversary. Kayla was so excited. Their friends and family had been helping her plan a surprise party for weeks. This day had to be perfect. Kayla and Thomas came from such humble beginnings. He was fresh out of law school and broke. Kayla had been teaching for a few years. It was a scary beginning with neither of them having anything, but the love they shared. Somehow they endured.
Kayla stood in the master bedroom of their six bedrooms, four and a half bath, and three car garage home in the Chenal an upscale area of Little Rock. God had smiled on them throughout these fifteen years. Now, Thomas was a partner at the lucrative firm of Russell, Taylor and Lewis, who were two of his law school buddies. Kayla taught 9th-12th grade English at a public school. They have a son named Jordan, who is five years old, in kindergarten, and the apple of their eyes.
Thomas was going to be so surprised.
He figured they were going to have their usual candlelight dinner at home, but not this year. Kayla had gone all out for this special occasion, fifteen years and still in love. Today, Kayla had a brief conference downtown that would allow her plenty of time to get prepared before Thomas and Jordan arrived home at five. After their arrival, she planned to suggest dinner out, but actually they would go to the restaurant Josephine’s owned by their friend Elianna Carrington.
Kayla reserved the entire restaurant, which also had a bar and dance floor. Josephine’s was known for its great food and music. All of their family and friends would already be there waiting for their arrival. Kayla was so excited, she could hardly wait. She just knew Thomas was going to be so thrilled.
The smell of coffee and bacon filled the air. Thomas was cooking breakfast.
“Jordan are you dressed?” Kayla asked.
“Well, let’s go down for breakfast.”
Jordan was so slow about getting dressed when it was a school day, but when Saturday rolled around; he was up bright and early watching his favorite cartoons.
“Good morning, honey!” Kayla said, kissing him on the lips.
“Good morning, boo!” Thomas grabbed her and planted another wet kiss on her soft lips. His lips tasted sweeter than honey. Days like this reminded her of how good a man she has, especially greeting her with a kiss like that and slaving over a hot stove to make her a special breakfast.
“I cooked your favorites, three cheese omelet, bacon and buttermilk biscuits and here’s your cup of French vanilla coffee. Oh this is for you, fifteen roses for each of the wonderful years that we have been together. I love you and happy anniversary, baby,”
Thomas kissed Kayla again, but this time it’s not a peck but one filled with passion. Kayla wrapped her arms around his neck.
“Thomas, I love you so much. I am so blessed to have you and our son.”
“No, honey we are blessed to have each other,’
“Are you finished kissing now,” Jordan asked with a wide grin on his face.
“I guess that means it’s time to eat.”
Thomas had really laid out breakfast for them. Kayla looked at him with a smile realizing he had flour on his nose. To Kayla, he is just as handsome as the first time she met him at a step show while attending college at Arkansas State University.
Although his black strands were now mixed with a small amount of gray strands, it did nothing to take away from his chocolate features. Thomas stood about 6’3 and was all muscle. He often turned heads when they were out and about. It’s no surprise that he would cook breakfast. He was just that kind of guy and an excellent cook. Growing up in a house full of boys, his mom felt they needed to be able to cook for themselves and passed her culinary skills on to each of them.
“Mom, are you picking me up today?”
“No baby, your dad will. I have a meeting downtown today and then I have some errands to run.
Aunt Kyra is going to pick me up soon, but I’ll be home at five when you arrive.”
Jordan was such a mama’s boy, but Kayla enjoyed spoiling him. She loved both of her men more than she ever believed she could love anything.
“Ok son let’s get moving. Give your mom a kiss goodbye and get your backpack.”
Jordan got up from his seat to kiss his mom.
“I love you, mama. Can I skip school like you? We can go the park or zoo,” said Jordan with a pouty face.
“Even though I am not going to be at school today, I am still working. This meeting concerns school. We can go to the park and the zoo on Saturday like we always do. Now give me a hug your dad is waiting,” Jordan walked away smiling since he didn’t have to choose one or the other.
“Honey, Kyra is here,” Thomas walks over and gives Kayla a long wet kiss.
“I’ll see you this evening. I can’t wait to get you alone. Girl you’re going to be in trouble. I love you.”
“I love you too and I’ll definitely be waiting,” She felt in her heart it was going to be a night to remember. Kyra walked in.
“Save all that for tonight and spare my virgin eyes,”
“Yeah right Kyra. Remember, Greg and I were roommates. See ya honey,” Thomas said as he walked out to the garage.
“I see Thomas has been working his magic this morning. A rose for every year you’ve been married. Look at you just glowing. You probably still are dripping from an early round of lovemaking.”
Kyra knows Kayla so well. They have been best friends since elementary. They grew up on the same street in southwest Little Rock and were even roommates in college.
“Hey girl, what can I say? You know my man is perfect.” They slapped hands and laughed. “My Boo has skills in the kitchen and in the bedroom the roses were just an added touch that shows how special he is.”
“Well, congratulations on your anniversary. Is everything set for tonight? It should be we’ve been scheming for over a month now.”
“Yea everything is finally in order. I called to double check after you double-checked yesterday. Hopefully everyone will show up and be there before bring Thomas to the restaurant.”
“Well you know us, CP time is the schedule.”
“Right, we better get going so we can register without waiting in line. I’m so glad we only have two weeks of school left. I’ve planned a week in the Bahamas for us. This is another of her surprises for Thomas. He’s been working so hard lately. His firm just wrapped up a big case that they won.”
“I’m ready for summer break too. We are going to Florida for two weeks,”
“While we are there we are going to work on making a little girl. I want to thank you for introducing me to Thomas all those years ago. You knew exactly what I needed. I couldn’t have picked better for myself.”
“Well what else would I do for someone who is more like a sister as well as a best friend? I’ve always wanted the best for you and friends are supposed to look out for each other. I love you girl.” They hugged and wiped tears away.
“You did well for yourself in the love and happiness department too.” Kyra has a wonderful husband named Greg. He owns a very successful landscaping company. They have a daughter the same age as Jordan.
Mikayla and Jordan are best buddies and Mikayla has Jordan wrapped around her finger.
“Ok let’s change the subject before mascara is running everywhere and get to this conference,” The conference ended at noon, which was perfect timing for Kayla and Kyra to get to Betty’s for their hair appointment. Betty is the best and decided to just in come in today for them.
After making it home from the salon, Kayla took a long relaxing bubble bath. Now she stood inside of her walk in closet admiring the elegant ivory Norma Kamali dress and the Jimmy Choo silver stilettos. She thought of how she was going to make Thomas speechless and probably knocked him off his feet at the same time.
“Thomas will not be able to keep his eyes off of me, but that is my plan.” She said out loud to herself. She danced into the master bedroom admiring her image in the cheval mirror. The plan was to begin the lovemaking at the door. Kyra and Greg planned on taking Jordan home with them. She glanced at the clock and realized it was five fifteen and Thomas and Jordan should already be home.
“Maybe they got caught in traffic, it is Friday.” She laid Thomas’s Armani suit on the bed.
“We are going to be the talk of the town.” After another ten minutes, Kayla decided to call his cell phone, but after several rings it went to voicemail.
She then called the office to check if he had gotten tied up.
“Hello, this is Mrs. Taylor has my husband left for today?”
“Yes, he left over an hour ago. Have you tried his cell phone?”
“Yes that was my first attempt. Thank you, I’ll try again.” Kayla began to get nervous. It was not like him to not call.
“If he should call the office would you have him call home immediately?”
“I sure will Mrs. Taylor and happy anniversary.”
“Thank you. Goodbye,” She ended the call and looked out the huge floor to ceiling window in their living room.
“Thomas where are you and Jordan and why aren’t you answering your cell?” The clock said six exactly.
“I guess this means we will make a grand entrance on CP time.”
Just as she stepped onto the second step the doorbell rings. She hurried to the door halfway expecting it to be Thomas and Jordan fooling around.
“Hello officer, is there a problem?”
“Are you Mrs. Kayla Taylor,” the officer asked. He is the epitome of tall dark and handsome in blue.
“May I come in?”
“Yes, but what can I help you with? I don’t have any unpaid tickets nor have I ever been in any trouble, so why are you here.”
“Mrs. Taylor, I’m sorry to inform you that your husband and son have been in an accident.”
“No, no they can’t be. They will be home any minute,” She was looking in his eyes for some sort of clue as to why would he say such an awful thing. In her mind Thomas was a careful driver and would never risk Jordan’s safety. She thought he had the wrong house because after all today is their anniversary.
“I’m sorry, but it’s true. The accident happened about two miles from here,”
“ I,” Kayla interrupted him asking, “Are they ok? What hospital have they been taken to? Nervousness had taken control of her and she was slowly beginning to panic. I have to go now to make sure they are ok. I have to be there. They’re all I have.”
“Mrs. Taylor, I’m sorry your son and husband didn’t make it. They died upon impact.”
“No no! Oh God! No, no, it’s our anniversary.
I’m surprising him with a big party. He promised they would be home by five-thirty.”
Kayla grabbed the officer trying to shake him, but he outweighed her by a hundred pounds.
“Tell me it’s not true, she screamed. “This is just a horrible dream.”
“I’m sorry for your loss, but it’s true. Do you have anyone you can call to be with you?” Kayla walked off from him and began to stare at the family picture of them over the fire place.
“It’s not a good idea for you to be alone. Mrs. Taylor, Mrs. Taylor!” Kayla fainted to the floor.
Kayla didn’t remember much after that, but replayed the officer’s visit over and over in her mind. She opened her eyes to find Kyra sitting beside her.
“What are you doing here? I just had the most horrible dream.” She suddenly became aware of her surrounding, realizing she was in a hospital room.
“Where are Thomas and Jordan? Was I in the accident too?”
“Kayla honey, no you were not. Thomas and Jordan are gone.
You’re in the hospital because you fainted when the officer told you what happened.”
Tears began to flow down Kayla’s face.
“The officer found my name on the emergency list by the phone,” Kyra began to cry as well. She was now sitting on the bed and reached out to hold Kayla in her arms. Kayla’s piercing screams brought a nurse running into the room. Kyra continued to hold her in her arms rocking Kayla as if she was a baby.
“I’m so sorry Mrs. Taylor. I will get you something to help.” The nurse exited just as quickly as she came in. What had started off as perfect days in Kayla’s life turned completely around into something that she could not comprehend?
After spending a day in the hospital, Kyra took Kayla home to an empty house. All efforts to get Kayla to come home with her went on death’s ear. Kayla looked so frail, nothing like the woman she had seen a few mornings ago. Now it was time to plan funeral services for her husband and son.
The question why replayed over and over in her mind.
She had cried a river and wished it was a nightmare so she could wake and have her family back.
The days had flown by. Today was Saturday the day of the funerals to be held at Mt. Olive Baptist Church. Kayla sat on the end of her king size bed in her slip staring into space. The huge platform bed seemed to swallow her. She had barely eaten since that unforgettable day. The room was their sanctuary, decorated in ivory, silver and purple. Thomas always said it was very feminine but secretly thought it was very pretty and was in awe of her decorating skills. A knock at the door temporarily brought Kayla out of her trance.
“Kayla, the limo will be here in about fifteen minutes. Kayla, honey do you hear me, asked Kyra.” She walked over to Kayla.
“Let me help you get your dress on,” Just then another knock on the door caused Kayla to raise her head and Kyra to turn around. Jahren and Jenesis entered dressed in all black. As usual Jenesis was dressed to the nines with a just knee length sheath dress, Manolo Blaniks and a wide brim hat. Jahren’s long hair was pulled back in a neat bun at the back of her head.
“Kayla we are here for you Hun,” said Jahren as she walked over and hugged Kayla. Jenesis followed suit.
“Y’all help me get her dressed,” said Kayla.
“Jenesis since you are the make-up queen why don’t you take care of that and Jahren you can do her hair once she is done,”
Kayla stepped into her black Norma Kamili dress. Kyra had been a rock in times of turmoil. She was giving her support to Kayla and her husband Greg has supported them both totally.
“I don’t know if I can do this,” say Kayla. I’m so glad y’all are here. My heart hurts and is broken into a million pieces.” Tears streamed down her face like a faucet.
“I’m about to break and I know it. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” Kyra took her into her arms again as Kayla cried even more.
“You didn’t do anything. It was a tragic accident. Mama always said, “God puts no more on any of us than we can bear and I believe that. Kayla despite what happened, you are strong and you’re going to get through this.” Kyra released her and went into the bathroom and where she wets a towel with warm water for Kayla’s face.
“We are with you every step of the way,” said Jahren.
“Just lean on us, we are your strength,” Jenesis said as she walked over to Kayla holding her make-up bag.
“Let me put a little on you and then Jahren is going to hook up your hair and we are going to walk out of here together, ok!” They finished with her and hand in hand they all walked down the stairs were Thomas’s family was waiting. They all entered into the two waiting limos to begin their journey to the church.
The choir was beautifully singing “Going up Yonder” as they entered the church. At the front two cherry wood caskets sat surround by a multitude of flowers with giant portraits of Thomas and Jordan on each side. Kyra and Jahren walked on each side of Kayla and Jahren was close behind. After all the family was seated, friends and co-workers expressed their condolences by giving two minute expressions. Kayla looked straight ahead. In her mind she thought her two most precious beings lay in those wooden boxes. She wished if it had to happen that all them would have went together.
She was oblivious to everything happening until she noticed the funeral personnel opened the lids of the caskets. A long procession of attendees walked around to the view the bodies of her husband and son. Just as the procession was winding down a tall woman in black with a wide fedora hat and veil holding the hands of two boys stopped in front of Thomas’s casket.
She was crying uncontrollably and so were the boys. The lady began to talk between broken sobs, “Tom, we’re going to miss you honey.”
“Why did you leave us like this? We needed you. What are we going to do without you? I love you Tom. I love you.” Kayla looked at Kyra. Kyra grabbed her arm and shook her head no. The funeral director moved closer to them as if to block their view. Kayla began to shake her head. This made no sense to her. The unknown woman was acting a little outrageous to be just a casual acquaintance of Thomas.
Another woman walked up and grabbed the woman and the boys and said, “Not here Audrey,” She led them to the back of the church and out the door.
The name Audrey didn’t ring a bell for Kayla or her friends.
Kayla wondered how the woman knew Thomas. Nobody called him Tom, not even his old high school and college acquaintances. They all called him TNT a name he earned from being like dynamite on the track field. It was said he was so fast out of the starting blocks whenever he ran the 100 and 200 meter dashes. Kayla’s mind was racing with a million thoughts, but knew she had to go and say her final goodbye to her husband and son.
A beautiful angelic voice began to hum as the piano played softly. Then the voice began singing Troubles of the World, a song made famous by Mahalia Jackson after singing it in the classic movie Imitation of Life. The singer was Kayla’s cousin Arianne, who could rival Whitney. Tears were flowing from people all over the church. The sadness of the song ripped through Kayla’s body leaving no emotion unturned as she walked arm in arm with her friends as she said her final goodbye to Jordan first then to Thomas.
By the time they reached the cemetery, Kayla was numb as she sat by the graveside. Everything was a blur. The unknown woman and the two boys had interrupted her grief.
She didn’t know what to think but she realized that those boys and Jordan could pass for triplets. They were just a shade or two lighter than Jordan. Minute by minute her anger escalated into something beyond the ordinary.
She knew she had to find out who this woman was and why she made a spectacle of herself at her husband and son’s funeral. As soon as Rev. Edwards dismissed them. Kayla quickly began walking toward the cars looking for the unknown woman in the crowd.
“Kayla, Kayla, where are you going?” Kyra yelled, but when she saw that Kayla had no intention of doing so, she, Jenesis and Jahren and their husbands took off behind her. Kyra caught up to her first with her husband Greg directly behind her. The two unknown women were walking towards a white SUV. Kayla grabbed the woman’s arm.
“Have we met before?”
The woman snatched her arm and began to walk away.
“No,” she said never looking back.
“Where are you going, hussy? Don’t run to the car now.
All up in the funeral crying and showing out over someone else’s husband. I got something that will help you dry those tears up real fast.” Kyra was steaming hot at the nerve of this woman. It was enough her best friend had just buried her husband and son, then this woman shows up with two boys looking like Kayla could have birthed them. Something wasn’t right.
“Kyra and Kayla cut it out. Not here, please,” said Greg as he tried to calm them down.
“Well she should have thought of that before she brought her ass up in the church falling all out in the damn casket.” Kyra folded her arms across her chest as she always did when she was angry.
“I need to know who she is and her relationship with my husband. Did you see how much those boys looked like Jordan?” Kayla asked.
“Right, that bitch got some explaining to do. My grandma always said, wherever you act up is where you get straighten up, so don’t be giving me that look Greg,”
“I don’t know what I’m going to do with the two of you. Both of you are too darn stubborn,” Greg said shaking his head.
“I’ll tell what you can do is just be at the jail with bail money. Ain’t no hussies disrespecting my friend,” she told Greg.
“We’ll meet again, slut and next time you won’t be so lucky,” Kyra yelled as the woman closed the door to the SUV.
“Aaaaaaaah,” Kayla screamed.
“I don’t know what is going on but I’m going to get some answers one way or another. So Greg if you know anything you better tell me now.”
“Greg better not know anything,” Kyra said giving him an evil stare.
“Kayla, I swear I don’t know anything. Let’s just get in the limo and go back to the house. If it helps next week I will make some inquiries into who she is. You’re like a sister to me, so you know I’m going to protect you like a big brother.”
Early Monday morning, Kayla headed down to Russell, Taylor and Lewis hoping to find some answers. As she entered the massive glass doors and walked through the grand entranceway, she couldn’t help but look at the pictures of black leaders that graced the walls. Great men like Thurgood Marshall, Hiram Bevels, Fredrick Douglass, Dr. Martin L. King and John F. Kennedy and others whose quest for equality and democracy help mold our country. She truly believed Thomas was well on his way to being one of those men, but now a cloud of doubt has been cast upon his morals.
“Mrs. Taylor, what are you doing here,” asked Mrs. Judy Jackson as she walked from around her desk.
“It’s too soon for you to begin dealing with all of this,” Mrs. Judy had been Thomas’s secretary from day one. She came highly recommended by a former boss of Thomas. Mrs. Judy is all of sixty, but by looking at her one would never know even with the gray streak in the front of her hair that she keeps neatly in a bun at the back of her head.
Her ageless beauty
Publisher: BookRix GmbH & Co. KG
Publication Date: 09-11-2015
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