A story inspired by the book of Hosea

Feb 7, 2015

Chapter 3b

         Joey sat at Mrs. Delfeno’s kitchen table as he dunked his warm chocolate chip cookie in the cold milk. He reached in with his fingers to gather the pieces that fell apart during the dunk.

         “Then the princess had to choose which knight was worthy to win her hand. She decided she would hold a joust to help her decide.”

         “What’s a doust, Mrs. D?” Joey interrupted.
         Mrs. Delfeno looked up from her book, smiled at his pronunciation and answered, “It’s when two knights on horses, with very long spears in their hands, ride their horses toward each other. Whoever gets knocked off their horse loses.”

         With eyes wide, Joey said, “Wow! Does he die?”

         “No, Sweetie. The long spears have an end on it that doesn’t hurt. It just knocks down the other knight. The knights wear suits of armor that protect them.”

         “What’s armor?”

         Mrs. Delfeno smiled. “It’s made of iron and it covers the knight’s entire body like a suit.”

         Al walked into the kitchen and sat down next to his wife. He grabbed a cookie from the plate. “I couldn’t help overhearing your story from the other room Marie. I can’t wait to hear what happens next. What about you Joey?”

         “Please, please read some more Mrs. D.”

         “Okay, you two. So then . . .” the doorbell interrupted her. “Al, go see who that is.”

         Al grinned and said, “Ah, man do I have to?”

         “Now Al Delfeno, you behave.”

         “Okay, but you’ll need to read me the rest of the story later?” he said with a wink.

         “Only if you’re a good boy,” she replied.

         Even after all these years together, he loved her flirtatious ways. Al heard Marie’s voice in the background as she read to Joey. He loved how that little boy brought joy to his wife whenever he visited. He peeked through the peephole and didn’t recognize the man he saw behind the door. He put the chain on as a precaution. He yelled without opening the door, “What do you want?”

         “Could you open up sir? I just want to talk to you for a minute.”

         “Say your peace through the door.” Al wasn’t a fool. He wouldn’t open up for a stranger.

         “Okay then. I just thought you might want to know that I heard screaming coming from an apartment on the third floor. You might want to check it out. I think it’s the apartment right above yours.” The man said.

         Al opened the door slightly with the chain still on as a safeguard. He watched the man as he left the building.

         Marie entered the room with a scowl on her face. “Al, what’s wrong?”

         “It’s okay honey. Go back and read to Joey. I’m going to check on Vickie.” Al grabbed his master key chain from the hook by the door and headed for Vickie’s apartment.

         Al rang the doorbell. When there was no answer, he knocked. Still no response. What if she’s hurt? Al opened the door slowly. “Mrs. Martinelli! Vickie! It’s me, Mr. Delfeno.” He looked around and saw feet sticking out of the doorframe of the kitchen. “Vickie!” He rushed over to her. He knelt down on the floor beside her. “Please wake up.” She lay sprawled out on the floor in the kitchen, drool emanating from her mouth.

           *           *            *            *           *           *

         Sal found his front door opened. Panicked, he ran inside. “Vickie! Joey!” The sight of Mr. Delfeno kneeling next to Vickie’s unconscious body caused his heart to miss a beat. “Mr. Delfeno! What’s going on?”

         “I don’t know. Someone came to my door and said he heard a scream coming from your apartment. I rang the doorbell but when I didn’t get an answer, I knocked. There was still no answer, so I came in.” Mr. Delfeno made room for Sal. “I’ll call for an ambulance.”

         “Where’s Joey?”

         “Don’t worry, son. He’s been downstairs with Marie. He doesn’t know what happened.”

         Sal sighed. Relief washed over him. “Thank you. I’ll take care of her. She’ll be fine. I’ll come down for Joey in a little bit.” The scenario that lay before him was all too familiar. Embarrassed he continued, “Don’t worry Mr. Delfeno. She’s going to be okay.” It was as if on cue, Vickie moaned. “I’ll get her to bed. You can see yourself out, if you don’t mind.”

         “Sure thing.”

         “Mr. Delfeno.” He stopped and turned around. “There’s no need to bother Mrs. Delfeno with any of this. You know how she tends to worry.”

         “Just between you and me.”

         “What’s going on?” Vickie muttered as she started to come around.

         “You were passed out on the floor,” Sal answered as he helped her to feet. She held on to him but her knees buckled. He helped her to the bedroom, laid her on her side, propped pillows to make sure she stayed that way, and lovingly covered her with the sheets. Dear God, not again.

         “I’m sorry Sally. Don’t be mad,” she cried out.

         “Shhhh. Go to sleep. We’ll talk about this later.”

         He stood next to the bed as a tear slowly rolled down his cheek. Her breathing seemed to regulate itself again. He turned, walked out of the room and closed the door. He leaned against the bedroom door and sighed. He stood there in disbelief that Vickie would risk everything and start using drugs again. He knew who gave them to her and wondered what else was exchanged between them. I better get Joey.

  © Nadine Zawacki 2015

Feb 3, 2015

Chapter 3a

         “Oh Henry, why do we have to go to New York City?”

         “Ida honey, don’t fret. I’ve told you . . .” He caressed her shoulders as he continued, “we’re going to be staying with a nice family. There’s an adorable little boy who’s about three and a beautiful little baby girl. They’re expecting us.” He continued his massage of her shoulders because it was the only thing that calmed her down when she became nervous.

Ida relented easier than expected. “Henry, you know exactly what to say to me. I love little children and who could resist a little baby girl. Are you sure it’s okay that I come along?”

“Of course, Ida. I’ve called ahead. They’re excited to meet you.” He looked at her affectionately when he said, “Sweetheart, don’t worry. The flight will be fine. I’ll be with you the whole time.” He gave her a hand a little squeeze. “Right by your side as always.”

She took a deep breath. “You’re a good man, Henry James. Let me finish packing while you go pray. See if the Lord will tell you anymore about our trip.”

She was so in tuned with his needs. It was one of the many reasons he loved her. He walked outside his little cabin. The massive rainfall the night before left puddles in his yard. He loved the smell of fresh rain that hung in the air for it reminded him of his mother. She loved walks in the rain and he loved when she took him along. They would discuss anything that was on his heart. She would say the rain was God’s way of giving the earth a bath. Henry’s thoughts drifted back to the present. Large oak trees surrounded his cabin like soldiers that protected the perimeter of his home. At least he liked to pretend they were. It was peaceful to be out in the middle of nowhere. He closed his eyes and suddenly he was on a mountaintop. He saw with his mind’s eye two large rocks. A large eagle was perched on top of the rock on the right. Henry knelt down on the wet ground. He trembled with fear. The mountaintop swiftly filled with light. Henry didn’t dare open his eyes.

He heard a voice say, “There is much pain ahead for your young charge. The temptation to interfere will be great. A work needs to be done in his heart. Don’t move on his behalf until instructed.”

Henry couldn’t speak. The heavenly being knew his thoughts. I will do Your will Lord, not mine. Give me the strength and wisdom I need to advance Your kingdom. Henry knelt for what felt like an eternity. No matter how many times he was brought to the top of the mountain, he dared not look directly into the heavenly being’s eyes. Even though he was terrified in the moment, he felt renewed, refreshed, and strengthened afterwards. He knew the road ahead would be difficult, but as with everything timing was highly important. He opened his eyes and he was back among the trees outside his cabin. He got up with a bit of difficulty. His knees were not that of a young man anymore, but he knew God would give him what he needed until the day he went home for good.

              *          *           *           *             *             *             *

         Vickie sat on the couch with her eyes closed, taking in the sweet sensation of feeling lighter than air. She hadn’t felt this good in a long time. Phil stroked her face gently. It felt comforting. She sighed. When she opened her eyes Phil’s face was close up against hers. His stare satisfied her in a strange way.

         “You’re so beautiful.” He took his index finger and outlined her lips, just like Sal did the night before. “I’ve missed those luscious lips of yours baby.” Vickie felt as if she was watching this unfold from outside her body. He leaned in and she felt his wet lips on hers. His kiss was warm and familiar. He pulled her closer and she felt his hand reach up for her bra strap.

         “Stop!” she managed to say. She pushed him away and stumbled up from the couch. “This was a bad idea. You have to go now. I don’t want to see you again.”

         Laughing, Phil picked up the rest of his drugs, got up and walked towards her. “Sure, baby. Whatever you say, but that kiss says you’re not over me. I’m a patient man ‘cause I know you’ll be back. You know where to find me and my goodies.” He gave her a peck on her cheek.

         She wiped it off as she watched him close the door. She walked over to lock it and caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. What’s wrong with you? She was disgusted with herself. The drugs made her not care. That kiss felt dirty, but how close she had come to letting herself get trapped in that life again disgusted her. Vickie made up her mind. She needed better self-control. She could do this, but she felt sick at the moment. She better sleep it off. She’ll get Joey later. He’s safe with the Delfenos.

 © Nadine Zawacki 2015

Feb 2, 2015

Chapter 2c

   Sal sat at his desk with his feet up. “Look Bryan, I need sugar dots... hey, if you can’t supply them then I’ll find someone who will... I’m sorry you feel that way... fine!” He placed his feet down and hung up the phone. He hadn’t noticed Margaret in the doorway to his small office.

   “Anything I can do?”

   “No!” He realized the tone he used was harsh. “I’m sorry. I was just talking to Bryan and he wants to raise the rates again on sugar dots and to top it off the shipment will be late. Seriously! It’s sugar dots.”

   “Needn’t get yourself in a tizzy. There are plenty of other suppli- ers out there. Besides, sugar dots are overrated.”

   Sal chuckled at her attempted humor. “You’re probably right, but I’ve known Bryan for a long time. I’ll just call him in a minute and apologize.”

   “Do you want to talk about it?”

   “About sugar dots?”

   Margaret shook her head. “Your mood has nothing to do with Bryan or his sugar dots. We both know that.”

   He didn’t want to talk about what the core problem was with anyone. His life had been the subject of too many conversations. “Thanks for asking, but I’m good. I’ll probably go home early today.”


   “What do you mean by ‘oh’?”

   “You’re a good man, but we both know the Mrs. will be the death of ya.”

   Margaret had a knack of hitting the nail on the head. Sal wasn’t ready to admit defeat. “She’s just lost, Margaret.”

   “Have you considered that maybe she wants to stay that way?”

   He’s had this conversation before. There wasn’t a need to continue. “Don’t worry so much Margaret. I’m fine... I promise.”

   “Okay, if you say so. Do you want me to call Bryan and smooth things over? You know I think he’s taken a shine to me.” She raised her brow.

    Sal snickered, “I’m sure he has, but I better do it. I’ll go home after I’m done.” 

© Nadine Zawacki 2015