When Gene inquired about Kylisha’s well-being, she felt an undeniable tingling sensation cascade down her spine. Oh the gentleness in his voice. It instantly brought tears to her eyes. It grounded her, made her unable to move an inch in any direction.
Although Kylisha was basically immune to Gene’s womanizing charms, she could not resist his genuine tenderness. With that realization a befuddled look graced her features.
Suddenly a scripture from Psalm 18:35 crossed her mind, bringing new insight with it. ‘Thy gentleness hath made me great’. The Psalmist David wrote that verse in the day the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of King Saul.
Now Kylisha understood a portion of what that passage meant. At least what it meant to her right now.
Gentleness and kindness were capable of having a profound affect on a person. In fact, Kylisha would go so far as to say that genuine kindness was a universal language, understood by all. The blind could see it. The deaf could hear it. It is also what Kylisha had needed for a very long time and never got from her grandparents.
Almost everything the Greenes had ever done for Kylisha was either for show, out of obligation, or used as an attempt to control her. At times she thought that her grandfather wanted to be gentler with her. Yet under the constant influence of his stronger-willed wife, Wilford Greene would still wind up withholding affection in the end.
To his credit; however, Wilford was more likely to let Kylisha hold his truck for her weekend hobby of salvage hunting. He was also more likely to slip extra spending money underneath her pillow every now and then, as if he was still playing the tooth fairy’s helper.
Though Kylisha believed those stacks of hundreds were guilt money for her grandfather not standing up for her in the home, she couldn’t deny that those unexpected funds sometimes made all the difference in the world to her. Especially when she was struggling to cover the expenses of technical school by herself.
“Kylisha, I asked were you okay?” Gene persisted, drawing her out of her deep thoughts.
“I…” Kylisha opened her mouth, but no words could get past the constriction in her throat. She was just too full right now, too congested with emotion to speak her peace. The fact that her grandmother was looking at her as if she wanted to do her bodily harm didn’t help matters any.
Fortunately, Gene saw Kylisha’s dilemma and immediately took charge of the situation. “Ma’am, I’m not sure who you are, but you need to leave my property right now. I can’t have you upsetting one of my best workers like this.”
“I’m Kylisha’s grandmother, Mrs. Wilford Greene,” Jacinta said snootily, looking at Gene as if he was nothing more than navel lint.
Gene nodded respectfully, yet his tone remained firm. “Even so, Mrs. Greene, you still have to go.” He opened the door and pointed outside with a stiff jerk of his right index finger.
“Well!” Jacinta huffed with indignation. She quickly grabbed her purse and rose to her feet. “No wonder Kylisha’s acting like a heathen. She’s surrounded by them!”
On her way out the door, Jacinta turned and sent a disapproving look towards her granddaughter. Kylisha instantly bristled. She held her breath and waited for more harsh words to come. Surprisingly, none came. Instead Jacinta disappeared into the night without saying another word to anyone, without even closing the door behind her.
As Kylisha’s lungs slowly released the breath they held, her eyes began to leak tears of emotion like a drippy faucet.
© 2006 (text only) by Suprina Frazier
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