by Sherryle Kiser Jackson
Damon Myers-Jones despised the awkward hyphenated name forced upon him at birth because it represented two things Damon would rather forget: his adopted father’s death and his real father’s absence. Now thirty years old, newly engaged Damon struggles with the constant tug-of-war with the women in his life.
His mother, Laverne Myers-Jones, who cloaked him with his name in the first place, wants to extend her influence to his choice of mate. Damon’s fiancée, Hope Daniels, can’t see beyond her longing to keep what she deems the perfect man and plans for her happily ever after.
In a desperate attempt to find himself, Damon impulsively sets out on a mission’s trip to Haiti in search of his birth father where he experiences a shift that changes his world. Will his personal mission coincide with what God has in store for him?
Praise for Sherryle Kiser Jackson
Sherryle Kiser Jackson is to be commended for creating an emotionally authentic tale of redemption and one man’s search for love. Fans of her other works will not be disappointed, and new readers prepare to discover your new favorite author. — Booker T. Mattison, filmmaker and author of Unsigned Hype and Snitch
He boarded first at Shady Grove station. She boarded six stops later at Bethesda. They rode another six stops together. She exited before him at DuPont Circle. He held his spot until Judiciary Square. The red line of the Washington, DC Metropolitan area subway system—or Metro, as it is called—represented the vein of their relationship—a mastery of timing and schedules. A twenty-eight-minute ride, five times a week that became thirty-three minutes the midst of rush hour, was the delicate tissue that covered that vein. It provided a great quantity of quality time for their relationship.
Today was the beginning of a typical workweek for them, but it felt like anything but to Damon Myers-Jones. He glanced down at a text message summoning him and his teammates to a mandatory meeting, which would take place first thing this morning. Ever since the previous evening, when he first spotted the text, he’d tried to figure out what the meeting could be about. His preoccupation seemed to throw him off, to swirl in the nauseating abyss that immersed his life nowadays.
Damon missed the opening and closing of the doors, and his fiancée, Hope, entering the subway car, with her carefully rehabbed right leg, encumbered by a slight limp, moving toward him. He had muscled his way to a seat when he boarded, and used his bag to save the vacant seat beside him for her.
“What, no bagels?” Hope Daniels said, as she shifted his bag and plopped down beside him, wearing a waist-length leather jacket and a Wrangler satchel strewn about her body to tie together her outerwear.
“I’ve got that meeting,” Damon said.
“Yeah, that’s right, the mystery meeting,” she said. “Well, at least we both got seats.”
Staring at him with one arched eyebrow, a jutted chin and a smile begging him to smother her with his lips, a peck was the best he could do. He had too much angst for anything else. He had not always been reluctant to participate in the public displays of affection she craved. Now engaged, and although the ring had unlocked chambers and doors, a big part of his reluctance was because it didn’t get him any closer to the vault of physicality, the war chest of sex that he craved from her. A smaller portion of his reluctance was also due to the guilt he felt that he had not yet told his mom of the seriousness of his relationship with Hope, and that her little boy had taken the ultimate big-boy step. For that, he felt as if he were being watched, and the lookout would report the ring size, cut and clarity of the diamond directly to his mom before he had the chance to tell her himself. Still, a fraction of that guilt was reserved for the itch of an impulse that he kept a secret from both his ladies. So, as far as he was concerned, and with all he had going on, Hope’s engagement ring and Facebook profile would have to suffice her need to flaunt their upgraded relationship status right now.
Leaning forward, he rested his arms on his thighs amongst the butts and guts of passengers forced to stand in front of them. Once again, he checked his text message, as if it had changed in the last ten minutes.
“Damon, stop obsessing,” Hope said, stroking his back with her right hand. “Wait, look, I got something to show you.”
Damon watched her pull out a stack of papers with a section of the New York Times on top. He determined that if she started in on him about moving to New York again he would exit the train at the Van Ness station, leaving her alone, and connect with another train there.
“You know the extra credit vocabulary I like to assign from the crossword puzzle each week? Well, guess who came up with the right answer this week?” she gloated. She began shuffling through the pile of corrected papers. “A six-letter word that means spread dirt on someone crossed with a thirteen-letter word meaning the race for the highest office in a state, each starting with the letter G.”
Relieved, Damon sat up and began pointing at his fingers, as if he were counting. She punched him, and he smiled. “You got me. I’m the numbers man, remember?”
When Hope found the paper she was searching for, she bent the corner toward her so Damon couldn’t see the name. “Gossip and gubernatorial are the answers. Challenging, right? Guess who got the answer correct?”