After dinner, Maggie called. "How are you, Mama?" Eliza asked dutifully. "You know I am perfectly well, Eliza Jane. I heard about Tyler's accident. I suppose he was drunk as usual?" she said in a surly tone.
"Believe it or not, Mama, he was perfectly sober and on his way to work." Eliza said trying to placate her mother and avoid a battle. "Hmmmph!" Maggie huffed. "How long are you going to put up with this immature, no-good, loser?"
"Mother, I love you, but I will no longer tolerate your bad-mouthing Tyler. I love him and he loves me and we are having a baby come July. You are going to be a grandmother." Eliza said as respectfully as she possibly could under the circumstances.
"Oh, good God!" Maggie exclaimed. "You are a fool, Eliza Jane. Tyler is never going to change and now you'll be stuck with a baby and tied to him for life!"
Eliza's heart was sorely grieved. "I am sorry you feel that way, Mama. Good-bye." and she hung up the phone and weeped sorrowful tears. There were not many that stood with Eliza in the belief that Tyler would be delivered from alcohol. She imagined she looked very much like a fool, but she no longer cared. As long as the Lord was pleased with her, then that was all that really mattered.
She gathered her Bible and prayer journal and headed to bed where she could be comfortable and she cried out to the Lord for comfort, peace, and wisdom. She prayed for Tyler, for Reba, and especially for Mama - that she may let go of her bitterness and come to know the Lord and allow Him to set her free.
Despite yesterday's drama, she awoke from sleep renewed and well-rested. Thank you, Lord, she whispered upon rising. Tyler should be able to come home today. She made herself a light breakfast of yogurt mixed with fresh berries as she was feeling quite queasy these days with morning sickness. Then she hurried to the bathroom to shower and dress for the day.
Eliza walked into Tyler's hospital room a vision of loveliness, dressed in a blue calico dress patterned with tiny pink rosebuds, a pink cardigan, and blue Mary Jane shoes. She had her long blonde hair pulled back from her face with a wide blue satin ribbon. Though she never wore much makeup, she simply glowed and she was beautiful - though she would be hard-pressed to believe it.
"Hey pretty lady!" Tyler called to her. "Good morning,"she replied cheerfully before giving him a kiss. "You ready to go home yet?" she asked with a smile. "Heck, yeah! They are trying to starve me here with that so-called hospital food. I wouldn't feed a dog that mess." he complained. Eliza giggled at his dramatic exaggerations.
They passed the time by talking about the weather, the upcoming holidays, and such until Dr. Piper signed Tyler's release papers. Eliza went out to the parking lot to pull the car up to the entrance while the nurse brought Tyler down in a wheelchair, which he was none too happy about. He was giving that poor nurse a hard time but she would not budge. She got him into the car without incident and Eliza drove home.
Tyler did not like having to depend on others for his needs. He was used to doing for himself as he had lived on his own since he was fifteen. On that night his mother had been drinking, as was her nightly ritual, and the two got into an argument. But when she hit him, that was the straw that broke the camel's back. Tyler packed up his things and left home for good.
It was hard for him to allow himself to be vulnerable - even with Eliza. He just found it so hard to trust because he had been burned so many times in the past. He wanted to be able to open himself up and share his hopes, dreams, and even his fears with Eliza, but he could never bring himself to. He felt safer keeping people at a difference. The result of this was he was a lonely, hurting soul.
Once home, Eliza helped Tyler walk up the steps and get settled on the couch. She went to the door to close it and was startled by an old black man standing on the porch. "Can I help you?" she said with her hand to her heart. "I'm sorry Missus for scaring you. I was wondering if I could have a glass of water?"
The old man was shabbily dressed in old blue jeans and t-shirt and an old olive green Army jacket. "Why certainly, Mr.....I'm sorry I didn't catch your name." she said. "It's Jeremiah, ma'am. Jeremiah Carter." he said, bowing his head. "I'll be right back with your water, Mr. Carter. Why don't you have seat in the rocking chair?" she said pointing to the porch seating.
Copyright by Tracy Hathcock