BOOK REVIEW: Walter – The Homeless Man by Tekoa Manning Best Blog India!

BOOK REVIEW: Walter – The Homeless Man by Tekoa Manning
November 2, 2017
@amanhimself  Link for Review

Walter Cover Final

Pages: 512, Paperback
Published: 2013 by It’s All about Him, Inc.
Cover Rating: 4/5

I am glad I got the chance to read this exceptional work. It is a wonderful feeling for a reader to read a book that has a strong on going plot with mature and very well build characters. This quality to be expressed in the form of writing is rare, and Manning has displayed this through her novel.

Walter: The Homeless Man is a story about a man in the sixties who has suffered a loss and is trying to avoid the pain that came afterward. He is on the run in a different town where he sleeps under the stars and in the day, breaks into a young widow’s home for shelter. Unknown to him, his routine touches every life in that home changes the course of their lives. A misunderstanding that is displayed in a fruitful manner starts another journey for Walter, that changes him for the good.

The plot of this book is smooth that possess a series of events happening one after the other in a manner of completing the puzzle. The theme touches include integrity of man, forgiveness, and redemption. The plot revolves around our protagonist, Walter but the two subplots that meet at a point do take a massive space inside the book. I like the way the author has entwined characters with plots and forming a perfect ending to the book. The plot has steady pace that grows further, and a reader would be able to finish this book into time. I was hooked by the plot, the characters, and the writing style, and regardless of its length, I did manage to finish it in two sittings.

The characters will take you on a journey and will make you feel and realize the themes I mentioned earlier this book covers. They are so realistic and developed without any complexity. Every character has something to show a reader how humane they are. This simple manner of developing strong characters did astonish me. Even more, often times a reader will find that these characters drive the plot forward. The narrative voice is good, and the dialogue formation is flawless.

The writing style smooth and simple and understandable. The author does try to let lose her characters at some point in time in the book, and it seems these characters have their own destiny and are controlled by it. I like the way she writes in a flow that seems satisfying for a reader like me to enjoy. I recommend this book to any reader who wants to enjoy a well-written book.

4 out of 5!

 

Posted in Memoir, Tekoa Manning, TM

Boot Camp

~Memoir~

Chapter 5
Boot Camp
It seemed like it only took months for my sickness to progress into a total meltdown. I felt depleted of every ounce of strength, like wafting wet paper I floated along drained. It was a weekday in winter, and the chill was all around me. I could smell death and taste it. I had become a snag embedded in stagnant waters. A dormant, dead tree that just laid there, unmovable. My stale morning breath was merely a disdainful reminder that I was just existing and awakening brought only more dread.
Suffering.
My eyes opened and fixed upon the jagged line that seemed to be forming one large crack in the ceiling, pulling and even bowing down one side of the room. The plaster hung there like a distant reminder of how a structure can crumble and how my own body felt as weighted down. I had been watching it bow more every day as I laid in one position.
I was 38 years old, but my body felt ancient. The taupe couch had become my home for about a year now. The view from this position was a picture window draped and covered, a blue chair, plaid with hints of mauve and mint green, a coffee table lined with medicine bottles, water bottles, and a box of Kleenex.
In the silence, I heard a voice say, “Go check your e-mail.”
My computer was set up in a bedroom down the hallway and to the left. I stared at the distance that was only a few feet away with dread. My body was racked with tormenting pain, and moving any part of it was like a bolt of electricity. When I walked, my legs were equivalent to colossal elephant soles that had become plunged into quicksand, only to be forced out again. I did not want to move!
Again the whisper, “Go check your e-mail.”
I had come to know this soft voice a little louder while lying flat on my back in the silence.
The reprise to check my mail pressed into my spirit.
I reached for my cane and made the excruciating journey from the couch to the bedroom, falling into a wall on the way and holding the same wall up to gather strength. As soon as my feet stepped past the living room into the hall area, I heard it, an almost thunderous roar. It was the sound of my ceiling collapsing completely! I stood there in the moment, a cloud of smoky surrealism.
We’re not talking ordinary drywall; this ceiling was heavily plastered sheetrock and an electrical mess of wires that ran my heating system in this older home. I stood on wobbly legs and surveyed the spot on the couch where moments before I had laid and argued with that voice.
“But I’m so fatigued and tired, why do I need to check my mail?” “Father, if someone sent me a letter, I’ll read it later. If someone is going to send me money, thank you for helping me, but again, I can read it later.” I argued with the voice as if my intellectual mind was filled with more wisdom than the one who created it.
I gauged the couch where my body laid just minutes before again in disbelief.
Now the entire structure of pillowed taupe was covered by a massive mountainous pile of debris. I should have been dead or unconscious! I let out a slowly scattered sigh and thought about how many times I had ignored that voice, that soft, still voice.
It was at that moment that I realized once again, I was in boot camp, and my trainer was trying to teach me some things. The more logical my mind thought or sure of my faith I became, the more He explained that I knew nothing about Him.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD ADONAI.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” Isaiah 55:8-9.
I stood in the hallway and gazed up at the rafters; empty A-framed timbers held bits of insulation, and I held myself and leaned into the wall.
Abruptly, I became aware of the gift of life and how, when I was well and my body was whole, I had taken it for granted. I had been requesting to die because of the pain, the loss, and a host of sorrows, but now suddenly, despite feeling like death, I wanted to live.
No, I said aloud, “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD.” Psalm118:17.
As my eyes traveled over the room wrecked with rubbish, I knew that I had just witnessed one of the WORKS of the Lord Adonai! I did not realize that it would be one of much more to come, nor did I know that His voice would become louder in my ear.
Anxious to lie down again, I shuffled to my son’s bedroom and waited for him to arrive home from school. I felt barricaded in, and my medicine laid somewhere beneath the wreckage. Even though I had just witnessed a miracle, my mind was already wondering how I would pay my homeowner’s insurance. I was now several house payments behind. I slowly pondered all the losses that had come upon me; my health, my job, my career, the people I thought were my friends, and now possibly my home. I feel like Jeremiah when he said,
“I don’t understand why my pain has no end. I don’t understand why my injury is not cured or healed.” Jeremiah 15:18.
“Oh, Father, why do you keep me here?” I asked.
“When I wake up, I feel like I haven’t slept. When I want to speak, my words are jumbled. My mind is so bad I don’t remember my name at times. “Why, G-d?”
My soul felt the tug of something bigger than me. It was a subtle knowing that He had work for me to do. He has a task for all of us.
My heart began to meditate on what I feared was true. The fear of how I would ever become Holy enough, or good enough, or physically well enough to do it frightened me. Also, just what exactly does He have planned, and what if I let Him down? I knew He was speaking to me and that He had just spared me from disaster. He had spoken, and I had heard Him. How many times had He spoke, and I didn’t even recognize His voice?
The echo of His whisper-haunted me in a good way now. I could still faintly hear Him say,
“Go check your e-mail.”
There are no words to describe the sound of eternity. His voice, His most Holy Voice, it can roar like the sound of many waters, as potent as the thunderous ceiling crashing into me, or it can be as gentle as a feather on the cheek.
I laid on that bed and pondered the event. I touched the pillowcase and rubbed my fingers across the ridge. I stared at nothing, in shock and disbelief.
“Did my ceiling just implode?” I asked the silence? I laid there for a fraction of minutes and continued to just bask in awe of the glory of the Father.
But I couldn’t be still. I reached for my cane in wonder. I had to go again and look a second time at what He had spared me from. I leaned into the hallway and slid my hand along the wall to balance me. Then the view of the avalanche hits me. The surrealism becomes very real at that moment. My eyes traveled across all the red and blue electrical wires I see dangling throughout until finally, they rested upon the place where I should have been buried. I exhale the breath that I have been holding in.
“Oh, God!”
“Thank you, Father, thank you!”
I stand and soak it all in one more time before making my way back down the hallway.
In my heart, amid my fatigue, my pain, my loss, and my inability to even clean up the mess, I know one thing. . . Yes, one thing is true. I know Abba Father is good, and He is with me

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Posted in fiction, poetry, Tekoa Manning, TM

Blackberry Jam

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You see the person you loved,
The one that loved you back.
They’ve quoted the same Book and sat in the same pew.
You know– the right seats.
The ones up close where you once thought the “important” people sit
They smile a plastic drawn on mess as you pass.
No whispered hellos.
What happened?
You moved back two seats and then four until you were out the door.

Is there still love there along with the broken pieces?
Broken people
What did you say when you caught your “Friends” stealing a piece of your pie?
The one you baked to a golden brown.
Sugar egg-washed faces
You pointed out the crumbs on their lips.
They lie as they wipe the filling from their mouth.
They cackle.
You chirp.
Broken words sent with arrows piercing souls, or is it reversed?
Is it because one of you is so smart? Smarter than the other.
I think not.
One of you knows the answers to life?
One of you drank deeper from the well?
One of you thinks the other is bound for hell or just ignorance?
You grabbed a flashlight and shined it inside my cerebrum, looking for knowledge.
I grasped my flashlight and pulled open your chest cavity to gaze upon your heart.
We both had blood on our hands afterward.

They quickly stitched me up like Frankenstein.
I raised my blouse to show the scar.
I pressed shut your chest and then dabbed oil on it.
I’m sorry, i said with half a heart.
You shot up like a canon and stole my papers.
The ones with words He gave me.
I called you out, but it didn’t phase you.
Have you figured out how one should act at a wedding?
Supper?
You stare at me as if you forgot eternity lay around the bend.
You look shocked that I noticed the plagiarism and twisting of papers you tore apart and taped together.
You won first prize and scrubbed the ink stains from your fingers.
They all laughed at me when I said the earth was round.
I never laughed at them.
The Father pointed out that I did, and I washed more egg off my face.
They whispered about me then too.
Only they looked different.
Younger, blunter, but not as cruel.
They said I was different, strange,
Morbid even.
The Son said that he knew what was in man and so He didn’t follow them.
Herod came out to see a miracle, but Yeshua wouldn’t tap dance for him, so they put him in a royal robe and threw pieces of hate, mockery, and even their spit.
He created their spit– used it once to heal blind eyes.
He mixed the earth with His saliva.
Oh, the pride of man.
Run and get your state ticket to the fair, she said.
But I’m going to pick some blackberries and heat up the oven again.
I think I’ll kick up my feet and open my mouth wide–fill it with a cobbler.
A blackberry pie.
Scrape off the sugar washed face and fold up the sun.
The earth’s too round for me to run.
Too flat for me to spin.
We all sin.
We all fall short.
There are no perfect men at the election booth.
Even the Son said, “Why do you call me good?”
He has taken off my soiled dress and given me a robe of Righteousness.
I straighten my crown and clean my teeth of all the blackberry seeds.
I strap on my boots and pull up my pants.
I walk out to the garden and eye the tares among the wheat.
“Let them grow,” He said.
Walk among the living.
Let the dead bury the dead.
I walk into the kitchen, and I stick two fingers inside the jar, scraping the side and tasting the blackberry jam.
It’s sticky sweet.

Posted in author, book signing, Kentucky Book Fair, Tekoa Manning, TM, Uncategorized

Kentucky Book Fair

 

It was an honor to be invited to the KY Book Fair. To be seated in a room full of authors like Wendell Berry was surreal.  His poetry has gotten me through many difficult times and caused me to become more aware of the beauty in creation. I had the pleasure of meeting Mary McDonough, who played Erin on The Walton’s. She stopped by our table and greeted me on her way to the back. New York Times best-selling author Sharon McCrumb was there, Jacinda Townsend’s, Bobbie Ann Mason, Cheryl Della Pietra, and many other authors who are very well-known for their craft. However, I guess the authors that I came to admire most were the ones that were seated around me.

It was a treat to meet P. Anastasia and sit beside her for two days soaking up all her marketing wisdom. She had lovely simple ideas, such as using a fun fluorescent marker to sign her books. If you are a Young adult or love Science fiction, you can pick up a copy of her trilogy, which starts with book one, Fluorescence: Fire Starter. 

It was great to see an old friend from a previous book event. Ronald R. Van Stockum, Jr. is a lawyer, teacher, biologist, writer, guitarist, and recently an actor living on his family’s old farm in Shelbyville, Kentucky. He is always inspiring and full of humor. One of his books that’s popular is titled Cosmos the Stellar Stalker. You can find him on Amazon. I was also excited to meet a new and upcoming author named Lauren Brandenburg, who, like me, writes faith-based books and she was able to share some great tips and advice both days with me. Her trilogy is called Boone. Book one is Boone: The Ordinary (The Book of the Gardener.)

 The young lady to the left of me who seemed to light up like a strand of bulbs each time a person stopped by her table. If Elizabeth Fannin Crowe’s book is as captivating as her smile, she will sell a million copies! Her book is titled The Proving. If you are a fan of The Hunger Games, you will love this story.

 Of course, there are always people we meet unexpectantly, the ones who, for whatever reason, are placed across our path, and that leaves me with my next two introductions. While eating at the hotel lounge on Thursday night, my husband and I decided to step outside and look at the adjoining shops and storefronts. I was on my scooter and still weak. We were assured that the doors were unlocked and we could come and go. So as our food was being prepared, we went for a stroll and then went to enter the hotel again, but found we were locked out. There was no way to get back in without going down a couple of flights of steps and enter all the way around through the hotel lobby area. With me in the scooter, there was no way for me to get down the stairs, and so about the time my husband decided to leave me there and open the door, a very kind soul appeared and offered to do that for him. I will not mention this person’s name because I feel they are entirely private, but I must say it was such a pleasure to get to know him. He had a great sense of humor, acting as if he was leaving us in the cold, waving with a smile. He asked what brought us to the hotel and where we were from, and the next thing we knew, we were in deep conversation about Walter the Homeless Man, family, friends, and the journey we all take in this life. I felt led to take this kind man’s hand and pray some encouraging words over him. As I was finishing, a woman appeared. She had an enchanting accent and a beautiful smile. Her name was Julia. She said, “Were you guys just praying here in the lounge? I love it!” she boomed and laughed and shared. I asked her if she was an author, and sure enough, she was. Julia Smethurst had just landed in KY all the way from England. It was so great to run into this native Californian at the book fair. Her table was one of the cleverest I’ve seen. It was adorned with colorful knitted chicken hats for the little readers of her picture book, Finclucky from Kentucky. Here is a description. 

Finclucky from Kentucky is the story of a chicken, his banjo, and a barnyard full of animal friends who form a band. Even the farmer, who is always working, joins in to enjoy the rhythm-and-blues played by Finclucky and his friends. Some folks say the blues were first played in the deep South, but those who read Finclucky will know the truth behind the music.”

 We sold over thirty books. I was thrilled that several ladies picked up my novels for their book club of the month, and several invited me to come and meet with them. 

 I want to thank my friend and mentor, Dr. Jo Zausch. Jo was able to help me polish up (Polishing Jade) in time for the fair. She also made the road trip to see me. I would also like to thank my friend and mentor, Charlie Manning, for breathing new life into Ellen cotton. Of course, I must thank my husband, who supports my books and holds me up when I am ready to collapse, both physically and spiritually. All and all, I am blessed to have had this experience and hope I am invited again.

Blessings,

Tekoa Manning

 

 

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Posted in Inspirational, Tekoa, TM

Cherry Trees in Winter

cherry tree

For the past few months, the very word “cherry tree blossom” has been magnified in my spirit. It all started back in November or December while watching a movie called “Saving Mr. Banks.” This film is about the author of Mary Poppins and how her children’s classics came about. Although the author is quite cantankerous in the movie, I fell in love with her immediately. The film takes a peek backward into her childhood, where horrific and glorious memories haunt her.
Yes, it can be similar to many of us. During the movie, in one particular scene, Miss Travers looks out her window at the cherry tree blossoms and mentions how they look like cotton candy on a stick. At that moment, my heart leaped out of my chest, then an echo, “cherry tree blossoms.” “What can this mean?” I silently pondered. The next day I ordered Mary Poppins to read. “If you want to find Cherry Tree Lane all you have to do is ask a policeman at the crossroads.” P. L. Travers.
I married a policeman at my own crossroads in life, and I am thankful every day for his companionship, but what was God trying to speak to me when he continued to grab my attention using cherry trees? “Cherry-Tree Lane, where the houses run down one side and the Park runs down the other, and the cherry-trees go dancing right down the middle.” Dancing cherry trees and cotton candy, can it get any better than this?

I was so enthralled to find out what the prophetic meaning was, after reading Mary Poppins, I ordered the complete works of P.L Travers. The day I ordered it, I received a text from a gifted friend in the prophetic. He lives in New York City, and this is what it said, “Today as I was strolling along I noticed that in the dead of winter, the cherry trees are budding early and it reminded me of a dream God gave me about Cherry tree blossoms. In my dream, the trees were tall and laden with vibrant pink flowers. It was in the heart of winter and cold, yet the trees held magnificent blossoms.” My mouth hung open as I walked over to my husband and handed him my phone to read the text. Hmmm, interesting, he said. Wonder what it all could mean?”
I could not find any scriptures about cherry trees or their blossoms, but strangely Aaron’s rod budded and bloomed with almond tree blossoms that look like cherry tree blossoms. After this, I dreamt of my husband driving in our car and me with the window down, holding a huge branch from a tree with these blossoms on it. I was shaking it at a church steeple and prophesying a message to the building. There was more to the dream but a personal message.

One of my discoveries was that the Jewish people make a special blessing called Birkat Ha-llan, or the blessing of the trees every year. Whenever a person sees a fruit tree in bloom in the spring, they recite a special blessing.
This blessing praises Abba Father for His ongoing renewal of creation. We are trees as well, and we are to produce good fruit.
My friend’s dream seemed to say that in the dead of winter, I am going to bloom in your life! When things are the darkest, barest, and the coldest, I am going to BLOOM in your midst. May it be so.
I continued to ponder this Cherry tree idiom, and then life went on, and just as I had almost completely forgotten about it, months later, it came crashing back.

(2015) My husband saw an advertisement in the local paper for a free marketing seminar with Woodland Marketing, and we decided to go. We had just gotten 14 or 15 inches of snow a few weeks prior, and it was still colder than usual. A steady rain mixed with snow was slicing the air as we ventured to a local pizzeria and listened intently to the marketing expert. After the meeting, we met with the speaker, Paige Nickel, and arranged a date with her at a café on the square in town. Being new to the city, it was one we had never been to. On the morning of our lunch date, several folks on Facebook had posted pictures of Cherry tree blossoms due to a festival held every year in Washington, DC. So, once again, I had cherry trees on my mind. I also couldn’t help but wonder about the almond tree blossoms and Aaron’s rod that budded and bloomed and the beauty of the tassels hanging from the Jewish prayer shawls called Talliths.

As we walked into the café, I gazed at the large open floor plan and then noticed one table with some folders and paperwork on it. About that time, our marketer ventured from the back, greeted us warmly, and sat down in front of the paperwork. It was about that time that I had a Jeremiah moment! “What do you see?” I see the branch of an almond tree,” Jeremiah replied. Then Hashem answered him and said, “You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it” (Jeremiah 1:11-12 NASB).

Yes, directly over her head were three large photographs of cherry tree blossoms, and on the wall behind her was a painted cherry tree. Two scriptures were also painted on the wall, two that had meaning.
“Taste and see that the LORD is good” (Psalms 34:8). And:
“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who is wise wins souls” (proverbs 11:30).
I’m thankful that the Father keeps His promises and that whatever He promised will BLOOM in our lives in the right season. He will WATCH over HIS WORD to perform it.
I hear Bert singing, “Winds in the east, mist coming in. Like somethin’ is brewin’ and bout to begin.”
Bless the fruit trees and bless His Name forever!

P.S. While writing this blog, my oldest son put an offer in on the house on Cherry Lane. He knew nothing about the cherries.

Posted in fiction, Tekoa Manning, TM, Walter the Homeless Man

Walter, Chapter #1

Walter Cover Final­­

Walter

Chapter 1

     Walter Kendal lay beside the tree stump, his head resting behind his arms in a heap of fall leaves. The air was crisp and cool with a freshness that beckoned the sun to come up. The tall evergreens trees stretched their arms towards the horizon. The woods were faintly dark with slivers of light just beginning to peek through. It was very still, except for the occasional rustling of foliage falling to the earth and the soft cooing sound coming from the metal cage that held Walter’s only companion.   

     From the wooded area where Walter lay, he could easily watch the small middle-class neighborhood come to life.  Flickering pools of light brought a warming glow to a scattering of homes. In the distance, just a crow’s caw away, he heard the sound of engines warming up to begin the day, doors slamming and voices calling out to greet neighbors. The familiar sights and sounds reminded Walter of a life he once knew.  

     He had been waiting patiently for the dark blue mini-van to pull out of the driveway on Wildwood Court.  He walked the path he’d worn to the opening past the prickly pine trees with their scabby bark and squatted down a bit, veiled almost completely by their fury needles. The house he had his eye on belonged to Desiree Levite. Through the French double doors of her kitchen, he watched her prepare breakfast for her two small children and knew it wouldn’t be long now.

     Desiree left each morning at around six thirty. He assumed this gave her plenty of time to cart her children to the sitter, hit the freeway, and begin her shift at Bailsman, Friedman, and Stiltz Law Firm. Walter knew Desiree was a file clerk and full-time student on her way to becoming a paralegal.  He thought her ultimate goal was to become an attorney.  He occasionally read a term paper left lying about and sometimes sifted through her mail.

     Walter was thankful that the ground had not become cold and hard yet and that arthritis in his joints didn’t ache as much as usual.  He buttoned his trench coat and watched the lights of the minivan disappear from sight.  Then he counted under his breath slowly from one to fifty seconds, making sure Desiree hadn’t forgotten her briefcase, diaper bag, or her oldest son’s backpack.  Walter had been caught off guard more than once by the forgetful disarray of the drowsy mother.  Making his way up the path, he walked briskly to the back porch of the modest three bedroom brick ranch.  Then Walter raised the rock that was next to the welcome mat, retrieved the key and let himself in.  Walter had felt nervous the first few times he had entered, peeking through the blinds at the sounds of each passing motorist.  The unexpected clank of the brass mail slot had once left Walter frozen with fear, but after a few weeks, he had settled into a routine.  He had no excuse for entering.  He knew it was wrong, and eventually he would have to stop or fate would rear its ugly head and he’d be a criminal. 

     “Maybe I have succumbed to this sort of lifestyle after all?”  He wished it were all a bad dream, but as he turned on the faucet that belonged to a stranger and raised the ribbed glass to his parched lips, he knew it was far too real.

     It had happened by chance the first time, Walter stumbling upon the key.  He had merely wanted some fresh drinking water.  Walter was headed out of the woods, on his way to a nearby gas station to fill his empty jug in the men’s room.  The Chevron had bath stalls in the back of the service station, and Walter didn’t have to enter the store to get washed up or refill his empty container.  Sometimes they locked them after midnight, he assumed to keep people like himself out. While he was cutting through the neighborhood, he noticed the green garden hose.  While reaching for the hose, he accidently knocked over a decorative rock with the name Levite painted in black.  Its only function was to show ownership of the property Walter stood on and to hide a key.  The power to enter lay within Walter’s reach.  It made his heart pound. He could picture the food and imagine the sound of the thermostat clicking on and blowing warm heat.  He longed for a shower and the company of television.  It had been over a year since Walter had felt the comforts of a real home.  He had a home three hundred miles away, just before the rich green hills of Kentucky turned into the mountains of Tennessee, a home full of memories too painful for Walter to face. 

      Safely inside, he slowly exhaled and made his way to the refrigerator for his morning juice.  He never took enough for anyone to notice, but instead consumed just one egg, one small bowl of cornflakes, or one piece of toast.  Then carefully the sixty-seven-year-old washed, dried, and returned his plate, saucer, and cup, putting everything back in its original place.

     Occasionally the phone rang and startled him.  Although he used to sit behind a large desk answering calls, he had now become accustomed to sleeping under overpasses, across park benches, and in wooded areas.  The days of phone calls had been years ago, before his retirement, and now they were a distant memory.  

     After breakfast, Walter took a shower, leaving not a speck of water to be found.  The soft green, slightly damp towel was folded neatly back on the rack to dry, his toothbrush was placed into the frayed pocket of his tan London Fog coat.  He wanted to shave but stopped himself for fear that his gray facial hairs would be noticed.  He settled for a dollop of hair gel.  Walter ran his fingers through his graying hair, relishing the fact that he still had some. Although he had lost some on top, all and all he still had plenty.  Leaving the bath, he walked down the hall. According to his watch, it was seven thirty a.m.  He had, at least, seven hours before her return. 

     The small house was tidy and clean, except for an occasional toy left lying about and the many books that lay in heaps.  There were educational books on common law, child psychology, and the Constitution.  There were also hardbound classics, poetry, and children’s books.  Shuffled amongst the collection was a New King James Bible, and from the looks of the worn leather, he figured
it had been opened quite often. Walter had never experienced so many books, and at times, he found himself skimming through the volumes to pass the day.  He had wondered at first if the books were for show, but now believed Desiree had read the majority of her collection. 

     It seemed strange to Walter that after entering her home for only a few weeks, he already felt as if he knew her.  There were photographs of her children on the mantle, scented candles, and the usual displays of potted plants.  The one thing that had confused Walter was a recent portrait of Desiree with a dark haired man who appeared to be her husband.  He worried at first that the man in the portrait might be a traveling salesman who could abruptly show up and end Walter’s only refuge.  Then he found the sympathy cards full of kind remarks about the loss of Desiree’s husband, John.

     Walter didn’t know what the future held for him.  He was never one to take handouts, and he knew he had to repay this young mother for what she was unknowingly giving to him.  Sometimes he did small repair jobs, like fixing the younger child’s rocking chair.  The leg had been broken at some point.  Walter simply glued it back into place.  He had also unclogged the kitchen sink when Desiree carved pumpkins for Halloween.  On this cool November morning, he didn’t see anything needing his handy work.  So, after resting a bit on the tweed recliner, he drifted off to sleep.   

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