Eddie is a Christian author, and in the last 20 years, a mentor to countless young people through God's ministry.
Thin clouds were all that remained of the showers that had passed through earlier in the day. Puddles of water sat in depressions on the street and under some ancient trees surrounding the cemetery. A gentle breeze shook the remaining drops of rain from the leaves on the trees here and there, causing ripples to dance across the surface of the water. Kevin stood in the warm morning sun above Carla’s grave. There was still a hint of pain in his eyes and voice as he began to speak as if she was right there with him.
“Hello, Momma,” Kevin spoke lovingly. “I guess you already know that I’m trying to put our garden back together. It has been a sort of rough start. There has been a lot of rain these last few days. I was hoping that I could complete it by the weekend. I guess not, though. I guess you already know that I am going to Oklahoma City as soon as it’s done. Mark will be happy about that. I miss you.”
Brother Wayne Brewster stepped out of the church and was pleased to see the sun peeking through the clouds. He glanced across the street and witnessed Kevin standing over his mother’s grave. He folded the umbrella he had intended to use and approached the cemetery with caution. When he was close enough, he cleared his throat to make his presence known.
Kevin turned to face him with a brusque attitude. “Can I help you?”
“You’re Kevin Fletcher, right?” Brother Wayne took a guarded approach so that he did not force Kevin into a retreat. “I was enjoying the break in this wet weather. I happened to notice you here and hoped that I could talk to you for a moment.”
“How do you know me?” Kevin was trying to be aloof. “There isn’t much to discuss.”
“It’s a small town, and it’s kind of my job to know my church members and their families.” Brother Wayne was persistent to a fault. “Do you really think that?”
Kevin studied Brother Wayne for a moment, thinking he had the pastor’s game plan. “You probably think I blame God for all the misery in my life… That it's His fault I ended up in prison.”
Brother Wayne knew then he had a tough shell to break through. “Most people tend to blame God for the terrible things that happen to them.”
“Not this man,” Kevin said, almost proudly. “I blame myself for what happened.”
Brother Wayne began to believe that he had found something truly extraordinary in Kevin. “So, you readily accept God didn’t turn His back on you?”
“I was angry for a while…and hurt.” Kevin appeared reluctant to let go of information that could make him vulnerable. “When a guy does time, there are really only two directions he can take with his life.”
“I know.” Brother Wayne nodded slowly.
Kevin began to feel a need to open up, but he proceeded with reluctance. “Up until a certain time, I hated everything about my former life, including God.”
Brother Wayne hoped secretly that he was finally going to reach through to Kevin. “What happened that changed your mind about God?”
Kevin merely glanced at Brother Wayne for a moment as he contemplated the proper way to avoid speaking the complete truth of his sordid life. Then he spoke softly. “A prison is a cruel, evil place that corrupts everyone it touches. I’d rather not talk about what changed my mind other than I was prevented from committing another murder while I was there. That helped me to realize that I was being watched over. I’d still be in prison today if God hadn’t intervened.”
Brother Wayne swallowed hard as he tried to imagine the painful scarring that marred the young man’s soul. “I see.” There was an awkward silence that ensued. Brother Wayne waited for a lead as Kevin gazed off at the church steeple.
Brother Wayne followed his gaze and then spoke with gentle prying. “Brother James said you always enjoyed your turn at ringing the bell on Sunday morning.”
“You know Brother Jaime?” Kevin was glad for a pleasant memory to come to the surface. “Every chance I got. They stopped using it when I turned ten. Some vandals had set fire to the steeple.” He added with an air of disdain, “The church elders decided to install a new electronic bell that played tunes.”
Brother Wayne probed deeper. “There’s been a new decision to restore the church to its original state to have it listed on the National Historic Register.”
“That would be good,” Kevin said absently. “I’d like to see it when they are done.”
Brother Wayne made an inviting gesture. “Why not come over and have a look at the baptistery? We are nearly complete.”
Kevin was indecisive as he hesitated. “I don’t know if I’m ready for that yet.”
Brother Wayne started walking. He looked back to Kevin with a gentle smile. “Come on, Kevin.”
“Not today,” Kevin said with reluctance as he began to withdraw. “No.”
Continue reading Kevin's Homecoming - Chapter 6
- Kevin's Homecoming - Chapter 6
Paul confronts Mark for his harsh treatment of Kevin. The elder Fletcher realizes he may have an ally in Mark's wife Terry. She is more compassionate toward Kevin than anyone else.