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- Story Listed as: Fiction For Adults
- Theme: Survival stories / Success stories
- Subject: Personal Growth
- Published: 03/12/2020
Red DoorBorn 1973, M, from Ocoee, United States
Samuel could always rap, dance and sing. As a kid he and his friends performed at many talent shows, always placing either first or second. They went on a mini tour or two opening up for up and coming R&B and Hip Hop groups. Eventually the boys all got older and started their lives. Some became collegians; others, fathers working to support their young families and some members of the group chose to be criminals and then eventually inmates. Not Samuel, he kept his eyes on the prize. Plus, he liked the nightlife too much. He would DJ parties or promote shows at small clubs, anything to stay in the life. Once he became a father and settled down with the mother of his child, Samuel began working a day job for stability. He would bounce from job to job because eventually his employment would conflict with his entertainment schedule. Nothing was more important than the dream and he loved nothing more than living the life and everything that came with it.
With the nightlife came sex, drugs and alcohol. A lying, cheating unfaithful man he became, staying out all times of the night into the morning. Sharon, his dedicated lover and mother of his child would often be on her way out for work in the morning when he would come tracing in the house. A brief argument would ensue but Sharon wasn’t an exceptionally combative person. She would pack her son up and head on to work so that she could earn enough to keep their young family afloat. Samuel would sleep most of the day and then awake waiting, expecting for Sharon to bring home dinner. Slowly but surely, Sharon was growing tired of her boyfriend’s behavior. She was quietly planning her escape.
One sunny Thursday morning Samuel returned home to find nothing and no one. There was only a Dear John letter left on the counter top in the kitchen. It stated everything that he didn’t want. Sam could almost hear Sharon’s voice as he read it. From what she had written in the letter he could see that she had no intention of reconciling with him. She was ready to move on with her life. First he was angry, then sad and eventually he looked on what he believed to be the bright side. Without a kid to worry about or Sharron to hen peck him Samuel could hangout and party as much as he wanted.
That night he made the most of his new found freedom throwing an after party at his place when the club let out. It became a regular thing. The lovely loving home that Sharon created had now become the party house where the drugs flowed freely. Loose women with little life ambition Sam bedded often sharing in their debauchery. The drugs they did, he did and eventually learned to love as they did. Sharon was a kind woman, paying the bills for the month before she left. Instead of saving money and preparing for the next month’s bills Samuel partied like there was no tomorrow. He was living for the moment and loving it. His irresponsibility would eventually come to a head but for now he would just do another line with another easy friend. The temporary elation he felt from the sex and drugs was enough for then.
During that first month Sam found it difficult to make it over to Sharon’s new place to visit his son. Neither the boy nor his mother was very concerned. Samuel was an absentee father while living in the home so his son didn’t miss his presence and Sharon was happy to be rid of him. She was a compassionate woman but she refused to let him completely off the hook. She filed for child support so that she may get some financial assistance in raising her child. When Sam received the letter in the mail he was furious. He called Sharon ranting about how he would do anything for his son and provide him with what ever he needed in life. When she asked what he had done so far she was met with silence then excuses. Sharon didn’t want to be rude but she ended the conversation abruptly after tiring of listening to his nonsense.
Over two months bills filled the mailbox. Bills became notices and then an eviction proceeding commenced. Sam kept on partying. Now the party was all he had. Any money he happened to come by was sacrificed to the party. Eventually the law came a knockin’. Sam refused to let them in for fear of them finding remnants of the party. Party guest were passed out and strewn throughout the shallow residence. Sam panned the room; he only knew two of the people laying about. A frustrated landlord gave the order for the Orange County Sheriffs to enter the apartment and physically evict the tenants. Sam left with no resistance. He acted if he were just one of the people crashing there instead of the former man of the house.
Sharon saw this day coming so when they re-signed the lease she had Sam sign it alone. Privately she spoke to the property manager explaining that she may have to leave to take care of a sick relative in Georgia sometime later that year. Sympathy was garnered and Sharon was released of her obligation. So now after months of behaving irresponsibly Sam found himself homeless without a plan. On a homeboy’s couch he landed for a few weeks until a confrontation with his friend’s girlfriend landed him back on the street. Over the next year he bounced from house to house working odd jobs and helping local DJs with their sets. Despite not having a place to live Sam still wanted to be the life of the party. When he was in the club he felt like a star; it was addicting.
Sam received his mail at his aunt’s house. She wouldn’t allow him to live with her because she lived in public housing and didn’t want to jeopardize it by breaking the rules. Having a home for her children was far more important to her than helping her dead beat nephew. Aunt Carol would allow him take an occasional shower or eat with her family if she had extra. A kind but not foolish woman was loving but not willing to sacrifice for an underachieving man. At her home she received letters from child support, the state of Florida and the Florida Disbursement Unit. Aunt Carol always passed them on to her nephew in a timely fashion because she understood the importance of him replying. Sam was living his life in a haze. He was a hype, doing whatever drug the party offered. Never did his responsibilities or obligations cross his mind. Sam was also lacking in consideration for the consequences he might suffer due to his neglect and negligence.
Sam wasn’t big on being responsible or responding to correspondents in a timely manner. Court dates were missed and writs and warrants were written. Before very long Sam found himself in jail going through withdrawals yearning for the party. The first six weeks were extremely difficult until he found faith through a friend. At a meeting surrounded by Christians and prayers a change was sparked within his spirit. Not having the money to purge out of a jail was a Blessing in disguise for young Sam. He found the direction and structure his life needed. The department of corrections actually offered him correction and rehabilitation.
In jail he received training and was able to participate in the work release program. After receiving several letters from Sam, Sharon was actually gracious enough to bring Sam’s son to see him. Through the video monitor she could see the change in the man. What he’d written in his letters was true. Sam had looked at the man in the mirror and decided to make that change. When he was finally released from jail he was offered residence in a half-way house.
He learned AC repair and gained an apprenticeship with a gentleman who owned a small company. Sam took responsibility for the lease he broke and worked out a payment plan. He made an agreement with the Department of Revenue as well to avoid incarceration. Now that he was honoring all of his obligations things seemed to be working out for him. In addition to working and making amends for his past transgressions, Sam attended regular church services. He prayed for the Lord to take the taste of the sex and drugs out of his mouth and His Father did just that.
Sam joined a church and began serving, volunteering and tithing. Within a year he became a church officer and deacon. Every night he would lay in his bunk and look out the window of the half-way house. Directly two blocks away to the east was a house he would look at and fantasize about living in. The house had a red door making it that much more unique to him. Sometimes he would take his son for walks around the neighborhood and show him the house when he visited. Sharon was kind and trusting, allowing Sam to visit with his son outside of the arrange visitation. She understood that with his strict schedule and rules he had to follow it was tough sometimes for him to get the time. His effort was endearing to her so she was as agreeable and as helpful as she could be to facilitate a relationship between her son and his father.
Sam Jr. attended Sunday school at his father’s church. Sam even taught the class from time to time. Eventually Sam moved out of the half-way house and into a studio apartment. He got a good paying job for an Air Conditioning Repair Company and expanded his knowledge in the field. He continued living a Christian lifestyle but had yet to find himself a good Christian woman. He stayed away from those dark places and people for he understood the evil power they may have over him. No desire did he have to visit old friends or stand on stages in smoky night clubs anymore. The women who came with the life were neither virtuous nor faithful. So Sam was patient as the years passed slowly and his son grew from a toddler to preschooler. Like his son, Sam was growing as well, in his faith and his life.
After three years of dedicated service to his company, Sam was promoted to management. With his new title came a nice pay raise and additional vacation time. He had truly come a long way and he knew that he had the Lord to thank for his good fortune. He took his new position seriously. Sam was extremely studious learning the business side of things inside and out. When he had free time he would drive downtown pass the house with the red door and wonder what type of people might be living inside. To him that red door symbolized the beginning of the change in his life. The door represented his salvation and transformation into the man he had now become.
During these years Sam improved his credit and paid his debts. He now had three years of rental history and was positioning himself to purchase a home. Tithing faithfully and saving diligently, Sam’s bank account grew along with his credit score. He hired a real-estate agent to assist him in purchasing his first home. Several properties were explored but Sam couldn’t find just the right house. He thought it important to involve Sharon and Sam Jr. in the process. He took them to view every home he was considering buying. One day while looking at homes Sam Jr. asked if he could have an ice cream from a parlor near the half-way house in which his father used to reside.
Sam asked Sharon if it would be alright and she agreed. Shaded from the sun by a large colorful awning the young family sat at a table on the patio enjoying their cones. The three of them sitting there together just felt right. They all knew it. Sam was always respectful of Sharon’s privacy never asking probing question prying into her personal life. He had no idea if she dated or if she were celibate like him. Sam never stopped loving her; well once he learned to love someone other than himself. Sharon still attended the church her family had attended for the past three generations. She was happy with her church home but wasn’t exceptionally active. She just attended service.
As they finished their cones Sam Jr. asked if they could go by the house with the red door. Both Sharon and Sam knew that the boy was trying to extend their visit; they both readily agreed. As they turned onto the street Sam caught a glimpse of the most beautiful sight he had ever seen. There was a “for sale” sign spiked into the front lawn. He couldn’t believe it. Sam parked in front of the house and jotted down the telephone number on the sign. He immediately called his realtor and explained to him how anxious he was to walk through this house.
Three months later Sam was moving into the dream house he dreamed of. The half-way house had been relocated and the neighborhood around it had been gentrified. There nice little shops, eateries, boutiques and parks all around. A new elementary school was built within walking distance of Sam’s new home as well. Sam understood why the Lord had Blessed him with his heart’s desire. He prayed at night for the safety and well being of other people. Sam prayed for discernment and wisdom in dealing with his life and the people he encountered. His selflessness, even in prayer, granted him this. Sharon stopped by to help him get settled and decorate Sam Jr.’s bedroom. Sam watched her as she moved about, beautifying the place. Sam walked over to her and placed his hand on the back of her shoulder. She turned to him.
“You know Sharon this house is just a house but when you and Jr. are here it becomes a home.”
She smiled at him not knowing exactly how to respond.
“Um, thank you?”
He returned her wide smile then continued on.
“Look I know it has been a long time since you left and for very good reason. I don’t know your situation now but I know how I feel. You are a wonderful mother and you showed me kindness when you didn’t have to and I didn’t deserve it. Sharon you allowed me to have a relationship with my son even after I abandoned him. You showed me love when I didn’t know how to love myself. Forgiveness you offered me without me even offering an apology for my many transgressions against you and our young family. There is a reason I haven’t found a virtuous woman to love… I already had one.”
He paused and looked deep into her eyes.
“I’ve got big plans Sharon but I don’t think I can accomplish my goals without you. I intend to start an AC Repair business of my own. I could really use your help to get it off the ground. With your experience in business management and human resources, you would be a huge asset. I want this to be a family business.”
He was nervous about his statement but Sharon quickly put him at ease. She offered a warm smile before responding.
“A family business?”
“Yes. I want us to be a family again. Sharon I love you. I love our son. It is a shame that it took me having to go through so much to learn, but I have and now I cherish the opportunity to be a husband to you and a father to my son. ”
She stepped back from him and asked him in few words.
Sam dropped down on bended knee, pulled a small jewelry box from his pocket and looked up at her.
“Sharon I know I am not deserving of you but I am willing to work every day for the rest of my life to become the man you need me to be. I believe in my heart that we can do great things in this world together. These years apart from you have taught me so much and now I know what I want and need in my life. I need you, I love you. Your are my wisdom, my conscience and my strength. Please Sharon do me the honor of becoming my wife.”
Tears streamed down Sharron’s cheeks. Her voice cracked as she answered.
“Yes Sam, yes, yes!”
Just then Sam Jr. walked into the room.
“What’s wrong Mama? Are you okay?”
Sam slipped the ring on her finger then stood and embraced her. He motioned for his son to join them in their hug. He picked him up and Sam Jr. wiped his mother’s tears. Sharron kissed her two special guys then made the announcement to her son.
“Sammy, mommy and Daddy are getting married.”
His excited response made them both chuckle. Later over dinner they discussed plans for the house.
“Sharon, you are the woman of the house so you can decorate how ever you like. There’s just one thing.”
“Really, what’s that?”
“I want to put a fresh coat of paint on the front door.”
Sharron was shocked.
“You mean you are going to paint over the red door?”
Sam smiled then let out a slight chuckle.
“Yes I am. I am going to put a fresh new coat of fire engine red paint on it.”
They both laughed, Sharron hugged Sam’s neck and he kissed her on the forehead. The red door would live on as a reminder of Sam’s testimony and God’s Grace, Mercy and Benevolence.