Henry entered his new home that night, his heart full of dread. How was he supposed to tell his newly wed wife that he no longer had a job? That he no longer had any way to support her?
"Henry! Hey there, sweetheart!"
Sarah bustled out of the kitchen with a grin. Her blue dress and apron were dotted with spots of flour. The interior of the house was warm and toasty, and the sweet smell of cinnamon and sugar filled the air.
"I just finished making some apple fritters!" Sarah said. "Why don't you come into the kitchen and have one?"
Henry just stood there, casting his gaze to the living room floor, unable to come up with the right words.
"Henry?" she said. "What is it?"
"I ... I have some bad news," Henry said. "Why don't we sit down in the living room?"
Henry looked up to see the worried look on Sarah's face. She swallowed and her Adam's apple trembled. He felt terrible for making her so nervous, but he didn't think this was something he ought to just blurt out.
"Okay," Sarah said softly. "Let's go sit down."
The living room looked amazing with the new couch, end table, a pair of oak chairs, and a brown rug covered all the hardwood flooring. Henry frowned, as he wondered if he'd have to return some of their purchases to make ends meet.
There were still stacks of boxes in the room, but they'd been pushed against the walls out of the way. Sarah was still in the midst of trying to get everything unpacked.
Every muscle in Henry's jaw tensed, as he realized that there might not be any point at unpacking all of their belongings. Without any source of income, he wouldn't be able to pay the mortgage, and the bank would foreclose on their home.
There was no easy way. Henry had to just come out and say it.
"I don't work for the Pioneers anymore."
He let the words hang there for a moment.
Sarah's face turned pale. "What happened?"
Henry sighed. He explained what had transpired in Mr. Bell's office. As he spoke, he couldn't help but notice how detached his voice sounded. Maybe because he still couldn't believe this had all happened. Finally, Henry said, "So I quit. And Willy quit with me. For the past hour, I've been walking around town, feeling like a downright embarrassment."
Henry studied Sarah's face. He expected her to be upset, maybe even angry. But her reaction surprised him.
Sarah nodded calmly. "Henry, I'm glad that you stood up for what you believed in. I'm so proud of you. Mr. Bell was dead wrong. You did the right thing by standing up for yourself and for all black men. You're not an embarrassment. You're a great baseball player. And you're my love."
Henry felt tears prick at his eyes. "You're the most incredible woman in the entire world."
"I love you, Henry. I'll always support you, no matter what."
Henry scooted close to Sarah. Wrapping his arm around her shoulder, he felt a great surge of pride at being married to this woman, her spirit so strong.
But his relief didn't last long.
Even as Sarah clung to him and whispered reassurances into his ear, Henry could see the worry creeping across her furrowing brow as her hand rested on her stomach.
We've all been in this situation before. Or maybe one like it.
We lose a job or fail at test. Immediately, we feel a sense of uncertainty.
The question becomes, What are we willing to do about it?
What will Henry do about it?
You may be surprised at what happens in the next few chapters. The roller coaster ride is about to begin!
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Color (Completed)Historical Fiction
WATTYS SHORTLISTED! During World War I, a black baseball player gets a second chance to play ball on an all-white steel mill baseball team, an action that shocks and divides an entire town. Targeted by opponents, his own team, and mysterious vigilan...