More Than I Can Bear
by E.N. Joy ‘Queen of Soap Operas in Print’
Some would say that God will not put on a person more than they can bear, but Paige begs to differ, because she is truly on the edge. One more unexpected and unpleasant occurrence and she’ll be free falling.
As if physical, mental, sexual, and spiritual abuse from her husband doesn’t weigh heavily enough on her, Paige learns that her best friend and sister in Christ slept with her husband. Thank God for Norman, one of Paige’s co-workers. He is there to catch her fall before she hits the ground. But will Norman be there when Paige receives news that may not only push her off the edge, but cause her to jump willingly?
In More Than I Can Bear, Paige must decide if she is going to allow herself to drown in the storms she finds herself in, or catch hold of the lifesaver God extends to her.
Excerpt of More Than I Can Bear
“Will you please stop biting your nails? That’s one of my pet peeves. It makes my skin crawl to see a woman biting her nails,” Norman said to Paige as he turned onto his parents’ street.
“I can’t help it,” Paige said, sitting over in the passenger seat, staring out of the window. “I’m nervous. I’m about to meet your parents for crying out loud.”
“Well, find some other nervous habit. The whole nail-biting thing is just disgusting.” Norman made a face to show his disgust.
“Then don’t look, then. I can’t help it. It was a habit I had as a child. For years I managed to overcome it, but now, today, it’s back with vengeance. See?” Paige put her hands in Norman’s face so that he could witness where she’d bitten her middle fingernail down to the skin.
“Yuck, no!” He swerved and then regained control of the vehicle. “We’ve only been married four hours and already you’re trying to kill a brother.” He looked to Paige and then back to the road. “Was this all a setup so you could marry me, kill me, and then live off my social security? Don’t think I don’t watch the ID channel. You women are a trip.”
“For one, no, it’s not a scam. Sorry, I didn’t mean to make you almost drive off the road. For two, look at yourself in the rearview mirror and you will see for yourself that you are no brother, so no; I’m not trying to kill a brotha.” They both laughed.
Glad that the tension had turned to laughter Norman said, “You know what, I think we kind of just had our first fight as husband and wife.”
Paige thought for a moment. “You know, you’re right. That was our first argument as husband and wife. Guess that makes it official.
“Oh, no. Only one thing makes it official.” Norman looked to Paige and raised his eyebrows up and down.
“Do I have to remind you that our marriage is just like the rest of America’s? Sexless?” Once again the two laughed as they pulled up into a long, hidden drive.
They passed lovely trees and beautiful landscaping. “Hey, what street is this? I’ve never seen it before. Where are we anyway?” Paige had been too busy biting her nails and playing out in her head what a disaster this introduction could be to pay attention.
“We’re in New Albany. And this is no street. It’s my parents’ private drive to their house.”
Paige perked up in awe. “This is just the driveway? Wow. I’m going to have to come visit my in-laws quite often.” Paige relaxed back in her seat, some of the excitement fading away. “If they’ll have me that is.”
“Of course they’ll have you. My parents are going to love you. I told you, they’re happy for me.”
Paige had to admit that when she sat next to Norman while he told his parents over the phone of his nuptials just hours ago, she was surprised of their excitement and invitation for the newlyweds to join them for dinner that night. “I can’t believe you told your parents you got married, not only without them being in attendance, but with them never even having met your wife… and they didn’t get the least bit upset.”
“Well, your parents will find out soon enough since we plan on going to their house for breakfast,” Norman said. “So it seems like I’m the one who should be biting my nails. At least my parents already know . . . and they’re happy for me.”
“Which, still, I can’t help but to find as strange.”
“Well, don’t.” Norman took a deep breath. “Between me and you, my parents have always had this underlying suspicion that I was gay.”
“What?” Paige asked in shock, not even trying to hold in her laugh. “With all the tail you done chased and caught, how could they possibly think that?”
“Well, I’m not one to kiss and tell with my parents you know. The things I used to converse with you about I’d never share with my parents in a million years. That and the fact that I’ve never brought a girl home before.”
“Never?” Once again Paige was shocked.
“Never,” Norman confirmed.
“I’m the first?”
Norman turned and looked at Paige. “You are indeed the first, wifey.”
Instantly, Paige felt all warm and fuzzy inside. She felt special as a huge grin formed on her lips. Then she caught herself feeling a certain kind of way and immediately wiped the smile off her face. Reality had slapped that smug little grin right off her face. The reality was there was no need to feel special. This wasn’t about her. She had to keep that in perspective so that she didn’t get caught up in a fairytale that had absolutely no chance at coming to pass.
“Well, here we are,” Norman announced as they drove into a circular drive, parking behind a white convertible BMW.
Norman exited his vehicle, a nice reliable Honda Accord, and went around and opened the door for Paige. He took Paige by the hand and helped her out of the car. Hand in hand, he led her up to the door as she admired the house like she was a hungry, fat kid approaching a real, live gingerbread house. Once they hit the doorstep, Norman rang the bell and then followed it with a knock.
Within a few seconds, the door swung open. “Norman, now, child, you know darn well you don’t need to ring the doorbell,” the round-faced, slightly chubby older black woman who answered the door said. “This here is your home more than it is mine. Get yourself on in here. Your mother has been expecting you for dinner.” She pulled Norman in and gave him a long, warm hug. She then released him and stared at him. “And you look like you need a good meal. Ain’t that new wife of yours been feeding you? Speaking of which, where is this fine gal your mother has been calling up all her friends to brag about?”
Norman reached out the door for Paige, who had stayed placed to the side out of the view of the doorway . . . biting her nails. “Why she’s right here.” Norman had to somewhat struggle to pull Paige to the doorway. “Miss Nettie, this is Paige, my wife. Paige, this is the woman who practically raised me, Miss Nettie, our housekeeper of almost twenty years.”
“Very pleased to meet you, Miss Nettie.” Paige extended her hand. She waited patiently for Miss Nettie to extend her hand as well, but it never happened. Instead, Miss Nettie just stood there for a moment all bug-eyed, staring at Paige at if she’d seen a ghost.
“Miss Nettie, are you okay?” Norman asked. “Miss Nettie,” he said again after not getting a response the first time.
“Hunh, what?” Miss Nettie finally snapped out of her gaze.
“I said are you okay?” Norman asked with concern.
“Oh, me, uh, yes, of course.” She set her eyes on Paige, eyeballing her up and down. She finally spoke, while Paige’s arm remained extended. “So you’re the new Mrs. Vanderdale?”
Paige didn’t know how to take this woman’s reaction. “Well, uh, yes, I am.”
Miss Nettie stared at Paige stone-faced for a few more seconds before the stone shattered and resting under that expression was a huge Kool-Aid grin. “There is a God!” She clasped her hands together and let out the biggest yelp of laughter. “Hot dang!” She clapped again. “Child, put that arm away. You’s family now.” Miss Nettie pulled Paige in for a hug and shook her like she was her toy teddy bear. “Whoa whooo. Yes, there is a God indeed, and if we wait on Him long enough, He’ll show up and pay folks back on our behalf greater than we ever could.”
“I have no idea what she’s talking about,” Norman said to Paige. “She’s always talked in riddles since I can remember,” he added. “No offense to you, Miss Nettie.”
“None taken. You call it riddles,” Miss Nettie said as she released Paige, “but I call it God having a sense of humor. And with that being said”—she grabbed Paige by the hand—“it would be a true blessing from God Himself for me to have the honor of presenting you to your mother-in-law.” Miss Nettie practically dragged Paige by the hand while Norman closed and locked the door.
Paige looked over her shoulder at Norman with her eyes pleading for help. In less than ten seconds she’d be meeting her mother-in-law for the first time. She’d need help all right. But her help would definitely have to cometh from the Lord.
Learn more about E. N. Joy and her books at http://enjoywrites.com/
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