Let us rejoice and be glad, he sang in a jazzy soulful way. Amen, folks agreed. My Aunt Nattie agreed. What time you’re born again a chile a God, how do you explain it? I can’t. I don’t know if I was born again in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that first time I hear Cartier J. Trumane preach, or durin his Bible studies that Mama and I attended the weeks thereafter, or when he led me and Mama and them others to Hillsborough River Park that glorious Sunday mornin in October to immerse me in my eternal salvation. I only knows the Bible says that all any a us gotta do is open our heart to receive his promise, and the Holy Spirit do the rest. That’s why I still pray for Mama’s soul, God rest it, and sometimes when I think it for Reverend Trumane. What one a them done, and nobody’ll ever know fo sure who done what, it weren’t the Holy Spirit at work, not what I been taught. According to Mama, Reverend Trumane
put his large hands on her. According to Reverend Trumane, it was Mama that throw herself at him. The only thing everyone agree on, it happen on a Saturday. I wanna believe my Mama for a lotta reasons, most a all cause she my Mama. I wanna believe she’d really become a different woman, a Christian woman. I wanna believe she truly was borned again. I wanna believe she ask Uncle Sewell to get her a part-time cashier job at Bentmann’s cause she believe in herself again, or in life again, like she hadn’t since Roy. I wanna believe she volunteer every third Saturday afternoon to help set up church for Sunday mornin cause that’s God’s work, too, and God bless her to find joy and purpose in it. I wanna believe that she loved me and Ruthie. I wanna believe our life woulda been better. I wanna believe her when she plead with Uncle Sewell and Aunt Nattie that awful Saturday night after the phone ring that no, no, he’s a man a God but he’s
a liar, it was him who snuck up behind her while she was layin out communion trays at the altar, slid his big hands round her waist over her bosoms, that’s why she walk some forty blocks home instead a gettin a ride from him like always. I wanna believe Reverend Cartier J. Trumane because yes, he’s a man of God. I wanna believe him cause he taught me that although my daddy’s gone, I got God the father who loves me like his chile and watches over me. I wanna believe him cause he help me to understand that even though Mama never forgive me for Oz layin on me, or for Roy goin away to prison for fifteen to twenty-five years, however I may sin I’m forgiven because Jesus paid for my transgressions. I wanna believe that jus like it look every Sunday after worship, he was a man in love with his wife and two daughters. I wanna believe that Aunt Nattie wouldn’t lead us into the lion’s den. I wanna believe that no, he’s not a liar he’s a man a God, that when he telephone Uncle Sewell over supper that night, he was sorry but the Gospel truth was, Mama grope him when he was standin at the altar and he banish her from Love of God Christian Church, that’s why she walk home. But here’s Ruby’s cross to bear: if I’m to believe one, I must therefore not believe the other. And if I do so, I must therefore damn the other. Most times in life, unfortunately, it ultimately don’t matter if or what you believe or not. Within a month, we was on a Greyhound bus to Mobile, Alabama, where we went to live with Mama’s cousin, but that’s another story. Mama and Aunt Nattie never talk in this world again. And years later, I happen to learn by strange coincidence that Reverend Cartier J. Trumane suffered a similar accusation from another female parishioner, was defrocked this time and hung himself in his garage. In this regard, for my life, I prefer to judge not, lest I be judged.
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