Writings of Sheri Hooper

Sheri Hooper – Momma Belle – A-List Celebrities – American Families – Beauty Pageants – Best of the Web – Cancer Slayers – Cannabis – Cannabis Activism – Cannabis Legalization – Child Abuse – Christianity – Epilepsy – Fashion – Glitz Pageants – Natural Pageants – Ketogenic Lifestyle – Models – Modeling – Politics – Photography – Photo Contests – Recommended Professional Photographers – Signs of the Times – Talent Events – The Scepter Awards

☄★☄ California Coffee Cosmos ☄★☄

Several weeks ago I was sorting through my morning thoughts, letting go of the fog at a chic writing spot near the San Francisco Bay. While thoroughly enjoying the sedate feeling of calmness amongst this newly intimate territory, I began to outline my days work looking over materials. Laptop open, hot coffee in hands, succulent, creamy and extra-large. An enormous bowl of coffee soup. My senses quickly became alert and activated. I drifted my eyes over the iced coffee to my left, iced tea and chilled bottled waters to my right and the extra warm cup of happiness snuggled close to my chest. My breakfast – typical and liquid – despite the atmosphere smelling fragrant and rich with freshly baked muffins, pastries and cookies. The aroma I can appreciate but not consume at this hour.

In general my meals are later in the day and into the evening. I am not at all a morning eater, never have been. I specifically have a strong distaste for anything too sweet in reference of something you must chew and swallow in the mornings. Most children will eat cereal with no complaints as a favored breakfast. I was definitely not one of those children and did not grow into an adult who appreciated it either. My off-to-school morning meal was – different. To this day, only once or twice a month will I awaken ravenous and desire solid food. Even then, nothing syrupy or frosted. The thought of consuming donuts for instance would be appalling. A healthy, cold, fruit smoothie will bring about the same response – gross – and although not categorized as something sweet, eggs are also nauseating until at least lunch. In other words, for the most important meal of the day, I am a pain in the ass.

Accurately I would be best described as a “morning drinker” wanting only cold H20, tea and coffee – both cold and hot. Real milk, skim preferably, frothed and poured into my coffee are main sources of my morning nutrition. A few hours later I might reach for a giant, plain “real French” croissant and something mellow like hard cheese or Greek yogurt as an accompaniment.

Other Writers, or so I conjecture, took spots in their area’s with choices of tables, booths, couches or large, high backed, leather chairs. A few of the younger ménage, I guess correctly to be college students, stationed themselves on overstuffed pillows and bean bags. With my giant spread of beverages before me, a large glowing screen in front of my face, purse, lip gloss, gum, cell phone, headset, books, and other equipment, a lady in her mid fourties with so many items – a table suited me best, thank you very much.

Everyone seated had a computer of some fashion, drinks, food or all three. There were nine of us in this section today and as the social chat began, writers identified, websites and business cards exchanged, the students eager to talk of their college majors and ambitions. Everything felt light and friendly. Someone was finishing up a play, others with articles, term papers, a thesis and two seasoned scholars working on their dissertations. All, regardless of job title, status, age, race or gender were there expressing creativity. It was cool. One Love.

After about twenty minutes the hello’s and how do you do’s faded back to our original activities. There were loads of textings, some barely audible whispering with the younger college crowd on the floor, and a steady, nearly constant, almost rhythmic tapping of keyboards. Filled with peace, true, though reserved and not noiseless.

Now and again in places such as these, someone leaves the sound of their cell phone on and nearly everyone jumps with each message, ergo the usage of the headset where music screenings can and do completely block them out. Some use MP3 Players while others prefer the natural ambient sounds of this hangout where the loudest people speaking, although quietly, are staff working their expansive coffee bar. Even then you cannot tell what is being said, the sound properties are perfect here.

The customers slowly creeped up the aisles for reading materials, seen though silent,  entranced and focused. The building was fresh, comfortable and cozy, setting my spirit into a placid, meditative mood. I began what I thought would be the March 2013 article for this Domain, one that I will continue to research, finish and publish at another time. I was distracted suddenly. Anyone not sporting the forementioned headphones were thrown off. An unexpected muse walked into the center of this harmonious nook, somewhat disruptively, sitting at the round table in the middle.

Although a party of 3 (four if you count the sleeping infant in a stroller) they sat down at the largest table, with at least a dozen or so chairs around its form, generally taken by larger groups of people and sometimes reserved for role playing / intellectual imagination / card gamers. This bunch was a very young lady, about twenty years old I guessed along with a girl about seven, a boy around four, and a baby girl (I later asked) who was five months old. I wondered if they were waiting on friends. That must be it I thought, no one would take that huge table with all the chairs if it were just themselves.

Glancing up every now and again, the eldest that I assumed to be the mother of the three children had a headful of gorgeous hair that was black with shades of violet, fuchsia and lime colors artfully added in. She had it styled beautifully, I found it quite lovely. Dressed entirely in black including her boots and black painted fingernails, the contrast of very light blue eyes made her look futuristic and interesting. This was an unique individual. She looked as if she had spent alot of time on her appearance. She did not look like the mother of three. I then guessed this might be the nanny or an older sibling with a huge age gap. I could not help but wonder if maybe she were a musician, possibly in a band. My mind drifted in wonderment, Lead Vocalist? Guitarist? Drummer? Bassist?

It was nothing personal but when I saw there were children I immediately put on my headset. The children were quite loud as they were seated (they are kids after all) but I tuned them out within seconds. An hour passed, they all still sat alone. No one was there to meet them. Maybe their parents were shopping and this was a safe place to put them? Time marched on and finally hungry I removed the headphones and bought myself a Yoplait ™GrΣΣk Yogurt, Croissant and Apple Juice. Sitting down I could hear those in the middle bickering somewhat. Considering it none of my business I put my phones back on, ate my 2nd breakfast and immersed myself in The Gaither Vocal Band trying not to lose my writers momentum.

Thirty minutes passed, I could tell something was going on from the looks on people’s faces. I could also see this trio (excluding still sleeping baby) were all talking, the little girl making big hand gestures that looked like they could be arguing. The eldest had her back to me, cell phone constantly in her hands with hours of texting. I wondered how long her battery would last. Turning around and standing up I could see her eyes which were perfectly lined Gothic style, despite her beauty she looked very sad.

By this time the original group of people were down to me and two others. When the goth girl stood up to order lunch a man across from me and over to the right declared, “Did you hear any of that? She is crazy and those kids aren’t right!” The woman across the room and to the left of me nodded her head in agreement though she said nothing. The man spoke again, “You should listen to what those children are saying to her, it is the weirdest conversation I have ever eavesdropped on, what a bunch of freaks!” I did not know what to think. San Francisco, California people are not usually the type to give you an earful of malicious gossip, many still strongly embrace the Hippie Culture of the Sixties. I looked at both of these people, technically strangers but in on something that I was not because I had missed a large portion of the show, listening to Gold City, The Hopper’s, The Isaac’s, The Gaithers and then Talk Radio while working. Talk radio – the irony – when a dramatic talk was happening right before me unknown.

These kids sat back at the large table and began eating. The baby was held affectionately while being fed a bottle of red colored juice, emo gal picked at her salad, paying the most attention to the infant. Standing, I crossed the room to throw away some trash and as I went by paused and said the baby was adorable. Emo girl beamed a set of dimples and said thank you. I asked how old the baby was and she said five months. Grinning at the baby girl who had pulled away from her bottle to smile and giggle at me was a precious sight. This infant seemed happy and was obviously well taken care of as well as the other children devouring their wraps and chocolate milk. I said good day, walking back to my table.

I took notice that each child had a book, the goth girl a notebook and pen. Interesting I thought, she’s writing old school. Deep! Maybe it is filled with poetry. I looked up at the clock, still waiting to see what the big deal was about them. Nothing too out of the ordinary yet except a girl who was very polite, 2 kids, a baby, a stroller and a diaper bag. Seemed innocent enough.

Then it started.

“You wear too much make-up!” and “Are you a slut?” My head turned sharply towards the man who was talking with me earlier. He was now gearing his questions towards goth girl trying to antagonize her. Was this really the person who claimed he was so-and-so of the website blog he gave me a card to earlier? Why would he pick a fight with someone so much younger than himself? Why would he speak like that in front of children? I felt it coming – 1,2,3 – anger! He is a bully I thought, and I am going to say something, but before I could Emo girl shot him back an intense line of curse words any stand up comic would pay good money for use in a skit.

I said “Go Girl!” as the woman who was nodding before now stood up quickly, grabbed her things and left smirking. The man huffed first at the Goth girl and then me. Unlike the girl he tried to intimidate, I met him eye-to-eye, giving him a look that said “yeah, say something to me bitch – I dare you!” He turned away quickly while I shook my head at him speaking loudly, “You should be ashamed of yourself!” He put his head deeper into his laptop and ignored me. I was ready for more, he clearly wasn’t. Goth girl laughed. I decided to order another iced tea thinking this jackass would look wonderful showcasing it poured over his head.

Sitting back at table with my cold, golden-brown elixer, I glanced towards where the domineering putz had been sitting and saw he had left. I looked over at goth girl and she laughed saying, “As soon as you had your back turned he practically ran out of here!” I chuckled though I was still annoyed that a grown man who was at least in his late 30’s would try and fight with someone so young and vulnerable. Well I got your business card now you loser, I bet you never win any Scepter Awards, laughing at my own “inner monologue” albeit without a sound. I sent out some texts and a email if anyone knew him. Outside of a old article about fishing and a blog that had not been updated since 2009, nothing could be found on him. More than likely he had been mean to her to make himself feel like a bigger man, more successful, powerful. He was and is a schmendrick. Golly, I hope he is reading this.

Curiousity got the best of me, the kids were still there, the baby now nibbling on a cookie. “Are ya’ll here alone?” got a return reply of “You aren’t from California are you?” Cheerfully I said no while she said yes, they were alone and came here as a way of escaping. The next thing I knew she was telling me her story, something people have done for years. I think I missed my calling as a Therapist. She kept talking as my belongings were moved onto her table, the largest table, the center of the room, our California Coffee Cosmos.

I asked her if there had been a fight earlier with this man and she said several of the people in the room were attacking her, except for me and the students. This last man was the meanest but telling him sternly that he should be ashamed of himself was enough to make him tuck his tail between his legs and leave. I found this all amusing as did Goth girl who’s name is really Kendall. She said not long after they sat down a male voice called out, “your hair looks stupid!” followed by laughter, all of this I was oblivious to. Just then the little girl piped in with “it does look stupid” jumping back down, chasing and hiding under the tables with her younger brother. Kendall lowered her jaw, they are my half sister and brother. We don’t like each other, my step mother saw to that a long time ago.

I changed the gears of the conversation. You said that you came here to escape, what are you escaping from Kendall? She looked up and said, “Do you want the long version or the short version?” I replied, that any version was fine, positioning myself in the chair to prepare for whatever I was about to hear. The chorus of her half-siblings singing a made up song called “she is stupid and so is her hair, she has holes in her underwear.” it was hard to keep a straight face if not impossible. Kids can be rotten but this duo underfoot were the Queen and King of Bratness. “They do that all the time” was Kendall’s reaction to the song.

Inhaling sharply she began speaking. Her mother died when she was two in a car accident, her father raised her and remarried her step mother when she was seven. The step mother was the genetic mother of the floor crawling spawn. Kendall was now 19 and the baby was her child and not another sibling. The father of the baby turned out to be the step mothers cousin. Sadly Kendall’s dad died nearly two years ago from a bad heart and while Kendall suffered in grief, still a minor with no real family to claim her, no one to love her outside of God, the step mothers cousin who was living in the pool house, got her drunk and took advantage of her. She was crying outside on the patio, filled with the pain of loss, still distraught from her fathers death. The step mothers cousin offered her alcohol cleverly disguised in grape soda until she was intoxicated and completely out of her mind. This led to what is technically termed, Statutory Rape. It only took one time for her to become pregnant and it was her very first time. What a tangled web so tightly woven.

When her period was late he took her to a clinic, confirming the pregnancy and demanded she abort the baby. Kendall having life inside her, a real genetic relative, a common bond for the first time since her father died, she could not take her babies life. This cousin of the step mother, the birthfather of this baby, moved out of the pool house that very evening, hours after finding out he was going to be a father, fleeing somewhere to Europe in a matter of days. Kendall was not heartbroken, this was not a love story, she had no feelings for him. She knew he was leaving and liked that she was inconveniencing him. She did not love him but she did love her baby and that was all that mattered to her. She smiled and said, “I felt blessed, I thought I should be crying or angry but I just felt blessed and for the first time in my life, important, like I had a purpose.”

The darling baby girl reached for me, practically falling into my arms. I made her cackle with my baby talk as Kendall told more of her life. “We, meaning the baby and I are only here a few more weeks, I have been accepted at a school out east, and have everything lined up. I start school in the summer. My father left me in his will and me and the baby are well taken care of. We are going to be okay. I’ve been waiting on this since I was four months pregnant, I am so excited we are getting away and I am going to a real college!” Sipping another strawful of tea I asked, “and what does your step mother say about all of this?” Kendall’s expression changed. “She really hates me and the baby. She has never held her. It is not that she hasn’t been given an opportunity, she just won’t hold her.” My step mother is mean, she always was but the birth of my baby made things even worse. She does not want to admit that she is actually related to my baby girl. I probably have been called a whore every day to my face since I told her I was pregnant. I had to have a cab drive us home from the hospital when my baby was born, my step mother would not come and get me or send a driver. She also says the baby is not her cousins but he refused a DNA test, and ran away to another country, but they know she is his, duh, I have been with one man, one time and now I have one little baby! My doctor said he could even swab my step mother and the test might show relation, she wouldn’t do it.” Somehow I was not surprised.

I looked through my case of attorney business cards and handed one over to her, someone in the area I trusted, stressing that she needed this all to be legal. The birthfather could come back and claim the baby and take her away or make things very complicated for her. She promised to call the lawyer the next day. “Might I make a suggestion” I asked? But before I could she answered “you want me to wear regular clothes and get these colors out of my hair right?” I nodded yes and she smiled saying she had intended to anyway, claiming she dressed this way and wore her hair and make-up goth style because it was a reflection of her sadness and also made her step mother insanely irritated. I fell apart laughing on her last two words.

Her eyes lit up, “we are leaving Good Friday and traveling until Easter Sunday. It is going to be a rough few days but we will manage.” Her arm moved, shifting the notebook where I could see another book that I had not noticed before beneath it. She quickly put it back into place looking around nervously. Did I see that happen? Being myself I just asked, “is that a Bible underneath your notebook?” Kendall looked uneasy and a little frightened answering with a one word “yes”. “Those other people laughed at me about that too. Because they saw I had a Bible.” Puzzled I asked if she meant the people that were sitting with me in the beginning, “yes” she said, “them”. So much for my earlier “One Love” statement, I thought sighing. Kendall spoke up, “I might not look like one Sheri, but I am a Christian and worship Jesus Christ.” I opened my purse immediately, taking out my N.I.V. Bible saying “darlin, I too am a believer and this is your sword, don’t ever cover it up or be reluctant to carry it, this is the Word of God!”

Kendall smiled recognition, looked down at her watch and said they must go. Her step mother would be home soon and she needed to drive them all back. I asked her why she came here instead of a park or a childrens pizza place. Her answer left me paralyzed, “I feel close to my parents, they met here a long time ago, I wish I could remember being with her but I don’t. My dad brought me here, just the two of us several times a year. We would talk mostly about my mother, he still loved her, we always sat at this table. I want to be just like him but not married to someone wicked.” Instantly I thought of the song “I want to be that man” by Brian Free and Assurance. I asked her if she had ever heard it, saying no I searched and found it on YouTube as she plugged her headphones and listened. The look on her face told me she loved the words and music.

As the song drew to the end, I felt it was time we had a talk with the Creator and asked if we could pray together. By now we had an audience of scoffers. “That is such Bullshit!” a male voice threw out aimed at us. I shouted back “You wouldn’t be such a cynic if you saw my paycheck, God takes care of his own!” The room again fell silent. My accent strong enough to scare them into submission – RebeL YeLL! Kendall and I hugged and through the doorway she, the baby and those two little monsters followed out into the evening, stepping into a newer model and flashy BMW, “my Lawd!” was all I could think.

Going back to the table I bundled everything up and headed back to where I was staying while on this writing assignment. Mulling it over in my mind, I decided not to write on the subject I had been focusing on for weeks and instead tell the tale of Kendall.

Today is Good Friday and my thoughts have been on this young traveling Christian girl, her baby and new life she is creating for herself and child this very weekend. I know God watches over his people, surrounds them with angels, and showers pure love to the outcast and discarded. I understand what that feels like. Listen up! You never know when God may call upon you to step up, shout out, and shelter another Brother or Sister in Christ. Have you been listening or ignoring? Be ready to hear. Be ready to see with eyes wide open. Be ready to speak and pray if the Lord calls upon you.

Good Friday Love – Happy Easter – He is Risen – May God Bless All Here!

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