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Michelle tugged at the bottom of her form-fitting yellow suit jacket. "What you're going to get, sister girl, is leftovers." Tonya, Michelle's team leader, was smart, but common sense avoided home girl like the plague. She held the key to Michelle getting the promotion that was due her, but at this moment, Michelle didn't care. She was going to say what was on her mind. She put her hands on her hips.
"No disrespect to Dr. Phil, but I'm telling you what I learned at the school of hard knocks. You have to tell people, 'No thank you.' You keep inviting yourself to leftovers and toilet scrubbing, that's what you'll get. And it won't be anybody's fault but yours."
She stared at Tonya. Really, she hadn't said half of what she wanted to say. Michelle really wanted to tell Tonya that she was sick of her. She was tired of the woman walking back and forth in front of her desk to check up on her like she was the work police. She was tired of Tonya acting like she knew it all, especially like she had a personal hotline to Jesus. She was sick of Tonya acting like she lived on her own personal cross with a halo on her head. And if she heard Tonya say, "Praise the Lord!" one more time, Michelle wasn't sure she would be able to keep herself from jumping the desk and going crazy on her hair-always-pulled-back, cross-wearing, plain-suit-with-no- jewelry-wearing, flat-shoe-wearing, boring, whining, pseudo-boss!
Tonya shook her head. She was always shaking her head. "Well, Michelle, I'm sure that there's some truth to what you're saying." Michelle watched her but blocked out her words. It was kind of like the teacher on the Charlie Brown cartoons. Just a lot of noise, like wah, wah, wah-wah-wah-wah. She didn't even know why she bothered talking to Tonya. It just ticked her off anyway. Besides, Tonya was in her forties-probably breathing down fifty's neck— and it wasn't like she was going to change or anything. It really didn't matter anyway. . . just as long as Tonya didn't say, "Praise the Lord!" Michelle would be able to hold it together as long as Tonya just didn't say, "Praise the Lord!"
Please, please, Michelle thought. Just don't let me lose it up in here, up in here!
Tonya kept shaking her head and droned on. "It's so much easier for you, Michelle. You're young, still in your twenties. No responsibilities.
Trouble hasn't even put a wrinkle on your face." Tonya laid her hand on her chest. "I mean, I've got a son and I know he's almost grown, but I just can't kick him out. I can't just get what I need first then give him what's left over. He's my baby, I'm his mother, I have to look out for him first."
Everything about Tonya irritated Michelle. She was too much like a chocolate-covered June Cleaver, recently escaped from the old Leave It to Beaver television show. Even Tonya's desk got on her nerves. It was so predictable. There was a light-yellow-ceramic framed picture of the woman's two sons. Next to it was a yellow vase and yellow tissue holder. There was an assortment of pens and pencils in a yellow cup.
It made Michelle shudder. She shrugged her shoulders. "What is it that he's doing to you? You can't count on any man. Not even your son. That's why I work-so I will never be under any man's thumb. I'll say it again: Cinderella is a lie. Prince Charming will just eat your food, then leave you to go sit at someone else's table." Tonya shook her head again. "You just don't understand. But—"
Michelle held her breath. Don't let her say it. Please don't let her say it—not PTL. I will lose it up in here.
"But that's not even why I stopped by to talk to you. I just wanted to remind you to watch the personal phone calls. You know personal phone calls really irritate Mrs. Judson. We want to make sure that everything is in order so you can get your promotion. But don't worry, Michelle."
Michelle squinted her eyes. Just what she needed, another visit from the telephone police. And if she was going to be the telephone police, Tonya needed a new uniform. How could anyone be so plain, so gray, so lackluster? She relaxed her shoulders-maybe Tonya wasn't going to say it.
"No, I wouldn't worry, Michelle. Because, Praise the Lord—" Michelle wasn't sure how she got to the other side of her desk. But faster than a speeding bullet and swifter than a thousand midnights, she leaped-no, dove (or could it more aptly be described as scrambled?) forward-her eyes red and her nostrils flared. Whatever the case, there she was clutching Tonya by the throat. "I am sick of this and I am sick of you!" She couldn't take any more-it felt like a million years of her nerves being worked. It was too many years of working in positions where people thought she was their personal flunky. It was too many years of being passed over for promotion just to now have her chance at a new life blocked by an uptight holy roller-especially one that was probably a hypocrite, just like all the rest. Just like her own mother.
Michelle shouted and drew back her hand to slap Tonya, but with all the agility of a martial arts expert, Tonya slipped away. Then, just like in the cartoons, they ran around the desk, papers flying everywhere. If Michelle wasn't so angry, she would have laughed hysterically. They had to look like Tom and Jerry scurrying about. Instead of laughter, though, all she could think were acrid thoughts of shutting down Tonya's endlessly nagging voice. When Michelle got her hands on Tonya, she was going to slap her back to reality!
Tonya turned and hauled bootie. Michelle had never seen a bun bob up and down like that. First they ran around the office area several times, knocking books off of desks. They even sent a computer monitor crashing to the floor, where the screen disintegrated into tiny shining silver shards of glass. Each time Michelle reached for Tonya, the woman somehow managed to elude her grasp. Then the circle broadened and they ran around the outer ring of the office. Michelle would never have expected Tonya was in good enough shape to keep running so long-but fear had been known to transform people.
By their last lap around the outer circle, all the executives were standing in the doorways of their offices, including the business owner, Mrs. Judson. The CEO stood with arms folded, an eyebrow lifted and frozen into place. She wore the cool scowl that was her trademark-along with an ultra conservative suit that looked like it was a designer original-but she didn't speak or lift a finger as she watched Michelle chase Tonya out of the office and into the lobby. When they passed by the bank of elevators, Michelle noticed Shadrach, a brother-an upright, single brother-and a contract worker in the building, was standing just in front of a set of doors. He waved, as best he could with an arm full of packages, while they ran past, like he was waving at a parade.
Just beyond the elevators, Tonya bolted down the stairs. Michelle kept grabbing, but couldn't get Tonya as she flew down the stairs behind her. The Bible-thumping fuddy-duddy was in great shape!
All the running and pounding down the stairs-Michelle's heels clack, clacking, while Tonya's thud, thudded-was putting some wear on the heels of Michelle's new pumps, but she didn't care. It was going to be worth it to rid the world of Tonya. Soon they were out on the street. Tonya was almost kicking herself in the behind, she was running so fast, but Michelle was keeping up. It just seemed no matter how she turned on the steam, Tonya stayed out of her grasp.
They passed by a policeman on a corner who tipped his hat and laughed. They crossed the street and out of the corner of her eye Michelle noticed Trench, her hot and steaming bad-boy-toy, riding by on a bus. He was looking fine as always-his skin chocolate-y smooth and his wavy hair short and well-groomed. If she had had the time, she would have crooked her finger and called him from the bus, but-she looked ahead of her at Tonya's feet kicking up dirt and trash on the city sidewalk-right now she had her hands full! A few blocks down the street, Tonya saw her husband-well, her soon to be ex-husband-Todd, with roses in his hand, sitting at a table in a restaurant. He looked as though he were about to stand, looked as though he was about to start asking questions, asking her if what she was doing was the right thing to do, but Michelle didn't have time to explain or chitchat with him, because. She was so close! So close to Tonya. Michelle pumped her arms and legs, gaining on the woman.
She had her! Michelle leapt and grabbed— Beep-beep-beep-beep! Michelle bolted up right in the bed. Her hand was drawn back in the air. Dreaming. She'd been dreaming! No job was worth this, not even one with a promotion! Hitting the button that turned off the clock alarm, she turned so that her feet landed on the floor, then held her head. She was still a little foggy. "This is crazy," she mumbled to herself. "Absolutely crazy!" Now she was dreaming about personal phone calls. Work was taking over her home time.
Besides, she was getting her work done. What was the issue? It was just Todd and sweet old Miz. Ida-Miz Ida who was always her backbone, who had practically raised her, who usually kept her from going postal on Tonya and the rest of the pit crew-and Trench, sometimes.
But obviously, what was making Michelle really crazy wasn't Tonya monitoring the calls. Michelle tilted her head to the right and then to the left; she could hear the muscles and tendons in her neck and back popping and cracking. All this was too much! It was Tonya-Miss Praise the Lord herself ! Mrs. Judson and the phone calls were bad enough, but Tonya just wore her out.
If it weren't for that stupid promotion and the power it held over her, dangling wildly over her head like the proverbial carrot. . . If it weren't for the job, there wouldn't be any pressure. Michelle couldn't deny it; she wanted the chance at a promotion. Sure she did. It was her breakthrough.
She pushed back the covers of her sleep-tossed bed and prepared herself to get up and get going.
Was it really worth it all? Sure, the job was an upwardly mobile position, which made it easier to get promoted. She needed the job. What she didn't need was Tonya, her very own self-appointed, do-good- all-the-time missionary.
Belief in God wasn't the issue. Michelle didn't need anyone treating her like she didn't know God. He knew her heart. It just wasn't necessary to be a holy roller twenty-four hours a day seven days a week. It was like having Todd at work and that-too much Jesus stuff-was exactly why the two of them were separated. She was tired of people like him in her life telling her how she should do things, telling her that she always had to be good. Bump Todd, bump Tonya, bump them all!
Michelle got up from the bed and stomped to the bathroom as though there was someone to hear her. As she stepped from her warm bedroom rug onto the cold tile of her bathroom floor, the big checkerboard pattern of black-and-white tiles offered no comfort to her feet. She winced and stepped gingerly forward. Her feet clapped against the floor, sounding almost like Miz Ida's hands had sounded years ago clapping in the church Michelle had been forced to go to with her from time to time-after her momma got religion. That was a joke, too. Her momma was just another hypocrite-after years of doing wrong, suddenly everyone expected her to forgive her mama. They wanted Michelle to play along and act like her momma was suddenly qualified for the big-hat-church-sister club. Well, there was a time when she herself had wanted to go, when she got religion herself. But she could never get passed her momma. It was too much to swallow. Her momma sitting in church made it hard for Michelle to find her own way to God-but that was a story for another morning. Michelle opened the patterned-glass shower door and turned the water on hard and hot. She didn't need someone telling her how to live her life-enough of her young years had been spent with people doing that, with people eating from the table at her expense. A job with a future that would bring in more cash was good, but at what price? She stepped into the steam and under the water. It ran down her soft, supple skin and rushed to the floor, forming warm puddles beneath her feet.
Michelle mused over her life-where she was and where she was going. There was one thing about which there was no doubt. No one was going to control her or hurt her again. That, she was certain of; it was definitely not negotiable. She had been hurt and misused as a child when she couldn't fight for herself. But no one was ever going to control her or hurt her again.
Michelle took a rough loofah from the plastic loop just to the right of the showerhead. She had promised herself she would not get used again, and it was a promise she was going to keep. She pulled the cracked shower door closed. Nothing was worth being used. Not marriage. Not her family. Not even a job. No one was going to use her. No one.That was Michelle's last thought before the hot water completely enveloped her and translocated her into an imaginary spa, and for the briefest of moments she was insulated from the toil of thought and worry by the comfort of the steamy water's tender caress. She sighed and drifted into a moment of tranquility beneath the cascade of water that washed her worries off and sent them swirling down into the drain.
Posted September 11, 2011
I read this book several years ago, and i enjoyed it from the very start. I love the introdruction; "Just as there are seasons in nature, there are seasons in our lives." So true. We all will face struggles - just like the seasons it will pass. And with GODS help we will overcom! Bishop T.D. Jakes understands and has a true compassion towards women. Awesome author!
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Posted August 9, 2011
Posted April 9, 2013
Posted April 30, 2009
This is the first time I have read abook by T.D. Jakes. The only reason I got this book was because it was in the clearance section and I was looking for something to go with my other books I was buying. I think that the book was great and it really touched my heart. There were some things that I was able to relate to in it and that helped me in making that connection with some of the characters. The next time I buy more books I will look to see what else Mr. Jakes has to offer.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 25, 2007
I really enjoyed this book! I had my biases about the book before reading it. Therefore, it took me some time to get into it. However, I found myself not wanting to put it down. I could see myself in each character at different stages in my life. More importantly, I could see the young women I work with in this book. I'm excited to purchase a copy for all 30 ladies. Moral of the story... It's A Woman's Prerogative to Change Her Mind...through Christ all things are possible... we need each other in order to survive. I simply loved it... because I love to see God move in people lives.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 14, 2004
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! As a matter-of-fact, I read it in one evening. I am a Christian bookseller and I recommended it to several customers, two of which gave it rave reviews and also read it in one setting. Was it overly 'preachy'? No, not in my opinion. As a Christian, it reminded me that we all have many roles that we play and they may not all go so smoothly, but that God and His laborers are there to help. It speaks to taking down our 'masks' and allowing ourselves to receive the ministry and healing that we need.
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Posted September 25, 2004
I really enjoyed the style of writing that the author used. In many spots, it was as if I was listening to one of his ministry tapes. It was a good story, despite the fact that I would have liked more detail about the characters. I would still recommend it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 14, 2004
I think this book was poorly written. This book did not catch my attention at all. To me it also didn't have a good message. The plot was ok, but it could have been written better. I thought this book was going to reach women's hearts more. Well, this is just my opinion.
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Posted January 5, 2004
Posted February 21, 2004
Posted January 16, 2004
Great book, that touches mainly on issues hidden behind women's outward appearance. Bishop Jakes explores the lives of 4 women with reflection on women today, but we never quiet get to know what eventually happens in two of the older Characters who also have a lot of issues that are not neccesarily reflected in the Tonya and Mitchell.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 3, 2003
This book was amazing!! I found a lot of myself in each women in the book. It amazes that T.D. Jakes always seems to know how a woman is feeling and touch her soul.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 5, 2003
Posted September 18, 2003
I REALLY ENJOYED COVER GIRLS FROM THE BEGINNING TO THE END. IT HELD MY ATTENTION AND I DIDN'T WANT IT TO END. IT IS SOUL FULLFILLING AND IT TOUCH MY HEART. I LOVE THE WAY THE WOMEN HELPED EACH OTHER DURING THEIR TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS. THIS IS A BOOK I DID NOT WANT TO RUSH, I TOOK MY TIME TO LET EVERY WORD SINK INTO MY HEART. IT WAS HARD FOR ME TO PUT IT DOWN, AND I PLAN TO READ IT AGAIN. IT IS SO AWESOME ONCE YOU FOCUS ON GOD, AND PUT HIM FIRST, EVERYTHING COMES TOGETHER WHEN YOU PUT YOUR TOTAL TRUST IN GOD.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 4, 2003
T. D. Jakes' makes you realize that when dealing with people there is always more to how someone responds toward you and situations in general than what you think. As a christian at times it may be hard to do and to continue to do the right thing according to God's will but He is faithful and as long as you trust and lean on Him then He'll bring you through. This theme runs throughout this book it really is a fantastic read you will find yourself going through different emotions and in the end you will feel fulfilledWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 14, 2003
Bishop Jakes has a winner. I felt by the end of the book I new all the ladies. I like the way their different circumstances all seemed to entertwine and come together revealing the different levels of faith or lack there of, which formed the various solutions to the various circumstances. NOTE: the Publisher weekly was incorrect, there are only 2 African American women working in the office, the boss (Delores) is Caucasian. But even her circumstances entertwine with the others. I just wish Miz Ida had the opportunity to meet them all. The book is a true blessing. I hope to see something else soon by Bishop Jakes.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 25, 2003
Problems do not differentiate between class and culture. The boss is just as likely to have them as the worker, and the person with the answer might not always be the one who appears to have it all. This is the case as the lives of several divergent women intersect and they discover hope and understanding crossing lines of race, class, and position. A rich woman finds friendship and hope with women she believed beneath her, and wisdom is found in unexpected places. .......... **** I hope this is the beginning of a new career for Bishop Jakes, packaging his misinterpretatations of the Bible in fictional form, thereby diluting their potential harm. Although there are several positive messages conveyed, there is at least one misuse of Biblical terms that might be applicable to his story, but could be dangerous if used in a more factual sense. ****Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 19, 2003
I've read reviews of how powerful this book is, that it tears down all kinds of barriers. I wouldn't expect any less from Bishop Jakes! While I'm waiting, I've been reading the books recommended. EXCELLENT!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 12, 2009
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Posted September 8, 2011
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