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Chantell Meyers's father is on his deathbed. Desperate to somehow save him, hantell makes a promise to God that if He allows her father to live, she will become a better person. Now that her father has pulled through, she is determined to keep her word. But soon Chantell is faced with a series of trials, temptations, and revelations that test her faith. After she decides to stop having sex until she gets married, her boyfriend's response is devastating: he two-times her. Forced to break up with him, Chantell ...
Chantell Meyers's father is on his deathbed. Desperate to somehow save him, hantell makes a promise to God that if He allows her father to live, she will become a better person. Now that her father has pulled through, she is determined to keep her word. But soon Chantell is faced with a series of trials, temptations, and revelations that test her faith. After she decides to stop having sex until she gets married, her boyfriend's response is devastating: he two-times her. Forced to break up with him, Chantell finds that the harder she tries to keep her promise to God and be a better person, the more complicated her life becomes. It is only by relinquishing her desire to "have it all" that Chantell is able to get everything she's ever wanted.
It was a Tuesday afternoon, I'd say about 12:45, and my next appointment was near my parents' home. I had a little over an hour to kill, and a serious craving for a fruit salad. My stepmother, Charlotte, who I'd known was in Portland visiting her sister, had a knack for picking the sweetest fruit in the market.
I remember a rich Sarah Vaughan-sounding voice flowing through my speakers as I pulled into my parents' driveway. I closed my eyes and listened as the old sounds merged with the new over a smooth melodic rhythm. When I turned off the engine, I was still trying to figure out who was singing. I took my Dior sunglasses from my eyes and placed them atop my shoulder-length mane just so. I walked up the driveway with a click-click sound coming from the heels of my shoes.
The lawn's long blades of vibrant green grass swayed lightly with the breeze. I chuckled because I couldn't believe that my Home Depot-loving, do-it-yourself father had let it grow so long. Daddy was serious about his lawn, but I'd caught him sleeping on the job. I was going to tease him about it too, as soon as I got in the house. I smoothed out my white linen pants with my hands and passed through the garage.
I opened the door and yelled from the kitchen, "Dad!" My mouth started to water as I wondered if there were any mangoes in the fruit bowl. "Dad, it's me, Chantell, your most favorite daughter. You home?"
I walked into the living room, past the pictures on the glass shelf. The picture of me and my boyfriend, Eric, stood out, probably because we were cheesing from ear to ear in front of Caesar's Palace. Eric was holding me over his head, me lying sideways like a lovely assistant in a Siegfried and Roy magic show.
"Daddy, where you at?"
I went upstairs and heard the television on in my parents' room. The bedroom door was cracked, and I pushed it open. "Dad."
Golf was on the TV, but I didn't see him. I walked in a few paces, and immediately felt faint when I saw his brown legs on the floor sticking out between the bed and the wall.
"Daddy!" His feet were still in his house slippers.
It felt like a dream. I ran over to the big almond-colored man in his late fifties. I knelt down and shook him, all six feet and 250 pounds of him, but he didn't respond. "Daddy! Daddy, get up!" My heart beat faster as the reality of that moment set in. "Come on, Daddy, don't do this. Wake up!"
His head was cold, and panic raced through me. "Daddy, please don't die. God, please!" I flashed back to my mother. Her funeral. I remembered sitting down in the front row with Grandma Hattie, some relatives, and my dad. Everyone was wailing, and I sat there looking up at the roof and ignoring the light teal casket with my mom in it. "Oh God no. Not again."
I wiped my dad's forehead. My mind went to the last time my grandmother took me to church before she got sick and passed away. She'd bought me a new green dress and I wore it proudly as I sat next to her on Sunday.
First my mother, then my grandmother, then my best friend Keith ... Then I broke down. "No! Noo! Nooo!" My voice was choking me, and I fought to speak. "What to do! What to do?" I felt under his jaw line for a pulse. There was a slight one.
"Daddy, listen to me," I said. "You can't leave me, okay? Okay?" He had dark circles around his eyes and he looked like he'd lost twenty pounds since I'd seen him a couple of days ago. I reached in my purse, found my phone, and dialed 911. With my father's head resting on my lap, I sat there calling his name until the ambulance arrived.
The prognosis wasn't good. Daddy had had a massive heart attack that required a triple bypass, and they'd found prostate cancer. Apparently, when he fell he hit his head, and he'd been unconscious for over an hour when I found him. As soon as we arrived at the hospital, the doctors rushed him into surgery and tried to clear the valves that led to his heart. A rush of uncertainty, instability, and loneliness came flowing back to me. I'd called Eric several times, but he wasn't picking up.
I asked the doctor what they were going to do about the cancer, and he said that they had to do things one at a time. Once they got Daddy's heart working, they'd get him started on chemotherapy. I was a complete mess, and that didn't make me feel any better.
My father, my compadre, lay unconscious as I sat by his bed. Tubes were sticking out of everywhere, and machines were beeping. I didn't know what to do. I'd called my stepmother, Charlotte, and she said she'd be on the next plane back to California. But why had she left him in the first place if he was sick?
Signs were plastered all over the walls, saying, "No Cellular Phone Use." I picked up the tan phone from the bedside table and pulled it over to the window.
"Eric, it's me, Chantell, again. I wish you would answer the phone. I'm really going through it, Daddy just got out of surgery and he is on a breathing machine." My words felt again like they were choking me. "They have operated on his heart, and he has cancer." I broke down. "Eric, call me, okay? I'm at Summit Medical Center, the second floor, room 231, okay? Bye." I hung up.
The physician attending to my father walked into the room in green scrubs and Reeboks. I asked him what was going to happen next for my dad. When he looked at me and suggested I call my relatives, I just blocked him out. When he hinted that they weren't even sure if Daddy would wake up, I told him off good. Then I marched straight down to the nurses' ward.
"Who is the chief of staff?"
"That would be Dr. Lambert," said a nurse with a smile.
"Well, get him. I'd like to speak to him," I said.
"Ma'am, I'm sorry, that is not possible."
"All things are possible!" I screamed through my tears. "Now go get him! Go get him right now!" My arms were outstretched and moving all around limply. "I will not call my relatives! I will not call anyone!" The nurse ran from around the station and put her arms around me.
I cried out, "And I, I, I'm not going to! So you just- So-"
"Ma'am! Dr. Lambert's in Atlanta."
In my father's hospital room, I rested my head on his bed, and thought back. He'd done a good job of raising me. I'd blocked out a lot of my really early years, but I remembered how miserable my father was after my mother died. He was trying to raise me, take care of the bills, the house, and the garage. Folks said he gave me too much, and that I was spoiled. But my grandmother said I wasn't spoiled. She said I just had the gift of gab, like her. My dad would say we were having meatloaf and mashed potatoes for dinner, and I'd talk him into pepperoni pizza and jawbreakers for dessert.
I laid my head on my dad's bed and smiled. I remembered Grandma also used to say that she thought I'd end up marrying Keith Talbit, an ashy little boy from church. She said we matched like hot and cold. She said that when you put us together, we could surely warm a room. I didn't know about all of that, but we were best friends up until junior high. Then, just like Mom and Grandma, Keith left me too.
Anyway, just about four months after my mother died, my father met Charlotte. They married almost a year later. Charlotte and I got along pretty well. She treated me decent, and I liked that my dad seemed to be getting back to his old self. The three of us, we had our ups and downs, but we made it.
I looked at my daddy in his coma-like state, and it broke my heart. I looked up at the machine that monitored his heart. His life. And that was when it hit me. That's when I remembered. "All things are possible." My grandmother Hattie Brumwick's words came back to me like the north star returning to its place in the sky. When her words registered, I grabbed hold of them. My grandmother used to say, "When all else fails, call on God. He'll never leave you and He'll never forsake you."
I knelt down beside my dad's bed. "God, please. I hope you hear me. Spare my dad. Please. He's all that I have. He's a good guy, God, he loves everybody." I hadn't prayed in years. And I didn't know if I was praying right.
"You won't be sorry if you heal him, Lord. I know you can do it. Because you can do all things." I hoped that God was listening.
"Through you everything is possible. And, God, forgive me for my attitude, and everything that I've done wrong. If you do this for me, and let him live, God, I will work hard to be a better person. I promise you I will. I promise."
Through the tears, I prayed harder, as I'd seen my grandmother do probably a hundred times. "Please, Lord, thank you for your intervention. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus ..."
Then I sort of zoned out, and I was on this consciously unconscious level. And I kept praying my grandmother's words. "Nothing is too hard for you, God. Through you everything is possible. You can do all things, God. Thank you, Jesus ..."
And I'll be darned if when I opened my eyes Daddy didn't turn his head toward me and whisper, "Hey, pumpkin. Whatcha know good?"
Excerpted from Sweet Bye-Bye by Denise Michelle Harris Copyright © 2004 by Denise Harris. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
|1||A New Beginning||1|
|2||My Mind's Eye||6|
|3||Workin' 9 to 5||14|
|6||Superwoman Needs a Spa Day||34|
|7||Tit for Tat||39|
|9||Operation: Tiffany Drop||46|
|11||Canun Does Chantell||50|
|12||A Better Time||54|
|14||Take a Stand||65|
|15||San Francisco's Got a Lot of Birds||68|
|17||Thank You and Good Night||80|
|19||Business as Usual||88|
|21||Sitting on the Dock||99|
|23||Let's Do Lunch||107|
|24||A Change in Plans||110|
|25||Dreaming of Zarina||114|
|26||Trying to Get a Grip||119|
|29||Change Goin' Come||130|
|30||Go Fly a Kite||137|
|31||What Is Love?||139|
|34||Pack Your Bags||155|
|35||Off to Darryl's||162|
|36||Setting the Record Straight||170|
|38||On the Road Again||177|
|40||When It's Over, It's Over||185|
|41||Focusing on Me||188|
|42||Trying to Stay Fed||191|
|45||C'est la Vie||202|
|46||The Dinner Party||205|
|47||Pick Me Up||208|
|48||Run for Your Life||210|
|49||Piece of Cake||218|
|52||Seek and You Shall Find||229|
|54||A Sweet Bye-Bye||236|
|56||The Conference Room||241|
|57||Thank You Very Much||243|
|58||You Make the Call||46|
|59||Sealing the Circle||248|
|Six Months Later||255|
Posted August 20, 2009
A wonderful and engaging storyline, well-developed characters and a three-dimensional protagonist make this a novel to inspire the reader. Once you realize that this is not going to be the same plot line of a materialistic woman the story gets your attention. The protagonist must learn to forget/release fear and search for and find faith. An inward look assists in unlocking true and lasting peace for the central character. There is plenty of drama to keep the novel real and keep it moving forward. The journey to true peace & wholeness is encouraged by the life lessons presented. A worthwhile read you will find in this novel, as the main character becomes transformed and made "new".
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 26, 2006
This book is a very good one. I usually read a ghetto suspenseful type book because it has drama and twist(which I must have...or thought I must have)But this book broaden my horizens to read spritual books. Though not as many twist and boughetto as I prefer them to be it still is on my best books list. Because I could barely put it down....I didn't even want to go to sleep for school the next morning because I needed to know what would happen next. So if your lookin for a spiritual book or a suspenseful one this is the book to get!
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Posted May 20, 2014
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Posted January 12, 2005
This book could not have arrived at a better time in this life. When people get so wraped up in living their lives through others eyes, we forget our whole reason for being here. This book is a reality check for those of us who needs an eye opener about what really matters.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 9, 2004
THIS BOOK WAS A JOY TO READ. IT HELPS YOU TO SEE, THAT NO MATTER WHAT YOU ARE FACED WITH, GOD GIVES YOU THE STRENGTH TO OVER COME. THERE ARE SO MANY LESSONS TO BE LEARNED IN THIS BOOK. I WILL SURELY PASS IN ON.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 7, 2004
The debut novel by Denise Michelle Harris captures and combines chick-lit and Christian fiction. I¿m still debating whether or not I like the way her mix turned out and I¿m truly not thrilled with the title and how it plays into the overall plot of the story. I think Ms. Harris is a talented writer but I can¿t help but wonder if she was pressured into the Christian Fiction genre for one reason or another. While I realize being Christian doesn¿t supercede being human, the actions of the protagonist often left me shaking my head in shock, disgust and disbelief. I¿m debating about sharing it with my book club of teen readers at church or making a push for it at some point, with my book club of adult women. Sweet Bye-Bye hasn¿t defined a clear reader¿s niche. The plot and premise behind the storyline didn¿t thrill me. Chantell is a twenty-something young lady who prides herself in her sense of style, material goods and her good-looking fiancé¿. No substance, just shellac, but amazingly she seems to be on top of her game at work. That is, until her nemesis tries to use her method and motive against her. Things turn ugly. Chantell is forced to look past the exterior, purchased perfections and face her ugly inner feelings. When her father suffers a near fatal heart attack, Chantell turns toward God. To honor her prayer request she vows to get her life in order and seeks both her childhood church and professional counsel. Though she suffered tragic incidents in her past she¿s finally able to open up and talk about them along with rekindling a relationship that was snuffed out before it had a chance to begin. I can¿t help but think this story line has been done before, but I thought the characterizations were well written. Chantell was memorable because she was someone I couldn¿t agree with. Sweet Bye-Bye is a well-written book. I think readers are looking for non-traditional takes on traditional themes. There was an equal a sense of ¿been there ¿ done that¿ as there was exciting variation, which is the only thing that compelled me to keep reading. I think if Ms. Harris¿ book is to do well, or if a second book is forthcoming, a more specific target for the reading audience should be defined.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.