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Social workers often reminisce about their first time “freezing”—the dreaded stillness from emotions so strong that they take the body hostage. Angela Lovelace is a well-trained social worker: she has been working for Child Protective Services in San Francisco for nearly five years and has never frozen, never had a sleepless night. But after she sees her father’s tattered picture on the apartment wall of a little boy whose addict mother just died, she must learn how to overcome the numbness—and sets out to uncover the truth. While Angela conducts her investigation, she finds her family and personal life spiraling down into brokenness; as she peels away layer after layer of secrets, her brother navigates the ravages of substance abuse, and her sister struggles with infertility. The Lovelace family must look to their faith in God and each other to discover their own resilience and put the pieces of their splintered lives back together again. Told from multiple perspectives across generations, Revelation explores how untreated mental illness and family secrets ricochet and can impact each and every family member—and the importance of perseverance, love, and hope.
|She Writes Press
|5.00(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)
About the Author
Bobi Gentry Goodwin is a native San Franciscan. The Bay Area was where she first discovered her love for people and their stories. She has held a passion for writing since early childhood, and as a clinical social worker her mission field has been working with women and children. She is a wife and mother of two and an avid member of her local church. She is also a member Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Goodwin currently resides in Livermore, California.
Prologue The sound of the gunshot reverberated in his head. The gunshot rang out and shook the antenna. The picture tube was fuzzy and the sound inaudible. Robert gazed into his younger brother’s frightened eyes. He was scared to go downstairs but aware of what he had to do. He stood strong. At only ten years old, he knew he had to be the one to face the unknown. He was the oldest. The first step down the staircase almost buckled his legs under- neath him. He called out to his mother and listened for her reply. The third call left his mouth in a whimper. His saliva was gone by the fifth beckoning. His family had escaped much. He wondered if the past was catching up to them. He walked past the telephone, never once glancing in its direction. He could hear his well-meaning neighbor Big Mama Angela Tee on the other line. Boy, you should have picked up the telephone and called me. He knew there was no time. Robert tiptoed toward the kitchen, which remained in disarray as if nothing had changed. But his stomachache told him something had. Robert’s mother had told him hours before to go upstairs and not come down. She had business to tend to. Robert hated the business- men who entered their home all hours of the day and night, leaving money for her and trailing behind them more drugs. The children at his school often identified their dreams for the future. Doctor, lawyer, businessman. Robert swore that when he became an adult he would never become a businessman. All the businessmen he knew only caused his family a familiar pain, like playing hot hands. Robert always knew what was coming, but he was never quick enough to change the outcome. Big Mama Angela Tee had tried to change things. She was a constant source of dinners when they didn’t have food. Clothes when they had none. A bed when he and his brother were left home alone. She provided love where it was missing. Although she was the strongest woman he’d ever met, she still couldn’t do anything about the reunification. She’d hated to return Robert and Randy back to their mother, but as their neighbor, she had no other choice. She was only a do-good church mother. The state had rendered a decision. Big Mama wasn’t a relative, and his mom was. Besides, the social worker said, his mother had fought tooth and nail to get them back. The boys were all she had left, and they belonged to her. Possession was nine-tenths of the law. Robert had swallowed his tears when his mother arrived to pick him up. He greeted her with a plastered-on smile and a lifeless hug. He loved her, but he didn’t want to live with her. Living with her was not like living at all. Living with her was dying—slowly. Before Big Mama was granted temporary custody, there was only one way, his mother’s way, but Big Mama Angela Tee had shown them another life. The life he’d always longed for. A world full of colors that was safe and secure. He was once blind to it, but now he could clearly see. His new vision had become the problem. He could no longer close his eyes. The past separations from his mother had led to small reunions with the hope of change; but the last time he was different, his eyes were different. He knew that nothing had changed. His mother was sober, smelled good, and was smiling. She had followed the directives of the court. Everyone was happy, but they didn’t notice. How could they not notice that her lips were painted red? The red lips had approached him and kissed him on the cheek, staining his face with the anger he felt inside. His blood had boiled. His ears and face had warmed. The adults said he was flushed. His social worker, Sharyn Melrose, laughed, saying it was written all over his face. She was well-meaning and kindhearted but couldn’t comprehend his truth. Robert’s feelings were written all over his face, but no one saw them except Big Mama. She knew. She had walked over and hugged her foster son and spoke softly in his ear, “I’m just a phone call away.” He knew she always was, but right now he couldn’t call. Robert walked slowly past the dirty dishes stacked on the kitchen table. “Mom?” he called. He could see splattered polka dots on the carpet as he sneaked past the refrigerator; it stopped him in his tracks. His mind was conflicted. Part of him wanted to go forward. Part of him wanted to run back. His stomach was the first part that reacted. The blood-stained carpet mixed with his vomit. He fell to his knees with his insides spewing out. He stood and turned his head away from the vomit. The smell startled him. Robert saw her red lips first. At first he thought her lipstick was smeared, but under closer inspection he could see the blood had trickled down. He could not scream. He could not cry. He looked at his mother’s body. The gun had fallen from her hand. Robert initially wanted to pick it up and join her in the great escape. He looked at her and looked at it. Slowly he took a step toward the gun, carefully glancing at his mother. He didn’t want her to see him playing with it, but he knew in his heart she couldn’t. He once again noticed her red lips—the red lips that had kissed him gently that day at the reunification center. He turned swiftly away from the gun and walked to his mother. Kissing her on the lips, he thanked her for freeing him to see other colors once again.