If and enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend. (Psalm 55:12)
The rain was gradually subsiding as I watched three kids across the street jump into a puddle of water. It had rained for three days and they were eager anticipating this day. A day they could get on with their carefree lives and not be confine to their home.
I stood from the chair in my mother’s bedroom window thinking rain was enough reason for me not to go to Jewish this evening. Not like the children playing across the street, I was fine with being in the house. I had a good day at work and I wanted it to stay that way.
God ignored my prayers for more rain once again. I believe He’s tired of me praying the same prayer everyday. Mother said He was a patient God. She forgot to tell me He was also a fair weather God.
As I gather my things: my books, my notes and my courage, I thought how my mother often gave me a strange look when she asked was I going to Jewish and I answered no. She knew something was bothering me and she knew it had something to do with Jewish Hospital. Mothers can do that.
I wasn’t in a hurry so I decided to walk. While walking I asked myself several questions. Questions like do I need to study another trade? Am I smart enough to do this? Why is there only one black man working in their boiler room and why he’s not trying to help me learn this trade?
I walked into the boiler’s control room and there they were two dudes and a trader; Jeff.
“So Vernon answer this question. How do you set the valves on a duplex pump?” Jeff asked before I could sign in.
He didn’t know I heard him telling his buddies I was dumb as a box of rocks while I walked through the door. They giggled because they knew I didn’t know the answer.
“You might want to study that because it is on the state examine you know?”
I walked out the control room pissed off. Jeff asked me questions everyday but never asked me things I knew. Probably because he studied with me for months and knew my weaknesses. He exposed them to everyone; embarrassing me.
I stomped to the workbench behind the boilers and pretended to work on lapping a valve, isolating myself and thinking how I would love to bust Jeff in his head with this valve I held in my hand tightly. Anger came over me and I felt my blood pressure rising. The devil though it would be a good time to chat with me. I was willing to listen to him.
“Well, well, do they know who you are?” The devil asked as if he been waiting for this moment. “You from the hood man so you never been a punk! How Jeff going to put you on front street like that embarrassing you? Look. the only black man working here won’t even help you so you know they’re not going to. I don’t think this trade is for you because it’s not worth it. If I was you, I would quit.”
I slammed the gate valve down hard on the workbench and stormed out without saying a word to anyone. The devil had convinced me I needed to quit.