Someone found him in a laundry basket at the Quick Wash, wrapped in a towel, a few hours old and close to death. They called him Baby Moses when they shared his story on the ten o’clock news – the little baby left in a basket at a dingy Laundromat, born to a crack addict and expected to have all sorts of problems. I imagined the crack baby, Moses, having a giant crack that ran down his body, like he’d been broken at birth. I knew that wasn’t what the term meant, but the image stuck in my mind. Maybe the fact that he was broken drew me to him from the start.
It all happened before I was born, and by the time I met Moses and my mom told me all about him, the story was old news and nobody wanted anything to do with him. People love babies, even sick babies. Even crack babies. But babies grow up to be kids, and kids grow up to be teenagers. Nobody wants a messed up teenager.
And Moses was messed up. Moses was a law unto himself. But he was also strange and exotic and beautiful. To be with him would change my life in ways I could never have imagined. Maybe I should have stayed away. Maybe I should have listened. My mother warned me. Even Moses warned me. But I didn’t stay away.
And so begins a story of pain and promise, of heartache and healing, of life and death. A story of before and after, of new beginnings and never-endings. But most of all…a love story.
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I jerked and Sackett shifted, not liking the spike of energy that shot through me or the fact that my fingers had yanked at his mane.
Moses stood silhouetted in the barn door, holding what looked to be a large canvas in his hand.
I hadn’t realized I was still talking to Sackett, and I did a quick examination of what I’d just said. I believe I had just uttered an embarrassing rant on people named Moses not being allowed in Georgia. “Oh, Lord,” I prayed silently but fervently, “you can make the blind man see and the deaf man hear so it shouldn’t be too much to ask to make this man forget everything he’s just seen and heard.”
“What does Sackett think about those new, stricter laws in Georgia?”
I looked up at the rafters, “Hey, thanks for comin’ through for me, Lord.”
I loosened the cinch that secured the saddle around Sackett’s middle and pulled the saddle from his back, hoisting it onto the saddle horse and removing the blanket beneath without looking at Moses. I was kind of surprised that he remembered Sackett’s name.
Moses took a few steps inside the barn and I could see a small smile playing around his lips. I gave Sackett a firm pat on his rump signaling I was done, and he trotted off, clearly eager to go.
“You’re back.” I said, refusing to embarrass myself further by getting angry.
“I took Tag home. He had big plans to train for his next fight old school, like Rocky, but discovered that it’s a little more appealing in the movies. Plus, I don’t do a very good Apollo Creed.”
“Tag’s a fighter?”
“Yeah. Mixed martial arts stuff. He’s pretty good.”
“Huh.” I didn’t know what else to say. I didn’t know anything about the sport. “Didn’t Apollo Creed die in one of the movies?”
“Yeah. The black guy always dies at the hands of the white man.”
I rolled my eyes, and he grinned, making me grin with him before I remembered that I was embarrassed and ticked off that he had kissed me and left town. It felt a little too much like the past. The grin slipped from my face and I turned away, busying myself shaking out the saddle blankets.
“So why did you come back?” I kept my eyes averted. He was quiet for a minute, and I bit my lips so I wouldn’t start to babble into the awkward silence.
“The house needs more work,” he replied at last. “And I’m thinking of changing my name.”
My head shot up, and I met his smirk with confusion.
“I heard there was this new law in Georgia. Nobody named Moses can even visit. So I’m thinking a name change is in order.”
I just shook my head and laughed, both and embarrassed and pleased at his underlying meaning. “Shut up, Apollo,” I said, and it was his turn to laugh.
Amy Harmon knew at an early age that writing was something she wanted to do, and she divided her time between writing songs and stories as she grew. Having grown up in the middle of wheat fields without a television, with only her books and her siblings to entertain her, she developed a strong sense of what made a good story.
Amy Harmon has been a motivational speaker, a grade school teacher, a junior high teacher, a home school mom, and a member of the Grammy Award winning Saints Unified Voices Choir, directed by Gladys Knight. She released a Christian Blues CD in 2007 called “What I Know” – also available on Amazon and wherever digital music is sold. She has written five novels, Running Barefoot, Slow Dance in Purgatory, Prom Night in Purgatory, the New York Times Bestseller, A Different Blue, Making Faces and most recently, Infinity + One.
Her newest book, The Law of Moses releases November 27, 2014.