Redeemed on Tucker Street--The beginnings of a new novel!
This book is the story of a soul, and her journey through this pathway we call life. Hers may be rockier than many, but it is certainly not uncommon. As a peer counselor at a 1960 Houston pregnancy clinic, I have seen too many girls come through my doors, sit in a cozy seat across from me in the counseling room, and tell Allie’s story.
It might not seem real to you. It might seem far away, unreachable, unknowable. You might pray for God to send others into this field. You may pray for young girls, pray for the salvation of unborn lives, maybe even work politically to end abortion. But the real work, the dirty work, the battlegrounds for the lives and souls of mankind—is right in your own backyard.
As I spend countless hours of my twenties serving in prolife ministry, lives and stories have begun to accumulate in my mind. To me, they became one. They became a single story that grew out of the heart of Houston, and metropolises all over America. As this life, this girl, became real to me, I knew that I had to write her story.
Therefore, Allie is not an actual person. Tucker Street is not a real street. Noel is not a real woman, and Dr. Anderson is not a real abortion doctor. None of the individuals mentioned within these pages are actual lives that I have known. Rather, they are a weaving of many lives and many stories.
I want you, my young reader, to use this book to fuel your desire to go. The Great Commission is not an option. It is not for the old, the educated, the wise, or the mature. It is for you. It is not necessary to travel across the world to reach souls that have never heard the name of Jesus. They are right here—right here in your own backyard. Yes, you may be called to the Congo, to Iran, or to Russia. But the field is also white right here. There are lives that are starved of the truth everywhere; and it is up to us simply to go.
This is a story of a broken life, redeemed on Tucker Street.
chapter one—a broken home
I heard the door slam solidly behind me, and took the stairs two at a time. I dashed through the rain to the bus stop.
“Hey.” I nodded in the general direction of an older gentleman sitting on the bench, inches from the pouring rain. “You doing okay today?”
“Eh, as okay as can be ‘xpected, Miz Allie.” Mr. Smiley wiped a worn and knarled hand over his furrowed brow. “It’s awfully wet out here this mornin’.”
“Sure is.” I adjusted my backpack on my shoulder and shifted to move a little further away from the downspout, which seemed beyond overflowing. Hopefully this bus would get here soon. Seems as though the driver always took his sweet, southern time getting to this part of town.
“Back in school?” Mr. Smiley looked over at me.
“Yeah.” I shrugged noncommittally. “Beats being at home all the time, that’s for sure. I hate summers.”
“Awful early to be leavin’ for school.” Mr. Smiley looked a tad confused.
Thankfully, the bus pulled up with a toot of the horn. I nodded slightly to Mr. Smiley and boarded.
Winding my way back through the already crowded seats of the Houston metro bus, I searched for an empty seat—one where some talkative local wouldn’t talk my ear off. If you’re a northerner, you might not know exactly what I mean. Well, here in the South, ain’t nobody a stranger. Everybody talks to everybody, if that makes any sense at all.
And for introverts like me—well, it’s just straight up annoying.
A seat caught my eye, far in the corner of the bus. I slid into it, and pulled my faded Dallas Cowboys baseball cap down a little further over my eyes. Tucker Street, a tiny branch off of Highway 1960 here in Houston, was my home when I had been born seventeen years ago. It was really all I had ever known.
Highway 1960 is…well, it is everything. I don’t know how else to say it. If you take a stroll on a nice day, and walk a couple miles’ length, you’ll see everything. Everything and everyone from successful business people to folks that haven’t had the blessing of access to a shower in a couple of weeks.
I shoved my hands deeper in my pockets, and shook my head. I had often fallen closer to the latter. My home life is far from pleasant. Or maybe it’s normal. To be honest, it’s all I’ve ever known—kinda like Houston.
I leaned back and closed my eyes, and let this morning replay before me.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
“Allie!” My mother’s shrill voice woke me up, long before dawn. “Allie, you miserable child, get yourself down here. I’ll not have my daughter grow up to be a lazy bum, no ma’am!”
I rolled over and looked at the dull green glow of the clock. Five AM. “Coming,” I said, with more than a hint of resistance in my voice.
I pulled a t-shirt over my tousled hair, and yanked on an old pair of jeans, noticing the glaring holes in the worn parts of the knees. I glanced at my makeup, scattered across the tattered old vanity in the corner of my room, and rolled my eyes. Ain’t got no time for that when there’s work to do. I could already hear Mom’s voice.
“Mom.” I stepped into the kitchen, which was just a few feet from my tiny bedroom. “Mom, I really need a new pair of jeans.” A hint of disgust crept into my voice as I saw her rolling a joint of marijuana. “These are basically destroyed.”
“Ha. Think you’re gonna get new jeans, do you? Well, I’ll have you know that I make the money in this house, and I also get to say where it goes.” She finished her roll with a flair.
“So you decide that doing that is more important than buying your own daughter jeans.” My eyes narrowed.
“Doing what?” Mom looked up innocently.
“Smoking that garbage.” My words slid through my teeth, nearly venomous. “I know how much that costs.”
For five seconds solid, the silence was deadly. Mom glared back into my hate-filled eyes.
Then she shrugged. “Oh, no. You know I have to do this for my nerves. Sure, I wish it was legal, and maybe cheaper, but, gotta do what ya gotta do.”
“What does that mean?” My voice crept louder. “What in the world does that mean? For your nerves. For your nerves. What about me? What about the men that you bring through here, a new one every week practically? What about my sanity, what about the fact that half of the people you bring here are involved with drug trade? What about that?” My breath came in short gasps.
Mom looked at me incredulously, like she always did. Like I was a freak at a show—and she couldn’t figure out my problem. She said nothing—absolutely nothing.
“Whatever,” I spat. “If you don’t want to get it, I guess you never will.” I spun on my heel and left for the bus stop, without breakfast and certainly without offering any help.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
So that’s how I ended up at the Houston Metro bus stop, early in the morning, in the rain and the dark.
You see; I didn’t exactly want to explain that to Mr. Smiley.