Pathways: Jeff Lawenda
Directions come in north, south, east or west but what about life? What happens when you create your own destiny, make choices and realize later on that your path crossed with someone in the past that is no longer visible in your present? What happens when someone catches your eye, you create what you hope will be a lasting relationship only to learn it is all a smokescreen allowing the other person to come into your life for a short time? Your path or pathway in life is determined by the choices and decisions you make as we meet Mike and Melinda in the first story in this complex book filled with real life stories that can happen to even you. The Magnificent Melinda is about a young man infatuated with his uncle’s wife. Almost obsessed with her and her art. Wanting to be close to her in every way he waits, bides his time and then even though she no longer belongs or is married to his uncle he finds her, her gallery and a relationship begins. But, not everything is what it seems and although they seem go click and gel as a couple, have much to talk about at the end of the weekend a short note finishes it all. But, Michael cannot accept her ending their time together and buries himself in his work, his life and cannot release himself from her hold. A well renowned journalist, working for a major paper, awards and all, but Michael buries himself in his stories in order to try and forget Melinda. Years go by and a phone call comes his way and things change as he reconnects with her but how and why will change his life as he comes face to face once again with his unattainable vision as the author describes her. Sometimes what we want and hope for does not always keep us on the same pathway to love and success. Michael’s pathway to success never gave him any curves, ditches or forks in the road only the one with Melinda did and the ending will help readers understand why some pathways are marred with detours, ditches and memories that will remain solid in your mind. The next story that touched me is titled: Lost Identities as a nurse named Gina relates her time working in nursing facility caring for patients with Alzheimer’s. This story hits home as my mom had Alzheimer’s and as her caregiver I understand what the daughter of the patient went through and the innermost fears you have when you realize what is happening to someone who was once vibrant and strong. Rachel is the name of the patient that Gina has become attached to and when her daughter Phyllis comes to visit she immediately bonds with her, talks about her mother as they watch her have certain moments of lucidity dancing, singing and remembering her husband. The pictures placed in her room, the touches of home all are reminders of her life gone by but nothing can rekindle the spark, the mind and the brain of someone who at first realizes the changes and at the end becomes a shell of what they were before. Devoting herself to her patients and yet working one night at a local bar to ease her tensions and be with other people, something amazing happens and she just might find her own new pathway to happiness, as someone needs to talk about his mother, someone wants her help but in the end will she accept more. Another life, more decisions, more choices in which direction will Gina choose to go? Listening to her talk about the patients, explaining to Phyllis, Rachel’s daughter the importance of her visits and then meeting Danny brought back memories of how I tried to connect with other caregivers, my mom’s aides and explaining to family members the importance of being there, visiting and allowing the person to be able to remember what they can and understand what they cannot. This story is serious one of my favorites and as Rachel took her own path let’s hope Gina finds a new one. The next story Charmed is about Terry a well known baseball player who makes a wrong decision when betting on the sport and finds himself out of MLB and having to work at odd jobs hoping to make ends meet. But, then Joe comes along and wants to convince him to write his story from start to finish. When money is involved would you bare your heart and soul to a stranger? Why does he want to write his story and how will this help Terry reconnect with his past? When talking to Joe he finally manages to connect, realize that he too has chosen another pathway to write a different kind of baseball or sports story, hoping that Terry will explain his past, the unhappiness he endured growing up and the disconnection with his only sister, Candace. When all is said and done will he decide to take the road worn or will he carve out a new, solid and better pathway allowing himself to take a major u-turn back to his past?
Jimmy has become a well -known criminal lawyer whose father is dying and in the hospital. Jake, a well thought of detective wants to spend his last days with his son, his ex-wife and baring his soul and the truth behind something from the past. As we get to know Jimmy and meet him when focusing on his father’s visit we hear the heartbreak and the sadness of a father who is apologizing for taking a wrong turn, destroying his family and the end result losing a son. But, the history behind what happened to his son plagued him for a long time and the man responsible for his death went free. Vendettas are not always wise and revenge comes at a price and what he confesses and decided to do will either bring him piece in death or forever send him somewhere else. When Jimmy goes to the bar that his father frequented and meets some of the officers that worked with him or knew of him, he realizes that he is a legend in his own right and that what he did was for the best and some secrets are better kept buried. Can a father forgive his act of vengeance? Will he repent or will Jake and his mother walk out never looking back? Honor thy Father: Will they? Will you? Hear Jake’s story and you decide? Which path will Jimmy take next?
Finally the novella Translation is about a woman named Chella who has led a difficult life. She is a translator who arrived in New York City from Columbia hiding her true identity from the Cali Drug Cartel hoping to find her own pathway. At first she needs to supplement her funds with jobs as a waitress and in a bar. She completes school, goes for her master’s and then gets a job as a translator. But, jobs are scarce and companies let people go but when 9/11 takes her job because the office she worked in was destroyed she counts her blessings that she was at a meeting somewhere else and hopes to get another job. Trying hard she realizes that at first she will have to live with a cousin that really would prefer that she is not there. When she finally is able to have her own place, she loses her job but manages to stay afloat for a while until her neighbor offers her a chance at big money but what she has to do goes against her grain but when she realizes she has no choice she makes a call that will change it all. Working for an escort service she is required to give the customer just about anything he wants on the date. It’s high priced and she gets quite a bit of money to do what she does not want to get known for doing best until she meets Anthony and things change. No longer accepting clients she decides to focus on him hoping it will all work out. Meeting his parents and wanting more in her life they seem to gel until one wrong move, one mistake and it’s all over. Appearances are often deceiving and what happens when Anthony decides to end it all takes her breath away and her stamina. Losing weight, finding herself still working but caught up in her own anger, she turns to Irina, her neighbor who gives her what she hopes the solution. What happens will surprise readers as Chella decides to take a risk, find a pathway she hopes back to Anthony but will it work? Will he ever trust her again and will she allow him back into her heart? These New Yorkers each have problems, suffer from their own failings and sorrows, wounds that are open wide like bad cuts that won’t heal, and each one needs to find the right fork in the road, the right corner to turn and decide which is the final path they will take. Decision: Choices: they are at the heart as the author states on the back cover of each journey. These are well -defined stories with real life situations and people that will make you understand that sometimes forgiveness is the right thing to do. Putting the past behind you might help you deal with the future and listening to your heart just might help you find your own positive path in life.
Pathways: Hope you find yours.
Fran Lewis: Just review/MJ Magazine