Excerpt: Robin Givens' "Grace Will Lead Me Home"

She had coaxed me from my apartment, away from feeling sorry for myself and out for a movie. Now I gazed into this stranger's face distorted with anger. Through the venom I could still see the innocent beauty of a girl who had to be in her early twenties, about the same age I was then. And I marveled at a campaign of hate that led this young woman to believe that another young woman deserved to be brutalized. So when Michael threatened casually and with conviction,"I don't have to kill you ... I'll make it so bad you'll want to kill yourself. You'll have to leave home, you won't feel safe anywhere," I believed him wholeheartedly, and his words proved prophetic. There was really no need for his warnings. And with every display of his power, I lost more and more confidence. When I objected that a newspaper story wasn't true, he simply responded, "I have the power to make the truth what I want it to be." The lies seemed to sell papers, and they certainly manipulated public opinion and fueled ill will. But most painful of all, most frightening of all, they confirmed my husband's power. "If you sling enough mud," I once heard Phil Donahue say, "some of it is bound to stick."

Headed north on Broadway, I stared up at the street sign?Sixty-fifth Street. I hadn't planned to walk that far, but certainly I was enjoying it, despite the memories that at one time would have been quite painful. I could now recall them with greater understanding, and I could focus on happier, more recent events.

The boys and I had arrived in New York about a week before Christmas. We spent the week shopping and just reveling in the city and each other. The kids had been looking forward to snow but the weather was more like spring. Now, I looked up again to see where I was ... Seventy-fourth Street. Just a few more blocks to Zabar's. Stephanie and I did a lot of our growing up just a block away from here. Mom always made sure we had something special from Zabar'son holiday mornings, and I found myself making my way there now. Perhaps that memory of childhood rituals, the desire to give my children similar memories, had been leading me uptown all along. I felt happy and hopeful and free. But above all else, I was thankful that my present moment, my here and now, was beyond anything I could have imagined.

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