Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sneak-Peek Saturdays: Excerpt Twenty-Two

A NOTE BEFORE READING: I began sharing weekly excerpts from my novel, The Somebody Who, on June 26th. If you want to begin at the beginning, go here. If you want to read the book in its entirety, head over to Amazon and purchase a copy. (There’s a button on the left that will take you there).

CHAPTER SEVEN

I

The note on the kitchen counter is the first thing Evelyn notices, and because the house feels remarkably still, she fears the missive will tell her of Joy’s decision to head back to Brooklyn that morning. She approaches the note slowly and with a sad feeling of dread, but her mood quickly changes as she reads the lines. And she smiles at the cheerful, easy handwriting.

Good Morning, Mom!
Dad said I could borrow the car (ha-ha).
Anyway, I’ve taken it to the pumpkin
patch and will return soon (it’s 9:00 now).
Love, Joy

“The pumpkin patch?” Evelyn says aloud, feeling confused.

“Halloween, Evelyn,” Claudia replies, her quiet re-entry into the kitchen taking Evelyn by surprise.

“Already?” Evelyn asks, looking toward the desk area and the wall calendar.

“Saturday night.”

“Oh, well,” Evelyn sighs, heading for the coffeemaker and preparing her first cup of the day. “That totally snuck up on me.”

“Good thing Joy came to visit, huh? Otherwise, you would have had egg all over your house this weekend.”

“No kidding. Of course, they’ve had the candy in the stores since Labor Day, so I should have seen it coming.”

Evelyn leans against the counter. She is in a relaxed mood, happy that Joy is visiting and hoping her daughter’s apartment will never be ready for her return.

“Davy in there?” Evelyn asks Claudia, gesturing toward the family room.

“Where else?”

“Sleeping with the television,” Evelyn says. She then shakes her head and strolls out of the kitchen.

II

Sitting on the front steps of the house, a light jacket draped over her shoulders, Evelyn takes in the view of the street that has been home for thirty-five years. She remembers when the trees in the Fosters’ yard across the way were saplings. Now, they tower above the house and create a protective shade.

She didn’t know the Fosters when they lost their son to that drunk driver. It happened a month after she and Davy—then with only three children—had moved in. And she didn’t even learn details of the tragedy until a year or so later, when the Fosters, emerging from their private hell, became a friendlier type of neighbor. Evelyn was pregnant with Adam then, and her neighbors’ tale of losing their son made the pregnancy more difficult. She didn’t want to bring another child into the world if it meant losing him to some stranger’s dangerous path.

Perhaps it was that fear that created Evelyn’s reticence around the Fosters. Perhaps her hormonal state, compromised at the time by hearing a painful, first-hand account of a parent’s ultimate lack of control, is what prevented her from becoming close friends with Valerie and Don Foster.

Perhaps that experience also is the reason Evelyn is sitting on the front steps now, waiting for Joy to return safely from the pumpkin patch.

She sips her coffee and listens for the next car.

III

“I’m not sure what to do.”

It is Davy, standing behind Evelyn in the opened front door.

She turns around and looks up at him. “You could sit here with me,” she says.

“But can I do it?”

“Sure!”

“But what if it—you know…”

“I think it’ll be fine, sweetie. Just come sit down,” she says, patting the front porch surface to her left.

Davy sits.

“This is very nice,” he says.

“It’s always been very nice out here,” Evelyn replies. “Especially this time of year.”

“Yes. Yes it is.”

When the sound of a horn honking peals through the air a few moments later, the expressions on Evelyn’s and Davy’s faces are altogether different. Seeing Joy pulling the family sedan into the driveway, Evelyn looks relieved, then overjoyed. She waves enthusiastically.

“What’s that?” is Davy’s less enthusiastic, somewhat irritated response, as the car disappears into the garage.

“Joy,” Evelyn tells her husband. “She bought pumpkins!”

“Pumpkins?” he asks. He then begins to laugh. “Well, that’s just silly.”

“Come on!” Evelyn says then, jumping up. “Let’s meet her in the kitchen!” And Evelyn then re-enters the house, confident that Davy will follow her through the front hallway, if only to understand the purpose of their leaving the porch.

* * *

to be continued on November 27th .

In the meantime, if you want to read a short piece about the back story, click here.

2 comments:

Sioux Roslawski said...

I loved the "egg on your house"/egg on your face play.

I went to etsy but since I don't have a paypal account (my husband does, but he wasn't home)I couldn't buy your book yesterday. But today or tomorrow wil be a different story. I am going to enjoy it and then pass it on to my mother, since she is married to somebody who...somebody who doesn't know anyone anymore...somebody who is existing and not really living...somebody who has alzheimer's...

deborahjbarker said...

I am about to read your book for the second time Katie. Since reading it first time round, my mother's partner has deteriorated and I find myself thinking back to some of the moments you mention in the book, some of which her friend and partner will never see again, some that still arise such as his wide smiles when my mother appears at his door.
The other copies I have, I am passing to my mother and sisters.