In a previous post titled, The Shape of our Being, I mentioned how experiences shape our humanness. Here’s another example of the “shape” of Carolyn’s Being that shows up in my novels.
Disclaimer: I’m betting on my ‘underdog-ness’ again–that part of me who feels uncomfortable with self-promotion. But try, we must. Right?
NOTE: No Hill for a Stepper, is about Cono, my father (and a huge piece of my heart) who died in 2009 before its publication. Don’t worry, he read and loved the first draft.
In 1942, victimized his entire life by his own father, fourteen-year-old Cono must stand up against him an protect his mother and little sister.
I hear Mother scream. I snap back into the present, out of my daydream. Maybe she’s woken up, has seen blood on her sheets reflected in moonlight, seen the blood on Dad’s face. I start to get up, but the quiet has taken over; but only for a moment.
I hear a voice I know is Dad’s but different somehow, guttural like a wolf’s growl. I hear Mother say, “Stop it Wayne!”
My feet touch the floor before the rest of me knows what it’s doing. I open my door. Mother is backing towards me, but away from the bloodied-face man holding a butcher knife, glistening from moonlight, shiny like a raccoon’s mirror. He’s stumbling towards her. My mind freezes. It’s a scene from a scary picture show. No, Cono, I tell myself, this is real. Real life, real time.
Dad’s stopped walking. He’s swaying back and forth like an old porch swing. No, more like the swing of a hanged man’s noose. His eyes are glazed like a film of anger is laying on top that he can’t wipe away. He glances once over to the couch where Pooch is sleeping.
“Mother, keep backing up towards me,” I tell her.
She stares at my father but listens to my words. Dad stops at the kitchen table, he puts his empty palm on the table for balance, the butcher knife in the other hand swaying by his side.
“C’mon, Mother, keep coming to me,” I say softly, feeling a surge of calm and determination at the same time.
Mother has backed all the way up me. I pull her behind my door into the bedroom where Delma is still sleeping. Mother is shaking. My hands are doing the same now. I see our .22 sitting on the open shelf just a few feet away. It’s so close I can almost feel it. It’s like the .22 Hoover found, the one I felt in my hands, the cold steel of it. Now, I want to feel the warm safety of it.
A fear invades my body like a sickness. I’m drowning, but not in water. I’m drowning in the fear of what to do next, what I need to do to protect my family from a madman.
Here’s Cono, my dad. My sister had the novel photoshopped into his hands and gave me this awesome framed photo.