I finished the new chapter that I’ve been working on this month. And while the ending is far messier than the first bits I’ve shared with you, it’s my deal that I share the drafts with you in whatever rough form they might take.
So, here’s an excerpt from the final 2 stories-in-email that make up the chapter I’m still calling “Father Figure” right now:
I imagine you in the hospital, 14 years ago, waiting your turn to hold me, lurking in the shadowy corner of the room as they pass the new baby around. You’re hoping they’ll forget you in this particular game of hot potato. I imagine you wondering if your mom will still take you on your annual shopping spree at the comic book store, or if this will be the year she finally says no, that’s enough, it’s time to grow up.
If I close my eyes, I can see you slouching your way to your locker on that Monday morning, a few days after they made you hold me, made you hold me until they could snap a twentieth photo just in case. I can see you standing there, forehead pressed against the locker’s grates as you fiddle with the combination. And I can see Des put her hand on your shoulder, and you turning to see the first girl you ever crushed on hard. I can see you finally seeing the truth in the tears she has cried over me, cried and wiped hastily away in her car that morning. She wishes you a hurried ‘Happy birthday’ and then rushes off. You knew then that she was in love with your cousin after all, in love with my mom just like everyone tried to tell you. I can you see you shouting to her, ‘It’s going to be okay!’ and everyone staring at the two of you in the suddenly silent hall — the red-eyed senior and the sophomore with locker slits carved now into his forehead. They stare, then they hide behind their hands or their lockers or each other to giggle at your earnestness.
If you’d like to read the rest, slide me a buck or three on Patreon.