Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Bonus Scene 1 - The Restorer

Whether you recently downloaded the free Kindle book of The Restorer, or read it years ago, I thought you might enjoy a few bonus scenes I wrote for fun. I plan to post one each week, so stop by often.

This little bit of inner life is from Mark's point of view, and shows a bit of what he was thinking in chapter one.

After Chapter 1


Jon and Anne galloped ahead of me down the sidewalk toward the park. Even with their much shorter legs, they left me puffing along in their wake.

Anne raced for the play equipment, the determination on her face a perfect reflection of Susan’s when she was deep into some project. Susan claimed that Anne took after me, but I saw my wife’s features in all our children. One of my constant, undeserved joys.

“I want the red swing,” Anne shouted. “Push me, Daddy.”

Jon veered off and climbed a slide, diving down it headfirst. “Dad, watch me!”

If I could let the kids burn off some energy without them getting any serious injuries and bring home tired but happy children, I’d be Susan’s hero. I gave Anne a strong push, and she tossed her head back, laughing as the swing lifted her skyward.

No wonder Jon and Anne needed some time at the playground—our house was bursting at the seams. We’d talked off and on for years about finding a larger place. When Susan would mention a great fixer-upper she’d seen closer to church, or how much we needed an extra bathroom, I’d find reasons to wait—economic downturn, possible move to a new office, the close friendships our kids had with the neighbors. Sometimes she’d study me with a puzzled frown.

“It’s more than that, isn’t it?” she’d ask.

I’d shrug. “It’s hard to explain.”

And she’d give me that sweet, tender smile, probably thinking I hid a well of sentiment toward the house that I couldn’t admit. Her guess was close enough to truth that I convinced myself I wasn’t a liar. Besides, hiding the truth to protect the person you love isn’t exactly lying, is it?

Even when I ran out of logical arguments for staying, she let me win the debate. With some clever remodeling projects and plenty of repairs, we managed. But my secrets ate at me. She assumed the best, ascribed pure—if slightly sappy—motives to my stubbornness about the house. She’d probably hate me if she learned the truth.

But what if my deception were contributing to the distance between us? In recent months, dark smudges had appeared beneath Susan’s eyes, her shoulders had taken on a weary slump, and her attention had begun wandering off mid-conversation. No question about it: Something was wrong.

Anne flung herself from the swing, tumbled in the sand, and came up laughing. “I’m hungry.”

Jon raced over and jumped up and down as if his sneakers were spring-loaded. “Me too.”

“Oh, no, you don’t. We just got here. Get some fresh air first. Then we’ll get burgers.” They both had the attention span of minnows, but I had to keep them occupied a little longer. Susan needed time to herself.

Fixing up the attic held some risks, but I would to do anything to bring back her smile. Or maybe on a subconscious level, I needed to confront the secret in those storage boxes. After so many years I’d convinced myself the contents were a mere relic of a time I could barely remember. Under control. Safe. The last thing Susan would do with her precious down time would be to dig through a bunch of dusty boxes.

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