This blog is a bit off the beaten path from my usual fare. I’ve decided to share an excerpt from my book, THE POPE’S STONE. I am always looking for feedback, no matter how great…or how brutal. So, I encourage you to let me know about any reaction you may have. Please do not snore loudly, it may bother the neighboring blogs.
First, a brief scene-setter so you know what’s happening. Nicholas is one of two descendants of the Barrington family that the story follows. Each keeps lifelong journals which are often excerpted in the book. This chapter takes place in Silver Spring, Maryland in the year 1988. Nicholas has lived next door to his best friend for as long as either can remember. Her name is Jennifer. Throughout her childhood she has been the epitome of everything tomboy. But she is a young adult now, a student coming home from the University of Virginia on summer break. In recent years there have been subtle changes in the relationship between Nicholas and Jennifer. While he has always considered her his unofficial “adopted” sister, recently he has begun seeing her in a different light. Having been apart for several months, the two spend a long “catch-up” session, chatting into the night on Jennifer’s back porch, after which Nicholas returns home where he finds it difficult to fall asleep. Instead, he makes the following entry into his journal…
“…We sat and talked forever. It was good catching up with all the things we’ve each been doing since we last saw each other. We’ve talked like this on her back porch for hours many times before, but tonight was different. At this point, I am having trouble actually remembering my lifetime friend who lives next door–the girl who always wore baggy jeans and a plain T-shirt. The girl who always had short hair and bruised and scratched arms from running into bushes trying to catch a fly ball. The girl who could drink a whole can of soda as fast as me and then tie, if not win, the belching contest that followed. This girl was not the girl I was with tonight. The girl tonight wore tight fitting jeans and an even tighter white tank-top with “Virginia Cavaliers” written across her breasts. I said ‘breasts!’ This girl had breasts! I never noticed Jennifer having breasts. Her hair was long, actually cascading down and resting on her shoulders. It smelled like–well, I’m not sure. It just smelled…perfect. Her skin was smooth, and flawless. She was the most beautiful girl I have ever seen. But it was Jennifer! This is all very strange. She is the girl who’s always lived next door for God’s sake. She is my ‘adopted’ sister for God’s sake. What is happening here? We actually kissed–on the lips! This is Jennifer I’m talking about. Yet it all felt so natural, so “usual” and so like it was something we’ve always done. I’ve dated other girls. I’ve kissed other girls. This was nothing like that. This was…I guess it was nothing but amazing! I have never been in love, I think. At least I know I have never felt like this before about anybody, never! We have known each other since we were little kids. She is my best friend. Who was she tonight? I am so confused. I am so happy. I cannot wait to see her later today.”
Nicholas closed his journal. He took a final sip of milk and put the empty glass in the sink. He went back upstairs and flopped down onto his bed and then slowly, finally drifted off to sleep. His last thoughts were of Jennifer. What was she thinking? Did he make a fool of himself? Or, could it possibly be that she was lying in her bed, merely a few yards away across the grassy path between their homes, experiencing the same sense of excitement he was feeling. Indeed…she was.
Marc Kuhn is the author of three books. Recently published is an adult historical novel, THE POPE’S STONE. The other two books are for children: NEVER GOOSE A MOOSE…And a bunch of other things you should never do!; and ABOUT A FARM, lessons for life regardless of where you live.
All three books are available at amazon.com and each has its own .com website under its title.