As always, this is a first (or so) draft so there will be typos and left out words. Feel free to let me know they are there when you see them. Also, feel free to let me know in the comments what you think about this section and where you’d like to see the story as it continues. Am I shoving too much in one story? Let me know that too so I can adjust it in the final draft.
You will find a link to the previous chapters I have posted HERE or at the link at the top of the page.
You can find the first part of Blanche’s story on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.
Daddy sat in his chair, reading a book with a cup of tea next to him as I lounged on the couch with my own book. Jackson played on the floor between us, creating truck sounds with his mouth. It was our first quiet night in a month.
Sam, recovering at home, was still very sore but healing, enjoying his daughter and happy to have a new story to tell people about his job. He was moving slowly, his ability to walk not yet fully restored. Two canes helped him walk small distances in or around his home. The surgeon said he felt, in time, Sam would be able to walk easily again and return back to work. The hope was he could return in six months and it had been five already.
“What better story is there?” Sam had asked weakly the night he came home. “Getting shot, almost being paralyzed, surviving two surgeries and waking up to find out my baby girl had been born in a snowstorm along the side of the road, delivered by my wife’s best friend? It sounds like something you’d read in a book or see in a movie.”
Sam was right. It did all seem like a fictionalized story and there were still days I could barely believe it had actually happened. The morning he woke up and saw Emmy next to his bed with a sleeping baby in her arms his eyes had lit up more than I thought they could with all the pain he must have been in. He’d smiled as Emmy leaned down to show him Faith’s face and then asked in a raspy voice what had happened. For once it was Emmy’s chance to tell her own story of adventure.
My time since then had been full of work at the shop, writing my column for the paper, visits to see Emmy and Sam to help with Faith and then coming home to tuck Jackson in for bed, sometimes falling asleep next to him. Now that Sam was getting better and Emmy was more accustomed to her role as a first-time mom, and in helping Sam, I was glad to have a night to relax and delve into a new book from the library.
In the last couple of years Daddy and I had slipped back into our routine of reading together, sometimes reading a passage out loud from our respective books.
“And what’s on the reading list for tonight?” Daddy asked as I flipped the page.
“The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” I said.
“C.S. Lewis,” Daddy said. “Good choice. Even if it is fiction and not one from his collection of theology rich discussion starters.”
I sighed. “I needed something lighter tonight, Daddy. No deep thoughts for me.”
I had been thinking too deeply lately so when it came to reading, I needed something full of adventure, romance or humor. Daddy, on the other hand, seemed bent on delving into anything that left him pondering what he’d read hours after he’d closed the book.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable,” Daddy said, looking up from his book, starring out the window. “Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal.”
He looked at me, cradling his chin between his thumb and forefinger, looking scholarly. “Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
He smiled. “C.S. Lewis wrote that, did you know that?”
“I did not,” I said, peering around my book.
“He’s reminding us,” Daddy said. “that to love is to lay ourselves bare, to open our souls and leave it open to be hurt.”
“Yes, Daddy. I get it. Very poetic.”
I moved my book back in front of my face.
“It’s true, though, isn’t it?” Daddy said thoughtfully. “I think being a parent shows that the best of all.” He paused and I didn’t have to lower the book to know he was rubbing his chin and starring over my head out the front window, deep in thought.
“We bring a child into the world,” he continued. “And there, right there, is our heart laid open and walking around outside of our body where it can be hurt and we have no control over it.”
Daddy looked back at his book and I looked back at mine, hoping he was done philosophizing.
I read in my book: “It isn’t Narnia, you know,” sobbed Lucy. “It’s you. We shan’t meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?”
“But you shall meet me, dear one,” said Aslan.
“Are -are you there too, Sir?” said Edmund.
“I am,” said Aslan. “But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name.”
“You know,” Daddy said suddenly. I rolled my eyes behind my book. “It’s hard,” he continued. “To allow ourselves to be open to love, especially if we’ve been hurt before.”
“Mmhmmm…” I hummed and then kept reading my book.
“But if we don’t take that risk we could lose out on some very real, life giving moments…”
“I’m having my first quiet night in at least a month.”
“And . . . that’s all.”
Daddy smiled. “Oh. I see. No deep thinking tonight?”
“No, thank you,” I said, smiling as I peered over the edge of my book.
Daddy looked back at his book, still smiling.
I looked back at my book and started reading, but not comprehending. My mind was elsewhere, on what Daddy had said. “Wonderful,” I thought to myself. “He did it again.”
My thoughts were spiraling off into deep places I didn’t want them to go and I had a feeling Daddy knew exactly what he had done.