Wednesday, December 14, 2016

An Excerpt from My Upcoming Memoir

In the picture to the right, I'm the little one, Tom is to the left, Andy is in the middle, and of course my mother…
I am still exploring options, so I don't have a publication date yet, but here's a snippet to tide you over. In this excerpt, I'm five years old and I've been told my mother slipped, fell, and will be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. 
From Chapter 3 of Enjoying the Ride: Following in My Mother's Tracks 
We scurried through the maze of hallways at Eastern Maine Medical Center, an hour’s drive from our house. A few weeks had passed since Mom’s accident, and my brothers and I were visiting her for the first time. Dad coached us as we walked.
“Don’t cry or look scared. It will upset your mother.”
I kept falling behind the three longer-legged Sturgeons.
“She’s going to look different, but don’t stare.”
I slipped farther back until Dad took pity, stopped my brothers, and waited for me.
“Does everyone understand what I’ve just said?” he asked, looking from boy to boy.
I peeked at my brothers. Yes. The answer was yes. Three heads bobbed up and down.
Dad took us into the room, one at a time. I went last. Everything shone bright white or shiny steel. The room smelled like our kitchen after Mom had mopped the floor, but with the faint odor of pee. The collection of high-tech equipment reminded me of TV shows about space ships. A person lay in the middle of it all, hands folded on belly.
Something wasn't right. Dad had said we would be visiting Mom, but I didn’t see her anywhere.  She had long, beautiful black hair. This person’s head had been shaved, and two shiny steel rods were bolted to the top of the skull. Besides, Mom would be in a wheelchair. Andy had said so.
As if sneaking up on a frog in our backyard, I inched closer.

   The eyes… the nose… her mouth. These are familiar. It’s a woman.

   She wore bright red lipstick—a flowering rosebush in a snowstorm. When those lips broke into the smile I had enjoyed nearly every day of my life, I recognized my mother. 

   She couldn’t turn to look at me. The rods kept her head aimed straight up at the ceiling. “Come here, Mitchy. I won’t bite. How do you like kindergarten?” Mom spoke in her usual, cheerful way. Her eyes soothed; her voice comforted.

Dad must have told her not to cry, too.