Here’s the snippet from my new WIP, “Jay Galloway’s Day Off.” He just picked up his friend, Raven, at her parents’ house that she’s trying to sell. I skipped ahead a little. This is super raw. Any comments are appreciated.
She gazes wistfully at the old Craftsman-style home, but doesn’t say a word. I turn on the radio and The Animals are singing “House of the Rising Sun.” When I stop for a red light, I grab an empty plastic pop bottle to use as a microphone and start to sing along. I hope this will cheer Raven up, and get my mind off my incredibly shrinking bank account. Raven starts to sing, too, pretending the dashboard is a keyboard.
That song ends, replaced by “All I Have to do is Dream.”
“I love this song,” Raven says, as I head out Reading Road toward her apartment. “Remember when we were kids, and we sang a different version?”
“Yes.” I’d driven my mom crazy singing “All I Have to do is Scream.” “My mom didn’t like hearing me mangle that song because she went to an Everly Brothers concert and got to meet them.”
Raven looks like she’s going to cry over all the memories of our parents and living next door to each other, so I sing. When I get to get to the word “scream,” Raven screams and we both start laughing.
Tomorrow marks the two-year anniversary of when my friend, Greg, and I found my parents on the floor of their home, sick and dehydrated. They had to go into the hospital, then to rehab, and then into the nursing home permanently. Now I’m getting the house ready to sell and every time I go over there, I think that I’d better take a good look because very soon, the home where I grew up and where my parents lived for almost sixty years will belong to someone else. My dad passed away in March, but he always told me to take care of the house. I hope I’m doing the right thing.
Sunday was especially bittersweet because when I called the cab to pick me up, the dispatcher said he was sorry to hear about my dad and about how nice a guy he was. The cab driver who picked me up asked how they were so I had to tell him about my dad. He remembered how nice my dad was, too.
For awhile after the realtor left, I just sat in my old room, remembering…
This is the house where I wrote my first story. It’s where my late husband proposed, and where we had our hayride date and mock wedding. I moved back and lived there again for almost a year after a fire in 2005 while they rebuilt my condo. When I saw the copy of my mom’s “Encyclopedia of Cooking” book, I remembered that this is where I learned to cook (first recipe? Fudge).
I remember playing outside in the snow, and then coming in to watch “The Wizard of Oz,” and drink my mom’s hot chocolate. I remember the blizzard of ’77 and my dad trying to go to work, but not being able to even walk down the driveway, the snow was so bad.
And I remember the loving support of my parents through celebrity crushes (George Harrison of the Beatles, Peter Tork of the Monkees, the guy who played Bud on the TV show “Flipper” and Len Mink (singer on George Clooney’s dad’s TV show), bad boyfriends and dates, “differences of opinion” with my husband and friends, tasteless book rejections, being bullied, and loss of my husband, jobs and pets.
I love you, Mom and Dad, and I’ll always remember life in our home. And I still hope I’m doing the right thing.