You may have noticed I haven’t been posting on my blog much in recent weeks. This is because I’ve been devoting all of my free time to writing a Young Adult (YA) novel – a contemporary coming of age story of family, friendship, and toxic love.
Here’s an excerpt. More later!
There was a quiet knock on Jovi’s bedroom door.
“I gotta go,” she whispered.
“No! You have to-”
Jovi disconnected with Opal, set down her phone, and minimized Twitter on her computer screen. “Come in,” she said as she turned in her swivel desk chair.
Vivian opened the door and stood at the threshold.
“Hi mom!” Jovi nervously glanced around her messy room. Clothes covered every surface, and she had not made the bed. She was just about to say something when Vivian stepped toward the dress hanging on the closet door.
“I love what you did with the skirt here,” Vivian said, running her fingers across the cloth. “Wait, is this fabric from one of your old Easter dresses?”
Jovi pulled her legs into the chair and sat cross-legged. “Yeah, and the lace at the top I got from one of your pageant dresses. You said I could use what I wanted from the trunks in the attic. I hope you don’t mind,” Jovi rambled. It had been so long since her mother was in her room, she found herself fidgety – worried she would say something to scare her away. She cleared her throat and calmed her voice. “I’m sorry it’s such a mess in here. I was going to straighten up but I need to finish my essay first. And I need to get outside to- ”
“You’ve got quite a flair, Jovi Joy. Quite a flair,” Vivian interrupted, still admiring the dress. “Aunt Dovie has taught you well. I think you may be a better seamstress than she is now.”
“Oh well, I don’t know about that. It’s just fun. And I figure, why buy clothes when I can make something I really like, and that fits me,” Jovi said. She picked up an ink pen and clicked it up and down. “When I do buy something, I just end up ripping it apart anyway, you know? And making something else out of it.”
Vivian didn’t reply. She walked over to the window and parted the white muslin fabric draped over a tension rod. Unlike the view of the orchard from Vivian’s room on the back of the house, this window looked straight down Caddo Creek Road.
Jovi recognized the sudden gulf between them. It was as if her mother had walked through an invisible barrier into another world. A world where sadness, worry and fear swooped in heavy and hard threatening to never let go. With all the enthusiasm she could muster, she picked up the conversation. “Thank you again for giving me free reign of your old clothes.”
“I’ve been wearing some of them as-is. Vintage is the new black!”
“I can’t wait until it gets cold enough to wear your old suede jacket with the fringe. Opal is going to flip when she sees it!” Jovi could hear the sadness seeping into her own voice.
“If that jacket could talk…” Vivian said quietly as she let the makeshift curtain fall.
Relieved, Jovi got up from her desk and crossed the room. She wrapped her arms around an impossibly tiny waist and rested her cheek against the upper back of her mother’s cotton shirt. Vivian’s arms hung loose at her sides. Jovi tried hard to reconcile the person she held with the vibrant woman her mother had once been. High-school cheerleader. Beauty queen. Budding photographer.
“You and I will learn to surf next summer,” Vivian said.
Jovi didn’t know how to respond to the impossibly optimistic promises that often flew from her mother’s lips. They sprang from nowhere. Bright ideas. Daydreams, that when spoken aloud crashed into reality and shattered like broken glass. Last week Vivian had proposed they go skydiving.
“That’ll be fun Momma,” Jovi said as a single tear fell from her cheek.
The back door slammed. “Junebug,” her father yelled.
Jovi’s body went stiff.
“Go,” Vivian said as she turned to face her daughter.
“I love you Momma,” Jovi said, looking into her mother’s beautiful green eyes. Then she flew from the room and down the stairs.