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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Laziness or Pride. Either Way, Here's a Sneak Peak.

Below is an excerpt from my book that I am working on. Let me know what you think.


My mom had a dream last night. The Pope, John Paul II, the only one that really matters to Polish Catholics, appeared before her to let her know that Monchichi would talk one day. She tried to give him a $100 bill and he refused to accept it. My mamusia was raised in communist Poland, where you survived by bribing your way out of speeding tickets and slipping the nurse on call a little something so that you wouldn’t die in the middle of childbirth. She was pleased that the Pope remained honest by not accepting her money in exchange for such good news. His face was so kind and serene she tells me, and there is a glow about her, her hazel eyes ablaze with conviction. She is talking so nonchalantly about this dream, making me almost believe that it took place in reality, right here in her upgraded kitchen among the dark slabs of granite and stainless steel appliances. I am forcing myself to listen, tilting my head and nodding with enough enthusiasm to make it convincing that I believe she and the Pope are right and Monchichi will soon string words together to form holy sentences instead of pointing and grunting and moaning his way through the day. Who am I to burst her bubble? If these REM-induced promises keep her hopeful then I will not be the one to crush that hope. It is enough that I am forced into this uncertain reality, where Monchichi and I will remain, until someone comes up with a solution that proves worthy of our undivided attention. I want to scream at my well-meaning mom; “Don’t you think I would cover my house with crosses and pictures of saints and douse every square inch in holy water if I thought that it could heal my son and give him the words he struggles for each day?” I bite my tongue for now, and give her this moment, this tiny piece of hope that she can hold onto and masticate on and ponder over as I inwardly roll my eyes and feel my blood pressure rise. I am jealous of her faith I think, no matter how blind I may judge it to be. I resent her ability to hand it over like that and just leave it all up to a greater force that I cannot seem to connect to. Sure, I genuflect in front of the hanging crucifix above my bedroom door each morning, offering my day up to God, but it is still half-assed and I am still unwilling to relinquish all control because I am stubborn and unconvinced. Or a sucker for the kind of pain that knocks the wind out of you the second it hits. Either way, my dreams do not entertain the Pope over chamomile tea. Rather, I am left to fend for myself when darkness falls, as alternate versions of my life freely occupy my mind, a mind that yearns for the kind of miracles that my mom speaks of, the kind of life that the Pope promises. But he does not visit me; maybe because he knows I would roll my eyes at him too. Instead, I wake up, my mouth dry and my head heavy as reality slaps me square across the face, and I mentally prepare myself for another day of therapy and developmental jargon. I peel myself off of my sweat-soaked sheets, and quietly kneel in front of my bed, my hands folded the way my grandmother taught me, my eyes falling on the metal Jesus hanging from his wooden cross, my lips moving in perfect rhythm to the memorized prayers of my ancestors.

Because I know better than to give up.
Or give in.
And as if on cue, Monchichi enters my room and gives me a look that says "I'm counting on you."

5 comments:

JJ said...

Wow, this is so powerful Jo. I got teary eyed and that last line hit like a sucker punch. Keep it up. You were meant to do this!

moni said...

I am not sure what to comment, I am speechless. The power of the words and feeling I got from the excerpt were so strong and amazing. The reality of your talent coming to fruition on the paper (aka PC screen) of becoming that NY Times best seller. That was really powerful. Thanks for sharing.

Melinda said...

Cannot wait to read the entire book...awesome.

T.J. said...

You are awesome. I agree with each of the previous comments as well.

Yours would be a book that I couldn't put down, and would read in a day!

Keep writing.

Asia said...

goosebumps!! good job Jo!

xoxo