Thursday, June 14, 2012

YANR Tour Stop: Soul of the Band by K.L. Brady

Hi Hi!


Today is my stop on the Soul of the Band: Making the Cut Blog Tour. And what do I have for you, you ask? Well I have an excerpt from the book...to give you just a little bit of a taste of what we're both missing out on (because I also haven't read it).


So here it is:

place my trembling hand on the knob and press my ear against the apartment door, trying to hear something, anything that might clue me in to what awaits me on the other side. My pulse quickens as I suck in a deep breath and brace myself for today’s nightmare. I twist and enter.

“Mom! I’m hoooome!” I bellow as if we live in a five-bedroom mansion as opposed to a two-bedroom apartment.

She doesn’t answer.

The second notice that was taped to our door sits on the coffee table. Mom usually doesn't bother to take them down, but “they” must’ve ordered her. I drop my backpack and creep through the house like a SWAT team member scanning to spot anything new, missing,or signs of an ambush. On the dining room table rests a sheet of paper with a bunch of random math equations, as if a calculus book threw up on it. Meaningless mathematical calculations to me. To Mom, they are the numbers she lives by…and unfortunately my entire life’s been caught in her emotional crossfire.

I can’t decipher her calculations but over the years patterns have emerged—sevens usually mean we’ll have a decent, relatively sane day. Twos mean bad days. And zeros…we don’t even want to discuss zeros. Let’s put it this way…the last time one of her little calculations totaled zero, she was admitted to the hospital a week later. Today’s calculations—a seven and a three.

Never seen a three before. Wonder what that will mean.

Hmmm…at least the couch is back after its one week absence. I’m not sure where the furniture goes or how she moves it out of the house, but I’m always glad when “they” let her bring it back.

“Mom? You home?”

Still not a word. She must be out causing hate and discontent somewhere else in the world.

My stomach growls which almost echoes in the apartment’s silence. This morning the refrigerator was bare and Mom hadn’t left any money for lunch before she disappeared. Thank God our downstairs neighbor Mrs. Johnson, an old school Madea-type, asked me if Mom had gone grocery shopping before I left for school this morning. When I told her no, she gave me a lunch bag containing a sandwich and an apple. She’d become the closest thing I had to a mother.

I grab the refrigerator handle, say a prayer before pulling the door ajar, and then open my eyes and peer inside.

Food.

Hallelujah! Thank God for sevens.

I grab a plastic grocery bag from the recycle bin and fill it with fruit cups, a box of crackers, and a few cans of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup and Beefaroni. Hungry nights and a hollow stomach have taught me to squirrel away food whenever she shops. I never know when it will disappear.

After I’m done harvesting my stash, I head toward my bed-room to stow the bag away. Aunt Charlie bought me a new bedroom doorknob with a key lock and warned Mom she’d have hell to pay if she removed a stitch of clothing from my room again. Now, the only thing of mine we store outside of my room is my bike which doesn't fit. I don’t get to ride it very often anyway.

I reach my bedroom door at the end of the hall and notice the light’s on in the bathroom.

“Mom?” I say again as I skulk closer. There’s no sound so I push the door open.

“Bumble Bee!” I almost yell, staring at the pile of black and yellow painted metal.

Mom understood how much it meant to me, which is
probably why she tore it apart…like everything else her hands touch in my life. The last gift my father presented to me before he disappeared from my life, right after the last time he said “I love you, baby,” is
scattered around the bathroom in pieces. Mom’s dismantled every screw and bolt. She’s even
removed the spokes from the wheels. The tires are deflated, lying in a mass of black rubber,
and the frame rests against the wall of the bathtub. I fall to my knees and sob from the
deepest part of my soul. Sad. Tired. Resigned to someday find a way out. A surge of anger
bursts through every pore in my skin and I want to scream.

But I don’t.

In an almost frightening instant, I wipe my eyes and switch the tears to the off position.
I don’t want to feel because I’m so angry with her. Angry for what she’s done to our
family…to me.

No sense in crying. Tears never solve my problems. I’m not sure what will, but tears
won’t. I pull myself to my feet and go to put the food away. Then I cook dinner. Pasta and
sauce. It’s easy and cheap. And when I add extra spices the flavor conceals the taste of the
medicine I crush into Mom’s food. One of us has to ensure she takes it. Since I’m the most
responsible adult in the house, the burden falls on me. I cook only enough for two servings
and separate mine before adding her happy pills. Because when she’s happy, I’m happy too.

Just as I finish making our plates, her keys jiggle. I’ve learned the sound. Could
probably hear them two miles away if I tried. Each day, the jiggle signals the end of my peace
and the beginning of my journey into madness. I pop in my iPod headphones and blast
Eminem’s Cleaning Out My Closet. Each beat calms me and transports me to another place.
Music’s my lifesaver.

“Brandy?”

She taps my shoulder because I barely acknowledge her at first. Then I turn around and
watch her busy about, hoping she’s hungry.

“How was your day?” she asks, her tone flat and normal as if she’s done nothing wrong.

Typical. Releasing anger against Mom seems to satisfy the voices so I choose not to feed
them today.

“Same old. Same old,” I reply, meaning every word.

“Did you see Bumble Bee?” she asks, her voice still unfeeling . . . uncaring. I almost
wonder who’s asking—she or “they.”

“Yeah. I saw it. I was planning to do the same thing myself. Thanks for saving me the
trouble.”

She stares at me waiting for a reaction. I don’t give her one.

“They thought you’d be upset,” she says, disappointed she has no reason to gloat.

“They who?” I ask as if I don’t already know.

She shakes her head and her expression warms. “How’s dinner?”

“Great. My best yet. You gonna try some?”

“Looks delicious. I think I will,” she responds, washing her hands at the sink before
grabbing her plate.

Score: me one, “they” zero!

“It’s such a beautiful day outside. After you’re done, why don’t you take Bumble Bee out
for a ride? Get some exercise.”

Seriously?

Score: Me—one , “they”—one.

Note to self: Threes suck.


Oohh who is "they" I wonder! I don't know about you guys but my interest has been piqued! o.O Now I HAVE to read this book!

Author Links:

-martha :D

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