For May I’m pulling from my short story collection, The Futility of Loving a Soldier.
It’s eleven stories about veterans and their relationships with family and friends.
Today’s excerpt comes from the second of five related stories, “A Family Tradition.” This one is about Maarten, a man who served during WWII and has spent his life battling his father’s legacy, as conveyed by his single mother, Ophélie.
In this week’s excerpt, Maarten is just arriving home from a Scouting trip with his three sons.
* * * * * * *
A large black Chrysler sat parked in front of their house. Catherine usually accompanied them on Scouting trips, but at seven months pregnant with their fourth child she had been looking forward to a quiet house to herself – or so she’d said. He didn’t recognize the car, especially with Michigan plates.
Normally he enjoyed arriving home, with the perfectly cut lawn, Catherine’s fastidiously pruned roses, and the white picket fence the boys repainted every spring—everything perfect for his perfect wife and family—but not now. His hands trembled slightly as he parked in the driveway, then got out and leaned against the car instead of going in. He and his wife both had cousins in Michigan, and although they didn’t talk often, maybe they’d stopped by.
Of course, that’s what it was, not Catherine with a strange man while he was gone, she loved him; he was so good to her and the boys, never drank or swore, maybe a little tough at times but never violent, not a monster like his father had been towards Maarten and his mother. Ophélie had left him because he was violent, a coward not to be trusted, not putting his family first.
Now Maarten put his family first, and Catherine knew that, of course she knew that, so this man, this stranger in his home while he was gone, must be—
“Dad?” Artie asked.
* * * * * * *
- Read more about Maarten’s and his son Artie’s struggles by picking up a copy of The Futility of Loving a Soldier.
- Post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.
- If you’re a writer, sign up to be a Friday Five author, which gets you and your latest work featured on my blog.
- And then sign up for my mailing list to get a FREE ebook short story, “A Place to Die,” about a guy in hospice who’s in denial about his illness.