Well, the baby’s shoelace is tied in a knot so tight we should just cut it off. Then her endearingly beat up sneakers, (tennis shoes to the rest of the world outside of Long Island) will be all dirty with brand, spanking new white laces. That won’t do. An hour later, Daddy vs. the knot, Daddy wins. She’s crying though, “What….What? You’re in the laundry? Okay…I’ll give her a bottle.” Nothing better than Daddy and baby time with a lukewarm bottle, milky bubbles drooling from her pursed lips. I check Amazon, relief that Stillwell is ranked, worried the number is lower than before. I look at the computer, my keyboard stares blankly back at me, but I hear my wife call,”Get Alex off the bus.” “Sure, no problem,” I respond, happy to help. The corner is freezing, my hands numb, my mind blank. The air is sucked from my lungs as if I stepped into a vacuum. Other parents sidle up next to me, as we stand in a circle searching for warmth. We smile at each other, our eyes streaming from the cold. The bus arrives and the kids bounce off, scarves unbound, mittens flopping, so we all take a minute to rebundle our bundles of joy. The walk back to the house is filled with stories about Jaden, Aiden, and Evan. The house smells of sausage and peppers, rice boiling over, and my daughter is screaming with delight that her older brother is home.
“Help with homework?” No problem, a pleasure, let me check Amazon first. Stillwell is up, a higher number, relief expands in my chest. Listen to my son reading his new book, the words forming first silently as his mouth tries them out. He is triumphant, thrilled with the freedom of being able to read for himself. We proudly reread the book for the entire family.
Dinner is noisy, my daughter loves to squish her food and I can’t take my eyes off the ooze squeezed through her tight fist. It’s delicious, tart and sweet, like my family life. The golden light from our kitchen fixture bathes us in homey warmth. Beds, bath, more books, this time Daddy and Mommy do the reading. Then the sound of the house settling down, heat clanking in the old pipes, hiss of radiators, the kids yawns of satisfaction of a day jammed with activities.
It’s quiet, the computer screen lights the room, a beacon of judgment. It dares me to look up Stillwell one more time, accusing me of procrastination. The house is dark, my mind like a wax tablet waiting for impression. Nothing comes, not even interruptions. Please wake up, I urge my little girl. Call for me so I can walk away again. I can’t end this story, my characters have gone as silent as a tomb and won’t tell me what to do! What was I thinking? A full time writer? Who does that? Should I check Stillwell again? How can I end this book to get on with the next? I am drowning! The water is closing over my head and I can’t breath! Wait…can’t breath? I pause holding my breath. That’s it…I turn to the closing chapter of my next book in the Darracia series. I think I got it.
Michael Phillip Cash is an award-winning screenwriter and novelist. He’s written eleven books including the best-selling Brood X, Stillwell, The Flip, The After House, The Hanging Tree, Witches Protection Program, Pokergeist, Monsterland and Battle for Darracia series. Learn more about Cash here: http://www.michaelphillipcash.com/