Novel Blog One
I'm currently writing a novel, The Other Ones, that explores the topic of abuse. Throughout the story, incidents of abuse are retold in flashbacks.
This blog contains articles and excerpts from my monthly newsletter, Reflections.
The Temptation to Hate
Sometimes it’s difficult not to feel hatred toward someone in our life. Years of endured psychological bullying and unremitting micromanagement can wear a person down. To keep a roof over our heads and food on the table, we often resort to the repression of authentic feelings in order to survive.
But this survival mechanism can land us on dangerous ground when the straw that breaks the camel’s back finally arrives. Then it all comes out like an erupting volcano, and the depth of the suffering we’ve endured and consequent rage it has caused can shock us to the core.
In my current novel, protagonist Damon Devereaux has suffered a great deal of abuse in his past from his wife, Bristol, and also in the present from coworker Lila. He struggles to cope until one day a chance encounter with a schoolmate of his nephew’s shores him up with some very sage advice. The schoolmate, Gabriel, has a genetic disability and has suffered bullying in school:
After arriving home, Damon tossed his mail on the kitchen table and yanked the refrigerator door open, seething inside. The quarrelsome interplay with Lila earlier had left him tied in knots.
“It’s Friday,” he thought to himself, “let it go.”
But her energy had snaked itself around his psyche, and he unwittingly dragged it with him throughout the evening. Any attempts to read found him distracted and his dinner tasted flat. Even the beautiful evening sky, visible through the parlor windows, failed to dispel the feeling of noxiousness in the room.
“Damn, I feel like I’ve been poisoned!” he exclaimed aloud. Gus looked up at him momentarily and wagged his tail before dozing off again on his bed. Collapsing in a chair, he closed his eyes, remembering.
“No, I am not going to do it, and that’s final!” he had insisted.
Bristol shrugged and turned away. “Well, I’m not doing it.”
“But it’s your responsibility!” His marriage had become a prison sentence and he was doing hard time.
“I can only do what I can do.”
“But that doesn’t mean anything!” he gasped.
“I can only do what I can do…”
His frustration proved exhausting and he felt a scratchiness in the back of his throat. Astonished, he swallowed painfully and realized that, somewhere in the past ten minutes while he argued with Bristol, he’d come down with a virus.
He’d lost the argument and made himself sick in the process. Damon tugged his trousers up over his thin frame, having lost five pounds in the past month due to unremitting stress. It was nearly time to leave for the university, yet he felt incredibly tired.
All he wanted to do was lie down and sleep. He contemplated divorce for the thousandth time in eight years. But would he survive the perilous transition? Innately, he knew it depended on how much money he surrendered to Bristol.
After a long sigh, Damon arose and returned to the kitchen. He felt thirsty and opened the refrigerator again. He hadn’t one cold drink. There was no creamer for his morning coffee either. Slamming the door shut, he let Gus out to guard the poultry and headed for the closest market fifteen minutes away.
He quickly paid for his purchases and walked in the direction of the entrance, anxious to return home. Out in the parking lot, Damon was surprised to discover Gabriel seated on a bench next to the store.
“Gabby, nice to see you.”
“Hi, Frosty.” Gabriel moved over on the bench.
Damon sat down and rested his groceries in his lap. “What are you up to?” he asked.
Gabriel shrugged. “Just hanging out.”
“Uh-huh.” Damon glanced around, dismayed to find the teen alone in a parking lot on a Friday night.
“What are you doing?” Gabriel asked.
“Nothing much,” Damon admitted. “I was feeling agitated and thought a little fresh air might clear my head.”
“Oh.” Gabriel nodded. “Did something you make mad?”
“Someone did. I’m afraid it’s stuck in my craw.”
“I know what to do,” Gabriel said, “I learned it a long time ago. I was always mad at getting teased.”
“What’s that?” Damon asked, studying Gabriel’s earnest expression.
“Pray not to hate them and it’ll go away.”