Although the main character in this novel is a young adult, and the story is shown through her eyes, there are a couple of 'white rabbits' I've thrown in there that I could also feel through the mother's. As a mom of four beauties, there was one scene in particular that was more difficult to get through than I initially thought it would be. I actually had to stop and go back to it a few times before I finished the scene. I'm hoping readers will be affected in the same way.
It's very important to me that I create characters that readers can connect with in some way, as well as relate to an experience or issue the character is going through on a certain level. If the reader has to walk away from an emotional scene a few times before getting through it, the same way I've had to when writing it, I've done my job right.
This scene focuses on the essence of the relationship between Chrissella and her mother, Enya. We also get a hint to what might be coming up in their future. Plus, as always, we have a glimpse of all that is Lily Gran with her strong, Scottish temperament.
I hope you enjoy this scene!
The two women made their way over to the massive vegetable patch. Enya wore the most embarrassingly big floppy straw hat, while Chrissella sported a ball cap.
“Mom, really? Was that fashionable when you were my age?”
“Oh shut it. It keeps the sun off my neck and face. Besides, your hat would be a lot more effective if you were wearing it forwards.”
“Fashion critique from someone wearing something birds or squirrels could build a nest in.”
“Too funny. You won’t be all jocular dealing with a sunburn later.”
Chrissella crouched over gripping a carrot top. “We’ll be out here for, what? Half-an hour tops? I think I’ll survive. Besides--”
Chrissella was interrupted by what felt like hands on her shoulder blades, almost causing her to be knocked to the ground. “What the...?”
She spun around, dropping her basket, her arms in defense stance.
“No, not that one, Chrissy! It’s not ready!” Enya shouted.
“Well, how am I supposed to know that,” Chrissella asked, wiping her hands on her jeans. “Do I look like Old MacDonald’s wife to you? I’m used to getting carrots from the grocery store, not pulling them out of the ground. You just told me to pick some.”
“We only need four or five. Pick ones that are at least the width of the tip of your finger to the middle, orange and sticking out of the ground a bit.”
Chrissella glanced at her finger. “Really? You want me bending down measuring carrots with my fingers?”
Her mother released a sharp breath, and tossed potatoes into the large wicker basket Lily Gran had given them. “It’s not rocket science, Chrissy. Just look at them. The bigger, the better.”
Chrissella held back the smart butt retort she had for Enya’s last statement, then crouched back down to the carrots. She saw a carrot with a top the size of a toonie. She gripped it and pulled, but the vegetable didn’t budge.
Oh seriously? Defeated by a stupid carrot? Either I need to start working out more or this is proof that my city girl hands aren’t meant for farming.
She saw that her mother had already filled the other basket half-way with cucumbers, potatoes, onions, celery, garlic bulbs and tomatoes in the time she struggled with one carrot. She grabbed it with two hands, and pulled as hard as she could.
“Come on you stupid…” Chrissella started to say, then the carrot suddenly gave way and she lost her balance. She tumbled backwards, sending the vegetable flying over her head behind her as she landed on a row of lettuce.
Her mother doubled over with laughter. “Carrot one, Chrissy zip.”
“Ha, ha. Very funny. Do you think, maybe, you could subside your laughter for two seconds and help me up? I’m stuck. And I think I have lettuce leaves down my pants.”
That only made her mom laugh harder. “Oh my stars. It’s a Chrissy salad.”
As ticked off as she was at first, seeing her mother laughing so hard got Chrissella going too. It had been a long time since they’d had fun together, even if the ‘fun’ was at her own expense. Suddenly, Enya started coughing. Chrissella kept laughing, but then noticed her mother coughed so hard, she seemed to have difficulty breathing.
Enya dropped to her knees, gasping for breath.
Chrissella struggled out of the hill her butt was stuck in, and scrambled over to her mother. Thinking she was just choking, she turned Enya over on her side and pounded on her back, not knowing what else to do. After a few seconds, her mother’s coughing eased and her breathing calmed.
“Okay, what the hell was that?”
Enya pushed herself up to her knees. “I guess I choked on my own spit. That didn’t tickle.”
“You know what? I’m not buying this. You haven’t been feeling well for a while. You didn’t choke on your spit. You were having trouble breathing. What is going on?”
“Chrissy, I’m fine. Really. It’s just the stress with moving and Gran and everything else. Stop worrying needlessly.”
Chrissella stood up, and moved in front of her mom. “It isn’t ‘needlessly’. You aren’t worrying about yourself so someone has to. And, like I said, you haven’t been feeling well for a long time. Way before we found out we had to come here. I think you need to see a doctor, mom.”
Her mother rolled her eyes, then stood. “It’s nothing. I’m probably just getting a flu bug or something. Like I’ve always told you, bugs get ya when you’re already down.”
“You also told me that I could run around naked outside and not get sick. It’s germs that are what take you out.”
“Yes, and you tested that theory by going outside butt naked in the middle of winter.”
“I was five, and you unconsciously challenged me. How could I pass it up?”
Enya reached out and cupped Chrissella’s cheek in her palm. “I can see you’re really worried, baby girl. I promise if I don’t feel better soon, or I start feeling worse, I’ll go to the doctor, deal?”
Chrissella stared into her mother’s eyes, and stuck up her pinkie. “Pinkie swear?”
“Pinkie swear.” Her mother wrapped her finger around Chrissella’s, then they hugged.
Enya pulled Chrissella into her, and hugged tight. Tears flooded Chrissella’s eyes and she closed them to stop them from overflowing. Something was wrong. She felt it in the deepest part of her gut. She just hoped she really was worrying for nothing.
“What the Sam Haiti are you girls doing out there?” Gran’s voice boomed from the back porch. “I got pork tenderloin going, but nothing to serve with it. Get your scrawny arses in here so we can get supper on the go!”
The two women broke their hug. Enya put a hand on the side of Chrissella’s face, then kissed her forehead. Chrissella squeezed her mother’s hand with her shoulder, then walked over to grab the basket of vegetables. As she walked behind her mother up to the house, she said a silent prayer.
Please, God. Let it really be nothing to worry about.