by Carolin Messier
an excerpt from a novel in progress
When I was little there were always smudges on Daddy’s glasses from Mama’s nose, from when he bent down to kiss her. I don’t think he’s kissed another woman since, not like that. Looking through those inexperienced, love-hazed lenses he can be forgiven for not thinking much of it when I came into the world less than 8 months after their wedding day. Weighing in at 5lbs 12oz I was healthy, but scrawny by Grady family standards, all of whom had topped 8lbs in the past two generations. When you’re young you believe what you see, what’s on the surface without digging deep to verify whether there’s a solid foundation under the brick house of appearances or whether it’s just a house of cards stage-painted the color of Georgia clay with lines of mortar over top.
Since Mama’s passing, his lenses have been clean and clear, but they’ve no more helped him to see the truth than a fortune teller’s cards. And Dr. Miller hadn’t corrected Daddy at his exclamation of relief at his tiny, premature son’s safe arrival. “They were married now,” he’d thought, and it wasn’t his place to give the church ladies something to gossip about just because a couple hadn’t been able to keep their hands off each other and wait until their wedding night. It wasn’t his place to judge. That was the Lord’s work. His was to deliver babies, and he’d done a fine job of it that morning.