Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Chapter 26 - Michael's turn

Yikes! I think tomorrow is the last day to vote in the Goodreads Choice Awards poll. It ends 12/30, but I'm not sure if that means midnight or the contest closes as soon as it becomes 12/30. The giveaways work like that latter. I feel like I should be doing something else, but I've written to everyone in the universe. I don't want to get annoying. So many bloggers have thrown their support my way. ANWA got it in their December newsletter, and SCBWI came through with a great blurb in Expressions Online. If you can think of anyone in your galaxy you haven't cajoled into voting for SING ME TO SLEEP, you've still got 36-48 hours. Thanks for holding my hand through this. And making it happen. It's the first time my work has been recognized in any way. I'm still in shock and still grateful.

Here's a good step forward. Enjoy!


Dive Buddy: Leesie           
Date:  06/25
Dive #:
Location: Grand Cayman
Dive Site:
Weather Condition:
Water Condition:
Water Temp: 
Bottom Time:  

            I lucked out. It’s slow today. The new kayak I ordered is in at the scuba shop. Aunty Jaz’s nurse comes Thursday afternoon. Which all adds up to me and Leesie paddling out to the mini wall just off Turtle Reef. Jaz lives in West Bay. Close to here where I certified to free dive as a kid. North Wall is close, too. Great diving. Too bad I’m down in East End, but we’ll make it work. I bought a car.  It’s cool.
            Okay, I lied. I’m doing all the paddling. Leesie’s facing me instead of turned around in paddle ready form. She’s lying back on the rugged black nylon the boat’s made out of, eyes closed, fingers trailing in the water.
            I hold the paddle so it drips on her face.
            Her eyes open. “Are we there yet.” She wipes the drops from her face.
            Her eyes close again. “When can we go swimming?”
            “Can we talk first?” We haven’t talked alone much since she moved to Aunty Jaz’s.
            “I’m hot.” She sits up and drops her head on my shoulder.
            I lower my paddle. “Let’s swim then.”
            She hits the water before I can even stow my paddle. I hand her fins, snorkel and mask. “Babe, you gotta wear this stuff. You’re in the ocean.”
            She takes them and smiles. “Have I told you I love you?”
            “Not today.” I slide into the water and kiss her.
            She pushes me away. “That’s so dangerous.”
            “I know.” I hook one arm on the kayak and watch her. “I’ll be good.”
            Her face gets bleak. “I’m not worried about you.”
            “You’re going to flip out and attack me?”
            That coaxes a faint smile. “Yeah. Brace yourself.”
            I maneuver the kayak between us. “How’s this?”
            She hooks her elbows over her side and stares across at me with her chin propped on her fists. “Perfect.”
            “How’s it going, babe? All that stuff Pres. Bodden told you to do?”
            “Okay, I guess.”
            I frown at her. “You didn’t eat the sacrament thing Sunday.”
            “You saw?”
            “Pres. B said you should.”
            Her eyes explore the bottom of the boat. “I know. I need to do it, but I’m scum. It felt wrong.”
            “Hey.” I lift her chin. “Why?”
            “I listened to the wrong voice.” Her masked eyes search for mine. “I felt horrible that I didn’t take it. This Sunday for sure I will. Will you drive us again?”
            “Of course.” I rest my hand on her shoulder.
            “It’s not too boring?”
            I squeeze her arm. “How’s the other stuff going?”
            She inhales deeply, slips her mask up. “I emailed Krystal yesterday. I haven’t heard back. That’s the last apology I can think of.”
            I slip my mask up, too. “What about all that praying?” I stroke her cheek.
            She leans against my hand. “I’m doing that, too.”
            “President Bodden said I should help with that.”
            “It’s okay, Michael.” She slips from my touch. “I can handle it. I know all this stuff makes you uncomfortable.”
            I don’t know what to say to that. Am I relieved? Or upset that she’s blocking me out from it? I pull myself into the kayak and help her back in. She picks up her paddle. We paddle in sync a few minutes up-current along the mini-wall to a good free-diving spot. I rest my elbows on my paddle and lean forward so I can whisper to Leesie. “It doesn’t.”
            She cranes her neck around. “What?”
            I stroke her wet, velvet head. “Your church stuff. It doesn’t make me uncomfortable anymore.”
            She bows her head.
            I wrap my arms around her. “You’re praying right now, aren’t you?”
            “Just saying thanks.” She cups my face in her hand.
            “Let me hear.”
            She twists to face me, takes hold of my hands and bows her head again. “Dear Heavenly Father, Thank Thee for Michael.”
            I rest my forehead against hers. “That’s what you pray?”
            “All day. Every day. 24/7.”
            Then we get in the water, and I feel like everything is slow motion. Breathing down for a free dive, falling through the water to the wall, floating with a couple angel fish, kicking my huge free dive fins back up to Leesie. It’s like a dream. My mom is there all around me—in every drop of water, every smile Leesie gives me, every ray of sunshine that lights the ocean we dive through.
            I get Leesie to try a few free dives. She’s awful at it.—can’t hold her breath. She tries, though. We stay out on the wall until I’m almost too tired to paddle back in.
            When we get to Aunty Jaz’s, I corner her on the porch while Leesie’s changing. “How do I know that what I feel is what you guys say it is? It feels like my mom. You know she died?”
            Aunty Jaz shakes her head. “I’m sorry, sweet boy.” She pats my knee.
            “Me, too. What Leesie says is your Holy whatever feels to me like whispers from my mom. I know that’s real. Why should I believe the way you guys explain it?”
            Aunty Jaz hands me a Book of Mormon she was reading before I sat down beside her. “Turn to the back. It’s marked.” She leans across me, flips the pages to a couple underlined verses.
            It says if someone reads the book and asks God about it, He’ll tell him if it’s true. “That’s it?” I look up at her. “I just have to pray?” That’s kind of their answer for everything.
            Aunty Jaz grins and winks at me. “Read that book and pray.”
            I close it up and hand it back to her.
            She pushes it to me. “You keep it. My gift.”
            “Are you sure?”
            “Of course.”
            I put it away before Leesie comes back out.
            Read the book and pray.
            How hard can that be?


  1. Not fair. I totally cried. Had to wipe all the tears away to finish reading. I love, LOVE this chapter.

  2. Michael is the perfect boyfriend for Leese. This chapter is sooo sweet and heartwarming. Awwww;)

  3. I love the interaction between Leese and Michael, its so sweet.

  4. Oh my goodness..oh my goodness...I LOVED this chapter. She gave him a Book Of Mormon. I am SO happy right now..crying again too.

  5. Definitely a good step forward! Just pray -- the answer for everything! :-)

  6. Read the book and Pray ..Can it get any bettter !?