TITLE: The Tree House Mother
GENRE: Adult Literary
After the near death of her youngest son, Andie’s mother abandons her family to live in a child’s tree house. Failing to rescue her mother, Andie betrays a friend, putting her in peril. Every situation she faces for the next 20 years of her life is an outcome of the angst of her terrible decision.
My mother wore her concentration in a pucker incised between her brows. She stirred a second batch of eggs in the frying pan and read, not a recipe book, but a text about plant propagation. I was only nine, but the daughter of parents in the gardening business knew about propagation and cross pollination and all kinds of botanical management. I could teach the course better than my fifth grade teacher. The eggs were brown at peaks and edges like burned lace, but we liked them that way. Crisp as we bit.
“Those eggs is enough for me,” Mitchell said. At four his appetite was leviathan, his self confidence grander.
Mom didn’t look up. “Better start raising chickens, John.”
Daddy snorted. He pushed oranges through the juicer, added a lemon and two tangerines. “Maybe ostriches. I hear their eggs are the size of watermelons.” He grinned at my brother, white teeth shining against his tan. It was easy to see our dad in his oldest son.
Mitchell whooped and leapt off his chair to bend over, touching his head to the floor. “Hey, Paulie, this is what ostriches do.”
Paul clapped at his big brother, whose rear was in the air, head sweeping the linoleum. I placed Paul’s bowl of eggs in front of him and he ate with his fingers. I tried to put his fork in his hand but he shoved it away, toddler impatience with social graces. It clattered on the floor, a lingering percussion of complaints.