WRITER’S VOICE QUERY LETTER:
The sound of my mother’s sobs bounced of the walls of our small home and awakened me from a sound sleep. It was the first time I’d ever heard my mother cry. It was also the first moment I realized that something was very wrong. I snuck from my bed, careful not to awaken my little sister, Sara, and crept to the door of our shared bedroom. Turning the knob, I eased the door open a tiny crack and peeked through the small slit. Huddled together on our old, sagging sofa were my mom and my stepfather, Nick. I watched as Nick held Mom in his arms, gently rubbing her back and soothing her in the only way he knew how; he would do anything necessary to shield her from the outside world.
Muffled some by the fabric of his flannel shirt, Mom’s sobs were heartbreaking. It was almost more than I could stand. My instinct was to go to her, to comfort her; but I was reluctant to intrude. Nick’s posture was too defensive, as though he was trying to absorb her fears and take on her pain. Instead, I stood there listening to their conversation. I hoped that whatever had upset my mother was only a temporary problem that Nick would resolve quickly as he did everything else.
“What are we gonna do?” Mom whispered.
“I don’t know. I’ve been thinking we might go to Rochester,” Nick told her.
Rochester? Rochester, where? Minnesota? I thought to myself.
“Minnesota? How does that even help?” Mom’s confusion echoed my own.