Wednesday, September 14

Through Danny's Window

As promised, here's an excerpt from my newest story, "Through Danny's Window." The story is the lead in Parker Lane Publishing's soon to be released book, The Magic and the Miracle of Christmas, Volume I, which will be in stores by mid October.

Through Danny's Window

On any given day, the view from Danny Gleason’s bedroom window was filled with splendor.

In the springtime, from its position two stories above the Gleason backyard, the view boasted a panorama of stately, just-budding willow trees which, interspersed among towering pines, were scattered over an acre of manicured lawn, bordered by dozens of blooming flowers. In summer, the view looked down on a plethora of activity; now and again something of a formal nature, but mainly family parties with all the cousins, backyard barbeques where games of croquet and volleyball evoked gleeful spurts of laughter from children as parents looked on from the gazebo or one of many secluded, shady spots beneath the trees.

But now, in the depths of winter, late on the afternoon before Christmas Day, the view from Danny’s bedroom window -- though still splendid -- was hauntingly lonely.

John Gleason, Danny’s father, rubbed his forehead as emotion tugged at his heartstrings, plucking them like a careless musician. He squinted, peered out Danny’s window, and drew in a deep, ragged breath. Had he cared to savor them, the aromas of honey-baked ham, au gratin potatoes, green beans, and fresh, homemade rolls would have filled his senses.

He ignored them.

John couldn’t take his eyes away from the yard. Its trees, devoid of their summertime bounty, flowers long bedded by the first frost, and voices of past human presence now echoing on the winter wind like ghostly whispers, the yard was burdened with a certain solemnity that froze deep into his heart.

During the past three months John had taken to memorizing and committing to a journal, the details of the view. Several times a day he stepped into Danny’s room, walked past Danny’s bed and looked out the window. When the last leaves forewent their tenuous grasp on the trees, he’d recorded it just as he’d recorded his thoughts on the late fall thunderstorm that sent lightning arching across the sky; one burst had split an old pine in half. “ . . . a horrible and jarring epitaph on what has become of this family,” John wrote.

There were also entries on sunrises and sunsets, temperature changes, the first flakes of snow, and the day he’d finally put the grill and patio furniture into the old gray shed for the winter, rendering the view barren and hopeless. Initially, John didn’t realize why he’d been possessed to chronicle such things. Now, he was acutely aware that not only was he scrambling to bottle up and preserve the tattered fragments of each day but he was also searching for something.

John was searching for Danny.

Copyright, Lori Nawyn 2005

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