“Free, a Novella”
Author: Felicia Denise
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Lenore Porter’s life had not gone as she planned.
The marriage she put her heart and soul into failed.
The man she sacrificed so much for abandoned her.
But Lennie refused to be broken. She pushed on, running a successful business and raising her three sons alone.
Through health scares and severe family dysfunction and trauma which forever changed their lives, the Porter family clung to each other to keep from sinking into the darkness.
With her marriage over long ago and her adult sons living their own lives, Lenore Porter decides to sell the cold fortress she worked so hard to make a warm, loving home.
A short, final inspection of her former home turns into a confrontation with ghosts from the past, and decisions and events Lennie felt she’d dealt with and moved on from.
Free, a Novella is a short, clean read recounting one woman’s determination to not be broken by life or lose her identity.
Leaning forward and resting her elbows on her knees, Lennie stared across the empty living room. The day Duncan ran from her had been one of her most painful. He had always been a high-spirited child. More prone to wander, break a rule, or lead his younger brothers astray. However, he’d never done anything that warranted more than a time-out. Duncan had never been cruel to anyone or deliberately put anyone in harm’s way. Had someone told Lennie the argument in the high school parking lot with her son would take place, she would have thought them crazy.
But it did happen.
Insistent on not entering counseling, Duncan had run from Lennie. The anger building inside her at his disrespectful tone dissipated immediately at her last glimpse of his eyes. Confusion. Pain. And fear. Lennie had seen it all in her son’s face and was even more determined to get him to a therapist. She would not allow this to scar his life… not if she could help. Ranard had received no help for the verbally abusive childhood he had because of his father. Lennie knew his failure as a husband and father were directly related to his relationship with his father.
Duncan deserved a better life.
The memory played over and over again in Lennie’s mind.
She sat in her Chevy Tahoe taking glances in the direction Duncan had gone. Lennie wanted him to come back… but knew he wouldn’t. The despair Lennie knew he felt would now be enhanced by the shame of his behavior with her.
Still thinking about the situation with her eldest son, Lenore Porter absently drove home. Pulling her vehicle into the garage, she exited and went through the garage’s rear entrance to her back door… and found Duncan sitting in the old swing near the Sugar Maple tree. He shook his head slowly without meeting her gaze.
“I’m sorry, mom.”
“I’m glad you’re safe, sweetheart.”
“I shouldn’t have run away like that.”
“You were upset. Looks like you still are.”
“I’m not crazy, mama… I’m not.”
Lennie’s chest tightened. He had not called her that since second grade. Sitting her bag at the back door, Lennie walked over and took the swing next to Duncan. They both rocked in the silence until Lenore spoke.
“Most people who go to counseling aren’t mentally ill, Dunc. Life just has a way of dumping too much on us at once,” she touched his hand, “the drowning feeling you mentioned? You’re overwhelmed. It happens to us all at some point during our lives.”
“Have you ever felt like you were drowning, mom?”
“Not drowning so much as… helpless.”
“What’s the difference?”
“Well, don’t take this as clinical or anything, but I knew the problem and I knew the cause. I just couldn’t fix it.”
“Dad.” It was a statement, not a question.
Lennie’s smile was bittersweet. “Yes.”
“He hasn’t been very nice to you, mom.” Taking a deep breath, Duncan continued. “But you never gave up. You’ve always been… mom.”
“Darlin, the obstacle doesn’t exist that could separate me from my Porter Patrol. Good days or bad, you and your brothers always got the best of me, and you always will. I couldn’t give you the stereotyped version of a good family life, but I tried to make sure you have a good life. I don’t think we’ve done too badly. This is a bump in the road, and-”
“Can you make me another appointment with the shrink?” Duncan laughed at the smirk on her face. “Okay, okay. Counselor, therapist… whatever. I still don’t want to go, but I’ve let you down enough.” He looked at his feet.
“Duncan? Lennie didn’t speak again until he looked at her. “You have never let me down. You’re sixteen years old and going through a bad time because of the actions of adults. You haven’t done anything wrong. But this is something you have to want. You cannot do it for me, baby. You don’t have to want to go to counseling… you have to want to get better and be your old self again.”
“So, you’ll make the appointment?”
“We haven’t missed today’s appointment yet.”
“I was picking you up from school early… to give us time to talk before the appointment.” Lennie looked at her watch. “We’ll just make it. Run in and wash up and change your shirt. I’ll wait right here.”
Nodding, the teen stood and headed for the back door, but stopped. He turned, walked back and kissed his mother’s forehead. Without a word, Duncan went into the house.
Smiling when he kissed her, Lenore’s smile faded as Duncan walked away. Her son was angry… and afraid. The past had scarred them all.
Though no new content will be added, the first ten installments of Free, a Novella will remain available online.