|The Slice of Life Challenge is hosted by TWO WRITING TEACHERS|
Last night I started reading Being Henry David by Cal Armistead. It begins with a boy who awakes in Penn Station with nothing but a copy of Thoreau’s Walden, a small wound on his head, and a few bucks in his pocket. He has no idea who he is, no idea how he got there. I would’ve stayed up all night to finish the story had my burning eyes allowed me to.
I woke up early this morning just to snatch an hour of reading time before my day began. I read that the protagonist, who (for lack of memory of his real name) refers to himself as “Henry David. Son. Henry Davidson” and is quickly nicknamed “Hank” by a fellow street kid, made his way to Walden Pond in an attempt to buy enough time to regain his memory and avoid the danger of life on the streets.
That’s as far as I got by the time I had to shower and head to the grocery store.
I stole a few more minutes to read in the backseat of the car when my husband picked up my father-in-law on our way to his sister’s house for an Easter meal. Hank took refuge in a high school in Concord, Massachusetts and has started to have flashes of memory return to him in painful bursts.
I peeled myself out of the story long enough to be present for a meal in good company. I enjoyed doling out my Easter “aunt crap” to our nieces, who have learned that they never know what to expect other than that their gifts will be quirky. This year, they were lucky enough to find such items as finger mustache tattoos, a bagel yo-yo, owl earrings, owl stickers, Squirmles, and a Fifty Farts deck of cards in their gift bags. We also always, always give them cash. The cash is a sort of pay-off in return for allowing me the fun of giving “aunt crap.”
I may have snuck a glance at the book peeking out of my purse while we sat around the table and talked after dinner, after egg coloring, but I did resist the urge to steal away in the corner to find out what happens to Hank. The tug of spending time with family I don’t see nearly often enough remained more powerful than the pull of the story.
However, now that I am home, in pajamas, with lunches prepped for the week, clothes ironed for tomorrow, grades updated, and plans sketched out, the book patiently resting on the table across the room is drawing me near. Hank and his story have waited long enough…