Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Join me in welcoming Cynthia Polutanovich to my blog as she shares an excerpt from her forthcoming memoir,  

Corpses Rarely Wander: How I Became a Loveless, 
Trailer Park Nomad

A month after my father was out of the hospital, at the end of my fifth grade year, he told us that he was moving to Baltimore, 3 ½ hours away. Then he was gone. After that, I saw him about four times a year.  I was angry, but also smothered in guilt for being mad at a sick man. Even as a child, how can you be angry with your parents when they’re sick?
            The doctors thought he might have leukemia, and once he moved, he began a course of chemotherapy. A couple months after he left, Lena and I went to visit him. Our mother took us to the Greyhound station in Salisbury.
            Lisa picked us up at the bus station in downtown Baltimore. It was only the second time I’ d ever been there, and to me it was the big city. I remember steam swirling up out of grates in the sidewalk. I don’t know if there was any steam, but that’s how I remember it. Like a music video where the hopeful girl hops on the bus with a guitar and goes to the big city where she will struggle, and guys with sideburns and over-large glasses will try to get her to be in porn movies, and she will spend the night on park benches, and no one will believe her at first, but she’s a star. Of course, in my case, I was just there to see my dad who had left me, and I would probably not be departing with any sort of star-making contract, though I always reserved room for hope.
            When we pulled up to the new house, it wasn’t as big as the one he’d gotten in the divorce, but it was like a stamp of normalcy in building form. A new split level with carpet. But it didn’t matter to me. It wasn’t mine. No one at school ever wanted to know where my father lived. It didn’t count, especially when it was so far away. When we went in, Lisa told us to go downstairs because that’s where my dad was sleeping so he could be by the bathroom. His bed was in the middle of the floor, and he was sitting on the edge of it. He said, “Hey, Cynth,” and braced himself to stand up. Weak from the radiation, wobbling like a toddler, he stood and reached out his arms. I told myself to smile and go hug him, but my legs were like two girders, doing a great job of holding me up, but too heavy to move. His skin looked like someone had sprinkled it with a fine layer of powdered sugar. His head had only a couple wispy tufts of hair. I remember thinking he looked like the monster from The Goonies. Looking at him, my brain became hysterical. Why didn’t he just shave off the tufts? It made him look so frail. What was he trying to do to me? He was still standing with his arms out, though they had lowered a little as he continued to wobble and wait. I ran up the stairs to my new bedroom and shoved my face into the pillow. I had never wanted to leave a place that badly in my life. It was his thin face, his long toes sticking out of his pajama bottoms. They made me love him in a way I knew I wasn’t allowed to.
            I came down after about ten minutes. When I got to the bottom of the stairway, he shimmied a little and landed on the bed. I went over and hugged him, and then he took us to his new keyboard where he haltingly played “Misty” and “Moon River,” two of his favorite songs. Soon, the three of us were singing together. After that, we watched a movie and ate spaghetti. I went to bed that night under a thin blue hotel-style comforter, the kind that inexplicably is covered on the bottom with some white fiber that looks like a spider web and feels like an emery board. The house smelled like a new car.

* You can get her new memoir, Corpses Rarely Wander: How I Became a Loveless, Trailer Park Nomad at Kindle for $4.99 and as a print book (5% of the proceeds will be donated to Habitat for Humanity) at: https://www.createspace.com/4289356

* You can like and follow her author page on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/CynthiaPolutanWriter?ref=ts&fref=ts

* You can follow her on Twitter: @Corpsewander, and follow her blog here: http://corpsewander.blogspot.com/

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