PTSD Information in a Novel
Friday, September 7th, 2012 • PTSD Guest Post: Survivors Speak •
I wrote the book to highlight emerging epigentic science, how trauma effects the brain, the danger it causes the victim, but most of all, to cherish the magic of childhood innocence.
This is an excerpt toward the end of the novel, Bobby’s Socks. Robert (Bobby), Ardee and his sister, Laina are sitting around the kitchen table, early in the morning before dawn, waiting to go out into the front horse pasture to light the candle to remember Robert’s childhood friend, Willis. Charlie, Robert and Ardee’s grandchild, is curious why Robert wears funny socks. This is a culmination from the journey from childhood abuse, brain trauma, depression, confronting the predator and happily, sacred survivorship.
a bio :
The author, Nathaniel Sewell, lives in the Midwest andFlorida with his wife, RD and their King Charles Cavaliers – Maggie May and Pink Petunia.
“Can I borrow some of your funny socks – Grandpa?” Laina asked. She laughed. “They make my walking boots fit better.”
“Oh, of course,” Robert said. He looked over at his sister. “You know where to find them by now.”
Ardee smirked; she chuckled.
“What?” Robert asked. He had negotiated Charlie onto his lap.
“I stole – borrowed – a pair for the same reason,” Ardee said.
“Well, I am a world-wide woven sock magnet,” Robert said. He sheepishly grinned.
“I shall return,” Laina said. She sauntered up to her feet. The chair and Laina crinkled from age. “I hear the herd forming upstairs – I better get with the plan.”
“We’ll wait,” Robert said. He hugged Charlie and kissed his forehead.
“Can I have some funny socks?” Charlie asked.
Robert brushed back his thick brown hair. He glanced over at Ardee.
“Someday, but not quite yet,” Robert said.
“But why?” Charlie asked.
“Just tell’em, we don’t keep secrets round here,” Ardee said.
“See, grandma said I can have pair,” Charlie said. He grinned at his grandma.
“No, my lovely bride said I can tell you why,” Robert said. He hugged Charlie close. “Remember to listen to what someone says, not what you want them to say, if I tell, I trust you will never keep secrets from your parents, or from us, deal?”
“Deal,” Charlie said. He hugged his grandfather’s neck.
“Okay, deal it is,” Robert said. He stared over at the six-burner cooktop, the stainless steal double oven and inspected the massive kitchens granite counter top. He sighed and sat Charlie square with him.
Ardee got up; she shifted her kitchen chair closer to them. She slid the hot coffee mug forward with her palm.
“I get to be the witness,” Ardee said.
“Grandma-” Charlie said. He giggled.
“Listen, this is serious,” Robert said. He stared thoughtfully into Charlie’s eyes. “Look me in the eye, it shows respect looking someone in the eye.”
“Okay, grandpa,” Charlie whispered. He hunched down.
“When I was a boy, not much older than you are, some bad things happened to me,” Robert said. He held Charlie’s puffy cheeks steady with his fingertips; he held his gaze directly into his innocent blue eyes. “Things that I pray you will only read about, and never fully understand.”
Charlie hunched down further, his doe eyes were quiet, curious, as he stared at his grandfather and then over at his grandmother.
“What kind of bad things?” Charlie whispered.
“An evil man did bad things to me,” Robert said. He piano tapped his wrinkled fingers on the tabletop. “Let’s just say, he stole from me, stole something precious, more valuable than gold, or diamonds, does that make sense?”
“That’s not nice,” Charlie said. “Mom says stealing is bad.”
“Not nice, indeed,” Ardee said. She uncrossed her legs. She sipped coffee. She coughed, twisted on the antique wooden chair. Her elbows on the kitchen table, as she gazed out the great bay window into the darkness. She whispered. “Good boy …”
“Well, what he stole you cannot see, what he stole you only have once in your entire life, and once it’s gone, it’s gone,” Robert said. A slight memory tear sparkled in the corner of his eyes. He sniffled. He sighed.
“I’m sorry grandpa,” Charlie said. He frowned and crawled up and hugged his grandfather. “But why?”
“You’re a good boy,” Ardee said as her lips quivered.
Robert coughed; he kissed Charlie on his blameless forehead.
“I do not know why, God doesn’t give all the answers,” Robert said. He sighed; he shrugged. “And know one ever said they were sorry.”
“I love you grandpa,” Charlie said. “I’m sorry.”
Ardee’s eyes glistened with translucent moisture.
“Simmer, so, a friend gave me some funny socks, so I would remember to smile, to think happy thoughts. So, I wear these socks even today, to remind me, to smile and seek happiness, they’re woven, sort of like how your DNA was interwoven to create you,” Robert said. He straitened his legs to reveal his socked feet. “That’s why this particular morning, I always slip my boots on last, before we all go out in the front pasture to light that candle.”
“Is that why we light candles?” Charlie asked.
“Sort of -” Ardee said. She sipped her coffee; she wiped her eyes with the back of her hand. “I think you’ve learned enough, let’s go upstairs and investigate grandpa’s sock drawer, I’ll let you model for Aunt Laina.”
Ardee held her hand out for Charlie.
“I get socks too?” Charlie said. “Yeah?”
“Remember our deal,” Robert said. “No secrets, secrets are bad, okay you’re approved for funny socks detail.”
“Yes grandpa, no secrets,” Charlie said as he skipped toward the back staircase with Ardee. She twisted; she winked back at Robert.
Robert sat alone within the custom kitchen enjoying the sounds of family. He dangled his legs out in front of the chair, inspected his colorful woven socks. He thought of Dr. Richie, he thought of holding Ardee’s hand in an empty movie theatre. And he smiled, he patiently sipped his coffee, after awhile, he got up and slipped on his boots as his family gathered to go outside and walk into the front pasture to remember Willis, to remember the innocence of childhood.
“Bundle up, it’s cold, but clear,” Robert said to his tribe. “And I love each of you the same, I love you more than life itself.”
Robert stood next to the front door, one-by-one his family hugged him as they walked out, he happily gazed at each of their faces, he winked at Laina, and kissed Ardee. They held hands; Charlie carried the candle. And Robert realized he had all he ever wanted, he was blessed to be old and to have lived a lifetime of unconditional love.
The ideas contained in this post solely represent the perspective of the author. To contribute to ‘Survivors Speak’ contact Michele.