Lynda gives an overview of the book:
A Peek Inside If Truth Be Told Chapter 11 - June, 1973 I was unloading the grocery bags—it was amazing how many groceries kids could go through in a week—when the phone rang.“Hi, honey,” my uncle’s voice said in my ear. “How’s my favorite gal?”“Beat.” I stuffed the two dozen eggs in the refrigerator and sank down into a chair. “I’ve been shopping with the kids all day. I wanted to get them some school clothes before the stores jacked the prices sky high.”“You spend entirely too much money on those kids.”I grinned. “Well, there’s a news flash.” It was a difference of opinion so familiar it had become a comfortable joke. “They grow an inch an hour, you know. Nothing I bought them at the beginning of the summer fits now.”“Still . . .” He let it go, unusual for him. After a minute of silence, I asked, “How are you? How’s Carly?”“She’s wonderful, as always. Actually, I’m calling to ask you if you’re free Saturday night. Carly and I want you to have dinner with us.”I smiled. He made the suggestion as if there were a possibility I would say no, which was absurd. Still, I played along with the joke. “Hmmm . . . I’ll have to check my calendar. Yep, I’m free,” I said, examining my fingernails.“Good. I’ve asked Darlene and Fred. I hope you don’t mind.”I didn’t. Much. “Of course I don’t mind. I know I have to share you from time to time. Are we having some kind of do?”“Something like that,” he said. “Oh, and—uh—Todd’s in town. Would it be a problem if he came?”It took a moment for his words to register. When they did, I was glad I was sitting down. A problem? Jesus! Had he really asked that question? He could bet his ass it was a problem. I had spent years avoiding seeing Jack’s stepson. He had visited occasionally, probably a dozen times in the last eight years that I was aware of. Uncle Jack and Carly had been kind enough to drop hints when he might be around, and I had managed each time to be unavailable for the little get-togethers they’d planned. Could they really be that blind? That insensitive? “No,” I said. “No problem at all.” Since I had no intention of showing up. “Is six too early?”“Six it is. Gotta go. Give Carly my love.”I was planning my upcoming virus before I’d hung up the phone.“Todd’s in town,” he’d said, as casually as he might have said, “It’s going to be hot tomorrow.” Maybe I really had fooled them both. Maybe I’d fooled everyone. Because that’s what I’d set out to do eight years ago. Would it be a problem if he came? Would it be a problem to sit across a dinner table from a man who had stomped my heart into the sand without word or explanation, who had never made any attempt to contact me in the years since? I rubbed my aching forehead with my fingertips and tried not to visualize how he’d look today. If my mind wasn’t cooperating, at least it was kind to me. It added eight years’ worth of wrinkles to his face, a belly, maybe, one he’d gotten swilling beer with his fellow MPs after their duty shifts. Jowls. Jowls were good, sagging, discolored pouches of dissipation. Bags under his eyes were almost a given. Maybe he had gained a lot of weight. No. That one wouldn’t work. The police department would never stand for that. The others were possible, though, and made me feel marginally better, but not good enough to have dinner with him.“If you feel as mean as you’re lookin’, maybe I should come back another time.”I turned toward the open glass doors off the dining room and smiled. Stella, my next-door neighbor on the other side, stood leaning against the door, one hand on her hip and her usual sassy grin on her face. “Come on in,” I said, trying to shake off my nasty mood. “Want some iced tea?”“Lord, yes. It’s hotter than a bitch out there.” She pushed the sliding glass doors closed. “I like fresh air,” I said mildly.“Uh-huh. Me too, long as it’s filtered through an air conditioner.” She walked over to the wall control and turned the switch to cool. Then she flopped into a chair, fanni
Lynda Fitzgerald has been writing all her life. She studied creative writing at both Georgia Perimeter College, where she was the winner of a Creative Writing Scholarship, and at Emory University. A native of Central Florida, Lynda now lives just outside Atlanta, GA with...