Summary: Rose is unsettled, curious, and bored. Life in a hippie commune is her parent’s dream come true, not hers. She doesn’t share their passion for living off the land, nor does she enjoy the isolation that is thrust upon her. When she convinces them to send her to public school in the nearby town, a new world opens up to her.
As she pursues her education, Rose chooses a different path, leaving her parents heartbroken at her insistence they are hiding something from her. She’s convinced her father isn’t the man her mother married.
Although she finds love far away from her roots and upbringing, her wounds only deepen as she keeps her family at arm’s length. What she loses during those years can only be retrieved with her understanding that “a Rose by any other name is still a Rose.”
Genre(s): Contemporary, Coming-of-Age
… I cut short my self-guided tour of college student filled apartment houses by the university and looked for the next entrance onto the freeway. I was a pretty good driver, having mastered a stick shift and parallel parking on the old truck at the commune. Still, I dreaded the drive into the city and the cramped streets, steep inclines, and lousy parking options in Grandmother’s neighborhood.
There was no such thing as a garage in those old Victorian homes and finding a nearby, open space on the street always proved to be a problem. People who grew up there had long gotten used to the inconvenience, but occasional visitors like myself experienced frustration and annoyance. It would be my luck that I would have to heave my belongings two blocks, if I was lucky enough to find a space at all.
As I turned the corner to the now familiar street, perched at the top of a steep decline into the city below, my breath suddenly stilled at the spectacular panoramic view before me. Even though the day had turned dull and the mist hovered over the Golden Gate Bridge, I was surrounded by brilliant architecture in every direction. Dozens of charming Victorian homes, the painted ladies, lined the streets in both directions, punctuated by corner markets and one-of-a-kind specialty shops. It was a testament to the influence on the history of California and the discerning eye of the builders who prompted the city’s growth. No wonder Andrew had chosen this ambition for his life’s work. I caught myself thinking about a wedding, then a sweet little first apartment, then one child, making our cramped quarters impossible for a growing family, then a move to the suburbs, neighborhood barbeques, another child, two cars….my mind raced and the light turned green.
My fantasy warmed me. I could physically feel joy in the pit of my stomach. I asked Destiny once, after we had gotten an almost-new pair of identical boots from the thrift store as a special treat before we started third grade, “Do you feel that, Des?”
“Feel what?” She hadn’t the vaguest idea of what I meant.
“That dancing in your tummy, silly! It’s like your insides are giggling.”
It felt delicious to me and ever since that time, a happy moment or extraordinary event could trigger my sense of well-being. My whole body would tingle with pleasure and delight with that feeling of joy.
I didn’t mind driving around the block four times before I found a place to park. I grabbed one suitcase, my wallet, keys, and bounded up Grandmother’s stairs, only slightly winded from the short sprint. I met her at the door with a huge grin, amused at my own story of happily ever after.
“You look flushed, Rose. Did you run all the way here?”
“I didn’t notice. I do feel a little warm, but I think I’m just excited to have finals over, spend the summer with Glory and River, and take a week off with you to do whatever we want. I’m excited about seeing Destiny, too. It’s been almost a year. I had to miss her wedding, because she planned it right in the middle of winter mid-terms, and her first baby is the end of summer.”
“Well, first things first.”
What did that mean? First things first? I was starting to see how generations change, each subsequent one holding on to the popular expressions that conveyed their thoughts. What was first to Grandmother was most likely not what was first to me, which was kicking off my shoes and checking the refrigerator for a Dr. Pepper.
“Yes, Grandmother, first things first.”
“Take off your coat and hang it on the hall tree. Your room is ready, so you can take your suitcase upstairs. Then, come on down and get yourself a cold drink. I got plenty of Dr. Pepper just for you.”
I smiled. We weren’t that far apart after all.
About the Author
Alexa Kingaard was born in San Diego, CA and has lived most of her life in the area. She currently resides in Carlsbad and is the mother of an adult son and daughter who continue to be her biggest fans and cheerleaders. A realtor for fifteen years, she remains involved with her profession and praises her brokers and clients for giving her the nod to be creative.
She gives all the credit for completing her debut novel, KEEP FOREVER, to her inspiration and late ex-husband, Jeff, who battled the residual effects of the Vietnam War for decades after his return. Her second novel, MY NAME IS ROSE, will be released through Acorn Publishing March 15, 2019.
This post is part of the blog tour through Xpresso Book Tours.