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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sorrows and Sub-texts

Recent posts have been about my book ZUCCHINI PIE: GRANNY'S RECIPE FOR LIFE,  coming from Covenant Communications next month. I've been sharing differing points of view from the Burnett family: Tom, Karen, Emily . . . This excerpt comes from a section narrated by Stephanie, the family's college-aged daughter. See if you can read the sub-text in the passage:


            I slid into the booth at my favorite frozen yogurt shop, looked at my watch, and noted it was a couple of minutes fast according to the clock on the wall. A girl in an apron came by to remind me to place my order at the counter and I told her I was waiting for someone. Just then I saw Jessica at the entrance and jumped up with a grin.  

            Jess held out her arms for a hug as I drew near. I was grateful. It had been a while since we’d seen each other, and well, I wasn’t sure how happy she’d be about this meeting.  

            We hugged and then turned to the counter. “Order whatever you like,” I told her, quickly adding, “My treat.”  

Jess looked wary. “That’s not necessary, Steph. I can buy my own yogurt.”  

“I know you can, but you’re the one doing me a favor. Let me get this for you.”  

Jessica gave me a long, appraising look, but then she smiled. “Okay,” she answered. “Thanks.”  

We placed our orders and went to the booth I had chosen. It was the one we always preferred, back when we came here as a group of roommates, back when Jessica and Megan, Allie and I all lived together and occasionally came here for a cheap outing, back before . . .  

“We heard about your grandma,” Jessica said, derailing my thought train just when it might have crashed on its own. “Are you doing okay?” The expression on her face had a whole subtext written in the worry lines.  

“Yeah,” I said. “It was my great-grandmother actually, my dad’s Granny Adelaide. We’ll all miss her something awful, but she was more than a hundred years old. We couldn’t keep her forever.”  

“No, I guess not,” Jess said. Then she added, “This wasn’t your grandmother who had the, uh, problems?”  

“No. That was my Grandma Judith, my dad’s mom. She’s been gone for a long time. In fact, I don’t remember much about her—except for the problems.”  

“That’s what I thought, but Allie said—” She cut the thought off quickly, looking away, looking chagrined.  

I swallowed. “How is Allie?”  

“She’s good. She said to tell you she’s sorry about the loss in your family.”  

I gave Jess a long, long look. “Did she really say that, Jess, or are you just being diplomatic again?”  

Jess gave me an earnest smile. “She really did, Steph. She said she wanted you to know that she’s sorry about your grandma and she hopes you’re . . . doing okay.”  

“I am,” I answered, and then I realized I had been rubbing my fingers over the raised scars on my left arm, between my wrist and elbow. I sighed and dropped my arms to my sides. “I’m sad, but I’m okay.”

Susan Aylworth is the author of eight published novels, all currently available in digital form for various e-readers. Her ninth book, ZUCCHINI PIE: GRANNY'S RECIPE FOR LIFE, is coming from Covenant Communications in June. Her tenth novel, RETURN TO RAINBOW ROCK, will soon be available as an original e-book, the seventh in the Rainbow Rock series. Find Susan at or follow her @SusanAylworth.


  1. Now I want to know more about what happened between these friends...before.

    Nice clues....


  2. You did a great job of showing the awkwardness between these two women. Now I'm wondering what has happened between them in the past and whether or not they'll still be friends.

  3. beautifully done. Layer on layer. Subtle yet powerful.


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