Day 4: A Brother Named Jambalaya and a Couple of Doves

Today’s Writing Mission: Turn sentences 9-14 into six more paragraphs, for a total of 15.

9. Jambalaya is supposed to be a supper, but Mama thrust that name on my big brother, which I swear was the start of all my troubles. Mama didn’t even cook Jambalaya, not then and not now. Her people aren’t from anywhere near Louisiana. They’re third generation Pennsylvania Dutch. If you don’t know what Jambalaya is, it’s a dish they say comes from Louisiana, made a little different depending on where the cook’s family came from. Like if you have West African or Spanish roots, you probably used tomatoes. If you’re people were French, Cajun French, maybe you used smoked meat, just browned it, then added the veggies and stock and skipped the tomatoes, because there weren’t any around. It’s a dish made out of what you have on hand. Sounded like junk if you asked me, but Mama called it a masterpiece of necessity. And she said she liked the sound of it.

10.Standing on my son’s porch on my 75th birthday, hiding from Tula and the grandkids, a thought tickled behind my left ear. I didn’t want to go back in, and I had no real desire to go out anywhere either, but that tickle was turning to an itch, and that itch was trying to tell me something. I wondered if I should call Dr. Huff, but I dismissed the thought. This particular affliction could not be cured by a doctor, not even Huff. My ear was calling me to something, and I was four parts irritated, two parts scared, and to my surprise, one part curious.

11.The sunlight gave no warmth, though it shone as bright as ever. I stepped over the massacre of roses and peonies, being careful not to trample on them, though they were goners. I shivered. How could a beautiful day be so cold?

12.Birds didn’t sing, or chirp or tweet in Clovis, but they made a sound, and when you heard it, you either lifted your face to the Stars while your heart filled with love, or you covered your ears and cried. Clovis had one kind of bird, the little, neon-green, Bleeze. It was evening when I jumped off the Pod platform and landed on Clovis for the first time. Evening is when the Bleeze gather at the ponds. Our Pod drop-off was just North of those ponds and as I jumped the sound of the Bleeze stopped my breath. I raised my eyes and watched the ever-present Stars swirl across the sky, so thick my mind tricked me to think I could reach out and touch them. The voice of the Bleeze, sultry and wise, wrapped around me and pierced through me and filled me with a love more real than any I’d felt before, and so pure I could not think of anything else. I’d jumped thousands of times, onto thousands of worlds, but the Clovis jump was the only one I didn’t stick. I broke both my legs, which is how I ended up in Whee’s infirmary.

13.Mother’s Day came like it always did, but this time April didn’t have lunch at the Bethlehem hotel. Her Mother had disappeared three days before, without any hint of where she could have gone. The officer on the case suspected she had taken off. April’s Dad worried she was hurt. April knew they were both a little right, and a lot wrong, but she had no idea how to bring her Mom home.

14. Mourning doves mate for life. Most of the time. Wicked cousin, Tim, who I had considered a genius, told me that the last Thanksgiving all my cousins sat at the kids’ table. it was the year I turned 12. He said that Mourning Doves are so hung up on their mates, that if you separate them, they won’t stop searching until they are reunited. He said he could prove it. After we finished our pumpkin pie, all six of us stood in our Aunt and Uncle’s tidy, little garage looking at a couple of doves trapped in a cage. Wicked Tim had attached an orange tag to their feet, the way he’d learned at his summer job as a lab assistant. He released one of the doves. She flew to the nearest tree. “I’m taking this guy back home with me,” Wicked Tim said. She’ll be in Lansdowne and he’ll be in Boston. He said he’d follow them using the trackers in their tags. Shayla, the only cousin I still talk to, still says Tim had meant for the doves to be reunited. I disagree. Tim was and always has been Wicked.

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