Sunday, March 23, 2014

THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO - Karma or Coincidence? Countdown (Leslie Pietryzk)

As many of you know, THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO, my second novel for young adults officially comes out this TUESDAY (3/25) from Algonquin Young Readers.

THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO tells the story of almost-16-yr-old Francesca “Beans” “Frankie” Schnell who, four years ago witnessed her baby brother, Simon, drown. Guilty and broken, Francesca has hunkered down in the shadows of her life, resolved to play second fiddle to her dead brother’s memory and to her best friend Lisette, a blonde bubbly beauty Francesca lives vicariously through. That is, until she meets a young boy named Frankie Sky who bears an uncanny resemblance to her brother. Frankie brings humor and hope to Francesca’s life, but are all the similarities between Frankie and Simon merely wishful coincidences, or could he be Simon’s reincarnation?

Curious coincidences abound in THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO not only the overlaps between Simon and Frankie Skybut also Bradley’s gift to Francesca, Bradley’s bird sighting, and the ties to the statue of  Saint Florian (sorry, you'll have to read to know what these are ;)). Midway through the story Francesca starts to think these events can’t really all be coincidences,  but maybe are “something bigger and magical at work.”

Have you ever experienced strange events that seemed like more than just coincidence and made you wonder if fate was at work or that soul and/or reincarnation exist?

Throughout the month, I've decided to pose that question to friends, some writers, others bearing other artistic talents, for a brief account of their own experience with karma, kismet or a mystical connection. I leave you to answer the question, “Karma or Coincidence? Random or something magical at work?” 

I hope you find these stories as intriguing and lovely as I do.

- gae

Leslie Pietrzyk's profile photoToday I have Leslie Pietryzk, author of Pears on a Willow Treeabout four generations of Polish-American women, and A Year and a Dayabout a 15-year-old girl whose mother commits suicide. 

Love this sweet story of a black cat working some magic. . .

My first husband didn’t like cats. At all. His mother was even afraid of them, so he had grown up not trusting them. I had grown up with a cranky but highly-beloved black cat, notorious in the neighborhood for his hunting skills. 

           My husband and I are living in a patio-style apartment complex in the Phoenix area while he goes to graduate school. The phone rings on Sunday afternoon: our family black cat back home is at death’s door. Much, much sobbing ensues and comforting words are spoken with one eye still on the textbook relevant to tomorrow’s exam.

            A sad dinner is pieced together.
            From outside our apartment: “Meow, meow, meow.”
            Washing dishes:  “Meow, meow, meow.”
            Standing on the balcony, looking out:  “Meow, meow, meow.”

            I can’t stand it and bolt out the door, run down the stairs, calling, “Kitty, kitty, kitty?” into the dark.

            Silence.  And then a half-grown, scrawny black cat with too-big ears crawls out from under the stairs and peers up at me as if I am the only answer to a prayer.  “Meow, meow, meow.”

            I grab the leftover chicken breast that is for our dinner tomorrow and pull off chunks to lure the little cat up the open stairs that it’s afraid of and into our safe apartment. My husband sees that black cat and immediately knows there is no way this cat will be sent out into the scary night tonight, not with my family cat dying back in Iowa.  He sighs.  “But you’re putting up signs tomorrow to find an owner,” he said.  “Of course,” I agreed.

            Two days later, he comes home from the grocery store with an expensive toy for “Kitty.” Kitty becomes a member of the family from then on: a loving, but incredibly shy little fellow. Friends and family barely see this cat and make jokes about its existence.

            Ten years later this husband dies, and there are many times during those long, awful days and nights where only the cat understands what I’m feeling.

            Eventually, I start dating, and one night I’m cooking dinner for the first time for a new guy, one who is smart, with an adorable way of winking at the exact right moment. He doesn’t like cats either, but I assure him, “Believe me, you won’t even see this cat.”

            We’re sitting on the couch, drinking some wine, and Kitty strolls in, jumps up on the sofa and cozies in between us, eyes slitted as if keeping up with our conversation.  “I guess he likes me,” this new man says. 

magical black cat? 

            This is the man who cries when we have to take Kitty to the vet for that last time.  This is the man I marry a few years later.

- Leslie
Please check out Leslie's books and remember to check out THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO!

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