From the Beginning of “The Healing” (Second Installment)

If you were born between 1945 and 1964, listen up!! There is a new literary genre out there just for you! It’s called “Boomer Lit,” and I recently joined a group on Goodreads for authors who have written books that would be of particular interest to the baby boomer generation. This group has put together a blog-hop called Boomer Lit Friday, and we are sharing excerpts to offer examples of this new genre. Check it out at http://boomerlitfriday.blogspot.com/

Here is the next installment from the very beginning of my novel The Healing…(you can skip to the boldface type if you read last week’s excerpt)…

Karen Donnelly stood on the grassy overlook and gazed out at Long Island’s Southold Bay. The beach at Founders’ Landing had always been a special place for her, but lately it gave her no comfort. While the gentle surf lapped at the shore below, anxiety pulsed through her—a tide with a force all its own. The roaring in her head drowned out the summer breeze rustling through the nearby trees. She was in a constant state of tension, and no curative setting, not even the place where her best memories were born, could bring her peace of mind.

She closed her eyes and took a deep, shaky breath. If she tried hard enough, she could slip into that other lifetime and ward off the melancholy that threatened to overwhelm her. It should have been easy to pretend it was thirty years ago. The same dense maple trees shaded the familiar spot where she stood. The same picnic tables still offered cool respite from the heat of the sun. The air smelled like it always had. But when Karen opened her eyes, she was still standing in her altered world. She looked around like a child lost in her own backyard. There was no sound of splashing water or laughing children rising from the beach like music from an old transistor radio. The picnic tables, once hidden amid the chaos of vacationing families and randomly parked station wagons, now sat like weathered sculptures on an abandoned landscape. There were no children playing, no dads barbecuing, no moms chatting over iced tea. It wasn’t peaceful or heartwarming. It was just sad.

Karen swallowed hard and walked down to the beach. Over the past few months, she had learned how to suppress the anguish. When it formed a lump in her throat and threatened to erupt in a raw scream, she swallowed it and kept moving.

She removed her sneakers and felt her bare feet sink into the warm sand. Every summer growing up, when school was over and she had come to the beach for the first time, Karen would cherish the moment her shoes came off, and they usually didn’t go back on until Labor Day. It was an annual ritual she had always associated with freedom. Did kids appreciate that kind of thing anymore?

Karen looked around. Only three families were enjoying the beach, and only six or seven children were in the water. A few yards away, two teenage girls were sitting on the swings and pushing the sand around with their toes, ignoring their surroundings as they muttered discontentedly to each other. Their heads were bowed, their loose hair hanging forward like curtains of rebellion. They reminded her of her own nineteen-year-old daughter, Lori, who had been battling depression since adolescence and who already had a jaded view of life.

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