This is the fifth short vignette written for the book, A Twinkle in the Eyes of God, A Monk Buttman Mystery. It involves Monk, then known as William, Astral, his wife, whom everyone else called Lilith (something Monk refused to do), and their daughter, Rebekah. Because much of the early part of the book is about Monk’s return to Virginia and his uneasy relationship with the people there, this vignette is meant to illustrate some of that history.
We were sitting in the cabana I’d finished the day before. It was a Sunday afternoon. We’d returned from church and were having a snack looking out across the fields where I spent the majority of my time. In the distance the Appalachian Mountains rose. It was a fine day, warm with a quiet breeze rolling north. Rebekah went from one place on the bench across from Astral and I to another. She was almost ten and seemed incapable of sitting still.
“Eat your apple, Becky.” Astral was losing patience with her daughter.
I pointed to the seat across from me. “Becky…”
Rebekah Bohrman stared at me before slumping on her seat and picked at her plate of sliced apples.
“When can I have a baby brother?” she blurted out.
I looked at Astral who looked at me.
“The babies come when God tells them it’s time,” Astral told her.
Rebekah frowned. “Jenny Gunther has two brothers and two sisters. I don’t have any.”
“That’s not the way the world works, Becky,” I said.
“Then how does it work?”
I was tempted to admit I had no idea. I was also tempted to tell her that her mother and I had been trying for years to have another child to no avail. Astral must have sensed my desire to blurt something out.
“Every family is different,” Astral told her. “While the Gunther’s have five kids, the Sibley’s don’t have any.
Rebekah was unmoved. “You still love each other, don’t you?”
We both nodded.
“Well, that’s what Mrs. Brice at bible study says is all you need,” she huffed.
“It takes more than just love, Becky,” I said, not knowing where that comment would take us.
It was Astral’s turn to frown. “I’m sure Mrs. Brice means well, but,” Astral elbowed me in the ribs, “the rest of it is for moms and dads to take care of.” Astral leaned towards Rebekah. “Why are you so interested in having a brother or sister—”
“I want a baby brother!”
Astral didn’t like being interrupted. “Please let me finish, Rebekah Bohrman!”
Rebekah Bohrman slumped down.
“Babies are a big deal,” Astral continued, “and God wants what’s best for them and I know he’ll gives us one when the time is right. You understand that, don’t you?”
Rebekah crossed her arms and stared at her mother.
“Right?” Astral insisted.
Rebekah looked at me. I shrugged, which made Astral frown.
“Your mother’s right, Becky. When the time is right,” I said. It was too nice a day to argue as Pastor Davis had admonished earlier in church.
Rebekah continued to frown.
“It’s not fair,” she grumbled to herself.
“It never is,” I said to myself.
A Twinkle in the Eyes of God will be release on 1/9/2020 by Black Rose Writing.
2020 David WIlliam Pearce