In my last blog post, I introduced you to one of the two couples featured in my second, still unfinished, book; Libby and Ted. I'd like to introduce you to their neighbors, Truman and Caroline. Truman is a stay at home dad, Caroline is the breadwinner. They have three daughters and he has his hands full. Libby and Truman have become good friends over the years, helping each other out while their spouses work long hours bringing home the bacon.
Truman and Caroline have an unconventional marriage (though more common than I ever imagined!) and in this book we see each couple's stories unfold from two points of view, Libby's and Truman's. I really enjoy writing from both a male and female perspective. Such a different experience! One day I'd like to write a book entirely from a man's point of view!
Here you go, an excerpt from the FIRST DRAFT of my latest novel, tentatively titled "As it Seems."
Excerpt from Chapter Three
Thank God for Libby, Truman thinks as he climbs into bed. She handled Sadie’s ‘situation’ like a pro, which of course, she is. He just left his eldest daughter’s bedroom having sat beside her while she slept, gently brushing her hair away from her face, wondering where the time has gone. His little girl is a woman now. Well, not quite a woman, but capable of womanly things, like getting her period. Truman lies back against his pillows and sighs. How did that happen? She’s thirteen, not a child anymore. He got off the phone with Caroline a little while ago, but he wasn’t able to really talk to her. She was out to dinner and it was too loud to have a conversation. She’s not even aware her eldest child reached a physical milestone today, and that pisses him off.
This is when Truman resents his wife’s job, moments like this. They have three daughters. She should be here for them! While the girls were small, he could handle whatever problems they brought to him. Teasing, arguments with friends, even crushes on boys, he could deal with those issues. Menstruation? Sex? No. He is not equipped to advise his daughters on tampons, pads, cramps, birth control pills… Oh god, Truman groans, feels sick just thinking about his girls becoming sexually active. They’re my babies!
He sighs, picking up a family photograph from his nightstand. It was taken two years ago for their Christmas card and because of his wife’s crazy schedule he had to reschedule this photo shoot three times. It’s a rare shot of the whole family. He has thousands of pictures of the girls, and Sadie taught him how to take ‘selfies’ of the four of them, but Caro is conspicuously absent from photographs, except on holidays and birthdays.
How did I end up raising the girls virtually alone? When did Caroline fade from their daily lives? He didn’t always work out of the house, but when Caro’s career took off, it was a matter of simple mathematics. At the time, she made three times the money he did, probably five times as much now. Someone needed to be home for the children and since neither of them wanted a stranger raising the girls, he got the job by default. Truman cut back his workload and turned the study on the first floor into his office.
He realizes it could have easily gone the other way. They wouldn’t live in this beautiful home, in this fancy neighborhood. The girls wouldn’t be taking horseback riding or sailing lessons. Their lives would’ve been considerably more modest if he were the primary breadwinner. In that scenario, he would have been the parent trying to make it up to the girls on weekends, and he’s glad he doesn’t have to do that. He tries not to hold it against his wife for being absent from the girl’s lives the majority of the time… but it’s hard. It’s very, very hard.