Tender Bonds Book Blurb:
There comes a moment when the past we’ve left behind draws attention to itself and demands that we come to terms with it. For Patty Dykstra, a woman who has long led an unassuming life, that moment comes after her aunt dies. Among a life’s worth of things, Patty finds unopened cards from her father, a man that she hasn’t seen since she was six years old.
Patty is compelled to return to a small town in upstate New York to find the man who used to call her Star Shine, a man she barely remembers. The Tender Bonds is the story of Patty’s life- altering journey, of the faith and hope that grow in the meanest of places, and of what it means to be truly home.
My father was led in the same as always. We made small talk, dancing around one another like the strangers we were. After a few minutes, I pulled the box off my lap and handed him the cards. I told him I planned to put them in an album. Like photos I didn’t have.
He fingered a Snoopy valentine he’d sent when I was ten. “You’ve kept them all these years.”
“I didn’t know about them until last March.”
He put the card down, glanced sidelong at the guard and then at me. “They were yours. I sent them to you.”
“I didn’t know. Aunt Ruby kept them.”
His eyes trailed down to his lap. “I sent them to you.”
“To you.” He glanced at the guard again. “To you.” His gaze shifted to me, filled with thirty-six years’ worth of loss.
“Mom never…she told me you were gone. I thought dead. I didn’t know.”
“Christ.” He put his head in his hands.
“It’s why I never tried to see you.” He did not answer. I watched as his whole body shook, his head still in his hands. I’d never seen a man sob before and it scared me, that emotion could overtake him like that. Tears began to run down my cheeks. I put my hand to his shoulder.
He sat up. “I’m sorry,” he said. His face hardened again into a mask, and he called the guard over and left me sitting there with a pile of memories.
Ute (who pronounces her name Oooh-tah) Carbone is an award winning author of women’s fiction, comedy, and romance. She and her husband live in New Hampshire, where she spends her days walking, eating chocolate and dreaming up stories.
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