Saturday, February 14, 2015

March and the Single Heart by Vi Zetterwall Excerpt

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LIFE AT THE INTERSECTION OF LUCK AND LOVE

In a downtrodden and forgotten section of Seattle, Marci Ramirez labors daily toward her secret goal. She has a burden and a pain she carries inside her but she promised herself that nothing will get in the way of achieving her dream; not her crippled leg, not the local gang who threatens her, not the unrequited love she holds for the boy she grew up beside. But promises are sometimes broken and just as a bloody end looms as inescapable, a stranger passes the Coin of Luck her way. Too bad she doesn’t really believe in luck …

This is the third book in Vi Zetterwall's feel-good Single Heart Series. It is a stand-alone story independent of previous or later stories in the series.

Excerpt:

A flashback that Marci Ramirez, the lead character, has about a day seven years ago:

They left the park and walked south back to Rose Street, taking a left when they got there. As they walked, they talked about school and had some good laughs about some of the crazy things they had done or seen there. When they reached halfway past Tenth, Marci pointed out her house. “We live there. The white house with the cyclone fence around it.” They both stopped at the gate. Something special was happening between them. She had never had a one-on-one conversation with a boy this long before. There was something deliciously exciting about it.
Kyle fidgeted a bit. It didn’t seem like there was much more to say. But then he said those simple words that filled her heart with a joy she had never experienced before. Looking back at it, they really weren’t that special, but at that moment, they were a wonderment. “Hey, I didn’t show you my house. C’mon, you got time? I live just over on Elmgrove.”
Yes, yes! I have time. I’d like to know where the future cancer specialist grew up.” She elbowed him playfully in the side. “Then I can tell people I knew you when you were just fourteen like me.”
Kyle laughed. “Actually I’m fifteen. So I am way, way, way older than you.”
Right! She elbowed him again.
Doesn’t matter,” Kyle said, “you’re probably the coolest fourteen year old girl I know.”
Marci laughed, “Just because I can swing the bat, right?” She accepted the additional compliment greedily. Her failure on the diamond was already a distant memory. Now this was the new moment she wanted to live in forever.
Elmgrove was only two blocks north and they were there in no time. They walked half way up the street and there, on the north side, was his home. A very fine two story house, painted yellow, with a wrought iron fence in the front encompassing a small but finely groomed yard with a tree for shade. On the roof were solar panels. Compared to Marci’s house, it looked beautiful. Most of the houses in this neighborhood were run down a bit, but Kyle’s stood out. She complimented him on his abode and tried to suppress the envy she felt. She loved the feelings she had and nothing was going to ruin it for her.
They took the opportunity to sit on a bench on the front porch and talk some more. The fact that he wanted to talk to her more was what excited her the most. She was not a popular person at school. She had no real friends, just acquaintances that were better at tolerating her than others. They talked for forty more minutes about the neighborhood, school and the future. She had never talked to anyone about her own future before and it was exhilarating.
Finally, they both grew a bit quiet and Marci knew the moment was all but over. She stood up and said, “Well, I’d better get back. It must be late and I’m supposed to fix dinner tonight.” Barrio
Kyle, with all his manners, stood as well and said, “Well, it’s been really nice talking to you. You can play on my team anytime. You really can hit the ball!”
Marci beamed. Is that a metaphor? Play on my team anytime? I don’t know, but I like the sound of it.
Thanks, Kyle. I enjoyed talking to you too. Maybe I’ll see you at the park tomorrow…or sometime.”
OK. Or maybe I’ll just come by your house and see if you want to go walking around again.”
Did he just say that? Like a date? Are you kidding me?
Her stomach was churning but she composed herself and simply replied, “Cool. That’d be fun.”
As she turned to leave his porch, he asked one more question. “Marci, you never told me. What happened to your leg?”
No one had ever asked her that before. It seemed most kids pretended not to notice. Usually they pretended so hard that she became uncomfortable around them. But Kyle seemed very different. She liked that he put it right out there.
Oh, I had a bad fall when I was a kid. About four. It didn’t heal right and I had to start wearing a brace to give my leg enough strength to help hold me up. “
Wow. Does it hurt?”
Every minute of every day.
She shook her head. “Nah. I’ve gotten used to it. My mom bought me a new brace last year and it fits better and doesn’t hurt as much as the other two did. I guess I’ll have to get maybe one more and then I probably won’t outgrow the next one. It’s no big deal, really.”
Kyle smiled that great smile of his. “That’s good. I mean, it wouldn’t be good to go walking if every step hurt.”
Marci smiled back. “It doesn’t hurt at all,” she lied again.
I’ll go anywhere with you.




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