DW is a veteran, a father, a husband, and a teacher. He's published 9 YA/NA novels thus far. The story you're reading might be next.
Garrison's father called him in the evening while Garrison was finishing his Spanish homework. As was their routine on the rare occasions when he called, Mr. Kaylor - a senior partner in one of the largest regional law firms in the southeast - quizzed Garrison about his day at school and his homework. Garrison's father reminded him that it wasn't too late to change his major and put himself in line for law school.
"Dad," Garrison said as he began to explain himself for the umpteenth time. "I can still apply to law schools with a degree in English. In fact, an English degree fits quite well into teaching me what law schools are looking for in a prospective student. The only problem is, Dad, I don't want to be a lawyer. No offense, but if I ever have a wife and kids, I want to be able to spend time with them and not be more married to my work than my family."
A heavy silence fell on the other end of the line. Finally, Mr. Kaylor said, "You've made very clear how you feel, Garrison, about the legal profession in general and me in particular. I won't bring it up again."
They said goodbye. Garrison finished his homework. Then he set about preparing something for dinner.
Dinner and Homework
Dinner was the standard Wednesday night fare of spaghetti and chicken meatballs with a side salad and garlic bread. Dinners were simple for Garrison. Each week, seven nights' worth of restaurant-quality frozen dinners for one were delivered to the house. Mrs. Nelson, his housekeeper, would put them in the spacious freezer. All Garrison did was take the appropriate night's meals out of the freezer and place it in the oven at the indicated temperature for the amount of time shown on the label.
During his recitation of the day's events to his father, Garrison left out his interaction with the young lady he discovered swimming in the pool. Making mention of the hidden gate was thus proscribed as explaining its discovery would have necessitated revealing the swimmer. Garrison rationalized withholding this information from his father by telling himself the entire incident may have been a figment of his overactive imagination.
Upon the completion of dinner, Garrison retired to what had been his grandfather's study. Garrison thought of it as The Library. The Library was a better room to read his History assignment than the home office where Garrison did his other homework.
When he finished reading the assigned pages for his class, Garrison moved to the family room. A large flat-screen television and state of the art video game system were located in the family room. Playing video games hadn't been an option when Garrison lived with his mother at Landsgate near Wrightsville Beach or visited his father at Raleigh's luxury condo. Garrison's parents didn't believe a young man should waste time on video games when the time could be better spent practicing piano or reading a book. As a result, Garrison was very well-read and could play decently on the ivories.
Over the summer, Garrison came to enjoy several video games and was quite good at one or two of them.
Dr. Armstrong, aka Garrison's mom, and her reading material restrictions
Dr. Armstrong, Garrison's mother - a highly respected trauma surgeon, even discouraged her son from reading fiction other than what she considered the classics. Garrison discovered his mother's hypocrisy in this regard when he helped Ms. Nelson, his mother's former and now Garrison's current housekeeper, turn the king-sized mattress in his mother's bedroom. There on the nightstand were several paperback romances.
Garrison knew it would do him no good to confront his mother with her hypocrisy. Experience taught him how she would reply. Garrison's mother would inform him that she was an adult and his parent. Therefore, he was not allowed to question her decisions or compare her actions to his. Also, Dr. Armstrong would have to be home long enough for them to have a conversation consisting of more than her asking how school was, replying that it was fine, and then asking her how work was with her making a similar response his. Garrison could not remember the last time he and his mother had a real conversation. A string of nannies and au pairs did more to raise him than both of his parents.
Reading histories and biographies were allowed. Science and medical-related material were also among those his mother approved of. Garrison tended to prefer books about medicine geared for people his age. When he was only four years old, being diagnosed with Type I diabetes gave him an added impetus toward learning all he could about the disease and how to cope with it. Garrison's favorite reading was about research being done to find a cure. More than anything, he hoped someone would come up with a treatment that would allow him to discard his insulin pump.
One of the things Garrison liked most about swimming was not having to wear his insulin pump while he was in the water. He capped off his port, slapped a waterproof bandage over it, and climbed into the pool. The freedom was magnified when he swam without any encumbrance, such as a swimsuit. Thus, the importance to him of his afternoon swims when he had the house to himself.
High School Freshman Year Flash Back
Garrison was thinking about the time he'd just started his freshman year of high school, and his mother finally agreed to let him have his own computer - a laptop. He'd been reading the latest edition of one of the medical journals his mother gave him when she came home.
"Isn't anyone going to welcome me home?" Dr. Armstrong called from the kitchen.
Garrison put the magazine he was reading and headed for the kitchen. "Hi, Mom."
"Hey, G-Man," Dr. Armstrong greeted her son even though he'd asked her to stop calling him G-Man when he turned thirteen. "How's my favorite high school freshman doing today?"
The year before, Garrison had been his mother's favorite eighth-grader.
"I'm doing great, Mom. Do you want me to heat up some supper for you?"
"No, thank you, Garrison," Dr. Armstrong replied. "I grabbed a bite in the hospital cafeteria." She opened the refrigerator and took out a can of seltzer. "Tell me what you've been up to since you ate dinner."
Garrison started to tell his mother about the new diabetes research he'd been reading reports on in the magazine she'd brought home a couple of weeks earlier.
"It seems very promising," Garrison told his mother. "I wish I could find out more about it. The journal is three months old. Three months is a lifetime in research like this."
Dr. Armstrong smiled at Garrison and asked, "How do you propose to stay more up to date on the research? Would something like this help?"
From the tote bag she'd brought into the house with her, Dr. Armstrong drew a box about eighteen inches long, twelve inches wide, and two inches deep. She handed the box to Garrison.
"I was going to you this on your first day of high school. There was a delay in the delivery. Do you like it?"
Seeing the box logo indicating the contents was a laptop computer, Garrison grinned from ear to ear.
"I love it, Mom. Can I open it now and try it out?"
Dr. Armstrong folded the tote bag and nodded. "Take it up to your room and give it a try." She gave Garrison the password for their home Wi-Fi after extracting a promise that he would never share it with anyone.
Garrison unpacked the laptop with care and read the quick start guide twice before he tried turning it on. When he did power the computer up, Garrison followed the on-screen instructions to the letter as he went through the set-up procedures. Before he had the chance to go on-line, his mother knocked on his open door and reminded Garrison it was his bedtime.
Asking to stay up later would have been futile, and Garrison knew it, so he didn't bother to make the request. With reluctance, he shut down the laptop, closed the lid, and got up from his desk. In a very few minutes, he was ready for bed. Precisely at his bedtime, his mother came to his room. Dr. Armstrong did not stop at the door. She didn't often have a chance to say goodnight to her son. When she did, she always made a point of kissing him on the forehead and telling him how much she loved him.
Garrison smiled as he remembered how his mother seemed like a regular mom instead of a highly respected trauma surgeon who was always at the hospital and didn't even make it to his high school graduation because of an emergency she had to handle.
The story continues in Chapter 03.
- Setting Friday Free (A Buzby Beach Novel) Chapter 03
Garrison debates telling his friends about Friday.
© 2020 DW Davis
DW Davis (author) from Eastern NC on December 08, 2020:
He benefited from a Catholic education in his early years. It helped keep him from getting too big an ego and develop a decent moral compass.
DreamerMeg from Northern Ireland on December 08, 2020:
He seems to have turned out well being brought up by nannies, as opposed to absent parents!