Excerpt: Patience, My Dear by Bower Lewis

22609269Patience, My Dear
By: Bower Lewis
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published: March 24, 2015
Genre: Fiction

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In this quirky, romantic novel, in the irreverent spirit of Christopher Moore’s national bestseller Lamb, a young woman is getting texts from an iPhone-obsessed God, and she’s not okay with that. Her handsome new neighbor tries to intervene in the dispute, but is he on her side, or the Almighty’s?

Patience Kelleher doesn’t want to be a soldier of the Lord. She doesn’t want His voice in her head, and she certainly doesn’t want Him texting her emoticon-laden messages about boy band singers and sinister solar power corporations. What would a cranky, twenty-three-year-old waitress know about preventing the Apocalypse? He’s got believers for that sort of thing, or the Army. All Patience wants is to keep a job she actually likes, and to avoid falling for her confounding new neighbor, if at all possible. When the Lord enlists said neighbor to convince her to step up, it doesn’t brighten her mood. That was dirty pool.

Zane Grey Ellison doesn’t particularly want to be a soldier of the Lord either, but he’s keeping an open mind. His world’s been pretty skewed since he abandoned his father’s estate, and his preoccupation with the waitress across the street hasn’t helped him regain his equilibrium. The messages she’s receiving from a text-happy God don’t seem all that much more wondrous to him than his discovery of diner food, or the realization that not every girl in the world can be impressed by a Bugatti Veyron. In fact, if Patience would just stop bickering with the Lord for a minute, he believes they might even get the job done.

Patience fights to keep her sanity as Zane fights to keep the peace, determined not to let the world die … not when it’s just getting good.


Excerpt

Defenestration was going to be a bitch. Patience didn’t like touching unsealed wood, a quirk of hers since childhood, and there wasn’t a window frame in the place that wasn’t paint-curled and splintered.She didn’t care for the sensation of freefall either, and—despite the impression people seemed to form at the sight of her tattoos and fuchsia-streaked hair—she abhorred a public spectacle. Also, she was afraid of heights. She crouched in the living room window frame of her fifth-story apartment, gazing across the neighboring rooftops at the skyline of downtown Boston and disappointment hung about her like a tuba. Patience didn’t want to die.Patience.She wouldn’t have heard the building explode over the wind in her ears, but The Voice came through as clear as a live mic in an empty auditorium. She fought against the surging air to be just as clear as she told it to fuck off.It sighed. She ignored it.Her descent into the Kelleher family schizophrenia had been marked by the intrusion of an auditory hallucination more passive-aggressive than her mother’s Aunt Prim. The Voice sighed. It cleared its throat. It complained when she didn’t respond and typically ended up insulted when she did. She’d slept little the past few weeks, and fitfully when she did—dreaming of laboratories and boy band singers—despite the double shifts she’d been pulling to exhaust herself beyond its reach. It didn’t work of course, nothing ever did. The Voice interrupted as she took customers’ orders and followed her into the walk-in freezer. It commented if her plates weren’t carried straight enough or if she spilled some juice over onto her tray, always insisting that it was just trying to help. Her head hurt all the time now, and she was done. She’d known for years that this was coming, and now that it was here, she could think of nothing but finding some way to make it go away. The culmination of a decade’s anticipation and anxiety had turned out to be something of a fucked-up joke, but she’d be damned if she wouldn’t handle the punchline herself.

She looked down at the tattered strap of leather she’d worn around her left wrist since her thirteenth birthday—since the night her favorite uncle gave it to her and then packed up his voices and disappeared for good. He’d promised her that she’d understand someday, that his world would make sense to her when the time was right. It had been ten years of ticking since that night. Ten years of waiting in line for a movie she didn’t want to see. Like the constant drip from a leaking faucet, it was always there, whether she noticed it or not.

Patience yanked the old cord from her wrist and dropped it over the ledge, then pushed a pink lock from her face.

“Fuck your promises, Uncle John. And fuck you too.”

Patience.

“That goes double for you.”

It sighed again, and then her cell phone rang inside the apartment. Its chimes sounded clearly in her ears, as impervious to the wind’s dominance as The Voice. She glanced back to her cluttered coffee table, then turned forward again and caught sight of a man not much older than her standing at a window across the street. He was dressed in pajamas with a cup of coffee in his hand. She stared for a moment, confused at finding him there, and then he waved.

She tightened her grip on the frame as it occurred to her that her plummet to the street would likely cause a fair amount of danger and discord to the people around her. She’d managed to miss that detail in her distraction and fatigue, and she was curious now whether that sort of disregard for others was a condition of the schizophrenia, or if she’d simply become an asshole over the past several weeks and somehow failed to notice.

She slid her hands back to pull herself inside again as a torrent of wind bent a path around her and drew her forward, breaking her grasp of the frame. She hung suspended over Commonwealth Avenue for one miraculous moment as the shaft of air completed its arc around her body and pulled her back into the apartment. It dropped her onto her living room floor and quieted to a reassuring breeze, brushing the hair back from her eyes as her heart thumped in her ears. She coughed for air, and then, slowly, she began to quiet as well. It was as though a persistent humming she’d never noticed had stopped and a new sort of peace existed beneath the world’s general blare. She pushed herself up and dropped her head back against the sill. Her apartment seemed brighter than before, the air more transparent. She turned her eyes up to the light shining from the uncovered bulb and wondered if it always felt this way when an episode passed. The sensation wasn’t unpleasant. It was something—she wasn’t at all sure what—but the moment was tolerable.

She wondered, too, if it was sensations like this that had fed the one constant thing in her uncle’s increasingly inconstant psyche—his staunch refusal to accept any form of help that might quiet the voices he alone could hear.

She looked down to the tan line at her newly naked wrist.

“We’re alike, Pax. You and me,” he’d said. “Don’t worry, I’ll be there to help you through it when your time comes.”

But, he wasn’t. He’d never been heard from again. It was months before her mother stopped crying and accepted that her little brother was gone, just the way their grandfather and one of their uncles were also gone. Patience learned soon enough to stop asking about him and life resumed as a new kind of normal.

No one ever spoke of John now.

The phone chirped beside her pile of unopened mail and she nodded. If she wasn’t going to kill herself, she should probably check her messages.

The guy across the street was still at his window, but his mug was overturned and empty now and his coffee was streaming down the front of his pajamas. She waved back apologetically and pulled the window shut.

author
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Bower Lewis writes off-beat mainstream fiction, infusing her novels with romance, humor, intrigue, and a touch of sex whenever she can get her characters to sit still long enough. She is the author of Patience, My Dear and the forthcoming Damn It, Jane Damsel. She lives outside Boston with her husband, three Roombas, and two badly behaved cats.
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One Thought on “Excerpt: Patience, My Dear by Bower Lewis

  1. interesting excerpt! thank you for sharing.

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