Griffin Stone knows the stats. Sons of abusers become abusers. This is his single fear. After witnessing firsthand his parents’ tumultuous marriage, Griffin worries that he, too, harbors an explosive dark side. He volunteers at Holly’s House, a safe haven for abused women. Through sculpture, Griffin gives these women pieces of themselves they’ve long forgotten. Holly’s House is the only place where Griffin finds peace and purpose.Until he meets Frankie Moore. Frankie is an aspiring photographer, finding beauty in things most people miss, including Griffin. He is attracted to her free-spirited, sassy attitude but fears she will trigger the most intense part of him, the one he must keep buried.
“Do you remember all the things people say?” Frankie asks with a lazy grin.
“Only certain people.” I smile back. I stroke her long hair. It’s wild against my skin, with unpredictable waves. Just like Frankie. My hands never tire of feeling every single surface and texture of her.
She rests her head back on my bare chest and begins tracing each of my tattoos. “I can’t believe you do this for all those women.” Her fingers follow the lines of a cherry blossom on my ribcage. “Do you have any idea how incredible you are?”
I don’t answer. She sighs.
“You don’t, do you?” She stops midtrace. “Can I see mine?”
I laugh at how blatant she is about it, when I specifically told her she was only part of the inspiration for the moon. I give her my back. A single fingernail follows the lines of the moon and the sky around it. I suppress a shudder. How does just one of her nails have such a blistering effect on my body? Then the same nail traces the tattoo parallel to hers. A faded sketch of a small, mustached man rescuing a child from drowning.
“I never noticed this one before. Is it for someone or is it just something you liked?” she asks.
“It’s for someone. It’s for Roth.”
She finds the symbolism right away. “It’s very powerful.” Her voice flutters in my ear. “It’s in the same exact spot as mine, on the other shoulder blade. You never struck me as the kind of guy who needs symmetry,” she jokes.
“They’re there for a reason.”
“What significance are shoulder blades?”
“They’re not on my shoulder blades, Frankie. They’re on my lungs. Mr. Rothman taught me how to breathe years ago. You’re the reason I keep doing it.”
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)
There are many evils in the world. Sad but true. Some of those evils we come across are outside our homes; however, some people face them without stepping a foot out their front door. Unfortunate but again another truth.
For those who suffer any sort of abuse, I hope they find a safe place like Holly’s House. I also hope they meet their own Griffin.
Griffin knows about abuse firsthand. He watched his father hurt his mother regularly. Instead of following his dad’s example, he chose to be a better man. Using his gift/talent, he masterfully created sculptures for the women of Holly’s House. He showed them there is still beauty in the world. With so much darkness in their life, a token of kindness (no matter the size) can make all the difference.
Folks, spread joy — pay it forward — and never let anyone damper your spirit!!
Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5
K.K. Weil grew up in Queens, but eventually moved to New York City, the inspiration for many of her stories. Weil, who attended SUNY Albany as an undergrad and NYU as a graduate student, is a former teacher. She now enjoys writing her own dramas and lives near the beach in New Jersey, where she is at work on her next novel.