Rose is unsettled, curious, and bored. Life in a hippie commune is her parent’s dream come true, not hers. She doesn’t share their passion for living off the land, nor does she enjoy the isolation that is thrust upon her. When she convinces them to send her to public school in the nearby town, a new world opens up to her.
As she pursues her education, Rose chooses a different path, leaving her parents heartbroken at her insistence they are hiding something from her. She’s convinced her father isn’t the man her mother married.
Although she finds love far away from her roots and upbringing, her wounds only deepen as she keeps her family at arm’s length. What she loses during those years can only be retrieved with her understanding that “a Rose by any other name is still a Rose.”
DESTINY WAS BEAUTIFUL. I turned in her direction when she started to speak, thinking of how flawless her features appeared compared to mine. Her long, velvet brown hair was the same color as her mother’s. Perfect almond-shaped eyes, the deepest chocolate brown hue, reminded me of Hershey’s syrup. Her smile could light up a room, and she’d begun to understand how all these attributes could win her the attention of every boy in school. She favored her mother’s side of the family, Uncle Jacob being of sturdier stock, and a thick head of dark brown hair that hadn’t seen a pair of scissors for at least three years. He had brown eyes. I had brown eyes. River’s and Glory’s eyes were blue.
I could smell the heavenly aromas coming from the kitchen. The stove, a cast-off from better days in someone else’s house and notable for its olive green drab color, was in perfect condition. River and Uncle Jacob knew of a particular junkyard where all the wealthy people discarded their worldly possessions when they tired of the color, shape, or size, most outdated in five years or less. They made regular trips, eventually finding whatever we needed. They didn’t think they should ever have to pay for anything, as long as it was discarded. Whether cheap or frugal, I didn’t know yet, but it made me feel poor – too many hand-me-downs and nothing ever crossed our doorway with a price tag on it. Even our bathtub was salvaged, along with most of our furniture. Destiny’s house was the same. Our trips to Good Will and second-hand stores in town didn’t hold the same allure for us as they had when we were younger. When I asked Glory for a new pair of jeans or tennis shoes, she always reminded me that money didn’t grow on trees.
Yet for all their self-denial, River and Glory seemed content. Uncle Jacob and Aunt Fern appeared blissfully happy, as well. As I became more and more aware of my surroundings, I felt neither content nor blissfully happy. Most of the time I was bored and wondered if I would ever experience the world that beckoned beyond the commune. As much as my parents wanted to escape the outside world, I longed to join it.
Alexa Kingaard was born in San Diego, CA and has lived most of her life in the area. She currently resides in Carlsbad and is the mother of an adult son and daughter who continue to be her biggest fans and cheerleaders. A realtor for fifteen years, she remains involved with her profession and praises her brokers and clients for giving her the nod to be creative.
She gives all the credit for completing her debut novel, KEEP FOREVER, to her inspiration and late ex-husband, Jeff, who battled the residual effects of the Vietnam War for decades after his return.
Her second novel, MY NAME IS ROSE, will be released through Acorn Publishing March 15, 2019.