Detours: A Pseudo-Excerpt

51wtrHagooL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_December 23, 1996 (10:55 p.m.) – With Angela

The whole of Maryland is quiet tonight, or at least it seems that way to me as I sit on this perfectly made bed and stare at the wall. It is nearly Christmas and I’m not with my family for the first time in my life. That talk was an exhausting one, when I told my mother I wanted her to drop me off here, that I wouldn’t be going with them to West Virginia to visit my family. But I’m an adult now, and I firmly believe that love conquers all, except that I’m not sure, except that I’m deathly afraid that love won’t conquer even this, much less whatever comes after.

I have already gone through the rack of CDs by the stereo on the far side of the room and mentally placed each one into genres — soundtracks, gospel, rock and roll. It was something to do on a Monday night, far away from home, in a house as silent as a tomb, but I wouldn’t dare go out into the hallway. Angela’s mother could be out there, waiting in the dark, ready to pounce on me if I were to venture forth. So I sit here on this bed thinking about my innermost fears, healthy or not.

When we got here my mother insisted on coming inside, on meeting the woman I might someday call my mother-in-law, because I think she sees what’s so obvious to me, that I’m crazy for this girl. Sure, the timeline is off, somehow sped up in this age of instance, but the emotions are real, for both of us. I’m sure of it. And my mother wanted to size hers up, to see where she stands, how solid she is in the midst of this sudden love. There is one check in her favor because she offered to let me stay for a week, a boy she had never met before we arrived in Maryland two days ago.

There is a creaking in the hall, not unlike a door being opened, or perhaps it is my imagination running wild with me. Since ten o’clock I have been shut in here with only these CDs to keep me company, as I was last night, and the night before. It is Angela’s curfew, the time at which she must be in bed, and although I don’t have to follow that schedule, I cannot disturb her. Rules of the house. But I cannot sleep, and I couldn’t last night, or the night before, because while I am here this week it is the last I will see of the girl I love for five months.

This seems like such wasted time.

Then I see a beautiful milk chocolate hand wrap around the corner of the door as it eases open and makes no sound. Perhaps the sentry has gone to bed herself, but I don’t even care. I am just so overjoyed that I can have a private moment with the love of my life, with the girl I hadn’t even known six months ago but who now takes up the entirety of my existence. She leaves the door open as she slips inside and flops down unceremoniously on the guest bed, the one that was so pristine before she showed up but that now resembles the aftereffects of a thunder storm. I have never been so proud of such destruction. She smiles at me, and my heart melts.

“Midnight is where the day begins,” she says, quoting our favorite band.

“But it’s not even 11 yet,” I reply, feigning shock at her entrance.

“Yeah, I couldn’t wait so long to see you again,” she admits.

I wrap my arms around her, because I know these moments are fleeting, that these moments are like glass, that we may not have this time again. At the same time, as I look into her eyes, I can see our future reflected back at me, and I feel it can be spectacular. If we can only make it past the next five months.


Purchase Detours, a novel by Sam McManus, from or today.

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