Chance Gordon Tillman is born with Down Syndrome. He's unable to speak and is locked inside his own head. He struggles to be normal and blend in, which is hard to do in his small town of Gold Harbour, Nova Scotia. If that isn't enough, at the age of five, his Ma packs her bags and disappears into the night. Distraught by her leaving, Chance does his best to be the son his Pa, A.J., needs him to be. If only Pa's new friend, Rena Mae would give him a chance, she might actually like him. However, her sights are set on a life with only A.J. and she persuades Chance to head to Halifax to apply for a living assistance program for people just like him. She convinces him he is a burden on his Pa and he packs his bag and leaves for the big city. What he finds there turns out to be so much more than a second chance at the life he's always dreamed of.
“Chance Gordon, she didn’t even leave a note. She just took off in the middle of the night. Took all her clothes, belongings, and left. I slept right through it all. She knew I would, she knows I’m a heavy sleeper. How could she do this? Just like that, in the middle of the night. No explanation. She just vanishes, like she was never here. This place is so empty without her. What are we going to do? Even her smell is gone.”
Ma wears perfume called Infinity Goddess. It’s in a tall shiny bottle. There’s a woman on a beach on the front. She's smiling in front of a setting sun. The bottle seems to be gone. How could she take her smell too? Pa and I love that perfume. She could have left us her perfume, I figure that’s the least she could have done.
Not a bit of Ma left, not even her smell. Only what I remember of her will stay. That will be gone soon, I feel it. I'm going to try to remember her, for as long as I can. I'm going to think of her every day until she comes back. That should work, to keep her fresh in my mind. I take a breath and Pa holds me tight.
“Don’t you worry, Chance Gordon, I’m not going anywhere. There’s no telling why she left us. Maybe we’ll never know. Not sure if I want to know. We can only hope she’ll come back one day, but we have to carry on like she won’t. It’s just us now. I’ll do the best I can, but I suspect it won’t be enough. Before long, I suspect you’ll grow up fast. It won’t be long before you’re a man."
Imagine that, a man at my age? If I could talk, I’d tell Pa I’m not ready to be a man, not by a long shot. Thanks Ma.
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My bio: June J. Austin is from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. Most of her stories are set in the fictitious town of Cold Harbour, which is where she spends most of her time when she's looking to get away from it all. "Cassidy's Song", book one in the Penny Series, will be released by Beau Coup Publishing in the fall of 2014. She plans to publish more books, and to obtain a diploma in Library and Information Technology.
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