In Freedom Road Sam’s family dynamic was altered as a child, after her mother gets in a car accident, resulting in the death of her baby brother and her inability to bare more children. This is the catalyst to the main character, Samantha’s family’s dysfunction, including her mother’s alcoholism and her father’s tyranny. Here is a special a scene that IS NOT in the book. It takes place the night of the accident, at the hospital, and is the start of where it all began…
Before I could process what happened, the nurse headed for the hall, telling my father to follow. I stepped forward, but he was already gone, disappearing down the short hallway after the nurse. Unsure of what to do, I glanced around the room, then back to the counter but no one was there. Off another L-shaped hallway to my right, a doctor in green scrubs hustled along with his nose in his clipboard. Straight in front of me, I noticed an entryway into a large room with a sign the read, “waiting room.” A couple, a child nestled in-between them sat, stone faced, while a teenage boy perched in the back cradled his arm, flanked by an old man who couldn’t seem to stop coughing. For a moment, I contemplated joining them, but so sure was I that my father would appear any second, laughing at his own absentmindedness, I didn’t. Instead, I stayed rooted to my spot off to the side of the large counter, taller than the usual eight year-old frame, and hoping my Hello Kitty pj’s wouldn’t draw undue attention.
Seconds passed into minutes and minutes into what felt like an hour. My feet ached and my stomach hurt because I had to go to the bathroom. I scanned my surroundings, seeing no signs and not wanting to leave my position. I wished I had Roar Roar, who lay forgotten in the passenger seat of the car in my father’s haste to get inside. Then as if my bursting bladder conjured her, a nurse appeared behind the counter, an older woman with skin like coffee and eyes as dark as molasses. Her shape was plump and something about her made me feel like she was the type to feed you milk and cookies before bed, then rock and sing you to sleep. She reminded me of my June, who was more like a grandmother than a neighbor.
I stepped forward, readying myself to tell her that there had been a mistake. That I should be with my father. That my baby brother was being born right that very second without me, but I stopped in my tracks when I spotted the nurse from before, the one my father had spoken with when we arrived. Her blonde ponytail swished behind her when she walked, matching the ferocity of her stride. I didn’t dare approach this nurse who bore steely eyes and a no-nonsense tight lipped expression.
She moved behind the counter and glanced back from where she came before leaning into the other nurse and whispering, “Did you hear about the car accident in 1040?”
“I heard it was a pregnant woman.”
Suddenly, the aching in my bladder lessened, as listening to these women’s conversation took precedence. I sunk further into the shadows, underneath the lip of the counter, for the first time since I arrived with Daddy, hoping no one noticed me.
I could no longer see their faces because of my position, but the clucking I heard was sure to have come from the blonde. I imagined her shaking her head along with the sigh that followed.
“She was about seven months.” The hushed voice continued. “Apparently, she had been driving when the brakes in her car went out. Poor thing. She came in with only a contusion to the head, but was having severe contractions. So strong in fact, that after she began pushing, her uterus ruptured. The force of the steering wheel into her stomach may have contributed to it. I heard she had bruising all over her midsection when she arrived.”
“Are they in surgery?”
“As soon as they realized she had a rupture, they were going to move her, but she had already been pushing and the baby’s head crowned, so the doctor had no choice. He delivered him immediately. It was too late though. They think the placenta had been wrapped around his neck. That combined with the mother’s blood loss; there was nothing they could do.”
I tried to swallow, but couldn’t, my tongue rough in a mouth that felt like sand. Unable to process what they were saying and hoping they would continue, I closed my eyes, wishing for them to spell it out for me.
“What about the mother? Is the father here?”
“They’ll have to do a transfusion with the surgery to remove her uterus, but so far she’s okay. The father’s there. He was holding the baby when I passed by. I’ll tell you, I’ve never seen two people more devastated. The mother was screaming when they rushed her into surgery. They could barely control her. I’ve never seen anything like it. I swear she was gonna jump right off that bed, bleeding all over the place like she was, and rip that dead baby out of her husband’s arms.”
I stopped breathing, picturing my mother as they described, along with my baby brother—here in the hospital but not really with us. Not in the way he was supposed to be. Dead.
A gush of something warm covered my legs. I glanced down to the puddle by my feet, staring at it for a moment before recognizing it as having come from me and that the ache in
my stomach was gone, my bladder empty. I looked back up and stared down the hall, hoping my father would emerge. But he didn’t. I bit my lip against the wail that escaped the back of my throat. Then someone peered down at me over the counter, followed by the shuffling of feet and the robust nurse’s figure emerging from behind it. My entire body began to shake. Even when the nurse with the kind face and the coffee skin stooped down in front of me and asked, “Honey, where’s your parents?” everything in me trembled.
Our eyes met, the cool blue of mine in sharp contrast to the warmth in hers. Despite my chattering teeth, the words slipped passed my lips. “My baby brother.”
A pudgy hand flew to her face, covering her mouth. “Oh, God,” she said, then buried me in the warmth of her flesh, while the tears came.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Freedom Road by T.M. Souders
Expected Fall 2012
Since the tender age of eight, music served as Samantha Becker’s source of solace against her father’s tyranny and her mother’s alcoholism. Now at eighteen, her only dream is to study classical guitar at Juilliard. But when her father’s careless actions lead to an “accident,” which threatens her ability to play the guitar, Sam becomes despondent. Losing all confidence in her future, Sam hides behind the emotional barriers that have protected her for years.Just when Sam has given up, two unexpected people enter her life, giving her the confidence she needs, and forcing her to evaluate all she’s ever known. Battling her father’s plans for her future, band mates using her for personal gain, and a permanent injury, the odds are stacked against her. With auditions approaching and time running out, Sam must relearn to play the guitar, or be destined to give up her dreams forever.
T.M. Souders was born in Johnstown, PA and grew up in the suburbs outside of Pittsburgh. She graduated in 2004, from Youngstown State University, with a degree in Psychology and minor in Women’s Studies. She is the author of bestselling women’s fiction novel, Waiting on Hope, as well as the novelette Dashing Through The Snow. Her young adult crossover novel, Freedom Road, is due to be released later this year. She currently lives in rural Ohio with her husband and children.