Monday, April 18, 2016

Excerpt from ELI'S HEART

“A love story that will stand the test of time.” – Amazon reader review

The story of a love which faced many obstacles, Eli’s Heart is about a brilliant young pianist who was born with a frightening congenital heart condition, Tetralogy of Fallot. Refusing to give in to his heart, Eli first gave it to music and then as a teenager, to a girl who later became his wife, despite his mother’s best efforts. The Kindle edition of the book will be on sale April 20 and 21 for ninety-nine cents.

Eli Levin was sixteen and Krissy Porter was fifteen the summer they spent time together in her home town. When he returned to New York, they corresponded for several months, then she abruptly stopped answering his letters. Not long after that he returned to perform Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto with the local symphony, and she came backstage after the performance. She wanted to apologize to him in person for what had happened; she had already done that in a letter. He seemed very cool toward her, and she left and called her mother from the pay phone in the lobby … only to have Eli come looking for her and invite her to go to dinner. She tried to call her mother back but there was no answer.

NOTE: The year was 1953. If Krissy had owned a cell phone, this would have been a very different story! This excerpt takes place three years later as Eli is on a train, remembering the last time he saw Krissy.


   “I’m to wait here with you for a while, and if your mother comes before we have to leave, perhaps you can come to dinner with us.”
   Krissy smiled and nodded. He could talk to her, at least for a little while. “It’s good to see you again,” he said.
   “I wasn’t sure you thought that when I came backstage,” she said, a little archly. He had grown at least four inches since he had last seen her, and she had to tip her head up to look into his eyes.
   “My sister told me you weren’t coming,” he replied.
   “Your sister didn’t want me to come.” Eli thought it an odd comment, but let it pass.
   “She thinks you broke my heart,” he said with a smile, and Krissy didn’t return the smile. “But I told her you couldn’t break my heart, because it’s already broken.” He laughed at his own bad joke. Krissy smiled slightly, but she looked distressed.
   “I never meant to ... I thought you were going to call me,” she said.
   “You didn’t answer my letter. That’s why I didn’t call.”
   “But I did write you,” she told him. “I don’t know why you didn’t get my letter. And Eli ... since you didn’t get my letter ... I need to tell you how sorry ...”
   He cut her off. “It doesn’t matter. You’re here now.” They smiled at each other. What he wanted to do was grab her and kiss her. He saw a different look in her eyes; she was looking up at him as if she adored him. They were standing close together. He could easily have reached out and touched her, but he didn’t.
   Rachel came to the end of the hall, and called to him. “Eli, we have to leave.”
   “Just a few more minutes,” He said it to Rachel, but he never took his eyes off Krissy. Rachel disappeared, and before long Eli and Krissy both realized he might have to leave before her mother came to pick her up.
   “I promise I’ll write,” Krissy told him. “I want to hear all about everything you’re doing.”
   Eli smiled. Seeing her had made everything right. “I’d like that very much.”
   They had a few more minutes together, and Rachel came back and said, “Eli, we have to leave right now.”
   He looked at Krissy and said, almost pleading with her, “Will you come?”
   He saw the tears in her eyes when she replied in a whisper, “I’m sorry. I can’t.” He turned abruptly and walked away quickly, so she wouldn’t see the tears streaming down his face.
   Riding north on the train, Eli relived all of this. His mother had insisted he not write Krissy until she wrote him. She had to prove herself before he let her back in his life. He didn’t receive a letter, and his mother’s “I told you so” attitude was insufferable.
   His mother wanted him to give her Krissy’s letters so she could throw them away. He waited, and still she didn’t write. Finally, he handed over her letters. But he had read them endlessly and nearly memorized them. He still remembered bits and pieces.
   After three years he had learned Krissy had not broken her promise to him. What his mother had done ... he couldn’t even put a name to what she had done. How must Krissy have felt when her letters were returned? The worst thing was that she might have believed he was the one who sent them back. He had a vivid memory of the way she had looked at him the last time he saw her, the night he played the Rachmaninoff concerto.
   Somehow he had to get in touch with her and let her know he’d just found out about the letters he had never received.
   Eli wasn’t sure he’d ever speak to his mother again.

Eli's Heart, Kindle edition, will be on sale on Amazon for 48 hours beginning April 20. $0.99