Thanks goes to Winney, aka SnoValley Hobbit, aka the wonderful Vicky Bastedo for this prompt:
Give us one of your descriptive paragraphs that set the tone, illuminate the world or a character’s idiosyncrasy.
He did not like not knowing what was going on, the hushed whispers behind closed doors when they thought he was asleep, the garage door closing but no sound of a car, the late night talk show hosts sounding louder, not funnier, on the television below. It got worse after Kai Addison’s parents died, the grown-ups saying they were not old enough to understand. Curled up in the cupboard, his father’s coat wrapped around his shoulders like a blanket, cup of hot chocolate in hand, Tennyson strained to hear what the after-dinner talk contained.
It became harder and harder for him to find a hiding place, especially after giving the best ones to his sister. The one place remaining, that she respectfully never asked about nor sought – as far as he knew – was the cupboard once in the dining room, now in the garage.
The formal room became a second visiting room, used now for book club meetings, poker nights, planning hunting trips and the once a month checking writing nights for bills. Other changes happened throughout the house over the years, but the formal turned informal was the most uncomfortable for the teen.
Tennyson wasn’t running away from the possible responsibilities, not that he would be asked to participate. His parents knew he had a busy schedule – the times gone at least, not how they were spent. He had his own monetary obligations and escapes. The only games he cared for were the ones he and Kai played late at night when neither could sleep. And his book club…
The cupboard was the only place he could fold himself into to finish the book of poems Lydia loaned him, without worrying about his mother finding him or his father hounding him. (Honestly, the man should have realized that Tennyson would never stay in his room if was expected to be found so easily for something as stupid as stringing worms on a hook just to sit by a stream to shiver and suffer for nothing.
No, Tennyson quite preferred Longfellow and Wordsworth. He even enjoyed Cisneros, Hughes and MacKellar. No, he loved MacKellar, especially “The Open Sea.” He longed to find that kind of freedom someday, to cross whatever sea to be found.
Balancing the cup of tea and book on his knee, shoulder and neck keeping the flashlight in place, Tennyson twisted his arm about to feel for the world map he folded and tucked away between the boots never worn and the broken umbrellas never tossed. Unable to find it, he panicked.
He gave up his search at the sound of his sister’s voice. The coast had to be clear for her to call.
Securing what stayed in the cupboard, Tennyson carefully crawled out; his back popping as he stood straight. He closed the door just as Kai opened the garage door from the house.
“You hide in there?”
He shrugged. “What? It’s bigger on the inside.”
-What does this say about Tennyson? What drives him to want to run away, to be unseen? Was it really the ‘grown-up talks’ overheard or something else? He is a restless soul, swimming in search of or running away from something.