In the spring of 1980, Christa Fonteneau has reached a breaking point. A stayat-home mother transplanted from Nashville to Houston by the promotion of her husband, Damon, she is entirely dependent on him for interaction with the world outside her home. Their two daughters are now school age, and Christa is left at home alone with her anxieties, created by their troubled marriage.
Damon is out all hours of the night, and when he's home, he is violent. Christa decides it is time to make a change. She sees a way out through renewing her teaching certificate and finding a job. Meanwhile, she struggles to keep the abusive behavior of her husband a secret, maintaining the façade of a happy family for years. Although she longs to escape from Damon, that desire is held in check by her deep insecurity. Can she find the strength to leave behind the life she knows for a world that she also fears?
This suspenseful novel details the experiences of one woman who, after years of hiding her guilt and shame behind closed doors, fights to find her way out and back to herself.
"I highly recommend Beyond Silent Cadence, an emotional narrative that reveals one person's venture through trauma and joy. This unfolding story exposes relationship patterns of vulnerability that are universal. Leisley Lantram will clearly make a difference with this intriguing, suspenseful tale!"
-Judith Martin, M.Ed, Education Specialist, Clinton, MS
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.33(d)|
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BEYOND Silent Cadence
As the Baffling Beat Goes On
By Leisley M. Lantram
iUniverse LLCCopyright © 2014 Leisley M. Lantram
All rights reserved.
Tuesday, May 19, 1980, was a refreshing spring day in the Houston suburbs. Christa Fonteneau was enjoying the bright morning sunlight as she sipped from her first cup of creamy hot mocha, her favorite drink in the early morning. She sat in the center of the perfectly maintained patio at the wrought-iron table with its glass glistening and welcomed the slight, crisp breeze that played with her silken hair.
Her mind was filled with uncertainty, and the jumbled confusion was muddled with a puzzling, yet somehow convincing, optimism that welled up inside her. The local newspaper article triggered an idea that meandered through her brain. An antsy shiver crept over her. She wondered if the answer to her unrest lay right before her.
She slowly folded the paper and tucked it under her arm. Then she picked up the cup and saucer to carry inside. She walked to the patio door, balancing the cup in one hand. She slid the glass door open and stepped into the luxurious and immaculately clean den.
Her husband had left for work without awakening her and their two daughters. Even after his nights out on the town, she always prepared breakfast before Damon left for work, and he always said good-bye and told them to enjoy the day. Perplexity haunted her, and a piercing uneasiness stabbed into her brain. Her stomach was turning somersaults.
She drew in a wistful breath. She moved past the large, claw-footed sofa and saw that if Damon had even sat down on it, he had been meticulous enough to fluff the pillows. She stopped at the entrance to the dining area next to the two white wooden barstools. The counter appeared untouched since she had cleaned up the past evening. Across the room, his coffee cup and a plate were in the sink under the window. Her mind continued to wonder about Damon's actions.
Christa wanted to wreck the fastidious neatness—once an amusing pleasure—that surrounded her. Stifling the desire to give in to growing resentment, she glanced around at the perfect tidiness. She walked to the sofa and dropped the paper, disheveled, onto the new trapunto orange and green floral sofa. His rage from last week popped into her mind as she stared at the paper.
That night, it had been past eleven-thirty when she heard Damon's Corvette roar into the driveway. The house was quiet except for the television's monotonous drone. Dressed in her cozy, two-piece, pink, cotton pajamas, she was watching NBC's The Tonight Show in the family room. She had both feet tucked under her and was leaning on her left elbow.
A guest host was pitch hitting for Johnny, so Christa was only half listening. If Damon had not arrived, she was going to stay up until the guest star, Teri Garr, came on. She loved watching the popular actress in the 1963 movie, A Swingin' Affair, and thinking of her brought back memories of Teri's mother, an original New York City Rockette precision dancer.
Instead, she stood and flipped off the television and the lamplight next to the sofa. She was in no mood for his belittling. She decided it best to get to the bedroom and pretend to be sleeping. She watched the beam of the car lights sweep past the picture window. Then, she heard the garage door roll up and back down before Damon slammed the car door. She knew he would enter from the laundry room.
Able to see by the light in the long hallway, she ran to the bedroom. Her heart started to thump. She threw the extra pillows from the bed onto the easy chair in the corner before she put Damon's pillow neatly on his side of the bed near the bedside table. It was his side so he would be able to reach the phone if the dispatch office called him.
She had become used to this race, but butterflies always fluttered in her stomach. She scooted under the covers and turned on her side with her knees pulled up into a fetal position. As she closed her eyes, she sank into the soft down pillow. In a jiffy, he entered the room and flipped on the overhead light.
She shot up quickly and managed to hide the fury she felt as he neared the bed. She did not dare mention the repulsing stench of beer and smoke. Christa had beaten that horse too many times before and received her own floggings for opening her mouth. Another aroma, a cheap sweet scent, swept past when he walked toward her. He just glanced at her face and turned to go to the other end of the bed. He never said a word.
She threw caution to the wind. "You smell like Evening in Paris perfume." It was not a statement but a need for information.
"So what? Can't I even get close to another woman without you bitching, you stupid battle-ax! It's none of your damn business!"
Cut to the quick, she lowered her head. He never called her names. This was more than she could understand.
He spewed through clenched teeth, "I'm tired of your stupid mouth. Get in the guest bedroom. I need some sleep."
He grabbed her forearm and jerked her from the bed. Her face burned from the slap he planted on her cheek before she had time to think about what she had started. She knew to follow his orders. She left him undressing and slunk off to the guest bedroom. Nursing her rankled ego, she sobbed into the early morning. She was not used to sleeping alone or in the seldom-used queen bed, but finally she fell asleep.
Now, she looked at the fading blue bruise where he had grabbed and twisted her arm. A lump rose in her throat, but she held back her tears. Bending her elbow toward her chest, she tried to hide the ugly mark. She quickly retrieved the beckoning newspaper. She anxiously pored over the compelling article, "Teachers Needed—Federal Grants Available".
In January, her husband was promoted to a new managerial position. After the long move from Nashville to Houston, she liked the comforts of their new home, but her self-confidence had waned. For the last three months, Christa had been timid about making new friends. She was even more dependent on Damon for her ties to the world outside their home.
He had become chummy with his co-workers right away and always accepted their invitations to go drinking after work. His self-absorption grew while he immersed himself in his work. Lately, she felt he had little time for her.
Her mind was scrambled with thoughts that flashed like wildfire. Her subconscious prodded her to discover her purpose in life, and to satisfy her own deep-seated emotional needs; she needed to make some changes. She could not dwell on the challenges this effort would bring. Could she find her own dreams?
She was doing what Damon wanted her to do—being a stay-at-home mother and housewife. What would he say if she told him she wanted to go back to school? Even if he were skeptical, she believed he would okay her plan. With their daughters in school all day, she was at home alone now. He might let her go to work.
She waffled in her thinking, but she was increasingly persuaded that the time had come to alter her course of unhappiness. She was afraid that sidestepping issues of a wayward husband while taking on classwork would be exhausting. The serious responsibilities of raising small children at the same time filled her with trepidation.
After the move, she was fortunate to find an ideal babysitter who lived only two doors away. Patricia Navarro was a sixteen-year-old of Latin American heritage. With charms of a Southern belle, with beauty accentuated by olive skin and dark eyes, she was perfect for the job. Patricia's graceful manners and laughter filled the Fonteneau home when she babysat Marrissa and Darlene, the five- and nine-year-olds. They had opened their arms and hugged her tightly the first time they met her. It was time to get in touch with her.
Soon Christa was holding the house phone in her hand, hectically dialing 555-112-0003. Listening to the phone ring—once, twice, three times—she hoped Patricia was at home. She must talk to her! One more ring, and the young girl answered. She could come right after her last class. Christa felt her load lighten and breathed a sigh of relief. That hurdle was easily met.
"Whatever you want." She dreaded Damon's probable response. His nonchalance already clearly resounded in her ears, and her doubts grew again. He would use little time to consider her idea if he showed any interest at all.
She tried to envision what going back to school would be like. The girls would be at home at night for two to three hours during her classes. Would he agree to come home if they started at six—or would she need Patricia? Her feelings fluctuated between apprehension and excitement.
With an unusual giddiness emerging, she moved from one menial task to another. She started deciding which outfits she could wear to classes and even skipped lunch to finish sorting the clothes in her closet. Her sense of style, fortunately, continued to be an asset. She had kept up with the latest trends in fashion even on her limited clothing budget. Damon's insistence on her dressing in tastefully, flattering outfits was one of his demands that was fully appreciated.
She eagerly searched through her clothes, seeking something that would give her a semblance of confidence and spontaneity. The look was imperative for her pending visit to the college. She decided on a stylish three-piece, light pink, polyester pantsuit with bell-bottomed pants. Even though the outfit was sassy and alluring, the matching jacket with tiny white pinstripes added the desired sophistication. Because it stopped just at the top of her small but curvy hips, the jacket would accentuate her tiny waistline and show the contour of her petite frame. Her long, soft, chestnut hair would flip perfectly over the hot pink turtleneck collar, and the long sleeves would cover her bruised arm.
She sought a go-ahead, a green light to proceed. She needed assurance that she must not back down from her blossoming idea. A leisurely bubble bath provided some time to deliberate. Afterward, she stepped into the shower and let the water trickle over her to rinse the shampoo from her hair. Lost in thought, she turned off the water, bounced out of the shower, and snatched the fluffy, lime-green towel from the towel rack to dry herself. She tiptoed to reach the terrycloth bathrobe on the hanger over the door.
By the time she tied the sash snugly around her waist, her mind was made up. She switched on the curling iron before she finished blow-drying her hair. Time zipped by as she charted her plan and made mental notes of the pros and cons of her inclination. Craning her neck to see the radio clock on the nightstand beside her bed, she was surprised to see the time had flown so fast.
It was already two o'clock. The girls would be home in thirty minutes. Being ready to leave when they arrived would give her time to get back home and have a meal ready if Damon came home at dinnertime.
In haste now, Christa vigorously brushed her teeth and curled and styled her easy-to-manage hair. Looking in the mirror above the bathroom sink, she admired the perfect flip the first time she combed it. She stepped out of the bathrobe and hung it on the hanger on the door. She entered the bedroom to find her bra and panties in the lingerie drawer of the triple pecan dresser. The color and style of her underclothes was unimportant that day. Beige silk panties and a matching, lace bra were fine since her undies were the least of her worries.
She put on the pants and the pullover. Habitually she peered into the full-length mirror on the bedroom door, making sure she had not mussed up her hair while pulling on the turtleneck sweater. After a little scrutiny, she thought she looked "pretty darn good," an expression Damon used often in their early years of marriage.
* * *
She stood in front of the mirror, and using both hands, she tossed her long, brown hair into the air and off the sweater. She turned to her side and viewed her full-length profile. She never minded her height in high school when boys teased her by calling her "Shorty." Now, she had begun to realize that taller women were given more advantages. Because of that belief, she wore three-inch high heels as often as possible.
Although pleased to be looking younger than her thirty-two years, she deliberated whether a Barbie bubble cut could give a look taller than her four feet, eleven inches. A shorter haircut might give her more pizzazz. With a sassy, modern cut, maybe with a few highlights, she might feel more alive. She needed to put pep in her step somehow.
Seeking confidence or maybe inspiration, she forced a somber smile. When she noticed a faint bruise on her wrist, her lips tightened into a frown with a blink of her eyes. With the memory of last week's attack, she could easily slip into a funk if she were to dwell on her tormented heart. It was past the time to find a way to look after her own needs. She had to get control over her life.
Still wrangling with her emotions, she fought back tears. She asked herself, "When has he noticed me lately?"
She hurried into the family room with the new, beige, wedged heels she had chosen to wear. Making sure the picture window was in good view, she sat down on the ottoman near the coordinating floral sofa. Her tiny feet slipped easily into the shoes, and just as she buckled the second one, the doorbell rang. Her timing was perfect. The girls rushed in; Patricia trailed closely behind them. Christa stood and laughed aloud as they scrambled toward her, encircling her from both sides.
"Mommy, you look so pretty," Marissa, her younger daughter, squealed.
Darlene, four years older than Marissa, frowned at her mother and asked, "You're all dressed up. Where are you going, Mother?" Her concern showed maturity beyond her years.
For this occasion, wearing her usual Calvin Klein acid-washed jeans and a loose T-shirt was out of the question. Resting her left hand on Darlene's slender arm, she tenderly wrapped her right arm around Marissa's shoulders and gently twisted a lock of her daughter's soft golden hair. Christa looked into her dark-brown eyes as they gazed up at her.
"I have a few errands to run and an important appointment. I'll be back before Daddy gets home. I want you to listen to Patricia. Mind her while I'm gone. After you eat your snack, do your homework before you start playing." Christa smiled at them, but she was uptight. She would have to share her plan with her daughters later.
Christa turned to the babysitter and said, "Hi, Patricia. Thank you for coming with such little notice. This will take me a couple of hours, probably. Be sure the girls finish their homework. They have a snack on the table. Help yourself, too."
Christa hoped the young ladies could not detect the inner turmoil with which she was struggling. She brushed a kiss on a cheek of both daughters, grabbed her beige canvas bag from the key rack, blew them a reassuring kiss, waved good-bye to Patricia, and rushed out the door. She sprinted through the courtyard toward the two-toned gold 1975 Grand Prix, regarding the special care Damon had given it over the last five years. It shined like new money. She was glad it was a dependable car, and a spark of pride swelled within her.
Houston was known for its academic graduate schools, but Christa had settled on Houston Scholars University because it was only a few minutes away from home. She backed down the driveway and carefully made her way out of the exclusive residential neighborhood. The stately homes and prominent street signs in beautiful French script for the Shadow Wood Subdivision were just a blur. At the green traffic light, she swung easily from Mareno Drive onto Main Street. Few cars were on the thoroughfare at three in the afternoon.
Tinkering with the radio dial, she stopped on a familiar station. Helen Reddy, Grammy Award winner and queen of seventies' pop was singing her famous song, "I Am Woman." Christa had heard it called the song of the year in 1975, which was also the year of the woman. The United Nations General Assembly had called it that at a world conference on women in Mexico City. At the time, female activists were holding political rallies worldwide, but Christa never got caught up in the excitement about the spread of equality for women.
Excerpted from BEYOND Silent Cadence by Leisley M. Lantram. Copyright © 2014 Leisley M. Lantram. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsChapter 1 Lofty Undertaking, 1,
Chapter 2 Strange Proposal, 16,
Chapter 3 Can It Be Fixed?, 27,
Chapter 4 Battling Conviction, 36,
Chapter 5 Delirious Dash for Home, 50,
Chapter 6 Clever Trap, 61,
Chapter 7 Fears Unleashed, 70,
Chapter 8 A New Leaf, 83,
Chapter 9 Bounteous Waves, 92,
Chapter 10 Out of the Abyss, 100,
Chapter 11 Then Came the Year 2000, 118,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Bil Howard for Readers' Favorite If you're looking for a dramatic story with a deeply emotional appeal, then Leisley M. Lantram's Beyond Silent Cadence: As the Baffling Beat Goes On is perfectly suited for you. Struggling with a marriage that has long since lost its flavor, Christa is searching for a way to claim some independence and relief for herself. The wedded bliss of Damon and Christa gets lost in the shuffle of job promotions, relocations and a job and social life that stretch the limits. Christa balances trying to hold things together for herself and their two daughters, keeping their finances in order, and trying to hide Damon's drinking problem that on numerous occasions escalates into violence. With her self-esteem in a shambles, going back to school for a master's degree and a renewal of her teaching certification isn't easy. However, it is the only avenue that she can see to get her out of the mess that her life has become. Will Christa be able to hold it all together until she can finish her degree and get her own career started? Beyond Silent Cadence: As the Baffling Beat Goes On digs deep into the psyche of a woman who, in spite of being abused and neglected, stays in her marriage long past what ought to be tolerated. Reading this book as a man, I felt a great deal of shame for the neglect and was convicted of some of my own shortcomings. However, as someone who was a co-dependent spouse, I could follow along with Christa's emotional responses and decisions with approval. As hard as it is to face this sort of reality, this story is apt to touch millions of souls who have faced the struggle that lies upon the fine line between love and responsibility and that of survival and self-preservation. Leisley M. Lantram does an excellent job of drawing her readers into this deeply emotional book and keeps them on the edge of their seat throughout. Beyond Silent Cadence: As the Baffling Beat Goes On is both gut-wrenching and encouraging. Highly recommended for those who love emotional drama.
Reviewed by Faridah Nassozi for Readers' Favorite In Beyond Silent Cadence by Leisley M. Lantram, Christa had learned to accept and live with her husband's flaws from early in their marriage. She made excuses for his behavior and did her best to hide the pitiable state of their marriage from the world, and especially from their two little girls. The more she tried to make it work, the worse things got. While she stayed home to raise their two babies, he was always out drinking and partying, and never once showed appreciation for her part in building their family. Christa was ever the dutiful wife who gave their marriage her all and expected little in return, but soon the little became nothing and then it became criticism, rejection, resentment and abuse. Tired of putting on a facade for the world while she suffered endlessly, she decided to take back some control in her own life by going back to school and revamping her career. How this would change her life and the dynamics in their marriage remained to be seen. Beyond Silent Cadence by Leisley M. Lantram is a deeply touching story of a woman's struggle to escape the clutches of a marriage filled with abuse. The story portrays the miserable cycle of life women in abusive marriages go through, what they sacrifice in an attempt to make the marriages work and what that sacrifice takes away from their lives. The story feels real and is in touch with the true nature of what goes on in such marriages. It does not paint the usual unrealistic fairy tale, but instead portrays the reality of the plight of countless women around the world who suffer silently in abusive marriages. Beyond Silent Cadence by Leisley M. Lantram is deep, sad, very moving and in touch with the reality of the theme.
Reviewed by Paula Tran for Readers' Favorite Beyond Silent Cadence: As the Baffling Beat Goes On is written by Leisley M. Lantram. Lantram's novella is a nerve wracking piece that successfully captures the essence of an abusive marriage/relationship. Christa, the protagonist and a mother, struggles with her life with her husband Damon. To Damon, Christa is the ideal wife, but she has other plans. Without her husband's approval, Christa enrolls herself into graduate school, nervously wondering about what Damon would say during the process. The author does a really good job describing the back story and history of the two characters. It is clear from the very beginning that Damon is abusive, the apex being when he proposes to her in a shocking way. However, Christa is still young, innocent, and naive, and she agrees to marry him, thinking that love will find a way. Although Damon can be a loving father (in his affection towards his two daughters), Christa slowly begins to realize Damon's true colours. I like the suspense and the tone Lantram uses throughout her novella. Although the dialogue can be a bit too formal at times, it gives readers a really good insight into the characters' personalities. Through little details, such as Dr. Hydelmon's body language during Christa's interview, Lantram also portrays emotions excellently. The characters are vibrant and colourful on the page. Their personalities are realistic, mirroring the real world almost perfectly. Damon, instead of being a stereotypical abusive father, has two sides to him and is well rounded. Christa is a nice, independent woman, who likes to make decisions for herself. Readers can definitely relate to the two, a good asset for any novel.
Reviewed by Jessyca Garcia for Readers' Favorite Beyond Silent Cadence: As the Baffling Beat Goes On by Leisley M. Lantram is a story about an abused wife who is looking for a way to escape. The book allows you to see a truth that is too often hidden. A victim that is in denial and is struggling to find her voice. Lantram’s main character, Christa Fonteneau, in Beyond Silent Cadence is a fashion savvy housewife. At first I felt sorry for her, but it grew to annoyance. I wanted to help her and for her to help herself. Christa was looking for a reason to escape her abusive marriage to Damon. The reason finally came to her, but it came many years later. Damon’s back story was told in the beginning of the book, and it explained why he is the way he is. The story made Christa feel sorry for him, but it did not work on me. I do wish the story would have gone on a different route, but it is eerily similar to actual life. A few of the things I liked about Beyond Silent Cadence was the hand drawn illustrations scattered throughout the book. They made me pay extra attention to the events that were occurring in them. I also liked that Christa was finally able to get a backbone and escape. Beyond Silent Cadence reminds readers that domestic abuse happens and is often hidden. Not all women are as lucky as Christa and able to escape an abusive marriage. I hope this book can show someone that they can get out.
Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite Beyond Silent Cadence: As the Baffling Beat Goes On is a contemporary fiction novel written by Leisley M. Lantram. Christa's collegiate dreams of being an elementary school teacher were put on hold by life. She met her future husband in a class they both attended, and somewhat reluctantly accepted his marriage proposal some days after he asked for her hand. While she did get her teaching certification, being the support for her husband in his career and caring for her young children became her primary occupations. Damon, her husband, was not an easy man to be with. When drunk, he became physically and verbally abusive, and any attempts to curb his late nights out or even drive the car when he was inebriated would earn her a beating. She started to wonder if he would kill her one of those times. Then she saw a notice in the newspaper about a need for teachers, and she decided it was time to act. Leisley M. Lantram's suspenseful contemporary novel, Beyond Silent Cadence: As the Baffling Beat Goes On, takes a look at the legacy of abusers and the victims who end up enabling them. Lantram's Christa learned early on to avoid her harsh and controlling father, and it's painful to see how she ends up trading one fear-filled existence for another. I was saddened by her need to be perfectly coiffed and present a glowing facade to the world while her life was so confusing and lonely, and I was thrilled by her determination to follow her passion and get back to school. Beyond Silent Cadence: As the Baffling Beat Goes On is a well-written and compelling story that will resonate in the minds of those who've been in Christa's shoes, and anyone else who's watched the damaging cycle and mourned its victims. It's highly recommended.
Great Read! Couldn't put it down once I started! ~Faye
I loved this book that is charged with anticipation and intrigue! The writer artfully depicts Christa's struggles to hide the abuse she endures throughout her marriage. Through tears and some laughter, I was immersed in this intense novel of hurt, betrayal, and discord and the sometimes fantastical ride Christa takes to a surprising ending.
Enjoyed this book! I will recommend this book to friends. Beyond Silent Cadence tells a story that will have many women seeing a part of themselves. Christa struggles to keep her family together while dealing with the harsh reality of what is happening in her life. Lot's of suspense and drama (that I love)! I winched at the pain, but marveled at the writer's ability to show that we are all human and flawed.