Nerd @lert

Nerd @lert

by T.K. Black


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781524648626
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication date: 11/03/2016
Pages: 314
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

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Nerd @lert

By T.K. Black


Copyright © 2016 T.K. Black
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5246-4862-6


The branches loudly snapped as I darted into the woods. My tiny fists pumped back and forth. "Jack, better catch up!" I yelled back to my little brother.

"Quinny, wait up!" he cried.

"You snooze you lose, brother!"

"Quinn, please!'

No way, I thought, as I darted further and further into the dense woods. The leaves and trees danced and sparkled in deep, lush greens in the perfect summer breeze. The heat of a Midwestern suburban June had yet to set in. It was one of those days which never escape your memory, a day when your inner voice tells you, I will never forget this moment for the rest of my life. I found the dirt path that the neighborhood boys had cleared through the brush that followed the creek. A few squirrels and rabbits were startled by my sudden arrival into their quiet sanctuary, darting under the bushes and ivy my forest was becoming alive. Sprinting ahead like one of those Olympic athletes I had seen on the TV days ago, only here in the woods I ran for the love and freedom nature provides. The logs and scratchy bushes are my hurdles, and I am the Olympic champion effortlessly jumping over them. Closing my eyes, I was Snow White in her light blue dress; vibrant black hair combed neatly in a headband with perfect patent leather shoes. Gone were mismatched T-shirt and hand me down shorts. I could teleport my mind to another world in the blink of an eye; I did this often as a child, and when I was younger it made me feel like a superhero. My ability to change into a supernatural hero could place me on my favorite television show or sitcom. I would run away from the emotionally insane words that raped my ears on a daily basis, just by concentrating enough to go somewhere else. If not for the duration, it would offer a sense of escape and reprieve from a woman that was none other than my mother. No matter how bad things got at home, Jack and I knew the woods would welcome us back; it was a constant shield for our childhood.

My name is Quinn, tenderly known as Quinny to those who love me. I am nine years old today. I have an interesting timeline tied to my life. I have been born to people that probably would make the most devout human being to look up to God and ask, what were you thinking Lord? I would spend a significant portion of my life figuring this one question out. At a young age, how could see that my pain, my struggle could be closely tied to the likes of Job of the Bible or maybe even Paul? It would take years of heartache, misunderstandings, over-sensitivity to human interaction. I would doubt myself, not love myself, and cry out to God in anger for allowing me to be born by a Mother that quite simply hated, not just didn't love, but hated her children. A mother Panda eats her young if something is wrong with them or she doesn't want them, a mother Panda doing this terrible act would pale in comparison to the outright torture and damage my Mom would do to the insides of her children's souls. It would take years of therapy, guidance, reassuring, and love from those that didn't carry the responsibility for me to have my aha moment. It would take more than time to heal and discover myself genuinely. However, we all have a path, and this was apparently mine to climb.

Growing up on the edge of a Suburban town we were lucky; our backyard is not the cookie cutter houses that were popping up everywhere. Instead, our summers are long and breezy with the smell of lilac and whippoorwills calling us out to play.

These woods we grew up in are a land of magic filled with hideouts and new worlds. Our street is only one row of noble houses with great big yards, other than that; there are green trees as far as the eye can see. Each morning the sun came up and kissed the tree branches until they glowed with the colors of their season unless it was winter time, and then they sparkled like diamonds as the sun set and the moon rose. I loved the spring and summer time when those sun rays would dance in between the leaves. It looked like God was saying, good morning Quinny I see you! Or something maybe something else, like look out the window, see the beauty it is there just grab it.

I appreciated the woods, the escape from four walls and I took the chance to experience the outdoors as often as I could and this has become a life long love affair with nature's gifts. Looking out my window, I could see where the woods began; there was a tree that had one strong trunk that broke out into three distinctive branches, and then those branches grew branches; it was like a miracle every time it happened. The yellows and orange gleamed through every branch, it looked like it did in the movies where there is a spiritual event and maybe, I don't know just maybe Christ himself whom I had begun to learn about in Sunday school would swoop down through the light and give me, a big hug. In my world, it could happen. At least, that's how I remembered that tree. The tree meant a lot to me, and the backyard woods meant the world to me, no matter what was happening I could run through them and take cover and like changing of the leaves become who I wanted to be. I was a young teenager when I finally figured out that they weren't endless. In fact, the other side of the woods led to a church parking lot where we attended service for most of our childhood. It's intriguing that when we are young, we see things as mystical and as we grow, we seem to become desensitized, and nothing is as transforming as those leaves whispering to me as I ran through my very own forest. That's how I felt. That's how I still feel ...

I also know no matter how undeserving, she was lucky to have us. We were great kids.

I was a tomboy through and through. A cute little girl, small in frame with poker straight hair. I had bright blue eyes, which sometimes turned green, even as a young lady my eyebrows were thick as the day is long. The color of my hair was a deep dark brown that I pulled back tightly into a ponytail. I idolized my big brother; I still would throughout my life. My older brother is Ben, and he has reddish-brown hair with freckles around his nose. His eyes were a whirlwind of color that people call Hazel. We looked the most alike and were the closest in age giving us a connection that binds us today. Ben was a character, and he was the funniest boy in the neighborhood. All of looked forward to time spent with Ben and wondering what walk he would have today. You see, Ben had a different style of walking for everything- If Mom were mad that day Ben would walk shoulders back and stomp but the smile never left his face and the twinkle was always in his eyes. Other situations funny or sad created a walk, Ben always had a different turn. Most importantly, he always looked out for me. I remember the first day my brother went to kindergarten a few years before this, day and I stayed by the screen door almost the entire day waiting for that bus to bring my brother home. If he climbed a tree, I scooted up there too. It was similar to Jack but different. Jack and I were the thinkers, the creators, the innovators in our family. We would become inseparable as we grew older and more kindred in thought, how we would treat others. Ben, Jack, and I loved the woods by our home. There were animals in our woods and trails; we lived in them for hours on end every day. This one particular day I found myself running as free and fast as a wild horse in an attempt to lose my little brother Jack. In my mind, I was faster than the quickest and blackest horse. I loved to compare myself to animals or characters I admired. I saw freedom and laughter and pined for it. Jack had black hair, deep brown eyes, and was scrawny and skinny in stature like the rest of us. He had a unique look, yet we all looked alike in a way. We were all from the same set of parents, but each of us was just a little different from the other. We would eventually grow to realize we all had our Dad's eyes and eyebrows. This strong gene trait would carry on to future family members and so on. It became almost a painful reminder of the void we also felt in the area of having a father that loved, cared for, and protected us. He was absent, to say the least; I will touch on this later on in the story.

As for the woods, I spent my time there and on this particular day I had wanted to go to the woods by myself. That day, I had on ripped jean shorts, a bum t-shirt with red and white high tops or Punky Brewster shoes I had inherited; can't remember. Point being, I was on a mission. I was completely prepared to build my house or fort made of twigs and leaves. I was home that morning, and my Mom was having a bad day, she told me she hated me and wished I would just leave her alone. I had asked her if she could help me with something. Point being, she took her anger out on me and threw me around my bedroom screaming and yelling. I wasn't devastated by the day's events; I had grown accustomed to this type of day because it had become the norm in our home. I told myself daily that it would be okay. There was no wiping of tears in our home growing up, no reassurance, and we figured that to get through this childhood alive we should just deal with it. We justified every behavior growing up and dismissed it as if it wasn't that bad, or maybe Mom was just upset that day for the fortieth day in a row. We had grown accustomed to being hated, despised, a mother's love was foreign to us. By this age, it hadn't occurred that this was a part of normal life. The only comparison was to watching television characters or storybook tales. Is this a self-indulgent attitude some would ask? To the naked and uninformed eye it may seem a bit, however, if you know this feeling it isn't. We grew up like some others had to I'm sure, but our Mom found the talent of blaming toddlers and teenagers for everything that was wrong with her life. It was her Mom, her Dad, a friend; it was always someone else's fault. It would take a long time to understand that, and I surely hadn't figured it out by this day, but I would in time. The bad day would end and will end with a slap or a punch, maybe a slew of mean, vile words was spoken, then she will stop being angry sometime soon. Our biggest worry was that a bruise would show up when we went to school, that was not good. I was emotionally independent due to the nature of my upbringing and wise beyond my years. I remember thinking that day she threw me around the room that I was just going to go to the woods and build my house to live there. My subconscious thought reminds me that if I am going to build a home in the woods, then I will most certainly have a critter issue. That afternoon I began to gather leaves and branches to lay them onto a larger tree. Slowly but steadily my home is looking more and more like an Indian Teepee. The Tree branches I had chosen were bent and broken, not standing up correctly or entirely devoid of any sound structural ability whatsoever. I am not impressed. I stop to think and place my hands on my hips tilting my head to the side; I do this as a child and will continue to do this my entire life growing up into adulthood. I was a task oriented child, focusing on the task at hand was a non-issue. I am attempting to imagine life as a wilderness girl, deep in thought, I guess that some great bear or big animal will take a liking to me. As I would grow into an adult, this would look like A.D.D. The inability or the distraction of being taken off task would prove to become an obstacle that I would have to hone in on and address, but today wasn't that day. I was handy, able to connect branches and tie them together with leaves or ferns. Once I set my heart on something or someone, I was going to see it to the end. Good people don't throw others away or disregard their feelings, ever.

In the woods, it is quiet, and I'm alone. These woods provide that for me, and when I am hurting, I know I can come to this spot and quiet my life for a moment. Our home, while it may sound crazy to some people there was none of that. There was no peace, no rest, and no quiet or soft place to land. It was run with a hateful animosity, little love, little laughter, and damn near no hugs. My brothers were off somewhere, I didn't care where really. I had left Jack in the dust on purpose. I needed to be alone and figure this out; my favorite place would increasingly become alone in my thoughts. These habits began at a young age and I couldn't tell you what age, but I promise you this as well; as I would grow and have relationships it would affect them. For example, any guy I would date when I got older would get irritated if I rushed off to be alone when I was upset. I didn't want someone in my face when it was time for me to process. Some people enjoyed talking things out, and with my experience so far people liked to scream things out. Individuals and adults like to be mean to children in my life. The important people never made the right choices in my life, and I knew it as a young girl. I was looking at my crappy house/teepee, and I think I need to get some branches with more leaves on it or something.

Snap! I hear the snap of a stick and whip my long-haired ponytail around, and they jump out. All of the neighborhood boys and my brothers; Oh Shit! I was a quick little girl, and I reacted fast, and I didn't give it a second thought running away as fast as the wind will take me. I am a mighty panther, running through the jungle ... NO, I am not in a jungle because that is not a safe place and I could imagine snakes hanging from the trees. Think quick Quinn. Come on, you can do it. Grrr, I can't focus. I am in a panic, and I am trying to not smash my face into a tree. My ability to take my thoughts to a safe place are interrupted by tree roots tripping me and branches flying in my face. There are boys chasing me, I am in the neighborhood I grew up in, and my brothers are part of the posse. I didn't stop; I knew I would get hurt if I did. If the boys in our crew were running after you, you were going to get hurt, and it didn't matter if you were a boy or a girl. All in good fun of course. Like the game where every one of the kids would go outside and play, "Play around." It wasn't playing around actually. It was more like come break your back and get elbowed in the face, but it's the front yard so we can call it play around. Because it's fun, however, it is not fun.

Let's face it; we needed some form of entertainment, and this was suburb living. We weren't in some fantastic area in which there was something to do every day. It wasn't like in the movie Stand by Me in which we had some big important mission to accomplish; although I would imagine it to be that on days. We were surviving the best we knew how on little instruction and even less love. That said, this day in the woods was different than any other day I had yet to experience. I had never felt fear, even if the boys were chasing me. I wondered if it was because she had beat me up that morning for blinking incorrectly at her. My mom. I had a different feeling inside me, and it felt like fear or panic inside of my soul that I had never felt before. I ran quickly and wouldn't stop. It was like if I kept running like this, then no one could ever catch or stop me. I could keep on running and never look back; I imagined nice someone picking me up on the side of the road at some point. There was a woman with a beautiful sweater on and her hair neatly tied back. She caught me right as I reached the end of the woods, the man in the car has this smile with gleaming teeth. His arm stretched across the back of the seat, and he has a cardigan on as well as a tie because he just got off of work. The car is a fancy car, I don't know what kind it is, but it had apparently just been through the car wash on his lunch break. She has a tear glistening in her eyes as I reach her at full speed. She is so happy to see me, so she opens her arms wide and gives me a big hug. Since she is so glad to see me, she kindly pulls the twigs out of my hair, and I tell her while short of breath what the boys and my brothers were doing. The boys get to the ditch, and they stop right away because there was a responsible adult kneeling down on one knee and had her arm around me. She was my protector, she was beautiful, and in the kindest voice she speaks, Now boys we don't chase girls like that. Especially little cute ones like this girl. She sends the boys away, and they run back to our house. I am free, I am held, and this was my destiny. She would set me free; she would cook for me, she would make sure my clothes were clean, but there is just one problem. She isn't real; she exists in my imagination and my ability to detach from anything I view as becoming physically or emotionally too much to bear. In my mind, in my heart, it worked. I needed to imagine her because she centered me and gave me hope. I knew deep down that this would never happen, but it was peaceful and gave me a safe place to land if only for just a moment. I was a cute kid I think, I tried my best to behave even when I was upset, and maybe other people would love to have me for a child. They would take care of me, help me pick out clothes and feed me every day. Was this a lot to take in? Were my thoughts too detailed and adult-like? I don't know the answers ultimately to all of this. However, I knew that I was amiss. I tried to think of others less fortunate than myself and be thankful. There were plenty of people in this situation; the problem was that ours was so emotionally devoid of love and nurturing that we were forced to think like adults. We were made to try to understand a lack of love too early. I fantasized on all of this while running and at some point had gained a sort of super power speed. The branches hit my face as I weaved in and out of the path. I had tears streaming down my face while I was running; the colors were blurring in my peripheral vision, and I became numb. I was numb to every bad thing I had seen in life. I was numb to every hit from my Mother and every bad thing she'd ever said to me. Why was I thinking this while running from the boys in the neighborhood that had always chased me? I felt like I was done running from being hurt. I was only nine years old, and life had handed me more yelling, screaming, hitting, and negativity than most adults see in a lifetime. I had seen my grandmother attacked, friends belittled and talked about, where was the love? What chip was missing to put children in their rooms for entire days? Why? Why was I made to deal with this crap at such a young age? The questions fell as fast as the tears streaming down my face; damn that imaginary lady that was supposed to pick me up at the break in the woods. I wish she would be there. I had been to church; I had listened to my Sunday school teachers. I knew the basics; I knew to love others and be a nice person like Jesus was. It didn't sink so deep into my soul at a young age because I had the daunting task of figuring out why if God loved me so much that he sent his son to die for me, did he also entrust my siblings and me to a woman that hated us. I couldn't go with that lady, my imaginary mother figure I mean. I had to stay behind as long as possible to share the brunt of her attacks with my siblings. I would also spend, mostly half of my life asking this question to God. I would ask him, and I would rebel. I'm not certain if this day in the woods was when I had enough of the neglect and abuse, but it was heavy on my heart. I was always scared, never safe, always running, and how could I blame the boys for doing what boys do best? More importantly, how could I blame the other kids when they had no father in their life and a mother that would never tell them how important or extraordinary they were or for that matter, I was?


Excerpted from Nerd @lert by T.K. Black. Copyright © 2016 T.K. Black. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Nerd @lert 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Kluchar More than 1 year ago
If I had to use one word about this book, it would be "intense". It reads like a memoir with raw emotions and thoughtful insight. The author does a great job of creating empathy for the main character. At times, you just want to reach out and give her a hug.