The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff – a deleted scene
We love deleted scenes. I mean really, if we liked a book we surely can’t pass on reading more about it. It’s all about discovering those extra nuggets to deepen our fondness. (for our book review click here)
Brenna’s note: To me, this one is pretty self-explanatory. I was thinking I needed a shot of the Doyle family hanging out together, but then wound up with more interesting ways to show the same thing.
Also, this is from before I changed Mackie’s English assignment to Hawthorne.
At dinner, Emma was quiet and pensive. Usually, she made up for the fact my mom and I went entire meals without talking, but this time, she just kept her head down and stared at her plate while my dad made enough noise for the rest of us.
He was all worked-up about buying new furniture, describing his ideal living room set in a hard, cheerful voice, like if he just talked louder, he could get my mom excited about pine end tables and neutral-colored couches.
She listened and nodded, but her expression made it clear that she wasn’t getting rid of the old green sofa with its carved wooden feet.
I flattened my carrots into a paste and used my fork to make little parallel rows, like a garden.
My dad stared at me and when I made a set of rows going the other way, he reached across the table and put his hand on my wrist. “Malcolm, stop playing with your food. Sharon, I’m just saying that brocade is not typically the upholstery choice of married professionals. Or people younger than seventy-five.”
I put the fork down, but my mom just gave him a blank look.
My dad sighed. Then he leaned toward me, clasping his hands. “So, how’s school going?”
“We’re starting Shakespeare on Monday. Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
As soon as I said it, I was sure he’d take some kind of issue with it, say that it was inappropriate or reckless, or that I needed to be especially inconspicuous until the Elizabethan unit was over.
But he just nodded. “That’s a convoluted one. The discussion should be fun, though. Have you read it yet?”
“I just started this afternoon.”
“Keep an eye out for the reversals. Characters who think they have more knowledge or more power, when really, everyone takes turns being in a position of power, and everyone looks ridiculous once in a while. That’s part of what makes it a comedy. The supernatural characters are just as shortsighted and as fallible as the human ones.”
“I don’t think we should talk about this anymore,” my mom said abruptly.
She was fidgeting with her napkin, twisting it into a crumpled wad.
No one said anything for a minute.
Finally, my dad touched his chin, which is this thing he does when he’s about to remonstrate with someone. “We’re discussing literature. It’s not like we’ve chosen to describe open surgery, unlike some people I could mention.”
Across the table, my mom stopped picking at the napkin.
She stood up and began to stack the plates. She took mine, which looked like someone had been doing abstract sculpture, and put it on top. Then, she turned around and walked into the kitchen. My dad sat staring after her with the strangest look on his face. She seemed to float for a second, silhouetted in the kitchen doorway, then she was gone.
“Good work,” Emma said, looking down at her placemat. “You really bring out the best in each other.”
I thought my dad would have something to say about that, but he didn’t say anything. I wanted to tell him that I didn’t think it was his fault, that he wasn’t even wrong, really, but talking about supernatural fallibility was dangerous, and my mom loved that stupid, ugly couch.
© by Brenna Yovanoff
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