Today, I’m giving you a little peek into K.K. Weil’s story, Some Whisper, Some Shout.
Devices. Jolie’s got tons of them. Coping mechanisms that ensure she’s not falling victim to the mental illness that’s taken hold of both her brother and father. Helping the homeless gives Jolie much needed consistency. But when a stranger struts into her Jersey Shore creperie, writing cryptic songs on napkins and then disappearing, her world becomes anything but routine.
Reed can play the soul out of his saxophone, but he’s hiding something. Why else would he reveal so little about himself, or plan one secluded, albeit eccentric, date after another? And what’s in that backpack he carries everywhere? Then again, with her distressed brother missing, an estranged mother returning home, and a feisty grandmother acting weirder than usual, Jolie can’t decipher whether her suspicions are valid or dangerous delusions.
When inexplicable slashings of the homeless occur in her otherwise safe town, Jolie’s devices begin to fail.
“Come here.” Reed took my arm and pulled me toward him. Then he eased my shoulders down so I was sitting in his lap, straddling him. “Tell me.”
“Tell you what?” It was such an obvious stall tactic I would have laughed if I weren’t so sad and embarrassed.
“Jolie.” He watched me and waited for me to speak with that same expression he wore the first time he spoke—as if he already understood me. It made no sense. It was impossible, but it made me want to open up to him in ways I never did with anyone else.
“You must think I’m…”
“Crazy?” He chuckled.
That word. That word that I despised, that struck my last nerve. “No, not crazy.” I stood from his lap, but he was too fast. He held my hips in place until I sat back down on him of my own accord.
“Okay, not crazy,” he said once I was back where he wanted me. “How about stunningly beautiful?” He kissed my lips tenderly.
“I’ll take that one.”
“So do you want to tell me now?”
“I thought you said I didn’t have to,” I said, but, oddly, part of me hoped he’d push.
“You don’t.” He brought his face away from mine and waited for me to lead the conversation. He wouldn’t shy away from the topic. If I didn’t want to talk about it, I’d have to change the subject. For the first time, I wanted to discuss Tristan with someone other than Mamie.
“My brother is sick.” I couldn’t look Reed in the face. Instead, I found a small chocolate stain on his shirt that he must have gotten from one of Mamie’s pastries, and traced over it with my pointer. “He’s got”—I hadn’t spoken the word in so long I didn’t know if it would still fall from my lips—“schizophrenia.”
Reed sighed against my finger. “I’m so sorry, Jolie.”
“He was diagnosed at nineteen as soon as he started exhibiting symptoms. We knew what to watch for because, well, because my father had it too.”
He took my hand and brought my fingers to his lips, holding them there. I fought to keep the tears from my eyes. I’d already broken down once tonight. I didn’t plan on doing it again
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K.K. Weil grew up in Queens, but eventually moved to New York City, the inspiration for many of her stories. Weil, who attended SUNY Albany as an undergrad and NYU as a graduate student, is also a teacher. She enjoys writing her own dramas and lives near the beach in New Jersey, where she is at work on her next novel.