It's Monday night. My parents are out of town. My sister is with my grandparents. I'm sitting at the kitchen table, Mom's birthday flowers my only company, a bowl of peas and corn before me. I'm not hungry. Actually, I'm freaking out inside.
"You can always talk to Me," God says.
I nervously take another bite of peas and corn. "I'm too nervous."
"That's exactly why we should be communicating."
I pull out my phone and open YouTube instead. "Just give me a second. My brain's going everywhere. I can't focus."
God knows that YouTube isn't exactly going to help that problem, but like the gentleman He is, He waits for me to finish eating. And watch one more YouTube video. And see if my sister wants to go to Walmart to get a new phone case. Anything to distract me from the fact that I am alone in a very large house.
Then I realized something.
As a writer, I know a lot of what happens before and after the book takes place. I can see what Alynn's family used to be like before her mother was kidnapped. I can see who she marries and how many kids she has. I can also see Lukas as a young man, eating alone in a large house for the first time, and I feel like a monster.
Most of my characters have tragic backstories, including Lukas. His troubles start long before his fifteenth Easter, but it's then that things really start to go wrong. Right before Easter, on Maundy Thursday, the monks of St. Anne's Monastery run into a horde of Norsemen. Violent Norsemen. After watching everyone he loves die, Lukas is beaten three-fourths of the way to death and left to fend for himself.
He pulls through and, after lying still in the woods for a while, makes himself stand up and limp back to the monastery. He'll be the only soul to enter it for the next thirty-nine years.
Not even my imagination wants to picture what Lukas went through for the first few months. He had too many broken bones, too many bruises, to do much of anything. And even after he healed, he was alone. Every bad thing that happened to him, every illness, every storm, every poor harvest, he went through it alone.
I had a hard enough time spending a single night by myself, with multiple friends and relatives just a phone call or short drive away. In fact, I ended up going out for the evening with my sister. We stopped by Walmart, then Sonic for ice cream, and called our parents while we were waiting for our carhop. It turned out to be a good evening.
I have a newfound respect for Lukas now. But, perhaps more importantly, I'm more comfortable being home alone. I'm mentally preparing myself for the day I strike out on my own, and every experience is good for me.
What's the longest you've gone without seeing another person? What are your tips for being home alone for an evening? Let me know in the comments below! God bless you, dear readers, and don't forget to check us out on Amazon!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.