Courage in Patience
(The Patience Trilogy #1)
Publication date: March 29th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Courage to endure.
Courage to survive.
Courage to overcome.
Tenacious 14-year-old Ashley Asher claws her way back to normalcy after enduring six years of an unimaginable Hell. Uprooted from her negligent and selfish mother, Ashley finds solace in the safety of her father’s home. Building a relationship with her stepmother, she’s finally able to open up and confront the past that haunts her.
With the help of her stepmom, therapist, and a group of troubled adolescents, Ashley battles her demons, struggling to find the normal teenage life she’s always wanted. Can Ashley find the strength and courage to overcome the horrors of her past while fighting for the future she so deserves?
In Truth in Patience, the third book in The Patience Trilogy, a typical day for fifteen-year-old Ashley involves wishing she could relax and make out with her boyfriend, Joshua, like other girls her age seem to be doing with their crushes. . .but Ashley’s struggling with memories of the childhood sexual abuse perpetrated on her by her stepfather. Although Ashley is in recovery and no longer in danger, getting over what happened is easier said than done.
Here’s a day in Ashley’s life that gives a glimpse not only into her inner emotional life, but the cast of characters that orbit her life, as well:
Josh waited for me at his locker right next to my Human Ecology class, but I didn’t feel excited to see him. Instead, my stomach clenched and I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom. He smiled at me, but I wasn’t able to work up a convincing grin in return.
“Did you get a detention, Ash?”
“No, I lucked out since we had a sub.”
“Cool.” He slipped his arm around my shoulder.
I stepped out from under his embrace and moved to the classroom door. “I’ve got to go.”
He looked confused. “But we always meet up here—”
I backed away from him. “We don’t have to do it every day!”
“Whatever.” Josh opened his locker, pulled out a book, and slammed the door.
I entered the classroom and moved quickly to my seat. A wave of nausea started at the top of my head and rolled down my body. I lowered my head to my desk.
“Are you okay, Ashley?” Ms. Manos, my Human Ecology teacher, asked.
“I think so,” I mumbled. I turned my head to the side and saw that she was standing next to my desk, hands on her hips. She placed a cool hand on the back of my neck.
“Your skin is really clammy, Ash. Do you want to go wash your face or get a drink of water?”
I saw Josh’s profile in my mind, the way he set his jaw and glared at his backpack, and I swallowed hard at the idea of running into him in the hall again. “No, thanks. I’m okay.”
“Let me know if you change your mind. There’s a stomach virus going around, you know. Steven’s just getting over it,” Ms. Manos said, referring to my cousin. She and Uncle Frank have been dating since they met at Thanksgiving dinner.
The tardy bell rang and Ms. Manos clapped her hands. The low rumble of conversation stopped. She strode to the white board and gestured to an outline. “Let’s see where we are on our relationships and dating unit. We started out with types of relationships that people have with one another, such as with primary and secondary caregivers, other relatives, best friends, same sex friends, and older friends. Now we’ve arrived at romantic love, where two people become more than friends—”
“Don’t you mean love for the opposite sex?” Pam Littlejohn asked. She thumbed through her textbook. “The book says it’s ‘love for the opposite sex’.”
“As we discussed when we studied families, society acknowledges that there are different kinds of families now. It also recognizes that there are love relationships among same-sex couples as well as heterosexuals. Guess you could say that the book just hasn’t caught up.”
Pam made a face but Ms. Manos ignored her and continued, “After romantic love relationships, we’ll examine love for children and mature love for others. Let’s see who did their homework: can anybody tell me what eros love is?”
Travis Hager raised his hand. “Um, that’s, ya know,” he cleared his throat, and sang in a falsetto, “Bow-chicka-wow-wow-type love.”
Ms. Manos smiled. “Yeah, you’re right. Eros love is the sensuous feelings that couples have for each other. Thus, the word ‘erotic’ has to do with that sort of love. How is that different from philos love?”
Teresa Benedict volunteered, “That’s the brotherly love people feel for each other. It’s basically caring about other people.”
“Good,” said Ms. Manos, “and what kind of love is all-encompassing and unconditional, like a mother has for her child?”
I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach and closed my eyes tight. Stay in the present, stay in the present. Don’t think about your mom. Think about Bev. She loves you in a way that your real mom doesn’t. But– but– I felt my mind starting to spin—and it always ends with me trapped in my thoughts and going nowhere fast. With all the stuff about families and relationships, sometimes Human Ecology class felt like I was standing in front of a ring squad.
“Unconditional love is agape love,” Roxanne said. She sounded like she was in an echo chamber. I closed my eyes tightly and envisioned a stop sign in my mind.
“That’s correct, thank you.” Ms. Manos walked over to the thermostat and adjusted it. The air conditioning clicked on, even though it was cold outside. “Your homework was to ask your parents about their experiences with dating in high school. Anybody surprised by what they found out?”
“Well, my parents got married when my mom was fifteen,” Moreyma Rangel said. “They didn’t date very long—”
Pam Littlejohn blurted, “The book said that kids of teen parents often become teen parents themselves. So, was your mom pregnant when she got married? How old were you when you had Three, Moreyma?”
Moreyma softly said, “I was fourteen. Why?”
“Just wondering if you and Junior are waiting to get married until Three’s old enough to be the best man at your wedding. That’s all.”
Moreyma Rangel and Hector “Junior” Alvarez have a baby boy named Hector Alvarez III, but they call him “Three.” Junior was in my summer school class and he’s on my cross-country team, too. He and Moreyma live in an apartment above his family’s garage. His dad went to prison for stealing cars and died in a riot, and his brothers and sister all have to pitch in to help their mom make ends meet. Junior works two jobs: he’s a stocker at a grocery store and a busboy- dishwasher at Mi Abuelo’s restaurant. He’s working his ass off, trying to support his family while still doing well enough in school to land a college scholarship. I’m surprised Junior has time to breathe, but he’s obsessed with Three having a better start in life than he did.
“Three’s barely a year old,” Moreyma whispered. Her cheeks were bright red and she lowered her head almost to her desk.
Ms. Manos interrupted Moreyma. “Pam, step into the hall.”
“What’d I do?”
“I have told you before, if you cannot show respect for others within the confines of this classroom, you’ll be mucking out the stalls in the Ag barn for afterschool detention.” She followed Pam to the hallway.
Pam’s one of those people I’d volunteer to be first in line to smack in the head. Pam’s made it well known that she wants to go out with Joshua, and last fall when she found out that he liked me, she spread the rumor that I had to move to Patience because I had an affair with Charlie. What made it even worse was she had me convinced that Josh is the one who told her that.
Josh got to the bottom of it and made her admit it was a lie by threatening to destroy the racing bib she needed to run in the district cross-country meet. Pam turned on the tears and I felt sorry for her for about thirty seconds before I remembered that she’s just plain mean and is never going to change. I have total contempt for her. I wish my feelings about my mom were so clear.
Pam opened the door a few minutes later and reentered the room with Ms. Manos following close behind. “Oh, I forgot to tell you, Pam: you’ll want to wear gloves and rubber boots for your detention tomorrow. It’s my understanding that those stalls are pretty nasty.”
“Yeah, they are!” Travis Hager said. “Could you start with Bella’s first? My sweet little heifer will appreciate it!”
Pam rolled her eyes. “Ugh.”
Travis winked and gave her thumbs up as she passed his desk. Pam gave him the finger but Travis grinned and mimed shoveling manure and throwing it over his shoulder.
Ms. Manos cleared her throat. “Ok, people, let’s move on.” She strode to her computer keyboard and tapped a few keys then turned her projector on. Then, BEGINNING A DATING RELATIONSHIP appeared on the screen.
Kevin Cooper raised his hand and Ms. Manos called on him. “Yes, Kevin?”
“There’s an easy way to keep it from happening, you know,” he said.
“What are you talking about? Dating?”
“Nooo, Ms. Manos! Babies. You know, like havin’ a kid when you’re fifteen.” Kevin reached into his back pocket for his wallet. “I have one right here.” He pulled out a condom and held it up for everyone to see.
“Seriously, Kevin?” T.W. Griffin said dryly.
“Dude!” Dub said.
Travis Hager howled like a coyote, and everybody laughed.
“Oh, my God!” Kevin’s girlfriend, Roxanne Blake, threw herself facedown on her desk. ”
You two? Oh, puh-lease,” Pam blurted. “What a freak show.”
“Pam, you just got a whole week of Ag barn duty. Care to try for a month?” Ms. Manos said.
In addition to writing Young Adult Contemporary Fiction, Beth Fehlbaum is a high school English-Language Arts teacher who frequently draws on her experience as an educator to write her books. She has a B.A. in English, Minor in Secondary Education, and an M.Ed. in Reading.
Beth is a featured author on the 2015-2016 Spirit of Texas Reading List- High School for the Kirkus Starred Reviewed Big Fat Disaster (Merit Press/F+W Media, March 2014) and The Patience Trilogy: Courage (1), Hope (2), and Truth (3) (Steady On Books, April 2016).
Beth is a member of the RAINN (Rape , Abuse, Incest National Network) Speakers’ Bureau. She has a following in the young adult literature world and also among survivors of sexual abuse because of her work with victims’ advocacy groups.
She has been the keynote speaker at the National Crime Victims’ Week Commemoration Ceremony at the Hall of State in Dallas, Texas and a presenter for Greater Texas Community Partners, where she addressed a group of social workers and foster children on the subject of “Hope.”
Beth is in-demand as a panelist, having presented/appeared at the Texas Library Association Annual Conference, the American Library Association’s annual conference, YALSA, and N.C.T.E./ALAN, and she is a member of The Author’s Guild.
She is a survivor of a traumatic childhood, like Ashley in The Patience Trilogy, and the day-to-day manager of an eating disorder much like Colby’s in Big Fat Disaster. These life experiences give her a unique perspective, and she writes her characters’ stories in a way meant to inspire hope.
Beth lives with her family in the woods of East Texas.
You can find Beth online at http:www.bethfehlbaumbooks.com, http://www.uncommonya.com, on Facebook, and on https://twitter.com/bethfehlbaum.
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