by Randy Anderson
For two decades Tyler Gibbons has been keeping a secret from his family. At the tender age of sixteen, Tyler embarks on a student exchange program. Sent to the Andean city of Ambato, Ecuador, he finds daily adventure as he tries to fit in at school, connect with his host family, and navigate through a world of beaches, volcanoes, and jungles. But tucked deep inside this year are events so profound, so unexpected, they forever shape the man he will become.
Now, 25 years later, his mother pulls these soaring tales from her son, exposing, for the first time, the source of a deep unhappiness. While these memories contain the wounds of an unresolved past, they also possess the power to heal his painful present.
Thoughtfully crafted and boldly told, Tyler’s journey takes the reader on a wild South American adventure, while illuminating a mother’s unyielding power to heal her child.
Cuidado was the first word I learned on my own. I didn’t ask anyone for a translation. I learned it the same way a child learns words in their native tongue. Patricia said it so often to Enrique when we were playing in the water that I came to know its meaning without explanation. Of course, the danger in learning words on your own is that you may not always be correct.
“¡Oye mijo, cuidado!” Patricia would shout to Enrique from under the safety of her giant hat and umbrella. Enrique and I shared a love for playing in the waves. While the swells weren’t big enough for me to bodysurf, they were deliciously dangerous to Enrique. He’d run into the water, lifting his feet as high as he could until a wave tripped him and he’d fall face-first into the sea. He’d stand up laughing, hoping someone had seen him—I always had.
I’d applaud and he’d race back to dry land to do it all again. Sometimes he’d go out too far. He’d chase the receding waves and be surprised when the water level suddenly climbed over his head. Overcome by the ocean, he’d throw his arms up and quickly open and close his hands in rapid succession—fist to flat palm. I called them “grabby hands.” This was his sign to me that he needed help. I was under strict instructions. If the “grabby hands” didn’t appear, I was not to assist him.
“¡Cuidado!” I’d shout, when I saw the “grabby hands.” I’d scoop him up, carry him closer to shore, and toss him squirming and giggling back into the shallows.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Randy Anderson is a novelist and playwright. His first book was published in 2011. On Making Off recounted his adventures running The Beggars Group, a downtown theater company that produced over two dozen productions at the turn of the millennium. He is also the author of several plays including; Kill the President, The Dwelling, and Yippie! Randy currently lives in Brooklyn where he writes, reasons, and reacts. You can contact him at www.onmakingoff.com, or on twitter @onmakingoff.
Randy will be awarding an eCopy of Careful and a $25 Starbucks GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Follow the tour and comment often to increase your chance of winning. The tour dates can be found HERE.