Fate was working against little Brian Mauretti. The food that was meant to nourish him was poisoning him instead, and the doctors said the damage was devastating and absolute. Fate had written off Brian. But fate didn’t count on a woman as determined as Brian’s grandmother, Angela DiMartino – who everyone knew as Mama. Loving her grandson with everything she had, Mama endeavored to battle fate. Fate had no idea what it was in for.
An emotional tale about the strength of family bonds, unconditional love, and the perseverance to do our best with the challenging gifts we receive, Goodnight, Brian is an uplifting tribute to what happens when giving up is not an option.
Back at the cottage, Mama took three pills and washed them down with a tumbler of water. She limped to her chair and flopped down into it. She reached for her legs and tried to rub out the spikes that hammered into her brittle bones. The cancer felt like termites eating their way through an old, dry rotted shed. “Oh, Lord, please ease my pain tonight. It’s something awful.”
Mama opened her eyes to a vast expanse of rich, rolling countryside dotted with cypress trees. In the distance, there were several grazing sheep, but the shepherd was nowhere in sight. Beyond them, at the outskirts of a silvery olive grove, she could barely make out a small house. It appeared to be made of stone. Or maybe it’s stucco? she wondered. It’s the color of melted creamsicles. On each side of it, there were small groves of trees. Fruit—fig and pear, she guessed. The sun was warm on her back and a slight breeze tickled her neck. It felt like the first day of spring; everything was green and rich and bursting with life. Shielding her eyes from the sun, she looked up at the bluest sky she’d ever seen. A few puffy clouds floated above. Besides the wind, only her breathing could be heard—slow, relaxed, and in perfect rhythm with the beat of her heart. Another scan of the hills revealed no human life. Yet, she felt anything but alone. She smiled.
Mama awakened and sat motionless in her gray chair. At peace, she looked around the room until disappointment crept into her heart. And then—in one sudden surge—the pain came rushing back. It felt like cleavers being tossed into her hips and legs. She cried out and struggled to free herself from the chair. “Where are those painkillers?” she asked aloud. “Dear God, where are they?”
Author Bio: Steven Manchester is the published author of the #1 best seller, Twelve Months, as well as A Christmas Wish (the holiday prequel to Goodnight, Brian). He is also the Pressed Pennies, The Unexpected Storm: The Gulf War Legacy and Jacob Evans, as well as several books under the pseudonym, Steven Herberts. His work has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning and BET’s Nightly News. Recently, three of his short stories were selected “101 Best” for Chicken Soup for the Soul series.