Welcome Holly Robinson to The Jade Mystique!!!
By Holly Robinson
Jordan O'Malley has everything she ever wanted: a job she loves, a beautiful home, and a dependable boyfriend. When her life unravels after a breast cancer scare, Jordan decides to join her wildest childhood friend in San Francisco and track down her drifter brother, Cam, who harbors secrets of his own.
When Cam suddenly flees the country, Jordan follows, determined to bring him home. Her journey takes her to the farthest reaches of majestic Nepal, where she encounters tests—and truths—about love and family that she never could have imagined.
Funny, heartbreaking, and suspenseful, Sleeping Tigers reminds us all that sometimes it's better to follow your heart instead of a plan.
On my second night in San Francisco, Karin took me to a bar on Valencia Street. The place was the size of a trolley car and oddities were displayed along its walls in glass cases: shrunken heads, a stuffed alligator, ancient eyeglasses, women’s lingerie, and a flea circus. I looked closely, but I didn’t see any fleas.
“You deserve to celebrate your freedom,” Karin declared once the bartender served our Cosmopolitans. The drinks looked as pink as Kool-Aid in this light.
“I’m not sure there’s a whole lot to celebrate,” I said.
Karin patted my hand. Her nails were long and painted an elegant mauve; mine were short and bare, the tips of my nails as ragged as a child’s. I curled them under.
“I never did understand what you saw in Peter,” she said. “It’s better that you ended things before you actually married the guy. Peter was as stupid as soup.”
“Peter’s sweet,” I countered. “I never saw him get angry, not in three years. He paid for his sister to go through college. He helped his mom buy a house! And he always remembered my birthday with flowers. Once, he even made a Valentine’s Day card for me stuffed with little paper hearts that fell onto the table when I opened it.”
“Yeah, yeah. Mr. Excitement. Hold me back.”
“Oh, come on. You can’t tell me you’re immune to that sort of thing.”
Karin shook her head. “One does not live by Hallmark moments alone.”
“My parents liked him,” I offered. “Dad gave Peter the seal of approval the day I brought him home. Said he was glad I’d found a decent, hard-working Republican with good tires on his car.”
Karin howled, showing the row of big teeth that Peter thought kept her from being truly beautiful. “She looks like she bites,” he once said, but I’d always liked Karin’s teeth. Big and square and white, her teeth were a metaphor for the fact that Karin was just what she seemed: a woman who knew what she wanted and went after it. None of my mother’s,
“You catch more flies with honey,” philosophy for Karin. Whether she was going after a job or a man, Karin favored the flyswatter approach.
We’d known each other forever. It was Karin’s idea to marry our hamsters in a back yard ceremony when we were eight years old, mine to run a neighborhood babysitting monopoly in high school. I became a teacher and Karin studied nursing; when I moved to Boston from our small, central Massachusetts town to earn my master’s degree, Karin followed and worked at Mass General before moving to San Francisco. Now an operating room nurse, she went through lovers the way most women go through lipsticks.
“Remember how you and I always imagined that we'd be brides on the same day?” I asked her now. “We thought we'd marry movie stars and have mansions next door to each other. Even in college, we were sure that was the plan.” I licked sugar from the rim of my glass.
“Well, maybe not movie stairs,” I amended. “But we thought we'd be wives and moms together, like our mothers were friends.”
“Yeah, well, forget that plan,” Karin said. “You already broke Rule Number One: never get serious with a guy your parents think is good for you, or you’re doomed to repeat their mistakes. And do you really want to be married to a guy who spends the whole weekend mowing the lawn?”
I laughed. My father once said I could work for money all my life, or marry Peter and earn it in five minutes. I told Karin this and about how, on the first morning after I’d left Peter and moved back in with my parents, Dad shook a fork at me and sent a sliver of egg sailing through the air. At my advanced age of thirty-three, he assured me that I was more likely to meet a roof sniper than another potential husband.
“Was Peter any good in bed, at least?” Karin asked.
“That’s the thing. He’s so great looking, so sexy! Much better looking than I am,” I conceded. “But he had so little interest in sex after the first few months! Peter tracked our lovemaking on his iPhone so that he could print out a spread sheet if I complained, just to prove we were above the national average of 2.5 times a week.”
“Twice a week? That’s for married couples with kids, or maybe people in body casts.” Karin shook her head. “Will you please quit feeling guilty for leaving him? Peter was good looking, sure, but like a Ken doll is good looking, with all of that tidy black hair and his manly jaw.
Boring. Besides, from what you’ve told me, it sounds like Peter would’ve left you first, if he’d only had the balls. Face it, Jordan. Your relationship wasn’t just fizzling. It was a flat line.”
I sighed and nodded, too exhausted to argue. I had driven alone from Boston to San Francisco, choosing this city as my destination because it was the farthest place I could drive and still know people: Karin and my brother Cameron. Once I’d announced my intentions, Karin magically pulled an affordable apartment out of thin air for me to sublet. I hadn’t been able to reach Cam at all. This worried me, but it wasn’t a surprise. My younger brother was a drifter, and other than one Christmas, he had been particularly incommunicado since moving West two years ago.
Biography: Holly Robinson
Holly Robinson is a journalist and comic whose work appears regularly in national venues such as Better Homes and Gardens, Family Circle, Huffington Post, Ladies' Home Journal, More, Open Salon and Parents. Her first book, The Gerbil Farmer's Daughter: A Memoir, was published by Harmony Books in May 2009 and was released in paperback in June 2010. It was a Barnes & Noble memoir selection as well as a Target Breakout Book.
Ms. Robinson holds a B.A. in biology from Clark University and an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She and her husband have five children, two cats, a single gerbil and two very stubborn small dogs. They are currently renovating an antique house north of Boston, and will probably never finish it.
To learn more about Holly Robinson, please visit www.authorhollyrobinson.com