The Awakening of Russell Henderson

Every Sunday, I try to post an excerpt from my novel, The Awakening of Russell Henderson. Here’s another. The book is available at

“I’m really sorry, Karen. I apologize. It was thoughtless of me. I’ll call Mom and Dad and let them know I’m okay.”

She responded coldly, “Well I hope so. You out running round by yourself. Anything could happen. You could be murdered or something and we’d never know. And a, what kind of center? Buddhist? Have you totally lost your mind?! God, Russell you weren’t raised like that, doing some pagan thing!”

“I’m fine, Karen. Truth is I’ve never been happier in my life. It was a good four weeks there. I learned a lot. I feel more alive every day.” I said with elated enthusiasm.

“Slow down. What? You sound like you’re in love or something.”

“That too. Yes, for the first time I think I understand love, and I’m in love and committed to the woman I met hitchhiking back in Iowa, Hanna, she’s — ”

“Committed to?! You got married?! You really have lost your mind! What’ll Mom — ”

“We’re not married, have no intentions of marriage . . . yet.”

“You need help. Are you drinking? Is that it? You’ve turned into a drunk. Or drugs?! God, Russell! Please! You need help!”

With that, I couldn’t help myself and started laughing. I thought of how Rinpoche had laughed at what he thought was the absurdity of life.

“I’m not drinking. I’m not drunk, not on any drugs. I’m just happy. Please just understand. People can be happy, you know.”

“I wish that were the case, I . . . I really wish that were the case.”

“Karen, what?  What’s wrong? Is something going on? Is everything okay?”

I heard a sniffle, “No it’s not. It’s John . . . we’ve been going through some bad times. He wants a divorce.” The sniffles increased. “I can’t fail, Russell. I just can’t. First you. Then me. Then . . . then what’ll I do . . . the kids? He took the boys.” 

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