Trajan Hopkins is the prototypical adolescent male, protected on all sides by the soft cushion of family. He worships his brother, Langston, invariably from a crouched defensive position in an effort to fend off the latest sequence of moves his brother is working to perfect. Langston is widely regarded around town as Preston's most prolific fighter, steeped in martial arts, his ambition set on someday reaching the Olympic stage.
Trajan fits neatly inside his brother's shadow, the dutiful second seed. When his brother dies, it's like one leg of a chair goes missing, warping Trajan's sense of connection to anybody near to him. He ventures into the world alone, steps out on the call of the wind, the rise of the moon, the tide pulling against him. He returns at the end of the night to diminished ties, the weave of familiar cues strewn loose about him, waves crashing in, pushing him ever further from the shelter of home.
JEDAH MAYBERRY is an emerging fiction writer, born in New York, raised in southeastern CT, the backdrop for his fiction debut. The book won Grand Prize in Red City Review's 2015 Book Awards as well as honorable mention in Writer's Digest's Self-Published Book Awards. It was named 1st in Multi-Cultural Fiction for 2014 by the Texas Association of Authors. Jedah was a top ten finalist for the 2013 Best New Author Award sponsored by the National Black Book Festival. He garnered honorable mention in Glimmer Train's April 2012 Family Matters Short Story Contest for Ton Oncle, a version of which was published as part of the book. His work has appeared at Loose Leaf Press, Flashing for Kicks, EtherBooks, Linden Avenue, and Black Elephant. He is a regular contributor to The Prose App. He currently resides with his wife and teenage daughters in Austin, TX.
I had the benefit of living away from the place where I grew up THEN returning to write about it. It shapes your lens, shades your perspective. You find wonder in everyday things, things local eyes no longer take the time to see. Having come from someplace is the one universal theme–a mother, a father, a place you once called home, however fleeting, had a hand in shaping who you are today. And, more than anything, each of us deserves a place to call home.
The Unheralded King of Preston Plains Middle
Trajan Hopkins lived his whole young life in Preston, a dimple of a town nestled among a string of dimple towns, lining the banks of the Thames River as the river makes its slow march into the sound, Long Island jutting like a raised index finger from the tip of New York to protect Connecticut’s southeastern shore from the steady crush of the sea. The Thames River Valley mutated over the years into an oddly shuffled deck of hardscrabble little enclaves making their faint impersonation of urban strife, surrounded by the quaint veneer of buttoned-down New England sensibilities. Time marked the peripatetic crisscrossing of peoples, mixing peaceably in most instances, retreating at the end of any given day to their own neutral corners, the melting pot amounting to little more than steaming compartments, from native to all flavors immigrant, to those non-immigrants whose arrival on these shores signifies a period of deep contradiction in our nation’s psyche, their forefathers having been dragged forcibly to the land of the free. Together they forged a tenuous harmony of existence comprising the only world Trajan had ever known.