I am Heather Kerry, the main character in “Buried Truths” by Viola Russell. I am a youngish widow who receives a shock when she meets a young woman in a book store.
Where do you live?
I live in New Orleans, and it is shortly after Katrina has devastated the city. Many changes will come about because of the devastation, and I’m at the forefront of those changes as a deputy superintendent of Catholic schools.
What is your problem in the story?
Before Thanksgiving, I was shopping in a local book store when a young woman working behind the counter asked me if I’d had a child and given it up for adoption. She explained that her husband was adopted, and they wanted to find out who his birth parents were because they were contemplating a family. I deny it, but when she says her husband is part Asian, I know he’s the child I gave up over twenty years ago when I was seventeen. Sarah, the young woman, says our eyes are alike–gray. Over twenty years before, family pressure separated me from Wesley Chou, the love of my life. Even though I married, I never forgot Wesley, now Dr. Wesley Chou.
Do you run from conflict?
No, I can’t afford to run from conflict. As a deputy superintendent, I have to stand up to the bishop who wants to close schools. I then have to stand up to people who want to condemn me when my past becomes public knowledge. And lastly–I have to stand strong when my son Ezra’s child is diagnosed with leukemia and I am the donor. I have to face his anger and possible rejection in order to save his child.
How do you see yourself?
I see myself as capable, but my resolve doesn’t come easily. I have self-doubt, but I’ve seen the danger running can cause. Wesley and I should have stood against our parents and kept our child.
How do your friends see you?
My friends and family see me as someone who isn’t strong and who has little resolve. I have to work against type to achieve my career goals, to fight the beast, and show the bishop he’s wrong.
How do your enemies see you?
My enemies see me in two ways: The people who think I oppose them about school closures see me as a bitch. Because I’ve always been a good girl, some people see me as a hypocrite or a whore when they discover my past indiscretion.
What are your achievements?
I have a doctoral degree and I’m at the pinnacle of my career, but it is lonely at the top and even lonelier in my bed until I reunite with Wesley. We, however, will have many ups and downs as we face our past.
Do you have any special weaknesses?
When I was younger, I didn’t stand up to people. That was the weakness that led to my separation from Wesley and my giving up my child. I’ve changed, but how much?
What do you want?
I want a relationship with my son, and I also still want Wesley. Wesley and I must decide if we can look past the hurt of years gone by and form a relationship again. The man can still set me on fire with even the slightest touch. I go wet when I see him, and he makes me shiver with an all-consuming passion when I look into his eyes. He makes me a teenager again–in body at least–but I’m also now mature enough to know much has happened to change us.
What are you afraid of?
I’m afraid of losing my son Ezra again, and I’m afraid of losing Wesley yet again.
What do you regret?
I regret not running away with Wesley when I became pregnant. None of my accomplishments can replace what I lost.
We should have run to the Quarter and become French Quarter mimes.
Who was your first love?
Wesley was my first and only love. Anything I felt for my husband Peter pales compared to what I feel for Wesley.
Why do you think change in your life would be for the best?
My life has been too safe but too empty. I need love, danger, and risk.