Charlotte Day thought she knew her mother – a woman highly regarded in the small farming community of Marion, Missouri. Dr. Sylvie Day was a successful OB-GYN, responsible for delivering nearly half the population of Marion. She was a loving and devoted mother to Charlotte, forced to raise her daughter alone after her husband’s sudden death when Charlotte was merely a toddler. She was the one constant in Charlotte’s life. But Dr. Sylvie Day was also a woman with secrets – secrets she kept hidden from her daughter all of her life.
On the day of Sylvie’s funeral, Charlotte receives a strange, unsettling note written in her mother’s handwriting that threatens to crack the foundation of the relationship she had with the mother she thought she knew so well. Now, Charlotte is forced to confront not only her mother’s past, but her own failures as a daughter, learning to forgive herself and accept her mother for the woman she really was.
A stunning debut novel from Piper Punches, The Waiting Room weaves a tale that reveals the complexities of family, the invisible bonds that connect people, and the pain that can reverberate through generations because of the choices we make. Told from several points of view, the true story of Sylvie Day becomes clearer and clearer with each turn of the page, reminding us that the secrets we keep aren’t always ours to take to the grave.
It happened a few weeks into the New Year. The townspeople claimed that they could hear the anguished cries coming from the Gold cabin in the wee hours of the morning; the hours of the night right before sunrise when it is the darkest and coldest. Of course, this is country folklore and gossip. No one would have been able to hear a sound. They wouldn’t have heard the cries of a mother in labor. They wouldn’t have been privy to whether or not Gavin Gold had been so mortified at the site of his son that he snuffed the life out of him as the rumors persisted. There is no way that they could have known how desperate Sylvie had clung to her mother’s weakening hand, urging her to push, begging her to stay with them.
Sylvie had later recounted the night to Harold, years after the incident when she had begun to feel that life possessed some magical quality again. She told him that after an exhaustive labor, Laurel Gold lay in the sweat and blood soaked bed, lifeless and gone. The baby boy had been born into the world silent. Sylvie and her dad had delivered him, but it was clear from the beginning that the baby was wrong.
“Mongoloid,” Gavin had whispered or maybe it was, monster. Sylvie couldn’t remember. She only knew that she had to preserve a moment with this little baby, who had for a brief second been her brother. She held him in her arms, kissed his head, and rocked him as her mother would have.
For what seemed like hours Sylvie had held onto the baby, while her mother lay on the death bed and her father slumped against the wall with his head in his hands. Eventually, they buried the nameless baby together. He was buried in her mother’s arms on the cabin’s property. In one night two lives disappeared. One had no record of death; the other no record of existence.
Sylvie recounted this tale on this one time in her life then never spoke of it again.
About The Author
Piper Punches grew up in a rural Missouri town in the far west suburbs of St. Louis. As early as kindergarten, Piper began her adventure as a storyteller. It wasn’t long before others caught on that her talented storytelling was actually a disguise for her tendency to be a pathological liar. Luckily, by the time high school rolled around she got her act together and began to channel her bad girl tendencies into something constructive. By the age of 16 she had written her novel, Silent Witness; a John Grisham- like tale about the treachery and brutality of the Colombian cartel. Before ever hitting the book shelves, Silent Witness was adapted into a screenplay that was picked up by a major Hollywood studio. It was at this time that Piper learned the harsh lessons of Hollywood and the literary world. NEVER pay an agent one measly dollar until you have a contract in your hands and listen to your parents when they advise you against blindly sending $500 to have your dreams come true overnight. Sometimes parents actually know what they are talking about. For the next several years (okay, about 20 years) Piper held onto her dream of becoming a published novelist, but decided to take up procrastination instead. It didn’t pay well, but it sure felt great to get nothing accomplished and pursue other random dreams. Finally, in 2012, after an eight year period as a social worker and a seven year stint as a business owner Piper decided it was time to get back into the habit of storytelling . . . err, writing. She began freelancing and ghost writing for several popular websites, while continuing to postpone writing her original work. Piper’s mother had told her during her teenage years that writers write what they know. Of course, she didn’t take her mother’s advice back then and continued to write about drug cartels (because didn’t you know that every 16 year old living in rural Missouri knows about drug cartels? Meth – maybe. Colombia drug runners – no). However, in true Piper fashion, after 20 years she finally took that parental advice. In late fall of 2013, Piper will debut her first novel as a bona fide adult. The Waiting Room is a novel about the complexities of family, the invisible bonds that connect people, and the pain that can reverberate through the choices we make. Piper Punches lives 45 minutes from downtown St. Louis with her husband and two daughters. She continues procrastinate and write on a daily basis.