Sprout says she’s there to help him, to guide him. Theo, an introverted, teenage boy form a large family, is not so sure about that. He’s not sure about much of anything at the moment. You see, Theo is thrown into absolute uncertainty one morning after he has showered for school when Sprout manifests herself physically in his body.
Is she a dream? A hallucination? That is what Theo grapples with as he not only sees Sprout in the mirror, then validates what he’s seen by looking down at his body, now her body, but also begins a conversation with her about what the hell is going on.
While Theo longs for some guidance through the perils of adolescence, the guidance he knew his family wouldn’t give him, he isn’t prepared for Sprout to present herself and offer it to him. In fact, he doesn’t appear to have a choice since Sprout, sassy and confident about her presence, won’t go away.
Thus begin the adventures of Theo and Sprout. Sprout comes and goes as she pleases, forcing Theo to come to grips with her existence, the fear of being caught, the guidance she offers and the choices she asks hm to make. Together Theo and Sprout must navigate the uneasy situations Sprout creates by appearing at inopportune times, whether in school, at church, or at a family gathering.
Sprout just wants Theo to grow. Theo just wants to survive.
Excerpt From Book: Page 1
Sprout. My brother had no idea the impact the nickname he derisively gave me would have. Neither of us knew how unwittingly appropriate it would become. Was it destiny or self-fulfilling prophecy? I don’t know. Memories and dreams and possibilities like to mix together. As far as my past is concerned and the makeup of who I am and what shaped me, I can make no distinction between memory and reality and dream. I usually don’t try.
While I certainly don’t remember all of my childhood, and many aspects are densely foggy, I remember with clarity the day my life changed. I was preparing for school in the basement bathroom—the small, cramped bathroom that seemed more like a large porta-potty with a shower than an actual bathroom. Wet towels covered the floor and almost all available surfaces. Countless toiletries jumbled themselves wherever space allowed them to balance or stack. Most of these did not belong to me. They belonged to my collection of brothers and sisters. I had a toothbrush. I knew that. Usually, I found toothpaste. If I absolutely needed a less common toiletry, I picked through a baffling array of products, many of which I had no understanding, until I found something useful.
The bathroom door could have been used in a magic show, presenting only an illusion of a door. The useless expandable accordion door secured itself with a weak set of magnets. No locking mechanism whatsoever. Talk about a constant childhood fear. Forever filled with anxiety a sibling would barge in on me as I did my business. Brothers would barge in like some bad slapstick comedy knowing, like we all knew, if the door was closed, the bathroom was in use. If the boys heard the shower, they wouldn’t hesitate to sneak in and use the toilet. The girls exhibited more restraint. They at least would knock before they told you to hurry up, which would never sped up your business. Of course, just because the door was closed didn’t always mean someone was on the toilet. The girls fondly engaged in hours of preening before the mirror. So, privacy—that wasn’t a thing growing up.
The day my life changed I don’t recall anything out of the ordinary going on, neither in the bathroom nor the world at large. Spring had ushered in milder weather and the near ending of the school year. My freshman year of high school. And have I mentioned I was an average 15-year-old boy? I was short and lean, a sprout. My hair buzzed close to my head. My face was angular, all the fat sapped away from constant running. I didn’t spend much time worrying about my body image. It just was.
When puberty enters the scene, the body has a few topics it wants to talk about. You should probably pay attention or ask for guidance. I did not. Deep down I knew I needed guidance, but since my parents and family hadn’t provided any in the first 15 years of life, I suspected any request for guidance would have ended in terrible awkwardness. I guess my older brother BJ gave me guidance, if you call tough love and admonishments to be more manly guidance.
Of course, when adulthood and puberty started to barge their way into the picture, I felt I had no recourse. I don’t think puberty existed for my parents, except for the girls because you couldn’t ignore it. Or maybe they didn’t have time to explain it. Too many children and too many other worries. They treated us like the eggs turtles laid on the beach, left to fend for ourselves, on our own once we hatched.