Dennis can’t believe Terry and I will give up a vacation day to visit the family cemetery, but once I convince him that I’m not kidding, there is silence on the phone.
The night before I became a failed salesman, I was wired and awake in Derek’s room, gazing out his window, reading his Anatomy textbook, and eating peanut butter with a knife.
The cut ran fifty yards, a scar halfway up the hillside. The cut scoured by glaciers, or so the boy had been told. He climbed atop a boulder larger than a car, and he imagined the hill and all he knew entombed in ice.
John used to say that we were millionaires, but now we might lose the house. Tommy, our oldest, and his wife, Ashleigh, plan to buy us out.
I moved to Oil City to get away from Sylvia.
The child was dead before Irina Putavich plunged her hands into the scalding water and lifted him startled-faced to the air. The baby was limp. As his round nose and the fat cheeks with which he so powerfully suckled rose above the shining scrim of clear water, he did not open his small heart-shaped mouth to suck in air.
Sometimes I feel like someone’s going to shoot me, right between my shoulder blades, when I’m walking alone at night. It’s just me, the sidewalk, and the occasional dog shit most of the time, but other times I get the sense that someone is focusing right in that space on my spine.
The boys drown in the pond on Myrtle Dag’s property. Windmills, the two of them, arms and rocks and driftwood and pinecones painting the water with rings and diagrams and dusk, and then the postures of dare, pulleys for shoulders, rope for arms, run farther and throw farther, hoot and shout and leap, catch the rock, the pinecone, farther, and still farther. Dive to save the boy who takes the dare.
When we first moved to Bellaire, my mom thought that my soon-to-be stepsister Brooke and I were eating “healthy” to get “bridesmaid ready.” Brooke crossed off the days until our parents’ wedding on a kitten calendar that hung in the kitchen. She did this because it endeared her to my mother.
Michael leans over to flick off the heat, catching a whiff of Rick’s half-eaten apple in the cup holder. He had thought the fling with Rick would maybe last a night or two. Fifteen months later, they are driving home to see Michael’s ex-wife, Leslie, who is throwing herself an end-of-life party.