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After overcoming the hardships of raising four children as a single parent, Helen’s strength and calculated positivity fool everyone into believing that she’s pushed through the paralyzing grief of losing her spouse. But in private, Helen has obsessively maintained a powerful connection to her deceased husband. When Helen’s son unexpectedly returns home with life-changing news, her secret world is irrevocably shaken, and Helen is quickly forced to come to terms with her inability to lay the past to rest.
An unforgettable glimpse into the complex love and cauterizing grief that run through all of our lives, February tenderly investigates how memory knits together the past and present, and pinpoints the very human need to always imagine a future, no matter how fragile.
without a helmet these days, and at a red light she angles the mirror so she can see Timmy’s face, and his cheek holds the jawbreaker, round as a moon. · · · · · Water Everywhere, February 1982 SOMEHOW HELEN HAD picked up the idea that there was such a thing as love, and she had invested fully in it. She had summoned everything she was, every little tiny scrap of herself, and she’d handed it over to Cal and said: This is yours. She said, Here’s a gift for you, buddy. Helen
forget how beautiful the snow was, and the sky, and how it flooded her and she couldn’t tell the beauty apart from the panic. She decided then, and still believes, that beauty and panic are one and the same. She forgot the children; the children were asleep. She had been knocked back to a time before the children. Before anything except when she’d met Cal and, though it sounds silly and made up, though it sounds completely untrue, she’d decided to marry him the very first time she slept with
lifting a sheet of plywood into place, holding it with his shoulder while digging for a nail in his carpenter’s apron. And he grunted. It was a sound so unselfconscious and from so deep inside him that it thrilled her. He said, God almighty. A thrill ran the length of her body like a spill of icy water. Then he said, Goddamn. Goddamn. He closed his eyes and drew in a deep breath and he kissed her collarbone. Somebody should turn off the coffee, Helen said. But the espresso maker kept
his shins. Cold raindrops scattering from the leaves. Then he was up on the shoulder of the road. He batted his hands around his head, girly swings at the swarms of mosquitoes. The prayers he said between gusts of filthy language were polite and he had honed down his petition to a single word: the word was please. He had an idea about the Virgin Mary in ordinary clothes, jeans and a T-shirt. She was complicated but placid, more human than divine. He did not think virgin, he thought ordinary
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