With a broken-down oven, in a hotel kitchen, on an uninhabited island
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An unexpected harvest, a sympathetic ear, a compromising position
A convent; an ER’s “safe room”; a cage within a cage, inside a prison within a prison
For all you women out there, as the song goes (there must be a song that goes like that), this is how it is when you leave us: We wake up at midnight in our mother’s house, in our childhood room, in our childhood bed, and we think to ourselves, What am I doing lying here while, in New York, in my apartment, in my real room, in my adult bed, my wife is leaving me? Then we think that she is probably not alone in that bed. Then we get up.
From ten Saturday morning — when your father picks you up at the house you don’t want to live in, your mother’s boyfriend’s house — to eight Sunday night, when your mother retrieves you from the house you never wanted to leave but are now allowed to visit only twice a month, you have thirty-four hours for your father to prove to you that he’s not the man your mother says he is.
The Tooth Fairy, a vibrator, a fiftieth wedding anniversary
A few weeks ago they were still in the house they’d always lived in, but their dad and I were never both home at once; we took turns living there and caring for them. Maybe, we thought, the kids wouldn’t notice the change. But now there’s no disguising it.
An identity thief, a flat tire on the Williamsburg Bridge, a cat named Cinnamon
I’m driving on Route 91, going ten miles an hour over the limit, on the way to my divorce — or, at least, to its announcement. My husband, Jake, and I decided we would tell the kids tonight. We’ve waited way too long. Our marriage died of natural causes years ago. We are pretending our children will be shocked by the news, but we both know better.
It was the year they found a dead toddler in the bushes, head bashed in, bite marks and cigarette burns all over his body. He was wearing a T-shirt with multicolored lollipops across the front. It was November 1990.
Large, feathery clusters of snow spiraled toward the windshield. From the passenger seat, Nora could see between the thinning trees to the ravine below, where snowflakes seemed to hover and rise in undulating waves. For a moment she felt content, leaning back in her seat as Gil steered the car up the steep incline.